The Lenten Season is a repentant and celebratory time for the Body of Christ. Repentance because our sins took Jesus to the cross, and celebratory because the resurrection on Easter morn is the most exhilarating time for believers.
The early church used the 40-day season of Lent as a time to renew their faith. During Lent, the congregation is reminded of the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The Lenten Season is a time when we center our hearts on God again. It is the time for preparation for the Easter celebration (Book of Worship, United Methodist Church.)
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me…” Psalm 51:10-12.
King David, a man after God’s own heart, is credited with writing this Psalm. It expresses his sorrow for a sin he committed. It helps us understand what it means to have a truly repentant spirit, what it means to have an intimate relationship with God, and how we can be forgiven for sins that have been weighing us down.
David asked God to create in him a clean heart. King David had one of his dedicated soldiers, Uriah, put on the front line of battle, so that he would die and David could marry his wife with whom he’d already slept.
If we really understand this psalm, we can identify with David, that is, if truth is to be known, we could all use spiritual renewal, not just during Lent.
Ever feel guilty after committing a sin? Ever feel like God is far from you after you sin? We need God to pour God’s right spirit within us again. We need God to restore our peace and our joy.
I could really feel David’s pain, when he prayed, “take not your Holy Spirit from me.” Could you imagine living without the Holy Spirit, without that small, still loving voice that corrects and rewards us, that blesses and comforts us, who delights in us, encourages us, and fills us with spiritual fruit? I cannot imagine being without that loving correction and Person who rebukes and invigorates, judges and forgives. I cannot live without the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah says it well, “Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow, though they be red as crimson they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
We can carry around the weight of sin, which makes us feel terrible, or we can repent by asking God to forgive us and try not to do the same thing ever again. Only God can RESTORE us. Then and only then, will our JOY return, the joy the world did not give and the world cannot take away. JOY belongs to God! God can give us that same joy again, when we repent.
Now, we have been restored; however, David knows he cannot stay saved, stay in this joyful state of euphoria, without God’s presence.
So, repent and get right with God. Maybe we are so busy that we’ve neglected our relationship with God. Repent and return to that intimate relationship with God.
I invite you to observe a holy Lent by self-examination and repentance; by prayer and fasting; by praise and worship, by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word or by doing good deeds.
To learn more, you’re invited to come as you are to the Contemporary Worship Services each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church.
Also during the season, you’re invited to our Traveling Bible Study. “Give Up Something Bad for Lent,” a book by James W. Moore, will be studied at various locations including Chili’s, March 19, 2:30-3:30 p.m.; Indigo Blue, March 26, 2-3 p.m.; The Hook Seafood Restaurant at White Hall, April 2, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and RJ’s Sports Grill, April 9, 11 a.m. to noon. Please RSVP to 870-692-2400 each Saturday before the event.
Give up something for Lent. Whatever you give up, do so knowing that God honors your sacrifice.
The Rev. Edna Morgan is pastor of Hawley and Wesley United Methodist churches at Pine Bluff.
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