This sermon was proclaimed in the community of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Holladay UT, on March 10 for Wednesday Lent Vespers Worship. It was Zoom and it can be viewed on the Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church SLC Youtube Channel.
The text was Psalm 19
The first house we bought in 1996 was a 1952 starter home in Lincoln, NE. Being an older home, we soon discovered some issues. We were having trouble with water in our finished basement, as every time we had a heavy rain, which in the spring and summer in NE, could be often. When the contractor came to regrade the dirt around the foundation, he saw something that concerned him. He started taking down the sheetrock in the basement and discovered the foundation was caving in. It couldn’t be seen hidden behind the walls. The water problem was really part of a bigger problem that only could be solved by removing all the walls in the basement so that the faulty foundation was exposed. Once it was exposed, the big heavy “I-beams” were brought in to reinforce the foundation. It was expensive for us as a young couple with two small children, and painful to lose the basement as living space. But it would have been more painful had the faulty foundation remained hidden. The possibility was the losing the whole house.
Like the psalmist in verse 12, I’m pondering what it means for God to clear me of my hidden faults. It seems innocuous enough, maybe God will just come in with a soft eraser and gently wipe the slate clean. But I think it’s more akin to the foundation work we had to do on our house in NE. When God clears our hidden faults, it means demolition of whatever wall is covering up the fault so that it can be rectified. Maybe it’s carrying a metaphor too far, but I know when I am faced with some hard truth of myself, there is a wall that has to come down so that I don’t continue to perpetuate what is faulty and crumbling.
The psalmist is also clear that all humans have faults, yes, even me, yes, even you. It is God’s presence and truth that pulls down the walls around our faults not for guilt or shame but for community, healing, justice, peace, and wholeness. With wall removed, we see God’s glory and grace in our lives and in the world. It beckons us to have our words and deeds reflect God’s will for God’s people. God’s presence in creation is sure, never ending, from heaven to earth, from day to night. God’s presence reinforces our true identity as beloved, so that we are courageous in doing what is life-giving for our neighbor. We are reinforced and girded with God’s law of love on our hearts. Thanks be to God.