Call to Worship The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Confession God of compassion, in Jesus Christ you did not disdain the company of sinners but welcomed them with love. Look upon us in mercy, we pray. Forgive the wrongs we cannot undo; free us from a past we cannot change; heal what we can no longer fix. Grace our lives with your love and turn the tears of our past into the joys of new life with you. Amen.
Contemplation In everyday language, repentance means to “change your mind,” to reconsider how we are living our lives in light of our new identity and purpose in Christ. We are prone to wander, to pursue life on our terms, to locate our sense of worth and joy and peace outside of God. So the call to repentance is a standing invitation to give up our idolatrous pursuits, and turn to the one true God who restores us to the life for which we were made.
So after the Coverdale Madera Canyon camping trip, when the fam sat around a hugest blazing fire and ate the yummiest food and told How I Almost Died stories, I stayed behind and hung around alone and fairly silent and tried to think profound thoughts and listen well to His Voice. I sat in a grassy meadow by a little creek and thought about My Shepherd. I climbed a high rocky point to gaze across the undulating hills at a hazy sunset. I sat quietly, Be Still. Breathe in, breathe out. I lay under a brilliant smear of stars with just my nose sticking out of the sleeping bag and stared. I hiked up and up and almost to Mt. Wrightson through a very blustery but light bespeckled morning, watching the trail carefully in order not to rip out a floppy ankle. I read a pretty crumpled version of The Message, dozing in the sun like a happy lizard. And pretty much when He has said it all, that is what I heard, the happy lizard moment: Don’t Worry; be happy.
And He looks upon me with mercy. He will forgive me the words and deeds that cannot be undone; free me from a past I cannot change; heal what I can no longer fix. And sitting down and reading an entire book in one fell swoop clarifies the big picture. And the Big Picture, according to Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John and Paul and Peter and James and whoever wrote Hebrews had to say about this life of ours for which we were made in His grace, Fear not. Be anxious for nothing. Nothing.
Rather give thanks. Rejoice. Be blessed.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Zach would be proud.