by Rev. Lyndsie Blakely
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be shamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.” (Psalm 25:1-10)
My two-year-old son has a new favorite show called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” which is a spin off from “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” It does a fantastic job of teaching morals and life lessons using little jingles that are sung over and over throughout the episode.
In the midst of the beginning of the Lenten season, one episode’s jingle caught my attention. The show was all about how to apologize to your family and friends when you’ve done something wrong. So many kids’ shows deal with this topic. It’s not easy for children to say sorry (let’s be honest, it’s not easy for adults either), but I thought the way Daniel Tiger addressed it was particularly wonderful. The jingle went like this—“Saying I’m sorry is the first step, then, how can I help?”
The show went through several scenarios where the characters ran into problems or issues with one another. Each would begin to remedy the situation by simply apologizing, but the other character would feel like a modest “I’m sorry” just wasn’t cutting it. So they were encouraged to find a way to help after apologizing, whether that was helping to clean up the mess they made, or ceasing to continue an action that was bothering someone, etc. You can watch and listen to the compilation song from the episode online.
It’s stuck in your head now, isn’t it?
This kids’ show has it right, I think. It’s important for us to apologize, but if we aren’t willing to change our ways or help reconcile the situation, are we truly sorry? This is a big part of what Lent means to me. It’s a time to repent and ask for forgiveness like the Psalmist’s cry in the later verses of Psalm 25.
We are called to recognize our brokenness and turn from our sinful ways. And, as we ask for God’s forgiveness, we are also called to ask, “Lord, how can I help?” How can I help reconcile my relationship with God? How can I reconcile my relationship with my neighbor? How can I respond with acts of justice, compassion and love to those in my home, community and world that I have hurt or ignored? The Psalmist urges God to forget the sins of the past, but understands that he is called to live into this life of forgiveness in a way that glorifies God and God’s love and faithfulness.
So as you travel on this Lenten journey, where are there places in your life where you need to say you are sorry? And what can you do to help after that repentance has happened? Sometimes it’s something as straight forward as cleaning up the cup of spilled water on your friend’s drawing! Often, it takes more prayer and discernment. Thankfully, we always worship a God whose grace is offered new to us every day and who will journey alongside us in both the wonderful and difficult times in life.
Let the words of the Psalmist be your prayer today, “Make me know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5) Amen.
Rev. Lyndsie Blakely is a provisional deacon in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. She serves as the Minister of Discipleship with Youth Emphasis at Farmville United Methodist Church in Farmville, VA. She and her husband blog about ministry, higher education & life with a toddler at http://adventures-of-baby-blakely.blogspot.com.