Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 9: Give and Accept Forgiveness

"Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord
Lord, hear my voice;
O let your ears consider well
the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, should note what we do wrong
who then, O Lord, could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you
so that you shall be feared.
                                        I wait for the Lord, my soul waits for him
                                        and in his word is my hope.
                                       My soul looks for the Lord
                                       more than watchmen for the morning,
                                       more, I say, than watchmen for the morning.
                                       O Israel, trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy
                                       and with him is ample redemption.
                                       He will redeem Israel
                                       from the multitude of his sins."
                                      -Psalm 130

My junior and senior years of undergrad, I took as many classes with a favorite professor as I could fit into my schedule. The perks of his history classes were many, from gratuitous quips on monks in the Middle Ages to Trader Joe's Espresso Pillows. But what made his courses most appealing to me was that when it came to his exams, if you put in the effort beforehand you could be confident in the outcome. Down to the last minute, I knew the amount of time I needed to invest to get my A.

Nine times out of ten, memories from those classroom hours bring a smile to my face. However, whenever I read the word "Psalm," I flash back to the time in the fall of 2011 that I, on an Ancient Civilizations exam, neglected to write that one of King David's many legacies was the Book of Psalms. I knew that, I chided myself upon seeing that I had been docked for my mistake. I knew it better than I knew everything else I wrote in that dang 'blue book'.

Trivial (and obsessive) as I recognize that reads, it was still the first thought I had upon opening today's texts and seeing Psalm 130. However, that long-overdue forgiveness I owe myself for something that has had zero impact on the way my life has turned out since that day is overshadowed reallll fast (yes, I'm Texan) by the implications of the words in today's Psalm. The much, much more grievous errors I have committed in the past twenty-three years are not held over my head. I worship a God who relieves me of their weight.

There is forgiveness with you, Lord. I am forgiven for those moments I lose patience with your sons and daughters on the over-crowded Hong Kong MTR. I am forgiven for the times I have focused on differences between my American self and the Hong Kong Chinese, rather than celebrating our commonalities. I am forgiven for the moments I get wrapped up in thinking about what life in Hong Kong has done and can do for me and not what more I can do to serve.

My soul waits and my soul looks for you, Lord. My soul yearns for your forgiveness, and the ample redemption that you provide for the errors of my ways. This Lenten season, I pray that we all forgive ourselves and accept the forgiveness and grace of God for the trespasses we have committed. Let this forgiveness be accompanied by self-examination, and a commitment to be better.

Katie Webb is 23 years old and from the Diocese of Dallas. 
Not only has she served with the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Archives,
 but also she spent last year working at the Episcopal Church Center as YASC program staff.

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