Grace in Our Failing – An offering from Diane Pennington

February 20, 2018
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Psalm 51: 1-4 NRSV

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.

In our current cultural and political climate, we can barely determine truth, let alone justice. It is both a comfort and a horror to know that God sees through our public exterior to the truth of our hearts.  I am both grateful for and terrified of this fact, depending on the state of my heart and mind any given day, hour or moment.
It’s interesting to note that David wrote this psalm after he had been with Bathsheba and was wracked with guilt over his transgression. He says, “Against you, and you ALONE have I sinned, and done what is evil in his sight”… He doesn’t factor in any other relationship or consequence than his relationship to the Almighty. He knows he is SEEN and that there is no fooling God. What a gift that forces us to see ourselves then with such clarity and authenticity, humility and vulnerability.
How hard is it for us to speak to God when we know how completely we have failed in loving, in our thinking and behavior?
How glorious that, because the Lord desires relationship with US, he invites us to be in his presence and see ourselves.  Not just in the light of guilt or failing, but awash in the knowledge of his love, his fairness and above all his mercy. In the presence of His great grace, how can be help but be humble, grateful and to then extend His mercy to others?
Jesus, merciful Savior, thank you for your grace and love that goes far ahead of your justice. We are not worthy, but we are deeply grateful. AMEN
(c) 2018 Diane Pennington
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An offering from Regina: The God of Hope

March 26, 2015
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Psalm 51:5-6 (from The Message)

“I’ve been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since I was born. What you’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.”river sunrise

In these days of reflection and prayer, I am conscious of my shortcomings – of how easily I can settle into merely going through the motions rather than being fully present with family, friends, work, and most important, with God. The days of life flow by and I’m swept up into its current. When I go to God in silence and listen attentively I am deeply aware that this is a time to correct the course, to give myself more fully to the One who at the dawning of each moment gently and lovingly offers me a fresh start, a time to grow closer and be more fully who I am created to be.

Only the God of Hope can see it all, the world and my own small part in it, and still offer unwavering patience, undeserved grace and love without end that encourages me to try again in every moment. It is the ultimate “do-over.” Thanks be to God. Amen.

©2015 Regina Strader Hunt

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An offering from Eunice: Remodel My Heart

March 22, 2015
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“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.” Psalm 51:10-12Eunice Remodel my heart for Psalm 51

For a little over six weeks, my husband and I have been in the thralls of updating and renovating our 47 year-old home. We have had new flooring installed, all the walls and trim repaired, replaced or/and repainted. We have parted with many things and kept those that represent good memories and bring us joy; we’ve washed, polished, painted, or replaced others. We are now in the stage of delight – we feel like we have a new “old house.” With the house transformed, we are very motivated to keep it clean and tidy. This project has become my metaphor for Lent.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” I am not asking for a heart transplant, but a heart transformation. I desire to keep those memories in my heart that make me loving and compassionate and bring me joy. But I pray that the hurtful memories and disappointments that make me fearful, hesitant to reach out or serve generously be washed away. I want my heart cleaned out and made new. I desire the strength to part with old ways and old ideas that no longer fit in a renewed heart. In the six weeks of Lent, my hope is to be restored to “the joy of God’s salvation, and” to be able to sustain “a willing spirit.”

Amen. – May it be so, O God, may it be so.

(c) 2015 Eunice Cheshire

Spiritual Director

HeartPaths Core Faculty

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