Metanoia: February 14, 2018 (Ash Wednesday)

Joel 2:1-2,12-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6,16-21
Psalm 103:8-14

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 …

Every day is a new day.

Each year Lent arrives, and I find myself wondering what I can do differently. In my youth, I would often forgo cookies, chocolates, or some other insignificant indulgence, and at the end of forty days, I would wonder what I had accomplished for myself, let alone for the reign of God. Sadly, the truth was “Not much.”

I then began to look at Lent not so much as a season for giving something up but taking something on. Maybe a bit more Bible reading, more time in prayer or meditation, or helping as a volunteer. As before, I would reach the end of forty days and wonder what I had accomplished for the reign of God, and as before the truth was “Not much.”

Now, I felt good that I had done something, and that WAS something to be celebrated. But then it dawned on me that the real purpose of Lent is about renewing our commitment to God, who never slacks in her commitment to us. That’s an amazing grace!

Since then, I have begun a process of finding areas in my life God wants to work on. Such a process does not end with Lent but begins. So, it begins again.

Every day is a new day. Thanks be to God!

Gracious God, you claim us as your own in Baptism. We don’t always live up to the billing. Help me find what needs fixing; ignore my yelps and do your best work in me that I may reflect your glory this day and always. Thank you; Amen.
-Keith Axberg