God is more interested in us being faithful than in us being perfect. This is a core message that is particularly worth reminding ourselves of during Lent. In Lent we reflect on the ways that we are broken by sin and separated from God’s ways, yet it is also a time to recognize that God’s desire for us is not truly about perfectly following a set of rules. God’s desire for us to put our trust in God. When our trust is in God, we will act in faith. There will be imperfections and mistakes, and our trust will waiver. Yet, God is faithful to us and so continually inspires trusting faith from us in return. That trust is what matters, not whether we have perfectly adhered to a particular interpretation of a set of commandments. Letting go of striving for perfection frees us to enjoy God’s gracious love for us and enables us to put our trust in God rather than ourselves. This is the good news of the gospel!
This is true of our personal daily life, but it is also true of our life as a community of faith. Every meeting, class, gathering, and worship service we have is full of imperfections. There will be mistakes, confusion, and uncertainty. Something will go wrong, something will be misspoken, something will be misprinted. That is to be expected. It is not what truly matters. We do not need to have everything perfectly, following a rigid set of rules. What matters is whether we are acting faithfully. Are we putting our trust in God while we are in worship or whatever other activity we are doing? Certainly the hope is that whatever imperfection arises does not lessen our trust in God, but what would actually rise to that level? Especially in worship, many people are nervous that they may do something incorrectly or are concerned about things being done differently than their preferred understanding. That is nearly always more about us as humans than about God’s concerns. God’s concern is not with outward actions, it is about our inward trust. Worship is not a time to strive for perfection, it is a time to revel in God’s grace and love. Outward actions are aides to guide our hearts towards being open to receive the Holy Spirit in faith that we may recognize God’s gracious love in faith. Faithful worship is not the same thing as a perfectly executed worship service. Letting go of a need for perfection allows us to be open to faithfully worshiping God and taking joy in God’s grace.