Saturday, June 27, 2020


Rev. Daniel Broaddus
Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church
Edgerton, Ohio

While I was there for the installation, I found out that this church and some of the others in the area were started by Friedrich Wyneken (one of the fathers of the LCMS) himself, who served as a circuit rider in that area. Pretty cool. Nice little church. Nice people. Very well kept. 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Just a Thought . . .

Are we so afraid of death that we are now afraid of life?

Jesus died and rose again not just to give us life later, but life now.
Set free from the fear of death, we can now live.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
~ John 10:10b

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Will Things Ever Be the Same?

I have been seeing lots of articles asking how the Church will look after this pandemic is over. Will it be the same? Will it ever? Or will some things never be the same as they were?

Let me answer that question: We will be the same.

During this time we have adapted, we have adjusted, and we have in some ways expanded. What we have not done is change. Before, during, and after this pandemic, the Church is all about Christ and His gifts. Before, during, and after this pandemic, same Christ, same gifts, same Gospel. As it was before the pandemic, so it is now, and so it will be after.

Perhaps there are some churches which have lost their focus and for which being church meant something else. For them, maybe things will not be the same - and that would be a good thing! A return to a focus - or a re-focus - on Christ and what really matters. And maybe we have learned (or re-learned) this, too. And that’s a good thing.

But as far as delivering the gifts - nothing will change. We will still gather as God’s people. We will still sing. We will still confess and receive the absolution. We will still proclaim Christ and him crucified. We will still have baptisms. We will still give the Lord’s Supper - including using the chalice. We have not stopped, and we will not. For all this is the life of Christ given to us. And there is nothing more important.

So when this is all over, or at least restrictions are eased, and you come back to church, you know what you will find? The same church. You might sit farther apart for a while, maybe some of you will wear masks for a while. But those things aren’t what the church IS. What the church IS will not change. You’ll recognize it. You’ll hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. And you’ll rejoice in His goodness and mercy, that has brought us through this time - and all times - until He brings us home to Him.

Thanks be to God!

Monday, May 11, 2020


So Saturday was my daughter's graduation from VCU . . . but, of course, without all the pomp and circumstance. She came up and we had our own celebration that day. It was nice to spend the day with her and recognize her achievement. Here are some pictures. Pretty good, I think! #ProudPapa

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Recital

My last post mentioned the fact that my daughter's senior recital (violin performance major at VCU) had been cancelled by the school. She was required to video her pieces instead. She couldn't use them all because some were quartets and her fellow students are now scattered. So she had to make some substitutions. She also used some pretty creative techniques to compensate for the absence of accompanists. I won't spill the beans here - you'll have to watch for yourself!

Here is the link to her recorded senior recital. It debuted for us on Monday night, but is now available for viewing.

About half way through is her duet with her younger sister.

After that is some of her quite creative adaptations.

Make sure you notice the dedications. :-)

Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

What Could Have Been

We were looking forward to this the day after Easter - the culmination of my daughter's Violin Performance major studies at VCU. We had lots of folks planning to come. But alas, it was a casualty of the pandemic. There was even going to be a "sister's" piece where my two daughters played a duet. This is a tough time for all graduating seniors, but especially, I think, performance majors. A lot of hard work was going into this. There was going to be a quartet performing some of my daughter's original work as well. Perhaps when this is all over, we can arrange for something else to celebrate her . . .

Saturday, April 11, 2020

At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing

At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing
LSB #633

v. 3: Where the Paschal blood is poured,
Death’s dread angel sheathes the sword;
Israel’s hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.

v. Mighty Victim from the sky,
Hell’s fierce power’s beneath You lie;
You have conquered in the fight,
You have brought us life and light.

We’ve reached Holy Saturday. The day begins with Jesus’ rest in the tomb, we remember His descent into hell, and at the Vigil in the evening, get a taste of the Easter joy that will be ours in the morning. It has all come to this. This is why Jesus came. To conquer in the fight we couldn’t win. To bring us the life and light we lost in sin. To be the true and eternal Passover Lamb that causes death’s dread angel to sheathe its sword. That was true in Egypt at the first passover, and still true for us today. For we have gone through the wave that drowns the foe - not the Red Sea, but Holy Baptism. The sin and death that pursue us and hound us are drown there, so that though we are sinners, we are forgiven; though we will die, yet shall we live. And now there awaits for us a feast - the Lamb’s High Feast, the Paschal Feast, the Easter feast which breaks our Lenten fasting, and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which will have no end. Soon, the Bridegroom will return for his Bride, the Church, and that Feast will begin. No wonder that Bride breaks forth with her Alleluias! tomorrow. Our Lamb has conquered in the fight! The victory is ours.

Friday, April 10, 2020

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
LSB #450

v. 1: O sacred Head, now wounded, With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded With thorns Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory, What bliss, till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

v. 7: Be Thou my consolation, My shield, when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion When my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, Upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfold Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

The focus of most people in our world is to live a good life. That means as many things as there are people, I suppose. But that is not what God wants most for you. That doesn’t mean you won’t have a good life. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. But far more important to God than you living a good life is that you die a good death - or as the hymnwriter put it, who dieth thus dies well. A good death is to die with faith in Christ and thus live well not just for 80 or 90 years here on this earth, but to live well forever. It is Jesus’ sacred head, now wounded, that provides that life for us. So when your last hour draws nigh - be it from coronavirus, old age, accident, or whatever - it is Jesus’ passion that will console and comfort you. He died your death to give you life. He paid for your sins so you are forgiven. He rose from the dead and will pull you up from the grave, too. With that faith, you can both live and die now in peace and joy. And with that faith, you will both die well and then live well. Well, and forever. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Jesus, Greatest at the Table

Jesus, Greatest at the Table
LSB #446

v. 4: Can we fathom such deep mercy?
Do we see what God has done?
Who can grasp this great reversal:
Love that gives His only Son?
Christ, the sinless for the sinners,
For the many dies the One.

