This is what a typical day is like for my 4-year-old son Toby: At breakfast, he spills juice on his shirt and gets jam on his face or oatmeal in his hair. He then goes to preschool with his mom, where he usually tattoos himself with a pen or gets physically creative with the glue and glitter. Recess arrives and he goes out to play. He is currently finding great joy in pouring sand over his head and down his pants. On the way back inside, there is usually a collision with one of his sisters. Tears, blood and more dirt mingle. Lunchtime arrives, and another layer of food is “accidentally” applied to his arms, hands and face. In the afternoon, he encounters even more substances — things like cat fur, dog juice, bike chain grease, worm guts, gutter runoff and banana or orange peel remnants. These substances, of course, are promptly touched and then applied. Did I mention he’s a little sloppy in the bathroom? Consequently, for my boy Toby, the evening bath is usually not optional but mandated.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I also stand in need of a bath, but my needs are more spiritual than physical. In my study, there are three symbols that lead me to receive the Lord’s forgiveness. I have a cross, a bronze bowl and a water pitcher.
The cross leads me to think more deeply about God’s great love for me. The bronze bowl prompts me to invite the purifying presence of the Holy Spirit to search my soul and refine me, and the water pitcher also prompts me to ask the Lord to wash away my sin.
When I see them, I am reminded of my need to be washed and purified. Like my boy Toby, I, too, get dirty throughout the day and need a good scrubbin’.
You, too, may feel the need to be cleaned. Maybe you feel as if you’re covered in worm guts or gutter runoff. If you find yourself in need to be washed and refined, I encourage you to spend the time to seek and receive God’s forgiveness. It is always your choice, but when you confess your sin and ask for his forgiveness, peace always follows.
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ — and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” — Psalm 32:5
The Rev. Glen Morden is minister of Patterson Covenant Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.