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Lenten Devotional 2022 -- Stephen McKinley on Psalm 32

Psalm 32 (New Revised Standard Version)

1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. 7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

A Reflection

I can still hear my dad’s voice reading Psalm 32 aloud, as he did often during my childhood.

Only in the King James version, of course:

Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile…”

Though short, through this Psalm our eyes get to see an ocean, a universe of comfort. Even if people won’t forgive us, or we can’t forgive ourselves, God’s forgiveness is complete. It has the totality of a solar eclipse – just as God’s hand weighed upon us in the form of guilt, so His forgiveness is total:

“...he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about”.

More than ever before, we need to try hard to forgive those around us; and we need to forgive ourselves; but what an elemental thing it is to remember that when God forgives us, it is bigger, deeper, stronger than anything we can muster in ourselves.

-- Stephen McKinley

A Prayer

Reconciling God, you bring all of us to yourself

through the power of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Our mistakes may be large or small;

they may be intentional or less so,

but no matter our iniquity

your love always runs to meet us on the road.

Refresh us with the breath of your Holy Spirit.

Renew us with the love of Christ Jesus.

Refocus us so that we might bring our whole being

into the ocean of calling and comfort you provide.


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