From: Kori Zachrison
“Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who does not lift up his soul to what is false
And does not swear deceitfully.”
The beginning of Psalm 24, and these couple of verses in particular, left me feeling defeated before I’d even begun this morning. I’ve found Mark’s question this Lenten season to be challenging and convicting. The challenge to consider: from where am I seeking life? I think most of us have spent time thinking about and working to rid ourselves of false idols. But the subtle change in the tone of this question caused a major shift in my own self-evaluation. I’m well-aware of the counterfeit gods that I’ve battled in the past and often continue to battle... wordly success and the desire for security, recognition, prestige... but this new question: where do I seek life? This question has moved me past the reflexic, rote response, and pushed me to consider other things — good things — from which I seek life. Relationships, without question; also, roles I have as a friend, a wife, mother, physician, mentor, mentee, teacher, and student. So often, I find myself letting these things dominate my happiness, my meaning, and my identity.
And so, as I’ve had the extent of my brokenness at the forefront of my mind, this assertion that only the one who has ‘clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false’ will ascend the hill of the Lord and receive His blessings left me feeling certain that I, for one, do not fall into that category.
But the rest of today’s readings brought me back to the Truth of our gospel — that our God is a God of hope. Psalm 25 put words to my need for forgiveness: “Turn to me and be gracious to me... consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins” (v. 16, 18). Amos instructs me (via his word to Israel) to “seek the Lord and live...” (4-8) and to “seek good and not evil, that [I] may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with [me]” (v 14). And finally in John 7, to hear the words Jesus spoke, to be reminded of His faithful obedience to God and His will. And to remember that by His mercy and washed by His precious blood, my hands are clean and my heart is pure. And I shall ascend the hill of the Lord. It’s nothing short of the Gospel.
I’m wrapping up my third year in Boston and despite — or because of? — my commute on foot, I continue to be charmed by our city in the snow.