After cutting the front lawn yesterday, I grabbed two fists full of lunch and headed to the backyard patio to devour it. Spring has arrived earlier than usual and my grass-cutting duties always require a cooling off period for me. As I sat with my glass of diet soda, I noticed a tray propped perfectly square and level atop the garden wheelbarrow. Brenda had just cleaned a fresh batch of wool. Sometimes she adds color to the fleece, but this time she left it pure white.
Freshly sheared wool from a sheep has collected everything from the barnyard that will stick to the curly coat. Lanolin, a greasy substance that is naturally generated by the sheep, works its way through the wool, creating a yellowish color that pervades every inch of the animal (helping water to shed easily off it’s back). This concoction of wool and wax is very messy and it smells like a petting zoo. The greatest way to cleanse the fleece, according to wool experts, is to use the dish detergent “Dawn.” It has the properties to dig down into the fibers and release the stubborn wax. After boiling the dirt and vegetable matter from the fleece of a sheared sheep, it must be laid out to dry in the sun before it can be carded and spun into yarn. Brenda does it all just like in the old days!
I got to thinking about the passage in the Bible from Psalm 51:7 where it says: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Hyssop was used in Biblical times for cleaning. It also had medicinal properties with small blue flowers and aromatic leaves used in perfumery. The process of cleansing our soul is much like a fleece: before we can be knitted or woven into a brand-new item that God can use, we must be scoured, eliminating the dirt and foul odor of sin.
As that beautifully white fleece lay in the noon sun, I am reminded that God cleanses our hearts of sin. Even though the act of cleansing happened when I received Him as my Lord so many years ago, His cleansing work is still active in me.
Easter is this Sunday, when as the Church we will once again celebrate our risen Savior. Holy Week truly started for me yesterday, as I looked over at that fleece drying on my backyard patio.