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Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

We are halfway Lent, and probably most of us have already neglected our commitments of worship.  Perhaps this confession from The Book of Common Prayer will help us to tell God the truth.

The Litany of Penitence

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,

We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;

Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,

That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,

Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desires not the death of sinners, but rather that they may turn from their wickedness and live, has given power and commandment to his ministers to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins. He pardons and absolves all those who truly repent, and with sincere hearts believe his holy Gospel.

Therefore we beseech him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do on this day, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy, so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

en español: Letanía de Penitencia

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Lenten Mercy

I grew up in a church tradition that focused on Lent.  We were not consistent church attenders, and our family did not particularly practice anything at home in honor of Lent, but the concept of Lent was real and recognized.  We always chose something to give up during Lent.  Then we always went to church on Easter Sunday in new dresses our mother had made for my sisters and me.

As I came to Christ in my teen years and later attended a less liturgical church, I mostly forgot about Lent.  But in recent years I have been reminded of what a treasure it is for my spiritual life.

Yes, it is a time to “give up” something.  Sometimes it is food, like sweets, or something like TV, or crossword puzzles.  These are not bad things, but the denying myself is a helpful spiritual practice.  I’ve also found it is good to “add to” my life with a practice that also reminds me of all that Christ has added to my life.  So I might do a daily devotional, or give to a charity, or pray for particular people.  I always ask God to guide me.

So what is the real meaning of Lent?  It is a time to express our repentance for our sins in preparation for recognizing the truth of Bad Friday/Good Friday.  It was certainly a difficult day for our Savior as He took on Himself all our sins—the sins of the whole world—and was separated from His Father in paying the penalty for those sins.  And Good Friday—it represents great good news for us—our sins are washed away, forgiven, buried, paid for!!

And then we celebrate.  Easter is the holiest day of all—Jesus overcame death and rose again to live forever—and to make the same available to us!

Lent represents for me one of the most wonderful truths about our God—His mercy.  He hates our sin, and exacts a great penalty for it—death, separation from Him.  But His mercy drove Him to provide a way for forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration!

His mercy flows through the entire Bible.  My focus this Lenten season will be on that mercy so generously extended to me—and to you.  So each day during Lent I will post a reminder of His mercy on Facebook and Twitter.

Please join me in gratefully acknowledging and walking in His abundant mercy.

“…to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”  ( prophecy about Jesus in Luke 1:77-79)

What about you?  What does God’s mercy mean to you?

c2012 Judy Douglass

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This is another in a series of letters to members of the Prayer for Prodigals community.

 

Dear Lover of Prodigals,

 

Lent began today.  For some of you it has spiritual and family significance.  For others it has little meaning now or in the past.

 

The 40 days of Lent represent the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, being tested and tempted and surviving without food and water.  It was His time of preparation for the ministry that would begin when he returned.

 

We do something similar during Lent:  Most of us choose a discipline—giving up something we enjoy or doing something we don’t particularly enjoy.  This denying of self helps to strengthen and prepare us for the depth of pain in the crucifixion on Good Friday and the ecstasy of joy in the resurrection on Easter morning.

 

It seems that this might be a good time for us—those of us who love prodigals—to take some time to refocus.  For most of us our lives—or at least our emotions–revolve around our wanderer and the pain he brings us and our hopes for a different future.

 

Good Friday and Easter are about that exactly—great pain and great hope.  Though we don’t when our loved one will come to her senses and return to the fold, we all believe it will happen.  But perhaps part of the progress, the desired transformation, is waiting on work God is doing in us.

 

So perhaps we should turn our eyes from the rebel in our midst and shine a light on our own hearts/attitudes/sins.  We can ask God to reveal where He wants to work in us:  actions and attitudes to change, sin to confess and abandon, new ways to demonstrate love, pursuing God as our first love.

 

The following links will take you to prayers in the Prayer for Prodigals community that might be perfect Lenten meditations:

 

Know the Father’s Heart

 

Hindrances to Answered Prayer

 

Forgiveness for the Family

 

Declaration of Release

 

May God do a beautiful work in each of us that will reflect Him and woo our very loved prodigals.

 

In a few weeks I will begin our preparations for the June 2 Worldwiide Day of Prayer for Prodigals.  I know it will be a special time together, as it always is.

 

Grace and peace to you,

 

Judy

 

If you would like to visit the links in this letter, you will need to be a member of this wonderful praying community–Prayer for Prodigals.  You can write to prayerforprodigalsatgmaildotcom for an invitation to the community.

 

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