Daily Worship

A prayer for washing clothes, the car, the floor

Fiona Reynolds February 12, 2023 3 0
Image credit: F Reynolds
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Isaiah 1: 16-18 (NLT)

16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
    Get your sins out of my sight.
    Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
    Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
    Defend the cause of orphans.
    Fight for the rights of widows.

18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
    I will make them as white as wool.

I have owned my wee car for 17 years now and I am fairly sure I have washed her (or, at least, had her washed) less than once per year on average. I have, no doubt, shocked some of you to the core: “Such neglect is not only absurdly lazy but is terrible for the car!” I absolutely understand the latter point, but she’s 17 years old and doing fine, thank you. As for laziness… well, yes… but as soon as I get her clean and shiny she gets covered once more in mud, salt, and other surrounding detritus. I struggle to summon up the motivation to clean her just for her to get filthy within days.

When it comes to our own lives, however, the context is slightly different. The point of washing ourselves clean and getting our sins out of God’s sight is not so we can just do it all over again, although sometimes that does happen. It is not even to make us look shiny and feel new, as uplifting as that can be. Indeed, it is for the benefit of others; it is for the Kingdom of God. Giving ourselves a ‘clean start’ means we can focus on what is important to God: justice for all those the world seeks to oppress and marginalise.




They say cleanliness is next to godliness…

and I get the sentiment, I really do,

but sometimes the dirt we accumulate is holy dirt:

clothes stained from serving others,

cars mucky from having fun with family,

floors scored with the feet of welcomed guests.

May we not begrudge the dirtying of our hands for the sake of justice,

nor the effort it takes to get ourselves ready once again;

instead, may the cleansing of our material lives

be a time of prayer with you,

God of justice and peace, AMEN.