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Journey Notes for September

 

““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6: 19-21).”

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Faith,

While I was recuperating from my knee surgery, my daughter Gwen came to stay with me for a weekend. I asked her to bring a few things downstairs for me since I couldn’t yet climb the stairs. She was amazed at all the yarn I had accumulated and wondered out loud what she and her sister would do with all the “stuff” if something happened to me. I realized it wasn’t just yarn, but other items that I had collected. It’s hard sometimes to let things go, but her comment got me thinking about everything that I hold on to. So I’ve decided it’s time to do some downsizing, and I started by pulling some things together for our church yard sale. (Thank you, Barb Kiessling, for all you did to make this possible.) As I brought my items to the Celebration Center, it was my prayer that someone else could benefit from my possessions that I no longer needed or found useful.

I’ve been continuing this process. I recently counted skirts hanging in my closet and discovered that I owned 30 skirts spanning 30 years and every season, some of which I hadn’t worn in the last seven years and some that would probably never fit me again. I have cut that number in half, and I plan to do that with other items hanging in my closet. And then I’ll start to weed out my books …. it will be harder to part with those. These are cherished treasures, but truth be told they are dated, and I will probably never read most of them a second time.

All of this is to say that we all probably have too much and probably could work at doing some housecleaning. And it isn’t just material objects that we hang on to. We hang on to old concepts and old practices, reluctant to let them go. We hold on to outdated expectations about ministry and how best to be the church today, in a changing community and culture. We cling tightly to these, leaving little room for new ideas, new approaches, new opportunities. We need to take a close look at these “treasures” and see if they still fit today, if they are still of any use to us. We might need to clean out some of these to make room for the Spirit to bring us fresh insights and renewed interpretations. There won’t be much room for revival if our lives are cluttered with outdated understandings. It might be time to make space for the new thing that God longs to do in our midst.

Truth be told, it’s harder to get rid of these than it is to clean out a closet, but God longs to do a new thing in our lives, as individuals and as a community. Can we make some space in our hearts and minds for something new? Watch for some new ministry opportunities coming this fall as we develop a discipleship path for our congregation and community! Listen for all the new adventures that might be coming our way! Make room for something new this fall!

Blessings on the journey,
Pastor Arlene