Fifth Sunday of Lent
March 25, 2012
One of my favorite television shows is the science fiction/horror series “Being Human.” The series is based on a British TV show of the same name and features a vampire, werewolf and a ghost living together in an apartment in Boston. The whole premise of the show sounds like the start of a joke and at times, there is a lot of humor as the three try to live life as humans even though they are no longer human. But the main thrust of the show is how hard it is for them to be normal. Time and time again, they get thrown into situations where they are confronted with what they have become and how hard it is to live life as it was before they left the human race. This little campy television show tells a story of the supernatural, but at its core the message is very human: we are not always who we seem to be or even who we want to be. Sooner or later, we will face the reality of how far we have fallen and how hard it is to get back up.
Psalm 51 is the passage we hear every Ash Wednesday. If there ever was a downer passage, this it is. “Have mercy on me, God,according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion!” writes the psalmist. This is a guy who realizes that he’s been caught. He’s not offering a simple or formal apology, he’s being incredibly honest. He messed up. He got himself into a mess that he can’t get himself out of. He asks God for help because only God can get this writer out of the pickle that he constructed.
Our culture doesn’t really like to talk about sin. I’m not talking about sin in the I-ate-too-much-chocolate kind of way. I’m talking about how we are able to get ourselves into messes even when we don’t mean to. We want to think that we can solve any problem that comes our way and if we can’t, well, then weren’t smart enough. But the psalmist knew better. All of the pretense had gone away and the writer is left with the fact that no matter what, she will make mistakes that will hurt others and hurt God. She realize that it is only God that can make her clean and can right the relationship which has been broken.
As we journey towards the cross, we are reminded that salvation comes only not through us trying to make things right, though we will try. Salvation comes in the one that washes us daily, that makes us able to praise God with a right and renewed spirit. It is in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that we can become healed and human.
Go and be church.