Today the Church enters the Sacred Triduum - the final three days of the Lenten season, the days of Jesus’ crucifixion and rest in the tomb. On these days, can we fathom such deep mercy? Truth be told, no. This mercy and love is greater than we can ever imagine. That God would offer up His Son for you and me - for the whole world! That the Son of God would willingly come and lay down His life for us. This is the great reversal: the Son of God becomes the sinner so that we sinners might be sons of God. Yet this is who God is. Always! Always giving, always loving, always serving. Not just these three days, but ever since the beginning and until the end. He supplies all our needs and then some. He is gracious and merciful. And especially as we remember on this day, He gives us His very own Body and Blood to eat and drink. Do we see what God has done? Yes, we see, we confess, and we thank and praise Him for such unfathomable love.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Royal Banners Forward Go

The Royal Banners Forward Go
LSB #455

v. 4: On whose hard arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung,
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

v. 5: O tree of beauty, tree most fair,
Ordained those holy limbs to bear:
Gone is thy shame, each crimsoned bough
Proclaims the King of Glory now.

Some find it quite odd that an instrument of Roman torture and death - the cross - should adorn the sanctuaries of so many churches and the walls of so many Christian homes. The early church and early Christians, which lived through that time or very close to it, understandably did not do so. It took some time until the church realized that gone is the shame of the cross when the Son of God hangs on it! Then it becomes a tree of beauty which proclaims the King of Glory. For there we see the ransom paid for our sin. There you see how much God loves you. And through this sacrifice, the spoiler is spoiled of his prey! Jesus turns satan’s tool against him and uses what he used to destroy to destory him. So while the empty tomb proclaims Jesus’ victory, the cross proclaims His love and forgiveness. So yes! What a beautiful tree when it is Jesus’ tree. The sixth century hymnwriter Venantius Fortunatus was teaching the church this valuable truth with this hymn.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted
LSB #451

v. 3: Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s anointed,
Son of Man and Son of God.

The season of Lent is a season of repentance. A season to take a true and honest look at our lives measured against the Ten Commandments and see how far we have fallen short of what God desires. We should do that regularly, but maybe we don’t quite get around to it? The season of Lent, therefore, is needed for us to do so each year, and, as the hymnwriter puts it, view its nature rightly. We often think of sin but lightly and do not suppose the evil great. But this season of Lent says to us: Look! At the cross! Is that light? Is that not a great evil? The Son of God hanging there because of your sin? And we are brought to our knees. Yes, I am a poor miserable sinner. But Lent also says this: Look! See who bears that awful load for you! It is the Son of God in His love for you. For this He was appointed and anointed, that your sins be forgiven. Lent shows us that truth, too. This truth that makes all the difference in the world. That Jesus wanted to be stricken, smitten, and afflicted - to save you and me!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Ride On, Ride On in Majesty

Ride On, Ride On in Majesty
LSB #441

v. 2: Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die.
O Christ, Thy triumphs now begin
O’er captive death and conquered sin.

v. 5: Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die.
Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain,
Then take, O God, Thy pow’r and reign.

Jesus rides into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in lowly pomp, lowly ceremony. Just pilgrims, children, and ordinary folk welcoming Him, and with just some tree branches and clothes to hail Him. A scene not really befitting His majesty as Israel’s true King. His real pomp will be when He comes again in glory. But that’s not why He’s here now. Now, He rides on to die. But as the hymnwriter puts it, He rides to His death in order to begin His triumphs! He bows His meek head to mortal pain so that He can take His power and reign. These would be contradictions for anyone but Jesus. For the thousands of persons crucified before Jesus, death was just death. The end. But when Jesus dies, He conquers sin and takes death captive. And so death is not the end for Jesus. He will rise and reign for you and me, so that death will not be the end for us, but in Him, the gate to everlasting life. So yes! dear Jesus. Ride on, ride on and die for me! So that I can live in You.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Infant Priest Was Holy Born

The Infant Priest Was Holy Born
LSB #624

v. 1: The infant Priest was holy born
For us unholy and forlorn;
From fleshly temple forth came He,
Anointed from eternity.

v. 6: The body of God’s Lamb we eat,
A priestly food and priestly meat;
On sin-parched lips the chalice pours
His quenching blood that life restores.

The holy for the unholy. That’s Jesus. He is the holy one from eternity, the one to whom the angels continually cry “Holy, holy holy Lord!” Yet He came into our world for us who are unholy, to make us holy again through the forgiveness of our sins. One of the ways we receive that forgiveness is through the Lord’s Supper - Jesus’ Supper. The Supper in which He gives us His body and blood to restore the life we lost in sin. In this Supper we receive not mere bread and wine, and not just any body and blood - but God’s own body and blood. For the body and blood of Jesus is God’s body and blood, for Jesus is both true God and true man in one person. In giving us Himself, He is not only giving us part of Himself but all of Himself. What a gift this is! That us who are unholy and forlorn, without hope, be declared holy and therefore be filled with hope and joy. That is the gift Jesus died for, and the gift that we receive at the altar as His children.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying

Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying
LSB #597

v. 2: In a wat’ry grave are buried
All our sins that Jesus carried;
Christ, the Ark of Life, has ferried
Us across death’s raging flood.

