and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
And sustain in me a willing spirit.
Psalm 51: 10-12
We hear familiar words from scripture all throughout the church year.
"In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered."
"In the night in which he was betrayed our Lord Jesus took bread..."
"I am the vine and you are the branches."
On Ash Wednesday when the familiar words from Psalm 51 are read, they feel different. They are not comfortable. They sit with me restlessly. For me Ash Wednesday isn’t about answers. It is about prayer. It is about listening to God. Lent takes me on a journey. It is a season like no other. It compels me to reflect on my life. Am I noticing God’s presence in my life? Do I have a willing spirit? Am I open to God using me for the sake of the gospel? What if God wants to use me in a different/new/surprising way for the sake of his world?
Like I said - not a season for easy answers but for listening.
I am leaving for church in a few minutes to witness the burning of the palms. Palm that were used to shout Hosanna! last Palm Sunday and now will be used today to remind me that I am dust and to dust I will return. It is one of those full circle moments. A moment for humility and to remember that life isn’t about answers. Life is about living in relationship with God and with each other through Christ.
My prayer today:
Open my heart, Lord.
Open my eyes, Lord.
Open my ears, Lord.
Sustain in me a willing spirit.