February 28, 2008 - Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Today's Reading: Psalm 91

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 3:1-24; St. Mark 2:1-17

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation." (Psalm 91:15-16)

In the name of Jesus. Amen. All the Sundays in Lent have Latin names taken from the first words of their Introit, or Psalm. Tomorrow is Invocavit, or “He shall call” Sunday.

The Lord is speaking. The “he” and “him” in the Psalm is you. The “Me” is the Lord. This tells you how the Christian faith goes: from God to you, then from you to God.

Our natural religion, the sinful, self-absorbed religion we are born with, knows only the latter part of that faith. We go to God. We offer Him something. We start worship. We are the doers. Religion and faith is all about us and what we do.

But any religion that begins with us ends with our death. We fall short. We don’t measure up. We don’t live up to what God commands of us. And when we fail, it’s not a long life we get, but eternal death!

Repent of that religion this Lenten season. Set aside all talk of you and how faithful you are that you call upon God, that you love God, that you believe in God. That’s all about you. Turn from that this Lenten season. Give it up!

The way of Faith is receiving from God. Him first, then you. He gives, you receive. While you are still in your sins, in your own inborn religion of death, He sends His Son to suffer and die for you. Christ’s faithfulness in exchange for your unfaithfulness. Christ’s life in exchange for your death.

The way out of our death is to do the opposite of what we think and rationalize. We think that we need to pull ourselves up and get God’s attention; that we need to deliver ourselves from the mess that we have made of our lives. And if we do that well enough, we think God will do His part.

God gives. He answers, He rescues us, He delivers us from our sins and even from death itself.

Then, comes the amazing thing: We should be honoring Him, but He honors us! He rejoices in us. He speaks highly of us. He gives us long life. He gives us salvation in Christ.

And after we have received eternal life and salvation in Christ, with thankful hearts we call upon God. We pray to Him. We sing to Him, not pointing to ourselves, but fixing our eyes on Jesus and what He does for us.

Invocavit means “he shall call upon Me.” You are the “he.” Jesus is the “Me.” He’s speaking to you. You are receiving. That’s the way of Faith in Jesus. In the name of Jesus. Amen.