Monday of the Week of Advent I
Show me your ways, O LORD, and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
In you have I trusted all the day long.
Remember, O LORD, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting.
Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions;
remember me according to your love and
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD. (Psalm 25)
Advent was once a penitential season. Like Lent, it was a time for reflection, repentance and renewal. The color was the same as Lent, purple. Part of the preparation for the coming of the Lord and the coming celebration of his birth was confession and repentance for the sake of hearing again the good news of forgiveness. Observing Advent as a penitential season doesn’t make it a “downer,” negative or sad, but rather an opportunity for new freedom, joy and release as we lay down our burden of guilt and receive mercy and the chance to begin again and anew!
Psalm 25 is a psalm that puts into proper perspective confession and absolution (forgiveness) for the sake of amendment of life and renewed commitment to obedience. We pray that the Lord will remember not my sins and transgressions, so that in compassion and love, he will show us his ways, teach us his paths, leading us in his truth. Later in the psalm, we read, “Gracious and upright is the LORD; therefore he teaches sinners in his way. He guides the humble in doing right and teaches his way to the lowly.”
It is all too often the case that Christians still believe that God forgives us because we try harder, sin less and make ourselves acceptable to him by our thoughts, words and deeds. This understanding has it backwards. Because God loves us and forgives us the sins of our youth and our sins of yesterday and today, we are free with each new day to trust in him, walk in his ways, and keep his covenant!
The joy of repentance in Advent is that we receive God’s grace and mercy, to go and sin no more!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, remember my sins no more, and teach me your ways! Amen.
Advent Action: As the forgiven person you are, make a list of three ways you would like to follow Jesus more closely, and make that your Advent focus.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.