Preacher: Lord, we have wandered into places and situation that are wrong for us. We have not followed and honored your holy name, but have brought shame upon it. Help us Lord to start anew!
Seeker: “I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries . . .”
Preacher: We remember Lord what it was like to dwell in your Presence and follow your Laws. We long for those days. Help us Lord to start anew!
Seeker: “. . and bring you into your own land.”
Preacher: Thank you Lord for gathering us to you. But we see ourselves, Lord, dirty and defiled. Our sins stick to us like mud and dung. Help us Lord to start anew!
Seeker: “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses “
Preacher: We are shamed by our actions and what we have done worshiping false gods, preferring them against your Rule of Righteousness and Compassion. Help us Lord to start anew!
Seeker: “ . . . and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
Preacher: We are fearful Lord that when tempted we will go back to our evil practices. We want to stay faithful, but fear our weaknesses will betray us. Help us Lord to start anew!
Seeker: “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you;”
Preacher: Search our hearts of Lord, that we might free to worship as you command. We desire Lord to be a people of kindness and compassion, as your are. Help us Lord to start anew!
Seeker: “ . . . and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Preacher: Your words, O Lord are a balm to our spirit, and your promises, that are never broken, reassure that we can once more be in communion with you! Thank you Lord for helping us start anew!
Seeker: “I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.” (Reference: Ezekiel 36:24-27 )
The editors of Reading the Anabaptist Bible said in regards to this passage, “Being reborn by the power of God provided the foundation for Anabaptist spirituality and discipleship.” And Dirk Philips also wrote of this rebirth and transformation in his “The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (circa. 1557) “For what is the new birth other than the transforming and renewing of the person which God works in him through faith in Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit? Thus the person is created anew out of God, born of his seed, 1 Pet. 1:23, made in his image, Col. 3:10, renewed in his knowledge, becomes partaker of his divine nature, Eph. 4:24; new being of the Spirit, John 14:17; 16:13, in holiness and righteousness all the days of his life, John 20:22; Luke 1:75. Where this takes place and is in process as a pregnancy, there is the genuine new birth; there is the new creature in Christ Jesus, John 3:3; Gal. 6:15.”
May you, beloved, be reborn and transformed constantly, so that you might ever be within our Lord’s presence. Selah!