by Kamila More Cabisada (1963 – )
December 30, 2010
It is past lunchtime and I have not yet eaten. I am not hungry. Washing dirty clothes can be somewhat therapeutic for me so that is what I am doing right now.
I am watching a bunch of denim jeans spin round and round in an overused washing machine. I am watching for what seems like ages. Funny how clothes tumbling roughly over each other can feel so much like life. You’re wet through, no spot in your being left dry. You’re fighting it out (with other humans in the same cramped world) for your own space.
And then, just when you feel like you’re going to drown, the spinning stops. A huge hand lifts you up, squeezes you from all sides, then hangs you out to dry. Before you know it, you’re as good as new. Ready to face your world, ready to be useful again.
Until it’s time for your next washing, and then you go through the same cycle once more.
One of my students once asked me what would happen if she continued sinning after she had asked You to take control of her life. I tried to answer the question as well as I could. It was last December 18 that I think I was able to help her (and those present during her water baptism) get a clearer picture of what it meant to really belong to You. I took a little of the baptismal water in my hand, raised it up for all to see, and then let it fall back in trickles to its original place. “The power of Jesus’ blood is like water to us,” I explained. “It is always there when we need it. It is always available to us whenever we get ourselves filthy and need to be washed clean and whole. It is what we need to stay alive. Over and over, for the rest of our lives, until Jesus comes, it will keep us clean in His sight. The forgiveness is available continually for those who seek it, for those who desire to live holy, spotless lives in His presence.”
“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority…” (Jude 24-25).
It is You, Jesus, who cleanses. It is You who is Keeper of His own sheep. The Great Shepherd will never allow any one of His flock to go the way of death in an unclean fashion. The water will always be available for him who is kept thirsting for it by the Living Water. The thought is most comforting, especially to someone who is prone to getting dirty all the time.
I have just finished eating an appallingly thick slice of rich chocolate cake with caramel filling. My friend Chie gave me a whole box of it as a holiday gift. I am looking for little dark brown stains on the lavender tee that I am wearing. To my surprise, there aren’t any. (I am like a baby when I eat. I need a bib most of the time, my daughter tells me.)
So there are days when I am wearing something clean, and there are days when I am soiled by my own humanity. Either way, I am thankful I have You by my side. Jude, my brother, wrote this as the opening line of his letter to me: “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, to those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”
I am thankful, my Friend, for the mercy that is forever mine. I am grateful, my Beloved, for the peace that is available to me at all times. And I am most relieved, O Lord, that Your unfailing, unconditional love is mine forever–in all its abundance.
But one thing is most precious to me. It is made up of four precious words: “…kept by Jesus Christ”. Kept forever, forever yours. Nothing between us, nothing to part us. Sin has no power over me now. Sin can never tear me away from You because You will never allow it. Your death seals my redemption. Your resurrection assures me of life eternal. Your very life in exchange for mine.
I look at the washing machine in front of me, the denim jeans swirling in it, and the water turning blue.
I know I am clean. There are no words to express how grateful I am.
Love You forever,