Cleaning is ubiquitous whether in your home, your office, on the street or in your car. The
church is no different. Once beautiful and well cared for cathedrals and churches of long past worshipers are simply collecting inches of black dust through no fault particularly, just changes in styles of worship, demographics and of course finances. Old churches 12-18th century often have so much black dirt on the statues and paintings that it is simply sad. I mused actually on how old the dirt must be in a high organ loft I recently visited.
NOT so here at the 12th century Beguinage and NOT at my home 21st century church. My home church has a battery of sisters, brothers, families and young people who are assigned every Saturday at a ‘Beehive’ time. We workers actually feel like bees I think; brothers carry automatic vacuums on their backs for the floors, oldsters sitting down trim candles nicely or polish candlesticks; we sisters dust the choir stalls and pews. There is something for everyone as they say in the house of God.
“Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself… near your altar, Lord Almighty my King and my God.” Psalm 84:3
One morning recently here at the Beguinage, I came across the church chairs stacked and being moved. I know this, I thought. (I must admit I ran for my camera as I knew all of the chairs would soon be replaced in ordered rows and the machines for cleaning tidily returned to their closeted and assigned spots.) Occasionally, I had wondered how the church always looked fresh, clean and cared for. Our sacristy sister I assumed was behind all of this cleaning but there are also to aid her, a team who come in to move chairs, wash the ancient tile floors and keep the chairs pristine for congregants and the visitors or pray-ers. God must have a special place in his heart for whose who find it better to live and work in his house than in the rooms of palaces and mansions.
“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10