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Lenten Devotional: February 24, 2023

by Rev. Margaret Rountree, Associate Pastor

Read Joel 2:12-14 (NLT):

“That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before.”

This scripture passage from Joel really represents the entire Lenten journey so perfectly. There are three major points that Joel highlights in these verses which are crucial in the context of Lent. First, human sin and failure wreak devastating destruction in our world. This is not hard to recognize. Just flip on one of the news channels today and this fact will overwhelm you. Second, our God longs to show mercy to those who will just own up to their sin/brokenness and confess. God wants and desires heart-repentance, aka sincere repentance from us. All of that leads us to hope that God will one day defeat evil in our world but also inside of us and bring His healing presence to make all things new. We can truly repent because we know that God is good, merciful, compassionate, slow to anger and filled with unfailing love. His grace is the final response. Just look at the cross. We are here today as children of God because of God’s ultimate act of love and grace on the cross. God is very much eager to relent rather than to punish. We just have to be brave enough to offer our whole hearts to God, even if we are ashamed or embarrassed or scared to admit our own brokenness. Ultimately, it’s God’s goodness, grace, mercy and love that leads us to sincere, true repentance.

Meditation: What do you need to confess to God today? What is weighing you down? What do you need to be freed from? I invite you to give your whole heart to God this day. To lay it all at the foot of the cross.


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