By Rev. Rose M. Blank St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51: 1, 10)
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!… I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! ” (Psalm 27: 7, 13-14)
“O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land.” (Psalm 63:1)
These are some of the psalms for the Lenten season – prayers filled with images of God’s abundant mercy and abiding presence. These ancient words of prayer are as relevant in our day as when they were penned centuries ago. They are filled with the range of human emotion that remind us of our longing and yearning for God, of our need to be made clean and forgiven, of our need to give thanks to God for the precious gift of life itself. The psalmist so aptly describes the feelings of anger, frustration and emptiness that helps us to name what is in our own heart and soul. As a wise professor once told me, these prayers are what we need when we don’t know what to say to God. They are also what we need when we have many things to say to God.
This Lenten season is a time for listening to God and praying with the words of Scripture. So spend some time in The Psalms and let the richness of their words speak to your heart. Let them fill your life with reminders of God’s never-ending love and let the words of forgiveness wash your heart anew. All this is not only for our own well-being, but it shapes who we are and how we live in the world around us so that we might embody God’s grace and mercy in a world that yearns for Christ’s love.