Making Cleanliness next to Godliness

As flu season sneaks up on us again, people seem more panicked than usual at additional threats from the H1N1 virus (aka ‘Swine Flu’).

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” your mother or grandmother may have reminded you way back when. In this little reflection, we’ll see how to make it begin to come true!

Obviously among your best defenses against flu are good sanitary practices: washing hands frequently, sneezing into your sleeve, not re-using tissues, keeping fingers away from your face (especially eyes and mouth).

Another obvious help we receive free thanks to our government: flu shots. Get yours. You’re protecting yourself as well as all those you come in contact with.

Hand-sanitizers―now appearing in churches, hospitals, supermarkets, washrooms, wherevers—offer another small step not only in staying healthy ourselves, but also in helping us avoid a flu pandemic.

Here however is a new way to think/react each time you use one of those hand-sanitizers. Just as that disinfectant helps purify our hands and helps us stay healthy and considerate of others, so our ‘being the church’ should help us remain close to God, and, simultaneously, help us prevent an epidemic of wandering from God.

So pause for a second next time you're rubbing some of that stuff into your hands! While your hands are together, join them as if in prayer:

“That my hands may be the hands of Christ, bringing the healing touch of prayer, praise and perseverance into the world.” Selah.

(Idea originated in an article by the Rev. John Ohmer, rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Virginia, & published in their Nov. 2/09 St. James’ Episcopal Church e-Pistle. Thanks to Lynne Johnston for passing it along.)