A church made of dust

After each service, I sweep up the dirt, specks of plastic, and tendrils of hair.

We are a tenant church. Renting a space for worship is a way of life deep in our bones. Cleaning up is written into our contract, one of the tasks that comes with low rent for a few hours each Sunday in an Episcopal church’s fellowship hall. It is a small job, too minute, I’ve concluded, to trouble a volunteer.

My role as occasional sexton doesn’t carry the majesty of its Latin—“custodian of sacred objects.” I do not dig graves like my medieval counterparts. In truth, I find nothing especially spiritual about the work.

Instead, running a towel across the blinds and checking the bathrooms for paper towels is humbling. Whatever hearty proclamation I make from the pulpit, however our hearts are rent by soaring hymns, our skin turns to dust that accumulates in cracks and corners. We create waste. Someone must clean it up.