“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice!”
This is the Old Lenten cry. Isn’t it. We all have our problems – lost job, no money, probably a little lonely. We all have our sins – the lies, the gossip, the lust. So we call out to the Lord, don’t we? Or maybe we all take a number from Old Father Adam. Adam had his problem and sin, and what did he do? He looked to himself, saw that he was naked, and hid.
We do the same thing. Our sins shame us, our problems depress us, and so we look at ourselves. We keep looking for our way out. That next step in our endless-step program that will surely alleviate all of our struggles, wants, desires for doing better, our pet sins. But it doesn’t work. So we have to hide, just like father Adam. Maybe we’ll construct are own garments to cover, but we still have to hide because we know it’s not enough.
Then there’s no way out. Lent comes. Time for repentance. Time for our sins to come to light. That scares us. Maybe we can look at the other guy and say he’s worse. Look!, I gave up this or that. SO even then our way become the dead-end way.
Our only hope is the new Adam. We really do need the Lord’s way if there will ever be any hope for us.That Old Lenten cry wouldn’t be ours if it wasn’t Jesus’ first. He cried out in his distress, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” He went down to Sheol, hell for us. He’s the sacrifice that puts new clothing upon us.
The Father heard his voice! Jesus was raised for us too. What joy – in Lent even! All eyes off of us, and all eyes on Jesus. He died for our us so that we can live. All eyes on Jesus – he was at the Font washing you in the depths so that you too can cry the Old Lenten cry. All eyes on Jesus – he’s in the words of the Pastor declaring, “I forgive all your sins.” All eyes on Jesus – he’s there on the altar with his body and blood for our forgiveness, life, and salvation. All eyes on Jesus, who is the true, life-giving way of salvation.