My husband’s grandmother was an orthodox Jew and every year right before the celebration of Passover it was her custom to do a thorough cleaning of their house. They had to change out all the dishes, reline all the cabinets, throw away or give away all of the food in their home in preparation for the holiday that way there was nothing but Kosher for Passover foods in their home. In our lives, we too go through periods when we purge ourselves of all the extras around us, all the useless junk that we tend to save up for no good reason.
I have never been much of a saver of stuff and neither is my mother. Twice a year, I like to go through old clothes and things to clear out the stuff that is not necessary in my life. There is something cathartic about giving away all the stuff we don’t need or use, something freeing. I always feel like there is a huge weight lifted from my shoulders when I am able to clear things out. There are various times in our lives when we feel particularly compelled to do this. Usually these are major life changes, the death of a loved one, the change of career, children leaving the nest, etc. Once and awhile we need a change of perspective in order to handle the changes in our lives and in our world.
Sometimes we need change in order to see and feel God in our lives in a fresh new way. Change challenges us and stretches our understanding of God and how we are called to be in the world. Change a couple of times a year isn’t just about cleaning out some over burdened closets or some old food from our refrigerators. It is about freeing up our consciousness to the movement of the Spirit. It is a necessary part of the faith experience. This is why we see Jesus speaking about it in our scriptures for this morning.
These passages challenge most people because of how vehemently Jesus comes out against those who seek to attain wealth and those who have wealth. Ernesto Tinajero wrote, “If you read the Bible and it does not challenge you, then you are reading yourself and not the Bible”. Jesus’ teachings were meant to make his followers uncomfortable, they are meant to make us squirm in our seats and yes to feel a little inadequate. They are meant to teach us about the grace of God because no human being is truly capable of achieving the perfection needed to enter the kingdom of God. But that doesn’t mean that God is not welcoming us into his kingdom, it is just that we come into his presence purely through his love for us.
In the meantime, we seek to make our experience of the holy more profound. We are being challenged to take ourselves out of our comfort zones in life in order to obtain a truly enlightening experience of God. It allows for us to notice the world a new. We will notice and care for things that we never did before when we seek to rid ourselves of some of life’s clutter. Jesus spoke about the wealthy not being able to enter the kingdom of God saying that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. This passage is not what it seems on the surface. The eye of a needle was a reference to a small door located in the wall of a city. It was located often right next to the rear city gate. This was the door that was to be used at night when the city was locked up tight for the evening.
This door was very small and really only big enough for the average sized person of the time to enter. A camel could only enter unburdened and on its knees. When we are overburden in this world, when our focus becomes dulled by all the over accumulation of stuff whether emotional or physical stuff, we come to the gates of God’s spiritual kingdom and we don’t see that small entrance we are called to enter through because we are so focused on that large locked gate.
We are called to unburden our lives of emotional, spiritual, and physical clutter, anything that gets in the way of us seeing and experiencing the call of God in our lives. The way we connect with God, with all that is holy, is dependent on our ability to experience God fully and wholly without interference from the meaningless stuff we sometimes cling too tightly to. Remember the words of our scriptures and how the disciples asked, “Then who can be saved?” and Jesus answered them “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible”. We are called to free up our attention to commune more freely with God knowing that we will not be perfect, we will always have those things that distract us and in the end it will be because of God’s grace that we find that salvation, that communion.
So go forth this week and look for all that hinders you from experiencing the power of God in your lives, and seek to rid yourself of that clutter asking for God’s strength and assistance as you do, knowing that this will be how you see God at work in your lives and in the world around you. This is our challenge throughout life; use this as an opportunity to open up your perspective, to open you minds to the new and powerful ways that God is inviting you into his kingdom today.
 Ernesto Tinajero, 21st century.
 Mark 10: 26-27, NRSV.
(Based in Mark 10:17-31)