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Communion Meditations (2006)

Clearing the Closet

Originally delivered February 5

One of the blessings of winter is that you have time to clear out your closet.  When it gets to the point of needing a crowbar to put your clean shirts away, it’s time for some serious work.

The problem, of course, is that clothing in the closet is not merely tailored cloth.  Many of the items come with some personal, emotional attachment.  See if you recognize these:

· There are the pants whose waistline shrunk in the wash.  It’s outrageous in this day and age that such items are permitted in the stores, but there it is:  too small a waste (well, waist).

· Then, of course, there is the neon orange sweater.  The one Aunt Luvinia gave you.  Your rich Aunt Luvinia, who loves to see you in that sweater, since it’s such a perfect color on you.

· Finally, taking up much too much space is the gold thread embroidered souvenir of your trip to Mexico, the four foot diameter sombrero. 

This is where your attitude matters.  Someday you’ll diet, someday Aunt Luvinia will die, someday you’ll wear that sombrero for Halloween.  Sure.  Let’s adjust our attitude a little here.

· You can complain about the pants or you can use them to bless someone else.  Even in the richest nation in the world, the poor are always with us.  A good pair of pants might be the difference between getting the job and unemployment. 

· That orange sweater?  If you live in tropical Minnesota, that sweater might keep some poor fellow warm. 

· Sometimes you have to admit your fashion mistakes.  Throw the sombrero out. 

The art of examining yourself at Communion bears some resemblance to the cleaning of the closet:

· Waist line?  Don’t blame the Manufacturer.  He is not the creator of your sins.  Be honest with yourself—and with God.  The repentant and contrite heart—one size fits all.

· The sweater?  Do you continue in your sins because you are afraid of offending someone?  Want to be one of the boys?  Decide:  are you going to please God, or are you going to please those whose approval you so much desire?

· The sombrero?  Is there something you retain in your life because you’re too proud to admit it was a mistake in the first place?  Perhaps a family feud; worse, a thorn in the side of your spouse?  Pull the thorn; admit the mistake and ask forgiveness. 

God knows what’s in your closet—and in your heart.  Cleaning the closet is good; cleaning the heart is required.

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