While today doesn’t have an official title on the calendar, for many it is the unofficial beginning to a long series of events which will take place over the course of the next month. Today food is being prepared for tomarrow’s Thanksgiving feast, last minute groceries are being collected, and pre-thanksgiving events are happening. By Friday, Black Friday, the rush is on, to prepare that Christmas celebration, shopping, wrapping presents, parties, more shopping, more wrapping, school holidays, homecomings, visiting families…. It all becomes a dynamic whirl wind that rushes us from one moment to the next..
It is this whirl wind effect that I wonder about, what is it we are doing, what is our motive, and would that motive be pleasing to God? We sacrifice so much of our time and energy, for what purpose? To praise God?
The quote above is a tiny expert from psalm 51. While on the surface it can seem harsh to think about God, wanting us to have a broken spirit, it is at that very moments when we come to God just as we are, sinners and broken, that the beauty of God’s gift, merciful grace, is abundantly present for us. It is a reminder that we should come to God, claiming our identity as sinners, so that God’s gift, can be a blessing to us. To deny our brokenness and attempt to hid it from God, is to deny God the blessing of helping us, raising us to new life, claiming ourselves as Easter people.
So, today I invite you to take a few moments for your self, to open your bibles to psalm 51, take a deep breath and pray the words of scripture. Allow your confession of brokenness to be the very place where God sustains you and lifts you up, to be a sacrifice pleasing to God.
(And if you are bold and super courageous, substitute the me pronouns with your name, to personalize it).
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.