Vol 7 No. 6 Cleaning and Gleaning

Dear Folks,


This is a small newsletter on a massive topic, which has personal ramifications for how each of us finish winter and enter spring.  It is been a custom around our home to engage in surges of tidying, organizing and cleaning.  While this has not been limited to a particular season, it is often been linked to the winter hibernation and preparation for spring.  What on earth is the place of a topic like this in a newsletter?

Let me take you back to the second Sunday in January when we were at church at Grandview Calvary, Vancouver, where Emanuel Ndabarushimana was preaching on Simplicity.  I resist this topic.  I feel it is always linked with a considerable dose of guilt, but far, far worse than that, it is rarely linked with practical, clear, achievable goals.  It is often dressed up as sentimentality and a general litany of “oughts”.  From my description thus far, you will know that this is a topic that the Holy Spirit needs to speak to me about.  It is also clearly a topic I have issues about which make me defensive.  Guilty on all counts!

Emmanuel simply and powerfully told us that we do not need all the stuff we have, and that if we search our hearts and homes (by this I interpreted, “clean up our stuff”), we would find a lot we did not need and could give away.  Emmanuel comes from Burundi.  He is a noble, gifted and dignified man who knows of what he speaks.  He is a widower; works 2/3 time and has 2 children.  He lives simply; my own heart and mind knows that from a man with no guile, I have nothing but the prompting of the Holy Spirit to challenge and change my behavior.

Emmanuel asked us to write down on a small piece of paper, (for our own eyes only), something we could do or something that the Spirit had prompted us to commit too.  This is the kind of stuff that usually annoys me -almost as much as when, within church services newcomers are asked to stand- well intentioned, but yet embarrassing, outing their desire to be anonymous in their search for God (I am only partly kidding here).  Because it was Emmanuel I cooperated with little resistance and wrote simply on the piece of paper, recalling the experiences of Ruth and Naomi as they gleaned in the fields of Boaz, “Clean so that others might glean”. (I have resisted the urge to turn this little phrase into a keychain or bumper sticker.  I will allow someone who is reading this newsletter to take something out of that thought!).  But over the next 2 months, I am downsizing much of my stuff.

I am thankful to the Lord that the Spirit used Emmanuel, knowing that I have so many barriers in place to push back against the wonderful, biblical principle of simplicity.  So there it is, a malleable man in the hands of God and a good preacher/potter like Emmanuel are going to turn my winter season into a time of gathering things I don’t need so that others might receive them….Cleaning so that others might glean.

There are several groups that might benefit from assistance in that area: The Salvation Army, The Mustard Seeds in Edmonton, Calgary (http://www.theseed.ca/Ministry-Centres.html) and Victoria (http://mustardseed.ca/), local Mennonite groups, refugee transition places like Kinbrace (http://www.salsburycommunitysociety.ca/meet-our-family/kinbrace.html), women’s shelters…you get the drift.


In Christ,