This week we are in the ten days between the Feast of the Ascension and the Feast of Pentecost, which we will celebrate on Sunday, May 20. The Ascension, of course, marks the resurrected Jesus’ withdrawal from this world and his reunification with God and all of creation. And on Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.
As I preached this past Sunday, Jesus’ ascension opens up a space among us, and the Holy Spirit empowers us to work creatively in that space. It’s easy for us to let that space get cluttered up with all kinds of junk and distractions — all of which hinders our ability to see clearly and find ways to do God’s loving work in the world. Just as a good round of spring cleaning in our homes and offices can inspire us to begin new projects and help us find the spaciousness to think more productively, at this time of year we might consider doing a little spiritual spring cleaning as well! The prayer I mentioned in my sermon might be a great place to start an imaginative meditation:
Help Me Now to Unclutter My Life – Celtic Daily Prayer
O God, help me now to unclutter my life,
to organize myself in the direction of simplicity.
Teach me to listen to my heart;
teach me to welcome change, instead of fearing it.
O God, I give you these stirrings inside me,
I give you my discontent,
I give you my restlessness,
I give you my doubt,
I give you my despair,
I give you all the longings I hold inside.
Help me to listen to these signs of change, of growth;
to listen seriously and follow where they lead
through the breathtaking empty space of an open door.
I invite you to pray this prayer, and then spend a few moments imagining what your open door looks like. Where is it, what color is it, how big or small? Imagine all the details. Then slowly walk through the door and take a look around on the other side. Sit in this space for a few minutes, or even longer. As thoughts and feelings arise and start to clutter the space, simply notice them, and let them go, letting them float or fade away. No matter whether it is discontent, restlessness, doubt, despair, or longings that arise, or just the items on your to-do list for the day, or something you wish you hadn’t said the day before, just notice the thought or feeling and let it go. Then return to sitting in the breathtaking empty space beyond the open door.