Let me be free

Photo by Vaishakh pillai on Unsplash

Jesus Christ, the beginning and the end, 
    the resurrection and the life, 
    the perfect man who gave His life for sinners, 
    I worship you, I adore you, I sing aloud your name. 
I am one of those whom you saved, whom you set free, 
    when you died on the cross. 
You redeemed me from the slavery of sin. 
And yet I cannot escape the overpowering sense 
    that I am still a wretched sinner, 
    that my every action is worthless or evil. 
I am like the dry sand of a desert thirsting for water.
I am like a criminal languishing in prison. 
 
Good people try to help me, and I pray that you will reward them; 
    but their goodness does nothing to assuage my sense of wickedness. 
Patient people try to teach me your ways; 
    but I am so stubborn that I cannot learn. 
Humble people seek to serve me; 
    but in my pride I cannot truly appreciate their services. 
Lift the burden of wickedness; break down my stubbornness; root out my pride. 
Let me receive your life-giving love. 
Let me be free.
 
Fulbert of Chartres, c.970-1028, bishop of the Cathedral of Chartres, France
 
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And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 
    let us go right into the presence of God 
    with sincere hearts fully trusting him. 
For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, 
    and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

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You justify the humble

Publican & Pharisee Icon
Publican & Pharisee Icon / Ted / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
 
Humility once exalted the tax collector,
    who bewailed his sin
    and cried: ‘Be merciful,’
    and was justified.
Let him be our example,
    for we have all fallen into the abyss of evil.
Let us cry to the Savior
    from the bottom of our heart:
  we have sinned, be merciful,
    for you alone love us.
 
Lord, you condemned the Pharisee
    who, boasting of his works,
    justified himself.
You justified the tax collector
    who, humbling himself,
    with sorrowful sighing asked for mercy.
For you reject proud hearts.
    but do not reject contrite hearts.
So in humility we prostrate ourselves
    before you, who suffered for us.
Grant us forgiveness
    and generous mercy.
 
From Orthodox Lent. Holy Week, Easter
 
_______________________
 
 
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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Sometimes I choose sin

Photo by Nick Gavrilov on Unsplash
 
Father – the truth about me is that often I choose sin:
    Sometimes I choose hatred.  Sometimes I choose slander.
    Sometimes I choose envy.  Sometimes I choose greed.
    Sometimes I choose pettiness.  Sometimes I choose lust.
    Sometimes I choose gossip.  Sometimes I choose pride.
    Sometimes I choose self-reliance.
    Sometimes I choose self-righteousness.
    Sometimes I choose self-aggrandizement.
    Sometimes I choose dishonesty.
    Sometimes I choose unkind words.
    Sometimes I choose to ignore the obvious needs around me.
    Sometimes I choose to hoard my resources.
    Sometimes I choose to neglect Your command to share the gospel.
The list of things I wrongly choose could go on and on.  And sometimes
I act on these things in ways that are darker than I ever care to state.
Each time I make such a choice, I choose death.
Today, I ask that You breathe life into my soul afresh
    and enable me to choose life – to choose You and Your ways.
 
Kurt Bjorklund, 1968- , American Minister and author or
 
____________________
 
 
For the wages of sin is death, 
    but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.