by Bruce Schlenke
Our weeks are often marked by a first day, or a last day, or perhaps best expressed: a “turn over” day. For many of us, each week turns around Sunday and worship. For some, it is back-to-work Monday. Or perhaps recreation Saturday is the pivotal day of your week. It’s a day we tend to ‘ramp’ up to, every seven go-round. During the bleaker portion of the Covid-19, when Sunday worship was a non-gathering event, and my calendar’s pages were barren, I found that I experienced a new day that marked my week’s turning from one seven day parentheses to the next.
Trash day became a weekly marker. This every-week task marks an old end with a fresh beginning. Tuesday is the day to corral the upstairs wastebaskets, tie up the almost alive garbage bag under the kitchen sink, purge the refrigerator of forgotten leftovers, and trudge it all down to the trash containers in the garage and then out to the curb for early Wednesday morning pick up. Another week has passed. And pretty soon another. I admit, it seems kind of silly to see the passage of time cycle around the emptying of my garbage week after week. Hmm…
Moving on, the first time I saw John Guest delivering Christian ministry was in downtown Boston in 1970 at a church in Copley Square where small concerts/musical programs were performed. He was traveling with a three-member Christian rock band, and they would play loud rock the first half, and then after an intermission, John with guitar would sing soft Christian folk and preach the gospel. His “set-the-table” song, as I remember it, was “Mrs. Chisholm’s Weekend”:
Chorus – Oh what a funny world, everything’s absurd.
Oh what a funny world, that is what I’ve heard.
- Mrs. Chisholm Friday afternoon, picks up wages she’s earned with a broom
Sweeping floors and window sills, to pay her bills, to pay her bills.
- Saturday morning curlers in her hair, spends a half a crown here, a half a crown there,
Buying food and common store to work some more, to work some more.
- Sunday morning the church bell rings, Mrs. Chisholm with her whole heart sings,
Then the preacher says “Cheerio”; another week to go, another week to go.
John’s subsequent presentation of the gospel focused on the sameness and meaninglessness of life when a relationship with our Creator through Jesus Christ is missing, and the repetitive weekly rituals of work, self-maintenance and empty religious habits are all that mark our weeks, and years and life. Another week to go. Another week to go.
The weeks and the years of our lives roll up and over one another in the repeating concerns of this world. Of course, the world is our abode, and time is our transport. But God’s Spirit moves us to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. God calls us to a life abundant with meaning, and life eternal with the Lord Jesus. And, God breathes his grace and love through us to other people. That makes for weeks upon weeks full of meaning and purpose, and not empty repeating cycles.
Hmm… Hmmm! Maybe marking my week’s turn-over each trash day isn’t so silly, when I think that ridding our house of useless refuse and almost alive garbage cleanses our home of the bad stuff. For it’s very much like regularly confessing my sins before the Lord, repenting of my hellish self-centeredness, and turning to follow Jesus more nearly. My person is rid of the bad stuff from the week, and our gracious, loving, forgiving God picks up my ‘trash’ and provides me with another new week to go. (“Therefore go and make disciples…”)