This is Pastor Tim’s article which will appear in The Evening Leader on Monday, March 2, 2020
Over the past few weeks, my staff and I at Wayne Street have been living a nightmare – the nightmare of renovations. Fresh coats of paint, new carpet, and we are repurposing one of the rooms into a lounge area. That has meant that we had to move some offices around. This has been a process of picking colors, taking bids for painting and carpet, and many other negotiations. As I write this article, we are in that awful halfway moment where everything is too destroyed to make sense but not completed enough to have a clear vision of what the finished product will look like. This is the part of the project where you inevitably ask, “Was this worth it?”
In the process of moving offices and furniture, there has been a lot of consideration of what we want to do with what we have. There has been lots of throwing away of old things and a lot of new stuff brought in. The only way this could happen is if we took time to really consider the old furniture.
In order for this metamorphosis to take place, we needed to create space for that to happen. Walls needed to be cleared off and rooms needed to be emptied because the carpet guys and Crystal Dove needed room to move her ladder around to remove wallpaper and to paint. Over these past few weeks, we have collectively learned the value of space and how necessary it is for growth to happen.
This has me thinking about what season we are in, the season of Lent. Many of you have taken on Lenten Disciplines to observe between now and Easter. The purpose for observing those disciplines is so that you can create some space for God to work in your life. God can only do that if the space is provided. These days of Lent can be a time for us to see what life could look like with a little distance between some of our usual practices. The lesson we all have learned here in the office at Wayne Street is how much more stuff you have than you realize. That realization would never have been possible without us having to move it all. Lent is your chance to clean it out and see what is there. God wants to help you through that process but if your life is filled to the brim on all sides, then there is no space for you to even see what is there. It is just like looking at a forest – it is hard to see an individual tree.
Your life is very full and you should be thankful it is. What Lent gives you a chance to do is move things around by changing your routines and regular practices. It is an intentional disruption to your life to give you the chance to evaluate what you have. It is highly possible that there are some hurts, pains or regrets that God no longer desires you to carry around. If God was given some space in your life to work with you, He might have a grace-filled message to give you about that burden you carry. You might have some memories and regrets that need to find their way to the dumpster so you can be relieved of them.
We are now on a journey toward the Cross, an instrument of torture and death. Jesus died on that cross so He could take the burden and shame of your life away and fill that space with grace. The problem is that we often have so much stuff wedged so tightly in our lives that there is no room for God’s words of grace and mercy to flow through our hearts and our souls. That means the poison and sickness that those burdens produce is festering in our lives because it has no place to go. Lent is a way to remove a few small pieces of your life so that God can have space to work on some of the bigger issues.
It goes without saying that Wayne Street would love to welcome you to join us for worship any Sunday. You would be just as welcome with us as you would be in any of the many great churches we have in this community. We hope that you will join a congregation for the Lenten Season as we work hard to make space for Jesus in our lives.
Come prepared to be amazed at what Jesus can do if we will give Him a little space in our lives.