This afternoon, after Sierra woke up from her nap, we made a trip to her favorite store - Menards. This trip actually had a purpose, not just a fun time to look at powertools and play on their massive playset. We were shopping for sand. Last year, with immense help from a friend, we constructed a playset in our backyard. The bottom of the playset has a space for a sandbox, and today was the day we brought that sandbox into being.
So after hauling 200 pounds of sand into the backyard, we dug up some grass, removed a little dirt, laid down a weed barrier, and poured out the sand. All three of us had a blast moving the wet sand around, filling in the gaps, and making little designs in it.
When we were done, and it was time for dinner, we all stood up and looked at our hands - filthy and covered with sand and dirt. When we got inside, Sierra said she didn't need to wash because her hands were clean - she has dusted them off. Jennifer made her wash, and the sand came pouring off.
That image has stuck with me the rest of the night. Claiming to be clean, but really in need of a total washing.
We humans are really good at trying to hide our sins - the mistakes we make, the secrets we have, the things we do that in the end can hurt ourselves, our friends, and even God. I think that part of this is that we really don't like to admit we are wrong. We don't like to admit that we make mistakes, or even that we hurt others - because in doing so we have to look deep into our own lives, into our souls, and see some of those dark things we would rather not see. So we try to hide them. We try ignore them. We try to shove them back into that deep, dark place and hope to never deal with them again.
But what we really need is to be washed. To be hosed down and get all of that dirt and grime, all of that junk, off of us and out of our system. And when that actually happens, it is amazing how much better we feel.
And we are really blessed as well. We are blessed because we have this great God who wants to wash all of that junk off of us and out of us. He wants to clean us up, and then send us out to that sandbox called life to enjoy all that he has created. And so, since God wants to do this - he does. He cleans us up by surrounding us with others who are broken and dirty as we are, and uses these people to support us and love us. He cleans us up by washing us with his word, and those physical signs of grace we call sacraments - bread, wine, and water - body, blood, and new birth. He cleans us up because we are his children, and he loves us so much that he cannot let us go about our lives with all of that dirt on us, so he washes us with grace, mercy, and love.
So tomorrow, after I make a fool out of myself on the golf course, I am going to go and get dirty in that sandbox. I will build castles, make sand pies, and do whatever else Sierra wants to do. And then, when we come back inside, I'm going to take a minute, as I stand at the sink and watch the water pour out, and think of the blessings of being washed with God's grace in my life. I invite you to do the same.