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Communion Meditations (2006)

Folding the Laundry

Originally delivered January 22

It happens that my meager share of household chores includes folding the laundry.  Once a week we dump piles of clean laundry into baskets, and I get to turn the piles into orderly stacks.

In some ways this is a metaphor for communion.  I often put on a Christian music CD—it means that I listen to someone other than myself.  That’s a discipline of the spirit, for it says that you will listen instead of talk.  It is a time to reflect upon life; deep thought accompanying manual labor.  So how is folding the laundry like communion?

Done with ordinary things

Communion, with all its symbol of sacrifice, is done with the most ordinary of things.  Laundry folding is never a high and holy occupation; it’s about folding your t-shirts and matching up your socks.  Laundry may be holey, but never holy.  The elements of communion are likewise plain and ordinary:  wine and bread.  The presence of Christ transforms them.

Like the laundry, communion is a time of setting in order.  In the laundry you fold and stack the clean clothes in some order.  In communion you should do the same.  Reflect upon your life;  is there some piece of it which is contrary to God’s will?  Then bring it to the Master, and ask Him to set it in order for you. 

It is also a time set apart.  Folding laundry is not particularly entertaining; therefore, the mind finds other things to think of.  No one disturbs me (for fear of being asked for help.)  Therefore my mind has leisure to think.  In communion likewise your thoughts should be undisturbed by others, so that the voice of your Lord may be heard.

A time of cleansing

Of course, doing the laundry has as its objective clean clothes.  It is a time of cleansing for the cotton.  Communion too has its objective:  the remembrance of Christ’s death.  In the process, you are to examine yourself so that you might receive the cleansing of the soul.

· Sometimes, your socks just don’t match up.  Is there a part of your life in which there is love but not righteousness? 

· We discard things with a hole in them.  Is there something in your life which you know you need to discard?

· “It all comes out in the wash,” we say.  Confession is simply pre-spotting the really tough stains.

You cleanse the body with soap; your clothes with detergent—and you cleanse your soul with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. 

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