This devotion is the written accompaniment to a video Lenten message that can be viewed on our YouTube Channel by clicking HERE.
Hello everyone and a blessed Lenten Season to all of you.
The Scripture today is 1 Corinthians 3:16. Listen, Listen, Listen for a word from God.
16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
Working from home all these many months has been a mixed blessing. I get to be close by to all the things I might need during the day. Since my kids are doing school online, I get a chance to help them with their homework and see them throughout the day. But there’s a downside too. I’ve found that my “office” is slowly spreading throughout the house. Mail on this end table. Computer in the corner. Mics and tri-pod in the spare room. A pair of headphones here and another one there. In other words, my work life is spilling out all over the house. For many of us, personal life and work life are colliding in challenging and messy ways. Part of this is a natural outflow of this time we are living in...part of it is my need for more organization...but in either case, I’m realizing that cluttered spaces--for me--are much harder to work and concentrate in.
As I read our passage today, I wondered what kind of feeling God has dwelling inside of me. Is there a lot of space for God to spread out and do God’s thing. Lots of room for God to work as I live and move and have my being in the world. Or is God finding a lot of clutter in there? Is God finding idols in the cushions. A little bit of slothfulness here, a little of consumerism there? Am I crowding God out with all the other STUFF I’m focusing on in my life? Paul asks, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” If I really believe that’s true...what would change? How would I clean up? Rearrange the furniture? What would be different about that space inside of me that is supposed to be reserved for God?
To close, I want to share with you a part of a beautiful prayer written by Arianne Braithwaite Lehn from her wonderful book “Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Chaos and Grace of Daily Life.” I highly recommend it to you.
When I want to numb, avoid, and block
Patient, gentle God,
There are many ways to swallow the echoes of hollowness…
Fill the house with unneeded stuff,
Fill the wallet with money,
Fill the garages with spares of this and that,
Fill the belly with more and more food
Fill the mind with whatever distractions can be found,
Fill the time with busyness…
Give me the courage, God, to clear this clutter!
To see in this empty space a sacredness, a needed gift, a place you will come and get to work...Amen.
Lehn, Arianne Braithwaite. Ash and Starlight:
Prayers for the Chaos and Grace of Daily Life (p. 28). Chalice Press.
Rev. Chad Delaney
Mantua Center Christian Church