Sometimes in the military sailors are “buried at sea” instead of in a grave of dirt. That’s what baptism is for the Christian. A watery grave for our sins. But not only that. For in baptism we are joined not only to Christ in His death but also in His resurrection. So in baptism there is both the death and burial of our sins and old man, and the raising and life of a new man. A new man for whom the fear and threat of death is a thing of the past. Imagine that! Not having to fear death. That is our reality. For in Christ, we know that since He has passed through death to life again, so will we. He is our Ark, our ferry, across and through death’s raging flood to life eternal. So while this virus that we are living through right now has killed many people, it cannot take the life of a Christian. Christians die, yes. But their life continues on the other side of the grave. For Christ is our life, and in Him, we are safe and secure.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

How Firm a Foundation

How Firm a Foundation
LSB #728

v. 1: How firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

A firm foundation. That’s what we need. When everything around you is changing, shifting, and uncertain, to have a firm place to stand is essential. What’s the opposite? Well, I think of a ship on the sea, being pitched to and fro by the waves. There is no firm place to stand. That’s very difficult! But once you get to shore and place your feet on firm, stable ground, there’s a world of difference. As Christians, we have the firm foundation we need in a world that especially these days seems very uncertain and unstable - the Word of God. Whether we face good days or bad, highs or lows, struggles or joys, no matter what the winds of change blow by us, no matter how much around us shifts, we have the stability of God and His Word. His Word which never changes. His care, His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His promises are the most certain thing we have in this world and life. What great comfort that is, to have a God you can count on! Who will be there for you now as He was in the past and will be in the future. Yes, He is the firm foundation we need.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Drawn to the Cross, Which Thou Hast Blessed

Drawn to the Cross, Which Thou Hast Blessed
LSB #560

v. 1: Drawn to the cross, which Thou hast blessed
With healing gifts for souls distressed,
To find in Thee my life, my rest,
Christ crucified, I come.

v. 2: Thou knowest all my griefs and fears,
Thy grace abused, my misspent years;
Yet now to Thee with contrite tears,
Christ crucified, I come.

How do we find our life, our rest, in Christ crucified? For if there’s something a lot of people need right now, it’s life and rest! Well, there are three ways. First, Jesus knows what I’m going through when I face death. He’s been there. He suffered, He bled, He died. He understands our fear and anxiety. He doesn’t tell us to “get over it!” but, “I’m with you.” Second, Jesus was crucified for all my sins. All that I’ve done wrong. My misspent years and all the gifts from Him that I’ve abused and taken for granted, including the gift of life. Many people condemn us for our sins, but Jesus does not! He was condemned for them in our place, that we have forgiveness. And third, Jesus’ death was followed by His resurrection from the dead, which means He can see me through my own death. He conquered it for me! So in these days when death and the threat of death is all around us, what shall we do? Christ crucified, I come! I go to the one who came for me that I might live. He is my life, my rest, my peace.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My Song Is Love Unknown

My Song Is Love Unknown
LSB #430

v. 1: My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me,
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?

Frail flesh. We’re seeing that quite clearly these days. How frail our bodies and health can be. Even a tiny germ can be a deadly virus. It just needs a way in, but once in can bring a normally healthy person into the dust of death. Scary. We need to realize that’s what sin is, too. A particular sin can sometimes seem so little, so minor, like just a little germ. But it’s deadly. And it’s in you. Like some diseases, this is passed on to you at birth. But there is a cure! Our Lord came down from heaven, took on our frail flesh, and allowed Himself to be infected for us so that He could also be the cure for us. He would have to die to do that, so die He did so that we could live. What love to do that for us! A love quite unknown in this world. For maybe you would do that for a loved one, but what about an enemy? Jesus died even for those who put Him on the cross. He wants to save each and every person from this deadly virus of sin. He is the cure, and He offers Himself to you. Not because we’re loveable, but because He is pure love. Hard to believe! Yet true.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Chief of Sinners Though I Be

Chief of Sinners Though I Be
LSB #611

v. 4: Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me;
All my wants to Him are known,
All my sorrows are His own.
He sustains the hidden life
Safe with Him from earthly strife.

Are you familiar with the term NIMBY? It means “Not In My BackYard.” It is a term given to someone who supports something as long as it is located in someone else’s neighborhood, as in “Yes, I support that store, as long as they build it somewhere else.” So, what if the chief of sinners moved into the house next door to you? How would you react? Would you be a NIMBY? Well, that’s kind of what happens with us - except Jesus bought the house next door for us, furnished it, stocked the pantry, moved us in, and said “Welcome to the neighborhood!” He wants us with Him in His kingdom. He knows all about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our sins, our wants, and our sorrows, and makes them His own; that is, He takes them away from us, forgives us, provides for us, and gives us joy. So we can have life. Life now, and life with Him forever. And when earthly strife comes our way, He is there for us in that, too. No wonder the hymnwriter could say, Christ is all in all to me! Knowing all that He has done for us, how could He not be?

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
LSB #621

v. 1: Let all mortal flesh keep silence
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
For with blessing in His hand
Christ our God to earth descending
Comes our homage to demand.

v. 2: King of kings yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
In the body and the blood,
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

We often think of life with God as “going to heaven.” But we dare not forget that life with God is already ours here and now! For the Son of God, King of kings and Lord of lords, came down from heaven and was born of Mary for us. And that same body and blood that Mary held in her arms, that nursed at her breasts, that walked on this dusty earth, and then hung on the cross is the very same body and blood now given to us as heavenly food. Heavenly food on earth! Only that body and blood is risen from the dead and glorified. And being fed by it, we too will not only rise from the dead but be glorified as well. Knowing that is what is being given to us in the Supper, how can we not but keep silence and with fear and trembling stand in the presence of our awesome God who gave Himself for us and now gives Himself to us. That we have life from Him and life with Him, now and forever.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Mark How the Lamb of God's Self-Offering

Mark How the Lamb of God’s Self-Offering
LSB #600

v. 3: Grant us, O Lord, the strength and courage
To live the faith our lips declare;
Bless us in our baptismal calling;
Christ’s royal priesthood help us share.
Turn us from ev’ry false allegiance,
That we may trust in Christ alone:
Raise up in us a chosen people
Transformed by love to be Your own.

