March 3, 2024: Holy House-Clearing

Third Sunday in Lent

Holy House-Clearing

There is something very cathartic in pitching things out. I’m not talking about boxing treasures up or giving a few precious items away. I’m talking about the satisfaction one derives when seeing stuff sail into the dumpster. I remember assisting a family member in sorting through years of accumulated possessions in preparation for a major move. We were going through the tedium of deciding what things to keep, donate, or pitch, when I happened upon a random old stuffed toy. I held it up and, as my family member launched into a heartfelt narrative on the sentimental value, the object sailed from my hand right into the dumpster. I smirked with glee as my loved one shrieked. Perhaps this is why the story of Jesus’ clearing out the temple has such appeal to me. I love the decisive action. There were no incremental steps to the purge. He cleared the house pretty quickly!

The Sacred Space—designed to reflect the majesty of God, designed to honor the history of a people favored and anointed by God, designed to be a place to encounter the glory of God—was cluttered with commercial enterprise. This “stuff” was noisy. It’s awfully difficult to pray with all that cooing, mooing, and bleating going on. This stuff encroached on the space needed for worship;  merchants’ tables took precedence. A holy house-clearing was necessary to reclaim the space for its intended purpose.

This sacred season of Lent gives us time to reflect on the things that are most essential to life with God. What are the things cluttering our inner beings? What are the things that need to sail into the dumpster? What are the things that are taking up valuable space? Perhaps we need a “holy house-cleaning.”

Let us make room for the Grace, Mercy, Peace, and Love of God, so that within ourselves we can embody Sacred Space. Amen.

Dawn E. Volpe, pastor
Ephraim Moravian Church, Ephraim, Wisconsin