Justice and Mercy
for Jesus’ Sake
What is “Habits of Grace?”
The Lenten season is a time of confession and repentance; it is a time of spiritual preparation for the greatest event of all—the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior on Easter morning. But Easter does not come without the grim reality of the cross on Good Friday and the sacrifice that was made for all of us, the death that Christ suffered so that he could defeat it and pass the victory on to us. For this reason Lent is a solemn time, a time that begins with ashes imposed on our foreheads, a reminder that we have come from dust and will return to it; a time when Alleluias are absent in worship; a time when the cross is shrouded in a purple veil and eventually removed entirely from the chancel on Maundy Thursday; a time when we leave the church in silence after Lenten worship. It is also a time when some Christians observe the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Lutherans have, traditionally, not emphasized these disciplines, probably because they can sometimes seem to point to salvation by works rather than grace. But seen in the context of the gospel, they can also be helpful reminders that we should, in grateful response, give of ourselves, our time, and our treasure, which are pure gifts that God has poured upon us. These disciplines should encourage us to think about a world where the church strives for justice, especially now in 2021 during a pandemic which has touched all of us physically and spiritually and racial unrest which cries for our response.
For those reasons these daily Lenten devotions are organized around the disciplines of Confession, Repentance, Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, and Acts of Mercy. You will receive your first devotion tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, February 17 and our focus for the first week will be Confession.
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