Thursday, March 17, 2011

by Charles Hill

I will confine my comments to the Psalms. Although the psalmist refers to God as a “refuge” in Psalm 46, he most often emphasizes God’s strength and force: “my rock and my redeemer” (19); “He makes wars cease” (46); “God the Lord speaks and summons the earth . . .” (50); “. . . for you, O God, are my fortress.” (59); “. . . it is [God] who will tread down our foes.” (60).

But as compelling as these images may be, this is not what Lent is all about. Besides being a time of repentance for past failings, (I dislike the word —and the concept— sin. “Sin” is just too heavy for most situations), Lent is also a time of renewal, of regaining the strength to carry on. It is our responsibility to recognize mistakes of the past and not to repeat them. Lent is also the time to recognize possible future pitfalls with the intent of avoiding them.

If this sounds terribly hairshirtish, remember that it is only after making every effort ourselves that we may legitimately call on God, our “rock,” our “fortress,” for help.

Genesis 39:1-23
Psalms 19, 46
1 Cor. 2:14-3:15
Mark 2:1-12