Last Sunday after Epiphany (Transfiguration)

Watchword

“The Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” (Isaiah 60,2)

Introit Psalm 97

The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods. Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord. For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

God’s holy Word Exodus 3,1-10

Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. “

The 2nd epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians the 4th  chapter: 

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (6-10)

The holy Gospel according to the evangelist St. Matthew chapter 17,1-9

And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Sermon text from Revelations 1:9-18

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

The liturgical colour is white.

Together with the holy Christian Church we pray with this collect: O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your beloved Son You confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of Moses and Elijah. In the voice that came from the bright cloud You wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace. Mercifully make us co-heirs with the King in His glory and bring us to the fullness of our inheritance in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. (LSB Pastoral Care Companion Pg. 547)

Hymn of the week:

  1.  O wondrous sight, O vision fair of glory that the church shall share, which Christ upon the mountain shows, where brighter than the sun he glows!
  2. From age to age the tale declare, how with the three disciples there, where Moses and Elijah meet, the Lord holds converse high and sweet.
  3. The law and prophets there have place, two chosen witnesses of grace; the Father’s voice from out the cloud proclaims his only Son aloud.
  4. With shining face and bright array Christ deigns to manifest today what glory shall be theirs above who joy in God with perfect love.
  5. And faithful hearts are raised on high by this great vision’s mystery, for which in joyful strains we raise the voice of prayer, the hymn of praise.

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

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News from the Old Latin School (Wittenberg)

Kristin Lange, the managing director of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg housed in the Old Latinschool in the Luthercity Wittenberg (Germany) introduced the following newsletter in this special holiday season of the holy Epiphany with the exclamation: “Big New Year’s News!” She then went on: “Happy New Year! I pray this newsletter finds you and your dear ones well in this Epiphany season. If you are reading this from “back home,” then I hope you are staying warm and safe in the extreme temperatures in many areas. I woke up to a light snowfall outside of my window this morning – very peaceful!” And then she shared this:


“I have some important information to share with you regarding my service in Wittenberg, and ask that you please take a few moments to read the letter I’ve attached in lieu of my normal newsletter. Thank you for all the ways that you continue to support me in Wittenberg, most especially for your ongoing prayers! In Jesus’ Name – Kristin”

To read the letter, open this link: Donor_Departure_Letter.02

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Sermon on 1.Corinthians 2,1-10

Not knowing, who would be at the divine service this afternoon, I prepared two sermons, one in English (1Cor2,1-10 13.1.2018 OLS2) and one in German (1Kor2,1-10 13.1.2018 OLS3), both on the prescribed lesson by St.Paul to the Corinthians for the 2nd Sunday in Epiphany. However at the service I decided to apply my preparation to the only other person in the chapel, who preferred English. You can listen to that personal address here: 

Together we used the order of Vespers and sang lovely hymns too before praying with words of the church prayer plus suitable collects, psalms and blessings.

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Wedding at Cana

veronese_wedding_cana_grt

The wedding at Cana is the gospel lesson for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany. This painting depicting this joyous occasion of the wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese (1563) is on display in the Louvre, Paris.

Watchword: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1,17)

Introit Psalm 105 verses 1-4

O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

God’s holy Word from the Old Testament: Exodus 33,17-23

And the Lord said unto Moses: Thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

The holy Epistle: Romans 12,(4-8) 9-16

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.) Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

The holy Gospel accourding to the evangelist St. John chapter  2,1-11

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Sermon text from 1. Corinthians 2,1-10

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the holy Christian Church we pray with this collect: Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn of the week: LSB 408 

 

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

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Water for free

This year’s watchword is from Revelations 21,6. It’s the Lord’s promise: “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life, freely.” Here’s my sermon in German for yesterday’s devotion in the chapel of the Old Latin School in the Luthercity Wittenberg both to read (Offb21,6 11.1.2018 OLS) or to listen to: 

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People on the way

What shall I say? These last hours have been quite a jump from O.R. Tambo to Frankfurt via Dubai and now I’m on the final stretch to Wittenberg and just getting past Leipzig traveling by train (ICE 692 which goes all the way to Berlin Gesundbrunnen). Lots of impressions even if most are fleeting and not only because I read bits of Frank Schirrmacher 2009: „Payback: Warum wir im Informationszeitalter gezwungen sind zu tun, was wir nicht tun wollen, und wie wir die Kontrolle über unser Denken zurückgewinnen.“, but just the number of people, who you sit next too, who make a favorable impression even way beyond midnight and that’s not even counting those thousands, who are not even registered by my senses, but who also have stories to tell, moving lives going up and down with countless memories. Still, it all goes by as if it’s just flying by. It’s just too many people in one train or airport. However let me mention some, who did catch my attention first and perhaps listing them chronologically will help my memory:

First passport check and asking for my boarding pass. He got us a trolley, because he didn’t like the idea of Chinese women misusing his trolley for a lounge right there in the Departures Hall at OR Tambo. My loved ones still witnessed that change over of trolley usage and we all posed behind the said trolley.

