Lent, Crazy Latin Words and What Happens When You Die

We have begun the 40-day journey towards Easter, hopefully reminding each of us of the 40-year wandering of God’s people in the wilderness, awaiting entry into the Promised Land, as well as the 40-day fast of Jesus in the wilderness, enduring the Temptation of the Devil.  “Lent” comes from an old English word “lencten” which is best understood as “lengthen”.  According to our Church Year, Easter falls in the Spring.  Thus Lent is simply a Spring season where the days are getting longer, prior to the Church’s observance of Easter.  For early Christians it was a marvelous thought and worthy of theological connection:  as daylight increased so did the anticipation of the Light of the World enacting and fulfilling His justifying work through His life, death and Resurrection.  Thus, our 40-day Lenten Season focuses on the Passion of our Lord.  For this reason, during our Wednesday Midweek Services (7:00pm), we will hear the reading of the Passion, a combination of all four Gospels.  As Jesus ministered and walked towards Jerusalem and the Temple, the suffering servant and Lamb of God who takes way the sins of the world, so we journey throughout these 40-days, all the while seeing the Light that has come into the world to conquer the darkness.

The Sundays in Lent (8:15am & 10:45am) are similarly structured.  You’ll notice that not only are they numbered (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc), but that there is also a strange word listed by their title (Invocabit, Reminiscere, etc.).  These traditional titles of the Sundays in Lent are taken from the Historic Introit appointed for each Sunday and listed by their Latin name.  Here’s a brief summary of the five Sundays in Lent for your meditation:

Invocabit             “call”                Psalm 91:15        When he calls to me, I will answer him

Reminiscere       “remember”     Psalm 25:6           Remember your mercy, O Lord   

Oculi                    “eye”               Psalm 25:15        My eyes are ever toward the Lord

Laetare                “rejoice”          Isaiah 66:10         Rejoice with Jerusalem

Judica                  “vindicate”      Psalm 43:1          Vindicate me, O God

Let’s put it all together!  God the Father will hear the cry of His people, especially the cry of God the Son for you.  He will remember His promise of mercy and salvation, thus we focus our “Eyes on Jesus” (don’t forget to pick up your Lenten Devotional Booklet and Calendar, aptly titled 😊).  As God hears the cries of His people, He remembers His mercy and provides His Son as the once for all sacrifice.  This brings life and immortality to light, great joy, in Jerusalem, in His presence!  Thus we are vindicated, judged, and declared righteous, not by works of our own, but by the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The Holy Spirit is thus sent to open our eyes and hearts in faith, that by His sanctifying work, we gladly receive His Word and Sacrament, absolved and strengthened for our journey, knowing and seeing the Light that ever increases upon us as we journey to not only the Resurrection of Our Lord, but that of all flesh . . . eternal life and immortality to come.

May the Lord thus preserve and bless us throughout these 40-days and unto life everlasting.

A blessed Lententide to you,

Pr. Mackay

P.S.  As our family here at Advent has experienced many deaths of loved ones recently, I humbly offer a short article below by Rev. Travis Berg.  May God’s Word bring you comfort, peace and knowledge of salvation.

What happens when you die?  by Pastor Travis Berg

God’s Word only tells us a little about the state of the soul between death and the resurrection; it mainly points us to Judgement Day and to the resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 1:7Phil. 3:20-21Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:13 and following; 2 Tim. 4:7-9Titus 2:13).

What do we know?

    1. The souls of unbelievers are kept in prison, a place of punishment (1 Peter 3:19-20).
    2. The souls of believers dwell with Christ in Paradise, which is far better than here: “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23); “And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
    3. We do not know how the blessed dead enjoy communion with God; we just know that they do. This is based on what is cited above.
    4. Purgatory is a lie and contrary to Scripture. Scripture divides all men into two classes: believers and unbelievers, good and evil, sheep and goats. Scripture also teaches that only in this life is the time to labor, to run, to strive, that is, to repent, believe, attain the grace of God, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life (Matt. 25:101 Cor. 7:29Eph. 5:16Gal. 6:8). Most importantly, purgatory obscures the merits of Christ. If we still had to make satisfaction for our sins, then Christ’s merit is insufficient.
    5. There are no such thing as ghosts. Departed souls do not return to this world. This is a standing rule and divine arrangement (Luke 16:27-31). Elijah and Moses are to be counted among the risen (Matt. 17:3).
    6. We cannot say that the dead are watching us or if they know what is happening here on earth. Rev. 6:10speaks about the martyrs under the throne. They know what happened to them and they long for God’s justice. But that does not prove that they know what is going on here on earth.
  1. We have no promise, command, or example of the departed saints knowing what is happening on earth or that they can hear us. Therefore, prayers to the saints must be condemned both as folly and as idolatry. Even if the blessed dead could hear us, “there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
  2. Christian parents who miscarry ought to be comforted, even though their children were not able to be baptized. We see the example of King David in 2 Sam. 12:15-23. David’s son is not old enough to be circumcised. Circumcision is the Old Testament shadow of holy baptism (Col. 2:11-12). David’s child dies after he so fervently prays for him. After his son’s death, David says: “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:22-23). King David is not merely talking about the state death; he is speaking about the joys of heaven. This ought to embolden Christian parents to pray fervently for their unborn children, for God commands us to pray and promises to hear us.
  3. The souls of the blessed dead do not become angels. The souls of the damned do not become demons. We know this because Jesus became a man. Jesus remained a Man even after His resurrection. Therefore, we will always be humans. Jesus’ resurrection shows us that we won’t stay mere souls forever. God will put our bodies and souls back together in the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15). This is why we have cemeteries. They are “sleeping places” for our bodies, which await their raising. We shall receive our bodies back. And they shall be glorified, immortal, and incorruptible.

Hopefully this overview taught you, admonished you, and comforted you.

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:7-11)