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The Place to begin

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. - Psalm 25:1 (NRSV)

I wonder how long the psalmist lingered over that opening line: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” Perhaps the writer moved quickly to the next verse: “O my God, in thee I trust.” But maybe it took a while before he could pen those words of faith.

The psalmist wasn’t feeling much trust in others: “Let me not be put to shame, let not my enemies exult over me,” the psalmist asked. Feeling besieged by the malevolence of others can make it hard to trust the Almighty. Moreover, the psalmist’s anxiety wasn’t limited to outside forces. “Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions,” the writer prayed and reminded God, “according to thy steadfast love, remember me.”

To be sure, by the tenth verse, the psalmist affirmed God’s goodness and proclaimed that “all the paths of Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness.” But I’m not sure that’s where the writer began. Maybe they simply took the first step on that path by lifting up their soul to the Lord.

Perhaps this Lent, that’s where some of us begin our journey, too. Not with songs of praise or affirmations of deep trust, but simply lifting our souls to God. Maybe we do it with fingers crossed and rubbing a rabbit’s foot, hoping something good will come of it. The important thing is to do it, to join with the ancient psalmist and say, “Here’s my soul, Lord, in whatever shape it’s in. I lift it to you.” That’s the first step of Lent’s journey. May God grant us the courage to take it.

Prayer

To you, O Lord, we lift our souls. In you, O Lord, may we find ourselves. With you, O Lord, may we find our way. Amen.
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