To me, few things are more lovely than freshly fallen snow.
When my pal Laura sent me this pic, taken from her Charlottesville window, I couldn’t help but think of King David’s prayer in Psalm 51. He’s painfully aware of the consequences of his actions (he’d slept with another man’s wife, then arranged to have the fellow killed), and when you read his words, you get the idea that he is just desperate to get rid of his guilt. David longs to experience freedom and joy, and to have a clean heart again. “Wash me,” he prays, “and I will be whiter than snow.”
Haven’t we all been there? Haven’t we all said or done something we wish we could undo, something that fills our hearts and our minds with shame? Haven’t we all longed for a clean slate?
I’ve been mulling over Psalm 51 all week, grateful that we serve a God who can – and will – do that which we cannot: blot out our sin and restore our joy. Imagine my surprise (my delight, actually) when Robbie and I went to the Ash Wednesday service and Psalm 51 was read aloud while our minister “imposed” the ashes (at least I think that’s the right term for what happens when you get them on your forehead).
Turns out, Psalm 51 is always part of the Ash Wednesday service, at least in the Anglican tradition. Who knew?
(Well, probably a lot of you. But, not being much of an Ash Wednesday girl, it was news to me.)
I can’t think of a better season than Lent – a time when our focus is on drawing closer to God – in which to borrow a prayer from Psalm 51. You might find a verse or two that you like better in there, but I’m picking 10 and 12 as a prayer for myself, and for my loved ones, this week:
Create in ____ a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit in me/him/her. Restore to _____ the joy of your salvation, and make me/him/her willing to obey you. (Psalm 51:10 & 12, NLT)