Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” -Matthew 15:10-11
You know, the Keurig is a fascinating machine. Turn it on. Find your little pod. Tuck it in, close the lid, and then let the gurgling begin. It was during the gurgling that I got to thinking, I wonder what is being stirred up in that thing. The water that I put in was clean, but what about what’s coming out? It was then, after a closer examination, that I saw the “descaling” function. I might actually try that next year, if I get around to it.
In the meantime, I’ll do a little thinking about the quality and content of our spiritual lives. Many of us worship regularly, study scripture, and take time to pray with devotional material. In other words, we’ve got lots of wonderful, meaningful, substantive stuff filling our time.
But the stuff that’s already rumbling around in our hearts, minds, and spirits can affect how receptive we are to most inspiring times of worship and prayer. And, our anger, frustration, resentment, and fatigue can also shape our capacity for compassion, our ability to be genuinely generous, and the overall quality of our ministry (or lives of discipleship).
Truth is, while it’s not always easy or convenient, we all need a little spiritual “descaling” from time to time. It is imperative that we engage in prayerful conversation with someone we trust, and during that conversation dredge up some of the more difficult stuff that we have been carrying around. And then, perhaps we can dispose of all that residual negativity properly.
Sometimes this intense personal sharing might seem selfish, but bear in mind… taking the time to truly unburden your heart and mind means that those you love are seeing the best of who you are. And remember as Jesus rightly said… it’s not so much what is going in that we need to be concerned about, but what is coming out.
Question for reflection: Do you have a trusted person in your life with whom you can do some “spiritual descaling?”
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, may the power of your grace be truly transformative. Free us from all the resentment, guilt, and shame that might keep us from loving and serving you fully. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.