Sunday, August 19, 2012

Standing at the Sink, Doing Dishes

         The dishwasher machine isn’t clear full, but there are some delicate cups and saucers that need a gentle touch.  A  big skillet and glass lid will be next in the sudsy water . . . 
Standing here at the sink, doing dishes tonight brings an unexpected memory to mind.  I visualize my mother standing at the sink, doing dishes at Bethel Church. This was over 30 years ago. 
The church’s kitchen is large, well organized, and the serving window opens to the main room, now being set up with tables and chairs for the women’s luncheon at noon. Six ladies were carrying in table decorations, spreading pastel tablecloths, and arranging low bouquets on mirrored squares in the center of each table.
There were nearly 100 dusty cups and saucers taken down from high shelves, and it was quicker to do them by hand, mother said.
When Denise came over and asked if she would like to arrange the flowers and put around the place tags, mother said no. She’d just do the dishes. Instead of taking a more visible spot she’d do the quiet, behind-the-scenes necessities; that was my mother. 
Then I recalled a TV preacher I’d heard earlier this evening.  He urged  the listeners to make a home altar for worship, a daily time of unhurried prayer and praise. He suggested denoting a special chair in the bedroom or front room.  
Here, I put two and two together.  For mother the quiet place was standing at the sink, doing dishes in the kitchen. Us older kids would be at the dining room table doing homework; younger siblings would be playing in their bedroom.  
Good idea, I thought.  When I am here at the sink, doing dishes this will be a place for prayer. Now it’s just me and my husband at home, and he’s catching up on some news on the computer in his office.  I spoke aloud, “Dear Father,  this can be my quiet place!”
The pretty Bible verse plaque from the bedroom will be my reminder, now that I’ve placed it on the windowsill above the sink.    It’s the words of Jesus, His invitation to each of us. “Come unto Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NKJV)
Have you experienced the blessing of a personal quiet place at home for prayer?  
It’s not the bedtime-husband-and-wife prayer that reviews the day and prays about tomorrow.  
It’s not the backing-out-of-the-garage prayer in our van before we take off down the road to town.  
It’s not the all-dressed-up-at-church prayer listening to someone up front read the liturgy and hurry through an “official” prayer.  
This is quiet and personal, my time standing at the sink, doing dishes with a thankful heart, speaking to the LORD.  Where will your special place be? What favorite Bible verse will remind you of the presence of Jesus, the blessing of talking to Him, the peace of laying the day’s concerns before Him? 
When in the day will be your prayer time? 
Why not try this challenge? Try it for one week, and see if your prayer time deepens your personal relationship with God. 

by Elaine Hardt ©2012