Royster Hedgepeth has once again produced “Lenten Reflections,” a booklet written for and by St. Paul’s people to help us on this year’s Lenten journey. A reflection will be delivered via email every day from Ash Wednesday through the Tuesday after Easter. A small supply of printed copies also will be produced.
Here is Royster’s introduction to “Lenten Reflections,” the promise of good things to come this Lent:
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen (Book of Common Prayer p. 264)
With penitence and contrition comes mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness. When we express sorrow for our sins, God has compassion on us and expresses God’s divine mercy by releasing us from our guilt and relieving us of the suffering our sins have caused. God pardons us of our sins and excuses us without penalty or hard feelings.
Lent is, therefore, a time of new beginnings, a time of refreshment and renewal. Our spirits are restored to freshness and vigor. Lent provides special opportunities to open ourselves more fully to God, to be drawn further into God’s heart, and to invite God more fully into our lives. It is also a special time to renew and strengthen our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ and to become more engaged members in the Body of Christ.
COVID-time has confronted us with an almost unprecedented medical pandemic and a year of social, racial and political upheaval. This year’s writers reflect the pressures and limitations they have experienced. They also reflect the resilience of the human spirit that grows from a deep and abiding faith in God. Many of them offer hope for spiritual restoration, refreshment, and renewal. And, in several reflections, the writers remind us that there are times when penitence and contrition bring a call to something new and unexpected.
We hope that you will find light, hope, comfort and challenge in these reflections. We hope they will be a part of a holy Lent in which you experience God’s boundless mercy and compassion in a way that gives you spiritual renewal, refreshment and new energy.
Royster Hedgepeth, OA