He is Risen!!
March 27 - Easter Sunday
Rev. Chris Pritchett, Senior Pastor, John Knox Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. - Psalm 51:10-12
If you spend a lot of time in your car, it's always a good feeling to give it a thorough wash after months of neglect. The dashboard is wiped clean. The granola bar wrappers are finally removed from the side console. The Butterfinger wrapper from last Halloween is found under the passenger seat and thrown away. The chocolate-stained mat is clean enough. The tree sap is off the hood. The bird poop is washed from the windows. The paint is sparkling again and the windows are clear. The first ride after a wash always makes me feel energized, refreshed, and happy about my old '01 Subaru.
The Psalmist knows that we have this experience in our souls. We struggle to make wise choices and the dirt and crud of life builds up. This causes us to hide from God. We're embarrassed by our selfish decisions. But we are not too far from return. Lent is about returning and cleansing. It's about taking our souls to the car wash, where God washes the dirt away. We are renewed again, alive, and eager to share life with God. We are hopeful enough to embrace a new day.
Take a 20-90 minute solitary walk (or run) with God. As you begin your walk (or run), invite Christ to walk with you. Pay attention to your surroundings. Enjoy talking with God about whatever is on your mind. What are your hopes for this Lent? What would you like to ask forgiveness for? If you pass by the home of someone you know, or a local church, say a brief prayer of blessing for them. Walking (or running) can be a powerful way to experience God's presence and beauty revealed in the world around us. And praying while you are moving can create a different mental flow that opens new insights. Many of the monastics throughout history have enjoyed this way of praying. They call it "Peripatetic Prayer."