(4) Make me to know your ways, O God; teach me your paths. (5) Lead me in your truth,
and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
(6) Be mindful of your mercy, O God, and of your steadfast love, for they have been
from of old. (7) Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according
to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness sake, O God.
~ Psalm 25
Pilgrims sang and prayed these Psalms as they journeyed through the wilderness. Words known to them by heart. As they walked through desert, as they ascended steep hills, as they traveled they sang together, lest they forget. These were ancestral prayers. These were their ancestors’ words passed down father to son, mother to daughter to bring inspiration, consolation, reassurance. These words came from their hearts when other words fell short.
Today’s readings bring words from Psalm 25. Even though we are just beginning our Lenten journey, I feel an appreciation for the psalmist’s words, "make your ways known." Even though we have just started walking through the wilderness season, we know already that this is not what we are accustomed to. The human comforts have been set aside for a bit and we are intentionally focused on what is here now and what is just up ahead for us.
Verse seven entreats God to `forget what has been’ and instead look upon us with steadfast love. So much of our lives seem to be spent looking back, rehashing mistakes we’ve made or others have made against us. So much focus on what has been and because of that, time and again we’ve missed what is right here before our very eyes. What is done, is done. We can’t undo or redo it.
Perhaps in these Lenten days we can put aside a burden or two or three. We are just beginning these days and we have a long way to go, wouldn’t it be a kindness to your spirit (not to mention your weary back) to lay a burden down? Maybe it’s a “she said, he said” burden. Let it go. Maybe it’s a wrong done to you, something painful that hurt you deeply and you’ve righteously carried it a long time. Let it go.
Verse ten goes on to say. “All the paths of God are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep God's covenant and testimonies.” Here we are given words of encouragement for these steps we are taking. Here we are reminded that all along the way, God is with us, step-by-step. It is our work to be mindful of our promises to God, as well as God’s promises to us. It is our work to live into words of life and faith. And with the reassurance of God’s lovingkindness t is our work to keep going.
This season of Lent can be a time for stretching and risking, a time for re-membering and reclaiming our balance. This can be the season of praying and singing words passed down for centuries, and new to our hearts even this day.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan (now a freshman at Guilford College) and Sam at sophomore at DHS in Decatur, GA.