I’ve come to the point in my language study where I can kind-of-sort-of follow along with what is going on in a Nepali church service. My strategy is to find the passage they are reading in the Bible, catch what words I can understand from the minister and piece together my own version of whatever the sermon might have been. It isn’t too unlike what I used to do as a kid in church anyway, just this time in a different language.
This past week I was doing my best to follow along and I thought I heard the speaker compared the season of Lent to spring cleaning! I know she was talking about Lent, and I know she was talking about house cleaning, but that was about all I got. Just the suggestion however, was enough to send the film reel in my mind clicking away, and for the rest of the sermon I was lost in mental imagery of spring cleaning my inner house.
I picture myself a 1950’s housewife with a feather duster and a frilly apron in the attic of my own mind. I begin to clean and find a bunch of ‘bad attitude’ dresses that I insist on wearing though ugly and out of fashion and I decide to toss the whole bunch. There is another whole box of ‘bitter at my husband’ that I definitly don’t need, so that can go too. There are old and worn out ‘complaints about my children’ that I use far too often, when I have so many constructive things to say to and about them just sitting on a shelf un-used. I dust off the constructive things and chuck the complaints. In a back corner carefully hidden away is a, bigger than it should be, vase of ‘people I need to forgive’ with years of dust all over it. I’ve always known it was there, but I’ve just never liked looking at it. I will toss it, with all the other things, in God’s dumpster with the assurance that they are gone for good. Lugging out all my inner junk is a bit embarrassing, and challenging and quite filthy, but I’m looking forward to my inner house being clean and aired out and scrubbed up for celebrating Easter in Nepal.
I came out of my little imagination trip just as the service was wrapping up. I think whole metaphor felt a bit more true to me as we have so recently gone through all our possessions (and blogged about it) and figured out what we ‘needed’ and didn’t need as we moved to Nepal. Lent as a spiritual spring cleaning just seemed to make sense, and gave me some motivation to dust out my inner life as well, to prepare for celebrating Jesus’ great clean-up. So that is probably not a scripturally or historically accurate way to practice Lent and I’m guessing those who are learned of the faith would be able to guide you in the true practice of Lent. I’m also pretty sure that spiritual spring cleaning was probably not what the speaker meant, but with a little imagination and a little Nepali I felt pretty blessed leaving the service that day.