For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
1 Timothy 1:12-17
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
cited from the NIV
18 September 2013
(photo: Gary Heard)
For the previous image click here.
The experience of Winter can be long and trying: enduring dark nights, cold and alienating days, enveloped by clouds.
Hope can seem distant and forlorn.
Looking into our own winters - the places of darkness, where life seems sapped or drawn, where perhaps we have created our own storms - can be a painful process, often inviting denial.
David's affair with Bathsheba became the source of an enduring and expanding winter. Act upon act to cover up his shame and his sin - miring him deeper in the darkness, and drawing others with him. When finally confronted by the prophet Nathan, David no longer seeks to hide, but welcomes the opportunity to name the source of this winter.
How do you and I face these dark moments? Those moments which reveal and express aspects of our life of which we are not proud? Do we own our sin, acknowledge our mistakes, and embrace the darkness with honesty?
Just as Paul embraced the reality of his sinfulness and became a new source of lief for many, so we too may find the new life of Spring emerging from the darkness of our own winters - the budding of a new season of life.
God of new beginnings,
We thank you for the bursting forth which comes with the springtime;
The emergence of new life from the long dark desert of winter.
It is ever a reminder to us of your renewing heart;
Of your desire to birth fresh life out of the realities of our present moment.
We know too well our own failings and frailties:
We do not need others to expose it to us.
Though we readily put on a face to others – a face which portrays confidence, capability and trustworthiness, we recognise in ourselves all the fallibilities and weaknesses which we so easily identify in others.
Yet out of this apparently dead wood, You bring the work of Your hands; You work the life of Your Spirit.
By Your grace we are more than we ever believe we can be;
By the work of Jesus those travails and pitfalls
become the fertile soil out of which hope
We are ever in Your debt, but also in Your hopes and dreams.
So joining not only with the words of King David, we join with his call from the depths:
“Create in each of us a pure heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within us all.”
For the glory and unfolding of Your kingdom we pray