5th Sunday in Easter: Cantate Domino…  

Introit from Psalm 98

O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. (Verses 1-4)

God’s Holy Word from the prophet Isaiah the twelfth chapter

 In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.  Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” (1-6)

The Epistle from the apostle St. Paul to the Colossians the third chapter

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  (12-17)

The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew the 11th chapter 

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (11-30)

The sermon for this Sunday is based on Acts the 16th chapter

And when they (soldiers & prison wardens) had laid many stripes upon them (Paul & Silas), they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. (23-34)

The liturgical colour is white.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday: O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn for this Sunday:

  1. Lob Gott getrost mit Singen, frohlock, du christlich Schar!
    Dir soll es nicht misslingen, Gott hilft dir immerdar.
    Ob du gleich hier musst tragen viel Widerwärtigkeit,
    noch sollst du nicht verzagen; er hilft aus allem Leid.
  2. Dich hat er sich erkoren, durch sein Wort auferbaut,
    mit seinem Eid geschworen, weil du ihm bist vertraut,
    dass er sich lässet finden in aller Angst und Not;
    er wird auch überwinden, die dich noch schmähn mit Spott.
  3. Kann und mag auch verlassen ein Mutter je ihr Kind
    und also gar verstoßen, dass es kein Gnad mehr findt?
    Und ob sich’s möcht begeben, dass sie so sehr abfiel:
    Gott schwört bei seinem Leben, er dich nicht lassen will.
  4. Darum lass dich nicht schrecken, o du christgläubge Schar!
    Gott wird dir Hilf erwecken und dein selbst nehmen wahr.
    Hat er dich doch gezeichnet, gegraben in sein Händ:
    dein Nam stets vor ihm leuchtet, dass er dir Hilfe send.
  5. Gott solln wir fröhlich loben, der sich aus großer Gnad
    durch seine guten Gaben uns kundgegeben hat.
    Er wird uns auch erhalten in Lieb und Einigkeit
    und unser freundlich walten hier und in Ewigkeit.

Böhmische Brüder 1544

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and 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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No matter what happens…

 

“No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” (Jewish Proverb) And going from the US Midwest to Germany’s heartland is no different. Can you imagine the poor girl, who thought I ran off with her suitcase at O’Hare International? And bear with me, can you imagine her inner state of affairs, once she checked my bag hopelessly overweight with books and Luther materials and found out, that it was not hers? Now she did not only have to try and get this situation zipped up again, which was tough enough, but she had to go through all the fear all over again because in the meantime, all dangerous nutters out there could have descended on her bag and made off with it whilst she was off on the wrong track and all caught up unzipping and zipping my baggage. Poor girl! Life can be so cruel.

After all, I did not land up between those giant ladies from down south as I had fearfullz fantasized previously. The real neighbours turned out to be rather cheery specimens from St.Louis and Tucson. The first was visiting her brother, who was stationed as a fighter pilot in Kaiserslautern or Ramstein (She was not quite sure!), but he was to be transferred to the S.Pacific soon, for all she knew. So, she was making the best of the situation and catching up with him, planning to take a whirlwind tour of what our forebears considered their homeland for centuries in the old dazs. She was all exited about this tour de force. It was her first trip abroad. So she watched movies all night and kept herself fueled with energy dispensed by ever helpful crew.

Every time, I opened my eyes a bit there was this screen glittering away with this or that story. She didn’t pull down the blinds either. Perhaps she wanted to catch the first glimps of European sun light. So the early rays soon gave that glimmering screen serious competition. It really was just past midnight Central American Time, but we were just so quick at rushing towards the rising sun out East. That would teach me not to forget my old balaclava, never mind the earplugs.