Strength and courage. That’s not just something we need in these pandemic days, but every day. Strength and courage not just to confess but to live our Christian faith in the midst of a world hostile to the Christian truth. That is our baptismal calling: to hallow God’s name in all that we say and do, and to trust in Christ alone. False allegiances abound. We look to many things in this world for what we need: the government, medicine, science, technology - but Christ alone can give us the life we need. Life now and life forever. And He does in baptism! He raises us from being dead in sin to alive in Him. And remembering our baptism every day, we start every day anew, with life, transformed by Christ’s love. The Son of God came and offered Himself as the Lamb of God for us. Now, filled with His love, life, and forgiveness, we can share in Christ’s royal priesthood and give ourselves for others.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

When Aimless Violence Takes Those We Love

When Aimless Violence Takes Those We Love
LSB #764

v. 5: Through long grief-darkened days help us, dear Lord,
To trust Your grace for courage to endure,
To rest our souls in Your supporting love,
And find our hope within Your mercy sure.

I’m not sure this virus qualifies as aimless violence, but it might. It is aimless in the sense that it attacks all ages, all nationalities, all people. It does violence to the body, even in some cases bringing death. When faced with such things we turn to the Lord. First in repentance for our sin that brought such things into this world created perfect and death-less and violence-less by God. And then second in trust, that our hope is in the Lord who provided us rescue from every enemy that seeks to harm us - even death. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we have His grace and with it the courage to endure, His supporting love, and His mercy sure. Or in other words, we’ll come out of this okay, either to continue life in this world or to enter into the next. Knowing that, we have confidence and rest in our Lord, even in such turbulent times. Even When Aimless Violence (or Viruses!) Take Those We Love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice

Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice
LSB #556

v. 5: God said to His beloved Son:
“It’s time to have compassion.
Then go, bright jewel of My crown,
And bring to all salvation.
From sin and sorrow set them free;
Slay bitter death for them that they
May live with You forever.”

There is a verse in Galatians that says: “At just the right time, God sent His Son” (Galatians 4:4 NIV). Not too soon, not too late; at just the right time. I’m sure there were a great many people in the Old Testament - patriarchs, prophets, and normal folks like you and me - who thought He came too late and should have come much sooner! But no. God knows what’s best. We do not. And when the Son of God came, He did set us free from sin and sorrow, He did slay bitter death for us, through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Now, we have the promise of eternal life with Christ. So no matter what happens now, we have a promise we can rely on and a Saviour we can depend on. And at just the right time, that Saviour will come again and fully and finally set us free from all sin and death. What a great day that will be! Just like what a great day it will be when all the changes caused by this virus are over. God will end that at just the right time, too. But the God who had compassion then, has compassion now, and has compassion always. That’s why we, dear Christians one and all, can rejoice, even in tough times.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth

A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth
LSB #438

v. 1: A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
The guilt of sinners bearing
And, laden with the sins of earth,
None else the burden sharing;
Goes patient on, grows weak and faint,
To slaughter led without complaint,
That spotless life to offer,
He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies,
The mockery, and yet replies,
“All this I gladly suffer.”

Gladly suffer. I don’t know about you, but those are two words I don’t usually use together! I am not gladly suffering all that is going on in our country and world right now. I am more whining and complaining. It makes what Jesus did for us all the more amazing. For He who did “gladly suffer” all this for us and for our good went through an awful lot more than we are! He was, as the hymnwriter put it, laden with the sins of earth - all the earth. Led to slaughter. Bearing stripes, wounds, lies, and mockery. Hung on a cross for you and me. But, ah! That’s exactly why He could “gladly suffer” all this - it was for us. It was so that we could be His own. His love for you so great that He would do this for you. That’s incredible, isn’t it? Think of people today who go to great lengths for the people they love. Yet that is not even a drop in the ocean of what Jesus did for you as the Lamb of God. Remember that the next time you are feeling down or unloved. Yes, you have a Saviour who loves you that much. So that you could be with Him forever.

Monday, March 23, 2020

From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee

From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee
LSB #607

v. 4: And though it tarry through the night
And till the morning waken,
My heart shall never doubt His might
Nor count itself forsaken.
O Israel, trust in God your Lord.
Born of the Spirit and the Word,
Now wait for His appearing.

This verse is from a hymn of Martin Luther based on Psalm 130. The psalms are poetry, and so words like morning and night aren’t necessarily literal, but signify the darkness of the woe we are enduring, and then the morning when the sun comes up and the woe is past. So here. Though our woe (and for us, this virus!) tarry for a while, the morning of its end is coming. We will not doubt His might to bring this to an end. And though it tarry - and maybe go on much longer than we’d like! - we are not forsaken. The Lord has not turned away from us. We are His new Israel, His people, born again of water, Word, and Spirit. So in this night of woe, fear, and dread, we wait for the morning of His appearing. Waiting is hard! But it can also be good. It all depends on how you wait. If we wait with impatience, accusing God of being uncaring and unloving, that is not good. But if we wait with repentance and prayer, seeking our safety, refuge, and all good in Him, then this can be a time of growth and blessing for us. Yes, even in this the Lord is still our Good Shepherd.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Thee We Adore, O Hidden Savior

Thee We Adore, O Hidden Savior
LSB #640

v. 3: Thou, like the pelican to feed her brood,
Didst pierce Thyself to give us living food;
Thy blood, O Lord, one drop has power to win
Forgiveness for our world and all its sin.

The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with her beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. No wonder, then, that the pelican became a symbol of Jesus, who really did pour out His blood to give us life. Jesus’ blood shed on the cross for the life of the world is now available to us in the Lord’s Supper to keep us from spiritual starvation. Through His Word, Jesus gives His Body and Blood to us to eat and drink. This is the food we need above all other food. For this is food that sustains us not just for this life, but for eternal life. And as the hymnwriters pens, there is great power in each and every drop of Jesus’ blood because this is not just the blood of a man, but the blood of God shed for us! Therefore it gives forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation to us. Thank you Jesus for such a wonderful, wondrous gift!

