rev-dr-walter-t-richardson_web.jpg“Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean, scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life. Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Don't look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.  Don't throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!” 
This is Psalm 51:7-12, taken from the contemporary version of the Scriptures called “The Message.” 

This passage was a part of my daily meditation recently, and while reflecting, I remembered that the first round of elections for public service is coming up real soon.

The ads are on the billboards, the stickers are on the bumpers of cars, and media commercials are omnipresent. It seems that there is a nagging tendency of many of these persons seeking office to advertise, not on their own merits and qualifications, but to point out the misdeeds, missteps and blemishes of their opponents.

Then, some of the unsuspecting and uninformed public who will vote will base their selections on who has the most “dirt” on the other, and may forget – except by the grace of God – that each one in some way is a little soiled, either in thought or deed.

Notwithstanding, each of us is qualified to write an editorial page on the condition of our world, and we would doubtless come to the same conclusions: We seem to be suffering from a contagious societal sickness, and we seem to be getting sicker as days progress.

Not all of the symptoms of our disease are financial, or economically based. But it could be successfully argued that many of the problems existing today, whether financial, communal or political ….are the result of human greed and arrogance.

Yes, there is a recession, which of course is economic sickness. There is digression in good manners and sound judgment. There is indiscretion in daily conduct. There is negative expression conveyed through lewdness and vulgarity. There is an obvious obsession with power, prestige and possessions.

There is vocal suppression of the voices that advocate for the dispossessed. There is transgression by the informed who know better. And, yes, there is aggression in politics.

So, there are dirty politics, dirty families, dirty neighborhoods, dirty leaders, dirty congregations, but…we can be clean, again. What we ALL need are new hearts created, new spirits consummated, new assurances experienced, new joy displayed, new ministry envisioned, new worship encouraged, new attitudes developed, and new vision instilled! 

Like David, the author of Psalm 51, there must be a declaration of our own sin and guilt; an exculpation and request for pardon by God; restoration of our joy for service; and continual supplication to God. Then, we can feel clean again!

The Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson is the senior pastor emeritus of the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church, 10701 SW 184th St. in Perrine.  He is also an adjunct professor of religion at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens.