Today’s psalm calls us to confess our wrongdoings to God lest
these unconfessed wrongdoings eat us up from the inside
out. The psalmist says when he failed to confess, he experienced
consequences in his body. He lost weight, groaned all day, and
felt his physical strength depleted.

Adam and Eve’s deceitful refusal to admit their wrongdoing
leads to a story that ends badly. They irreparably damage their
relationship to each other, to God, and to their world.

The psalmist’s story has a happier ending when he goes
ahead and admits his wrongdoing to God. Having done so, he
finds himself in a new reality. Living without deceit, he knows
God has forgiven him. Inside himself, he resides in a new place
surrounded with “glad cries of deliverance” and “steadfast love.”

Notice that God does not punish the characters in either
story. Their punishment comes as the inevitable result of their
refusal to admit what they have done. I fear that our destruction
of the planet and our refusal to take responsibility for that
destruction implies that our modern story will end as unhappily
as did Adam and Eve’s. We may still lose everything on the
planet that makes our lives good through our refusal to acknowledge
our destructive actions and to change our behavior.

But this does not need to be the end of our story. Lent offers
a time for repentance. The promise of Easter that follows is new
life no longer governed by death if only we give up our individual
and collective stubbornness. We must take responsibility
for the devastating things we’ve done and are doing even now.
God will instruct and teach us the way we should go. Then we
shall shout for joy.

Loving God, help us to stop blaming others and take responsibility for what we do so that we may truly celebrate the coming Easter. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 4:1-11

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Lectionary Week
February 27–March 5, 2017
Scripture Overview

The texts for Ash Wednesday are all ominous in nature, pointing forward to the redemptive power of God’s grace. Lent is a time when Christians reflect on their mortality and sin, as well as on the creative and re-creative power of God. The original parents of humanity could not resist the seduction of the serpent, but that narrative stands beside the story of Jesus’ lonely and painful resistance to the power of Satan. In Romans, the “one man’s obedience” by which “the many will be made righteous” is the quality that endures. The Joel passage is an alarm bell in the darkness of the night. Those who are caught in this terrible moment cannot hope to save themselves, for they are powerless to do anything on their own behalf. They are powerless to do anything, that is, except to repent and to open themselves to God’s intervening mercy.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7. What choices have you made that put you outside God’s intention for your life?
• Read Psalm 32. Are there unconfessed wrongdoings in your life that need God’s forgiveness? Will this Lent be a time when you can nd the freedom forgiveness brings?
• Read Romans 5:12-19. Have you experienced a relationship that has died? How has God renewed that time in your life?
• Read Matthew 4:1-11. What has tempted you to set faith aside and to trust only in yourself? How did that work out?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”


Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.