[#pictureLent] ASH WEDNESDAY, March 1: WASH

By Rev. Anna Guillozet 
Senior Pastor, Church of the Master United Methodist
Westerville (Columbus), Ohio

First, read Psalm 51:1-5

“Wash me thoroughly…” 

I have the joy of parenting (along with my partner) a spunky nearly 2-year-old daughter. I love the evenings that include a bath for her. We have these wonderful finger-paints that turn into bubbles when they hit the water (thank you, Target Dollar Spot), and we love to draw on the walls of the bathtub, me with my arms hanging into the tub—trying in vain to keep my clothes dry—and her with suds in her hair and paint all over her body.

Baths are a ton of fun —until we have to do the work of getting clean!

My daughter fights me as I wash the feet that have carried her barefoot around her babysitter’s house. She squirms when the washcloth covers her face. And she writhes when I try to scrub behind her ears (this is a thing, if you don’t wash there, It gets gross quickly!). But the ultimate challenge is rinsing the shampoo out of her hair. We have found that no amount of trickery can convince her that the experience will be pleasurable, so if it is going to be miserable at least we can make it quick. I fill up a cup of water, and I quickly pour it over her head. And as she opens her eyes, she looks startled for a moment, then a little angry at me, and then she calms down and realizes that she’s better off now that it is over with and she is now clean.

Discussion/Reflection Questions: 

1. In which places in my life do I resist the cleansing of God’s Holy Spirit? How might I conserve our energy if I would simply give in to God’s cleansing grace?  
2. How can I experience joy in the process of being forgiven from my sins?  
3. How does my life look differently after I have been washed?