Where would I go to consider “the depths of the sea?” Natural places such as the rocky headlands of Acadia National Park, the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, or the precipitous Pacific Coast Highway immediately come to mind. The vast expanse of ocean visible from those elevations are reminders of God’s grandeur and magnificence, the wideness of God’s mercy, the steady love that continually washes over me. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,” writes the Psalmist in today’s reading. And in verses assigned from Micah: “He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency.” Yet even as I behold the peaceful, breathtaking scene stretching beyond the cliff, I can’t help but ponder the word “clemency.” It connotes lenience. Charity and forbearance. All which I require, my awareness of what I have done and left undone all the more acute during Lent.
It’s tempting to turn away from the view and start a discouraged trek back to wherever. Micah, however, taps me on the shoulder. God will, “have compassion upon us; he will tread our iniquities under foot,” that writer reminds me. God will, “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” It’s as if God suddenly appears, stomps everything that is mean-spirited and ugly about my life into a messy heap, scoops it up into a celestial satchel and then spins around and around, gaining speed and momentum until—just like that—He releases the bag and sends it hurdling into the sea where it disappears forever.
Appointed readings for today: Psalm 103: 8-10, Micah 7:18-20, Luke 13:1-9