When the worship team talked about creating a Lenten “word cloud,”
I thought it would be a simple task. You just enter the appropriate words,
and the program creates a graphic image. So we gathered words that
reflect “stuff” that distracts us and clutters our hearts and homes.
Turns out listing the appropriate words isn’t simple. How does one define
“clutter” or distractions? Many of the words that came to mind aren’t
consistently “clutter.” Clutter depends on your experience. One persons
“junk” is another person’s treasure.
I listed LP records as clutter – but to a vinyl fan, Long Playing records are
a treasure, recreating tones not reflected in a digital recording (not to
mention the valuable cover). Of course 8 track tape players are obviously
an antiquated recording form – but to someone who has a memory rich
library of 8 track tapes, it is essential. Tools, appliances and shoes are
useful – however, unused tools, broken appliances and ’70’s disco shoes
(insert the era of shoe you haven’t worn in last 10 years) crowd our
closets, kitchens and garages.
It was interesting to note that the “cloud” picked up on the repeated
descriptor “unused” as a key element of clutter. So used magazines, mail,
games… are not necessarily distractions. However, unused mail, games
and instruments can gobble up space.
When is a knick-knack clutter and when is it endearing, romantic and
enriching? When does sports equipment stir our aspirations to health or
painfully remind us of another failed attempt to follow through?
Maybe we aren’t trapped by the individual article, but by the cumulative
impact of all the distractions finally intruding on our physical or mental
space and constricting our ability to be quiet, focused and free.
Jesus frequently invites the disciples and prospective followers to set
aside distractions that clutter their awareness and impede their ability
and willingness to follow. Through this season of creating “waiting room,”
may we encourage one another in relinquishing the “clutter” that confines
us, and discover the joy and freedom Jesus brings.