Thursday, August 1, 2013

'Tis the Season

I can hardly believe that today is August 1.  On my way into work, there is a sign counting down the number of days until school starts.  I don't even have school-age kids yet but I know plenty of people who do.  I also know lots of school teachers.  For them and so many of the rest of us, I think this time of year stirs up a whole mix of emotions: excitement for the new school year, surprise that the summer has gone by so fast, melancholy that summer is coming to an end, and a sense of motivation to get all those well-intentioned summer projects done.

It strikes me that one of those projects just might be cleaning out some closets, especially if this time of year finds you buying new school supplies and clothes. There definitely is a connection between what (and how much we own) and our faith. Our faith also influences what we do with things when we decide we don't need them anymore. With all this in mind, when I came across this activity the other day, it seemed like it might be a great fit for a lot of us.

The Great Dresser Clean Out (from www.vibrantfaithathome.org)

Here's what to do:

1. Turn your Bible to Matthew 25:34-40 and read the passage aloud.

2. Discuss: Why do you think Jesus says that when we feed or clothe other people, it's like we are feeding or clothing him?

3. Ask each person to try on his or her clothes that you want to sort through (could do a particular season or type of clothes). Set aside anything that doesn't fit or will not be worn for some other reason.

4. As a family, gather all the clothes that will not be worn. Decide which, if any, need to be saved to hand down to other family members. Place these in storage.
5. Talk about who might be able to use the remaining clothes in the pile. Explain there are many people who are happy to receive gently used clothes. As a family, decide if the clothes you no longer need will be given to a specific family or to an organization that gives clothing to people in need (or to a thrift store that raises money for its charity).

6. Say the following blessing over the clothes you will donate:

Gracious God, we give you thanks for the many blessings you give us, including clothes to wear. Thank you for the many days we were able to wear these clothes. Bless the people who will be the next ones to wear these clothes. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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