The 5th Sunday in Lent
WE beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the prayer for the 5th Sunday in Lent, we ask God to look upon us mercifully. We acknowledge here that God is personal, relational. He is not aloof and uninterested. With an impersonal view of God, being looked upon is only possible in an overbearing and tyrannical manner. He mercifully looks upon us in our sins and wretchedness to rescue us, to save us by His great goodness. Seeking us in mercy to bring us to repentance and forgiveness, we are placed in the Body of Christ to be governed and preserved evermore. Our status is not something that is up in the air, dependent upon the whims of our propensity to sin. No, our status is secured by the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. He in our lifetimes slowly works within us to convict us of our sins to return in repentance to receive forgiveness, to walk closer in the love of Christ that truly governs us and preserves us evermore. He does this as we prayed in both body and soul. Sometimes, we can take the language of God’s mercy and preservation to the point that it is all invisible, just the soul. The problem with this is that it promotes a disjointed Christianity that makes us as people out to be more like machines than human beings. The impact of forgiveness upon the soul includes our bodies. In such, our lives reflect Christ in all we say and do with others.