Friday, February 24, 2012

Lent 1b - conclusion

Lent has always been my favorite season of the church year. It could be because from a very early age my father fed us on a constant diet of sad country western songs and Lent like a sad country song somehow makes me feel better. Maybe it’s because feeling sad is better than not feeling at all. I don’t mean depression or the debilitating sorrow of tragic loss, even though some would say Lent is depressing enough, thank you very much, and I’ll grant you it ends in a tragedy of cosmic proportions that of course turns out to be good news. No, the point is I think Lent allowed or maybe encouraged Lutherans to feel something when looking at the cross draped in purple and singing O Sacred Head Now Wounded which does not come naturally to Germans and Scandinavians. So for six weeks I felt the faith I could explain during the rest of the year by the catechism I memorized. The lesson of the flood begins the time of fasting and penitence by reminding us of the consequence of wanton wickedness and the mercy of God. The psalm pleads for a forgetful God who none-the-less remembers to be merciful. Peter sees the flood as a foreshadowing of baptism where dying to sin is rising to new life. And in the Gospel Jesus enters our life of temptation and wilderness wanderings so that we might hear the Good News and live the kingdom come.

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