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The Metaphysicist's Guide to Housekeeping

I take great issue with the pseudo-scriptural aphorism "cleanliness is next to godliness". Whatever its original intent, it sounds too much like something a prim and disapproving well-to-do would utter disdainfully in the presence of a small, grubby child or a dishevelled 'vagrant'. Whereas, when you look at what the Bible actually says, there turns out to be a good deal more affirmation than there is reproach for such persons:
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:13-16)
Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? (James 2:5-7)
On the other hand, I find there to be something quite profound about the act of cleaning. Few weekend activities fill me with more contentment and sense of wellness than 'doing the kitchen' or 'sorting out the cupboard under the stairs'. Not that I dare claim to be a cleaner: nobody who's seen my house (and, to the dismay of poor dear extraverted Mr. W, I go to great lengths to keep this number to a minimum) could possibly mistake me for such. The reality is that, like most things which are good for me, I forget and resist and require immense psyching-myself-up-to-it self-instruction before I actually get down to the task. But when I finally do (preferably with a nice bit of Radio 4 in the background – something featuring John Finnemore, ideally) ... oh, the improbable delight! In part, it is the active, constructive nature of the process itself which I enjoy, but most of all I love that sense that I can do something such that my surroundings are better for my doings. I look down at that gleaming cooker top and feel as though I am participating in some teeny tiny symbolic foretaste of the big and glorious creation-renewing work of God...
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1-5)
...and it inspires me with hope: perhaps, in other parts of life (the more important parts, that is – involving people, not just cooker tops), God might turn my 'efforts' to His glory by His grace in unanticipated ways...
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)


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