Cheetos Dust

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the LORD’s favor has come,
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
    repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
    though they have been deserted for many generations.

[. . .]

“For I, the LORD, love justice.
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be recognized
    and honored among the nations.
Everyone will realize that they are a people
    the LORD has blessed.”

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!
    For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
    and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
    or a bride with her jewels.
The Sovereign LORD will show his justice to the nations of the world.
    Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
    with plants springing up everywhere. (Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11 NLT)

I very much dislike Cheetos.

Whether it’s the original Cheetos, the puffs, the squares, or any other form of Cheetos, I will gladly say, “No, thank you.”

My dislike of Cheetos has nothing to do with the actual flavor.

It has everything to do with the orange dust that remains on your fingers, your clothes, your doorknobs, your keyboard, and your notebooks. That magical orange dust is everywhere. That orange dust leaves a mess and residue on your fingers that seems to linger for the remainder of the day.

The invitation that Jesus has welcomed us into is joining him on mission to bind up the brokenhearted, set the captive free, rebuild ruins, and be that in-person example of everything Jesus was and continues to be.

But see, that invitation doesn’t come with a mess-free, no-residue promise. The moment we step into this invitation and find ourselves joining Jesus on mission, we realize we must sit with the hurting, the brokenhearted, and the ones who have been the victims of injustice. We realize we must walk among the ruins blown apart by greed, abuse of power, and authority. This work is a mess and hard work, but it is holy. This work we’re invited to requires us to be with others and walk closely with them, walking in that same spirit that settled upon Jesus as he came to bind up the brokenhearted and set the captive free, and so much more.

Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. When we say “yes” to that invitation, we must accept that our hands will get dirty. Our lives may get messy. There may be residue, not left on our hands but imprinted on our hearts as a reminder of the everlasting love we have received and we are compelled to share with others.

May we dig deep into that bag of Cheetos.

May our hands get messy.

May our hearts be broken.

May we be the people of God known as the restorers and the healers.

May those around us see the residue of the work of Jesus and join in it, too.

April Wahl is the middle school director at Century Baptist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota. She will also serve as one of the morning devotional leaders at the 2024 Triennial.