By now, anyone following these posts will be under no illusion that I don't always agree with the thoughts/trajectory of the author of this Lent book. For all that, there is much a appreciate about it...
I enjoy very much the forays into social history, which today are about the origins of the toilet (object for the day). Evidently Elizabeth I was the first to have a flush toilet, designed by a nephew who seems to have been quite a rascal. The French King, Louis XIV was persuaded to install a 'lieu a anglaises' - hence the name 'loo' still popular today! And of course every school child knows about Thomas Crapper, 'nough said.
I also enjoy the fact that the book provokes thought - if I don't blithely agree, then I have to think about why that is, and what I do think.
Today's focus is decidedly lavatorial (did I really read this chapter whilst eating my porridge!!) and links to the idea that it is what comes out of a person that makes them unclean. Comparing confession to [not his words but his intent] 'pooing and peeing' is not without merit. Stepping into a private place to clear out the waste, the rubbish, the dirty stuff, and then emerging feeling fresh and clean. It's a powerful - if not entirely 'nice' image.
The author also notes our reluctance to see a doctor if our nether regions aren't behaving quite right, or if what we expel is not 'normal', and compares this with a reluctance to seek help for inner spiritual - and I would add, mental - dis-ease. In traditions without priests or confession, where do we find the 'soul doctors' we may sometimes need? What 'medicine' might we need to ease pain or heal inner wounds?
So today I get permission for a nag about screening and body awareness. And today I also get a reminder to take care of my own inner, spiritual and mental, health.
As the old song expresses it - There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul...
God of Gilead, anoint us with the balm of your Spirit's touch, that we may be healed of the sickness of the sin that clings, and the regrets that scar. Amen.