Without my normal routine of drinking a coffee or beer in the OR Tambo Mugg & Bean, I went straight to Gate 10, where the Emirates Airbus 380 was already being put into shape for its next intercontinental flight. I was one of the first there, but because I tried to clean out my mailbox and phone the rest of my family, this time flew by in no time. Didn’t talk much with anyone else, but did notice that most people were very engrossed in their Handys. Again proving Frank Schirrmacher’s observation, that we’re not changing the machines so much, but that they are rather very much changing us.

The stewardesses were all beautiful so that even serious layers of makeup didn’t  cover  up or even hide their charm. They were young and genuinely pretty and going a long way to prove that such loveliness is very much at home in all parts of the world. On the first leg, they mentioned 10 different languages at our service and for the second one 24 even. Can you imagine that? Sounds as if Emirates is a serious school for language, communication and translations.

For the first part of this trip I sat next to a single lady, who watched one movie after the other and only asked to stand up twice. She was not troublesome at all. Quite, kept her arms to herself and only laughed once in what I thought was about 4-5 movies.

The second leg I spent next to a guy somewhat resembling Christian Heicke or better still Herr Schneider the postman in Oberursel of yesteryear. Typical German from Hessian “an dem kein Falsch ist”. He wore Hotel slippers and was very well mannered too, not quite as quiet, but didn’t snore much nor did he cause any disturbance of this or that kind. I don’t know, whether he slept much for that matter, because I slept that stretch like a log or dog – sitting upright, but passed out.

He played Solitaire about as consistently as Madam Movie had watched her films, but he was much more jubilant as he celebrated every finished game with high-fives and exorbitant dances in so far as that’s possible in the cramped seats of the so-called economic class. I presume, that the slave galleys were something like these airplanes, which resemble tightly packed sardine cans. Surprisingly, we put on the chains (i.e. safety belts) ourselves and don’t even wait for the stewardesses – our modern slave drivers – to do this. Our drive for liberty is seriously retarded no question. The ancients had stronger drives for emancipation.

The food was ok and the beverages too, even though you might think, I didn’t like the Heincken as I dropped it on my seat even before I had a sip of it and therefore had wet pants all the way to Germany and a dry throat too.  In Dubai I ate Japanese soup and noodles and caught up with a ½ pint of Stella Artois. That’s a lot less than I bargained for. I should have taken the full pint or at the very least the ½.

Having finally landed the Border Patrol (GSG 9 or Grenzschutzpolizei?) asked, whether I don’t have a German passport. Wonder why? Doesn’t he like my SA-one?

My baggage was all there and I even got onto the right bus and off at the right terminal to catch the subway into Frankfurt and to the main station. The timing was so good, that I actually could enjoy my first coffee on German soil and a cherry cake in the classic Bistro with a super waiter and a fabulous moustache there in the main station. His manners were straight out of the book or at least from the latest and authoritative English butler’s manual. I loved it so! Reminded me so much of the old colonial times, that have passed forever. (Bad joke – I know) I look forward to going there again. Hope it won’t take too long.

Although I had reserved a window seat in the ICE going to “Gesundbrunnen” (Great name!) in Berlin, I gave up this right, because a whole soccer team was occupying that reserved section. It was no real issue as lots of other free seats were available. I got to catch up with my mail from back home.

They served the best lentil soup, that I’ve tasted for a long time so that I went ahead and got myself a few tins as reserve at ALDI, when I got a chance in Wittenberg. Let’s see, if that lives up to the high standards of the Deutsche Bahn. Perhaps it was just the friendly service in the “Bord Bistro” that made the difference. The various conductors also impressed with their willingness to please the “ou boer seun vanuit die ou Transvaal” far from home and totally “unrasiert” even if in my case that doesn’t really say much.

So much for my first few impressions this side of the Equator and the Mediterranean or as the ancients called it: “The big water in the west”!

 

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1st Sunday after Epiphany

baptism-of-christ-1483

Watchword: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8,14)

Introit Psalm 72 verses 1-2.12.17b

Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper… all nations shall call him blessed. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

God’s holy Word from the Old Testament: Isaiah 42,1-4 (5-9)

Sing, Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

The holy Epistle: Romans 12,1-3 (4-8)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

The holy Gospel accourding to the evangelist St. Matthew chapter  3:13-17

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Sermon text from 1. Corinthians 1,26-31

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

The liturgical colour is white.

