Gotcha Day!

If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

I know folks who have been adopted into their primary family. They go to the courthouse, stand before a judge with their adopted parents, and there it becomes official. It’s called Gotcha Day. I had sort of a a spiritual Gotcha Day. You see, I am one of those people who remember, quite vividly, the very moment when I confessed my sins and received forgiveness in a transforming way. I was only 13 years old, but I was an ornery 13. I was foul-mouthed, brazen, and prone to schoolyard fights. I seemed to have piled up a considerable number of sins for a 13year-old.

I didn’t really want to go to church on that Thursday night 50 years ago (5/28/70), but my friend invited me and threw in a pre-service banquet that sealed the deal. I honored my commitment and attended the revival after the banquet, but I was not happy about it. I would’ve rather been home doing nothing than at church enduring a revival service. When the altar call came, I had every intention of heading east toward the exit doors, but for some humanly inexplicable reason I headed west toward the altar and life has never been the same. Looking back at that Thursday night revival meeting I have no other words for it than Gotcha Day!

There has been a lot of attention to cleanliness lately. Social distancing, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene have become part of the common vernacular. The medical professionals are clear, if you get COVID-19 on you, you had better wash it off quickly. As a clergy person, I field a lot of questions about my faith. I generally return to the profound discovery that I made 50 years ago on Gotcha Day. I desperately needed something that neither I nor anyone around me could provide. I needed a good soul washing. I needed forgiveness. I needed a fresh start. So, in this new world when sanitizing has gotten so much attention, I find myself deeply grateful for Gotcha Day (a half a century ago!), when God did for me what no one else could do. Somehow, he purged me with hyssop and I was made clean.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I am so grateful that you find each of us on whatever path we end up on and cleanse us and forgive us and make us whole. May we remember your transforming grace that does for us what no one else can do every time we wash our hands. Amen

Rev. Kip Gilts, Central North District Superintendent