Who can ascend the hill of the Lord?
and who can stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and a pure heart,
who have not pledged themselves to falsehood,
nor sworn by what is a fraud.
They shall receive a blessing from the Lord
and a just reward from the God of their salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob. (Psalm 24:3-6)
For me, this psalm could easily be interpreted in a very simple and direct way. Do the right thing, be a good person, live up to the expectations set by your community or your faith, and you will be justly rewarded. However, more often than not, we find ourselves conflicted - conflicted about our goals, futures, and ideals. We make mistakes. We disappoint. We are not always the people we wish to be. Maybe "clean hands and a pure heart" isn't supposed to be an indictment of our failure to live up to our ideals. Maybe, instead, it's an encouragement to embrace ourselves - embrace the people we truly are, and learn to grow from that. In that growth, we can find a better, clearer path to a more rewarding and genuine spiritual life.
Lord, help us to accept ourselves, find our own ideals, and recognize the value of trying, even if we feel like we have failed.
Meghan Miller — College history student