Gretchen Schoon Tanis was on summer staff at Camp Fowler and has her doctorate in ministry. She has worked as an adjunct instructor in youth ministry at Western Theological Seminary.
With the beginning of Lent and the reading of Psalm 51, I can’t help but think of my favorite scene from the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins), who has been wrongly imprisoned for years, finally digs his way to freedom one night during a thunderstorm and emerges in a river outside of the prison walls. He stands up in that river and sheds his prison uniform under the waters of the falling rain.
The scripture passage for today interplays with this scene in my mind. The psalmist says, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” Put another way, our sin is like that of a prison uniform that announces our sin. But the psalmist also cries out to God, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” The waters of baptism, as we die to ourselves and rise with Christ, have the power of that river to shed us of the uniform of guilt, and we are washed clean with the power of that thunderstorm rain.
Prayer: During this season of Lent may our prayer rise up together: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”
For this year’s Lent devotions, the days follow the Common Lectionary texts. Each author was invited to: 1.Read the passage.
2.Read a couple passages before and after the assigned day.
3.Do something else for the day, keeping the passage in mind.
4.Find a word/phrase/concept that connects with your own experience. Reflect on that.
You are encouraged to do the same.