Light to See
The Fourth Sunday In Lent was formerly known as Laetare Sunday, taken from the first Latin word of the Introit, Laetare, meaning to “rejoice.” It was also known as “Refreshment Sunday” because of the Gospel lesson of the feeding of the 5,000.
The second half of Lent begins in a lighter mood in preparation for the depth of sorrow coming in the Passion. Today’s three Lessons harmonize on the theme of light, vision, and insight. Samuel is given the insight to see that of all the sons of Jesse, David was the one to be king. Jesus brought spiritual vision to the man healed by blindness. Paul exhorts Christians as children of light to walk in the light of goodness. Since David was called to be the shepherd of Israel, Psalm 23 is appropriate. We pray in the Prayer that we may be cleansed from the darkness of sin that we may be children of the light, which is Christ. From the light of spiritual vision, for the cure of our spiritual blindness, we can rejoice — Laetare!
Collects for Lent 4: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children, and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Father Creator, You give the world new life by Your sacraments. May we, Your Church, grow in Your life and continue to receive Your help on earth. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
God of all mercy, by your prayer to heal and to forgive, graciously cleanse us from all sin and makes us strong.
Collect for Psalm 142: Lord Jesus, hanging on the cross and left alone by Your disciples, You called on Your Father with a mighty cry as You gave up Your spirit. Deliver us from the prison of affliction, and by Yourself our inheritance in the land of the living, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit You are blessed now and forever.
Monday, 24 March 2014—Psalm 84:1-4; antiphon, Psalm 84:5—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net. Those who have come to know the Lord as their deliverer and the sustainer of their lives place their confidence in Him. This is the definition of faith. In this Lenten season, the cross looms closer. Place your confidence in Him and Him alone.
Tuesday, 25 March 2014—Psalm 142—key verse, verse 5, I cry to You, O Lord; I say You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. This is David’s prayer for rescue. The Lord is the sustainer and preserver of David’s life. We place our confidence in Him for He is the one who preserves us.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014—1 Samuel 16:1-13—God gives light to see character—Samuel anoints David to succeed Saul as king. Here is a story of a shepherd boy who is made a king. Because God was sorry he ever chose Saul to be the first king of Israel, he instructed Samuel to secretly anoint a successor to Saul. He is sent to the home of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint a replacement for Saul. Which one of the eight sons of Jesse did God want as king? All seven sons were interviewed but none satisfied God’s choice. The youngest, David, was in the fields caring for his father’s sheep. Samuel ordered him brought to him. Seeing the handsome youth, Samuel at once recognized him as God’s choice, anointed him king, and then departed. The Spirit that enlightened Samuel now rested mightily upon David.
Thursday, 27 March 2014—Ephesians 5:8-14—Christians live in the light of Christ. Christians are the children of light. Paul writes to people who have become Christians. He refers to their former lives of sin as “darkness.” Now they are children of light and are to live as lights in terms of what is good, right, and true.
There is a contrast between before and after Christ, between God and Satan, light and darkness, good and evil. Christians are to have no part in the works of darkness but rather they are to expose evil to the light. In his closing words, Paul calls for the dead (“asleep”) in sin to rise in the light of Christ.
Friday, 28 March 2014—John 9:1-41—In the Gospel lesson Jesus, the Light, gives spiritual vision. A man born blind receives physical and spiritual sight. It takes a whole chapter to tell the story of how Jesus brings spiritual light to a man born blind. The actual miracle is told in a few verses, but the healing gives an occasion for Jesus to bring a man from agnosticism to faith. We see the formation of faith: from “the man called Jesus,” to “prophet,” to “a man from God” to “Son of Man.” In contrast to the light of the healed man, the Pharisees are in the darkness of sin and unbelief.
In Jesus’ day the popular view was that sin caused suffering. In the case of the man born blind, the disciples asked whose sin caused the handicap. Jesus answered that no one sinned in this case. Some suffering is caused by sin, but we should see suffering as an opportunity for God’s healing.
Saturday, 29 March 2014—Romans 8:29; 2 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 3:18—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is On My Heart Imprint Your Image (LSB #422). The knowledge of God is not an abstract concept but is couched in love and mixed with purpose. God not only knew us before we had any knowledge of Him, but He also knew us in the sense of choosing us by His grace before the foundation of the world. The reason God foreknew, predestined and conformed believers to Christ’s likeness is that the Son might hold the position of highest honor in the great family of God.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.