Friday, February 02, 2007


You’ll notice on our bulletin that this is Septuagesima Sunday. Some of you may hear a similarity in that word to the Septuagint, which was the Greek translation of the Old Testament by the 70 Jewish elders. Septuagesima, seventy days. Strange name, not exactly sure of its historical use but we can let it help us to think like Christians. Some say that it refers to the approximate number of days to Easter. Others to the 70 years of Babylonian exile. Some early Christians began some form of fasting 70 days before Easter. Whatever the exact origin of the word, the dates are clear. It is to be placed three Sundays before Lent or nine Sundays before Easter.

Why do I bring it up here? The main reason I want to discuss it is to point out how differently we think today. Rarely, do we count our days by our religious holidays. If we do so at all, it is because we are just now learning to do so. We think in terms of school years, semesters, Labor Day and Memorial Day, July 4. I know that I do. Our school year runs from Labor Day to Memorial Day. It’s not sinful to do so, per se, but something strikes me as particularly non-Christian about it. It also strikes me as odd that modern day Christians, some Presbyterians at that, object to the keeping of a church calendar. They do so, expressly exchanging it for a secular calendar. There is no other calendrical choice. But the government does not govern time, the Heavenly Governor does.

Also, I want us to think in terms of preparation. We ought to prepare for seasons just like we prepare ourselves for Church. Some of you say, “But I don’t prepare myself for Church.” Well, that is the problem.

Of course, Church should prepare us. Something happens here that changes us and makes us fit for God’s kingdom, battling with the devil, and persevering unto the end. Something analogous occurs when we go to be a guest at someone’s home. We do not come disheveled, exhausted looking or sounding, and all out of sorts, even if we think we need the fellowship and the meal to encourage and nourish us. We make sure we are in a fit condition to enter their house. We talk to the children ahead of time about having good manners. We remember the house rules of our host.

Some of you do not prepare at all to enter the Lord’s house. You do not think about His house, His rules, what trouble He’s gone through to invite you here, what the meal cost, or what a blessing you should be to Him when you get here. Basically, you have shown bad manners. So, come expecting supreme fellowship, consolation for your soul and body. But come, also having prepared your soul and body so that you can be a blessing to Jesus and His body, the saints.

Start thinking about Sunday on Saturday. Prepare your heart and home before you come to church. And then the fellowship, worship, and meal will be an even greater blessing to you. Think more highly of others, your fellow saints and Your Lord, than you do yourself. Where will this take you? I don’t know exactly, for you, but hopefully, we can all learn from this and make some important changes.

No comments: