Well, February couldn’t decide whether to be Spring or Winter. So maybe March will be our “one month of Spring.” For those who might be new to Texas, we get three months of Winter, one each of Spring and Fall, and seven of Summer. When we moved from Montana to Houston, I’d tell everyone I’d go back in a heart-beat. Didn’t take long to decide I like Texas winters better (even if some years, I have to mow grass all year long) and in March I prefer bluebonnets to eight feet of snow.
Actually, it wasn’t the nice weather that got me to thinking about Spring Cleaning. It was a crazy dream I had last night. I don’t know what brought it on – no late night pizza or Double Stuff Oreos – but a crazy dream nonetheless. One of those that make no sense, but in this one I was fussing and literally cussing, yelling at dispatchers who weren’t actually dispatchers, trying to get fire departments to respond. Rather upset me and set me to praying even though I was still more asleep than awake.
Yeah, you probably guessed that when I say “Spring Cleaning” I’m not talking about opening windows and shaking rugs. (The Chaplain should do a little preaching sometimes, shouldn’t he?) What I’ve got in mind is some internal, mental/emotional, “spring cleaning” that we all need to do from time to time. Umm…I think it involves that word a lot of folks don’t like to hear: repenting.
Let me direct your attention over to the New Testament book of 1st John. Chapter 1, verses 5 through 9 in particular. The Apostle John, in this passage, is encouraging us to do some evaluation and spring cleaning.
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This goes right along with David’s writing in Psalm 51:
1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions …
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation…
In this profession of ours we deal day-in and day-out with the immoral, the profane, the unwashed, the ungodly, far more frequently than with “church-goin’ folks” – and it takes its toll on us bit by bit. We find ourselves getting short-tempered and “Oops, Momma woulda washed my mouth out with soap.” (My Dad did that to me – once – I was a quick learner.) We can find ourselves with less and less desire to make it to church on our days off. Our Bible starts collecting dust.
I was just rereading that last line and I thought of my patrol car. I can wash it and vacuum the inside and after a couple of weeks of parking under a tree and driving down unpaved roads, I find the dash covered in dust, bug splatters hardened on the windshield, dust and a layer of green pollen covering everything between the bumpers. I didn’t start off to have the car look like that. I wasn’t aware of when the dust seeped in, but there it is and it has to be dealt with – just another illustration of what happens in our lives without our planning or realizing.
Yes. We need to do some “Spring Cleaning” sometimes, and since Easter is coming up at the end of the month, now’s as good a time as any. <smile> OK, as is often my custom, let me leave you with the words to one of my favorite gospel songs titled “The Old Account.”
1. There was a time on Earth
When in the book of Heaven
An old account was standing
For sins yet unforgiven
My name was at the top
And many things below
But I went to the Keeper
And settled long ago
Long ago (down on my knees)
Long ago (I settled it all)
Yes the old account was settled long ago (hallelujah)
And the record’s clear today
For He washed my sins away
When the old account was settled long ago
2. The old account was large
And larger every day
For I was always sinning
And never tried to pay
But when I looked ahead
And saw such pain and woe
I said that I would settle
And settle long ago
3. When at the judgment bar
I stand before my King
And here, the book will open
And cannot find a thing
Then my heart will be glad
While tears of joy will flow
Because I had it settled
And settled long ago
4. O sinner, seek the Lord
Repent of all your sin
For thus He has commanded
If you would enter in
And then if you should live
A hundred years below
Up there, you’ll not regret it
For you settled long ago
Hey, thanks for riding along again. I hope we all survive the crazy Spring Breakers. Blessings to you and yours.Chaplain Bill firstname.lastname@example.org