Scripture: Psalm 51 (NIV)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

It doesn’t take much to change your life. In a moment, you can be damaged or healed, saved or lost, broken or restored. Things can happen to you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Sometimes they are the culmination of a journey, sometimes not, but change can happen quickly.

That’s what we see from Darth Vader, who reverts back to Anakin Skywalker when he sees his son being tortured by Emperor Palpatine. Instead of leaving him to die, Vader makes the change, hurling Palpatine over the edge and ridding himself of the influence of the Dark Side in the process. While Anakin never fully asks for forgiveness (a concept that is never really explored in the Star Wars saga), he does acknowledge that Luke was right about the goodness that was within him. Given that we then see him as a Force ghost with Yoda and Obi-Wan, it seems likely his deathbed conversion took, as it were.

I do not have any conversion stories to share with you, having grown up in the church and having it been part of the fabric of my life for longer than I can remember. That doesn’t mean that this Psalm doesn’t have meaning for folks like me, though. We always need that clean heart, we always need to make some change. It may not be the drastic change that some have with their decision to follow Christ, but we always have something we need to break in us. Sometimes we need humility. Sometimes we need to be able to forgive others. Sometimes we have wandered away from what we know is right. Whatever it may be for you, pray for that clean heart and that right spirit to be renewed within you daily!

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