Artwork by Timothy Botts The season of Lent is almost upon us and that means that we are about to depart on a long, long journey to the cross. After placing ashes on one another this Wednesday to remind us our our mortality we will journey with Jesus to his temptation (and, indeed, our own) as we enter into the wilderness that exists between us at that glorious empty tomb.
As Luke's account of the Transfiguration reminded us last week, we are now called to leave that glorious mountain for the holy valley where we must depend on the light of Christ to illuminate the path to the cross.
But between the convulsions of the demonized boy in yesterday's passage, the dismal language of dust and ashes of this Wednesday, and our upcoming encounter with Satan this upcoming Sunday, I need comfort, courage, and conviction!
Thanks be to God for Psalm 103 and it's placement in the lectionary for our departure on this Lenten journey!
On Wednesday we will begin this journey but we will not travel it alone. Psalm 103 reminds us who it is that goes with us every step of the way:
Our God who forgives, who heals, and who redeems our lives... Our God who crowns us with steadfast love and mercy... Our God who is merciful and gracious and slow to anger... Our God who removes our transgressions from us... Our God who has compassion for us... Our God who renews us... Our God who is from everlasting to everlasting...
This psalm reminds me that I mustn't forget all of God's benefits, especially during this season of Lent. Therefore, as courage for the long road ahead, I am heading up to my apartment to print off a copy of Psalm 103. I will carry it in my back pocket for the entirety of my Lenten journey. I will read it and be reminded of who it is that walks with me (and you!) on this journey.
Friends, do not forget all God's benefits! Take heart and be courageous for we are in good company on this wild and precious journey.
Grace and peace, Stephen