Saturday, January 2, 2010

Finding Grace at the Toilet Bowl

This morning I found grace at the toilet bowl.

And no, I’m not talking about getting saved from a New Year’s Eve hangover.

My first task of 2010: to clean my bathroom at home. Glamorous, right?

I must have been empowered by Mom’s words: “Clean the bathroom like it will never be cleaned again” because I cleaned that bathroom with more gusto than usually take with housecleaning duties. I lathered up the sponge, scrubbing the shower stall tiles and the toilet bowl -- picture me as Cinderella, mopping the tiled floor (minus the delicate bubbles).

While I’d been away in D.C., Mom and Dad renovated the bathroom my sister and I share. They tore down the colorful wallpaper and painted it a solid yellow. The new shower curtain displayed a conservative flower pattern.

As I scrubbed away, the surfaces seemed “whiter” than before – maybe it was the new lighting fixtures. But as I reflected (literally and figuratively) on the brightness of the toilet bowl, words from an old hymn came to mind:

Sin had left a crimson stain,

He washed it white as snow.

- Jesus Paid It All” (1865)

We’ve had plenty of of "white snow" in Chicago. There is something beautiful about the crispness of new snow – it’s blinding, just like that toilet seat.

Of course, God's promise of grace and redemption doesn’t mean we’ll be picture-perfect Christians, but the image of fresh snow helps remind us God’s ability to make us clean again. We are, by nature unclean – and sin hangs on us like dirty rags. (Isaiah 64:6) But God has called us out of our old clothes – all that old sin, old habits. How about we let that die with 2009?

During my New Year’s celebration, two friends informed me they were starting a diet that would cleanse their bodies (“de-tox” they called it). Every day for seven days, they plan to consume 6 – 12 glasses of this mixture: cayenne pepper, lemon juice, maple syrup and water. My friends said it wasn’t so much for weight loss, as it was to “reboot” and to “get rid of all the bad.” I'd love to cleanse my body like that, if I could handle drinking a recipe like that!

How will we view God’s grace this year? The shiny toilet bowl – as strange as it sounds – reminded me that God does “do-overs’ – whenever I mess up. That blaring white porcelain under the shiny new light fixture – it almost blinded me.

But it reminded that nothing is too impossible for God to handle. He desires for us to live pure and blameless – for we are His treasures. For as many times as we trip up, He's there to catch us and let us start over.


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