By Rev. Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg
I’ve always been directionally challenged if left to my own instincts.
My husband, an Oklahoman, says that it’s because as an East Coast person I can’t see the horizon. He’s always talking about directions like “On the north side of the intersection” and then I have to say, “You know not to use that sort of language around me….”
If he were to say, “Next to the Chick-Fil-A” or “across from California Tortilla,” I’d understand. But directions that don’t involve places I already know? I’m lost.
I don’t have to have a good sense of direction, though, because I’ve got my GPS. My GPS reminds me I can always make a U-Turn and I’m never really lost.
As we enter into Lent, a season of directional “recalculating” and repentance, I’m reminded that we are always able to repent, to turn around, to seek forgiveness and start again.
To take advantage of that, we first have to admit we need to turn. We have to realize that we are on the wrong path or that there is a rupture of relationship that needs to be fixed. We have to be humble enough to make the turn, to realize that to keep going in the wrong direction is NOT going to make things better. And then, we have to make the turn, and act.
We have to take steps in our new direction. What paths are you staying on just because they are familiar that are not getting you where God needs you to be?
To repent, to have the chance to repent, is a great gift that God offers us, especially during Lent. Isn’t it great to have a chance on the busy highway of life to pull over and check the map, and if needed, to turn around?
The hymnal is totally on my side: “In Christ there is no East or West, in Him no South or North.”
God’s GPS is calling…. go ahead. Make the turn. Repent.
By Rev. Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill
When I was a little boy I really enjoyed watching one of the commericals in the after school specials. It was the one about fire safety.
It was the commercial that told you, if you find yourself in a fire there are three things you must do, Stop, Drop and Roll.
I was thinking about that commercial the other day, and I realized that Stop, Drop and Roll is not only good in a fire, it is also what a believer does when they decide to repent.
Many times when we think of repenting, we think it is as simple as saying sorry to God for a sin or mistake. But it is not quite that simple. True repentance goes much deeper than just a sorry, it requires you to Stop, Drop and Roll.
When we truly repent the first thing we have to do is STOP. True repentance always requires that you stop doing what you have been doing. It is not enough to say sorry you actually have to stop doing the deed.
The second step in repentance is to DROP. When we want to repent we have to drop to our knees and pray to God for his forgiveness. Often times, it is the dropping that is most difficult, but we have to drop and confess what we have done we know that God is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins.
Finally, true repentance requires that we ROLL. After we STOP what we are doing and DROP to our knees to ask for forgiveness the only thing left is to ROLL away from the past.
True repentance requires that we make a commitment to roll away from the things that we are stopping and are sorry for. Unless we roll we have the possibility to only have a temporary stop and an empty apology, not true repentance.
So this Lenten season, don’t just give up coffee or sweets for 40 days. Take a moment to Stop, Drop and Roll. It will make all the difference in the world.