“Septuagesimae”: 70 day’s of Lenten preparations before Easter have now begun. The first Sunday of nine, which fall into this period is already in full-swing. Although these Sundays fall into this penitential schedule, they are siblings of Easter and therefore reflect the joy of the resurrection already during Lent. The earnestness of repentance has cast its shadow on these Sundays too. As we get closer to Good Friday the Gospel and Epistle readings progress to speak more and more clearly about the suffering, death and burial of Jesus Christ. The lessons were chosen to highlight the suffering of Christ and also our due response in repentance.
We can bow our hearts in this penitential seriousness as this bowing down is no enemy of the Sunday’s joy and Easter’s delight. Ernest seriousness and joyful delight go nicely together, are like good friends and companions and blessed guests, that we do not leave either outside but rather call them both as Elieser was called: “Come, you who are blessed by the LORD,” he said. “Why are you standing out here?”
Lord Jesus: You are the mediator between God and humankind. With humble gratitude we remember you in this sombre time of Lent, recollecting the gospel of your suffering, cross and dying. You suffered all that for us. By your grace help us that we follow your holy suffering and dying faithfully and win from it serious repentance, living faith and thankful love towards you – our Saviour – who is praised eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen. (Arper-Zillessen)
Why do you want to stand outside, o you Blessed of the Lord? O my star, let it please you to enter me/mine. You, my Jesus, are my joy and helper at the right time. O Saviour help my heart of all wounds that hurt me.
In joy, o Lord Jesus Christ rest all comfort and joy. Your delight is the pasture, where one is satisfied and happy. Oh joyfull light light up my life before my heart breaks. Allow me to be revived in you o Jesus, come and let us see you! (Paul Gerhard, 1607-1676. The translation is rather literal and neither poetic nor hymnal)
(Translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Sunday Septuagesiame as found on Pg. 96 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and puplished in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.)