The church is talking a lot about renewal lately. Here at Peace we have been reflecting on engaging in an intentional process of renewal. This prayer for God to “renew a right spirit” within us will be the theme of our mid-week Lenten worship.
Lent is a time for an honest and thorough spiritual check-up. What is the state of my spirit? What is residing in my heart? There are many kinds of spirits that compete to take up residence in our hearts: the spirit of fear, of cowardice, of anxiety, of jealousy, of apathy. What is this “right” spirit that the psalmist is praying for?
The inner spirit which God desires for us is based in the presence of the Holy Spirit. This “right” spirit is strong, firm, steadfast, grounded, firmly established. Being rooted in the Spirit is kind of the opposite of being wishy-washy or easily swayed by whatever suggestions or temptations might come one’s way, blown about here and there like dried grass. When we stay connected firmly to our Source and allow the Spirit of God to guide us, the prophet Isaiah tells that “you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.”
This season of Lent, which is named after the coming of spring, is a perfect time to begin an intentional journey of renewal. As we will soon be cleaning out our garden beds of dried-up vegetation to make way for new life, may we seek to clear away what is not bringing us life and re-root our hearts firmly in God, allowing the water of the Spirit to freely flow from us out to the thirsty world.