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March 24, 2017, 10:36 AM

Laetare Sunday - The Third Sunday in Lent

On the Third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Gaudate Sunday (from the Latin for "joy").  But did you know that the Third Sunday in Lent is known as Laetare Sunday?  Laetare means "Rejoice!"  and it is always celebrated 21 days before Easter as a traditional "midway" point through the season of Lent.  The Sunday is considered a day of relaxation from normal Lenten disciplines as Easter approaches. Traditionally, weddings (which were otherwise forbidden during Lent) could be performed on this day, and servants were released from service for this day to visit their mothers which is why it is also known as 'Mothering Sunday'. 

For those who were preparing for baptism, this was also a time of "scrutiny."  This time was a chance to examine (scrutinize) the areas of our lives where we are tempted to - or do - sin in what we do and what we fail to do.  However, it is also a time to scrutinize how God's amazing grace is working in and through us.  Like the man whom Jesus restored at the Pool of Siloam, we all need the healing and the strength that can come from the support of Christian community.  So ask yourself this Lenten season:

  • What are my lights, darknesses and blind spots I can name and deal with this Lent in preparation for Easter?
  • Is there any of the Pharisees' judgmental hypocrisy in me, preventing me from noticing Jesus working in and through those around me?
  • Whom can I tell about Jesus?  What stories of God's grace in my life can I share with others?

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