“And rend your heart and not your garments.
Now return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.” Joel 2:13
There is a response in our weekly Lenten services that is based on this verse from the book of Joel. Lent is to be a time of examination, reflection, and discipline. It’s not unusual for any of us to drift away from these things, as the world is always with us, and always a distraction. Here Joel reminds us that what God requires is (once again) an open heart. True piety is not about an outward appearance of holy behavior — it’s about a change in the way we think, believe and act.
It also tells us, that it is not too late to repent and change. God will not reject us for our failures if we willingly repent and turn away from evil. Think of the loving Father in the parable of the prodigal son — God is waiting to welcome us back.
However, there is another parable in the book of Matthew. It speaks of the wise and foolish virgins and being ready for the Bridegroom. Those who were foolish slept during the time of waiting, and didn’t have oil for their lamps. Afterwards, they were not admitted to the feast. At some point it will be too late. As the parable warns,
““Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Matthew 25:13
We do not know when we will die, and we don’t know when Christ will come again. I pray that each of us will use our time wisely, particularly during this season of Lent. The best time to return to God is NOW.
For more posts about an open heart see: