Fifth Sunday of Lent

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” Psalm 51: 1-12

 “Search me, O God,
and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior,
Know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be
some wicked way in me;
cleanse me from every sin
and set me free.”

“Search Me, O God”, Psalm 41

 

To experience the blessings of Resurrection, we are encouraged to face our wrong doings.

In this modern world we know how important it is to dial a phone number accurately or write down a password without mistakes. Often a car will not start if the driver fails to press the correct buttons and we can get ourselves in trouble if when travelling we fail to enter the correct pin number of our credit cards. When we use these numbers or passwords, we know that if we make a mistake, even one little mistake, we will not achieve our desired goal.  In our digital world there is no room for mistakes. If you miss one number, there is no mercy.

The Bible clearly teaches us that sin can create a wedge between us and God. The good news of the Lent season is that unlike the digital world, we can seek forgiveness and we can receive it. There is no secret password to open the gates of heaven. The same Bible that tells us that our sins have made a barrier between us and God is the same word of God that reveals God’s great desire to forgive us. While both the New and Old Testaments teach forgiveness, the New Covenant is built on the fact that Jesus died on the Cross to forgive all our sins. Our role is to confess, repent and believe while God’s role is to forgive our sins and reconcile us to himself.

In this world of violence, radicalism, selfishness, fanaticism and greed we are not only called to receive forgiveness but we are called to forgive those who do us harm. This exactly what Jesus taught us as we pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matt. 6:12 (NIV)

We cry with King David O Lord “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” As we receive your grace of forgiveness, Lord, we pray for those who transgress against us. Have mercy on them and on us. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen

-Rev. Alex Awad, GBGM Missionary in Palestine and Israel

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