From the Human Rights Campaign’s Lenten devotional series:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
– Psalm 51:10, ESV
I suspect anyone reading this has experienced saying “I’m sorry” to another person. We’ve all been there, whether it was a partner, sibling, friend, supervisor or parent – at some point – we’ve all had to say “I’m sorry.” It’s rarely easy, and it’s never something we get used to.
As a child, I remember getting carried away while playing at a friend’s house. The end result was the toppling over and subsequent smashing of dishes on the edge of the kitchen counter. It was an awful mess which we were ordered to clean up. In the process of our clean up, I asked his mother where to throw away the broken bits and pieces of dishes. She instructed me to take them into the garage and put the broken pieces into a 5-gallon bucket in her mosaic studio. When I dumped the smashed dishes into the bucket it became clear that those broken pieces would eventually be used to create beautiful art. After our clean up, I walked into the kitchen and sheepishly said, “I’m sorry,” to my friend’s mother. It was scary, embarrassing and difficult to simply say, “I’m sorry.” Yet, in spite of the fear and embarrassment, there was relief and a sense of renewal in having done what I was supposed to do.
Lent is a time for God’s people to offer contrition for things done and things left undone. Those apologies, those amends allow God to give renewal and grace. As noted above, beautiful art can come from brokenness; likewise, our amends and recognition of brokenness give God the opportunity to create something beautiful and new.
Peace to you,
Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Mississippi