LENTEN DEVOTION for Monday, February 19  

by Yushi Nomura


Yesterday was. Last week...was. Let only what needs to be pondered from the past remain in the present. Let today be a fresh beginning.


Abba Poemen said about Abba Pior that every single day he made a fresh beginning.

Jesus said, "See, I am making all things new." (Rev. 21:5)


Sometimes the burdens accumulate. Day after day, we add something onto our shoulders. Soon enough our posture-physical, emotional, and spiritual-degrades. A new beginning is necessary.

The Swiss theologian Karl Barth said that grace is new every day. He is channeling Abba Pior, who made a fresh beginning every day. In our Sunday liturgy, we have a prayer of confession and the assurance of grace. This part of the service gives us the opportunity to make a new beginning every week: we name our waywardness and wrongdoing and acknowledge that, for God in Christ, we are forgiven. God always offers new beginnings.

Here is a daily practice you can use to make a fresh beginning of each day. Before you go to bed at night, examine your day. What were your interactions like? Did you live with grace and peace? Did you wrestle with self-doubt or anxiety? Did you judge another? Were you defensive or offensive? Be critical of yourself. Own your faults and failures. Acknowledge the good and loving. Then, name what went wrong, name the ways you acted against God's ways. As you name those things, pray "Lord, in your mercy hear my prayer." Repeat until you no longer dwell on the wrong and rest well.

In the morning, examine your thoughts and feelings. What are you carrying over from yesterday? As another pastor recently told me, you will act out of those first feelings your whole day if you don't reckon with them. In prayer, say, "God's grace is new each day." Repeat until there is relief.


Gracious God:

Here I am. Here are my burdens. (Name them.) Here is what I bring into this day. (Name them.)

Grace is new every day. I know, grace is new every day.


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