I suspect that you have heard of Marie Kondo and the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, right? She is a wildly popular professional organizer. She has a book and a TV series. No doubt you know her tagline; “does it spark joy, if not get rid of it.” She does a lot to decrease the unwanted clutter. Kondo helps her devotees discover the joy of giving away items that others may find useful. Her fans find time that has previously been spent on caring or maintaining clutter.
I have found her wisdom useful when paring down my own distracting clutter and determining what is valuable, not always in the monetary sense, but how I gain time because I am not cleaning and protecting stuff that fails to give joy. The gist of her message is applicable for the upcoming Lenten season.
In two weeks, we will gather for Ash Wednesday. During worship we will be invited into a solemn season of fasting and reflection. Marie Kondo’s leading question “does it bring joy” and subsequent investigation into what is valued might be worthy place to begin a Lenten reflection.
Our lives are full of things that bring joy, but some are placeholders or distractions that separate us from God. Do we maintain old habits or follow dogma because it is comfortable? What thoughts, words, or deeds need to be discontinued because it does not spark joy or resemble discipleship in Christ?
I’ve been thinking about these questions following a workshop on developing culturally sensitive leaders in the church. I became keenly aware of my own blind spots and the structures that reinforce my advantage every day. This does not bring me joy. With this new awareness, I am compelled to work on my blind spots and act differently. One of which is to focus on the treasures to be found in relationships with others.
In first and second Corinthians Paul writes about the community that has many treasures. He reminds them that they are made in the image of God and empowered by God. He assures them with his tender words, reconciliation is possible and entreats them to be “ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through them.” (2 Cor. 5: 20)
I invite you to think about what separates you from God and other people. What thoughts, words, or deeds do not bring joy and what can you do to find the treasures in others as well as in God.