Part of the Lectionary Reading for Ash Wednesday included Psalm 51. This psalm is a plea for pardon, forgiveness, and renewal and thus makes it a good prayer with which to begin the season of Lent. In verse 1 the psalmist asks God to “blot out my transgressions” and in verse 9 to “blot out all my iniquity.” Other verbs are used throughout the psalm as well, such as wash and cleanse; however, the wording blot out reached out to me and grabbed my attention. The phrase sill implies doing away with or erasing, yet the process involved is a little different.
One definition in the dictionary states the meaning as “to dry with an absorbing agent (such as blotting paper).” In the case of our sins and transgressions Jesus serves as the absorbing agent. He absorbed our sins and took them as his own to the cross. God doesn’t require us to pay for our sins. He does require us to search our hearts, acknowledge our failings, and strive to better follow Christ’s example of holy living. As Christians, that is to be our focus for the next 40 days as we wend our way to the cross of Good Friday and then ultimately, and triumphantly, to the empty grave of Easter.