Many people reorganize their closets, offices, or pantries in January, a New Year attempt to reduce chaos and stress and lead a more orderly life. Lent is also a good time for such doings, since reducing distractions is something we're invited to do in Lent.
At home we have had a new closet built to enhance the master bedroom. It is just now being finished so I haven't had the chance yet to install shelves and hanging rods and such. But I'm poised and ready, and that energy has spilled over into the drawers of my kitchen at home, my medicine cabinet and...wait for it, my study at church. Just today I hauled an additional file cabinet out of my basement and into my study. Old Testament sermons already fill the drawers, making the other drawers of sermons much less crowded and usable.
Lives that are less crowded and usable are one of the goals of Christian life. Almsgiving is my topic for the Lenten dinner tonight, so it has occurred to me that clearing out and giving away is part of attaining a less hectic life. There is a quote I considered using in the sermon that applies. It's from Basil the Great, a fourth Century bishop. I'm not using it in the sermon because it has a somewhat shaming effect, an emotion that I don't think inspires, But I share it here for those for whom it might be powerful:
“The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.”
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 43:16-21; John 12:1-8
The Prayer List can be found here.