for easter i polished the candlesticks and the plates at the church, which amazed people in how shiny they were and (i hear) prompted someone to ask if we'd gotten new plates.
no, just cleaned the old ones.
i also cleaned up the baptismal bowl, which nobody will notice but me and God, because it's pewter and therefore not all shiny when it's clean, but what was on it couldn't be described under any circumstances as "patina" but instead grotty filth. and pewter's soft, so the finish damages easily and it had acquired some bad scratches.
now when you're working with antique pieces you don't want to clean them up too much because that diminishes the value of them, but this is a contemporary piece and if someone doesn't clean it up and buff out those scratches now, it isn't going to develop a nice finish over time, you know?
the thing is that the "stuff" of the church should be kept beautiful and shiny. the things in and of themselves aren't important, but what we use in services to worship the Lord should be kept beautiful. it is part of our offering. we do not bring second best.
yesterday i took home the candle snuffers. they needed some polishing. they're not perfect, but now that i've taken on the job (and i told myself i wasn't going to do this) i'll just take home some of the pieces every week or so to maintain them and over time the last of the staining will come out and nobody will remember that they ever were nasty-looking.