A Solemn Assembly and Public Repentance

“I keep all of my Christianity private.  After all, Jesus said, “Don’t do your acts of righteousness to be seen by men.”” I hear regularly.

This error in thinking is easy to understand because many people, maybe most, have received this teaching. As Dr. Pecota, one of my college professors, was fond of saying, “Ideas have consequences.” The consequences of private Christianity have been far more costly than one can imagine.

From my perspective, private Christianity elected Supreme Court Justices who sent millions of the unborn to slaughter. Private Christianity gave us physician assisted suicide in Oregon. And probably, legalized marijuana in Alaska too.

Private Christianity has given us the “I don’t take my faith to work,” philosophy. I hear this regularly in conversation such as, “I do not believe in abortion, but I believe every woman has the right to choose.” I haven’t figured out why every murderer isn’t extended the same “right to choose.”

A Solemn Assembly is a public gathering of personal and corporate repentance. At times God calls us to weep, in public, over our sins. We weep because of the actual cost of our sin, the cost of our sin to other people, and the opportunity costs of our sin.

I can’t get my mind around an answer to this question, “How much has America’s sin cost the world, our nation, my state and city, and my family and me?”

Even more sobering, “How much has my sin cost the same lineage?”

Today MCA Church has declared a Solemn Assembly and Day of Public Repentance.

You are encouraged to figure out creative God honoring ways to take your repentance public, without having the motivation “to be seen by people.” Our only goal is to be seen and heard by God.

Following is the liturgy I have prepared for the 7 AM, Noon, and 7 PM gatherings. I copy and pasted various lines from a variety of websites that are, to my understanding, public domain.

MCA Church: Anchorage
Day of Public Repentance

March 1, 2017

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

With Great Longing: Lenten Antiphon 


With great longing and in the joy of the Holy Spirit

We await the holy feast of Easter

Deny yourself to follow Christ

Love fasting and revive the poor

Cloth the naked and visit the sick

Comfort those who grieve


With great longing and in the joy of the Holy Spirit

We await the holy feast of Easter

Put nothing before the love of Christ

Do not act in anger nor bear a grudge

Do not make a false peace nor abandon charity


With great longing and in the joy of the Holy Spirit

We await the holy feast of Easter

Do not return evil for good

Speak the truth with heart and tongue

Cause no hurt but bear hurt with patience

And love those who hate you


With great longing and in the joy of the Holy Spirit

We await the holy feast of Easter

Old Testament

Isaiah 58:1-12

Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!

Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.

Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.

“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”

Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.

Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.

Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?

Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?

Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;

your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

The Response

Psalm 103:8-14

8 The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, *
slow to anger and of great kindness.

9 He will not always accuse us, *
nor will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, *
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, *
so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, *
so far has he removed our sins from us.

13 As a father cares for his children, *
so does the Lord care for those who fear him.

14 For he himself knows whereof we are made; *
he remembers that we are but dust.

The Epistle

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see– we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

God of Mercy and Compassion


God of mercy and compassion,
Look with pity upon me,
Father, let me call Thee Father,
‘Tis Thy child returns to Thee.

Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy;
Let me not implore in vain;
All my sins, I now detest them,
Never will I sin again.

By my sins I have deserved
Death and endless misery,
Hell with all its pains and torments,
And for all eternity.

By my sins I have abandoned
Right and claim to heav’n above.
Where the saints rejoice forever
In a boundless sea of love.

See our Savior, bleeding, dying,
On the cross of Calvary;
To that cross my sins have nail’d Him,
Yet He bleeds and dies for me.

The Gospel

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

O Come and Mourn

O come and mourn with me awhile;
See Mary calls us to her side;
O come and let us mourn with her.
Jesus, our Love, is crucified.

How fast His hands and feet are nailed;
His blessed tongue with thirst is tied;
His failing eyes are blind with blood.
Jesus, our Love, is crucified.

His mother longs to reach his face;
she stands in helplessness beside;
her heart is martyred with her Son’s:
Jesus, our Love, is Crucified.
O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act your strength is tried;
And victory remains with love,
For He, our Love, is crucified.


P  Most holy and merciful God,
C  we confess to you and to one another, and before the whole company of heaven, that we have sinned by our fault, by our own fault, by our own most grievous fault, in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.

P  We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
C  Have mercy on us, O God.

P  We have shut our ears to your call to serve as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
C  Have mercy on us, O God.

P  Our past unfaithfulness, the pride, envy, hypocrisy, and apathy that have infected our lives, we confess to you.
C  Have mercy on us, O God.

P  Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people, we confess to you.
C  Have mercy on us, O God.

P  Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to share the faith that is in us, we confess to you.
C  Have mercy on us, O God.

P  Our neglect of human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, we confess to you.
C  Have mercy on us, O God.


P  Our false judgments, our uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us, we confess to you.
C  Have mercy on us, O God.

P  Our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us, we confess to you.
C  Have mercy on us, O God.

P. Restore us, O God, and let your anger depart from us.
C. Hear us, O God, for your mercy is great.

P. Accomplish in us, O God, the work of your salvation,
C. that we may show forth your glory in the world.

P. By the cross and passion of your Son, our Savior,
C. bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

P. Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keeps us in eternal life.
C. Amen