On Lent and Penance…

gothhalloweenBeginning with Ash Wednesday, the majority of Churches in the world begin a season of Lent. As this time approaches, I see a certain pattern begin to form: Facebook, MySpace, Websites, and the general blogosphere suddenly take a turn. What once was happy ramblings about grocery prices, Obamacare (pro and con), Alaska politics (pro and con), snowboarding (pro and con) potlucks (always pro), and a whole slew of other topics have all stopped… Now they look different… darker even. It’s like each page was thrust into the movie “The Crow” (Part I, the good one with Brandon Lee). Pages are dark… talk is somber… righteousness is firmly displayed (it will be like hanging out with both Bauhaus AND The Cure). And it will be so for the next six weeks. Literally, the web will be filled with profile pics and avatars depicting only the most horrific of suffering
Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agiate, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.
Do these words sound familiar to you? If you said “yes”, then you are probably either a religious historian or a Lutheran.
The wonderful blessing of Lent ISN’T that you are extra sad… but to serve as a strong reminder that as Martin Luther said, “Our lives are ones of repentance”. When we understand repentance, we understand it as a turning away from what is sin. What is taking you away from your Lord and Savior. You might seriously think about what that is (and not only during Lent!) The best way to think about this is a short review of the Catechism:
‹What is Confession?
Answer:› Confession has two parts: the one is that we confess our sins; the other is that we receive Absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, and in no way doubt, but firmly believe that our sins are forgiven before God in heaven by this.
What sins should we confess?
‹Answer:› Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those that we do not know, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. But before the confessor we should confess only those sins that we know and feel in our hearts.
Which are these?
‹Answer:› Here consider your calling according to the Ten Commandments, whether you are a father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, a manservant or maidservant. Consider whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, or slothful. Consider whether you have grieved anyone by words or deeds, whether you have stolen, neglected, wasted, or done other harm.
You see, a turning away from all this stuff means you are face to face with God. Ultimately, that is the season of Lent. It means God wants you with Him! He wants you to have the Good gifts. So as you are thinking about your week this year, remember, on February 18 we begin Lent with Ash Wednesday. This will be my last Lent with Zion, so I hope to see you there! God bless your Lenten season!

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