Because we had such a harsh winter, I’ve heard folks saying, “I need to get out into my yard and see what survived.” Some things will have to be uprooted and thrown out. New flowers, trees and shrubs will have to be planted.
Flower beds need to be cleaned out. What survived needs to be pruned and fertilized. That way, everything will bloom with new life in the coming months.
Many of our homes could probably use a good spring cleaning as well. We can, without even realizing it, accumulate lots of clutter over the years.
For example, I have an old collection of VHS tapes. I don’t know why I keep them. The tapes are probably dry rotted and the player is getting old too. The movie library could easily be replaced with DVDs.
We have a tendency to hoard things because we think there is a chance we might use them again. Believe it or not, we do that with stuff here at the church too.
I can’t tell you how many dumpsters I’ve filled in my seven years here with stuff that’s outdated, stuff that’s gone bad, stuff that we will never use again.
If we haven’t used something since I’ve been here, it’s unlikely that we will ever use it again.
And while our yards and our homes could use some sprucing up, it would be sad if we stopped there.
Jesus cleanses the temple because, over the years, it had become more of a marketplace and less a place of prayer. This cleansing of the temple is an opportunity to look at our lives during this lent and do some good Spring cleaning.
There are some cobwebs in our hearts and some accumulated clutter that doesn’t belong, some bad habits, some sins, some hurts, some grudges, some prejudices, some selfishness.
If we do a good Spring cleaning, our bad habits can give way to new habits, habits that will help us grow closer to God and one another.
If we do a good Spring cleaning, our sins give way to virtues. We could pick one sin and identify the accompanying virtue. Then we could work on that one virtue this lent. Progress not perfection.
Selfishness gives way to generosity. Pride gives way to humility. Anger gives way to peace. Grudges give way to kindness. Prejudices give way to understanding and acceptance. Hurts give way to healing.
You get the idea? One sin giving way to one virtue.
Let us pledge here and now to undertake a good Spring cleaning of the temples of our hearts. Why? So that Jesus doesn’t have to do this for us. Look at what happened in the temple.