Saturday of Lent 1, March 16, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
The second confession of the Litany of Penitence helps us connect our affections toward God (love of God with our whole being), our affections toward others (love of neighbor) with our actions (forgiving others). We are called to confess when our love of God and each other has not been as full and healthy as it could be or when we have chosen to not love well.
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.
Monday of Lent 1: The baptismal life is characterized by loving God with our whole being: heart, soul, mind, and strength. This love is not just the emotional response to God’s love for us, but about our attitude, our values, and our pattern of life. The prayer over the newly baptized (BCP, 308) provides a description of what it looks like to live into our baptismal call to love God with every part of our being. This prayer was used to develop a list of questions for examining our lives to see where we need to ask God to grant us the ability to confess and be transformed.
Tuesday of Lent 1: The Litany of Penitence, like all of our confessions, are corporate—we confess as a community because our common life is not only disrupted by our individual failure to live into the fullness of our baptism, but also by sinful patterns in our life together. How do we as worshiping communities, a diocese, a denomination, and as a part of the church, need to live more fully into our baptismal call to love God with our whole being?
Wednesday of Lent 1: Our call to the Way of Love is not just to love God with our whole being, but also to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Loving ourselves and loving others can be described as seeking and serving Christ in all persons. Learning to love each other well can begin within our worshiping communities as we look for the baptismal graces (discussed on Monday and Tuesday) to be formed in each other.
Thursday of Lent 1: Another way of exploring love is to consider that forgiveness is an act of love. Living in peace with each other and with God requires being willing to forgive each other as God forgives us. Forgiveness bubbles up out of the overflow of God’s love for us and the recognition that the Christ we seek in each other and ourselves has not been fully formed in any of us yet.
Friday of Lent 1: The call to examine when we have not forgiven someone comes out of a call to love as God loves. God’s merciful forgiveness of our sins is an expression of God’s love for us that we are to imitate in our relationships with each other. Our baptism is an expression of God’s transformative forgiveness for us. Living into our baptism calls us to learn how to offer this merciful love to others (and ourselves!)
In what ways have we (worshiping community, diocese, or as a denomination) not loved God with our whole being as worshiping community, diocese, or denomination?
In what ways have we not loved ourselves or each other by forgetting to seeking and serving Christ in all people?
When have we withheld forgiveness, forgetting that God does not withhold forgiveness to the penitent?
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Collect for Ash Wednesday)