Dream word – CLEANSE
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.’” NKJV
Of socks and sweat
In Europe it is of course the Finns who keep wiping the floor with all contenders concerning their ability to “sauna sit” for the longest of times! The Finns consistently get the top three places in the annual world championship sauna sitting competition, braving steamy temperatures of 110 degree Celsius and above. Finland is a very cold country and the winter cold snaps they get there increase sauna use to such an extent, that the whole nation has to ration their energy supplies. Let me tell you now, that’s way too cold for me!
Many years ago, having done a brief study of the Yurok Indians of North America, I became fascinated with the use and the spiritual implications of the hot rock, male communal sweat lodge. Now, although that sounds like an ad you’d find in the San Francisco Herald, there is nothing seedy or untoward here. Nope, apart from the guys just getting together to have a good natter, the main use of the sweat lodge was to cleanse their skin and also purge their bodies of impurities. I sat in a sauna a few weeks ago with a guy who’d been out on the town over the weekend who remarked that he could “still taste the booze” in the sweat which was oozing out of his pores. It works!
Now for the Yurok and other North American Indians, this physical action of communal sweating, of group sweat therapy, obviously became for them a metaphysical act as well as a physical act, in that they felt that they were also cleansed from the evils of their sin and the sin of others, all of which had sullied their soul and that consequently, they also purged from their spirit all the collected impurities and repercussions of bad spiritual walking.
Now, there is nothing better for getting things off yer chest, for gaining instruction and wisdom and even for making you and the community feel a little better, yes, there is nothing better than talking things out in a hot communal setting, in a womb-like setting of fire and water, light and dark, animal skins, plants, earth and ancient rocks. Yes, this can do an awful lot for natural grounding, for the settling of the soul and the unloading of baggage. Yes, I’m up for that! At the end of the day, it’s all good psychology, it’s all good psychotherapy, and a whole lot cheaper than you’d be paying a professional, that’s for sure.
There is something to be said for same-sex communal sweating, and it appears to me that God in His good providence often turns the heat up in our lives to facilitate such communal sweating. My suggestion as that men and women in the church have their sweat-boxes built, honoured and used, in preparation for such times.
The Christian sweat box has one very distinct rite which is carried out before entering the steam. Gently, tenderly and with great respect, those with most maturity, those with most authority in the gathering, gird themselves with a towel, stoop down to undo the shoelaces and then slip the leather from the seated participant. Then, after rolling off their sweaty socks, with the coolest and clearest of fresh spring water, they wash the dirty and dusty feet of all those about to enter, all that cleansing heat. Along with the cleansing, such action also brings instruction. Think about that.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Listen: “And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” (John 13:2-5 NKJV.)
Pray: Jesus, wash my feet. Jesus, help us to wash one another’s feet. Jesus help us fully enter all our providential communal sweat boxes with joy, where by the actions of Your Spirit and the application of the blood of Jesus we might be cleansed and purged, helped and instructed, envisioned and empowered, made ready to do Your full and perfect will. Amen and amen!
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