Today we celebrated the Divine Service for Reminsicere (and we'll celebrate it also tomorrow twice). The somber readings, the loss of Gloria in Excelsis and of Alleluia, the long tract, the Lenten preface and the hymns - it all reminds me of a the soberness of the battle in which we are engaged. How serious this battle is, and how vital its outcome. So in the Collect we pray for God to defend us both outwardly and inwardly: for all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul.
I told the folks at the beginning of Advent that we needed Advent precisely because - see the collect for Advent one - Satan has lulled us into thinking that our sins are no threatening danger at all. Advent reveals otherwise; and so does Lent. It's a battle indeed - a battle not of the will, but of faith. A battle not of our strength, but of our trust in God's mercy and His promises.
"For Lutherans it's always Lent" (Keiler) and I won't argue with that except to say: for Christians this LIFE is always Lent. Always a preparation and a battle. But Easter comes and its joy is everlasting.
But in the meantime:
On my heart imprint Your image,
Blessed Jesus, King of grace,
That life's riches, cares and pleasures
Never may Your work erase.
This the clear inscription be:
Jesus crucified for me,
Is my life, my hope's foundation
And my glory and salvation. Amen.