Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Barbara of Holy Redeemer, May 11, 2020

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.  Psalm 51:10-12[1]

Does anybody else see a can of disinfectant cleaner everywhere they look?  This one is on my dresser.  I saw a big box of wipes in the pictures of my grandson’s birthday party, right beside the cake.  Last night, while playing a game of Zoom “What’s That Sound?” I used this can of spray as a sound for my grandson to guess.  My daughter reacted in shock!  “Mom, you wasted that spray on a game??!  You can’t get that anywhere!”  I must admit, this health crisis has given me a whole new appreciation of what it means to be clean!

The Psalmist’s cry to God is, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”   If only we could clean our hearts with a can of disinfectant spray!  Um…..on second thought, maybe not!  But I like the idea of a clean heart.  Mine feels pretty beat up right now and I’m guessing I’m not the only one.  People are separated from their loved ones, even in the hospital.  Others are going to work in fear for their lives.  I saw dedicated masked workers at a mortuary first-hand on Friday.  And the kids…it tears me up to see them isolated at home instead of running around getting dirty and playing with their friends.  And the very thought of hungry people….

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.  Joy?  Joy is hard won right now, but the joy of God’s salvation is different.  It’s not about happiness.  Salvation is not about when we die, salvation is for the here and now.  We are saved for something.  We are saved in order to bring about God’s future plans.  So I need the psalmist’s reminder of the joy of what each of us had to bring to the future, starting right here and now.  When I hear your stories of doing things for others and giving to others, I experience that salvation joy.  The future always starts right here and now, with us!

So, as you use your ubiquitous can of disinfectant and cleaning wipes, keep your focus on the future that God is calling into being.  It’s a future full of hope, and meaning, and communication, and God needs you and me, all of us, whether we feel up to it or not, to be there for each other, at work, at home, in prayer, in spirit.  And God is with us to give us clean hearts and to sustain our willing – and even our unwilling – spirit, with the love of God that spills out, even – and especially – in this time of trouble!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Barbara

[1] Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible (Kindle Locations 24262-24268). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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