A few years ago the book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, by Marie Kondo, became a worldwide phenomenon. Since its first printing that book has sold over eight million copies. And while its subject matter – simplifying and uncluttering our lives – isn’t exactly a novel one, Kondo’s book does bring a more spiritual approach to that topic than most. It seeks to help the reader discern what really matters as the foundation for determining how to reorder the material “mess” in their lives.
That also happens to be the primary challenge that Jesus’ disciples faced in the aftermath of his death and their resurrection experiences of him. Their lives, and the spiritual movement that had become the center of those lives, had been left a “mess”. Their leader, while very much alive to them, but in a new and different way, was still physically no longer there each day. As a result, they had largely disbanded, most returning to their original homes and attempting to find their way back into old lifestyles. On top of that, they were still in harm’s way if the Roman authorities decided the execution of Jesus hadn’t gone far enough.
In time though, the disciples gathered themselves, and as Kondo puts it, “tidied up the mess”. They discerned that the work Jesus had begun with and in them was too essential for their sake and the sake of the world to give up. They recognized the truth of what Jesus had taught and showed them – that there were very few things that truly mattered in life and that those things were living in community; serving each other and all God’s people; and embodying the One they had followed. All the rest could be – needed to be – let go of.
And through that “tidying up”, the same frightened, scattered, fractured disciples at the end of the Gospels become the bold, committed, effective leaders who in the decades after Jesus death and resurrection would lay a foundation strong enough to last and include us over two thousand years later. It truly was, as Kondo refers to it in her title, “life changing magic”. Or, in the language of spirituality, tranformed.
As we continue through this Easter season, perhaps there is no better time for us, as the spiritual descendants of those disciples, to consider a little “tidying up” ourselves.
If so, what can we – what do we need to let go of in our lives right now, for that to happen?