About a week ago, I wrote about my visit to the dentist (after two years) and how there were great similarities to the spiritual walk in my mind. Well, yesterday I got to go in again. I didn't have a dental emergency, rather the hygentist from last time said she'd like to see me back in a couple of weeks after the swelling in my gums went down so she could finish the cleaning. greaaaat. another day of scraping and bleeding. My favorite. They were booked, so instead of booking the appointment, the office put me on a list to call in case of cancellations. Well, yesterday was the lucky day. I went in and she (a different woman) went right to work. Scraping and cleaning, and then polishing. The whole time I was thinking--dang, this is messed up. I take good care of my teeth, do what I'm supposed to do (I've even started flossing DAILY, a first in my life, since my last visit), and there is still stuff for her to scrape away just a month after my last visit. Man. My last post still fresh in my mind, I also kept thinking about how I might blog about the continued similarities.
So, here it is: like I said before, the scraping is a necessary part of our spiritual health. Even when we are the most faithful of brushers, plaque builds up--similarly, even the most faithful disciples/believers end up with "build up". It just is what it is. Follow the daily regimine just as prescribed and you will still have plaque. There will still be that junk that builds up, and it must be attended to, a professional has to be allowed to look, examine, clean, and scrape.
Spiritually speaking, from a Christian perspective, the ultimate cleaning happens through baptism and then communion. These practices do the scrubbing and the polishing for us--but we too must work to maintain the clean, and if we have gone a long while between "cleanings" then the cleaning/scraping process might just cause a bit of swelling, meaning we won't be able to get it all that first time around. And even as the "plaque" is scraped away, we might bleed a bit--it is not guaranteed to be painless--though it is guaranteed to lead you to better health--but even that is dependent upon your daily care, your eating habits, and sometimes even your overall physical wellness. In other words, none of this happens in a vacuum. The professional cleanings alone can't cut it, nor can your daily habits of hygiene and good health. They must work in concert, and you must attend to both with faithfulness, regularity, and care.