Friday, March 20, 2020

God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It

God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It
LSB #594

v. 4: Death, you cannot end my gladness:
I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness
To inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes
Faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine
To make life immortal mine.

This beautiful hymn proclaims the victory of Christ given to us in baptism over sin, death, and the devil. As God’s own child, we have nothing to fear from any enemy in this world. Baptized into Christ, they can kill us but they can’t take our life. Now, death is but the gate to eternal life. That freedom enables us to live in a way not before possible. In confidence, not fear. With joy, not sadness. In hope, not despair. Which is how Jesus lived. And with His life now given to us in baptism, it is our life as Christians. That doesn’t mean we won’t have our “moments” - we most certainly will! The things of this world and life may overwhelm us at times. But it means we have a way out - Christ! Relying on His words and promises given to us in Baptism, we can move forward in forgiveness and not dwell on the past. Jesus has taken care of that for us, as well as the present and the future. All that we need He has, and will provide. No wonder, as the hymn writer put it, death, you cannot end my gladness - nothing can! In Christ.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I Leave All Things to God's Direction

I Leave All Things to God’s Direction
LSB #719

v. 1: I leave all things to God’s direction;
He loves me both in joy and woe.
His will is good, sure His affection;
His tender love is true, I know.
My fortress and my rock is He:
What pleases God, that pleases me.

Easier said than done, right? Easier said than believed and lived. We like to take matters into our own hands and not wait; not leave them in God’s hands. Perhaps one area this is true these days is with the restrictions and recommendations we are hearing from the government during this crisis. We may be tempted to ignore them, think we know better, and do what we want anyway. But as Christians, we know that however imperfect, God’s uses people and offices to help and guide us. Our Christian responsibility according to the Fourth Commandment is to obey them. So while we may not like living under the current guidelines, to do so is to trust our heavenly Father and leave things in His hands. He loves us at all times and in all that we’re going through. Will I get this virus? Will you? How long will this go on? How bad will things get? Lots of unknowns! And if everyone did what they thought best, there would be chaos. So instead pray, help as you can, and rejoice! Yes, rejoice! You have a God who loves you and sent His Son to save you. We wouldn't have thought to do that! So yes, His tender love is true, I know. The cross proves it. So we can leave all things to His direction, and rest in His love as His children.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Seek Where You May to Find a Way

Seek Where You May to Find a Way
LSB #557

v. 1: Seek where you may
To find a way
That leads to your salvation.
My heart is stilled,
On Christ I build,
He is the one foundation.
His Word is sure,

His works endure;
He overthrows
All evil foes;
Through Him I more than conquer.

How many are seeking and searching to find a way through this current world crisis to their salvation - to being saved from this dangerous virus. But after this crisis is over there will be another. Then another. Then another. Maybe different. Maybe worse. Life in this world is always on the edge and uncertain. And at such times, our hearts beat faster and harder as they are filled with doubts and fears. But as a Christian, as the hymnwriter says, my heart is stilled - at peace - for on Christ I build. He is the foundation that endures all and will last forever. Built on Him, the world can fall to pieces and our life will still be safe and secure. For He has already defeated all our foes through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, so through Him I more than conquer. How good to hear such words these days of great distress! How good to know, even more, than they are true. As true as the empty tomb. So we no longer have to seek - we know the way: Christ! He is our life, our hope, and our salvation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Christ, the Life of All the Living

Christ, the Life of All the Living
LSB #420

v.1: Christ, the life of all the living,
Christ, the death of death, our foe,
Who, Thyself for me once giving
To the darkest depths of woe:
Through Thy sufferings, death, and merit
I eternal life inherit.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. All life comes from Him and is sustained by Him. And to say that “God” created is to say that all of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, were active in that creating. Or as this hymn begins, Christ, the life of all the living. But He is even more than that! For when we sacrificed the life that He gave by sin and plunged ourselves into death, He did not just accept that. Jesus came and gave Himself to restore life to His creation. How? By becoming the death of death! What a great line that is. By His own death on the cross and then resurrection from the grave, Jesus dealt death itself a death blow. And if death is dead, then it has no power over us anymore. Which means life for us again! And not just life, but eternal life. So this verse concludes Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto Thee. Indeed! Yet even far too little is our thanks for all that God has done for us.

Monday, March 16, 2020

When in the Hour of Deepest Need

When in the Hour of Deepest Need
LSB #615

v. 1: When in the hour of deepest need
We know not where to look for aid;
When days and nights of anxious thought
No help or counsel yet have brought.

v. 2: Then is our comfort this alone
That we may meet before Your throne;
To You, O faithful God, we cry
For rescue in our misery.

These verses sound appropriate for what our nation and world are going through right now with the coronavirus, don’t they? Yet this hymn isn’t talking about any illness, but the virus of sin that we all have. And the virus of sin has a 100% mortality rate. If you have it, you will die. This Lenten season began by reminding us of that fact, telling us that dust you are, and to dust you will return. But that doesn’t mean we have no hope! On the contrary, there is a cure that is also 100% effective: the forgiveness of our sin by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for us. So we come before God, confess our sin, and receive His healing absolution and His Body and Blood in Holy Communion. With these we can be confident and sure we will live! And not just now, but forever. This is our deepest need. And our Lord responds with His great rescue.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness

Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness
LSB #636

v. 1: Soul, adorn yourself with gladness,
Leave the gloomy haunts of sadness,
Come into the daylight’s splendor,
There with joy your praises render.
Bless the One whose grace unbounded
This amazing banquet founded;
He, though heavenly, high, and holy,
Deigns to dwell with you most lowly.

