OK, I know it sounds like a stretch…trash collectors are like pastors? Just hear me out.
I was thinking Friday morning, as I took the last of the week’s trash out to the curb before the truck came rolling through, how much I enjoy garbage day. And it’s not because I love watching the automated arm reach out and grab the trash can (although, I have to admit, after seeing it for almost four years, I do still marvel at that invention!), and certainly not because I enjoy the noise that accompanies the garbage and recycling trucks every week.
What I love about trash day is the feeling of starting over. I can toss all the garbage, all the mess, all the mistakes that have been building up for a week (or more, when you factor in the Labor Day holiday), and have the feeling, no matter how brief it is, that there is no more trash in the house or in the can, no mess to be dealt with, nothing dirty and gross sitting around, waiting to be disposed of.
Isn’t that exactaly what happens on Sunday mornings? When the pastor speaks those words of Absolution, I have that same feeling, only magnified about a zillion times, and on a much more personal level. Even though I know I will sin again, probably before the service has even ended, (just as I know that before the end of the day there will probably be fresh trash in the can), I have that feeling of starting over, of being made clean.
So, just as I am thankful for my pastor, and those words he speaks in the place of Christ that let me know that I am forgiven and clean, I am also thankful for my trash collector, who provides a similar service that provides order to other parts of my life.