At the Dump
And John the Baptist said: ‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn.
If you live in Wellesley, you know The Dump. Officially, it’s the Recycling and Disposal Facility —the RDF — but most just call it The Dump. It’s where locals greet neighbors, pass out fliers, sell Girl Scout cookies, shake politicians’ hands, sign petitions, and otherwise hobnob, all while meticulously sorting and stowing reusables, recyclables and rubbish.
The Dump gets a lot of business in the aftermath of Christmas and New Year’s. Thanks to our attentive labor, those flattened Amazon boxes, empty holiday beverage bottles, newly-obsolete clothing, unrecyclable wrapping paper, and hundreds of other things all make their way into the proper receptacles.
I must have made four serious trips to The Dump in the second half of December and first week of January. The Three Rs of environmental sustainability — “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” — ran through my head as I lugged massive loads of cardboard and bottles toward their reincarnation. Grunting, I pondered the irony of how celebrating Christ’s birth could generate so much, well, junk, and resolved to do better on the “Reduce” part next year.
There’s a lot about sorting in the New Testament: wheat and chaff, wheat and tares, righteous and wicked, wise and foolish, and so on. And though Jesus admonished, “Judge not, that you be not judged,” sorting, both in our lives and at The Dump, demands careful judgment. As I accept the blessing of another new year, I hope for the gift of Christian discernment to help me see which parts of my life should be discarded, which should be reused, and which should be remade.
Prayer: God, thank you for the time you’ve given us. Please guide our hearts and minds as we seek to sort through our spirits, removing what separates us from you, and renewing what brings us closer to you. Amen.