Repentance itself is nothing else but a kind of circling: to turn to the One by repentance from whom, by sin, we have turned away.
First, then, there is a turn in which we look forward to God and with our whole heart resolve to turn to God. Then there is a turn again in which we look backward to our sins in which we have turned from God; and with beholding them our very heart must break. There is one turn resolving to amend that which is to come; another reflecting and sorrowing for that which is past; one turn declining from evil to be done hereafter, another sentencing itself for evil done before.
To turn is a counsel given to those are out of the right way, for going on still and turning are opposite motions, both of them with reference to a way. It the way is good, we are to hold on; if otherwise, to turn and take another.
– excerpt from Lancelot Andrewes’ Ash Wednesday sermon 1619
I like Twitter, but I’m not a master of communicating powerful truth in 144 characters! Ann Voskamp is, and she has been tweeting a lot of great Scripture verses and powerful prayers on the theme of repentance.
quiet Ash Wednesday prayer of repentance: “Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit with us.” #Pray703
#AshWednesday: “Repent&Return, so that your sins may be wiped away,in order Refreshing may come from presence of the Lord” Acts3:19 #Pray703
Isa30:15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “In Repentance & Rest is your salvation, in quietness & trust is your strength”
Martin Luther: “When our Lord said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.” #Pray703
If you come daily to God to honestly confess sinfulness, it’s honestly hard to wear any fake mask of holiness or perfectness. #AshWednesday
Today’s first entry in the Lent 2015 devotional series by Trinity School for Ministry is very solid – a simple, but important reminder on the danger of trusting in our own efforts to please God through our penitence, fasting, or other spiritual disciplines. Here’s a quote I found very helpful, as well as the closing prayer
Repentance is the foundation of our joy. Our penitence is not for God’s sake. He doesn’t need it; we do. We do it to be reminded who we really are: sinners, undeserving of God’s mercy, yet – mysteriously and wonderfully – the recipients of it!
Let us pray that God would give us a good and fruitful Lent, making known to us, in deeper and richer ways, the inexhaustible mystery of his mercy.
Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle chatter. Rather grant to me, your servant, the Spirit of integrity, humility, patience, and love. Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own sins and not judge my brothers and sisters; for you are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. (St. Ephrem of Edessa)
I (Karen) have been traveling much of the past 6 weeks, which explains my recent blog and Twitter silence. Thankfully Jill and Torre have been posting regularly.
It’s hard to believe there is only one week until Lent. I’m not yet sure whether I’ll commit to any Lenten devotional blogging. I always enjoy it, but I think this year I may need to focus on other priorities.
In the meantime, here are links to various of our Lent categories which you may enjoy browsing.
Tomorrow I’ll try to post links to specific blog entries, especially those featuring compilations of Lent Resources, Devotionals, Poems, etc., both from here at L&B as well as other sites around the internet.
UPDATE: Here are two important entries with lots of Lent links:
Links for Lent 2015 – our brand new, LONG list of links to good sites for Lent reading around the web. Blogs, poems, music, devotionals, Bible reading plans…. there’s a lot here!
I’m in the process of updating music links in various posts from prior years (especially our 2012 Holy Week devotional series)
Updated music links include:
Dan Schutte: Behold the Wood.
John Michael Talbot: Prayer Before the Cross.
both from this Good Friday devotional.
Michael Card: Lift Up the Suffering Symbol
By His Wounds (Brian Littrell, Mac Powell, Mark Hall & Steven Curtis Chapman, from the 2007 album Glory Revealed, iTunes link)
Stricken Smitten and Afflicted (Fernando Ortega, from his 2005 Album Beginnings, iTunes link)
Gethsemane (To See the King of Heaven Fall) – (by Stuart Townend, Keith & Kristyn Getty, from the albun Have You Heard by Stuart Townend. 2008 )
The Sacrifice Lamb (by Lamb, from their 1995 album Lamb Favorites)
from this Maundy Thursday devotional post
Create in Me A Clean Heart. (John Michael Talbot and Terry Talbot, from their 1980 album, The Painter, iTunes link)
from this Ash Wednesday Devotional
More updated links coming soon….
Her Lent devotional features Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere, setting of Psalm 51, sung by the choir of Clare College, Cambridge. It’s absolutely worth the full 12 minutes. Truly FANTASTIC.
You can buy this rendition of Allegri’s Miserere at Amazon, from the album Choral Classics from Cambridge.
As you listen to this incredible musical setting of Scripture, ponder the truth that God indeed shows mercy towards and washes clean all who cry out for forgiveness in Christ’s name and turn to Him in repentance.
Here’s what Emily writes in her reflection:
Every day, as the sun goes down,
I pause to remember how often I messed up that day,
in big and small ways.
My mistakes seem illuminated,
weighing down my heart, and impossible to forget.
Yet, as I pray like David did in Psalm 51,
as I pray for mercy,
there follows a peacefulness at the end of the day,
as my errors are blotted out,
covered over by the descent of the night.
The slate, one more time,
is wiped clean,
whiter than snow.
I remember, once again,
as new morning dawns,
there is renewal,
there is cleansing brightness,
a promise provided within each new day.
I am given another chance to get it right.
Oh how wonderful the truth of God’s mercy, pardon, and His cleansing of our hearts!
I may have linked some of the featured resources in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen or linked this Index of excellent Lent Resources from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship website. Check it out!