O Lord, we beseech Thee favorably to hear the prayers of Thy people: that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by Thy goodness, for the glory of Thy Name; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
-- Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church
Today marks the beginning of the short pre-Lenten season names with bizarre-sounding Greek names. Septuagesima means 'seventieth' and is not literally the seventieth day before Easter but it is the ninth Sunday before Easter, roughly 70-ish days. Historically this little season is a voluntary season of penance and fasting before the much more popular and well-known season of Lent. What's the point, especially for those who may not have this on our liturgical calendars or be familiar with such strange-sounding Sundays? Get ready...Lent is coming. It is once again time to enter a season of growth and drawing near to God.
In this week's collect, we confess that God would be right and justified in punishing us for the wickedness of our sins and we plead with him to have mercy upon us, not for our own sakes' but for the sake of Christ our Redeemer and Substitute. It is a prayer that is always answered by God in the affirmative. "Yes!" our Lord says to us. "Of course I forgive you, not because you deserve it, because you don't, but because of Christ, who saves you."
We make this prayer today, contritely confessing our sin and rejoicing in the grace and mercy of God.
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