Thursday, January 3, 2013

Praxis - Think like Jesus - Doing the Dishes

     One of my professors (and the dean) when I was at Duke was Tom Langford – from Dilworth here in town.  A brilliant scholar, he also could communicate with the unscholarly.  I read a little book he wrote called Prayer and the Common Life, in which he portrayed the rhythms of work, play, chores and rest as opportunities to connect deeply with God.  Ordinary moments can become “peepholes” into the vast panorama of the heart of God and a fruitful life.

   A simple suggestion Tom made?  “Washing dishes:  allow the washing of each glass or dish to become a prayer for someone.”  I did that actively for at least a year, but then I forgot about it.  Writing this series has reminded me, and so I begin again, washing a plate, placing a cup in the dishwasher, a prayer for you, a prayer for my mother.

   Praxis is like this.  Some habits you engage in for life.  Others are useful for a time, and may be picked back up later.

   Maybe in your house dishwashing is somebody else’s job.  Get your hands wet, and learn the virtue of this humble service, the godliness of simple labor for the good of the household.  In a restaurant, when they clear your dishes, say Thanks, and look for a peephole back into the kitchen and say a quick prayer for the people who just served you.