How the washing piles up over Christmas – well it has in our house! The same is true with the washing up – the dishwasher has been on overtime. And as I sit looking at my windows with the sun shining on them, I can see how in need of a clean they are too – maybe tomorrow…
Dirt happens, it just does. But with our modern appliances and potions it is not difficult to make things clean again.
John the Baptist came at a time when people had wandered away from God. Despite the perfect world that he had created, all in harmony and balance, people had done their own thing. They had got things wrong, marred creation, and generally made a mess. And the mess needed sorting out.
Sorting it out had to begin with themselves. They had to recognise that they had got things wrong and start again in the right way.
Pieter Brueghel (II) [Public domain or Public domain , via Wikimedia Commons”]
John come offering them baptism – an opportunity to get cleaned up and start again with God. To have the things they had done wrong forgiven. The symbolism of baptism is clear. It is the opportunity to be washed clean. But unlike the washing or the windows, not just to be cleaned to be used and get dirty all over again, but to be washed and to have the chance to turn away from one way and to another.
Many took the chance John was offering them. They felt the need to be washed clean.
The same opportunity is still available to us today. God offers us a clean start, a new chance.
Washing needs a good detergent. God offers us the best way to clean up lives.
What a gift: for those who cannot forgive themselves; for those who feel that they have gone too far away; for those who feel weighed down by what they know they have got wrong; for those who don’t know what to do next…
If a time of reflection has led you to think how wrong you have got it, and you know you need to try again, God can take the burden from you. Try it. Let him cleanse you.
I want to thank you,
that you offer me a new way,
a better way,
the right way.
But more than that,
I thank you that through you,
the things I have got wrong
need not weigh me down,
and hold me back.
You take them from me,
clean me up,
and set me on the right way.
Thank you for that opportunity –
help me to take it.