I hope and pray that this Communique reaches you in good spirit. Here we are in Lenten Season. Wednesday March 1st, we will have Ash Wednesday service at 6:00 p.m. in Frey Room. Please come experience this inspirational service.
This service is about penitence which we often ignore or give very little attention to. This is a night to remember that we are mortal. From dust we were created, and to dust we shall return. And it is a night to remember that we all are sinners. It is also a night to remember that God give us grace to choose repentance-continual turning away from self-centeredness and sins. The good news is, through Jesus, God gives us complete forgiveness and redemption. Most importantly, He gives us life both now and eternal.
So I encourage you will join me in this season of Lent by thinking about penitence and where in your life this attitude might be needed as we follow Christ to the cross.
Penitence means sincere sorrow for our sins and failures. Starting from Ash Wednesday until Easter, the church embraces this idea of penitence. If you are like me, your first instinct would be to ask, “Why? Why is sorrow for my sins and failure is something that I should intentionally choose to contemplate? I know I am a sinner. What value can it be that I should focus on that? Shouldn’t we be focusing on the salvation, redemption and reconciliation of Jesus Christ?” The idea of penitence can be counter intuitive.
However, to embrace the gospel is to choose to leave behind the sins. The reality is that repentance plays an essential role in our journey with Christ. In his book, I surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior. It is revival without reformation, without repentance.”
Remembering our sins should lead us closer to Christ. It should lead us to pray to God saying, “I don’t want to be that kind of spouse. I don’t want to be that kind of person that is not consistent to be your follower, Lord. I am sorry that I ever acted in those ways. Help me in all circumstances to keep acting out of self-centered. I am sorry.”
The more we follow Christ, the more we know we need repentance, the more like Christ we become, the more that we are conformed to the image of Christ. That is sanctification. God is working in us like a potter. He prepares us. He makes and molds us. And as we have sincere sorrow toward our sins, we then continue to find eth motivation to continually repent. Repenting is more than confessing. More than just naming our wrongs, we turn away from it. We become more like Christ each and every day.
As this is a collective and personal journey that we all take on this Lenten season, may we remember the salvation God gives us. May we continue to turn away from our sin so that we might increasing know the light and love of God for us and for this world that God is redeeming.
Let’s pray, “God, please show us ourselves. Help us to see our lives as you see them. Wherever there is sin, past or present, please show that to us. And please help us to choose penitence and repentance. Help us to choose your forgiveness and grace. And help us to follow you all the way to the cross. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.”
Pastor Vathanak Heang