Gloomy haunts of sadness. That’s what sin and death have brought into our world. That’s where many people are trapped. But as we hear at Christmas, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light!” Our Saviour comes to lighten our darkness with His presence. But not only at Christmas, and not only when He walked this earth, but still here and now as He comes in His Body and Blood to feed us. When we approach the altar, there He is to lift us up out of the gloomy sadness of sin and death with His forgiveness, life, and salvation. Even though He is “heavenly, high, and holy” there is no place He’d rather be than here with lowly you and me. Isn’t that a wonder? A wonder than can make us glad, even in these days of great fear and distress. Our Saviour is with us! And we will be with Him forever.

Friday, March 13, 2020

See This Wonder in the Making

See This Wonder in the Making
LSB #593

v. 1: See this wonder in the making:
God Himself this child is taking
As a lamb safe in His keeping,
His to be, awake or sleeping.

v. 4: Here we bring a child of nature;
Home we take a newborn creature,
Now God’s precious son or daughter,
Born again by Word and water.

Yes! Something really, truly happens in baptism! Not because of what we do, but because God has put His Word and promise with water, that when baptism is done in His Name, He is the one doing something truly wondrous here. He is the Good Shepherd taking this child up in His arms as His little lamb. Day and night, He will watch over, protect, and keep His lamb. We sleep, but He never does. And so this child (or adult!) now baptized is different, changed. No longer just a child of nature, but now reborn as a child of God. Did you see it? Not with your physical eyes. Physically, baptism looks of less use than a bath or a shower at home. But there is more going on here than meets the eye! It is the reality that enters our ears, so that we see spiritually that no bath or shower could do what baptism does - for it washes away not just the dirt of our body, but our sins! The dirt of our souls. That is the washing we need, no matter what age we are. And we have it. Always. Believe it! I am baptized! A precious child of God.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Entrust Your Days and Burdens

Entrust Your Days and Burdens
LSB #754

v. 1: Entrust your days and burdens
To God’s most loving hand;
He cares for you while ruling
The sky, the sea, the land.
For He who guides the tempests
Along their thundrous ways
Will find for you a pathway
And guide you all your days.

This seems like a most appropriate hymn to meditate on especially in these days of fear and panic because of the coronavirus. Entrust your days and burdens to God, your Father; to His loving hands. He cares for you. He does not cut and run when the going gets tough - the cross shows us that! He stays. He loves. He gives. He saves. The things that are out of your control and not out of His. So rely on Him. This hymn was written by a man who lived through very scary times himself, with disease, war, and a lot of death. But it is especially in those times of fear and uncertainty, times when our faith is tested and perhaps shaken, times when we see how weak and vulnerable we are, times when we are forced to turn to God because there really is no where else to turn, that our faith grows and is strengthened. And so those turn out to be times of trouble that God turns and uses for our good. So in the days of worry and distress and uncertainty, turn to Your loving Father and Your Saviour Jesus. Entrust your days to Him who has made your days, and your life, eternal.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

If Your Beloved Son, O God

If Your Beloved Son, O God
LSB #568

v. 5: My guilt, O Father, You have laid
On Christ, Your Son, my Savior.
Lord Jesus, You my debt have paid
And gained for me God’s favor.
O Holy Spirit, Fount of grace,
The good in me to You I trace;
In faith and hope preserve me.

Who saved you? The Father? The Son? The Holy Spirit? Yes! All three. All of God working for all of you. Holding nothing back. Sometimes we limit our thinking, that it was Jesus who saved us on the cross. That is certainly true. But the Father and the Holy Spirit are equally active. The Father giving His Son who willingly comes in love for us, and the Holy Spirit who takes what Jesus did for us on the cross and gives it to us. And the God who thus saved us preserves us as well. God didn’t just save us and now we’re on our own. No! And good thing. We’d never make it. You know that from your own experience. Which of us has ever kept a New Year’s resolution for a whole year? Which of us has ever kept our Lenten disciplines for an entire Lenten season? How then can we persevere in faith all our lives? We can’t. But God can. And does. Through His Word and Sacraments the God who creates and saves us, now preserves and keeps us. So our faith and hope is in Him alone. For everything.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Not All the Blood of Beasts

Not All the Blood of Beasts
LSB #431

v. 1: Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.

v. 2: But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.

This hymn reflects on the connection between Jesus’ cross and all the sacrifices that were offered in the Old Testament. Even a quick read through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers reveals the volume of sacrifices and blood that were required because of our sin! Endless, countless sacrifices! That’s how great and numerous our sins. But all those sacrifices were just preparing for and pointing to the big one - the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, the blood which would finally and fully wash away all sin: the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus, on the altar of the cross. His blood was richer, as the hymn writer put it, because it was not just the blood of an animal or even a man, but the blood of God. And so with this sacrifice, all that needed to be done has been done. No more sacrifices needed. The blood of Jesus, the God-man, has washed away the stain! So what else is there for us to say but thanks be to God!

Monday, March 9, 2020

To Thee, Omniscient Lord of All

To Thee, Omniscient Lord of All
LSB #613

v. 1: To Thee, omniscient Lord of all,
In grief and shame I humbly call;
I see my sins against Thee, Lord,
The sins of thought and deed and word.
They press me sore; I cry to Thee:
O God, be merciful to me!

This hymn reminds us of a couple of important realities. First, our Lord is omniscient, which means all knowing. There is nothing He does not know. There is nothing we can hide from Him. So when we confess our sins, it is not like we are telling Him something He doesn’t already know! Second, we sin by our thoughts, our deeds, and our words. If we manage to control our deeds, sometimes harsh and sinful words come out. Yet even if we manage to control them, the sinful thoughts were already there! There is no escaping the sin in us. And when we know them and the damage they do to our relationships with each other and with God, what can we do but cry out to God for mercy! Rid me of this sin! Heal me of this disease! And He does! It is the very thing He has come to do. So when we confess our sins, it is not to do something for God - He already knows them all. It is for God to do something for us - that we hear those words for which there are no equal on earth: I forgive you. A God who uses His power to help us! That good news is what this Lenten season is all about.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior

Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior
LSB #627

v. 8: “For what purpose was My dying
If not for your justifying?
And what use this precious food
If you yourself were pure and good?”

v. 10: Let this food your faith so nourish
That its fruit of love may flourish
And your neighbor learn from you
How much God’s wondrous love can do.

