By Rev. Pete Hyde
In the dark of the night the light of a nearly full moon filtered through a layer of thin clouds. The coastal air was thick with humidity. One-by-one, each house in the neighborhood commenced the Sunday night ritual. Every trash can was lined up and down the street on the edge of each driveway. Some homes had just one can, lid closed, neatly aligned with the curb while others overflowed and had boxes stacked in random fashion falling into the street. No one remembers the last time the neighbors put their trash to the curb, but by early Monday morning the trash cans stand like sorrowful, silent sentries in front of each home.
In the predawn light, before the alarm sounds the wakeup call, the rumble can be heard down the street. In short stops and starts the big yellow and green Waste Management truck makes its way down the street. The driver moves forward in fifty foot increments as the man on the back hustles from trash can to truck making two hundred trips back and forth in this neighborhood alone. Cans are not gently emptied into the truck before being tossed irreverently back to the curb. The orderly sentries are now randomly scattered up and down the street. Sometime during the day the trash cans make their way back to the sides of the houses and by evening they have all disappeared. The ritual will repeat itself again on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. As a Pastor, one thinks about the weekly trash ritual as one rolls the trash can back to its hiding place this morning.
Just as you have to gather and empty the trash from your homes weekly or more depending on the trash truck schedule, you have to gather the trash or junk or sin from your lives and dispose of it somehow. If you don’t, it will have the same effect as not gathering the literal trash from your home. It will rot on the inside until the home is unlivable. Many of you carry around too much “trash” or “baggage” in your lives: those grudges against others that you continue to allow to control you, those wrongdoings that you cannot seem to forgive yourselves for, those times when you have disappointed family, friends and even God, the guilt of how you may have wronged others.
So what do you do with your “trash”? God has opened his arms through His son Jesus to help us with the trash in your lives. He actually takes those sins and wrongdoings and forgives them. He walks with you through the relationship issues and, if you will let Him, shows you how to handle them so you are not unduly burdened by them. This comes to you continuously and not just once or twice a week. “Come to me all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” That’s the promise.
The next time you hear the trash truck rumble through your neighborhood, remember God’s promise to help you with the trash of your lives. It’s time to take out the trash.
Rev. J. Pete Hyde, Senior Pastor
Santa Rosa Beach Community Church