Minister’s Forum: Open up to God
Ash Wednesday was observed this week and marks the beginning of Lent, which is a time for introspection. It is a time for evaluating our relationships: those with our families, friends, co-workers and neighbors, and also our relationships with the holy trinity: Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. It is a time for looking at ourselves honestly to discover how we can be better Christians, better people. It is a time for acknowledging the ways in which we have not lived up to our baptismal vows, the ways in which we have sinned.
All humans do things that we should not do. We avoid blame for something we were involved in. We fool ourselves into thinking that what I want is the right thing to do, even when it may negatively affect someone else. Most of us do not commit the “big” sins, such as murder or robbing a bank. But most of us have been dishonest in some small ways, and we have not always behaved in ways of which we can be proud.
Every day, we should ask God’s forgiveness for the wrongs we have done, whether they were sins of commission (things we did) or of omission (things we failed to do). Including confession in our daily prayer life is important. But we sometimes neglect our daily prayers, and Lent is a good time to resolve to reform ourselves.
Once we have admitted our sins to ourselves and to God, and to those we have hurt by our actions or inaction, the next step is repentance. Repentance means we must turn and change. It requires us to change our patterns of thinking and behaving so that we can better avoid the same transgressions in the future. In order to make our resolve to change effective, we need to ask God’s help in reforming our lives. We need God’s grace in order to be successful in turning things around. We cannot fix ourselves or the world around us without God’s help. Prayer is the tool by which we invite God’s grace into our hearts. Through prayer, we can venture into new relationship with the source of life. Prayer opens us up to one another, and to new ideas. Through prayer we surrender our power to perfect ourselves and the world, and place our trust in the power of our Creator God to lead us into new life. I invite you to experience a holy Lent through prayer and amendment of life.
– Elizabeth Tattersall is a priest at St. John’s in the Wilderness Episcopal Church.
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