The clearing out of my spaces for Lent continues, and as it does, the realization that moth and rust have corrupted some things, dirt and grime have filtered in elsewhere, and some things need to go immediately to the washing machine, becomes irrefutable. Clearing out means tackling the dirt.
It amazes me, (not amuses me), how dust accumulates, pieces get broken and fall off far from their objects of origin, and somethings seem to just decay of their own volition. They not only are tarnished; they tarnish the space they are in. So bring in the spray cleaner, the rags, the bags for trash. In go the spare wheels of the toy belonging to a child who is now in his 40s. And elbows, grease, with tools in hand, attack the vacated place on the shelf or the bottom of the drawer. It’s time to clean.
The prayers and rites of Lent have much to say about cleansing: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51: 10. So beginning with Ash Wednesday we focus inwardly on the ways we have separated ourselves from the Holy One and other people: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison. But I am a child of Grace, I say. Why do I need to go rooting around in the cellars of past sins of commission and omission to remember things done and undone? I believe I am a one who is forgiven by God, free to live in the Light, not to turn back into un-Light. In this Lenten practice I am seeing that my clearing of spaces is my work cooperating with that Grace. In Lent especially, my attention to the state of my heart–clean or unclean–is a way of letting Grace grow and bloom in me.
The good news of the One we follow tells us to “repent,” which is to turn around and get rid of those stains and spots. In my clearing and cleaning I am making space for clearer and stronger vision of the Jesus way, which gives me strength and joy to do the following of Jesus. And, it is to presume in love on the never failing Grace of the Holy One:
Let the healing streams abound, make and keep me pure within. (Wesley)