It Is Not Beyond God’s Grace to Cleanse Us
Preparing for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany: Three Days before Sunday (Year A)
Psalter: Psalm 15
Old Testament: Deuteronomy 16:18-20
Epistle: 1 Peter 3:8-12
O God, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus, the Christ. Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, your incarnate presence on the earth. Amen.
O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
Those who do these things shall never be moved (Psalm 15).
by Joan Stott
Holy God, please forgive me, but I am confused by what appears to be contradictions in your Holy Word! God’s Holy Laws tell me that as a follower and believer in my God, I am called to love and serve the One and only God with all of my being, my mind, my strength, my will, my compassion and love, my intelligence, and my experiences – every part of me that makes up my whole being. But now I discover that your Holy Word says that only those who are blameless may enter God’s presence and sacred spaces.
Creative pause: Forgive me, but I am confused!
My Gracious God, I am puzzled by this dilemma! It seems that there are things I cannot or should not do - eleven of them if I want to be in God’s presence in the sacred spaces! If I receive a tick of approval against each prohibited action, I might eventually discover that I have the possibility of being considered ‘blameless’. But then, my own pride would raise its ugly head, and I would still miss out on worship! But I need to worship my God! I yearn to be in God’s holy presence, to say ‘Thank you’, and to offer my gifts to God and to other people.
Creative pause: I am puzzled and challenged by all this!
Maybe I have all this wrong! To be actually blameless or perfect in God’s sight is totally beyond my human capacity, but thanks be to God, it is not beyond God’s grace to so cleanse me, that the Holy Spirit acts in and through my life and living! I need to learn and build into my daily life the practice of loving God and my neighbor as myself—then, through the inspiration and action of God’s grace, I will again be able to come into the presence of God with joy, peace and celebration.
Creative pause: Amazing grace – how sweet the experience!
PRAYER: God our deliverer, you walk with the meek and the poor, the compassionate and those who mourn, and you call us to walk humbly with you. When we are foolish, be our wisdom; when we are weak, be our strength; that, as we learn to do justice and to love mercy, your rule may come as blessing. Amen.
Check out more Timeless Psalms here.