By Thomas Bracewell




Originally, the word “lent” meant Spring in the old English. I don’t know why we identify spring with a time for cleaning, but we do. In a very real sense, for the church and for her people, Lent is meant to be a time of spiritual Spring cleaning as well


This past week I did some Spring cleaning in my home office. Debbie remarked about the improvement. As I though about our observance of Ash Wednesday, I was struck by the similarity between what I did in my office and what we are called to do in the 40 days which lie before us.




Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery


The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.


The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?


The first thing I did was to dust and to attempt to clean out the cobwebs. Dust and cobwebs, they are the signs of neglect. They only collect in the areas where there is no activity. There was little dust on the top of my desk, but plenty of it on my bookshelf. There is no dust on my telephone, or on my computer keyboard, but there was quite a bit in the corner where I stack things I know I really need to do, but figure I can afford to put off for a while. Spring cleaning reminded me of some important things I had neglected.


Lent is a season which calls us to clean out the cobwebs which infest the corners of our spiritual lives and to shake the dust off of our spiritual disciplines. It is a time which calls us to refocus on things of God and of his kingdom. Lent is a time to begin reading God’s word daily, a time to begin praying, not just occasionally, but throughout each day. Lent is a time to make a commitment to regular worship attendance and honest stewardship. Lent is a time for a holy dusting


The second thing I did in my office was to throw out a lot of stuff. Some of it was just trash which I had been too lazy to gather up. Some of it was things that I know I will never use again, but which I was strangely afraid to get rid of. But I did and now I am glad. Now, for the first time in a while, I know pretty much what is on my desk and what is stacked around my office. And for the first time in a while most all of it has a purpose.


Lent is a season which calls us to throw away some of the things which are cluttering up our spiritual lives. It is a time to take spiritual inventory, a time to ponder whether there is trash in our lives that we have just been too lazy to throw away. Lent is a time for us to just get rid of some of the stuff in our lives that we know is of no real use, but which we have been afraid to get rid of. Lent is a season which calls us to dispose of the clutter in our lives, so that we might concentrate on the things that are most important.


The last thing I did in my office was to reorganize some things. Some files needed to be combined so that I could find information more readily. Some important things needed to be given more prominent places, while some less important ones needed to be moved to the side.


Lent is a time for us to empty ourselves and to be refilled, putting the big things into our lives first.


In a moment you will be invited to come forward and to have ashes imposed on your forehead. You will be reminded that you are mortal, you will be encouraged to repent and admonished to trust God as you believe the wonderful promises found in his gospel.


As you leave the altar, and then the sanctuary this evening,  I challenge you to covenant with God to make these next 40 days a time of spiritual preparation. Perhaps you will give up something or take on some new discipline. Maybe you will commit to begin some acts of charity. Or perhaps you will pledge to mend some broken relationships. I do not know what discipline you need to take up this season, but God does. And he calls you to do some spring cleaning. To dust off some things that have been neglected, to throw away some things that are of no lasting value, to reorganize your hectic life, and to prepare yourself for a fresh coming into your life of the resurrected Lord. For your sake and for the sake of the Kingdom, let it be so. In the name of the father, and of the son and of the holy spirit. AMEN.