We do not lose heart. We do not give up. We persevere. We act justly. We practice self-control. Or at least that is what we are called to do. But are we conscientious in seeking that newness in Christ? Have we put off the old self, that the new self may be created in us? God is building a new creation, a new Temple in His New Jerusalem. Are we cooperating with Him in that construction process? Are we open to learn Christ and His ways? Do we want to see the world around us as He sees it? Do we want to learn to desire what He desires; to yield our will to His?
In the self examination in St. Augustine’s Prayer Book, he offers these prompts for us to consider:
- Have we refused to respond to our opportunities for growth, service, or sacrifice?
- Are we concerned over injustice done to others?
- Are we mindful and responsive to the suffering of other parts of the world?
- Have we ignored the needy, lonely or unpopular persons in our community?
So, let us pause and reflect on these questions. The Great Commandment reminds us that we are not only to love God, but also to love our neighbor. And who is our neighbor? Jesus tells us in the parable of the Good Samaritan that the one who loved his neighbor was “The one who showed mercy…” Then Jesus said, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). So, let us confess our negligence in loving God with our whole heart, and failing to love our neighbor as Christ loves us.
O God of mercy, You are just in all Your doings and have commanded that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. We confess that we have not always loved You with all of our heart, with all our strength, and all our mind, but have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. We have not done all that You have commanded, and we have done things that were not of Your will. We have also not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. Have mercy on us, we pray, and forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.