“3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with God in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps God’s covenant of love with those who love God and keep God’s commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.” Daniel 9:3-6 (NIV)
Destruction making its way, creeping stealthily along, sneaking into the crooks and crannies, snaking along every passageway, filling up narrow spaces and wide fields, smothering the breath from the living and carrying on its tide all that is dead. Such is what happens when humanity turns from the ways of peace, departs from the paths that lead to God, and seeks instead the way that embraces sin, the road that turns away from God, the rugged track that leads only to mayhem and desolation. In this scenario, ruins and ashes abound.
But there is a way through this destruction, a way out of this ruin, a way to move from ashes to rejoicing. These verses from the book of Daniel help us along this road proclaiming that the remedy to utter destruction is this: We turn to God and confess our sins. Indeed how numerous our sins have become! The list is endless; the topics covered are many. The mound of sin grows to a hill, the hill to a mountain, the mountain reaches to the skies. So then let us say with heartfelt sorrow, “We repent and return to you, O God.” And before too long, all in God’s time, let us hear God lovingly say, “I forgive you. Welcome home.” And then, bathed in forgiveness and compassion, our shame turns to rejoicing, our fasting to a feast, our sackcloth to royal robes, our ashes to wholeness. Such is the great work of the Lord our God who is merciful. Thanks be to God!
Rev. Cynthia Klingemier
Regional Elder District 4
Commission on Ministry Team 1
The full Lenten Devotional Booklet can be downloaded by clicking HERE.