Time To Clean Out

Earlier this month, Paul Willis, a hog farmer in Iowa, received a post card from his sister, Annie. She mailed it 33 years ago while visiting the Grand Canyon. That’s why they call it ‘snail mail’.

The card had a postmark from December of 1987 and a second postmark from April 29 of this year. Paul called the Post Office in Des Moines for an explanation. The postal staff said it was probably due to COVID 19. During this pandemic, there’s been a lot of deep cleaning going on. Machines and furniture are being moved around, areas cleaned out and sprayed with disinfectants. So the best guess is that the post card fell behind a machine and rested there for 33 years until it was found thanks to health and safety requirements. Paul is now looking into what happened to one of his socks, last seen in the dryer in 2004.

There seem to be few upsides to this pandemic, but perhaps a deep clean is one of them. I’m talking about cleaning out the junk that gets caught in our spirit. Is there a grudge you’ve been holding onto for a few years? It’s time to get rid of it. It’s just taking up space. Were you offended by someone years ago and can’t let that go? It gets tiring to carry that around. Is there something – a sin perhaps – that you’ve never confessed but would love to be free of the guilt? Maybe you have been carrying around grief for far too many years and it only seems to get bigger.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul is trying to restore his relationship with that church. There had been a lot of rumors flying around and Paul wanted to clear things up. In chapter 7, he writes, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one.” (2 Corinthians 7:1-2)

The Apostle was making the point that as long as they held onto their perceived slights, or even their real ones, they couldn’t enter into a healthy relationship with others. As long we hold onto those old reminders, we don’t have room in our hearts for the people around us – the people we are called to love. Part of spring cleaning this year will require us to go a little deeper and let God’s spirit disinfect ours.