Home > Culture > Next to Godliness: Finding the Sacred in Housekeeping

Next to Godliness: Finding the Sacred in Housekeeping

Published by Skylight Paths Publishing
RRP $34.95.
Next to Godliness is an eclectic anthology of contributions from many paths – Buddhist, Hindu, secular, Jewish, Christian – on the place of housekeeping tasks within our spirituality.
Peck divides her book into nine sections, including washing the dishes, laundry, sweeping, housekeeping, and, with a breadth of authors from Louisa May Alcott to Mother Teresa and Homer, reflects on finding the sacred in the present moment.
Washing up is a chore, but the thought ” as the water rinses away the food remnants from a pan, we can allow this act to rinse away the debts of our day to leave no trace,” might evoke an image that has us looking to God to wash us clean at the time we are washing our pots and pans.
Perhaps as we find ourselves doing endless cleaning up, the thought that “by cleaning up and discarding the physical, tangible debris in our lives, we can rid ourselves of some of the negativity that builds up in our spiritual lives and detracts from our satisfaction with ourselves, each other and the universe” may help orient us toward yielding all to God’s own broom sweeping in our lives.
And then, how about the spirituality of toilet cleaning? Louise Rafkin’s story of her ‘holiday’ with Tenko-San’s army of toilet cleaners in Japan spoke of the embracing of the most menial tasks of servanthood with dedication and devotion.
And finally, as we participate in cleaning up our community, Isaacson’s insight “as I untangled countless plastic bags from tree branches, … something changed. It may not have been my trash, but I felt spontaneously arising in myself this prayer “I am sorry. I am sorry that we do this.”
Next to Godliness is easy to read but has a number of insights which serve as prismatic reflections on celebrating the presence of God with us even in the ordinariness of our daily routine.
Reviewed by Lesley Holt