Ezra 9:5-15 OR Jeremiah 25:15-38 OR 2Chronicles 7:1-22
Luke 23:(1-12) 13-49
Prayer of Confession [see Ezra 9]
O Lord our God, how can we lift our faces to you, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors to the present, we have been deep in guilt, and we are ashamed of all our iniquities. For we have forsaken your commandments and filled the land from end to end with uncleanness. And now, our God, what shall we say? Here we are before you in our guilt, and no one can face you who may claim to be righteousness, no one but Jesus Christ, the Righteous One himself. After all that has come upon us for our sins and our great guilt, you, our God, have not punished us as our iniquities deserve; you have not forsaken us, but have extended your steadfast love to us, to give us new life in Christ. Forgive us, therefore, O merciful God, for the sake of your gracious Son, Jesus Christ, that his great suffering and his redeeming work might bring us fully into eternal fellowship with you, and that we might commit and commend our spirits, as he has done, into your loving and gracious hand.
Declaration of Forgiveness [see Luke 23; 1Peter 4]
Truly Jesus our Messiah came not to save himself, but to save sinners. In his suffering on the cross, and in his prayer that even his executioners might be forgiven, he who was found guiltless has atoned for our guilt and secured the salvation of all those who, though formerly his enemies, now trust in him whose love covers a multitude of sins. For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to you who were once dead in your sins, so that you too might live in the Spirit as God does, no longer by human desires, but by the will of God and with all the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ, in whom we are forgiven and to whom, with the Father and the Spirit, belongs all glory and power, forever and ever. Blessed be God forever! Amen!