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The Lenten Discipline: Calling our hearts to repentence and obedience

The Season of Lent is winding down, now approaching that most somber time known as Holy Week.  Each Sunday, in many churches, the congregation bows down and participates in a community time of confession and it is during this time that all are called to self-examination as the words of the Ten Commandments are read.  Many Christians view these as passe, as a part of the Old Testament Law and not necessary for Christians to review.  Yet they were important for Jesus and he reminded  his followers, and by extension he reminds us, that these Ten Commandments are the basis for all that God asks of us.

The first three commandments call us back to our relationship with the Lord who has extended grace and mercy to each of us through our Lord Jesus Christ.  We are to . . . "Love the Lord God with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength."  We are to have no other gods before the Lord -- the love of things, even those closest to us are but secondary to our love for God.  

The last seven commandments are God teaching us how we are to relate to one another as we are to respect life, to respect the belongings and relationships of others, to honor those who have given us life, and to live in fellowship with one another, loving others as we love ourselves.  

The Lenten Discipline calls our hearts to think on the ways we have wandered away from God's best, have put ourselves and our goals and desires ahead of our love for God, have looked on others with disdain instead of compassion, have not recognized that we are all precious in God's sight. 

In repentance and obedience we say:  "Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers and forgive us as we turn to you." 

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