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Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO
Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.
Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
5Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
14Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
3The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2“Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
5And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. 6When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. 8Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. 9Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.” 10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, 6including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Deprivation and Delight 031011
Lent is now in its second day, by the Western Church’s counting of 40 days, and many people have selected a sacrifice, and have chosen something to give up for the 40 days, to symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus 40 days from now, on Easter.
Lent is a cultural holiday however more than a religious one. It is not Biblical, as far as I can see, and was invention of the early church.
It is less objectionable perhaps, since it is celebrated not by excess consumption, like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, New Years, Memorial Day, etc. Lent also is not represented and marketed by a cartoon character like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Lent promotes abstinence, thrift or frugality in the use of something we enjoy, but in a nation dying of excess food, alcohol, drugs, leisure, wealth, sex and excess almost everything else, the idea of giving something up is delightful, and really feels pretty good also.
Originally, Lent was a 40 day fast, with degrees of severity. Some Christians fasting did not eat at all until after 3 pm. Some abstained from meat or eggs or milk, etc. I know so many people who are totally vegetarian anyway, so they, and I might agree with the health benefits of abstinence from animal products. We might also consider a sugar fast, and choose to abstain from all cane sugar, corn sweetener and other chemical sugars, forever and not just 40 days.
Consider using Lent as a time to change your diet, forever. This has global impacts on the availability of food, water and energy with worldwide impact. As the Psalmist says (above): 17The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.