Be Clean

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Judges 7-8; Luke 5:1-16

12 Jesus was in one of the towns where there was also a man covered with a skin disease. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged, “Lord, if you want, you can make me clean.”

13 Jesus reached out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do want to. Be clean.” Instantly, the skin disease left him. 14 Jesus ordered him not to tell anyone. “Instead,” Jesus said, “go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses instructed. This will be a testimony to them.” 15 News of him spread even more and huge crowds gathered to listen and to be healed from their illnesses. 16 But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer. (Luke 5:12-16, Common English Bible)

I can’t begin to tell you why, but I don’t like to get my hands dirty. I don’t mean that in a metaphoric way at all. I, quite literally, do not like to get my hands dirty.

I know I am not alone. Over the past twenty or so years, I have worked quite a few UM ARMY (United Methodist Action Reach-out Ministry by Youth) camps. One of the more popular places around camp was the showers. There quite possibly is nothing that feels better than a nice shower following a good, hard-working day out in the hot sun of East Texas. You come in soaked in sweat and that is only half of the story. Most of the time you are covered with dirt from being down digging in the dirt or covered with paint.

One year I worked a camp in Daingerfield Texas. The first day was really hot. She didn’t have much to say when she came in from her job site. She went in, got her stuff for the showers and left with her work team for the local high school where we showered and otherwise cleaned up. Some 30 or 45 minutes later, she returned. As she walked through our main activity room she said, “Ahhh, I feel like a girl again.”

Such is what we think about when we think of being unclean. Our hands, our feet, or our whole body is dirty and we need to apply a layer of soap and water to get clean.

In the Biblical era, that was not what being unclean meant. Skin diseases, like leprosy, were very common and very contagious. Because of them being contagious, the infected person was an outcast from society and was, by law, when they saw a person coming, was to shout, “Unclean! Unclean!” so the person approaching would know they needed to avoid contact with these folks. I imagine it didn’t do much for one’s ego at all.

Jesus comes along and as he walks through town, this man who has a skin disease said to Jesus, “If you want you can make me clean again.” In studying I have come to an understand there is a difference between being made clean and being healed. Many things, not just an illness, could make a person unclean. Until the priests were able to declare the infected person clean they couldn’t rejoin society.

Jesus, as he almost always did, touched him and made him clean once again. Jesus gave the man back his life. When we take the things that rob us of life as we pray, there is a good chance God will take that away too.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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