After the long season of Lenten contrition & conversion, with the celebration of Eastertide & new life in full swing, we can be surprised to (re)discover that our ashes still cling to us despite their redemption and our cynicisms still burrow in our souls despite the invitation to joy. Rend your hearts and share your bread, said the Ash Wednesday lectionary texts; do not shout with heavenly praise if you also stockpile earthly treasures.
But still we are learning those Ash Wednesday lessons. But still — even in Eastertide — we need to repent.
Have the callouses of our hearts, the habits of our lives,
and the unwillingness to imagine God’s promises fulfilled
killed the expressions of life that God is authoring?
In our frustration, do we pour ourselves into love
or do we rage like storms & injure one another?
In our lament, do we lose sight of God’s peace?
Are our souls still so asleep when Christ appears
that we fail to recognize his presence, his wounds,
his joy, his continuing revelation?
Do we fail to recognize Christ within us
even now with all our sin & stubbornness?
Are we too impatient to dwell in Christ
because we want Christ to bless us today
with tomorrow’s success & righteousness?
(1 John 3:1-7)
“Repent therefore, and turn to God” (Acts 3:19).
Friends and colleagues, “repentance” stands out to me as I begin to sermonize toward Sunday. What themes & threads in this coming Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary readings resonate with you as you prep to preach? What events in the life of your faith community are impacting the shape & tone of your sermon? Join the conversation by sharing ideas & notes & questions with one another in the comments.
Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ minister, blogger, and soccer mom. Her upcoming book, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith) with co-author Martha Spong, reflects on childhood memories of organizing the church nursery, harboring secret resentment of labyrinths, and other stories of (failed) faith.
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