SUNDAY, March 29, 2020

Psalm 51:11-13

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take
not your Holy Spirit from me. Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

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How often have we heard the old saying that “nature abhors a vacuum?” Nowhere is this truer than within our hearts and minds. If we remove something harmful, then something else, good or bad, must take its place.

In the beginning of this psalm, King David begs God’s mercy and forgiveness for his sins. “In your great compassion,” he asks,” blot out my offenses. Wash me through and through from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.”

This is the critical first step. We must admit our mistakes, known and unknown, things done, and things left undone, but that alone is not enough. Left to our own devices we will once again succumb to sin and destruction. We must pray also that God will replace our sinful desires with a “right spirit” and that the Holy Spirit will come over us and sustain us.

In Lent, we prepare for this by getting rid of those things that distract us from God’s presence and purpose in our lives, things we don’t need anyway, the noises in our lives that we allow to drown out that still, small voice for which all of us listening.

This is not a once-and-done process. Paul admonishes us to pray without ceasing. In this season of Lent let us renew our commitment to this discipline with the intention that our practice of constant prayer will continue throughout the year and that the Holy Spirit will fill the voids that we have managed to cleanse from sin.

Lee Woodward