The other day Julia and myself took a load of stuff down to the Weymouth Recycling Centre. We loaded up our car with all kinds of unwanted stuff that had been gathering in our barn for several months. There was something quite therapeutic about it – getting rid of all the rubbish! There were plastic bottles galore, and quite a few glass ones as well. There were old bits of metal, broken fires and lamps and radios. There was household rubbish and garden rubbish. You name it, we seemed to have it.
We like Weymouth Recycling Centre. It is not exactly the place you would choose to go for a day out or a picnic, but it is well kept and seems to have a place for just about everything – containers for plastic bottles, and glass bottles, household rubbish and garden rubbish, recycling points for electrical appliances and unwanted metal – nothing seems to be wasted here, everything seems to be capable of recycling in some way or other.
There were quite a few people there when we arrived – all of us getting rid of our rubbish. There was a very happy atmosphere, everybody laughing and joking, telling one another where to go to get rid of particular rubbish, even helping each other to carry stuff (that was too heavy for just one person to carry) to various places where they could get rid of it. We all seemed to be relieved to get rid of all the rubbish we had accumulated one way or another. Perhaps, like us, they too had been storing it up for far too long!? We also liked the fact that nearly everything was being recycled rather than just being taken to an incinerator or land fill site somewhere or other.
I was reminded of that verse in the Bible where the Apostle John tells us that ‘If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ [1 John 1:9]. We all have rubbish in our lives that we need to get rid of, and the best place to get rid of it is at the foot of the Cross. Some stuff does need to go to the incinerator! But perhaps a lot of stuff can actually be recycled. God is the one person who can actually get good out of bad. I recall those words of Phillips Brooks, ‘The only thing you can do with a past that you are ashamed of, is to get a future out of it … God will waste nothing!’ With God, there is always a way back, a way out, a way up!