Entering, I find myself experiencing anticipation and childlike joy. Words formed of lights on an instruction panel beckon forward movement to a designated area where a big flashing stop sign draws attention. If you inadvertently travel too far the panel hastens to call you to ‘back up’ so that your car is in position for supreme cleaning action. It is exciting to sit in the vehicle, as the large mechanical arm of the car wash bursts into life. I suspect that the thought in most people’s minds at this junction is “I hope this thing lifts up soon or it is going to crush my windscreen.” Amazingly, the arm senses the distance between the thousand pound machinery and my sudden death. Moving gracefully over and around the vehicle it sprays deep cleansing foam across the external surfaces. Moments later as the colourful suds slide down the windows the stilled arm cranks loudly to life, spinning jets of hot water pouring with force from the nozzles. Quickly, yet with strange elegance the water moves the now dirt laden foam away toward the drain. A sealant liquid replaces the rinsing water as the advertised layer of protection is administered in order to deter the day-to-day dirt of the roads thus traveled from dulling the now glistening frame of metal. The panel in front once more flashes further instruction telling the driver to move slowly forward toward the exit through tornado-like blowers removing the final drops of evidence of the cleansing process your vehicle has just experienced.
A Touch Less car wash seems to be very popular. Some hold to the traditional driveway and hose version. Others like the large spinning brushes while some argue they leave lines. Many like full service detailing, but some prefer to “live life” in their vehicles as witnessed by the numerous fast food wrappers in the passenger seat. Truth is cars get dirty and they need to be cleaned. The rock salt of the snow-laden north causes rust, the scorching sun of the south causes paint to blister and peel. Sand filled rain deposits scouring elements that slowly erode the shiny surfaces.
We are just like our vehicles; we don’t really have to try, we simply pick up the day-to-day dirt of the world around us. Consciously and subconsciously taking upon ourselves the effects of brokenness from sin. We create as much of this worldly dirt as the person next to us in the post office or in the elevator or on our way to the office. We get doused in it as we walk through the hallway of school and contribute to it when that person cuts in front of us in the cafeteria. We hear the rumor and get splashed with this sinful residue that we allow to thicken as we pass on the word to the next person who will hear the scandalous gossip. Everyday we give and receive and over time it builds up and weighs us down. It changes our attitudes and alters our temperament. It affects every aspect of our life and so often we barely recognize how much of this grime we are carrying.
The Psalmist recognized the effects sin has upon the human soul and the need to be cleansed writing; “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Ps. 51:2). The author acknowledges the transgressions, the bad stuff that had been done, and seeks the compassion and mercy of God. He seeks the Lord to cleanse and purify and transform taking away the grime of his sin. He declares; “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)
I know personally that my receiving and contributing of the dirt that comes from my sin and the sin of the world needs to be dealt with daily. Like regularly taking the car to get cleaned at the car wash we all need to be cleansed, forgiven and transformed. The good news is that the Lord is ready at anytime to hear our confessions and wash us clean again. There are moments of fear as we become aware of the reality of who we are in light of the holiness of God. Through faith he brings us to a place of openness and holds us tight while His Spirit soaks us down with loving kindness as we experience the joy of being clean once more. This is all possible because of the washing in Christ’s blood we receive through salvation. God even provides protection for us. Just as the carwash sprays that final layer to protect the surfaces of the car God has provided the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to prompt and remind our souls toward good and to avoid evil. Have you been cleansed in the blood of the lamb? Today we all can be washed and set free.