Border agents in Laredo didn't notice anything unusual about a package containing two small religious icons - but drug sniffing dogs did. And when the statues were examined more closely, they discovered that one of them - a painted plaster figure of Christ - was comprised of as much as six pounds of cocaine valued at over $30,000 on the street. I try to imagine what sort of desperate person cooked up this crazy idea, and in what kind of bizarre epiphany it occurred to them to disguise and transport drugs as the second person of the trinity. I can't.
The plot began to unfold last week when a woman who was a passenger in a car entering the United States said a man told her he had too many things to carry, and would pay her $80 if she'd drop the statue at the Laredo bus station. Authorities believe she didn't know what she was carrying, and that when the cocaine Christ reached its intended recipient, it would have been broken apart with water, sifted through a strainer, then dried and bagged and sold in smaller quantities to its waiting end users.
They speculate that this sort of thing may not have been an isolated incident - that unwitting tourists going back and forth between the United States and Mexico may have been trafficking small quantities of illegal substances under the guise of religious souveniers - but I'm not so sure. It seems like a lot of work (compared to bigger, more "traditional" shipments) for a smallish return.
Seriously. Buy a mold. Mix plaster and cocaine in just the right proportions to make it "stick." Shake and bake, then unmold and paint. (Badly, I might add.) Make rendezvous arrangements. Find a gullible tourist going in the right direction, and offer them the right price for their inconvenience. Sheesh. The lengths some people will go to to cover up the bad stuff they're moving.
Cocaine Christ is a great story. Not because the content is especially uplifting, but because the contrast is so thoroughly jarring. Jarring enough to make a person think. It made me wonder what I have hidden under the cover of Christ and passed off as "good" or "acceptable." Like gossip masquerading as a prayer request, or animosity as righteous indignation, or self-righteous judgment as true concern for someone whose actions don't consistently coincide with their stated beliefs. Come to think of it - maybe I could have hatched an idiotic, offensive plan like this, after all. I plaster Jesus over a lot of stuff that's not pretty. And I don't believe I'm alone in this.
The irony is - He means to cover me...to cover us. Only, Christ doesn't want to masquerade as a flimsy painted disguise over my ugly, hidden faults - He longs to cleanse me of them altogether, by the precious (not cheap) covering of His own blood red sacrifice. I may try to cover the darkest bits of my heart over with religiosity - but He stands waiting to do better than that - even before my smuggled "contraband" is sniffed out and exposed.
Shame on me for the times I've put on as a sham the One who was used to the death not to cover, but to cleanse me of all unrighteousness.
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. But when Christ had offered for a single time sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Hebrews 10: 1, 4, 12-14, 18)