March 9

I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.”  Psalm 51:3

“Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”  Galatians 1:4

In England and other Commonwealth nations, Shrove Tuesday was a day to eat pancakes, using up eggs, milk and sugar that were not to be eaten while fasting during Lent.  It also symbolized purging the mind and heart of sinful ways, before repentance and atonement.

How am I showing spiritual discipline and sacrifice?  How will I demonstrate my remorse for my sins?  What is a worthy sacrifice in return for the Son of God?  Can I buy forgiveness and salvation, punish myself, do endless good works as Christians did before Luther found those beautiful words in scripture proclaiming God’s grace?  Jesus gave himself up for us, to save us from our sins.

Giving up chocolate or French Fries – or pancakes – or some other pleasure requires discipline and prayer for mindfulness and perseverance.  God’s love and forgiveness are given freely without any show or demonstration on our part.  Rather, for such a seemingly divine impossible love poured out upon me, I will pray for help striving for the humanly impossible – giving up my prejudices and disregard for the feelings of others, forsaking my arrogance and greed.

In those beautiful words spoken by the prophet Micah, we are not asked to come before the Lord and bow before God on high, offering up our riches; God is not pleased with our possessions.  God only requires that we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with him – with the help of divine intervention.

“Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? 

Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!

‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee.

“Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee, think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving.”  Amen  

(prayer text:  Johann Heermann)

Verla Olson