First Day of Lent, Ash Wednesday

Luke 3: 1-21

On this, the first day of the Lenten season, I call us to repentance. Repentance—that place where God meets the human heart in Jesus. Repentance—that place where the Spirit invites us to join God’s complete work of salvation in our everyday life. Fittingly, our text for reading and prayer today deals with John the Baptist, whose message was a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (3:3).

Let us consider two anchoring phrases that guide us toward a beautiful and freeing repentance that is offered to us by God through Lent. The first phrase is actually Isaiah’s phrase: “Prepare the way for the Lord” (3:4). This speaks of the God movement in repentance. God moves first. For us to repent, it requires that God come to us even before we invite Him or know He is on the way. We do not know of our need for life change unless the mercy of God meets us, shows us that need, and the means of change provided through Jesus. The baptizer was God’s messenger; he was speaking on God’s behalf. To hear the call and to receive repentance is to hear the voice of God. So, my fellow repenters in this Lenten season, know that whenever you hear the call toward repentance, you are hearing the tender voice of God.

The anchoring second phrase is the description of John’s audience: that they were “waiting expectantly” (3:15). If the first phrase spoke of God’s movement toward us in repentance, then this phrase speaks of our movement in repentance. When received properly, repentance is something we eagerly accept, not begrudgingly nor with resistance. John’s words were not easy to hear; they called for difficult sacrifices (3:10-14). However, people recognized the voice of God in John’s words even though heeding those words would cost them money, power, prestige and influence. It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

Grant me, merciful Father, the opportunity to hear your voice calling me to repentance.
Come to me, Jesus Christ, so that together we can live a good life.
Enliven me, Holy Spirit, to wait expectantly for your timing.

Amen.

Phil Adkins
Bowen Island, BC

 

Lenten Reader 2018
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