When Monday morning rolls around, we hear in the early morning hours of daylight the distinct sounds of a big truck coming up the mountain and making many stops. It seems to be the highlight of my granddaughter’s day and she has the need to go outside and wave and those hard working folks in the big truck. It is also one of my favorite days as I watch my garbage being hauled away and with very little effort from me! And with weekly trash pickup, our discards have very little time to harbour a lot of stench.
Seems like life is full of refuse or things we no longer have a need for. I have piles and piles of stuff I need to find time to sort through and pitch out the things that are not useful to me anymore. After all, we are a throw away generation of people! Even the words that slip from our tongue have little value and our actions have limitations and are full of deceit. And not to mention that some of the thoughts and words that come from this Christian are much worse than garbage, and rest assured that the stench is not hidden form our Lord.
We hear in the epistle this morning about how we should be “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and chanting in your heart to the Lord. [Eph. 5:18-19] And then I reflect upon my own struggles and failings and missed opportunities to build up Christ’s church, instead of filling it with my rubbish. Our saint, John Climacus gives us these encouraging words: “Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience.”
So how can we transform this “throw away attitude” into a constant reminder that everyone is made in the image of Christ? It takes a regular removal of our stench! It takes a deep longing to love as Christ does! It takes a victory over our pride and self-centeredness to one of love and humility. It takes a deep look inward with frequent confession.
Hear the instructions of St. John: “Humility is the only virtue that no devil can imitate. If pride made demons out of angels, there is no doubt that humility could make angels out of demons.”(St. John Climacus) And with those solid words, I am given courage to continue on, with my day to day waste production and in that one day, I will overcome this sinfulness one small piece at a time. And that one day, many trash heaps from now, I may hear the words of our Savior: “Well done, O good and faithful slave! Over a little thou wast faithful, I will appoint thee over much; enter into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
The big truck of lent is roaring up our mountains, making frequent stops at some of the great Saints of the Church and some of the great sinners. It is time to clean up some things. It is time to take the trash out!! Seize this opportunity and receive absolution for our many failures and then receive the most precious cleansing blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He died so that you may live. Won’t you come?