Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Lent 2
February 21, 2016
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me.
(Exodus 20:5, NRSV)
They are lesions on the health of my lawn. Natures’ original plan was a good one, of course, but time and life have turned that plan sour. A nice heavy snowfall that blankets the earth allows a gradual saturation of the ground beneath. Pesky predators are frozen out, the water table is replenished, and the white insulation protects the ground below. All good. It is the blessing that every winter should provide for the earth. But what remains now is an aberration. Dense patches of over-packed snow – the product of this overly zealous shoveler, indiscriminant snow plows, and the flotsam and jetsam of road debris that collects in piles along with the snow. These lesions are hideous, and I can hardly connect them to the beauty of the snow covered blessing God sent us a few weeks ago.
Yet, they remain. A reminder that nature no longer functions perfectly in a world corrupted by sin. The good news, of course is that even these eyesores will eventually dissolve into the ground. The bad news is that the similar lesions that remain clinging to my spirit are not so easily dispatched. Each sin committed in my life, leaves residue, right? Sloppy patches of ugliness that hang around far longer than the sin itself. I’m reminded of the Old Testament phrase above. I’ve never been a believer that God actively punishes children for the sins their parents commit, as this verse might suggest. But if we think about it, occasionally there are mis-steps committed in life for which there are often human consequences that do remain for generations. These are the residual patches of dysfunction that my snow patches remind me of … places where I fear my sin will outlive my life. That sounds a bit melodramatic, I realize. But how can we fully recognize the ongoing consequences of our sins? We can’t obviously; we are not God. Sooo …….
… in your prayers this week, do something that is readily available to you. Pray for a full measure of forgiveness and healing from our God and Savior. Turn these sins and fears over to God, who has promised us forgiveness and redemption. In our rite for individual confession and forgives, our hymnal offers these words of confession: I repent of all my sins, known and unknown. I am truly sorry, and I pray for forgiveness. I firmly intend to amend my life, and to seek help in mending what is broken. I ask for strength to turn from sin and to serve you in newness of life. That may be a pretty good place to start. The Lenten season invites it. Our need for healing and resolution may demand it.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise. Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice, but you take no delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; a broken and contrite heart you will not despise. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness; in your great compassion blot out my offenses. Wash me through and through from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin.
~~ Excerpts from Psalm 51