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by Carol Penner

Sin weighs us down, but we long for freedom.

When harmful words or actions lead to broken relationships, we often aim for forgiveness. But forgiveness can be elusive. Sometimes it can take our whole lives to forgive those who have harmed us. Sometimes we may never manage it. And when we are the ones responsible for rupture, we may long for a reconciliation that doesn’t come. 

Lent is a time to reflect on how Jesus frees us from the burden of sin, both personal and communal. It’s a time to orient ourselves toward Easter and the possibility of new life in Christ. Unburdened invites readers to hear God’s call to move away from brokenness and into the healing and hope of the resurrection. Author Carol Penner draws on her experiences as a pastor, chaplain, and theologian to help readers navigate the forgiveness journey. Through prayers, scripture reflections, and stories about individuals and communities, be encouraged to take small steps toward the freedom found in forgiveness.







Invitation: Shrove Tuesday
Notes on the Road Ahead

Week 1: Seeking Repentance
Ash Wednesday: Searching for Forgiveness
Thursday: Embracing Belovedness
Friday: Turning Around
Saturday: Taking Responsibility
Sunday: Practicing Penitence
Monday: Focusing on Fasting
Tuesday: Dying to Self

Week 2: Addressing Sin
Wednesday: Lamenting Harm
Thursday: Yearning for Restoration
Friday: Naming Sin
Saturday: Confessing Together
Sunday: Calling for Repentance
Monday: Relieving Shame
Tuesday: Encountering Walls

Week 3: Pursuing Freedom
Wednesday: Turning to God
Thursday: Finding Deliverance
Friday: Heading for Safety
Saturday: Taking Time
Sunday: Searching for Sorries
Monday: Taking Separate Paths
Tuesday: Hoping for Forgiveness

Week 4: Responding to Brokenness
Wednesday: Working at Repair
Thursday: Disrupting Systems
Friday: Surviving Betrayal
Saturday: Guarding against Harm
Sunday: Confronting with Wisdom
Monday: Extending Mercy
Tuesday: Breathing Hope

Week 5: Building Forgiveness
Wednesday: Being Transformed
Thursday: Supporting Accountability
Friday: Fostering Forgiveness
Saturday: Reaching Out
Palm Sunday: Making Peace
Monday: Relinquishing Revenge
Tuesday: Tending Sheep, Feeding Lambs

Week 6: Treading Holy Ground
Wednesday: Kneeling Faithfully
Maundy Thursday: Telling Our Stories
Good Friday: Breaking Free
Holy Saturday: Embracing Love
Easter Sunday: Leaping Over Walls!

Guide for Small Groups
The Author

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Praise for Unburdened