The 4th Lenten Service is coming up. We´re following the propers of the local lectionary. The Introit starts us off with the 4th penitential Psalm: “For the music director, a psalm of David, written when Nathan the prophet confronted him after David’s affair with Bathsheba.”
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your loyal love.Psalm 51
Because of your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts.
Wash away my wrongdoing. Cleanse me of my sin.
For I am aware of my rebellious acts; I am forever conscious of my sin.
Against you—you above all—I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.
So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me.
Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.
Look, you desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven.
May the bones you crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins.
Wipe away all my guilt.
Create for me a pure heart, O God.
Renew a resolute spirit within me.
Do not reject me.
Do not take your holy Spirit away from me.
Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance.
Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey.
Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and sinners will turn to you.
Rescue me from the guilt of murder, O God, the God who delivers me.
Then my tongue will shout for joy because of your righteousness.
O Lord, give me the words.
Then my mouth will praise you.
Certainly you do not want a sacrifice, or else I would offer it;
you do not desire a burnt sacrifice.
The sacrifice God desires is a humble spirit —
O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.
Because you favor Zion, do what is good for her.
Fortify the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will accept the proper sacrifices, burnt sacrifices and whole offerings;
then bulls will be sacrificed on your altar.
The Old Testament lesson from the 42nd chapter of the prophet Isaiah reminds us of our Lord´s good favor to sinners, who do not deserve such gracious treatment:
A crushed reed he will not break, a dim wick he will not extinguish…Isaiah 42,3
Even if that took Him to the garden of affliction in Gethsemane (Holy Gospel of St. Luke chapter 22,39-53, where He was betrayed and captured to be taken in perfect obedience and submission to the Father´s holy will on to suffer under Pontius Pilate and finally to be brought to Golgotha and onto that accursed cross, where He bearing the sins and afflictions of the world cries out in great anguish and pain: “I thirst!” All this He did not only as the perfect example of faithful, righteous and holy living, but also as the perfect, all-sufficient, all-effective, all-availing and all-atoning sacrifice, propitiation and divine sacrament for us and our salvation.
1 Jesus, grant that balm and healing
In Your holy wounds I find,
Ev’ry hour that I am feeling
Pains of body and of mind.
Should some evil thought within
Tempt my treach’rous heart to sin,
Show the peril, and from sinning
Keep me from its first beginning.
2 Should some lust or sharp temptation
Fascinate my sinful mind,
Draw me to Your cross and passion,
And new courage I shall find.
Or should Satan press me hard,
Let me then be on my guard,
Saying, “Christ for me was wounded,”
That the tempter flee confounded.
3 If the world my heart entices
With the broad and easy road,
With seductive, sinful vices,
Let me weigh the awful load
You were willing to endure.
Help me flee all thoughts impure
And to master each temptation,
Calm in prayer and meditation.
4 Ev’ry wound that pains or grieves me
By Your wounds, Lord, is made whole;
When I’m faint, Your Cross revives me,
Granting new life to my soul.
Yes, Your comfort renders sweet
Ev’ry bitter cup I meet;
For Your all atoning passion
Has procured my soul’s salvation.
5 O my God, my rock and tower,Johann Hermann 1585-1647
Grant that in Your death I trust,
Knowing death has lost its power
Since You crushed it in the dust.
Savior, let Your agony
Ever help and comfort me;
When I die be my protection,
Light and life and resurrection.