Monday, April 20, 2015

Sweeping the Parlor in hopes of a Visit

Yesterday my friends Larry & Ellie posted on a part of John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" (a book I've never read, but not for lack of trying), and showed William Blake's illustration of the servant trying to sweep out a long-unused room - a parlor - representing the human heart in need of the Presence of God / enlightenment (I'm loosely paraphrasing).

The sweeping stirs up a lot of dust, so much that poor Christian chokes and presumably can't see a thing, let alone receive a Visitor.

I can't get this image out of my mind:  people (especially of course myself) in need of the Light, the Presence, sweeping and sweeping and choking and choking.

In Bunyan the dust is sin and the sweeping is trying to adhere to the Law.  I gather that Blake wasn't on the same page with Bunyan on many things, but I'm pretty sure he would have agreed that trying to sweep up sin wouldn't likely help a person's spiritual state.

One thing that Quaker Meeting for Worship does for me, is at least let the dust swirling around in my busy-busy mind and heart, to settle and be still and perhaps the divine Visitor might tiptoe in despite my messy ways....

I also pray for the woman with the bowl of water to come and sprinkle me, and the room, of course... but right now I'm just so aware of how I/we stir up the dust...

Saith the LORD God:
I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you....  Ezek 36:25-27a (KJV)

Early Friends were clear that Christians ought not be proud or think they/we are free of sin, for Jesus came to sinners, not the righteous.  So I hold out hope that my dusty Parlor might be graced with a Visit....

Saith Jesus:
They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  Luke 5:31-32 (KJV)

Grace and peace of the Lord to all who read this!

Susan J.


  1. We are always hoping for a visit from you in Florida. Next best thing is a visit from you to our blog.

    Did you notice that coincidentally my post speaks of the broken gates of Enitharmon's heart which provided entry for renewal? The Ezekiel passage you quote, no doubt, informed the image which arose in Blake's imagination.

  2. "the broken gates of Enitharmon's heart which provided entry for renewal"

    Thanks so much, Ellie - no, I didn't catch that - I've been having an absolutely *beastly* time navigating around from blog to blog, figuring out exactly which hoops I have to jump through to find, and to read, and to post... I've been attempting to post this simple reply for well over an hour...

    sometimes I think the internet is specially designed to remind me I'm old and feeble...

    I'm going to try again to post this first, and THEN go look up your post, and more about Enitharmon :-)

    You have a great day!

    Much love,

    Susan J


    Time plays tricks on us. It is hard to return to earlier thoughts and posts. I was mostly thinking of how Enitharmon had to be broken before she was open to love and to be loved.

    We're grateful for each day and the joy that it brings us.


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