With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” (1942)

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The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered over, is truly happy! The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty— in whose spirit there is no dishonesty— that one is truly happy!

When I kept quiet, my bones wore out; I was groaning all day long— every day, every night!— because your hand was heavy upon me. My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought. Selah

So I admitted my sin to you; I didn’t conceal my guilt. “I’ll confess my sins to the Lord,” is what I said. Then you removed the guilt of my sin. Selah

Psalm 32:1-5

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What makes a journey “truly happy”?

Good company, perhaps? Sufficient supplies? Smooth paths?

In our Psalm today, the Psalmist begins by proclaiming his blessing . . . and then proceeds to talk about sin. Not exactly the kind of road trip to get excited about.

Much like the younger son in Jesus’ parable, the Psalmist writes of a past that appears rather regrettable, a past littered with mistakes, missteps, and a lot of pain. You might say that this particular journey of the Psalmist was “not their first rodeo.” They had hit the open road on more than one occasion and had the scars to prove it.

But, looking back, the Psalmist recognizes that getting lost may have been just what was needed to find the blessed path. The freedom of forgiveness, the gift of losing what gets us lost, pointed in a new direction, toward a new journey. A journey the Psalmist could only describe as “truly happy!”

Dave McNeely

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God, I thank you for your gift of forgiveness for all of the dead-end paths I’ve chosen. I ask that you will direct me on healing and life-giving paths as I learn from my mistakes and follow the grace-filled outlines of your steps. Amen.

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As you go, may your heart be forever anchored in the welcoming heart of God.

As you go, may you experience the joy of love rushing out to meet you on your path.

As you go, may the future paved by forgiveness lead you in the path of everlasting joy.

Dave McNeely

Dave McNeely currently serves as the Faith & Justice Scholars Coordinator and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN, where he is a member of First Baptist Church. He is married to Mandy and has two children, Christopher and Noah.

I Surrender All

Mark Hayes

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