Blot out   (part II)  18.  Blot out

“. . .  and blot out all my iniquities.”          

– Psalm 51:9b

He stood over his canvasses and  hurled paint with his brush.    The flying pigment would adhere in streaks and globs.  Sometimes he would  dispense with the brush altogether and just sling or drizzle paint directly from a can.

At first glance, many paintings by Jackson Pollock may look like a collection of mistakes.

Following the transgressions in the garden of Eden and Cain’s murder of his brother Abel, scripture tells us that God looked upon the world and saw just a series of mistakes:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.   And the LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.   So the LORD said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created– people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”     (Genesis 6:5-7)

The writer from Psalm 51 chooses for a second time to use this image of blotting out.   As in verse one, the psalmist does not ask God to blot him out (the common usage of this phrase in the Old Testament), but rather to blot out his iniquities.   His mistakes.  His failings.   His sin.  To cover them up.  To forget them.

God, to our great relief, is a bit like Jackson Pollock.   He takes this canvas of creation, of humanity, with all of our inadequacies and failings, and by the blessings of forgiveness and grace, blots  out our sins.   And so what stands in place of a canvas of mistakes is suddenly a canvas of beauty.


Dear Lord,

With brush in hand, you blot out our iniquities, you forgive our sin.  The result is only something that we can wonder at.  Help us then.   If you can transform these blemishes of ours, us,  into art, help us to forgive our own sins too.   Help us to see ourselves, and others, in the new light of your creative grace and love.