Saturday of Lent 4, April 6, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
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.
This week we looked at the intersection of relationships and prayer and worship.
Monday of Lent 4: in baptism, we promise to continue in the prayers and worship of the church. When we neglect those two foundational aspects of our private and corporate life, we put our baptismal life at risk. In worship, we remember who we are and whose we are. In prayer, we bring the life of the world as well as our own lives to God for transformation.
Tuesday of Lent 4: we commend ourselves to one another and to God in our prayer and worship. This relationship of trust allows us to live faithfully in the world, and to invite others to join in the fullness of life which God intends for all. In this way, we commend the faith that is in us. When we neglect this regular pattern of prayer and worship, we deny ourselves a share in the faith of those who have gone before and those who walk alongside us.
Wednesday of Lent 4: when we become blind to the need and suffering of others, we miss opportunities to bring those before God in prayer so that we can discern our response as an individual, as a worshiping community, and as a denomination. Blinding ourselves to these needs may prevent a few tears for us now, but we risk losing part of our hearts by doing so.
Thursday of Lent 4: just as blinding ourselves to the need and suffering of others damages our ability to live into our baptism, growing indifference to cruelty and injustice also prevents us from fully living into our baptismal call to strive for justice for all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being. Becoming indifferent, like blinding ourselves, may seem convenient in the short run but ultimately will cost us part of our humanity.
Friday of Lent 4: getting caught up in the lies of the ugly twins of false judgment and uncharitable thoughts towards others can prevent us from loving our neighbor as ourselves by seeking to serve Christ in the other. When we judge wrongly and don’t approach the other with love, we miss opportunities to live into our baptism and grow into the fullness of who God is calling us to be as a church
How has a judgment of others, uncharitable thoughts, being blind to the suffering or needs of others, or being indifferent to present or past injustices led to missed opportunities to live into our baptism?
How has the neglect of prayer and worship caused us to stumble rather than commend the faith?
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)