Spring Cleaning for Jesus
As we journey through Lent and towards the spring season, we often begin to see new life and new energy all around us. As we look all around us we also see all that has been left behind from a harsh, cold winter. All the dirt and gravel from the road plows, all the trash that has blown around and frozen to the ground, old leaves that didn’t seem to make their way into the fall clean-up pile; maybe our homes became a little more cluttered, and the kids rooms a little messier.
We’ve been in close proximity to one another and we probably haven’t been as active outdoors as we are at other times of the year. We look towards the day when we can get back to our outdoor routines and get the kids out and active again. We can’t wait until we can open the windows, and hear the birds singing and the squirrels playing, and feel the warmth of the afternoon sun. We look forward to putting away winter boots and hats and mittens.
But what about our hearts as we go into this season of Lent, new life and new energy? We think about spring cleaning our homes and garages and the kids rooms, but have you ever considered a sort of spring cleaning of your heart, mind, body and soul? During Lent we often think of fasting, many in the traditional sense, but for me, I know the thought of fasting from food is very difficult because of certain medications, health concerns and insulin regimens I am on. So, often times I discount fasting during Lent and chalk it up to being an impossibility even though the desire is there.
What if we could look at fasting during Lent in a different way and as a way of cleaning out some of the old dirt, ugliness, hurts and ill wishes and, instead, bring in some new life, energy, cleanliness and purity of heart, forgiveness, trust, and joy? What if we handed it all over to God during this time and replaced all that we have stored up with God-filled thoughts and desires? Join me in reading a new approach to Lent this season, if you are unable to fast in the traditional sense, but wish to fast from some of the other ills in our life that hold us back from a loving relationship with God. May these things bring us to a closer relationship with God this season!
O Lord, be with me as I enter into the desert of Lent. Please give me the courage, honesty and humility needed to recognize my own sins; and the strength, tears and firm resolve to ‘clean out’ my heart and overcome them. Purify my heart O Lord and renew a steadfast spirit within me. May I turn away from sin, ugliness and untruth and be faithful to the Gospel. May I remember throughout these 40 days that every little thing that I give up or clean out for love of You can become a spiritual gift for the good of others. Lord, may my mind, body, soul and spirit stay trained on you!
Jana is the Congregational Care Coordinator at First Presbyterian Church of Sioux Falls. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.