Last week we began looking at high maintenance lifestyle vs. high maintenance Christianity. I confessed to being high maintenance-something I had never considered until my husband pointed it out, leading me to recognize all the little things I do to take care of myself. The more I saw high maintenance in my personal self, the more I wondered how much time I spend taking care of my spiritual self. I posed the same question for you as well, beginning with the overall body. This week, we'll look at being "washed clean."

 

The Body Beautiful/Physical

 

Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. (Ruth 3:3a)

Tell my granddaughter that it's time to take a bath and she jumps up from whatever she may be doing, runs down the hall, and begins stripping out of her clothes. Bath time is fun time! Warm water cascades from the faucet and-with the help of some bubble bath-a river of soapy froth is formed. Her colorful alphabet bath toys (still there from a previous bath) float almost joyfully, anticipating the little cutie who will slip into the water and play for the better part of the next half-hour.

 

Bathing, in our American culture, is a daily ritual; designed to wash away the day's dirt and body odor. Unbeknownst to us, we're also scrubbing away dead skin cells. Sometimes a bath or shower is for the purpose of relaxation or mental renewal. "All I want to do is take a hot shower and go to bed," isn't usually said because we're dirty, but because we're tired or in need of stress relief.

 

Modern baths are often complete with both shower and tub, the latter more modern, lined with jets for pulsating water toward tense muscles. But this has not always been the case. Historically the bath was not as we know it today. We know from Exodus 2:5 that Pharaoh's daughter went "down to the river" to bathe. Many times, bathing for God's people in Ancient Middle East, was for the purpose of becoming ceremonially clean. Romans installed lavish "public baths" where citizens could exercise, bathe, and socialize. There was a time when Europeans "feared" the bath, with both nobility and commoners rarely washing but rather applying talcum powder.

 

Today we have entire stores dedicated to the bath where one can buy bath oils, gels, salts, bubble baths, and specialty soaps (made with extracts such as herbal, fruit and vegetable oils-canola, palm, olive, coconut, etc.), Vitamins E & C, etc. They come in a variety of scents designed to relax, stimulate, or even put you in a romantic mood. Consumers can choose to leave the bath smelling like flowers or fruit and just about everything in between.

Side Note: Georgia Shaffer, author of A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life After Loss, says her favorite stress reliever is a long hot soak. In fact, she considers it a luxury! Her favorite bath product is Chanel ALLURE Gel Moussant.

 

The Body Beautiful/Spiritual

 

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalm 71:7)