Read Psalm 25:

 

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame;

            do not let my enemies exult over me.

             Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;

            let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

 

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;

            for you I wait all day long.

 

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!

 

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,

             for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

 

For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

 

Who are they that fear the LORD? He will teach them the way that they should choose.

They will abide in prosperity, and their children shall possess the land.

 

The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,

            and he makes his covenant known to them.

 

My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

 

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

Relieve the troubles of my heart, and bring me out of my distress.

Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.

O guard my life, and deliver me;

            do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

 

May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.

Redeem Israel, O God, out of all its troubles.

(NRSV)

       from Rev. Steven Smith – United Disciples of Christ Church, Charleston

 

            What are you most in need of today—protection, forgiveness or guidance?  My sense is that the majority of us would say that we are most in need of guidance.  When we push our understanding of the whole Christ event—from birth through life and ministry, to death, his resurrection and the current outpouring of the Holy Spirit—we come to know that we are both protected and forgiven.

            Our protection is not a physical protection from all harm but rather an eternal protection.  In Christ we have been promised eternal life.  I believe that this eternal life begins now and not at some future event.  Though we live in the present with all its realities, we were created for eternity.  This passage begins with the Psalmist acknowledging this protection and—through a confession of faith and trust—calls upon God to remember it.

            The psalmist calls upon God’s goodness in this psalm as he asks for forgiveness on three separate occasions.  Our forgiveness was offered by Christ on the cross, once and for all.  We know that all we need to do is ask for it and forgiveness will be given.  I am reminded in the reading of this psalm how often the forgiveness Christ offers is taken for granted.  Knowing that it has been offered, once and for all, leads some to not ask for it as often as we can.  We get hung up on the fact that in order to ask for forgiveness we must acknowledge sin.    Forgiveness was offered not to make us feel bad, but to reveal God’s goodness.  It is only after we acknowledge God’s eternal protection, and ourselves as forgiven, that we can begin to receive the guidance God offers us.  If guidance is what we need the most, let’s get started!

 

To you O Lord, I lift up my soul and trust you with my life. 

I recognize my need, and ask for the forgiveness that only you can offer.  Guide me in your ways of goodness and grace this day.

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