Together with the holy Christian Church we pray with this collect: Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Hymn of the week:

1 To Jordan came our Lord, the Christ,
To do God’s pleasure willing,
And there was by St. John baptized,
All righteousness fulfilling;
There did He consecrate a bath
To wash away transgression,
And quench the bitterness of death
By His own blood and passion,
He would a new life give us.

2 So hear ye all, and well perceive
What God doth call a Baptism,
And what a Christian should believe
Who error shuns and schism:
That we should water use, the Lord
Declareth it His pleasure,
Not simple water, but the Word
And Spirit without measure;–
He is the true Baptizer.

3 To show us this He hath His word
With signs and symbols given;
On Jordan’s banks was plainly heard
The Father’s voice from heaven:
“This is My well-beloved Son,
In whom My soul delighteth;
Hear Him!” Yea, hear Him, every one,
When He Himself inviteth;
Hear and obey His teaching!

4 In tender manhood God the Son
In Jordan’s water standeth;
The Holy Ghost from heaven’s throne
In dove-like form descendeth;
That thus the truth be not denied,
Nor should our faith e’er waver,
That the Three Persons all preside,
At Baptism’s holy laver,
And dwell with the believer.

5 Thus Jesus His disciples sent
Go, teach ye every nation,
That, lost in sin, they must repent,
And flee from condemnation;
He that believes and is baptized
Shall thereby have salvation,
A new-born man he is in Christ,
From death free and damnation,
He shall inherit heaven.

6 Who in this mercy hath not faith
Nor aught therein discerneth,
Is yet in sin, condemned to death
And fire that ever burneth;
His holiness avails him not,
Nor aught which he is doing;
His inborn sin brings all to naught,
And maketh sure his ruin;
Himself he cannot succor.

7 The eye of sense alone is dim,
And nothing sees but water;
Faith sees Christ Jesus, and in Him
The Lamb ordained for slaughter;
With the dear blood of Jesus,
Which from the sins, inherited
From fallen Adam, frees us,
And from our own misdoings.

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

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Epiphany (6th January)

Watchword:

“The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth..” (1 John 2,8b)

Introit Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

God’s holy Word

The Old Testament lesson: Isaiah 49,13-16

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto t The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

The holy Epistle: Ephesians 3, 2-6

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel

The holy Gospel according to the evangelist St. Matthew chapter  2:1-12

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.  Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

 Sermon text from Colossians 1:24-27

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

The liturgical colour is white.

Collect for Epiphanyp

Together with the holy Christian Church we pray with this collect: O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn for this Holiday:

  1. “O Morning Star, how fair and bright! You shine with God’s own truth and light, Aglow with grace and mercy! Of Jacob’s race, King David’s son, Our Lord and master, You have won Our hearts to serve You only! Lowly, holy! Great and glorious, All victorious, Rich in blessing! Rule and might o’er all possessing!
  2. “Come, heavenly Bridegroom, Light divine, and deep within our hearts now shine; There light a flame undying! In Your one body let us be As living branches of a tree, Your life our lives supplying. Now, though daily Earth’s deep sadness May perplex us And distress us, Yet with heavenly joy You bless us.
  3. “Lord, when You look on us in love, At once there falls from God above A ray of purest pleasure. Your Word and Spirit, flesh and blood Refresh our souls with heavenly food. You are our dearest treasure! Let Your mercy Warm and cheer us! O draw near us! For You teach us God’s own love through You has reached us.
  4. “Almighty Father, in Your Son You loved us when not yet begun Was this old earth’s foundation! Your Son has ransomed us in love To live in Him here and above; This is Your great salvation. Alleluia! Christ the living, To us giving Life forever, Keeps us Yours and fails us never!
  5. “O let the harps break forth in sound! Our joy be all with music crowned, Our voices gladly blending! For Christ goes with us all the way— Today, tomorrow, every day! His love is never ending! Sing out!  Ring out! Jubilation! Exultation! Tell the story! Great is He, the King of Glory!
  6. “What joy to know, when life is past, The Lord we love is first and last, The end and the beginning! He will one day, oh, glorious grace, Transport us to that happy place Beyond all tears and sinning! Amen!  Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Crown of gladness! We are yearning For the day of Your returning!”

Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608)

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

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1st Sunday after Christmas

Watchword: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1,14)

Introit Psalm 93

The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

God’s holy Word from the Old Testament: Isaiah 49,13-16

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

The holy Epistle: 1.John 1,1-4

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

The holy Gospel accourding to the evangelist St. Luke chapter  2:22-40

And when the days of her (Mary’s) purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him (IX) to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.  And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Sermon text from 1. John 2,21-25

I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

The liturgical colour is white.

