22 February 2011

Using Gesimatide to Prepare for Lent

Okay, the days of Gesimatide are upon us.  The Gospels for these Sundays teach us that our salvation is a gift, not the result of our efforts; that it is accomplished by the power of God's Word; that by faith in our Jesus, we will go up to Jerusalem with Him, having our eyes opened to see that He is indeed the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  With this wonderful theological grounding, we also remember the wise words of Adolf K√∂berle:  "At all events even asceticism can be described by the paradoxical statement:  Its exercise can give salvation to no one but its neglect can corrupt anyone."

So as not to fall into that corruption, the Lenten disciplines are set before us.  Not as though they are tools we ought use only during the Lenten days, but as training for all our days of battling the old man in the power of the Holy Spirit and with the joyful concurrence of the new man.

* Prayer - can I spend more time intentionally in prayer this Lent?  Here's a prayer that might be of use:


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy On Me a Sinner
Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal Word of the Father,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, the Word through whom all things were made,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, foretold by the prophets in signs and words,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, in the fullness of time conceived by the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Holy Virgin,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, hymned by the angels,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, adored by the shepherds,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, worshipped by the Magi,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, held by St. Simeon,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, praised by St. Anna,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, obedient to your parents,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to a sinner's baptism,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, fasting in the wilderness,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, driving out demons,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, cleansing the lepers,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, giving sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, teaching the precepts of the kingdom,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, raising the dead,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, walking on water and changing water into wine,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, praised by the little children,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, riding into Your city as the sacrifice appointed,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, giving your body and blood to be eaten and drunk,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, praying in the garden,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, bound and mocked,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, stripped and beaten,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, innocently condemned to death,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, opening Your hands upon the cross to embrace the world,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, knowing the loneliness of our exile and our sin,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, trampling down death by death,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, pouring forth water and blood to save the world,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, sanctifying our graves by lying in a tomb,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, harrowing hell and releasing the prisoners,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, rising in victory over death and corruption,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, appearing to the disciples in the broken bread,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, ascending in triumph,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, High Priest who ever lives to intercede for us,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, coming on the clouds of glory to renew all things,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, dread Judge at the Last Day,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

* Almsgiving - can I find ways to increase my giving to the poor and suffering in this world?  Can I grow in my experience of the profound truth of our Lord's words:  "It is more blessed to give than to receive"?  What can I do to concretely bless the poor this Lententide both in my own local community and in the world (LCMS World Relief is a good place to start for the world!)?

* Fasting - can I limit my intake of food during these days?  One tradition of the Western fast would encourage you to eat only 1/4 meal at breakfast, a regular lunch, and 1/4 meal in the evening.  No one who has a medical condition that would endanger their body (or is pregnant) should fast in this way; but others might find it a very fruitful and useful reminder that "man does not live by bread alone; but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

* Confession - before you head into Lent, why not schedule a time with your pastor to confess your sins and receive forgiveness?  This wonderful gift is far too underutilized in the Church - Luther professed that he was so blessed by it, that he'd never let anyone deprive him of it.  Sadly, we've been depriving ourselves far too often.

* Commitment to attend the extra services - make a commitment to be present when the Word of God is preached, His praises sung, His sacrament distributed during the Lenten days.  The Lenten midweeks are a great blessing as we follow our Lord's Passion.  The sermons at St. Paul's (and Hope in St. Louis - Pr. Asburry and I wrote our series together) for the Lenten Midweeks this year will focus on Confession and Absolution.  It is the Word of God that transforms us, and so the more richly we let the Word of Christ dwell in us, the more our joy in the Kingdom will increase.

Just a few thoughts as we prepare to launch into the great days of Fastenzeit - Holy Lent!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

To truly understand and appreciate
Easter you will want to attend
Mid-week Lenten Services. The aim
of Lent is to journey with Christ to
the Cross on Calvary. That journey
will enrich your spiritual health
and give you new insights into the
sacrificial love demonstrated by
the crucified Christ for your sins.
Lent matures your faith in Our Savior
as you hear the Word and partake of
the Sacrament.

Pr. Lehmann said...

I've made the sad decision to not do Tre Ore or the Vigil this year. It's just too much work to prepare for them when one person came to Tre Ore last year and 5 to the Vigil.

Trent said...

Also, I think a reminder of the ancient link between fasting and alms giving. Whether eating less or limiting what you eat (costly food like meat) allows one to save money that can be given to the poor for their food.

Past Elder said...

I used to serve all three days year after year -- the Triduum, as some like to call it -- but I gotta tell ya, my first Good Friday as a Lutheran was Tenebrae, which isn't even a real canonical Tenebrae except the candle part, but it was Die sieben letzte Worte with a strepitus that about broke the night. WOW!!

KNOCKED ME OUT! Best Good Friday service ever, one like that, better than the whole Triduum combined which can't hold a candle to it, so zu sagen.

Tapani Simojoki said...

May I share this with my congregation? (A little late, I know, but...)

William Weedon said...

Help yourself!