A Meditation on Psalm 51
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Why do we wash? Where does that desire, that instinct, come from? Until recently the hospital staff whisked a newborn away before even letting the mother hold it, and even now they will be in a hurry to get the baby “cleaned up.” The surgeon washes before operating. We wash before we prepare food, before we eat.
Cleansing is a physical act of removing the surface layer, removing that which is unessential. We clean the surface of things to remove that extra layer. Strip off the stuff that stands between us. Perhaps cleansing keeps the "other" at bay. The unknown. Even though we know we “know” about germs and infection -- we don't see them with our own eyes. Without cleansing can we be our essential self?
Like mother and baby, we want the feeling of skin on skin, nothing separating us.
Lent gives us the opportunity to think about the message behind this action - "purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Like the baby we need the sin wiped away, cleansed, to be our authentic self. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me."
As we walk together through the final days of Lent, let us feel the possibility of skin on skin, the baby feeling the mother's touch, the essential matched with the essential, "O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise."
MARCH 26 / MONDAY