Together with the holy Christian Church we pray with this collect: O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Hymn of the week: Hail to the Lord’s Annointed

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

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Weber memories in Murrayfield 2017

Looking back at 2017 recalls old Moses’s reminder: “Our years quickly pass and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10) We’ll remember my father’s blessed passing just a day after my birthday even as we miss his booming laughter and easy smile fitting well with his humble, generous and determined fatherhood. He was always keen to remind us and all, who cared to listen: “Christians never see each other for the last time!” Well, I for one look forward to seeing him again and not just for his capacity of listening to endless troubles, deep concerns and visisons of darkness and evil without despairing or losing hope. See, he was more than just my father, because bearing the same beautiful office and beloved pastoral joke he was also my predecessor at Seminary and long-time confidant of Bishop Schulz. As such he was the perfect sounding board and prophetic voice addressing pastoral issues and episcopal matters with unbiased severity and undeserved benevolence. Very different to the predominant pragmatists, clueless bureaucrats, hapless perfectionists and incompetent fools running wild where angels feared to tread. 

Angelika is doing well at the University of Pretoria (UP). By now, she’s the longest serving academic in their department and very much at home there. Again she successfully published two articels in academic journals, but her first love is still teaching students German making use of classical and other significant texts.

It’s with great joy and gratitude, that she can see our son Detlev following in her footsteps as he continues to study Germany abroad even as he finished off the Honours degree here at UP with flying colours. We expect him to continue abroad for some years now and God only knows, whether he’ll eventually return here to where at least some of his forebears were at home.

Friederike has successfully completed her university studies (LLB) even as she visited Law School (5-9 pm every day) – and worked at the Day-Care-Centre in her free time. Now she’s doing her articles in family law and glad that it’s not all about litigation. She’s still staying with us in Rubida Street and that’s always a great joy. Not only because she visits the same gym as her parents, but also because of her wit and sparkling humour. That can really boost one’s moral after “a hard day’s night” (Beatles).

Her elder brother Christoph is coping nicely down in Natal, where he stays with his grandmother Scharlach and works for his uncle Gerald Scharlach. The national board for electrical appreticeship is more or less chaotic to put it kindly.  That is why, he never knows, when the next seminar will take place nor when the next exam will follow.

I don’t know, how they want to address the serious shortage of trained artisans if their training programs are in such a shambles. Compared with that, our daily schedule at LTS was close to perfect for the past decade and a half.

Matthias has completed his apprenticeship in Linz and has now moved back to Gauteng. For the time being, he’s living with us, but is probably moving to Cape Town in the next few weeks to get some more practical exposure, before settling down in one of the Almi-Centres locally in Southern Africa.

We are overjoyed and grateful, that all four of our children could celebrate Christmas with us this time around here in Murrayfield. It might even be the last time here, because we’re considering selling our home and moving on to “greener pastures” – as they say. Perhaps it’s more like “getting out of the kitchen, if you can’t stand the heat.”

The classes with 10 theology students (Romans/Luke in New Testament; Prolegomena, Creation and Anthropology in Dogmatics) and 28 in the preparatory course (Symbolics: Luther’s Catechisms) was an underserved blessing once again. I would have obviously liked to continue with St. John’s gospel and Justification/Sanctification.  The correspondence course with the 25 Ethiopians living in South Africa in their diaspora was an ongoing success story. It’s just unbelievable, what positive motivation, perseverance and good fun these foreigners bring along as they go about studying confessional Lutheran theology. It’s quite contagious too. I’m sure, that I’m going to miss these my dear students most of all. No small wonder as some of them have been at LTS for 5 years or more.

Still, it has now finally come to this, that I’m moving to Wittenberg in Germany next year. Angelika is planning on joining me after the first semester. We are very grateful for the church councils charged with this joint partnership project that they are so positive, supportive and motivating. It feels very much like the early days here at Seminary nearly 2 decades ago. I’m grateful for this godsend and just so glad, that I’ll not just be tending the flowers in our garden as yet and as if I already was in early retirement.

Already I’m getting the hang of the “Bundesliga” and trying to forget the Springboks, which is not so difficult after all considering their dismal performance over the past months (or is it years already?) It’s like turning your back on some or other “vrot kol”. No problem at all! The first guests have already made appointments in Wittenberg. The air tickets are booked. My official telephone here has been disconnected and I’m ready for the move. It is, what it is: “Our years quickly pass and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

Posted in Articles from South Africa, biographies and other stories, Family and friends, From Africa, Histories, biographies and other stories, Rundbrief, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments