Tuesday, March 6, 2018

cleaning up the immaculate conception

In the middle of the Eucharistic prayer, a strange percussive accompaniment to the words of institution begins—the squeegee sponge of a window cleaner hitting the framing of stained glass. A congregant lets out a frustrated sigh, the law student next to me laughs quietly. A spray of water hits the queen of heaven’s portrait spun of glass, and the sponge scrubs it clean from the outside

With incautious conscientiousness, the window cleaner circles around the Eucharistic table, reminding us the church is always in need of cleansing and renewal.

The action of the window cleaner mimics that of Christ's, who comes to wash us in his blood, to scrub our stained glass down.

In the middle of transubstantiation, the window cleaner lifts his sponge, his prayer is not words but actions, the movement of a heart up to the Lord.

His insouciant attempt to clean the immaculate new ark of covenant herself, to scrub clean God's own holy of holies reminds me what we do here in this bold task of liturgy. We think, because we have been told, that we can clean what has become smudged. We can dust off that which is spotless.

Thine own of thine own we offer back to you. Here, I hold up small discs of thinly pounded gluten. Here, I offer up a cup of low-quality wine. Bless these, and make these, not just holy but yourself.

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