A Clean Heart
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope
“A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew with me. Cast me not out of your presence and your Holy Spirit take not from me. Give me back the joy of your salvation.” (Psalm 51:10-12a)
I suspect all of us can recall times when we have made a poor choice and have felt far from God. We are disappointed in ourselves, feel ashamed and scramble in our minds and hearts to figure out how to make things right – right with our own spirits, right with God and sometimes right with someone we have hurt or disappointed. I know that is true for me.
This Psalm was written by David after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. If you read the entire Psalm, he is deeply penitent for the sin he has committed, and he is pleading with God to cleanse him of his guilt (verse 2) and to give him a clean heart.
The good news for each of us is that when we sin, God has already forgiven us. He has paid the price for the times we fail, but that doesn’t excuse us from acting ethically and consistent with scriptural teachings. We must continue to try to make good and honorable choices in our lives. We are washed clean in the waters of Baptism, but every day we have an opportunity to renew our commitment to remain in fellowship with God. Sometimes the bigger challenge is to forgive ourselves.
As a young person, growing up in the Lutheran faith tradition, the words of this Psalm were sung following the offering in the church service. I perhaps did not give that a lot of thought at the time, but today I’m reminded that the most important offering that we bring to God is ourselves. We bring our broken spirits, our pleas for a clean heart and our willingness to choose more wisely tomorrow. In doing so, we are forgiven, healed and restored so that we are able to reach out to others in reconciliation and forgiveness. Through God’s grace, it is in our own wholeness that we can reconcile with others and live more abundantly. May you, too, seek and be gifted with a clean heart today.
God, who makes clean hearts and spirits, again today wash me and renew me.
Thank You for a new day and a new opportunity to be in full relationship with You
so that I can live in right relationship with those around me. Amen.
Friend of Avera,
EZEKIEL 36:23-28 • PSALM 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19 •MATTHEW 22:1-14