For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
~ Psalm 51: 16-17
Breath Prayer: “Offering ourselves” “offering me”
There’s no way out but through.
Robert Frost’s words from A Servant’s Servant welcome us into this Lenten season. It is here in these days of winter’s ending and spring’s beginning again that we are invited to step out on this pilgrimage of faith. This journey is not for the watcher or for the one who stands by and waits. Instead it is for one who has the yearning and the courage to return to the One who created and is creating still.
Psalm 51 brings also words to help as we begin. Over the centuries we have been reminded that God doesn’t delight in sacrifice alone. Words and deeds looking backward to what has been broken in the past and making contrition for them will not please God. Instead God delights in our being. Here in the psalmist’s words we are encouraged to begin with who we are and whose we are.
So let us set out on this 40 day journey, marked as daughters and sons humbled by what has separated in past days from the living love of God. Let us set out with hearts breaking open, with hopes of God’s loving acceptance. Let us set out in prayer and thanksgiving. Let us set out listening for what the Spirit has to say to us.
Prayer: Most merciful God, we humbly pray to you this day. Mark us again as your children, acknowledging that we have turned away from you time and time again. We have lost our way. With contrite hearts we enter into this season of Lent listening for you, seeking you, praying that you will guide each step as we begin this journey back to you. We humbly ask your blessing on us and this Lenten journey, Amen.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.