I'm taking a break from decorating this morning to show some removal men around our house (I have to get three quotations for the diocese). It's an odd thing, showing a stranger into all your wardrobes and cupboards. All three have been exceedingly courteous, and even said nice things about the quantity of mess and clutter in the house at the moment, I can't fault them and am grateful to their professionalism.
But it raises some questions. First about the quantity of stuff we have accumulated since we moved in here. There is certainly more stuff now than there was. I know that seems inevitable, but is it healthy?
Second, about the sheer quantity of stuff we have at all. I know that we don't live by bread alone, but I'm not sure that the removal men (who will have to physically move everything by hand!) would agree.
All sorts of things begin to chime in at this point; Jesus comments about camels going through the eye of a needle and his instruction to his disciples only to take one set of clothing (not two wardrobes and a chest of drawers full). I'm also reminded of a U2 song, God Part II, in which Bono sings 'I don't believe in riches, but you should see where I live'.
This past couple of weeks has been dominated by some very material attention to where I am to live. Some of it is healthy, in that I really do appreciate all that goes into making a house a good place to live in. Some of it is less healthy and becomes materialism. And some of it is just well-meaning angst that churns things up, but has no real intention to change anything. This latter is the spiritual problem.