From: Anna Harris
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you." Psalm 51.10-13
And thus begins Lent.
Pulling the above four verses out of such a coherently beautiful Psalm by David feels like tricky business. (Why am I suddenly hyper-aware of all the well-trained theologians among us at CotC?) But alas, these are the verses that stuck out at me, all clumped together. Why? Because of the amazing progression and mini-story contained in these verses. Here's what I see:
- FIRST, please create, renew, do not cast me out, do not take yourself from me. Restore my joy in you, and grant me willingness.
- THEN, I will show my sinning brothers and sisters your plan for all of us, so your children will turn back to you.
So, basically: "Go ahead! Sin. Then you can help others stop sinning!" Right? (This is the part where St. Paul tears the ground open above his grave to yell once again, "God forbid!" See Romans 6.15, KJV.) Nope, not even. Interestingly, though, after we have sinned in a particular way, often we later have a newfound ability to speak truth into the lives of those struggling with the same sin. At least after we have been re-created, renewed, restored, and granted a willing attitude. So help us God!
I am a Texan-born Bostonian who works as a hospice social worker, nanny, and blogger. Feel free to check out my thoughts about trauma recovery and spirituality at www.thawingout.org.