Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lenten Disappointment

This year I feel cheated by the season of Lent. Actually, I feel cheated by the circumstances that have led me to cheat myself during the season of Lent.

Circumstances have forced me to have to apply so much energy regarding running my business and earning a living that I have had to set aside the usual midweek Lenten services. Even for Ash Wednesday I was unable to muster the energy to prepare a sermon and to prepare for a service. This is most regrettable to me.

The office of preaching is truly a blessed office, and the season of Lent is, in my estimation, the most wonderful season for preaching. It is the time in the Church Year that most clearly focuses upon the preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The texts are so richly laden with the preaching of our need for repentance unto faith and with the Lord’s endless calling to us to bring us to repentance unto faith that I truly regret missing these extra opportunities for preaching.

Preparation for preaching is truly a wonderful blessing. Those entrusted with the preaching office are truly blessed. For studying in preparation for proclamation is considerably different than ordinary study of the Scriptures. Sermon preparation forces a very deliberate and unavoidable subjugation to the Scriptures as the record of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It forces a subjugation to the will of God for the world and for the saints. If forces an attitude of humility to turn from one’s own thoughts to listen to the voice of God.

Sermon preparation is a very special time of struggling intensely with God in connection with what He intends to say through the Scriptures to His Church. The preacher is richly blessed through this struggle, and then is doubly blessed to be commanded and commissioned to share this blessing publicly to all who will receive it.

Yes, I feel disappointed that I found it necessary to set aside the usual blessing of midweek Lenten services this year. This is a fast that I hope never to need to observe again. Yes, this year for Lent our fast was to give up the midweek services, and for me especially, the giving up of preparing the service and preaching the midweek proclamation. Truly this has been one of the most difficult fasts that I have observed. Yet it nevertheless has served the purpose of a fast, namely, that it made me hungry for the Word and has directed my heart to my need for the Gospel. Still, when I choose to fast, I would much rather give up desserts or chocolate or meat or whatever else.

Oh Lord Jesus, come soon, and put an end to all fasting and bring us to Your wedding banquet that never ends! Amen!

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