Friday, September 18, 2009

WTF Moment in Bible Study: Fuller

Okay, like most people I don't know what fullers do. Or did. I don't even know if people still full but I got to thinking about fulling because of this verse:
Mark 9:3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

This is the section in the Jesus' life where we hear about the transfiguration. Other than the other theological stuff that goes on in this verse -- symbols of the law and symbols of the prophets-- meeting with Jesus to tell him about his work, the basic idea of this section is that Holy Spirit is so powerful and pure and so substantial that the spirit within a person can actually transform the flesh and the clothes on that flesh.

Because of the ability of spirit to affect so much, we can lay hands on people and on things such as handkercheifs and those things can affect others. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives within us and can transform our own body.

But then I got to thinking of fullers. In my limited mind, I thought of the fuller brush man. Folks who appeared in old-timey literature. So, yeah, I thought it had something to do with clothes.

But then I thought I'd do a search on fullers in the Bible. In the KJV there are five references, including the above. (And the below.)

  1. 2 Kings 18:17
    And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field.
    2 Kings 18:16-18 (in Context) 2 Kings 18 (Whole Chapter)
  2. Isaiah 7:3
    Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field;
    Isaiah 7:2-4 (in Context) Isaiah 7 (Whole Chapter)
  3. Isaiah 36:2
    And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.
    Isaiah 36:1-3 (in Context) Isaiah 36 (Whole Chapter)

So you know that got me thinking about this highway to the fuller's field.
And of course there is this:
  1. Malachi 3:2
    But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
    Malachi 3:1-3 (in Context) Malachi 3 (Whole Chapter)

According to wiki 

Fulling or tucking or walking ("waulking" in Scotland) is a step in woollen clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool) to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker.
The worker who does the job is a fuller, tucker, or walker.

Ah, the purity of heaven! The terror of being cleansed to eliminate our oils and purities to make us thicker...and fuller of the substance of God.

I find myself thinking of the phrase, "made of whole cloth." Whole cloth is a piece of cloth as it is was  first made from the creator's hand. Not one which has gotten scraggly and missing bits because it's been cut up to make other stuff.  Whole cloth has no connections to anything else in this world.  (Just like a lie invented totally out of the blue with no support of foundation.)

But the modern meaning of lies aside, I find that I am not made of whole cloth. Little bits of me are all over the place. Hating this person, loving that person, attached to that or this thing. I would like to be pure cloth again.  Can God restore the old cloth? I doubt it. But perhaps he can make all things new and make me pure from scratch? 

And how does God purify us? As Paul writes, "It is the love of God that calls people to repentance." And it's not a repentance that merely cleans up the old man. It's a repentance and a love that makes me an entirely new person and new species....someone as pure as he is because he has refined me to be like himself.

Clean me up, Lord, by letting me see how loving you are and how sinful I am to doubt that love.
Clean me up, Lord, by letting me see how loving you are and how sinful I am to not love others as you have loved me. Clean me up, Lord, that I might be like you...otherworldly. Amen.
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