Friday, February 15, 2013

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you, *
and did not conceal my guilt.
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD." *
Then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.
Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you in time of trouble; *
when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach them…
Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the LORD; *
shout for joy, all who are true of heart.”
Psalm 32, Morning Prayer, the Daily Office Book, Year One

“As the deer longs for the water-brooks, *
so longs my soul for you, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God; *when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?”
Psalm 42, Evening Prayer, the  Daily Office Book, Year One

It seems to be that the question should precede the answer. But then again, mystery is what continues to drive our God given intellect ever forward, for new questions, new understanding, new wisdom and a new Spirit in which all things are made anew. You see, in the Psalms for today, Morning Prayer’s Psalm answers Evening Prayer’s Psalm’s question, “when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?”

This is what we long for in our hearts, as the deer longs for sweet water, we long for the presence of God, the presence of love, and yet we put so many barriers between ourselves and God, which means of course we are doing the same between God, ourselves and each other. These barriers could be arrogance of intellect, they could be of a stubborn grudge, they could be a fearful hoarding of wealth, or the fearful hoarding of emotions, or they could be a sense of shame. Could it be anger or addiction? What is getting between you and healthy, more deeply engaging relationships with the people in your life and with God?

This Lent, except the invitation to journey into yourself, into the wilderness which separates you from the promised land of healthy relationships.  Make the journey to be tested and to test what may be motivating you in your life and discern what seems to be real to you, yet leaves you wondering in the desert. Test your intentions and see if they are making a road straight to honest loving relationships. Where you have hurt someone, ask for forgiveness. Where you have hurt yourself, ask for forgiveness. God’s compassion will forgive you and teach you the compassion of forgiveness.

Offer your transgressions to God when they trouble you and when they trouble the course of your life. God will receive these burdens with a glad and grateful heart, Jesus wants to relieve you, to give you rest. The faithful are the ones who offer up their transgression as a sacrifice, who offer up their troublesome prayers, they trust in God’s love and compassion, they trust in God’s healing, love’s healing.

God also wants you to be joyful, which comes from being true in heart. Examine. Be true to yourself, about who you are, and what you do. Regardless of the suffering you have felt, or have caused other to feel, enjoin God’s compassion residing in your true heart. Here is real joy and real happiness, in the mending of sin’s wounds by the love known through Jesus, whose presence abides in you always, and who rejoices in your accepting truth’s liberation from the painful shackles of the past.

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