There was a ritual my grandmother had when she would get us ready for church.My grandmother would make me take a bath paying particular attention to my face, neck and hands. She would then dress me in a newly cleaned and ironed dress she had made for me. I would put on my shines shoes and white little girl socks with the lace on the edge and she would tell me to stay clean un-til we left for church. I tried to stay still and not get myself dirty but invariably I would go outside and forget my promises and manage to get myself a little dirty.
Sitting in church I would discreetly try to rub the dust off my shoes and hide to smudge on my dress. That in a nut shell is a picture of sin and guilt. We try to pretend we are clean, knowing all the while the smudges on our soul.
We have begun Lent, a time of self reflection. Few of us set out to sin. We want to keep our souls clean but somehow we find ourselves drawn into some-thing messy and destructive for our spiritual life. We sit in church all off us carefully trying to hide the smudges on our souls from our friends. Praying no one notices our dirtiness. We are at the very place and should be with the perfect company to really get ourselves truly clean.
Max Lucado writes about sin and guilt in his book God's Promises For You.
"Have you been there? Have you felt the ground of conviction give way beneath your feet? The ledge crumbles, your eyes widen, and down you go. Poof! Now what do you do? ...When you fall, we can dismiss it. Deny it. We can distort it. Or we can deal with it.... We keep no secrets from God. Confession is not telling God what we did. He already knows. Confession is simply agreeing with God that our acts were wrong....
How can God heal what we deny?....How can God grant us pardon when we won't admit our guilt? Isn't that what we avoid? Guilt. Isn't that what we detest? But is guilt so bad? What does guilt imply if not that we know right from wrong, that we inspire to be better than we are....that's what guilt is: a healthy regret for telling God one thing and doing another," Happy Lent traveling.
March 23, 2014
Aldersgate United Methodist Church Rock Hill, SC www.aumcrockhill.com
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