Perhaps you’ve noticed a certain lightness, a certain roominess around St. James that didn’t seem present before. Then again, maybe not. Not unless you spend much time prowling around our closets and storage rooms and the like. You know, the places where we put stuff that we don’t really need, and don’t know what to do with, but we hate to get rid of. 

It’s those places – the places that are easy to ignore – that are emptying out lately. That’s due to the diligence of our Tuesday Work Crew, especially Matt and Ginny McColm, who are particularly adept at identifying things long past their expiration date. 

The Crew has been undertaking a systematic assessment of the things we’ve been holding onto in the various nooks and crannies of Saint James and leading us in a general parish purge.

Among the things that have found their way OUT of our building in the past month or so:

30-40 cans of old paint (recycled)

4 shelving systems in the Parish Hall (recycled)

1 old, extremely heavy television (recycled)

an indeterminate number of broken picture frames

several broken kneelers

8-10 uncomfortable metal folding chairs (recycled)

2 metal file cabinets (rehomed)

2 damaged folding tables (recycled)

odd carpet pieces that didn’t match any current carpet

pieces of an old Carnation Days float

non-working light fixtures

used fluorescent tubes

enough scrap wood and metal to fill the dumpster

And they haven’t even started on MY office yet. I know there’s lot of stuff there that we can certainly do without. And I’ll be happier when it’s gone. I don’t think there’s any outright junk in there; there’s just a lot of stuff that belongs to another era, but simply does not reflect who we are now. 

I’m grateful to the Work Crew for taking the lead in this project. I just wish we could be as successful in identifying and tossing out the emotionaland spiritual accretions that build up in our church – and in ourselves as individuals – over time.

I think it’s good to sometimes take a mental inventory of our own beliefs about ourselves and about others, and see if we can identify some old things whose time is past, things that no longer serve us. 

We might discover that we’re clinging to some broken things. Maybe years ago we came to believe X about ourselves, but the truth is we’re now Y, maybe even closer to Z. We’ve moved on. So why is keeping the façade of X important to us? A person can spend a lot of fruitful time pondering questions such as this. There is spiritual gold to be mined in questions like this. 

This may require some rooting around in the deeper recesses of our psyches, which – like the church furnace room – is a place we may shy away from. No telling what’s in there or how messy it is. But if we can shed some useless old mental junk, we may begin to feel lighter, roomier, fresher. 

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve got some tossing out to do.