March 11, 2012

lent: being still...

solitude. silence. peace. these are good things. things i appreciate. things i enjoy. but for some reason, i rarely make time for them. the lure of surfing the internet, mindless television or just plain busyness always seem to override my best intentions.

during lent i am making an effort to slow down. to rearrange my schedule and set aside a bit of time each day to be quiet. i've figured out that the best time of day for me is right when i get home from work. before i turn on the computer or get sucked into all the little 'things' that take up my time.

i sit down by the window and light a candle. at the minimum my routine consists of reading the scripture for the week (from my church's lent guide) and reading a piece of liturgy from the ash wednesday service (see below). some days i linger, taking extra time to read, pray or just sit and think. other days i just do my readings and go on with the day. either way, i am loving this discipline. taking a moment to be calm, to correct my thoughts and to focus on what is really important.

most merciful God, father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.
we have not loved you with our whole heart, mind and strength.
we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.
we have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Lord, have mercy.

we have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.
we have not been true to the mind of Christ.
we have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Lord, have mercy.

we confess to you Lord all our past unfaithfulness;
the pride, hypocrisy and impatience of our lives.
Lord, have mercy.

our self-indulgent appetites and ways,
and our exploitation of other people.
Lord, have mercy.

our anger at our own frustration
and our envy of those more fortunate that ourselves.
Lord, have mercy.

our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts
and our dishonesty in daily life and work.
Lord, have mercy.

our negligence in prayer and worship
and our failure to commend the faith that is in us.
Lord, have mercy.

accept our repentance Lord for the wrongs we have done,
for our blindness to human need and suffering,
and our indifference to injustice and cruelty.
accept our repentance, Lord.

for all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts
towards our neighbors and for our prejudice
and contempt towards those who differ from us.
accept our repentance, Lord.

for our waste and pollution of your creation
and our lack of concern for those who come after us.
accept our repentance, Lord.

restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us.
favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

accomplish in us the work of your salvation,
that we may show your glory in the world.

by the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,
bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

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