Lent: Spring Cleaning for the Soul

People in this country’s Snow Belt## know the importance of spring cleaning when they can throw open their windows and invite fresh air in after the enclosed months imposed by winter cold. These days, with extreme weather changes and COVID concerns, many more of us can identify, after feeling locked in our stuffy homes.

The season of Lent is like that: a chance to do much-needed spring cleaning for our souls. It allows the Spirit to blow fresh once more into our lives.

Your soul is your essential self, your distinctive identity, which can be fully known only in conscious relationship to God. Paying attention to your soul requires some empty space, some focused reflection in your days, in order to make itself known.^^
Lent is the forty-day season before Easter that can deepen our relationship with God. It’s like cleaning the windows in our homes in order to receive the sunshine that’s been there all along, to experience God’s presence more clearly.

There are many ways we can mark the Lenten season. Tossed In Time offers four specific activities.** Here are some more possibilities:
• Remember God’s assurances of love for you, no matter what you have done or not done to deserve it. For example:
1. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine. . . .” (Isaiah 43:1-7)
2. “. . . I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands . . .” (Isaiah 49:1-16)
3. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
• Look for someone with whom to develop a mutually supportive relationship.
• Listen for God’s nudges to make positive changes in your life. You might start with Isaiah 30:15, Deuteronomy 30:19-20, or Psalm 51:1-2.
• Think of someone with whom you have a broken relationship, for whatever reason. Take a step toward reconciling with that person.
• Reflect daily on God’s blessings in your life.

All of us could use a bit of spring cleaning. Lent encourages us to create some set-aside time to reflect, to help us discover a more vital, fulfilling life with God.

Betsy Schwarzentraub

## – The Snow Belt is a term for the northern parts of the U.S., especially the Midwest and the Northeast, that are subject to considerable snowfall. (from www.dictionary.com)
^^ – Description of the “soul” by spiritual director Sandra Lommasson, Davis Community Church.
** – Betsy Schwarzentraub, Tossed In Time: Steering by the Christian Seasons, pp. 62-63.