Reading (Colossians 3:12-17)
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I don’t know if it’s something to do with the time of year, or the television programme that mum and I have been watching, but I have been reflecting on the amount of ‘stuff’ that I have. We have now officially entered spring which is traditionally the time of year for a ‘spring clean’ but it’s not so much the need to clean that I feel as the need to sort out, tidy up and clear out belongings that are no longer needed or wanted. As Rob and I live in quite a large house we have plenty of room for storage, so much so that it is usually easy to find a drawer or a cupboard to put things in without having to think too hard about whether we actually need it or if we need to get rid of anything in order to make space for it. It’s not that our house looks untidy, it’s just the amount of stuff that we have that has been bothering me.
So last Saturday I started doing some sorting out. The first thing I tackled was my clothes. I looked at each item of clothing and asked myself some basic questions: When did I last wear it? Will I ever want to wear it again? Does it fit well? Would I buy it again now if I saw it in a shop today? Does it have sentimental value that means I wouldn’t want to part with it? The last question allows my wedding dress to stay hanging up in the spare bedroom even though I’m not planning on wearing it again.
When I finished I had three bags full of clothes ready to go to a charity shop where hopefully they will be able to do more good than they would have done if they had stayed in my wardrobes. I remember someone saying at the beginning of Lent that they knew of people who were going to give away something from their house every day during the forty days and I recall how I thought to myself then that I didn’t think I would have forty things that I wanted to give away. How wrong I was.
Lent is a period of reflection, a time to consider where we are on our journey with God. It’s a good time to consider what we have and what we need while also remembering those who do not have anywhere near what we have and are in great need. While doing a bit of searching on the internet about Lent I came across a prayer written by Caroline Stanton for CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development); it helped to remind me about what was important, what were the qualities that I should be striving to possess. So as we continue through this period of Lent let us do our own personal sorting out, clearing away the things that we do not need in our lives and instead let us, as it states in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, cultivate compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, things that we can never have too much of.
Prayer (Caroline Stanton/CAFOD)
Plant in us, Lord, seeds of solidarity, so that, rejoicing in your gifts, we may cherish your presence in each other and all creation.
Root us, Lord, in compassion and justice. Pour your Spirit down like gentle rain, softening our hearts, washing away division and selfishness.
Cultivate in us, Lord, attentiveness to your call. Give us hope to dream of a better world and strength to play our part to make it a reality.
Grow in us, Lord, your ways of peace and courage, so that in this time of Lent, we may bear witness to your love, revealed to us in Jesus.