The Spirituality of Dishes

This might sound strange, but I had a very clear God moment while washing the dishes recently.

We had just eaten a delicious supper, pizza in fact, I mean what is better than that? We ate it on the back deck outside in nearly perfect weather conditions.

As I took the dishes inside and started drawing the water to wash them after the meal, my iPhone stopped playing the podcast I was listening to. Rather than hit play again I just decided to wash the dishes in silence.

I listened prayerfully as I washed. I thought about how hard some of the cheese was to clean off certain dishes. Minutes before these dishes held cheesy, gooey, saucy pizza that just slopped all over; a beautiful thing.

Now it was dried, caked on, and needed to be washed off, scrubbed off even.

It struck me how like those dishes we are. Dishes are simply a delivery system for the food we eat. If food is what sustains us in life, then dishes are serving the gift of life to us. If we are people who believe in a loving God, and I do, then our daily task, like a plate, is to carry the feast of God’s love to others. We are not God, and we can’t give life ourselves, we simply are used to carry the feast to hungry people so that they may be nourished.

Even though our dirty dishes were not engaged in an evil activity by feeding us, they still got dirty. It’s not like I slopped mud on the plates, I served delicious pizza on them, and it was great. Even so, even after their noble service of feeding the hungry, our plates were in need of cleansing.

We don’t have to be doing evil things to need cleansing. Even in doing good each day, we will see at the end of the day that we have a real need to be cleansed again. I don’t know why we can’t stay clean, we just can’t. Most of us need a shower every day or we will stink. It’s not because we’ve done something evil to get dirty, it’s just who we are. We need daily, regular cleansing.

I was washing good dishes. They are nothing fancy, but we keep them clean every day and they get the job done. After each use we wash them and they are made ready to serve the feast again.

Everybody and everything gets dirty; preachers, worship leaders, ushers, board members, and congregants who are faithful to worship every week. No matter how clean we think we are, like dishes, we need the cleansing of Christ in our lives.

Next time you do the dishes, be reminded that if these dishes, which are not evil, need cleansing after every use, then how much more do we daily need to surrender ourselves to God for the cleansing? We daily have need return to our God given humanity, which only He can bring us. He creates us, recreates us, cleanses us, and says of us, “it is good”.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart today,
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.”

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