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More than a wipe

More than a wipe

Something to read

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

- Psalm 51:1-2, 10, 12.

Something to think about

There’s something about the way my daughter eats yoghurt that I find really difficult, especially when it comes to clearing up afterwards. She takes delight in wearing the stuff on her hands like gloves, and as soon as they are vaguely clean she’ll plonk them straight back into the yoghurt on the highchair tray. Take the tray away first, you say? Tried it. She’ll find a great pool of yoghurt in her lap to dip them back into. A simple wipe-up just isn’t enough!

Washing is a dominant metaphor for the way in which God forgives us and frees us from past sin, and water is used as a powerful symbol for this in the rites of baptism. But Psalm 51, in which King David models a response to confrontation with one’s own failings, reminds us that washing away the past isn’t quite enough.

After seeking forgiveness – washing and cleansing – David goes on to ask for more: the creation of something new in place of the old, the restoration of lost joy, and the power to sustain a different way of life. As we continue to think about repentance this Lent, don’t stop short with just a wipe-up!

Something to do

Choose one of those three asks to focus on in prayer and reflection today: a new heart, restored joy, and sustaining strength.

Something to pray

God of new life, thank you that there is nothing in me too messy for you. Please continue your work in me, that I would be filled with joy at living each day as you call me to. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones