2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
This psalm is prayed by King David as he repents of his adultery with Bathsheba. The words are appropriate as we celebrate Ash Wednesday and begin the season of Lent. Although this is not a biblical event, it was a tradition in the early church to seek repentance for sin in the weeks preceding the Paschal celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. They would wear sackcloth and sprinkle ashes on their heads. The tradition evolved into the forty days we now have as we prepare to for the commemoration of our salvation. The Christian community decided on forty days because of the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, and ashes are placed on the forehead instead of the sprinkling of ashes on the head. Most denominations celebrate these traditions. Even if you don’t officially belong to a particular church, this is a good opportunity for us to examine our lives to see where we need to root out sin and renew our commitment to Christ.
Fasting and prayer are two of the traditions of Lent. Some people fast by eating less and donating the money saved to the poor. Others give up something they enjoy, perhaps a favorite television program, playing on the computer, drinking alcohol, etc. Some choose to donate their time doing community service such as working at a soup kitchen or visiting a nursing home. It really doesn’t matter how one chooses to take the time to reflect on their priorities and spend more time with God. If we have slipped into bad habits that we had turned from at the New Year, this is a good time to begin again.
Let us make this year’s Lent a time of reconciliation and renewal.
Loving God, in just a few weeks we will once again remember the sacrifice your son, Jesus, made so that we might be saved. Give us the grace we need to renounce sin and ask for your mercy and forgiveness. Amen.