Lenten discipline of the day:
Let it go.
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.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Last night at our Ash Wednesday service, as Psalm 51 was read and during a long period of silence after, the congregation was invited to prayerfully reflect on this question: What stumbling block, burden, situation, relationship, or habit is keeping us from being in a deeper relationship with God? Each member of the congregation was given a piece of tracing paper and invited to write down what it is that needs to be released from their life — or what they need to receive from God — to renew a right spirit within them.
Before receiving ashes, each member of the congregation set fire to the slip of paper using a candle set in a deep bowl. As the paper burned down to ash, they were invited to pray:
“God, forgive in me what has gone wrong,
repair in me what is wasted,
reveal in me what is you.
What is holding you back from being the child of God that God created you to be? What is holding you back from a deeper relationship with God and your neighbor? Envision that piece of your life burning away for good, allowing the Holy Spirit space to renew and repair a new and joyful spirit!
And if you need inspiration, here’s a silly and joyful reminder of how good it feels to finally let go and be the person God intends us to be:
With thanks to Theresa E Cho!