Monday, March 10, 2014

Cleaning the House for Lent



Every so often the house needs to be cleaned from top to bottom. We’re not just talking about a mere tidying up but the major deep down sort of cleaning, from floor to the ceiling. Floor needs to be swept, windows sprayed and wiped, cob webs identified and eliminated. Old newspapers, magazines, and in our case lots of toys need to be picked up, sorted, and put away in the proper place. Most importantly junk that has gotten in the way needs to be bagged up and taken out to the trash.

The holy season of lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday is a lot like a 40 day house cleaning. Let’s face the facts - our lives are messy and things have piled up in such a way that Bible reading, prayer, and devotion to Christ have been nearly covered up or perhaps even disappeared by all the clutter.

This Lenten season, this entire month, is a time for “taking out the trash” that disrupts and clutters your spiritual life. Clear out the garbage of the sins that trouble you by the forgiving and cleansing Absolution of Christ. If prayer is not an everyday habit then make it into one. Sweep your heart clean of any idols that are preventing you from being present in weekly worship to hear and receive the gifts of the Risen Christ.   

On Ash Wednesday we will trace the sign of the cross upon our foreheads and say “From dust you came and to dust you shall return!” C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity that “the clergy (pastors) are those particular people within the whole Church who have been specially trained and set aside to look after what concerns us as creatures who are going to live forever.”  The eternal realities of heaven and hell hang in the balance and the unholy trinity: the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh are at constant war against faith in Christ. During Jesus 40 days in the wilderness he was tempted by Satan and destroyed his power by throwing the Words and Promises of God right back in his face.

During Lent we too stare down Satan and throw the promises of God in his face. God loves sinners.  We remember Jesus suffering and passion. We remember His death for us.  We eat His holy body and life-giving blood. We remember our baptism. We clean house by letting Jesus exorcise our demons, take out our trash, and rightly order our lives toward repentance, faith, and holy living in the Gospel and blood-bought forgiveness of sins.       

Actions Steps for Lent
Make time to attend church every Sunday.

Be present for Midweek Divine Services, as well as the meal and fellowship which precede the service.

Attend one of pastor’s weekly Bible classes.

Take home your Let us Pray bulletin insert (inside bulletin) to guide you in Scripture reading and prayer for those in need of healing.

Portals of Prayer is a daily devotional tool available in narthex to take home.

Consider making use of Individual Confession & Absolution – available Saturdays in Lent from 6:55am-8am.  (What is Confession & Absolution? See Luther’s Small Catechism or open your hymnal to LSB 290).

Pray the Our Father before or after your evening meal.

Dust off your Small Catechism and put it on your bedside table. Refresh yourself!       

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