Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Morning Psalm: 72 | Evening Psalm: 119:73-96
Jeremiah 3:6-18 | Romans 1:28-2:11 | John 5:1-18
Repentance is a predominant theme during Lent and several of the readings appointed for today emphasize this theme. Romans 2:4 tells us “…that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” In Jeremiah the repentance of Israel and Judah is commanded. The story of the invalid’s healing at the pool of Bethesda in John 5 highlights an important problem facing one who would repent, “When Jesus saw him lying there…he said to him, ’Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6). The man answers with an excuse as to why he has been lying there so long. “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool…” Jesus responds by commanding the man to: “Get up, take up your bed and walk.” I am reminded of the well known advertizing phrase “just do it.” The problem is, where repentance is concerned I just cannot do it. Will power is not enough.
Years ago I became convinced of my need to stop smoking for two reasons: my health and my wife who couldn’t be around smoke. I tried a number of things to stop, all to no avail. I could always find an excuse as to why I couldn’t stop. It wasn’t until Lent one year that I decided to use the discipline of “giving it up.” Instead of making excuses, I prayed daily that I would be given the strength and grace to resist lighting up. After several weeks, the craving became less and less until, near the end of Lent, I no longer had the desire.
I have learned over the years since then that repentance without excuse is at the heart of healing and well being. Enabled by the Holy Spirit, we can repent of that which causes illness in mind, body, soul, and spirit and live a new life in Christ.
Almighty God in You we live and move and have our being, send Your Holy Spirit to empower us in our lives of repentance this Lenten season. In Christ Jesus we pray. Amen.
The Rev. Canon Walter J. Mycoff, Jr. (Retired) (DMin Student)
St. Martin’s Church, Summersville, WV
All Souls Church, North Ft. Myers, FL
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