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Sunday Reflections, March 15, 2015

One can almost taste the spring that’s in the air these days. Days are longer. Jackets are being left at home. Snow is melting away. Spring is a glorious invitation to breathe in a new world, uncovered afresh after long months of being suffocated by blankets of cold and snow.

As I think back on last night, I sense the new breaking spring taking hold of our beautiful tribe. Kellye’s message on repentance and her invitation for us to embrace the postures of David from Psalm 51 seemed to be much like our new spring sun, warming the recesses of my heart that often becomes hardened from the icy cold of my own stubborn resistance to God.

I couldn’t help but resonate with Kellye’s description of her dog; that he had been so abused in his past that even the invitation to be let out the door would result in a flinch. So often, I too feel so ashamed and afraid of the pain of my sin, that even the word repentance causes my body to tense, my eyes to dart, and my heart to close. Yet, the experience of last night was such a wonderful reminder that repentance was always intended to be a gift from God.

What perhaps stood out to me most was how vulnerable it felt when I got my body involved in our time of practice. It was one thing to sit and listen to the lectionary readings, sing about the faithfulness of God, even listen to Kellye’s words. And yet, when we were each invited to stand and spread our arms out wide, I felt vulnerably open. In that moment, I realized that there was nothing I could hide, because there was nothing that God didn’t know. What began as a uncomfortable exercise steadily became a sense of relief. By the time we placed our hands together, I knew that God already knew and that he longed to wash me, to cleanse me, to scrub the dirt off my hands.

Perhaps most importantly of all, came as the third and final movement of David that Kellye pointed out; repentance was also meant to be for the sake of the world. As we were invited to open our hands before God and pray about how he might use them I couldn’t help but look down and marvel; “These hands God?” 

Only to hear Aaron’s final invitation, “What kinds of things could happen if God were to use these freshly cleaned hands for others?” Friends, the good news is that through repentance in Jesus Christ, our hands have been cleaned, but even more, God wants to use your hands and my hands for the sake of those arounds us. Just imagine what could be done, if we each joined God with the work of our freshly clenased hands.

Would you join us these next few weeks in continuing to practice the examen. Would you join us by continuing even on a daily basis to practice repentance, even using the three postures of arms spread, hands together, and palms open before God. (How about even practicing the two together?) Would you continue to join us in this season of Lent as we invite God to examine, reveal and cleanse us in preparation for Easter? 

May God, with the penetrating warmth of his son Jesus Christ, cleanse you through the practice of repentance in order that your cleansed hands might be used for the sake of the world.
Grace and Peace to you and all who you love,
John Perrine

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