Time to rid yourself of the clutter

By Pat Wettstein | March 19, 2015

Create a clean heart in me, O God! The responsorial psalm for this week could not be more explicit. Shape up, rid yourself of the dust and grime of your sins. But then there is the supplication — cast me not from your presence — give me the joy of your salvation. Powerful stuff indeed. I cannot help but look around my house and hear my floors and cupboards screaming at me as well — clean me, get rid of the dirt and grime of your daily living! I remember growing up when every spring and fall, my mother brought out the buckets and rags and got all nine of us kids scrubbing the house clean from top to bottom. Everything sparkled and we could again feel good about unexpected guests.
I don’t know about you, but there is a certain peacefulness that comes over me when I enter a room that is in order and clean, where the chair is meant to be sat in and not a storage shelf for last week’s papers.

Does your church have a cleaning brigade? That is something I also remember growing up with the awareness of my parish being divided up alphabetically and those whose last names started within a certain range of the alphabet were in charge of cleaning the pews, floors, entrance … for that time-period.

There is nothing like having a welcoming entrance to the place that is reserved for worship — the place that is set aside each week to hear the affirming word. While having baskets and boxes available for donations to those who have less is a desired asset, can it be done in a way that beckons one to generously donate? I know that when I have things that clutter my life, my surroundings also seem to resemble that. If our church entrances are not as inviting as they could be then what does that say to those unexpected guests at our door? As members of the body of Christ it is our responsibility to declutter those spaces if only as a means to allow our own lives to do so likewise.

Easter is just two weeks away and now is the time to freshen up those weary steps and gathering areas of the sand, gravel and slush of winter. Now is the time to clean those cabinets, chairs, benches and book racks. How about those pews and kneelers; are they in need of attention? And let us not forget the sanctuary.

Help me to create a clean space for you, O God, so that I can also have you help me create a clean heart.

Wettstein is a volunteer choir director and former director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.

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