FEBRUARY 14, 2018

Glory Revealed through REPENTANCE. For additional resources from The Upper Room for all of Lent, click here.

Scripture: “And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out. (Acts 3:17-19 NRSV)

Praise God: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:4-7 NRSV)

Offer Thanks: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s…
Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, obedient to his spoken word. Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will.
Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul. (Psalm 103: 1-5, 20-22 NRSV)

Confess: Most holy and merciful Father: I confess to you… and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. (BPC – adapted)

Ask God: You hate nothing that You have made, and You forgive the sins of all who are truly penitent: Create in me a new hearts that I, worthily lamenting of my sins and acknowledging my wickedness, may obtain from You, God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness. (BPC – adapted)

Listen to God: Discipline of Silence – Silence provides a space for the Spirit to speak what we need to hear. Take 30 minutes on this day to sit and be still before God. Invite God to share with you how you have contributed to the conflict within the United Methodist Church. Embrace the opportunity to not respond or defend.

Reflection: Much has been said and written about Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day this year (as well as Easter falling on April Fools Day). Many of the aforementioned writers have been busy thinking of how to make connections between a holy day and a hallmark day. We in Western PA are blessed to have a week of prayer for the Commission on a Way Forward during this special week.

The word of the day today is repentance. It certainly falls in line with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Today begins a season of repentance, fasting, and preparation of the coming of Easter. Today, whether or not we mark ourselves with ashes, we recognize that something significant is happening.

For us to tie into the hallmark aspect of today, Valentine’s Day, we have to dig a little deeper to connect with repentance. It would be easy to insert a joke about a husband bringing home a vacuum cleaner to his bride instead of flowers, and needing to repent making the connection for us.

But just as the above spouse made an error in showing love, we as Christ-bearers have been erred as we attempt to show God’s love to a world that desperately needs it. Instead of giving the world a beautiful bouquet of God’s love, we have given a vacuum cleaner. God forgive us.

As we look forward to Glory Revealed in Jesus Christ, let us remember that all of us has at one time offered an inappropriate gift to those God has sent us to serve. For that, we pray for forgiveness. But let us also remember that the God we serve together never gives the wrong gift. Amen.