There is a question in the Small Catchism regarding the Lord’s Supper that asks: Who receives this Sacrament worthily? Some people think they must be worthy (or in the hymn, “pure and good”) to come and receive the Lord’s Body and Blood. But no! The Body and Blood of Jesus are here for sinners. For really bad sinners. For condemned and damnable sinners. For you and me. There is no way we could ever make ourselves worthy of such a gift. That’s what makes it such a wondrous gift! To us who only deserve damnation our Lord gives the Body and Blood of His Son for the forgiveness of our sins. What makes us worthy to receive this gift is simply repentance and faith - to acknowledge that we are sinners in need of forgiveness, and faith in the Word and promises of God that in this gift is the very forgiveness we need. That’s why Jesus came and died on the cross, and that’s why He comes and gives Himself to us in the Supper. And then as we receive such a wondrous gift, we pray that it work in us all that is pleasing in God’s sight, that we begin to live as His children, and that others may “learn from us how much God’s wondrous love can do.” Even for a sinner like me!

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Gifts Christ Freely Gives

The Gifts Christ Freely Gives
LSB #602

v. 2: The gifts flow from the font
Where He calls us His own;
New life He gives that
     makes us His and His alone.
Here He forgives our sins
With water and the Word;
The triune God Himself
     Gives power to call Him Lord.

This hymns extols all the gifts given to us by God and from whence they flow to us, and this verse that we are considering today, verse two, focuses on the gifts freely given us in Baptism. First, in Baptism God calls us His own. He names us as His children. And whatever God calls and names something, that’s what it is! So you really are a child of God if God calls you His own. Second, new life He gives. We no longer live a life that will end in death - we are now living a new life, which includes dying a death that will end in life! Because we now belong to the Lord of life. Third, He forgives our sins. Every. single. one. They were all put on Christ on the cross and so there is no sin now that can separate you from your heavenly Father. They’re gone! Atoned for. And the fourth and finally, in Baptism we can now call upon the name of the Lord. With the gift of faith in Christ we can now pray as dear children ask their dear father. We can call on God in every and any need, and He has promised to hear. What a great and wonderful thing Baptism is! Remember that, and all the gifts it brings, this Lenten season.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

What God Ordains Is Always Good

What God Ordains Is Always Good
LSB #760

v. 1: What God ordains is always good:
His will is just and holy.
As He directs my life for me,
I follow meek and lowly.
My God indeed In every need
Knows well how He will shield me;
To Him, then, I will yield me.

What God ordains is always good. Really? Do you believe that? I don’t! There are times in my life or things that happen when I ask God why and think that what I am going through is not good at all. The season of Lent would help us see differently and believe this. Especially as we see Jesus on the cross. For there is where it seemed as if everything was going wrong and nothing was good. Look! Evil had won! God is dead. And yet the exact opposite was true. Through the death of Jesus God had won, evil had lost, and so not only was the cross good, it makes everything good again. Through the cross God is restoring creation back to the way it was before the Fall - good again, through the forgiveness of sin. That’s why we can sing this hymn and maybe even believe it. Believe that God is good, that He is always working good, and that whatever He sends me is for my good. So to Him I will yield me. Not my will, but Thine be done.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

God Loved the World So That He Gave

God Loved the World So That He Gave
LSB #571

v. 3 - God would not have the sinner die;
His Son with saving grace is nigh;
His Spirit in the Word declares
How we in Christ are heaven’s heirs.

John 3:16 is probably the best known verse in the Bible. This hymn is not just that verse set to music, but also an explication of what that verse means. Verse three of the hymns states “God would not have the sinner die.” That sinner is you and me and every person who has ever lived, including the very first two sinners, Adam and Eve. After they fell into sin, God was there, calling to them and promising them a Saviour from sin and death. Jesus then came in fulfillment of that promise: “His Son with saving grace is nigh.” And that all might know this great love of God for them, the Spirit now declares in the Word of God that in Christ, there is the forgiveness of sins and the promise of life - that “we in Christ are heaven’s heirs.” That, in a nutshell, is the message of this Lenten season. Promise made, promise fulfilled, promise proclaimed, promise given, promise yours. All because God not only loved the world, He loves you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

On My Heart Imprint Your Image

On My Heart Imprint Your Image
LSB #422

On my heart imprint Your image,
Blessed Jesus, King of grace,
That life’s riches, cares, and pleasures
Never may Your work erase;
Let the clear inscription be:
Jesus, crucified for me,
Is my life, my hope’s foundation,
And my glory and salvation!

This is a short hymn - only one verse! But it is what this season of Lent is all about: imprinting the image of Jesus on us. His image that we lost because of sin. And notice, we do not do this by anything we do or “give up for Lent” - it is the work of Jesus in us. So that is what the opening two lines ask - for Jesus to do this for us. Only He can. And for Him to imprint the image of His life and love in us so deeply that nothing can erase it. This He does through His Word and Sacraments, for these are His means of grace - that is, the things He uses to bring His cross and its benefits to us. Stamp it on my heart! Etch it into my heart! Tattoo it on my heart! What You did for me, Jesus. That You died for me, were crucified for me. For that, as the hymn writer says, is my life, my glory, and my salvation. That is what makes all the difference in the world. And not just in this season of Lent, but each and every day of my life. May there be nothing else in my heart or on my heart than Jesus crucified for me!

