Rev. Dr. Anna Verlee Copeland's Blog

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February 17 Post

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"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me." - Psalm 51:10

My mother had eyes in the back of her head. Or so we thought. She could tell when my brother and me were acting up. She seemed to know when I was reading my library book instead of doing my math. She could also turn around, look me in the eye, and know before I said a word whether I was about to tell a fib.

I remember the day, sitting in our small-town Methodist church, when Rev. Folkers talked about forgiveness. I was sitting between my mom and dad, and I was separated from my brother by my mother who didn’t want us poking at each other during the sermon. I knew I didn’t always treat my brother as I should, and I knew for sure that he didn’t treat me the way I wanted to be treated. So, when Rev. Folkers started talking about sin, he definitely had my seven-year-old attention.

This was long before computers of any kind, when we had chalk boards at school and erasers that we got to bang clean out back if we were well-behaved enough to be teacher’s helpers. The school even had an automatic cleaner that you could run the erasers through and it would suck up all the chalk. Oh, the joy of a clean eraser.

Rev. Folkers told us that when we do something that hurts somebody else, something we wish we hadn’t done, or when we say something, we wish we hadn’t said but said it anyway, or when we had a chance to do something nice for somebody and didn’t, it all feels like it’s written up on the chalkboard for everyone to see.

He told us that when we tell God what we’ve done, and when we say we’re sorry, it gets erased. It’s not like during the day when you can still see the outline of what was written there. It’s like afterschool when the chalk board is wiped down with a damp rag and the cleaned erasers get set back into their trays. What was written there is gone, forgotten.

We come now to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. This season is like that. When we confess, repent, forgive and are forgiven, all is made well and new. We get a Divine do-over. “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has passed away and is gone. The new is come.” You are forgiven. I am forgiven.

Receive this good news, and live.

Prayer: God of life, thank you that you have forgiven and forgotten all we have done or failed to do that separated us from you and our neighbor. Help us to keep our eyes upon you and begin anew, as we walk the Lenten road to Jerusalem with Jesus. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland