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“Uncluttering Our Spiritual Lives” – Rev. Sterling

The following appeared in Feb. 2019 edition of “The Bridge”

For the first time in a long while, I thought I had everything figured out. In the final
weeks of December I had set a budget for the New Year, the house was clean and organized, and I’d set some personal goals for myself. After a long and stressful year, I had finally found a sense of peace. Funny how things change in a moment. On December 27th, four days before the beginning of the New Year, I found out we would have to move. We quickly found a new place to live and I can honestly say our new home will be a blessing for us. Things are changing for the better.

Yet, with this change comes a new game plan. The reality is that this move is a best case scenario. We get to stay in our current neighborhood just a few blocks down the street. I’ll still get to walk to work every day and be close by the church in case of emergencies. The greatest blessing is that we are moving locally instead of the normal cross country venture. The only real worry is for our dog Cooper who will have a hard time on daily walks not running up the steps of 413 Western Avenue.The new normal involves nightly packing sessions. I admit this time around I haven’tbeen has organized as in the past. Since the move is a matter of blocks, I’ve found myself throwing things into boxes and laundry baskets with the promise that a sorting process will be put into effect later.

One evening while “sorting through old  T- shirts and gym socks, a friend sent me a link to a new “tidying up method” developed by organize expert Marie Kondo. The process is called the KonMari Method and is featured in her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. In Kondo’s method, it is suggested that we tidy up not by room but by category,
starting with clothes, then books and miscellaneous items and finally making our way to
sentimental items. The challenge is to only keep things that “speak to the heart” and discard the rest by “thanking them for their service and then letting them go”. The ultimate goal is to create a living space that “sparks joy”.

As I learned more about the KonMari method I decided this may be a good commitment
for 2019, not just for my own home but also for the life of the church. Isn’t our goal as Christians to find what sparks joy in our life with God. According to Nehemiah 8:10 “ the joy of the LORD is your strength.” In the KonMarie method there are six basic rules that I feel can be a guide for our congregation as we start a new year:
1. Commit yourself to tiding up. How can we as a congregation take the first steps to
work towards a focused ministry that sparks true joy?
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. What dreams or wishes do you have for the church that
fit within our mission statement for SPC?
3. Finish Discarding first. What must we do to get organized so our ministry can speak
to the heart of our mission and spark joy to the congregation?
4. Tidy up by category. What ways can we reorganize our various ministries to speak to
how God is calling us today?
5. Follow the right order. How do we work together as a church family to build a
ministry for the future by doing the process that is prayerful and speaks to the heart
of the congregation and?
6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy. How do we create moments for reflection and feedback
so we can build a faith community that “sparks joy” for the group as a whole?
I look forward to the rest of 2019 with all its twists and turns and I hope this year’s
journey is meaningful for our all. Remember “the joy of the LORD is our strength”!

Rev. Julie Sterling