Monday, March 2, 2020

As Rebels, Lord, Who Foolishly Have Wandered

As Rebels, Lord, Who Foolishly Have Wandered
LSB #612

v. 2: Still we return, our contrite words rehearsing,
Speech, that within You warm embrace soon dies;
All of our guilt, our shame, our pain reversing
As tears of joy and welcome fill Your eyes.

This brief hymn recounts the familiar story of the Prodigal Son. He demanded his inheritance from his father and went off and squandered it all. Then he returned. What kind of welcome - if any! - would he receive? Or would he chased off? Or worse? Much to his surprise, his father welcomes him back with open arms and joy! All that matters to the father is that his son is home, safe and sound. Jesus wants you to know that is how your heavenly Father is, too. With our sin, we have squandered what God has given us and are poor, miserable sinners. Yet as we return to our Father, He welcomes us back with a warm embrace and, as the hymn writer put it, “reverses all of our guilt, our shame, our pain.” This is, of course, because of Jesus. He has paid the debt we owe and the price for our sins. So that in heaven, there are tears of joy over one sinner - each and every sinner - who repents. When you repent. That’s our joy of this Lenten season.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

O Lord, We Praise Thee

O Lord, We Praise Thee
LSB #617

v. 1: O Lord, we praise Thee, bless Thee, and adore Thee,
In thanksgiving bow before Thee.
Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish
Our weak souls that they may flourish:

O Lord, have mercy!
May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary,
That our sins and sorrows did carry,
And Thy blood for us plead
In all trial, fear, and need:

O Lord, have mercy!

It seemed appropriate to consider Luther’s Lord Supper hymn for these meditations, and for the first one on the Supper. He begins with three verbs: praise, bless, and adore. All three take place with the receiving of the Lord’s Supper. We praise God as we proclaim His death and all that He has done for us. We bless Him as we thank (Greek: eucharist) Him for this wondrous gift. And we kneel in adoration of His presence here for us, His true Body and Blood nourishing our weak souls that they may not die in weakness but instead flourish with the forgiveness and strength of Christ. This is the very same Body and Blood that was born of Mary and that, as the prophet Isaiah said (chapter 53), bore our sins and sorrows. That holy, precious Blood, once poured out for us on the cross, now pleads for our forgiveness and for all that we need to see us through this world filled with trials, fears, and needs. Lord, have mercy! Give us all that we need! For if You, Lord, did not give it, we would not have it. And in the Supper, Jesus does just that. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

This Is the Spirit's Entry Now

This Is the Spirit’s Entry Now
LSB #591

v. 1 - This is the Spirit’s entry now;
The water and the Word,
The cross of Jesus on your brow,
The seal both felt and heard.

v. 2 - This miracle of life reborn
Comes from the Lord of breath;
The perfect Man from life was torn
Our life comes through Christ’s death.

I wanted to write about this baptismal hymn because this second verse intrigues me! First of all, “Lord of breath” is an unusual phrase that grabs your attention. What is the author referring to? Is it the creation of Adam, when the Lord breathed life into the first man after forming him from the dirt? Or is it a reference to the Spirit? In Hebrew, the word for spirit and breath are the same word, and when Jesus appeared to His disciples on Easter evening in the upper room, He breathed on them and said “receive the Holy Spirit.” Or is it both? The breath of God that gave life to Adam is the is the same breath of Jesus is the same breath of God that gives us new life in Holy Baptism. And then the next phrase, “The perfect Man from life was torn,” could be a reference to Adam or Jesus! Both were perfect men from whom life was torn. But since the author capitalized “Man,” this leads us to understand this Man as Jesus, which the next line then unfolds for us, that this perfect Man from whom life was torn becomes in this very act (of crucifixion) our life. What theological riches are given us in so few words! But that is how Scripture works. It is woven together by its Divine Author so that we can never exhaust its riches and meaning. This Lenten season, look for those connections throughout Scripture and thank God for the breath, Spirit, and new life He has given to you in your Baptism.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

From God Can Nothing Move Me

From God Can Nothing Move Me
LSB #713

v. 1 - From God can nothing move me; He will not step aside
But gently will reprove me And be my constant guide.
He stretches out His hand In evening and in morning,
My life with grace adorning Wherever I may stand.

If you just read this title of this hymn, you’d think it was about our steadfastness and that there is nothing that could move me to leave God. But if you read through the entire hymn, you discover it’s not about that at all! Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s all about God’s steadfastness and love for us. That nothing can move me out of His love and care for me. He will not step aside. He and His love and grace for me are constant. He is dependable. He makes promises and keeps them. When things happen in life that make me question His love for me, the problem is not God but me! The cross shows me that. The Father gave His Son for me. The Son laid down His life for me. That’s God’s love for me! And that’s what the Lenten season is all about. Not what I do for God, but what God has done, and is still doing, for me. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ

Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ
LSB #565

v. 1: Thy works, not mine, O Christ,
Speak gladness to this heart;
They tell me all is done,
They bid my fear depart.
To who save Thee,
     Who canst alone For sin atone,
          Lord, shall I flee?

I decided to use this hymn for this very first devotion (even though I don’t believe we’ve ever sung it!) because it seems to me what this entire Lenten season is all about. Lent is not about what I do. It’s all about what Christ has done for me. All five verses of the hymn speak to that: Thy works, Thy wounds, Thy cross, Thy death, Thy righteousness - not mine. So much of what passes for Christianity today focuses on what we do; and while it’s important that we fulfill the vocations given to us by God and strive to do good, that’s not the center and focus - Christ is. And more specifically, Christ crucified. What we do comes from that, from our dying and rising with Christ to a new life. So this hymn starts off this Lenten season the right way, with the right focus. Lent is all about Jesus the Christ. If you get a chance, get your hymnal out and read all the verses. Then thank the Lord for all He has done - for you.