PS 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
When getting dressed today, did you put on sackcloth? As a child, I remember using sackcloth for a three-legged race, and it itched! It was rough and coarse, and I couldn’t wait to get to the finish line and get out of it. Yet, today in our readings, we find that the people of Nineveh, including the king, covered themselves in sackcloth as a sign of repentance! While wearing sackcloth may not be ideal today, what can we wear to remind us to repent and seek out God’s mercy?
It amazes me how quickly a well-executed plan can go awry. I try to plan my day, my week, my month and my year, but there are many obstacles and challenges which I encounter, and in the end, I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do. I feel that is sometimes how my spiritual life can be. I have the best of intentions, but something seems to get in the way and pulls me from what is most important. I wonder if by wearing sackcloth I might be constantly reminded to repent to give thanks and praise to God. Maybe the sackcloth could keep me on track.
I recently learned of a new saying: “Better than Yesterday” or “BTY”. What am I doing today that is better than yesterday? I challenge each of you to a week filled with “BTYs.” What can you do today that is better than yesterday as it relates to your spiritual journey? Lent is a time of reflection and preparation. It is a time to wander, explore and deepen relationships – with God, ourselves and others! Maybe the “BTY” is our sackcloth of today for it will remind us of and lead us to God. It will clean our hearts and renew our spirit.
“When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.” God recognized the genuine repentance demonstrated by the people of Nineveh. Repent and make today better than yesterday!
May your Lenten journey bring you closer to God, yourself and others.
Tim Hercules is Director of Student Educational Services and International Services.