As far as I can see, there are only two activities that are truly radical – revolutionary, even – in which I hope to excel: love and washing dishes. And make no mistake, you can hardly have one without the other!
I’ve written recently about Brother Lawrence. The above notion is one that he understood better than most. But there are two other people who have had a special place of influence on my life, worldview, and praxis who I wish to recognize today – people who always loved well and did the dishes.
Friday was not only Earth Day. It was also Good Friday, the day on which the Christian church recognizes the arrest, torture, and execution of Yeshua, a first century carpenter, teacher, and healer from Nazareth.
Christians also believe him to be:
Priest atoning for the sin of the world by his innocent blood shed on the Roman cross, thereby reconciling the world to God;
King and Lord of all creation, heavens, and Earth;
Prophet fulfilling the Hebraic scriptures, convicting the first century nation of Israel, foretelling his death and resurrection, and representing hope for all creation.
If we trust the historicity of the Christian scriptures, we must recognize that he did indeed sacrifice himself. Regardless the actual implications of this sacrifice, it can hardly be denied that the man walked a path of radical love and responsibility.
There is even a DIY punk group, Wingnut Dishwashers Union, who has written and recorded a song entitled “Jesus Does The Dishes.” It is likely that this band understands Yeshua’s life, teaching, and sacrifice better than many nominal Christians, especially in today's so-called first world.
Was Yeshua a radical? Yes. But not for sake of being a radical. He was only a radical – a revolutionary, even – because he always sought to do God’s will – to love people, keep peace, seek justice, and impose the Kingdom of God on Earth.
I’ve been a disciple of Yeshua since I was a young child and I’m ever inspired by his story, especially the sacrifice made on Good Friday. But as of 2011, Good Friday will ever carry a greater weight still, as my second great inspiration passed on Good Friday, along with her Lord, joining him in the heavenly realms.
Angela Barrios was my grandmother. She was a part of my nuclear family most of my life, staying in an efficiency-like room in our house, keeping close watch over me and my sisters when we were young until my parents would come home from work. She also helped out by taking care of household chores like sweeping and mopping, doing laundry, and of course doing the dishes.
More importantly, however, she prayed for us daily. I caught her once as I was sitting alone in a closet, praying and journaling myself. She prayed for each of my family members by name. She prayed for me. I couldn’t hold back the tears when I realized that she had prayed on my behalf every single day of my God-given life.
She was so devout that I doubt I will meet another individual in this lifetime so committed to prayer, worship, and community.
These are my inspirations, my role-models. If I seem radical to you, please know that I’m only following the footsteps of great men and women such as these that have gone before me. And though they are indeed great, they are also very ordinary. No super powers are needed to love and to do the dishes. Only a heart ready and willing. I only intend to pick up where my predecessors have left off, to live a life of radical love and discipleship in the most ordinary ways and all to the glory of God.
To read part one, CLICK HERE.