By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
Many homes have beautiful dining rooms specially set apart for guests. My family always uses the dining room for Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthdays. I have noticed that the dining room for most families has its own traditions. “Go to a fine home”, says Dr. Thomas Oden, “and you will see that there are two types of silverware- the good silver and the utensils for daily use. There are the beautiful articles that have been kept for generations and will be passed on as heirlooms…”
This distinction between utensils seems to be hardwired into us. To illustrate this point, just try your family’s silver punchbowl for scrubbing the floor, and see if you have any reaction from your wife or mother.
The Good Book says in 2nd Timothy 2:20 that ‘in a large house there are vessels not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.” The Good Book also teaches that we can choose what kind of vessels that we are going to be, whether we are used for the dining room or scrubbing the floor
The key to being used in the dining room is catharsis, the Greek word for cleansing. The Hebrew word ‘Kosher’ simply means ‘clean’. Like my father, I actually enjoy cleaning the dishes, one of my few kitchen abilities! Raymond Collins commented that a person is like a dish insofar as both have to be clean in order to be put to another use. Have you ever been served food on a dish that was not cleansed from the last person who used it?
In the East African/Rwandan revival, people were thought of as each holding a water pot. Our heavenly Father wants to fill us with the water of life, but cannot or will not do so if our water pots are defiled by sin, anger, self-pity or impurity. As the famous song puts it, “Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord! Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.” The Good Book says in 2nd Timothy 2:21 that if a person cleanses himself, he will be fit for the Master.
Now is a great time to cleanse ourselves from anything that will keep us from being fit for the Master. Keeping fit is God’s better way, physically, mentally and spiritually. Many people go to Fitness classes. Have you ever thought of going to church as God’s fitness class, as God’s gym? God wants you fit as a fiddle, fit for the master, useful for every good work.
If each of us are willing to do the work of catharsis, cleansing ourselves from bitterness, self-pity, anger, guilt, shame, and fear, then God will invite us into his dining room and make use of us at his family meals. Can you think of a more fitting place to be?
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the North Shore News
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
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