Ramblings for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch pew sheet 8 December 2019
If you were at Kirwan Uniting last Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent, you’d have seen the miracle of a plain white LED candle being turned Advent purple by a simple button press on a remote. A day or two before, I had changed the handle LED on my electric toothbrush from Ordinary Time green to purple, just because I could, and I’m a geek, I effected this transformation by the Oral B app on my iPhone. It was meant light-heartedly so that I could tease my more earnest liturgist mates on Facebook. This isn’t the place to discuss liturgical colours or their meaning, they come well toward the bottom of what’s really important in our corporate worship. My toothbrush, on the other hand …
A lovely little book was published only a couple of days ago, Liturgy of the Ordinary (sacred practices in everyday life), Tish Harrison Warren, IVP Books 2019. Tish is an Episcopalian (Anglican) priest whose book looks at ordinary things we do each day, waking up, making the bed, arguing with our partners or friends (and being reconciled), drinking tea, being stuck in traffic, and, yes, brushing our teeth. She devotes a chapter to this on-the-face-of-it banal task. Some things you expect, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit so we should care for each part of them, others are making me think. Looking in the mirror brings us face to face with imperfections, but we can relax and rejoice that God loves those wrinkles and missing molars, us as we are, not as some advertiser might delude us into thinking we should be. At this Christmas time, we consider again that God came to earth in a body, a weak, tiny, helpless, poor one at that. We don’t sing this, but a first Century Palestinian would have been a smelly specimen. When Paul tells us to glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor 6), he includes the meaning that everyday events in our bathrooms, not only brushing teeth, are acts of worship if we pause to thank God for putting us, His treasures, into “jars of clay” (2 Cor 4).
And I will take those teeth, redeemed like the rest of me, into eternity. So brushing my teeth is a non-verbal prayer, an act of worship that claims the hope to come. My minty breath - a little foretaste of Glory.