Washing our Robes

“Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come through the great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.” (Rev. 9)

When I was a boy I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, a little, feisty, one-eyed, hard-working woman who had no washing machine and no dryer. We would go down to the basement where there were the wash and rinse tubs, the scrub board and scrub brushes, and the ringer. And we would wash the sheets, scrubbing them hard on the board, rinsing them several times in the rinse tub, and then drawing them through the ringer and its rollers that you turned with a handle, ringing out as much water as you could. Then you would take them out to the clothesline in the backyard, hanging them up with the clothespins, letting the wind and sun dry them.

It is one of the wonderful memories of my childhood: working so hard with my grandmother, particularly drawing them through the ringer, the whole process reaching that moment for a little boy of running through the fresh, clean sheets billowing on the clothesline and their fragrance, the fresh, clean fragrance of those while sheets filled with sunlight and wind. How good you felt,through the whole hardworking process that you did together, with your grandmother, that she did it with you.

 We come down here to work, and on Earth, our robes, the garments of our souls get dirty, soiled. In fact, they have the distinct tendency to get dirty ever-anew, soiled with earth-fettered, materialistic thoughts and thinking, soiled with too personally attached feelings and desires. Things can and do get pretty muddied.

We need to wash our robes. But we are not alone. Angels and Archangels want to work with us, like grandmothers  work with their grandchildren. It is good, hard, common work. May we love this life, this time. May we love this good, hard work, even delight in it, saying,”Yes, so be it. Amen. Amen.” To our “yes,” angels and archangels resound, “Hallelujah.”

by Richard Dancey


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