Seeing clearly

By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston

“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. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.” Psalm 51:10-14 (NRSV)

A true gift to a pastor in a new appointment comes in the form of an invitation. An invitation to join a member of the church in visiting those persons who are sick or unable to leave their own homes. The invitation to build relationships with the people of God together.

Helen Kite was a woman ahead of her time. The spouse of a retired military pilot, she too, obtained her pilot’s license and flew on her own. She was kind and supportive, active in many ministries and Bible study groups. And when I arrived as the new pastor of the congregation where Mrs. Helen worshiped, she offered to me the gift of an invitation to accompany her on visits to homebound church members.

Reflecting on a sermon she had heard once, Mrs. Helen shared the words of the pastor, namely, “The first thing that I do every morning when I get up is clean my glasses. I do this because I can’t see today’s world through yesterday’s dirt.”

She went on to dig a little deeper into the importance of personal renewal and spiritual cleanliness, saying, “Even with clear eyesight we often have not cleansed our hearts. We have a tendency to hold on to things of the past that need to be discarded. Our ‘mental baggage’ can get very heavy when we continue to carry hurts and grievances that need to be forgiven and forgotten. They hold us back and need to be thrown away. We can, with God’s help, start each day with a clean heart and a renewed spirit and have a far brighter view of today’s world if we lay those things aside. God forgives and gives us a new day and a fresh start every day that we live. Accept this and live renewed.”

As we continue the journey to the cross through the season of Lent, we are given the opportunity to reflect on the struggles endured by Christ as he was tempted in the wilderness even as we reflect on our own struggles and hurts.

And yet, regardless of the amount of dirt on our glasses or the mental baggage we carry, we are representatives of Jesus Christ here on earth. When our hearts are clean and our spirits renewed, the joy of the Lord flows through us. The world is watching, looking for glimpses of our witness to the love, grace and mercy available through God. No matter what is going on around us, or what has happened to us, we’ve got to let God’s love shine through us.

Lent is a time for us to focus on our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. To take stock of your own spiritual condition is to dig into who you are and whose you are so that you can live on purpose for the sake of Christ in this world.

Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world requires of us to first be transformed by God’s love ourselves. No matter what is going on around us, we’ve got to show up for God to work within us.

The good news is that we don’t have to show up alone.

Offer a gift to someone you know—the invitation to join you in this life-changing journey of faith. 

Get Periodic Updates from the Advocate We never sell or share your information. You can unsubscribe from receiving our emails at any time.