...also known as Pre-Lent is almost upon us! The three Reformation solas figure largely in this little season of three Sundays.
Septuagesima is grace alone Sunday as witnessed by the Gospel reading (Laborers in the Vineyard), but "grace alone" does not mean that one is free to live like a pig! Hence, the appointed Epistle, warning us of the need to discipline our bodies. The joy of grace is that frees us to WORK in the Lord's vineyard and from the hell of idleness!
Sexagesima is the Word alone Sunday as witnessed by the Gospel, and the newly appointed Epistle (Hebrews 4). If there is to be change wrought in our lives that is lasting and wholesome, the Word of God (in every meaning of that term!) is the agent of that change. This means daily time in hearing the Scriptures yes, and seeking to live from them, and above all the gathering together in the weekly assembly to let the Word of God truly transform our lives as we are united with Christ.
Quinquagesima is Christ alone Sunday as we, with eyes wide open to the mercies of God in Christ, follow our Savior as He heads up to Jerusalem to suffer, die, and rise from the dead, our Victorious Lord and gracious Substitute.
The whole point of Gesimatide is to prepare us, to ready us, for the great journey to Easter which we call Lent. Lent itself reminds us of how often we fail to live from the newness of life that our Lord granted us in the Baptismal waters, and calls us to return to that life of death to sin and resurrection with our victorious Savior. Repentance is not merely about "feeling sorry" but about "getting a new mind," learning to see things from the Lord's perspective and living from that.
So, wherever you are, I pray that you spend the next three weeks preparing for a blessed and joyous Lent! May the time you spend with your Lord Jesus in the weeks to come truly bring you renewal and joy and growth in union with Him who on Calvary's cross won forgiveness for all our sin and by His resurrection victory smashed wide open the grave!