Advent Week 3: Joy
Mark 10:23-27, NRSV
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’
To so many of us, who have so much stuff, this scripture may not sound like good news. This may be especially true as we approach the Christmas season, and once again try to think of things to give to people who often have few material needs! In a world where storage units are a growth industry, we realize how jarring Jesus can be! But what if, we heard these words as Good News!? What if, we heard these words as a call to let go of the stuff that is weighing us down!? For me, more and more the word, “Salvation” sounds like “Freedom!” What if, this scripture is Jesus calling us to let go of all of the baggage that we are carrying!? What if, our calling made clear, what we need to take with us!? Our stuff and our baggage can be material and emotional. More and more for me, taking hold of God means letting go of stuff and of baggage, in order to take hold of God. In this Advent season, as we prepare for Christ’s coming, what does it mean to make room for him to come more fully into our lives!? What does it look like for me to do some deep cleaning!?
Prayer: God, with you all things are possible! Send your Spirit to do some deep cleaning in me! Empty my hands of those things that get in the way of serving you! Clean my heart of all resentment and unforgiveness that prevents me from showing your love to others! Set me free from all that binds me and holds me back from being the person that you created me to be! Amen!
Action: Clean house! What do you have that you have not used in the last five years!? Call the Habitat Restore, they pick up! Take those clothes to Good Will! Make a list of people you need to forgive! And remember to put yourself on the list!
Frank Dew is founding pastor of New Creation Community Church and Chaplain of Greensboro Urban Ministry in Greensboro, NC.