Funny how the minute March/April arrives the magazines on the newsstands start boasting articles titled – Organize Everything, or Spring Cleaning Is a Breeze. There is just something about the promise of spring that makes us want to clear out the clutter of winter and breathe in the freshness of open spaces and tidy shelves.
The problem with spring cleaning is – you get into it, you are going gangbusters and then you come across something you forgot you’d kept, or something that brings up a flash from the past – and cleaning comes to a screeching halt.
You look it over and you remember. Might be a box of pictures and you have to sit down and thumb through them. Maybe it’s letters you kept and you find yourself reading them again. It could be a baby blanket or child’s artwork and you find yourself standing there with a tear in your eye, reliving a moment in the past.
Memory is a gift even though there are some things we’d prefer to forget – like hard times or mistakes we’ve made or times we’ve acted inappropriately and hurt someone we loved.
I would imagine the disciples wished they could have forgotten the time they abandoned Christ in His hour of greatest need. I guarantee that Peter would have loved to have lost forever the memory of denying his dear friend. But if we remember only the good things – life would be shallow for us.
How could Mary Magdeline have truly embraced the miracle of complete cleansing if she had not first experienced the filth of her previous life? How could Paul have recognized the miracle of his ministry had he not had a clear memory of his part in the persecution of those he now ached to reach for Christ?
The truth is we must never forget where we came from so that we can glory in where we are.
The story of Christ’s crucifixion, brutal and painful and horrible – that’s where we came from.
The story of His resurrection – of rising from the ashes, of forgiveness and mercy and love – that’s where we are.
Our sin stood at the cross of Calvary, but our Savior stood in our place,
We were condemned, but He is the one who pled guilty,
We deserved punishment; He gave us a great reward.
Soon, we will celebrate the exciting, triumphant memory of His resurrection.
It will only have full meaning for us if we make ourselves dwell between now and then on the memory of his death.
Open your Bibles this week and read again the tragic story of an innocent man climbing a hill called Calvary to suffer and die for those He loved. Let yourself be sad and sorry. Only then will you be in the right frame of mind to be jubilant and joyful on Easter Sunday.
Revelation 1:17b-18a: “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and Last. I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever!”