Epiphany leads on to Lent, for if we have the Epiphany hope, we must purify ourselves, even as is he is pure (1 John 5:3). The vision must be realized in daily life, in spite of the inward and outward conditions of trials and difficulty. In Gesimatide we address ourselves therefore to the conquest of sin (Sermon and the Propers, II:25).
To you, Lord Jesus Christ, we make our confession. With contrite hearts we think upon our many sins, which merit only God’s wrath. We desperately need your forgiveness because we know that we have dared to offend you with evil thoughts, words, and deeds. But though we truly deserve only punishment, we dare to expect grace and mercy because you loved us and offered yourself in our behalf. When you hung on the cross, God exacted of you full payment for our sins–yes even for the sins of the whole world. What unspeakable love, what comfort and peace are ours through you. Grant that we may ever cling to the sacrifice you made, and with steadfast faith count it the only way to everlasting life. Keep us from trusting in our own righteousness. Help us come to you in prayer with all our sins, our burdens, our cares, and our hope founded in you. Announce to us in your Word the sweet pardon and release won for us by your sacrifice. Amen.