... Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Ps. 32:1, 2).
David boldly declares his liberation from sin’s guilt and his reconciliation with God. Recently, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany reminded Japan, on a visit there, to confront her wartime past—just as Germany did with her own wartime past. She also said that the war is a bitter memory for Germany, and her country will never forget the history. This honest and painful admittance of guilt and the humility to accept defeat are largely responsible for Germany’s reconciliation with her European neighbours. As such Germany has surely come out of the war a liberated country being reconciled with her past, her enemies and the world. However the same could not be said of Japan. She is still struggling to confront her war past and in a sense has chosen to close her “eyes to the past.” Somehow, all the efforts taken by the Japanese leaders toward reconciliation with her neighbours have not achieved the same results as Germany’s.
This is a reminder of a far greater and deeper human need – reconciliation with God and man whether in a national or personal level. The psalmist David would not have experienced the release from sins’ guilt without his honest admittance and repentance. He did not ‘cover up’ nor practice deceit, “… my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” (Ps. 32:3, 4). But when he openly comes clean, he is liberated and found peace with God.
This brings me to the season of Lent - a solemn religious observance which begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of six weeks before Easter Sunday (from 18th February to 5th of April). What is the purpose of Lent? It’s simply a time of heart preparation through prayer, repentance of sins, almsgiving etc. This spiritual exercise will lead us to focus on the suffering, crucifixion and triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ for our salvation and reconciliation. It is my prayer that during the remaining weeks of Lent we will take the time to prepare our hearts. Let’s honestly and with deep repentance make a clean break of our failures to God. Then and only then can we truly ‘celebrate God and sing together’ because the pressure is gone –our guilt dissolved and our sin disappeared. In this way, we all will grow deeper in the grace and understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev. Mark Tay