Ash Wednesday and our Lenten season is here! It is a penitential time, and I love it. Hopefully for you it means a time of listening and responding, a litany of hearing God’s Word and praying God’s Word. And prayerfully, your prayers, like mine, will be one of repentance and faith—confession and absolution. If you like to do or give up something this season, consider both! Give up your wasted time and fill it with Scripture and Catechetical devotion click here for the 90 day Bible and Catechism Challenge. You won’t regret it!
O Lord, throughout theses forty days You prayed and kept the fast; // Inspire repentance for our sin, And free us from our past. (O Lord, throughout These Forty Days. LSB 408:1)
This season of the Church Year is full of rich hymnody concerning our poor estate. Lent traditionally has become a forty day pilgrimage through catechesis and reflective song. I wish to give you some catechetical reflection through a few select stanzas of Lenten hymns.
On my heart imprint Your image, Blessed Jesus, King of grace, // That life’s riches, cares, and pleasures Never may Your work erase; // Let the clear inscription be: Jesus, crucified for me, // Is my life, my hope’s foundation, And my glory and salvation! (On My Heart Imprint Your Image. LSB 422)
Our hearts our fallen, but Jesus, the King of grace, is blessed! Who are we to worry when Jesus is at hand to heal our hearts? Life has its rewards but they do not compare to what Jesus does for our empty hearts. Might we be glad in the mercy of the Son our Savior, whose crucifixion is tattooed, inscribed eternally, upon our fainting hearts. Hope and glory are in his salvation, and ever joyful we may be!
A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth, The guilt of sinners bearing // And, laden with the sins of earth, None else the burden sharing; // Goes patient on, grows weak and faint, To slaughter led without complaint, That spotless life to offer, // He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies, The mockery, and yet replies, “All this I gladly suffer.”
This Lamb is Christ, the soul’s great friend, The Lamb of God, our Savior, // Whom God the Father chose to send To gain for us His favor. // “Go forth, My Son,” the Father said, “And free My Children from their dread of guilt and condemnation. // The wrath and stripes are hard to bear, But by Your passion they will share The fruit of Your salvation.” (A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth. LSB 438:1-2)
The Lamb, Jesus, comes to us this Lenten period. God’s Word reveals, as it always does, but perhaps more sharply now, that Jesus’ work was brutal—he took the wrath of God and stripes of scourging which deservingly are ours. Yet we are spared from ours sin’s final consequence of hell and eternal damnation. The Father does not wish the death of sinners but that they share in the faith which trusts the passion of Jesus, the begotten Son of God who dies for us. The fruit of salvation is a faith that sees the resurrection not from afar, but in Christ, sees it as the reality firmly possessed while not yet known to the mortal eye.
Blessed Lenten Season!