February 26, 2023: First Sunday in Lent


First Sunday in Lent

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity.”

On a warm September day in 1979, I walked smartly to school in a fly matching pant and vest and silk shirt ensemble for picture day. I remember this day forever and for all time, not just because I still have the photographic evidence, but because of what happened after school. By the time I got home from school that day, the rest of the neighborhood had already assembled behind our house. They had taken a few moments to throw off their good clothing and dress themselves for fun. I did not.

Behind my house, a local roofing business was headquartered, with garages, machinery, and drums of sealing pitch. On this afternoon, we had gotten involved with one of the drums of pitch. We were exercising our creativity (or committing misdemeanor vandalism, depending upon which way you want to look at it).

In my haste to not throw off my good clothing, I became covered in tar. Realizing my situation, I snuck into our house, believing that I could undo what had been done. As I entered the back door, I heard my mom coming toward me. In horror I crouched between the washing machine and the dryer.

I recognize the foolishness, but I exhibited a very natural, human response to being caught: I hid . . . or tried to hide my iniquity.

More than all this, I remember my mother’s response. She was furious. Yet, with silent love, she helped me strip out of my ruined clothing. She began washing my hands with soap and water, and eventually turpentine. On getting me clean enough, she sent me back outside to my friends with a simple warning to stay away from the barrel of roofing pitch.

Rejoice in the silent love and affection of the Christ. In him, we have wholeness and fullness. And, sometimes, wordless demonstration of forgiveness.

Kerry Krause, pastor
Sister Bay Moravian Church
Sister Bay, Wisconsin