Lessons From Life
One year, during a community Lenten breakfast devotional time, the pastor’s meditation focused on the
Wednesday of Holy Week, the last week of Lent. He told of various names for that day and some of the
traditions practiced in different countries.
One of the examples he cited was that “in the Czech Republic the day is traditionally called Ugly
Wednesday, Soot-Sweeping Wednesday or Black Wednesday, because chimneys used to be swept on this
day, to be clean for Easter.”
What a great illustration of what the entire season of Lent can be for us, both individually and together as
congregations. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we can use the entire six and a half weeks of Lent to sweep
the soot of sin out of our lives and churches so that we can experience new beginnings of faith. Ways to clean
out and clean up our lives start by examining everything we do, say and even think (including our attitudes).
When we’re honest with ourselves and with God, we’ll admit that the chimneys of our lives and even our
church families are ugly, blackened with the soot of sin, especially the holding of grudges and the withholding
None of us are equipped to properly and completely clean out the chimneys of our homes. And so, we ask
chimney sweeps to do the job. Just so, none of us are able to properly and completely clean out the sin of our
lives and congregations. And so, every attempt to clean out and clean up our lives must end with us asking
Jesus to do the job for us. And as Easter shows, Jesus has already agreed to do the job – for free. All Jesus
asks in return is our faith in him and our loyal obedience to him and his ways.
Here in the Harrisburg District, and throughout the Susquehanna Conference and the general United
Methodist Church, let us humbly and sincerely ask Jesus to help us clean out and clean up our lives,
individually and congregationally, so that we might be blessed with new beginnings in faith. Privileged to be
serving with you as we strive to fulfill the vision of the Susquehanna Conference by growing spiritual,
transformational leaders, equipping congregations for vitality, creating new places for new people, and
connecting with each other and the world.