Well, packing lists are being drawn up and plans made for departure. Suddenly we are a fortnight away from our last service at All Saints until June and there are lots of things to do. One of these involves the good people of Thetford.
Now to a geographer that is a village in Norfolk; to an organist it is an obscure hymn tune; but to anyone who has been caravanning it is the name of the company that makes the best cassette toilets.
A bit of education here – there are three ways to deal with…. to use the Guide Dogs delightful toilet euphemism “spending” on a narrowboat. You can have a compost toilet, a tank (which has to be pumped out at a cost) or a cassette toilet (that can be emptied at a wide range of sanitation stations for free).
NB Essence has gone for the last option and the loo has a removable tank that can be carried ashore and dealt with – don’t worry – it really isn’t that bad a job. NB Essence has the smaller tank design and when there are four of us aboard the tanks get filled quite quickly. There are two – but life is a lot easier with three – so as part of the deal of us borrowing NB Essence we bought a third one.
This reminded me of something that happened a few weeks ago. I was emptying my pockets to put my trousers in the wash and took my wooden cross off as well. I was struck by the dog poo bags sat next to the cross. Both ways of dealing with something that is smelly and unpleasant – the dog bag deals with the natural consequences of feeding a dog; the cross deals with the consequences of our sin and greed and shame.
Our recent purchase for the boat was about dealing with “skubalon” (the Greek word for poo used by St Paul in Philippians 3:8 and usually translated as garbage when really it should be a LOT stronger with four letters!!) as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s what the dog bag is for.
And that is what the cross enables us to do. Jesus has won the battle against sin and death, and as his friends and disciples we can deal quickly with the things we do wrong – we don’t have to wait for a suitable “pump out” and pay for the privilege – we can come to Jesus and be set free. On the cross he dealt with the “garbage” of my sin.
So that’s my first image on the journey of finding visual ways to express theology. Poo bags and a cross. God dealing with the **** that my broken self produces and, in forgiving me, making me more a little bit more more like Jesus.
So on this occasion – Theology is ****!!!