A reading for this final week of Lent from the inside cover of a “Lenten Eucharist” bulletin recently found in Holden’s “Worship Turnover Files,” from 1999.
It’s late winter, and cabin fever is raging. The valley seems small, the mountains high, the snow deep, and everything, everything is white… We think, with Jane Kenyon, “one small green budding thing could save us.”
Then, one day, the air is milder, the sun breaks through, a bird sits on our porch swing and it looks like we might break free after all. We can imagine a day when it is warm enough to open a window. The day when the storm windows will be removed, the winter window boards taken down. The warm day is a gift and we watch as one by one members of the community… soak in the sun’s slanting rays.
Coming back into our home, standing on the threshold we notice a stale odor indoors. The windows are spattered, the shower curtain needs to be washed, rugs could use a good shaking, and blankets some airing. Months of snow tracked in by Sorels have left their mark. It’s time for spring cleaning. It is time to make ready for all that is new and full of the promise of life.
Lent is the church’s season for spring cleaning, washing, shaking, airing, picking up, throwing out, letting go of winter’s clutter, the soul’s accumulation of stuff that gets in the way of receiving and sharing love, the habits of the heart and patterns of the community that separate us from the abundant life God pours out upon us. Lent breaks open our wintry worlds and shakes up our wintry ways to prepare us for the springing of new life: our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.