The season of Lent is a time of repentance, discipline, renewal. We remember our dependence on God and we confess our need for His grace. We are called to renew our faith that our lives may be transformed by God’s love and forgiveness.
Psalm 51 is a lenten prayer of confession, regret and repentance. It is a cry for forgiveness: “have mercy,” “blot out,” “wash me, cleanse me” from a person who has committed a great transgression, a person who is in some very deep trouble.
Alongside these bold imperatives, the psalmist offers powerful descriptions of who God is and how He displays His compassion: “according to your steadfast love,” “according to your abundant mercy,” “wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,” “restore to me the joy of your salvation.”
The psalmist trusts that God will have mercy on the truly repentant. From a posture of humility and brokenness, he receives from God a clean heart, a right and a willing spirit.
Lent is a time to reflect on what Jesus’ life, suffering, and death means for each of us, and what changes we need to make in our lives because of His great sacrifice. “Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!”
We begin our journey to the cross with Jesus and with each other. For some this is a new untrodden journey. For others a familiar and well-loved road. It is not an easy journey, but one marked with loss and sacrifice and death.
But we must know this loss to allow God to fill us up with his love and spirit. We must know this sacrifice to show fully our gratitude to God for his promises. We must know this death to know a new and abundant life in Christ.
Neither sin nor death will have the final word. Christ has conquered death, and nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.