There are curious profundities in insignificant things. We Presbyterians are especially proud of our strong, unassailable logic in all things theological, as if God was easily codified into neatly established linear categories. More often than not, we are working out our salvation with coffee and donuts as much as fear and trembling. Our responses to sermons regularly find their way into coffee pot conversations. They just don’t sound so fancy pants.
For all our strengths, those of the Reformed persuasion too often miss the point in a mad dash to convince everyone of big boy doctrines like the virgin birth or the divinity of Jesus. It seems that it will remain an impossibility to perfectly describe the indescribable. I often wonder if we would do his divinity a big favor by paying more attention to his humanity; the way he did.
Jesus never shied away from recognitions of or statements about his place in the Godhead. It just wasn’t his primary focus. Instead, he spoke endlessly about wheat and lilies, goats and sheep, wine and bread, coins and widows and sand and sea and doubts; the kind of stuff we talk about in our unguarded moments together. Jesus didn’t want to raise our level of conversation with polysyllabic words fit for Scrabble champions. Nor did he really care whether or not we came out of this with a shiny box set of matching, picture perfect doctrines fit for wrapping and placing under the Christmas tree.
He wanted to find himself with us caught up in the load of laundry that contained a red crayon or the fifty-dollar bill Dad had been desperately looking for last week. He desires to find his way into our thoughts when we’re changing the oil in our car or swapping out a toilet in the master bathroom. Will our most private, reckless moments contain bits of light, truth even? Would we speak from the pulpit what we just spoke to our swollen finger, freshly hammer-smashed? Does the name of God find its way to our thoughts as often or as vividly as does the business page of the paper or the latest political wrangling?
These considerations are not to add to our already bursting guilt quotient. But maybe they can help us find our way out of the morass of conversations thick and heavy with theological brain goop in favor of the spiritual tarpaper of mutual sojourn with the Jesus who knows how we do our laundry. Our theology should lead us to the laundry room as readily as the church library.
He knows that we’re often more delicate than the stuff presently in the dryer.
What are some of the out of the way places Jesus might find you today?
If you were to converse with Jesus in the most mundane moments of your day, what would you say? What might he say to you?
Think of the most boring thing asked of you this week. Try picturing Jesus there with you. Remember, Jesus did grunt work, too!
6 thoughts on “Laundry day Jesus”
Perfect timing as I prepare to fly to care for my Dad. I need a Jesus who is as comfortable with walkers and bandages as pulpits and commentaries, or I go alone. Thank you.
Rob, I liked very much how you ended this piece, by asking questions of the reader. Thanks for sharing!
Janet, peace to you as you visit your Dad. May Jesus visit you as you visit him. Diane, hope you’re well. These are always good questions to ask of ourselves and Jesus.
Thanks, Rob, for this thought provoking piece. I invite Jesus to spend time with me in the garden. I am convinced that he crawls around on his knees with me in the dirt. I imagine he has dirty spots on his knees just like I do. Recently I discovered Rembrandt’s painting “The Risen Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene.” In it Jesus is presented wearing a wide brimmed hat and carrying a spade which confirms my belief that Jesus loves to garden. As I work with my hands we are able to have some very honest, deep conversations. Sometimes we just work together in silence. It is also a wonderful time for me to recognize the beauty of his creation. I think he is please when I notice.
Jeanne, your practice here is beautiful. It hints of Brother Lawrence in his kitchen or Susanna Wesley finding Jesus in the midst of raising their gazillion children. These are the incarnational moments of mystical oneness with our Redeemer. Peace to you and yours.
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