I was recently handed a £5 note, with the words, "I'm sorry it's so scrappy and dirty."
"That's OK,", I replied. "It's still worth just the same."
This took place just before leading worship, and I realised I needed to share what God was highlighting to me - that many of us feel like that £5 when we come to worship Him. We feel dirty, crumpled, unworthy, and shame keeps us from drawing close.
Just like the £5 note, the value is not in the note itself but in what someone is willing to give for it. In the case of the note, there is gold stored in the treasury. In our case, Jesus Himself gave His own life to pay for us to come.
At the Last Supper Jesus washed the disciples' feet, and said it was an example for them to follow. They had been walking through dirt, just as we do every day, whether literally or metaphorically. There are times when we need one another to help wash off the dirt - through confession and repentance leading to forgiveness. Often it is as we come into His presence that we are cleansed.
It is the enemy, not God, who wants us to stay away, and he uses shame as one means to keep us from the truth we need to hear.
Jesus has opened the way to the throne, and He wants us to come as we are . His presence reminds us of who we are - treasured, valued, precious sons and daughters.