Clean Hands Week

Clean Hands Week April 10, 2006

There is a huge sign in the women’s bathroom at church announcing Clean Hands Week.

It’s been up there for about 6 months (relatively short in church time).

I don’t know exactly what is customarily included in a celebration of Clean Hands Week but I am all for clean hands all 52 weeks of the year so I have not gone to the trouble to take the sign down. That’s pretty significant since you know how I feel about clutter around the church (especially in the church bathrooms!).

This morning I happened to walk past the sign again, and I suddenly saw it in a totally different light (isn’t it weird how that happens?). It’s Holy Week, you know . . . the week of the year during which we are especially invited to think about how it is we relate to God. It occurred to me that perhaps one way we could think of it is another Clean Hands Week.

Yes, yes, I know I said that every week is a good week to wash your hands. But this week especially is a good opportunity to really scrub our spiritual hands, to pull out the antibacterial soap and metaphorically scrub the hands of our souls for a really long time, just like they do on ER.

Lest you think I am crazy, consider please that this metaphor is not original to me. It was King David, in fact, who brought it up first in Psalm 24. Remember?Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in God’s holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation.”

If we’re going to take it seriously, Holy Week is bound to be a long hard week in the Christian life (not to mention the professional world of church leadership, ahem). Professionally I am looking for smooth sailing at all the various services; personally, well I think I’m down with David trying to find some blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of my salvation, aren’t you?

I know life gets busy and I’m not always as attentive to clean hands and a pure heart as I should be, but I thought this might be the week I really work at it a little more vigilantly.

See you at the sink . . . .

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