You don’t have to read this – but I didn’t want you think that I dropped off the edge of a cliff! In the midst of all the wonderful things I am seeing and doing and discovering ordinary life every so often breaks in and has to be attended to. In this instance, as I’m being so well looked after at St George’s College, it was my own laundry that had to be addressed. The moment had come!
One of the great things about being here is that you can hang your washing out and it dries almost instantly. How good is that! But it still needs ironing. I love this image.
In fact ironing never bothers me, normally I do it watching the TV, ‘Come dine with me’, ‘Four in a bed’ or some other programme that requires little attention. The reason I think I don’t particularly mind doing it is that in so much of life its hard to see what you achieve but with ironing you can begin with a basket of clean washing and after an hour or so have clean washing, ironed, folded and ready to be put away. Success!
If I wanted to be spiritual about it then I only have to think about George Herbert’s poem ‘The Elixir’ (better known to us as the hymn ‘Teach me my God and King) and that lovely verse
A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and th’ action fine.
Over the hill in Bethany we witness the clash of drudgery and devotion in that moment when Martha arrives wiping the sweat off her head with her pinny and complains about her sister Mary, sat at Jesus’ feet in wrapt devotion.
‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ (Luke 10.40)
Hopefully I can embrace both my inner Mary and my inner Martha in the Herbert tradition of the one who ‘sweeps a room as for Thy laws.’
One particular joy of the day, however, away from the ironing board, was to meet Canon Simon Winn. Simon is Canon Precentor of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul in New Zealand. He is here in the Holy Land, revisiting the place where at one stage he studied and has also been visiting some of the places I’ve been writing about in this blog. It was great to meet him but also good to hear about what he has been doing especially walking the ‘Nativity Trail’ from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It’s a journey of about 100 miles and sounds like an amazing way of seeing more of this country, walking where Mary and Joseph travelled and entering into that experience. There is always more that you can do, encountering God in so many ways, even, even at the ironing board.
whatever the day holds,
whatever the tasks to be done,
may I serve you,
in word and deed.