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Wash Me Thoroughly

This anthem, which we sang on Ash Wednesday, has stuck with me, especially after this past Friday.  Based on Psalm 51:2, it says "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin."  Yet, when we sang it, we changed the word 'thoroughly' to 'throughly'.  It is a good image for Lent.

My last day at Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads was eventful.  I had just finished presenting my Final Self-Evaluation and the group was taking a short break before hearing from the last member of our group.  I was visiting with two residents in the lounge area, one wearing a Redskins T-shirt, as we discusssed the latest coaching changes,  Suddenly there was a mighty whooosh and a cascade of steaming water began pouring from an open space area in the ceiling.  It was a torrential sheet of water that fell and began to flood the Atirum area in front of the chapel.  I darted to the front desk to alert them, saying "We have a wall of hot water falling from the ceiling between the chapel and library!  Call someone quick!"  Running back to the Atrium, three of us quickly moved the grand piano and bench from the corner nearest the waterfall.  As others scrambled for towels to dam up the water, impeding its flow through the Atrium area and into the chapel itself, others moved to the back hallway to begin rescuing whatever books in the library.  All the periodicals laid out on the counter were lost, as were some books and binders.  A line of people quickly formed to convey materials of all kinds from the crashing water.  The hot, steamy air confirmed the water was very hot, so we let the construction workers wearing hardhats venture in where the water continued to thunder down.  It seemed like 15-20 minutes until they finally shut the water off.  By then, I was helping others rescue office equipment from an adjacent office which was flooding.  After GHBC staff and volunteers from the impacted areas arrived to assess the damage, our CPE group was relieved of duty and sent back to complete our work.

That hot, clearing rush of water had caused much chaos and wreaked a lot of havoc.  As unfortunate as it was, it felt like a purging of sorts.  Change had occurred suddenly.  Some things were swept away and lost forever.  Were they needed?  Or were they just there, taking up space, creating some of that clutter in our lives we might never find our way through?  I began to see it as a metaphor for Lent.  "Wash me th(o)roughly from my inquity.  And cleanse me from my sin."  Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance.  It is a season for reflection and taking stock.  So was CPE.  My supervisor, in his homily, said he invites people into CPE he believes to have "pastoral hearts".  I found some of the me I think God wants to use.  I also saw parts of me God is still working on to change.  

Yes, Lord, wash me thoroughly (and throughly) and cleanse me.