We were seated amongst this huge school class, which was going to do Germany in the next 5 weeks. They were as fit as my neighbor on the right. Trying to go full blast from the word go and not wind down until they were back home or in the classroom. Now was the time to go wild. So they kept howling like a bunch of jungle apes impressive in decibel output. I couldn’t catch a work, it was more like shrieking Piha birds or Hadeda Ibis back home. The meaning remained a mystery, but the volume beat out loud and clear. Ideal conditions for an old traveler to yearn for the quiet of home or at least some hidden hermitage. I watched “Darkest hour” instead, but Churchill’s mumblings were drowned too often in the cacophony. I’ll really have to do that film again.

On the left was a missionary on her way to Kenya. She had visited her parents in Tucson and was now back to join her husband working for some American Health Organization struggling with the HIV/Aids pandemic in Central Africa. She had travelled much further already than I had – Ft.Wayne is  only ½ hour away from O’Hare – and she had another 8 hours to go from Frankfurt to Nairobi still. And that was without the travel time by car or donkey cart or on foot. They say, missionaries do that for days, even weeks – never tiring, just on the move on a higher mission from God. So, what was I complaining about? She had slept like a Zulu. All wrapped up in her blankets from head to toe. They say, the Zulus do that even as the prop up their beds on bricks, so that the feared tokoloshe doesn’t get to them. I’m sure, flying at 10km in the sky, we were pretty much out of reach for these devilish creatures. Still, I probably should have followed suit and covered my head with that blanket like a turban too. Then I wouldn’t have noticed that screen nor the rising sun nor those screetching kids.

We from the older generation both enjoyed the piping hot Pasta, which really was the best I’ve had on any airplane so far. Perhaps it helped, that I had that Chilly con carne some hours ago. She had some red wine, the other preferred white. I stuck with bock beer. The choice was Heineken or Shiner Bock. I choose the later, because I knew the former. This new one wasn’t bad. Nothing fancy. Glad for that. Thanks to Churchill’s motivational speeches and this beer started in 1973 (i.e. before I got confirmed!), I slept ok. See, that’s normally the case – thank God – and I only used the flashing screen and the rising sun as story fillers. You never know, when starting the story, whether you’ll end up with enough to go the whole session.  The flashing light really wasn’t an issue at all, neither were those teenagers. I was just happy, that I wouldn’t do the 5 weeks with them. 9 hours on the plane was enough. The young teachers accompanying them were obviously better suited for this job. They were in the row in front of us and watched one Pixar movie after the other. Obviously the next generation – cartoons, virtual reality, plastic and tattoos, piercings and stylish hair glues. I still regret, that I didn’t ask the taxi driver to the John Wayne airport, what his tattoos were all about. I had inwardly debated the right to privacy, but there was an obvious desire to communicate the screaming images from his side. Conflicting situation. No questions asked, no answers given. So, I missed that chance and just have simple speculation from my side.

Travelling on with the train through early summer on a bright Friday in Hesse, Thuringia, Saxony and finally Saxony-Anhalt was relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable. Especially as I had my seat booked well in advance and didn’t have any real issues like that young girl from Eritrea, who had just gotten on the wrong train in Frankfurt and was on her way to Fulda instead of Würzburg. That wasn’t the worst of her troubles. She had actually left her 2 children – a son and a daughter – behind on the station platform as she got her suitcases stowed. Can you imagine? Even the stoic ticket collector went so far declaring: “We’ve got a crisis!” That daughter of hers was but 7 months old. Imagine the little brother at Frankfurt Main without his mother and burdened with a helpless sister not even able to walk or talk. It would just be a few hours and they’d probably both be crying at the top of their voices in some Eritrean dialect. Their mother was but a girl, lost in a strange land on the way to some distant friends of the husband, somewhere in Bavaria, whilst she was on her way in another direction and without a clue, how to get back on track. However, her only worry was, whether the conductor would be angry with her for not having a valid ticket. Oh my, oh my. The irony of it all. No wonder the Leftist and Green Party tried to decriminalize the ticket business to a minor offense last week. Still, they didn’t get through with it in parlament. Imagine all those free rides across Europe by train. I wonder, if I also wouldn’t have gone for the free option.

