“From whom no secrets are hid…” Stop! Don’t rush past this so quickly. Hidden secrets, shameful actions, regret-filled memories, stupid hurtful comments, selfish motives, cherished resentments are burdens we all carry. Pause for a minute and let the words sink into our awareness. Before God, all our secrets are known, revealed, laid bare. Do you get a glimpse of the awfulness and yet the freedom of this? The running can cease, the weight can be lifted, the mask can fall. What a relief! Let Lent begin.
Beginning of the meeting
Read the reflection above. Quiet yourself. Become more aware of God’s presence. Open yourself to the love of Jesus as you read or hear the following passage.
First reading: Listen for what the Spirit of God is saying to you.
Second Reading: Circle the words that suggest hiddenness such as covered and silence. What does it mean that God becomes the hiding place? What sins do you need to face? How does it feel to know that God’s steadfast love surrounds you and overwhelms our sins? Do you feel it? Write down your reflection and if you are in a small group share your thoughts.
Psalm 32 New Revised Standard Version
Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’,
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all who are faithful
offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
shall not reach them.
7 You are a hiding-place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the torments of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.
Third Reading: Listen to the words and let them guide you in a direction that will bring you out of hiding from God. Let the words inform your Lenten spiritual practice. Again, write down your reflections and if you are in a small group and then in the large group share common themes and insights.
Psalm 32 The Message
Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
you get a fresh start,
your slate’s wiped clean.
2 Count yourself lucky—
God holds nothing against you
and you’re holding nothing back from him.
3 When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.
4 The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.
5 Then I let it all out;
I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”
Suddenly the pressure was gone—
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.
6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we’ll be on high ground, untouched.
7 God’s my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
8 Let me give you some good advice;
I’m looking you in the eye
and giving it to you straight:
9 “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule
that needs bit and bridle
to stay on track.”
10 God-defiers are always in trouble;
God-affirmers find themselves loved
every time they turn around.
11 Celebrate God.
All you honest hearts, raise the roof!
Quiet yourself. Conclude by offering this prayer with pauses of about 10 seconds each.
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, pause…
all desires known, pause…
and from whom no secrets are hidden: pause…
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, pause…
that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; pause…
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
End of the meeting
Read the passage once again and ask how God’s Good News has been known in your time together.