Friday, March 20, 2015

Devotional 3-20-15


Lectionary Readings:  Jeremiah 31: 31-34; Psalm 51: 1-12; Hebrews 5:5-10 and John 12: 20-33.
“Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.  Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing.  Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health.  God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.” Psalm 51:  7-9  (The Message).

My grandparents did not have indoor plumbing until I was in college.  Washing dishes, clothes and bodies was always an interesting adventure.  A “day in the life” at Grandma’s seemed so carefree to all of the grandchildren.  We raced and chased outside all day long.  There were creeks to ford and trees to climb.  Chickens to chase and buttercups to pick.  When the sun lowered we would be called in and reluctantly report for “bath time”. The tub, which consisted of a round galvanized tub about 3 feet in diameter, was set up close to the stove. No privacy was really needed when we were younger, but we usually did take turns in the tub. Since all the water had to be pumped and then heated, the water was never very deep, but we pretended we were sailing the seas in our fantastic ship and we imagined the water pouring over our head was really a water fall to hide behind during a wonderful mystery.

When I read the version of Psalm 51 from The Message, I was reminded of the wash tub we bathed in at Grandma’s house.  For most of my childhood, the tub always signified an adventure.  Later as I grew, the tub began to pose a challenge as I no longer really fit in the tub in a seated position.  So it was with a giggle that I pictured God’s BIG laundry tub where I would be soaked and scrubbed as laundry to become clean.

The focus on the laundry tub was short-lived as God immediately drew my attention to the purpose of a tub:  a thorough “soul cleaning”.  Psalm 51, written by David after he was confronted by Nathan about David’s affair with Bathsheba, is a plea for forgiveness.  David pled guilty to his sin and asked to be forgiven and cleansed from its grasp.  Although I am not guilty of adultery, “sin is sin,” as my father would remind me, and the daily act of asking for forgiveness is a necessity.

Lent 2015 for me has been a challenge to improve my prayer life.  God has been calling me to develop a pattern of prayer throughout the day that can be repeated daily.  This process has increased an awareness of my shortcomings and a sad lack of diligence.  I had settled into a habit of quick, short prayers regarding the challenge of the moment and not the deep soul-searching prayers meant to improve my relationship with God.

Today, God has used this psalm to remind me of an important needed addition to my prayers—a method of asking for forgiveness. I had not studied Psalm 51 for some time.  Using The Message translation was a chance to explore the words from a different perspective.  The climactic message David conveys is that God has the power to forgive, and what God demands of us is a “broken and contrite heart.”  We can go through the motions of worship and offerings on the altar, but what God requires is the surrender of our hearts and our will to God’s direction.  Forgiveness is readily available—we just have to ask for it on a daily basis.

God is in the cleaning business—cleaning up sin and offering forgiveness. Jesus’ life was sacrificed for our sins.  We cannot “fix” our sins on our own.  Why not spend some time studying this psalm and try some of God’s version of spring cleaning—a fresh start with a healthy dose of forgiveness.  “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”.

Dear Loving God, we ask your forgiveness for our many sins and transgressions.  We are truly sorry for the disappointments and heartaches we have caused you.  Please accept our penitent hearts and show us a way to serve you with greater commitment.  We submit our lives to your will.  Help us to follow your direction more diligently.  We thank you for the life of your son whose blood was shed for our sins.  Help us to serve you by sharing your love as Jesus has shown us.  AMEN.

Chyrl Budd

1 comment:

Becky Warren said...

I just now read your devotional, and it took me back to my childhood. I never took a bath in a metal tub, but I did take a bath EVERY TIME I went to Mammaw's. I felt that I was never quite clean enough for her, but as I've grown older, I realize that she was determined that I would be a child of God. When I hear you question your prayer life, I laugh because I can't think of anyone who takes her walk with God more seriously. Love you, Becky