March 8, 2011

Ash Wednesday, First Day of Lent

          
                                  
            The Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 32, Psalm 143, Isaiah 58:1-12, Hebrews 12:1-14      
Evening - Psalm 102, Psalm 130, Jonah 3 & 4, Luke 15:10-32



                                                           Luke 15:10-32

10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.


            Commentary

The Gospel readings for Lent will follow the life and ministry of Christ as He makes His unrelenting progress toward Jerusalem and the cross.  We begin with a reminder of the reason Christ has come to earth, and why He is going to the cross.  He has come to save sinners.  The story of the Prodigal Son expresses the joy of God over every person who repents of sin and returns to God.  The whole story is an illustration of the truth of Luke 15:10, "Likewise, I say unto to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

            Devotional Thoughts

The Scripture readings for today appropriately begin with the words of Psalm 32 "Blessed is he whose unrighteousness is forgiven, and whose sin is covered."  The reading from Isaiah reminds us that the true fast is a fast from sins, "to loose the bands of wickedness."  Hebrews continues this theme saying, "let us lay aside... the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."  What wonderful words these are to begin the season of Lent, a season of seeking God and intentional rooting sin out of our lives.  Lent is a season of repentance.