As we enter into the season of Lent I wonder what you are doing to mark this time? Giving something up – allowing more time to read and think? Perhaps giving yourself space to think what does it mean to lead the abundant life that Jesus said he came to give (John 10:10) – I wonder what are the things, behaviours, attitudes and habits that get in the way? What is it that holds me back from living that abundant life? Are there things that I need to let go of – are there parts of my life I need to bring before God in prayers throughout Lent and allow God to speak to me - to guide me - to correct me.
There are occasions when I can drift into the habit of seeking church and perhaps God to affirm what I believe – to make me feel better about myself – to justify how I am.
It is uncomfortable to truly be open to God and ask Him to search and correct me – how much easier when the message seems to be for someone else – the person who is not like me – who clearly doesn’t get it.
Psalm 51 was read for many years in monastic communities every day seven times a day when the monks met to pray. It is a psalm that benefits from reading often and maybe as part of your discipline this Lent you may wish to read it daily.
It is a psalm of David – written after the events of Bathsheba – where David commits adultery and murder and is confronted by the prophet.
In this psalm David cries out to the mercy and grace of God – admitting his failures and weaknesses and asking for God to cleanse him of his wrongdoing.
David does not set about justifying himself but rather confesses his guilt and inadequacy – David points not simply to the event he is confronted with but to his very sinful nature.
There is a rawness and brutal honesty that we see from David – a desire to live differently – a desire for cleansing – a desire for a pure heart.
Repeating this daily may challenge us – it may make us uncomfortable – yet I commend this to you this Lent. As you read the text prayerfully, I ask that we may allow the text to read us. Speak to us in ways that may challenge and provoke.