Finding One Verse

I wanted one verse to focus on today. I’m not normally a one verse kinda gal. In general, I don’t like anything taken out of its context. But today I needed an anchor. Today was going to be busy and full and I was going to be easily distracted. I didn’t want it to be one of those churchy days that the pastor doesn’t experience as sacred because she is so stinking busy with the work of ritual. I wanted something to set on repeat in my head- while driving and robing, while folding laundry and heating oatmeal, while walking, phone dialing, stamping and sealing, while driving some more, while parallel parking in the snow, while washing dishes and washing hands and in all those moments of silence and stillness and busyness and half-listening. I tried, “you are dust and to dust you shall return” but that one felt tired, probably because I said it to others so many times. I tried a prayer from the Daily Prayer book. I tried something from our Lenten devotional. I tried my Star word from Epiphany. Nothing stuck and I just wandered through my busy day, loving the real and the dust and the good of this day, but feeling a little fragmented.

Then tonight, I read parts of Psalm 51 at our Ecumenical Worship service. And my friend preached answers and questions into the busy and emotional tangle I’d spun myself into during the day. And I came home and looked up the rest of the psalm I just read and this line, this one verse, punched me, the not normally a one verse gal, right in the face, over and over and over again…

“You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.” (v.6)

This is it, then. My prayer for Ash Wednesday. Found at 10:24pm. With so little of the day left at all. So instead of being my perfect, centering, one-verse Ash Wednesday prayer, I guess it will have to be my prayer all Lent long. Truth and wisdom for my secret heart. For all our secret hearts. May we be so blessed.