A very short meditation.
Let me start with a verse we don’t read on Ash Wednesday, Romans 2.4:
Do you not realise that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
This is a very helpful verse, one to remember always. It tells us of a goal—repentance—and the way to get there—accepting God’s kindness. ‘God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.’
The journey through Lent has a goal—a goal of repentance, of changing our minds so that we have the mind of Christ.
But: we don’t repent so that we ‘get’ the mind of Christ. Through the Spirit within us, God gives us the desire to receive the mind of Christ. So we repent because we realise just how kind almighty God is to us.
Let me put it this way: there are three easy words to remember when we pray: thanks, please, sorry. I used to think that there was an order I was meant to say them in:
- Sorry—I repent, so God will listen to me
- Please—I ask for forgiveness
- Thanks—for this new life
But I now think there’s no particular order, it depends on human need. But if any order does make sense, it may be this:
- Thanks—for giving us your Son
- Sorry—I messed things up
- Please—help me to live a life of thankful obedience
In giving us Jesus Christ, God has given us life in all its fullness. In giving us Jesus Christ, God has given us a sure Guide for life and a Saviour from death. So come, let’s repent of our waywardness, let’s return to him. Let us join together in this journey of the heart we call Lent, so we may truly rejoice at Easter.