Do you sometimes struggles with ways to express your contrition before God? I didn’t grow up in the Catholic church which has an established system of confession and absolution. I was brought up in the United Church which has a very staid, conservative, and moderate faith. As an adult I converted to the Anglican or Episcopalian church because I found that the service gave me the sense of peace and sense of communion with God that I had been missing. I love everything about Anglicanism; the kneelers, the weekly communion, the confessions and Glorias. Being in my church, and participating in that service, brings me a feeling of being in the presence of God in a way that I didn’t find in other services. The great thing about faith is that there are enough different styles of worship to suit everyone.
But as much as there are a variety of different ways to worship God, I think that there is really only one way to come before him as a sinner. With a penitent heart. I talked earlier this year about how forgiving myself can sometimes be harder than coming to God for forgiveness. I also think that it’s can often be at those time that we are riding high in God’s grace that we fall hardest, that we feel most ashamed. We understand how completely we have separated ourselves, from who, and what God calls us to be, by our actions.
I have had an amazing week with God. I called Saturday my day of little blessings. I could see God’s hand in my life everywhere I looked. I guess it seems appropriate that Sunday would be a day I would fall flat on my face. A day in which I would lash out and react with anger instead of love. I woke up this morning knowing that I had done the wrong thing, feeling the weight of it in my heart, and needing a way to become right with God. I thank him that the first thing he did was to take the anger, and resentment out of my heart, and replace it with an understanding that it doesn’t matter if the world at large would consider my actions justified, if I was in the right. What matters is how I responded, and I didn’t respond with love. I needed to atone to that other person for that. I needed to apologize and ask God’s forgiveness for that.
The amazing thing about God is that he already knows what I’m going to need and he provides me with the solution. I didn’t do my bible reading yesterday. It literally didn’t even cross my mind to do it. Because God knew that I would need yesterday’s reading today. Psalm 51. This morning I read that Psalm, and then I wrote it out, and then I prayed the verses I have highlighted here as a meditation. God spoke to my heart, and because I came to him with an open and penitent heart, he not only gave me forgiveness, he also gave me the means to forgive myself. I guess sometimes you have to fall flat on your face in order to learn to let God to pick you up. It hurts my heart to know how kind and loving our Lord is toward us, even when we don’t deserve it. He really is the ultimate Father. I don’t know what my future has in store, but I know that if God already has the answer before I even ask the question, if he’s always going to be there to pick me up when I fall down, then He’s who I want to have walking beside me every step of the way.
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. (NIV Study Bible)
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.