The Write Side of the Church (Aug 2012)

By Matt Dabbs

By D.V. “Doc” Adams

The lights flicker as Ben Newman glides his broom across my tired floors. His touch is smooth and gentle. I can easily tell the character of a man by the way he treats me. Many men have quickly run over my floors and dabbed at my windows with the forethought of ‘doing’ as quickly as possible. I watch as they gather momentum Sunday after Sunday, month after month, and sadly – year after year all in the name of ‘doing’ God’s work. Programs are created and class after class is taught. Yet, quite surprisingly they remind me of Lemmings hyped on coffee, running in circles.

Ben is a man of great integrity. It’s obvious. He prays as he gently wipes a damp cloth across the blue-padded chairs perfectly aligned throughout my Sanctuary. Sanctuary: a place of refuge. How long do these people need to remain in refuge before they are able to leave? Are they hiding? <br><br>My restrooms are in serious need of cleaning.

Interestingly, Ben whistles an old hymn as he cheerfully cleans the toilet. Again he prays, this time for all those that enter. Maybe the cleaning fumes are too strong. Why would someone pray for those entering a restroom? But Ben does. He grabs a bottle of blue liquid and commences to spray it on my mirrors. I hear him pray, “God help them see inside of their hearts that they may know you.”

The vacuum cleaner is old but it still has life pulsing through it as the dirt is lifted from my carpet. The vibration of the rollers massages my fatigued halls. I love feeling children’s feet running up and down, twisting turning, excited to be here, full of life. But I feel the heaviness of their parent and grandparent’s…happy to be here but afraid to leave. Scared. Unequipped. For them it is better to find refuge with other refugees and rejoice in their safety.

Ben is very detailed. With the gentle touch of an artisan he meticulously cleans the panes of my windows. I’m proud of the light I can let flood into my inner being and onto others. God’s light. As his fingers dig a soft cloth into the crevices of my pane he again prays, “God let your light shine into the hearts of all that they may be renewed, refreshed … ready.” Ahhh! My panes feel so much better, cleaner. Thanks Ben.

My walls ache. I feel more like a warehouse. People come in, but don’t really ‘go out’. Yes, they physically leave but they spend too much time here organizing events, drinking latte’s, slapping each other on the back, and telling each other how great they are. Why don’t they really go…into the world? Not this warehouse-world they created, but the ‘real’ world. The everyday. The sometimes mundane. The hurting. The beautiful. The joyous world around them. My walls ache.

Ben quietly weaves in and out of rooms, down hallways, and through doors. When Sunday comes no one cares that he painstakingly cleaned, washed, vacuumed, took out the trash, or prayed. It is expected that I am clean. Most of the warehouse-people don’t even know that Ben works two jobs. But they do see the sparkle…on the restroom counters.

Ben has finished his required duties but notices dust on my magnificent wooden doors. He retrieves a clean cloth and wood polish. The liquid polish soaks into my old frame and rejuvenates my worn core. My doors are multifunctional. They open to let everyone in and close to keep them in. When they are finished with their warehousing duties they throw my solid oaken doors wide and eagerly scamper out in true Lemming fashion.

My walls ache.

categoria commentoNo Comments dataDecember 5th, 2013
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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1583 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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