Our scripture today is Psalm 51:1-12.

Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithfulness; According to the greatness of Your compassion, wipe out my wrongdoings. Wash me thoroughly from my guilt And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my wrongdoings, And my sin is constantly before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in guilt, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in secret You will make wisdom known to me. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; Cleanse me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness, Let the bones You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins And wipe out all my guilty deeds. Create in me a clean heart, God, And renew a steadfast 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 me with a willing spirit.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the church season of Lent. It is a time when we are called to examine our lives and ask forgiveness for our failings. Confessing our sins is never pleasant, but it is the only way to get back on the path God intends for us.

Over the next 40 days we will have a chance to explore our relationship with God and renew our commitment to the tasks He has given us. If you check the calendar, it’s still more than 40 days until Easter – Sundays aren’t part of the count. Martin Luther said “every Sunday is a little Easter”. It reminds us that while we are called to look at things we have done wrong, there is hope.

With the assurance of pardon when we admit our faults, we can live in the love God sends and do our part to share that love in a hurting and often difficult world. Confession is a hard thing but it heals the separation between us and our Creator. Ask Him to forgive you and He will welcome you back to the connection for which we were made.

Loving Lord, renew our spirits and give us loving hearts to minister to all your children. Make us the people You want to share the Good News everywhere. Amen.

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