Monday, March 10, 2008


Judica — The First Sunday of the Passion — Season of Judgment

In the historic liturgy the Introit is frequently the source for the name of the Sunday in the Church Year. The Introit is the entrance psalm. It marks the approach of the celebrant to the altar, the place of God’s mercy.

On this Sunday of Judica, the Introit is from Psalm 43 and begins with the cry to the Lord to enter into judgment on behalf of the congregants. “Judge me, O God,” is the plea.

This is what we cry during this season of Lent and every day that we pray the Our Father. “Judge me, O God,” we cry. In the name of Jesus we beg that God would judge us. We come to God with Jesus as our righteousness and beg God to judge us.

The Psalms teach us how to pray, how to come before the Lord our God. In Psalm 7 we are taught to pray:

The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.

My righteousness? My integrity? How can we possibly pray such things? How can we possibly call upon the perfect and holy God to judge us according to our righteousness and our integrity?

The answer is that we pray this according to God’s own decree. We pray this as we have heard it from Lord our God. He is the one by whom we are made to have righteousness and integrity. He is our righteousness! He is our integrity!

He comes to us by the Word in the Water and declares us to be righteous for Jesus’ sake. He comes to us by the Word in the Water and baptizes us into Christ Jesus. It is in the Holy Communion that is established in us with the body of Christ that allows us to come before God and believe that He will judge us as integral members of His Holy Communion.

This is the focus of the season of Lent and especially in the final weeks of Lent as we enter into the Paschaltide. This season of the Passion of our Lord Jesus is the fullness of the season of penitence. This is the time when we become most fully aware of the repentance that God works for us and in us. As we observe the Passion of the Lord Jesus, we see the power of God unto salvation, we see how God turns us from ourselves and our own thoughts, words, and deeds so that we trust rather in the judgment that Jesus won for us. Yes, because of the passion of Jesus, our hearts are turned to the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This is the judgment that we beg God to use in judging us. This is the judgment by which we come to His Table and receive the body and blood of Jesus for our salvation and renewal in true faith. By this judgment we know that we shall not be turned away, but shall feast upon the Lord, who is our life in righteousness and integrity. In Him we receive the judgment of the sons of God and rejoice in His goodness and mercy that never ends.

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