Mary Carlson serves as a spiritual director for some of Camp Fowler’s contemplative retreats.
David’s prayer for cleansing and pardon reminds me of words from modern day psalmist/songwriter Bruce Cockburn. Here are words from Cockburn’s song “Southland of the Heart,” interspersed with David’s psalm.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me. (v. 3)
When thoughts you’ve tried to leave behind
keep sniping from the dark (B.C.)
Against you, you alone, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight, (v. 4a)
When the fire burns inside you but
you jump from every spark (B.C.)
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment. (v. 4b)
When your heart’s beset by memories
you wish you’d never made (B.C.)
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me. (v. 5)
When the sun comes up an enemy
and nothing gives you shade (B.C.)
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me (v. 10)
In the southland of the heart, everyone was always free
Lie down, Take your rest with me (B.C.)
In my work as a spiritual director, I sit with people seeking cleansing and pardon, though they may not use those words. They, like David and Bruce, are looking for healing and wholeness. Their path is our Lenten path; the process of seeing ourselves in all our ugliness and glory, repenting for what separates us from God, allowing ourselves to be pardoned, and returning to right relationship with God. Imagine God inviting you home: Lie down; take your rest with Me.
Prayer: Have mercy on me, O God, blot out my transgressions. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. (verses 1, 12)
The 2015 Lenten reflections were submitted by staff, volunteers, board members, campers, and friends who have spent time at Camp Fowler in New York.
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.