The Eritrean mother was not a member of Mekane Yesous as I had hoped. Rather, she was a Muslima and one of three wives. Obviously her husband was not as advanced as our previous president, who is now all out to marry his 7th wife. Zumzum is well over 70. One wife per decade and still going strong. His latest capture is scarcely 24. I don’t get it. Can’t she do better than that? She doesn’t look at a loss. She’s a pretty lass. Her eyes don’t seem dull either. I wonder, what makes her do this. Is it love? Is it a business deal? What’s it about? She’s going to be one of a crowd not so special in any sort of way. She’s not even going to get the pension of the other president’s many accomplices in crime and bedded life. Even his inheritance is limited split up 7 ways and that not counting 25 kids – nearly half legitimate. And will he have to pay for those 283 cases of fraudulent crime, he’s accused of? But Zumzum is no Muslim like this Eritrean. His polygamy is part of his   “traditional African chief” and specifically Zulu strongman thing. Like Putin putting on that Tsar’s gown and trying to hide under that ancient glory. However, I’m reminded of Mark Sanders, who made it very clear in his excellent book “Learning Zulu”, that Zuma’s way was not traditional Zulu, but a very corrupted version of that fine tradition from my home- and fatherland. Ever since his forebears colluded with the British taking even old tribal lands from the Zulu for his betrayal, he has been on deceitful and crooked paths. Hey, South Africa is supposed to be far away and so is Swaziland. And still, the first Advert I saw in Leipzig on the bulletin board in the station was of the King Mswati’s idea of renaming his kingdom to eSwatini. As if they didn’t have enough troubles than name changes, but that is another topic. Well, the little Muslima from Eritrea eventually got off in Fulda and hopefully found her way back to her children. Hopefully these would not be too traumatized by this experience, which sounds very much like from the great wars back then and not from current Germany.

A Saxon couple sitting opposite me was very comfortable in their delightful dialect. I couldn’t help myself, but got caught up chatting with them. Anything to hear their beautiful melodious mouthing of words and ideas. Luther must have talked something like that back then. At least somewhat similar and probably just as witty and humerous too. I would have listened to him for hours on end, no question. Well, these two were on their way home after a 6 week tour to India. They were so impressed, that it was much cleaner than 10 years ago and things did look up and more organized now than then. At least from their perspective. They didn’t even burn widows alive anymore. At least not legally and only sometimes. Now that was positive developement if ever there was one. Especially from the widows viewpoint, I dare say. Still, there was still ways to go before things would be nearly as good as back home in Risa.  Tea was ok. Coffee was bad. Hotels had air conditioners and reasonable facilities. Still, they were happy to be back in good old Saxony. It was just too hot down in the subcontinent. And those many people on the trains, in the streets, literally everywhere. For me, just another opportunity to draw attention to Vishal Mangalwadi: “The Book that made your world”. And that’s where our discussion ended. Not that they were turned off by this reference. No, it was less prosaic than that. They had failed to reserve their seats. Now the ticket owners of those seats had arrived and were claiming them as their rightful theirs. So the Indian story was cut short. It remains incomplete, imperfect and far from a truthful reflection of that far off place. Just a brief impression shared by foreign tourists with own biases and prejudices. If they would have only stayed on in India for another lifetime or more (you know it takes reincarnation and quite a number of lifetimes to reach enlightenment – if ever!). Still, they might have eventually seen it differently, perhaps even the light or at least perceived things more compassionately and finally even reached nirvana. Who knows? To complete the act follow up with little shakes of head, this way and that, crooning softly, smiling, click clack and move on. I’m not at all convinced and remain highly skeptical. Mangalwadi has a point after all and more. Read him for yourself and see.

