This past week, our house received a pretty thorough cleaning as first we hosted house church, carpets cleaned on Friday, laundry (blankets and comforters too) on Saturday and the master bath today. I don’t know about you, but it’s rare for all the house to be similarly clean at the same time. In fact, I would say we’re fits and starts type of cleaners where it will look great then become very not great before being great again, and all of that in stages, not usually all at once. While that can work somewhat for house cleaning, it just doesn’t work nearly as well for our spiritual formation. If we stop in the middle of cleaning, the house will be in relatively the same place a few days later while if I suddenly stop praying or reading the Word or attending worship, my relationship with God doesn’t just go on hold while I’m gone, ready to be picked back up at the same place when I return. It’s not that God goes anywhere or gives us demerits but rather that our disposition toward him begins to break down somewhat like my house that begins to be dirty again.
When our disposition or attention toward God breaks down even a little, other concerns and distractions take their place. In her book, The Quotidian Mysteries, Kathleen Norris talks about the connection she found between her daily housework chores and the liturgy (or work) of the people of the church. Like our housework, the daily acts of faith and our regular acts of worship can move from rote repetition to loving acts of devotion if we are mindful of what it is we are really doing – interacting with the one who created, saved and sustains us. After all, cleaning the house does more than make it clean. The house becomes more welcoming and comfortable, we’re more willing to open our home to others. Likewise, being persistent and consistent in our spiritual practices makes us more welcoming and comfortable, more willing to open our hearts to others just as God asks.