Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Clearing the clutter

2 Kings 23:4-14
The king commanded the high priest Hilkiah, the priests of the second order, and the guardians of the threshold, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. He deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who made offerings to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and all the host of the heavens. He brought out the image of Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the Wadi Kidron, burned it at the Wadi Kidron, beat it to dust and threw the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. He broke down the houses of the male temple prostitutes that were in the house of the Lord, where the women did weaving for Asherah. He brought all the priests out of the towns of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beer-sheba; he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on the left at the gate of the city. The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but ate unleavened bread among their kindred. He defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of Ben-hinnom, so that no one would make a son or a daughter pass through fire as an offering to Molech. He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the Lord, by the chamber of the eunuch Nathan-melech, which was in the precincts; then he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. The altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, he pulled down from there and broke in pieces, and threw the rubble into the Wadi Kidron. The king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Astarte the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. He broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the sacred poles, and covered the sites with human bones.

Tearing down the idols
Sweeping away the clutter
built up over years 
Clearing the way
to what is real
and vital.
The kernel of faith
grown dull
and tarnished 
and tainted
by neglect.
in the quest
for the next bright, shiny gimmick
that promises all manner of good.
Lying dormant.
Awaiting rediscovery
when other promises
are found to be empty,
when other lures
turn out to be dead ends
delivering only fleeting joy
that fades into obscurity.
Burrowing a way into
the recovery of hope
that lies beyond
deeply buried
lying in wait
to transform
the one who has room to uncover
the treasure within.

God , you plant your spark deep within us, so much a part of us that often it is overlooked or buried under all manner of clutter. We can easily find other attractions and distractions that promise us more but are hollow or fleeting. So help us, this Advent, to clear away the clutter and reach through the layers to take hold of the hope that you promise even when the struggle seems like too much effort.

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