Scriptures for today
- Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
- Psalm 32
- Romans 5:12-19
- Matthew 4:1-11
The four scriptures for the first Sunday of Lent all are centered in sin and temptation, which makes sense as a traditional purpose of Lent is to spend time in self-examination. I chose Psalm 32 for my reflection as I connected most closely with it.
An epic journey is described in the psalm, starting with the blessedness of one who is forgiven “whose spirit is incapable of deceit”. Then reality sets in, when grudges build up, frustration and resentment cause relationships to wilt. The psalmist’s heart feels “parched as stubble in summer drought”. In stubborn silence, he experiences pain to the depth of his being. Foreshadowing the story of the Prodigal Son, he recognizes his guilt, confesses his sins to God, receives forgiveness and then is enfolded in the embrace of Love. A part of the obligation of that great love is to be in a continuing relationship with the loved one to teach and advise.
How does this apply to me in March 2014? Sin is a loaded word, freighted with ancient ideas that the sinner would be condemned to hellfire and damnation. When I was 12 years old, I was filled with fear that this would be my fate. It has been a relief to learn that a clearer translation is “to miss the mark”. When I am less than kind, when I am not the “living Gospel” in my world, I recognize that failure, and ask forgiveness. Because I know that I am immersed in Love and Grace, I accept my momentary lapse and carry on.
Prayer: Loving Spirit, thank you for the love with which you surround me. Give me the courage to search my heart, see where I fall short, and with your help, pick myself up to continue the journey. ♥
By Elizabeth Campbell