From the OT lesson for Tuesday in the week following Pentecost
15 Since you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire, take care and watch yourselves closely,
16 so that you do not act corruptly by making an idol for yourselves, in the form of any figure—the likeness of male or female,
17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air,
18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth.
Today is “trash day” (or “garbage day” or “put the bins/bags/cans/boxes at the curb day”) in our neighborhood. I have lugged 12 large black pastic bags of refuse to the curb. Eight of them are from gardening – we pulled weeds and trimmed hedges as part of our Memorial Day observance. Two of them are household refuse. One, the heaviest, is a week’s worth of cat box siftings. The last is filled with idols.
My spouse and I are trying to declutter our lives – to keep what is meaningful and might have value for our children and (so far only one) grandchild, but to dispose of that which is merely of interest to us and needn’t be carried over by future generations. Making that distinction is difficult. The worship booklets prepared for my ordinations 25 and 24 years ago; the newsclipping about my wife’s joining her insurance agency; a prayer from a greeting card my mother kept at her bedside for many years…. Keep them? Toss them? Cherish the memories but let them go? Some hard-and-fast rules for disposing of idols would be very handy, but few of our memories are in the likenesses of winged flying things or fishy swimming things or scaley creeping things. That’s why only one bag in eight (and that the smallest of the bags) holds the discarded idols of decluttering, and it has taken three weeks to get that far. At this rate, we will never get to the Jordan much less cross it.