Day 1: Ash Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”   Luke 18:13

As I studied these scriptures, knowing the Pharisee had looked down upon this tax collector and exalted himself for all his good deeds and his tithing and verbally abused the tax collector, I began to think where I may have unintentionally done the same. As a Catholic did I look at others going into the confessional booth and smirk to myself when their confession took “forever?” As a Lay Pastor in the Reformed Church, Crystal Cathedral, did I look at those who came to our church to just make themselves look important; always trying to make sure they were in the camera’s lens and dismiss their spiritual needs?  As a Lay Pastor/Elder in the Presbyterian Church did I put the “order of worship,” the appropriate prayers and responses ahead of the urgent needs of those seeking peace and acceptance? Through the years of changing churches, theologies and doctrines, I have learned a difficult and yet extremely important lesson–these things are not important because as Jesus taught us in Mark 9:40, “For he who is not against us is on our side.” So, confessions, orders of worship, rote prayers, limelight and fame are not what He taught. Jesus simply taught us to follow in His footsteps and love one another as He loved us.  



Dear Heavenly Father, If I did fail in my service to You Lord, help me to recognize my failings, admit them to You in my own personal prayers, asking for Your help in doing Your will in the way You would want me to. God, be merciful to me a sinner! Amen.
Contributed by Rebecca Caldwell