I was caught this Sunday morning by the prayer of penitence we used in our gathering:
Lord our God,
in our sin we have avoided your call.
Our love for you is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early.
Have mercy on us;
deliver us from judgement;
bind up our wounds and revive us;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth."
4 "What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears.
In my sin I have avoided God's call. My sin puts a gulf between me and the Lord. I use that to hide, to postpone heeding His call, to carry on with my own thing. Now and then I repent and recommit and enjoy a bright morning of relationship with God. But my love is indeed like a bright cloud in the early morning sky, and like the early dew - disappearing in the heat of the day, when the normal daily business gets going - forgotten.
Is the rest of the prayer enough? Is it enough to ask God to have mercy on me, to deliver me from His own judgement and to heal me? Doesn't repentance mean and require more than that? Is not repentance a radical change and determined commitment? Something that will last longer than the morning dew and a bright morning cloud?