Who of us has never blamed ourselves for something that went wrong? If I had only . . . I should have . . . I could have . . . Iniquities are those aspects of life that remind us of our mortality and finiteness. Some of us are so prone to self-blame that it may even be our default stance when things go wrong. But the psalmist puts our humanity into divine perspective when he asks, “If you should mark iniquities, who would be left standing?” (AP).

Blame doesn’t share very well; it likes to keep the burden to itself. When we think, “Why am I in this deep mess?” we generally don’t share the blame around. It tends to pile up on one person, and if that person is the self, that only compounds the situation. Not only am I in trouble, but it is also all my fault!

Let’s follow the psalmist’s gaze as he shifts and widens perspective. It’s not about the depth of my transgression. It’s about the depth, the height, and the breadth of God’s amazing love. “There is forgiveness with you.” We are often so slow to forgive ourselves, it becomes hard to imagine the readiness of God to forgive us. Today we are invited to relax the hold on our failures. Release them; exhale as they fall into the hands of a loving God, who knows what to do with wrongdoings and shortcomings. Words of assurance are just as important as prayers of confession in our worship liturgies. Confession: O God, our iniquities abound and overwhelm us. Assurance: Hear the good news, friends of God, there is no offense or mistake, no sin of omission or commission, no fault or failure that can separate us from the love of God who forgives.

In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me; in the midst of faults and failures, stand by me. When I’ve done the best I can, and my friends misunderstand, thou who knowest all about me, stand by me (UMH, no. 512).

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 5:21-43

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Lectionary Week
June 21–27, 2021
Scripture Overview

David is remembered in scripture as a mighty king but also as a great poet. Many of the Psalms are ascribed to him. In Second Samuel we find a song of lament over Saul and Jonathan. Saul was violently jealous of David, yet David still honored Saul as God’s anointed king. Jonathan was David’s best friend. David bemoans Israel’s loss of these leaders. The author of Psalm 130, although probably not David, appeals to God in David-like fashion. The Gospel shows the power of a woman’s faith. In Second Corinthians, Paul deals with practical matters, appealing to the Corinthians to send promised financial help to the believers in Jerusalem.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27. What part does music play in your prayer life? Do you sing both songs of lament and songs of praise?
Read Psalm 130. When have you cried out to God from the depths of your despair? What was God’s response?
Read 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. How do you maintain your eagerness to practice your faith?
Read Mark 5:21-43. What has been your experience of God’s healing?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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