Which are these?
Here consider your station according to the Ten Commandments, whether you are a father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, a man-servant or maid-servant; whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, slothful; whether you have grieved any one by words or deeds; whether you have stolen, neglected, or wasted aught, or done other injury.
St. Paul reminds us in Romans 3:20 “By the Law is the knowledge of sin.” Consider your life lived under the Ten Commandments. What will you find? You find failure. You find iniquity. You find you have missed the mark of God’s perfection. You find frustration, misery and sin. Repent! You can’t get around it. You can’t make excuses for yourself. You can’t work yourself out of your sin. Confess you sin and repent.
But do more than confess and repent. Believe! Believe in the Father’s promises. Believe in Jesus’ work for you. Trust the Father’s promise to forgive, restore and renew. Confession, is it good for the soul? Only so far. Absolution, the Father’s pronouncement of Jesus’ forgiveness. Grace, God’s do-over! Now that is what is good for your soul!
Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Collect for Ash Wednesday, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things