by Kathy Matuschka
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I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’. And you forgave the guilt of my sin (Psalm 32:6b).
Many psalms start ‘nicely’ but end with an imprecation (curse) on the psalmist’s enemies. It happens more often than you’d think. I think perhaps we feel embarrassed that psalmists might curse other people in God’s word (it doesn’t seem very Christian!), and so often stop reading when we get to the ‘nasty’ verses.
Psalm 32 is no such psalm: in it, the psalmist stays focused on their own sin and their need to repent and doesn’t bring up anyone else’s behaviour. To use Richard Rohr’s words, we might imagine that the psalmist has come to a ‘crisis of limitations’. Rather than pointing the finger at someone else, the psalmist says, ‘It was me’.
Verse four of this psalm describes God’s hand as heavy upon the author. What is it like to have God’s hand heavily upon you? It could be experienced as oppression, doubts or lack of vision and direction. Or it could be a more physical message to your body to stop and listen to God.
It is never fun to feel God’s heavy hand upon us. We much prefer the wind of God’s Spirit beneath us. But in our lives as Christians, we move between these extremes. Thank God that when we feel God’s heavy hand, through Christ, we are free to confess our sins and be forgiven … again … and again … and again.
We pray using Martin Luther’s words:
Dear God, day after day in your church, you fully forgive my sins and the sins of all believers. By your Spirit, grow in me a repentant heart that trusts in your goodness and mercy. Amen.
Kathy Matuschka loves gazing at and walking within God’s creation, listening to stories of life and faith, and spending time with family and friends. She serves within the LCA Queensland District as Assistant Director for Ministry & Mission.