Thanksgiving for Repentance

Thanksgiving for repentance is an odd title for a Newsletter article, and if I’m being honest, I probably would have named it something different if it were a different month of the year. Alas, we are in the month our country celebrates Thanksgiving. But the title is not a misnomer. Yes, we should even be thankful for repentance. This month’s article will explain why, as well as offer suggestions for how to live a life of repentance, as our Baptism teaches us to do.

It is a lie of the Devil that lures us into thinking we should be ashamed of repentance. We should instead be ashamed of our sin. We should be ashamed when we do not repent. But, repentance is never something to be ashamed of, for a “broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Ps 51:17). God loves when we live in repentance, for when we do so, we are confessing that we are constantly in need of His saving grace!

Being ashamed of repentance is also a lie of our sinful flesh. Pride seeks to hide our sins lest others see us for who we really are by nature. Pride prefers to live like the Pharisee who boasts of his works rather than the Tax Collector who beats his breast confessing, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (see Luke 18:9 -13). Pride does not cover a multitude of sins; only love does (1 Pet 4:8).

Being ashamed of repentance is also a lie of the world. The world wants you to think that exposing your deeds of darkness to the marvelous light will hurt you; perhaps ending your career or “life” as it were. Instead, Paul gives us a great promise in Ephesians 5:14 that “anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” In other words, when we expose our deeds of darkness to the marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9), the Gospel calls us out of the tomb and raises us from spiritual death just as Jesus called forth Lazarus from the tomb. When we repent we have life!

So, live in repentance, brothers and sisters. “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person availeth much” (James 5:16). Unlike the devil, the world, and our flesh, that threaten you with deceitful, fear-mongering lies, the Gospel promises you will be blessed in doing so. You will be liberated from the despair of sin, for the truth will set you free (Jn 8:32).

In an effort to catechize our congregation on how to live in repentance, you will notice that the “silence” preceding the confessions of sins in the Divine Service is getting progressively longer. The silence is intentionally awkward. We do not have enough silence in this busy world. We used to have about 5 seconds of silence; we are working towards 30-60 seconds of it. Use the time to confess your sins to God. The simplest way to do this is to confess how you broke each of the 10 Commandments most recently. If you think you haven’t broken any of them, go back and read the paragraph above about the sinful flesh and pride. That deadly sin has its grip on you.               Here’s a small example how you could confess your sins: “Lord, I have not put my fear, love, and trust in You alone. I continue to fear _____, love ____, and trust _____ more than you (1st). Lord, I have not prayed as often as I should, and have not thanked you for all the undeserved blessings you bestow (2nd). Lord, I do not read your Word every day, and I certainly am not trying very hard to learn it (3rd). I continue to not give my parents and governing authorities the honor they deserve according to your Word (4th). I have not defended the physical well-being of my neighbor, ignoring the impoverished (5th). I have let my eyes and mind wander from my wife / I have sought attention from someone other than my husband / I have failed to be thankful for the blessing of being single and live in a way that honors marriage (6th), I have not improved my neighbor’s possessions, but instead judged mine as better (7th). I have not put the best construction on my neighbor’s actions, have spoken ill of them, and/or told their business to someone else (8th). I have not been content with all the blessings You have given me, and get envious of others’ successes (9th/10th).

If you haven’t memorized the 10 Commandments and their meanings, do so now. I’m being serious. It’s imperative that you do so that you may live a life of repentance. For when you commit God’s Word to memory, it will inform your conscience how to think about your own sin, and will make you crave the sweet Gospel of forgiveness for Christ’s sake. In the meantime, during the silence portion of Confession, turn to page 321 in the hymnal and read through and reflect on the 10 Commandments there. In a very short time, you will have them committed to memory, and you can begin confessing your sins regularly at home during the week, too. The Christian life is one of daily repentance as Luther wrote in his first of ninety-five theses. It remains true today. When we live in repentance, we live out our Baptism that has buried us with Christ into His death “in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). Thanks be to God for repentance! Take the silent time in the Divine Service to get in the habit of doing it!

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Hromowyk

WORSHIP SCHEDULE
Sunday Services with Holy Communion
8:00 AM & 10:30 AM
Midweek Services Wednesday 7:00 P.M.

THANKSGIVING SERVICES
November 23, 2022
Matins 11:00 AM / Prayer Service 7:00 PM

ADVENT SERVICES
November 30, December 7th & 14th
at 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM

 

Please visit our YouTube Channel or Facebook Page for links to recorded services.

LCMS-U at OSU

Join us at OSU for LCMS-U weekly Vicar-led Bible Study!

Mondays, 4:30 - 5:30 PM

Meeting Location: Destination Ohio Room

Facebook Group is fb.com/groups/LCMSUOSU

Wednesday Night Service/Bible Study

The First Wednesday (November 2), the Service, beginning at 7:00 PM, will be Divine Service Setting Three with Holy Communion. On Wednesdays (Nov. 9th &16th), the Service will be Compline, and will begin at 7:00 PM; there will be a Bible Study following the Services in the Family Room.

Private Confession and Absolution will be available from 6:15-6:45 PM, in Pastor Hromowyk’s Office. On Wednesdays (Nov. 23 & 30) Thanksgiving Eve and Advent 1, there will be an 11:00 AM Matins service and a 6:00 PM Soup Supper followed by a 7:00 PM Evening Prayer Service.