Being “clean” is necessary to come near to God. This makes being clean a big deal for ancient Israel. There was, after all, a lot that could make them unclean. It may less obvious to us that we need to be clean before God because there is an entirely new way for us to become so. It is in Christ that we are made clean for God’s Presence. A sermon by Steve Swan from the 8th of May, 2016.
Cleanliness is indeed next to godliness.
John Wesley (1703-1791),
1st recorded mention from 1778 sermon
Theology is a “Victorian” enterprise, neo-classically bright and neat and clean, nothing out of place. Whereas the Bible talks about hair, blood, sweat, entrails, menstruation and genital emissions.
Peter J. Leithart, Against Christianity
There was nothing rarefied about the priests’ work. They oversaw rituals intended to manage life’s messiness – but these rituals were steeped in precisely that same messiness. The priests were in intimate contact with human and animal bodies; they conducted their work amid the blood and guts of animal sacrificial animals and the suppurating sores of undiagnosed skin conditions.
Nancy Wiener & Jo Hirschmann, Maps and Meanings
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart…
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
Jesus, John 15:3