ARTICLE FOR CHURCH NEWSPAPERS
The joys of church cleaning ~ Febuary 2017
Finding God in the Vacuuming
– by Julia Beacroft
This takes 'Finding God in all things' to an entirely new level !
I’VE RECENTLY BEEN to Cornwall to visit two dear friends. We had a great ‘catch-up’ over lunch, bringing each other up to speed about what had been going on in our lives since we had last met. And it wasn’t long before I was asked about my ‘parish activities’.
Yes, I was still doing catechesis and yes I was still singing and reading, I replied when asked, and then volunteered the information that strangely I was still really enjoying doing the church ‘care’ or cleaning each week, which I shared with one or two other parishioners.
‘It seems a bit odd actually’, I mused, ‘but pushing the vacuum around the sanctuary area of the church, while enjoying the tranquil atmosphere seems to really do it for me. I’m not sure why. But you can find God in doing the vacuuming, can’t you?’
‘Of course you can!’ I was assured and then inevitably the conversation moved on to other topics. But later I was struck anew by my very own words. What actually happened each Thursday morning, I wondered, as I trundled the Vax over the thick carpet of the sanctuary area of my parish church?
I guess there’s probably a few things going on. First of all, I’m left to my own devices. I’m not in a hurry, the sound of the vacuum is soothing, the peace and tranquillity of the church is beautiful and I can be at one with my own thoughts. And I believe that at that point God enters into those thoughts. You see, I think that I’m open and receptive to the Lord in that time and place and so in his goodness, he makes himself available to me.
And there’s more… Because I’m also reminded of a wonderful vignette which I heard at a conference some time ago. The speaker – a priest – was talking to the delegates about the movement of the Holy Spirit in all our lives. To illustrate his point, he gave an account of his own personal encounter with the Spirit. One Saturday morning, he explained, he was vacuuming under his table, when he underwent one of the most uplifting and beautiful experiences he had ever had.
He felt surrounded by a glow and was overtaken by such intense love and happiness that he was in no doubt as to the cause of it. He had experienced the beauty of the Holy Spirit and he abandoned all thought of anything else but soaking up the sublime wonder of that moment.
Julia came closer to God during
vacuuming in the peace and
tranquillity of her parish church.
As for myself, I can remember thinking: ‘WOW!’ when I heard this.
I must admit that my story may not have the same ‘Wow factor’ as Father’s had, but I believe nonetheless, that there are certainly parallels to be drawn. God comes to us in many different ways, shapes, voices and thoughts.
But unerringly he comes to us in the way that we can most appreciate him and be inexorably drawn towards him.
This is because he is God and God works in the most mysterious of ways.
Even in vacuuming… (ENDS - 513 words)
Julia Beacroft is a catechist and pastoral volunteer who lives in Torquay.
Her first book ‘Sanctifying the Spirit’ is now available to buy.
Please visit www.sanciobooks.com for more information or order from AMAZON.