“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2, NRSV).

I had done everything I could think of to do.

It was a warm, sunny day. My six-year-old self left no parts of the rural countryside undiscovered.I had trampled through the small creek trying to catch frogs. I had successfully jumped over my grandfather’s fence, which was there to keep the goats in the lot, and to keep the grandchildren out of the lot.

I carefully tip-toed bare foot inside the old shed that served as a shelter for Old Billy. I ran through the lot, dodging the piles of little, round pellets the goats had left behind. I attempted to climb up long, stringy moss hanging from the trees.

I skipped through the strawberry patch, picking a few for myself. I got as close as I could to the beehive, without disturbing their work. I climbed high up into the old pine tree next to my grandparents’ home.

As the day came to a close, and the sun begin to drift back to its evening place, I heard my mother’s voice.

She was calling me home.

I ran through the woods, jumping over dead logs, through the mucky piles of leaves, along the dirt path, around the tractor shed, and up to the back door.

(By the way, that was the long way back home.)

As I opened the door, I was instructed not to come into the house. “But, you called me home,” I thought to myself.

It wasn’t just the dirt on my shirt and shorts. It was the dirt on my arms and legs, my hands and bare feet. The dirt ring around my neck. My messy, dirty, and damp hair.

Dinner was put on hold.

I was lifted up into the air, as if we were playing Superman.  But, we were not. I was carried down the hall and into the bathroom. My mother turned the water on and told me to strip off the dirty clothes.

The clothes were quickly taken to the wash and I was quickly put into the warm, bath water. Armed with soap and a sponge, my mother began to scrub me clean. And scrub me. And scrub me.

Once clean, I was welcomed to the table.

Almighty God, thank you for cleansing us of our sinful selves and welcoming us to your table. May we extend the same grace you extend to us to others. Amen.