God’s Rubbish Service

The city where we previously lived in Virginia has a monthly trash collection that was handy. In addition to the weekly trash collection, on the first Tuesday of each month, the town collects almost anything you put at the street. This provides a way to dispose of items that are too large to fit in a rolling bin. (The Lexington City web site describes a similar service for its residents.)
So, on the first Tuesday of each month in the limits of that Virginia town, there is an assortment of items all waiting to be hauled away. The official name by the public works department for these items is “bulky rubbish.” The Martins made regular use of this popular service.
Once we put an old push mower out. Before the town came and took it, however, someone else came by and asked for it. We said yes. It’s possible that some items set out for the town to haul away never make it to the landfill, but become flea market items-and I’m okay with that! 
And once when I was driving on a first Tuesday, I saw a gas grill someone had put out. It looked like it still had some life left in it, and I admit that for a brief moment I considered stopping but didn’t. Susanne would not have approved.
There is a theological point here. In our Presbyterian worship service, we offer a similar “bulky rubbish option” every Sunday morning of the year. During the service, there is a time for individual and collective confession. We are all encouraged to push to the street all of the parts of our lives that we don’t want anymore: all of the sinful behavior, all the struggles and anxieties and hassles. And God hauls away all of that bulky and not-so-bulky rubbish. With all of that gone, we are assured of God’s forgiveness, and sing as we make a fresh start for a new week.
To receive the benefit of a town’s rubbish removal service, you must live within the town limits. To receive the benefit of God’s bulky rubbish service, your zip code doesn’t matter; you need only ask-and it doesn’t have to be during a church service. And it’s always available. We include God’s rubbish service as part of our worship each Sunday morning because, we believe, God wills for us to take our human condition seriously.
I appreciate the way January arrives each year with energy about making a fresh start in a new year. Some of you make plans and resolutions and so do I. Whatever plans you make, please consider in these first Sundays of 2023 what you would move to the “street” that you don’t want to bring with you into a new year. God will haul all of it away. Peace to you and…
We are growing together in Christ.