Lent Devotion: March 12th

March 12, 2019
By Phyllis Palsma

Psalm 25:
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. …
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths. …
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Read the full psalm.

Lent is a time for a soul lift. Psalm 25 begins with a declaration of trust in God before going on to name several issues with which we can identify.

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. … in you I trust” (vv. 1-2). The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh, which represents the whole self, not just the soul. As we journey through Lent, it is good to affirm the foundation of our faith, to praise our God who guides us along life’s paths that are not always straight and well groomed.

Psalm 25 is an acrostic poem with the first letter in most lines beginning with succeeding letters of the Hebrew alphabet. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and 22 verses to this psalm. The use of the acrostic helps the psalmist paint a broad landscape with pathways that are detoured and overgrown with shame, malicious acts, a troubled heart, entrapment, loneliness, and affliction. Within these paths is written an instructional “ABC’s” of God’s teachings, forgiveness, and salvation. For every trouble or obstacle, there is an affirmation of God’s grace.

The psalmist implores God: “Do not remember the sins of my youth … according to your steadfast love, remember me, O Lord” (v. 7). This soul-lift moment is filled with confidence and hope. God is reminded, as are we, of God’s promise to be merciful and steadfast in love while leading and teaching us along the path.

So, lift up your soul! Give thanks and praise for God’s steadfast love and trustworthiness.

Prayer: O God, I lift up my whole self in praise to you because I trust in you. As I look to you for help, be gracious to me. Relieve the troubles of my heart that I may receive your mercy. All glory and praise be to Christ, our redeemer. Amen.
Phyllis PalsmaRev. Phyllis Palsma is chaplain and pastoral resource coordinator at the Christian Health Care Center in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Her path in ordained ministry began with hospital chaplaincy, journeyed through parish ministries (central New York and northern New Jersey) and regional synod staff ministry before returning to chaplaincy.

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