“Nobody Likes a Bath (if you’re a dog that is)…”
March 16, 2016
1Have mercy on me,[a] O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:1-3, 9-12
I gave the girls a bath yesterday. By “girls” I mean our two dogs, Mollie, the 17-year-old Parsons Jack Russell and Vierra, the young Beagle. Neither one really likes a bath… it’s almost as if they are saying by their actions “We worked hard to attain this particular aroma!” Mollie, who normally follows us around on our heels, will skulk quietly away to one hiding place or another, lie down and adopt this pitiful, “You don’t want to do that to me look.” Vierra on the other hand views it as a competition, like Scooter of RFD Mayberry fame she jumps from place to place just daring you to catch here. Once you do though, she is not as bad as one of our previous dogs whose legs were long enough that she would catch two on either side of the bathroom door to prevent the bath. And if you backed into the bathroom to prevent this, she would exercise the same gift on the tub!
But the interesting part to me is after the bath. They don’t want it, they sulk while you are giving them a bath, then afterwards they are energized, refreshed and playful for some time afterward. Oh, part of it is drying themselves off, but another part is just the clean, refreshed feeling all experience after a bath. No, I am not entirely made new by this, but I am set free from the stink, the dirt, the crud which had been clinging to me.
Course, this is sort of the way with the sin, shame, self-deprecation, grief, bad feelings and sorrows that we gather as we process through life. We decry the fact that we need to “repent” to be freed of these barnacles that cling to our soul. But when we are finally persuaded to come close to Christ, to experience His gentle hands scrubbing away the dirt from our lives, even the ever present dirt that clings to the soles of our feet, when we give Him permission to cleanse us, our inner soul begins to sing.
In time, the girls my come to appreciate the clean feeling they get after a bath and stop fighting so much. It might happen, just as in time we will recognize that we don’t have to walk around with the all the crud dragging us down in our lives. We only have to come before the Master and ask to be cleaned.
Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, help me to feel the newness, the freshness, the joy that only you can give. Amen.
Reverend Dr. Steve Van Ostran