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Henry David Thoreau, in his classic book, Walden, told of a powerful custom of the Mucclasse Indians. Once each year, they had a village clean up called a "busk." First they would make new clothes for themselves as well as furniture and cooking utensils. They would keep all of these new things in a building outside of the village. When everything was ready, they would begin their annual spring cleaning.

Every corner of every house was scrubbed. Every stick of furniture was thrown out. Every child's toy went to the garbage heap. The dirt paths were swept, and the weeds were plucked up. Even the food left over from winter was thrown out. All of the refuse in the village was gathered together into a pile in the center of the village. Then the chief set it on fire. As they watched it burn, they took off their clothes and tossed them into the fire as well. They tended the fire carefully and made sure that every last piece of garbage was burned.

On the fourth morning, they washed and bathed, and dressed in their new clothes. They then gathered again at the heart of the village. The chief started a new fire and from the flames each family took burning sticks home to start their own fires. The old was gone, life was beginning again!

We have a place of renewal -- in Christ. It is here that we let go of the old and embrace the new. Indeed, we rise to walk in newness of life (Roman 6.1-4).

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