21.5 – Teaching for Lenten Preparation

“…on this day(Ash Wednesday) the Church begins a holy season of prayerful and penitential reflection.”  The season of Lent is a 40-day season in which God’s baptized people dwell confidently upon God’s Word giving attention “to the holy sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  As we study God’s Word, we examine ourselves so that with repentant hearts we may practice self-denial and put away any obstacles to God’s grace that His kingdom may come.

All of this repentance, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving is done with a specific goal in mind.  “…that we may come to Easter with glad hearts and keep the feast in sincerity and truth.”  That feast for us is the Lord’s Supper at the break of day on Easter morning.  On that sacred {Saturday} night we passover from sin and death to holiness and new life in the Resurrection of Our Lord.

Lent is nothing new to us.  Our entire Christian life is a daily drowning of the old man in our baptism that through Christ’s resurrection, we may live a new life and when our last day comes pass over from death to eternal life.

Our own Catechism acknowledges, “Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training” (Sacrament of the Altar).  Though we must constantly stress that it is faith alone which makes a person worthy, we should not disdain or at least not ignore the bodily preparation or discipline.

If you do choose to fast during Lent, understand that Christians do not fast to be like Jesus or to undergo some pseudo-religious suffering or discomfort.  Christians don’t fast to give up something sinful, just so they can pick it up again later.

FASTING IS DONE AS AN AID TOWARD REMEMBERING AND MEDITATING ON OUR LORD’S PASSION, DEATH AND RESURRECTION.    We fast on Friday as a reminder that this is the day that our crucified Savior died.  We refrain from red meat as a reminder of his flesh that hung on the cross.      Prayer:  “Blessed Savior, on this day(at this hour) You hung upon the cross, stretching out Your loving arms.  Grant that all the peoples of the earth may look to You and be saved;  for Your mercy’s sake.  Amen”(Hymnal Supplement, p.30).

Collect for Lent

Merciful and everlasting God, who has not spared Your only Son, but delivered Him up for us all that He might bear our sins upon the cross, grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.


Posted in 2020 Church.