In Leipzig I had to leave the speed train (ICE), which was moving on to Dresden and board the S-Bahn to Wittenberg. That’s where I saw that Swaziland news. I was too late to snap it. I was glad to get to the next train in the subterranean basement in good time. Eventually I sat in a compartment for bicycles and other copious luggage. Clinging to my bags and grateful that I got a seat to myself, I watched others comfortably tie their cycles to the railings available and relax in the German summer. As soon as the train got moving, we saw the brilliant sunlight again. It was Friday afternoon and people were looking forward to the weekend. I saw a number of young mothers pushing prams, nursing babies, working through homework with little kids. Playing something like cards in preparation for school. Learning to count, to read, to combine things logically, to thinnk straight. It was a happy sight and it was good to see the joyful care provided. One little daughter was wearing a crown of flowers to match her brilliant white dress. Quite the princess. Her brother was content in the pram. Drinking from his bottle.  Their tatooed mother was obviously caring well for both. She was not loosing sight of the children, never mind leaving them alone in the woods, the train station or some other hidious place. Good for her, good for them. For there are just too many dangers out there.  I actually saw an extremely ugly couple on that train. Not old – 35 or so. Rotten teeth. Only stumps left. Perhaps they weren’t to be called teeth, but tusks. Skew and awkward in the mouth, brown and I’m sure with a distinct odour too. Not healthy. Not inviting. Both looked like some old wizardry couple, despite their fairly young age . They were not to be likened to some romanticized version from Kathy Rawlings, but rather akin to those German originals depicted by Brothers Grimm. Quite frightful to look at. Something like the “Hough” I knew to fear as a child in Enhlanhleni. That old depraved hunchback sneaking along those lonely tracks crossing barren bushland, shouting her fearsome “Hough” in some demented, forlorn, stubborn and yet strangely threatening way. She had her face painted blood red with floor polish and her hair was on fire too. Rather like some ghoulish tokolosche. Well, these Germans in the train didn’t shout or act too strangely even though they kept to themselves and just peered over to my side now and again furtively. But they did look hideous. They had been out shopping. Bought some harless garden lamps amongst other things popping out of their filled bags. Smiling sheepishly, they were obviously looking forward to the summer celebrations outside somewhere, perhaps in their very own garden patch with the obligatory “Pfefferkuchenhäuschen” and the attached furnace notorious from the days of “Hänsel & Gretel”. I’m just grateful, that they didn’t get to hear about those 2 little Eritreans lost at the Frankfurt station. Can you imagine, how my story would have ended then? But who knows, what was in the bottom of their plump bags even as they jostled around with their colorful lamps and things, preparing for some morbid party under the moon somewhere along the dark Elbe river. Meantime in Wittenberg the moon is rising. Tourists enjoy fireworks. Unaware of those lurking dangers beyond. The clock strikes another passing hour. It gets darker still.

High time to revive the office of the watchman going through town and keeping an benevolent eye on things. He, the one, who alerts us of the passing hours and the coming daylight too. Singing the old tunes and ways as the “Wiener Sängerknaben” impress on us so impressively and faithfully even though they here sing but a few of the views handed down traditionally:

  1. Hört, Ihr Herrn, und laßt euch sagen unsere Glock´ hat neun geschlagen! Waret das Feuer und das Licht Daß dem Haus kein Leid geschicht ! Menschen wachen kann nichts nützen Gott muß wachen, Gott muß schützen Herr, durch deine Güt´ und Macht schenk uns eine gute Nacht!
  2. Hört, ihr Herrn, und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat zehn geschlagen.
    Zehn Gebote setzt Gott ein;
    daß wir gehorsam sein!
  3. Menschenwachen kann nichts nützen;
    Gott muß wachen, Gott muß schützen.
    Herr, durch deine Güt und Macht
    gib uns eine gute Nacht!
  4. Hört, ihr Herrn, und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat elf geschlagen!
    Elf der Jünger bleiben treu,
    einer trieb Verräterei.
  5. Hört, ihr Herrn, und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat zwölf geschlagen!
    Zwölf, das ist das Ziel der Zeit.
    Mensch, bedenk die Ewigkeit!
  6. Hört, ihr Herrn und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat eins geschlagen!
    Ist nur ein Gott in der Welt,
    ihm sei alles anheimgestellt.
  7. Hört, ihr Herrn und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat zwei geschlagen!
    Zwei Weg hat der Mensch vor sich.
    Herr, den rechten lehre mich!
  8. Hört, ihr Herrn und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat drei geschlagen!
    Drei ist eins, was göttlich heißt:
    Vater, Sohn und Heiliger Geist.
  9. Hört, ihr Herrn und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat vier geschlagen!
    Vierfach ist das Ackerfeld.
    Mensch, wie ist dein Herz bestellt?
  10. Alle Sternlein müssen schwinden,
    und der Tag wird sich einfinden.
    Danket Gott, der uns die Nacht
    hat so väterlich bewacht!

