Hagerstown Church of the Brethren
15 S. Mulberry St., Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone: 301-733-3565 * FAX: 301-733-3598

"Church in the Heart of the City with the City at Heart"
Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.

From Pastor Twyla's Desk - July 2021

I’m writing this just four days before settlement  on our new house. I never dreamed moving could be so  stressful. Contributing to our stress are things like: selling  our house, finding a house, applying for a mortgage,   packing twenty-one years of stuff, moving Marvin (our cat) who has never been in a crate or outside of our house, dealing with last-minute underwriting documentation and whatever else I am not remembering right now. Our saving graces have been all of your prayers, the church’s decision to have a professional moving company move us…thank you…thank you… thank you, and a very patient realtor, Kim Mozick, who has made us feel like her only customer. Don and I will be so glad when this side of the process is all over next week and we can take our time making our new home our own.
 
We have spent our Saturdays packing box after box. It’s amazing how much  we accumulated over the last twenty-one years. When we moved into our house in Westminster, we didn’t have enough furniture to fill the rooms; but now we have more than enough, plus a lot more stuff. Some of you know exactly what I am talking about because you’ve done the moving thing yourselves. The packing process, while  exhausting, has had benefits to it. We found things that took us down memory lane   and made us smile. Another benefit was executing the exercise of purging stuff that we  didn’t remember having or that we never use and don’t need.
 
It doesn’t make any sense to carry old baggage along to our new home. It feels  good and lighter to have gotten rid of some things. The Bible tells us it’s a very good thing to purge things from our lives that weigh us down. In Hebrews 12:1, we read: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with  endurance the race that is set before us. . . .” In Ephesians 4:22-24, we read: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
 
It’s hard sometimes to purge the old. Old ways can become comfortable. They  may be pleasurable because they fulfill a desire. And sometimes it’s just more difficult to make the change than it is to keep the thing we should purge. But if we are carrying around old stuff that makes it challenging or even impossible to have a fulfilling  intimate relationship with God; and, to become the person God created us to be and to simply enjoy our God-given life. And, if our stuff becomes an excuse from answering God’s call to reach out to others and help to build God’s kingdom…then we’ve got  another important reason to get rid of our baggage that puts a burden on us.
 
The Bible also tells us that we have help when it comes to purging the old dead  weight. For example, in Isaiah 41:13, we read, “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” In  Philippians 4:13, we read, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” The “he” who strengthens me is the Lord. He sends his Holy Spirit to give us a heart of  discernment and determination to overcome the powers that temptation pushes on us to hold tightly to that which holds us prisoner to things that are not of God. The Spirit helps us to ignore and let go of the lies and negativity that evil tells us about ourselves. God helps us purge the old and makes us new. God frees us. So, if you have some  emotional, spiritual, habitual junk…stuff that weighs you down…as we all probably  do…let’s begin the task with God’s help, of course. Happy purging!