United Church of Christ

A Time to De-Clutter

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God. - 1 Peter 2:1-3 (MSG)

My spouse and I are considered “essential workers,” so we are still going to work every day while making sure to wash our hands and wipe down doorknobs and light switches, and changing clothes as soon as we come home. We’ve made our own hand sanitizer since we can’t find any in the stores. We are taking extra care to protect ourselves and making sure we do not cause harm to others.

To be honest, this part has been relatively easy – except for the part where I don’t get to see our family (especially the grandbabies!).

But keeping the weariness out of my voice and pushing aside impatience – this is hard.

Serving those who live on the street and cannot “shelter in place” while keeping anxiety at bay – this is hard.

Checking in with those who feel the most isolated and willing my words to conjure up for them a vision of hope and true feelings of connection – this is hard.

Perhaps this crisis is reminding me that I have to work just as hard to protect myself, from the inside out, so as not to cause harm. I may not be able to use this time to clean house, but I certainly can take time to tend to those places within me that are cluttered with trauma, bitterness, and shame so that joy and love might spring forth unencumbered.

Perhaps I am not the only one.

Prayer
God, I thank you that your Holy Spirit not only moves, but removes with power and grace so that nothing, not even COVID-19, can keep your light from shining and your love from spreading. Amen.

About the Author
Rev. Dr. Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/ella) is a queer womanist freedom fighter gratefully (though not always gracefully) serving as executive director of A Just Harvest, Senior Pastor at San Lucas UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is a joyful contributor to The Words of Her Mouth.

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