A devotion from Pastor Doug Meyer based on his Ash Wednesday message:
I have a confession to make – I do not like cleaning.
I do not like making my bed, or doing the dishes, or running the vacuum, or washing and putting away the laundry. I do not like cleaning out my garage or washing my car. But…
- I really like sleeping on clean sheets and eating off clean plates.
- I like the smell and feel of a clean house and car.
- I like walking in to my garage and looking around when everything is in its place.
As a kid my idea of cleaning my room and my mother’s idea of cleaning were vastly different.
My idea of cleaning was to stash my toys and dirty clothes under my bed or in the back of my closet or shove it in my dresser drawers. I would make my bed by pulling my bedspread up over my pillows. The “cleaning” task was completed with a spray or two of air freshener. My goal was to get my room clean enough to pass inspection - that way I would be free to go and play, go and watch TV or have a snack or do anything else but clean my room.
I imagine this “life moment” sounds a lot like many of us did on Ash Wednesday. Let’s get this confessing and cleaning up over with so we can get on with the stuff we really want to do. Many of us would rather do just about anything than clean the rooms of our “souls.”
Do you know anyone who likes to stand amid the dirt they have helped create? To glance around their home, the car, their office, their life and see the dirt, dust and disruption they have contributed to in word and deed? We get a sense in Psalm 51 of how David felt when he faced “the mess he created” with his relationship with Bathsheba and his efforts to have her husband Uriah killed on the battlefield.
I wonder what it would be like if took seriously the call from God to clean up our rooms. To do some serious, deep cleaning of the spaces in which we do life.
What if we stood on the middle of our rooms – and took a long hard look at all the places we have stuffed, stashed and hidden dirt and dust?
I wonder are we brave enough to tackle the opportunity to do some serious cleaning? The kind of cleaning where we have to move the furniture. To pull everything out from underneath the bed? To empty the closets. To pull the fridge out from the wall and even to empty the kitchen junk drawers? Maybe we even empty all the stuff under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Once that is complete and we will really proud of our accomplishments what if we prayed Dear God, please reveal to me al the places I have overlooked, All the hidden dirt I do not even recognize as dirt.
The dirt I have become accustomed to.
Not so fast in putting way the cleaning supplies. This is not a once and done project. No house or car or office or heart stays clean for long. You are going to need your supplies again real soon, you might want to leave the vacuum cleaner out as well!
God help me to be brave enough to not settle for “clean enough” just so I can go out and play.
Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon
To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 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.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being;[a]
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right[b] spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing[c] spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God[d] is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then you will delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.