Laetare is Latin for “rejoice.” In the old church year Laetare, “Rejoice Sunday” fell in the middle of Lent. The Introit began: “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem and be glad with her: all ye that love her.” “Rejoice Sunday” provided a break in the long season of Lenten purple. It functioned a bit like the third Sunday, the Sunday of the pink candle during Advent.
The lessons for this Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent, all have something of the tone of rejoicing.
Isaiah 12: “I will give thanks…that your anger has turned away, that you comfort me. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Sing praises to the Lord…shout, and sing for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
2 Corinthians 5: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away; behold, the new has come…For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Gospel Luke 15: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again, he was lost, and is found…And they began to celebrate.”
Psalm 32: “Be not like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle lest they come near unto you…Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous: shout for joy, all you that are upright in heart.”
The Prayer of the Day in ELW:
God of compassion, you welcome the wayward, and you embrace us all with your mercy. By our baptism clothe us with garments of your grace, and feed us at the table of your love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.