Clutter-Free “When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders ... looking for a place to rest. But it doesn’t find any. Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house cleaned up and decorated. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself [and they] make their home there.” —Luke 11:24-26a (CEB) PHIWA LANGENI | Sometimes the horizontal surfaces at my house require my Tetris skills to tuck and balance things piling upward. When they do, I zealously donate, recycle, or discard items that no longer serve me and/or impede my access to the things that do. Fresh energy circulates with renewed vigor, saving me from having to Jenga my things loose from mini towers teetering to stay upright. Mere weeks after decluttering, these ungrateful clutter guests return and bring friends and extended family with them, effortlessly concealing all my hard work. With the help of books about decluttering, I’m learning to notice and track my patterns of clutter-making. Further, I’m establishing regular check-ins to proactively prevent clutter’s return. Likewise, as we clear the clutter of all the -isms we feel called to address in the world, we can’t just stop at noticing the patterns we’re disrupting or stop after one round of declut- tering. We must attentively listen for and ongoingly respond to God’s still-speaking voice. When the clutter -isms return, will they feel at home enough to invite all their friends back with them? Or will they find we’re continually rearranging the space in ways that make it unwelcoming for them to get comfortable? PRAYER Empower us to remove those persistent forces that clutter our listening, doing, and being. Embolden us to practice and share your brand of radical hospitality. Amen.

About the Writer:
PHIWA LANGENI is the Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement of the United Church of Christ. They are also Founder of Salus Center, the only LGBTQ resource and community center in Lansing, MI.

Source: “Running from Empty” | 2023 Lent Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.