After all the work I put into cleaning the house last week, I need to do it all over again. The company came. The company stayed. The company left behind linens to be washed, a bathroom to be cleaned, and crumbs on the carpet—not to mention the dog drool on the furniture, paw prints on the floor, and fur everywhere.
Of course, it was wonderful to get together, and we’ve very, very happy that everyone visited. But now it’s back to the housework. Houses, especially houses that are lived in, don’t stay clean for long.
Funny how this ties in with my recent reading in the gospels…
John 13 tells the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. At one point, Peter protested that the whole event was wildly inappropriate, and he wanted no part in it. Jesus replied,
“Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean…..”
My house is still basically clean (at least this week), but it needs a bit of tidying up. I’m basically clean too, but I still need Jesus to wash my feet.
If I cleaned our house and then sealed it up and went on vacation, it would still be clean when we got back. But when I clean the house and then invite eight extra people (and a large dog) to live in it, well, of course it needs more attention.
In the same way, we are bound to get a bit grimy just by living in the world. We’ve already washed—Jesus has made us clean—but our feet, at least, need a bit of touching up. In a culture shod in sandals, and where indoor plumbing and garbage cans were yet to become popular, feet came in contact with some pretty disgusting grunge. While our world may look more sanitary, there’s just as much sin as there was in Jesus’ time.
Some of that sin is bound have an effect on us. My angry annoyance with an obnoxious driver, my unloving reaction to rude, selfish behavior, my critical judgment of a co-worker describing her decadent weekend plans… the slime builds up quickly.
As a new believer, I attended a church with a formal, liturgical order of worship. At the time, I didn’t appreciate the value in the responsive reading that confessed sins and asked for forgiveness. God had just started working on me, and I was already overwhelmed at how much I had to confess.
Now, years later, our current church has a contemporary service that doesn’t include any sort of formalized confession, but I wish it did. I need the constant to let Jesus wash my feet.
I won’t claim I’m excited about re-cleaning all the places I so diligently vacuumed and dusted and scrubbed, but at least I have something to meditate on while I’m doing it. What better time to review the week with God, and ask Him to get out His soap and towel?