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Pastor Marcus MackayFollow
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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.


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