The great defining psalm of Lent is Ps. 51. 2 verses caught my attention as we said Morning Prayer yesterday: v7 “Behold, you desire truth deep within me and shall make me understand wisdom in the depths of my heart” & v13 “Give me again the joy of your salvation and sustain me with your gracious spirit”.
The desire of God for truth within us is a contrast to the popular (mis) conception of Lenten penitence, which stresses v6 “I have been wicked even from my birth, a sinner when my mother conceived me”. Lent is surely when we remember than we are wicked sinners, there is no health in us and we are utterly depraved and helpless, isn’t it? Only up to a point.
None of us is a blank canvas in Lent. We each come with our personal history and background of faith and experience of God. We come bringing resources which can deepen our experience of God. The Holy Spirit like a friendly ghost who helps us to rediscover wisdom we have heard but forgotten, if we stay open to seeing truth wherever it comes from. Being open to the truth from new words and old lessons alike needs a special grace. Neither Trendy Wendy nor Rigid Traditionalist be – both miss the fullness of the joy of God’s salvation. Because both limit the ways in which the Spirit can be gracious.