Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
Margaret Preston (1875-1963). Double hibiscus 1929, National Gallery of Australia.
Keeping a good Lent, with Rob Lamerton
As we draw to the close of Lent and enter Holy Week the journey with Jesus will gets tougher. On Palm/Passion Sunday the "welcome" theme of the Palm procession turns to the "rejection" theme of the Passion. The reign of Jesus recognized in the Palm procession is only possible by treading the path of the Passion (suffering) of the cross. We discover the true nature of the Christ who is at one time the one who comes to rule and is welcomed by the crowd and at the same time the one who faces rejection and humiliation in coming to his kingship and reign. It is a telling scene and reminds us of the whole theme of Lent—the acceptance or rejection of the rule of God through Christ in our lives and our world. From the challenges of Ash Wednesday about prayer and fasting, about the use of our money and our care for the needy this is what we have been wrestling with in Lent.
If we have taken Lent and the events of Holy Week seriously and entered into the suffering and death of Jesus by deciding to make some changes in the way we walk with God then Easter will be the celebration of the new life of the resurrection.
Some people find it really helpful to make their confession as a way of release from the old and embarking on the new. The cleansing of the church building on Holy Saturday is also symbolic of the cleansing of our souls in preparation for the joy of the resurrection. The hearing of confessions is not limited to Roman Catholic clergy. The Anglican ordination service places great emphasis on the role of a priest in declaring God’s forgiveness. It may be that this is the way for you to discover God's forgiveness on the way to better knowing the Risen Christ. (Rob Lamerton, St Philip’s Pewsheet, 20 and 27 March 2005)
O God, you are long-suffering and full of compassion: be present with us, we pray, as we enter Lent; we prepare to recall our Saviour’s sufferings and to celebrate his triumph. Give us the help of your Holy Spirit as we acknowledge our sins and weakness and receive your forgiveness and strength.
Walter Rodrigues Jr., jazz guitarist, plays "Blessed assurance," music by Phoebe Knapp (1873).
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.