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The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Dorothy Neilson 

Sunday - 27 March 2022 - The Fourth Sunday of Lent

Relax.  Settle.  Draw close to God.  Be still.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,
   whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them
   and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.                   From Psalm 132

Maybe this is a passage of scripture we all have to be reminded of today and particularly in this season of Lent.  The Psalmist is NOT preaching at you us.  He is NOT saying , “You must confess your sin or else!”  He is saying if you are feeling down, guilty of something (although you MAY or MAY NOT know what!) low in spirit, dragging yourself through the days, then maybe, just maybe you need to come to God and talk it out.

My car goes in for a service this week.  So often by the time it goes into the garage the engine is grimy, gummed-up with the grit, salt and dust of many miles travelled.  And it just needs a good clear out and some fresh new oil.  Then it’s fit for another few thousand miles.

Our hearts are similar.  We get down-hearted and weary.  Sometimes we even feel quite weepy, for no apparent reason.  That’s when we need to get away from ourselves and all our negative thinking and bring it all to God.

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.”  V 3.  I laugh when I read that.  Surely I don’t groan all day long!   “My strength was sapped”.  Oh yes, I know that feeling.  I moan, I complain, I find everything is getting me down.  Nothing seems right.  Life is a drag.

So why is this?  Sometimes we feel like that because of something we might have done – caused trouble perhaps in a group of friends.  Spoken harshly when I could easily have been kinder.  Sometimes I haven’t done anything wrong at all but somehow I feel a bit guilty and ashamed of myself and that has made me grumpy.

So what does the Psalmist tell us to do?  It’s not that hard really.  Just sit down in a quiet place, shut your eyes, and ask God to sit with you for a while.  Tell him how you feel.  Tell him how you wish to be more like Jesus and how you seem unable to be the person you would like to be.  Confess your sin!  What sin??? You may ask.  Well……  there’s the time you scoffed in someone’s face.  And the time you ignored someone else.  There’s the critical spirit within you.  There’s that little vicious streak that just strikes out occasionally. 


Ask yourself where you have fallen short of what Jesus might have been.  Where was love in THAT situation?  How might I have helped instead of criticised?  Where might I have been kinder?

Confess your sins.  Weep over them.  Turn around and face these shortcomings.  Admit where we have fallen short and confess to the God who is consistently generous and faithful towards us.

That is our task.  And the Psalmist assures us – and our own experience confirms – that God is faithful and will forgive our iniquities.

Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.  Lord have mercy.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2  Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
   to my cry for mercy.

3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
   Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
   so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
   and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
   more than watchmen wait for the morning,
   more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7 Israel, and all of US, put your hope in the Lord.

From Psalm 130.


Dorothy Neilson.


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