 

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Jubilate: 3rd Sunday after Easter

 

Watchword from the 2nd epistle of the apostle St. Paul to the Corinthians in the 5th chapter:“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (Verse 17)

Introit from Psalm 66 Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

God’s Holy Word from the 1st book of Moses (Genesis) the first and second chapter: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. (1,1-4.26-31; 2,1-4a)

The Epistle from the first letter of the apostle and evangelist St. John the fifth chapter: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.  This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1-4)

The Holy Gospel according to the apostle and evangelist St. John the 15th chapter:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (1-8)

The sermon for this Sunday is based on the 2nd letter of the missionary & apostle St. Paul to the Corinthians the 4 chapter: Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (16-18)

The liturgical color is white.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday “Almighty God, who showest to them that be in error the light of Thy truth to the intent that they may returning to the way of righteousness, grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion that they may eshew those things that are contrary to their profession and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

Hymn for this Sunday: 

  1. Mit Freuden zart zu dieser Fahrt lasst uns zugleich fröhlich singen, beid, groß und klein, von Herzen rein mit hellem Ton frei erklingen. Das ewig Heil wird uns zuteil, denn Jesus Christ erstanden ist, welchs er lässt reichlich verkünden. 
  2.  Er ist der Erst, der stark und fest all unsre Feind hat bezwungen und durch den Tod als wahrer Gott zum neuen Leben gedrungen, auch seiner Schar verheißen klar durch sein rein Wort, zur Himmelspfort desgleichen Sieg zu erlangen. 
  3. Singt Lob und Dank mit freiem Klang unserm Herrn zu allen Zeiten und tut sein Ehr je mehr und mehr mit Wort und Tat weit ausbreiten: so wird er uns aus Lieb und Gunst nach unserm Tod, frei aller Not, zur ewgen Freude geleiten.

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and 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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Looking back as we go forward…

Always on time MonOE

Here’s an update on my past four months here in the States. Thank you for your gracious hospitality, friendly support and ongoing friendship all along. It’s a joy and priviledge to be on this journey together with you: https://spark.adobe.com/page/0oXufMeGuBdMR/

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Misericordias Domini (Good Shepherd Sunday): 3rd Sunday of Easter

 

 

Watchword from the gospel of St. John 10:11a; 10:27-28

Jesus Christ says: “I am the good shepherd…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”

Introit from Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

God’s Holy Word from the prophet Ezekiel the thirty-fourth chapter

The word of the LORD came to me:  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?  You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.  4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.  5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.  6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.  7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:  8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock,  9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:  10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.  11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.  12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.  13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.  14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.  15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.  16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice…31 You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.'” (1-16.31)

The Epistle from the 1 Letter of St. Peter the 2 chapter

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (21b-25)

The Holy Gospel according to St. John the 10 chapter

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–  15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father– and I lay down my life for the sheep.  16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd… 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  30 I and the Father are one.  (11-16.27-30)

The liturgical colour is white.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday

“Almighty God, by the death of Your Son You have destroyed sin and death, and by his resurrection You have restored innocence and everlasting life, in order that, delivered from the power of the devil, we may live in Your kingdom. Grant that we may believe this with our whole heart, and, steadfast in this faith, may praise and thank You evermore; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

Hymn for this Sunday

  1. The LORD’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.
    He makes me down to lie
    in pastures green; He leadeth me
    the quiet waters by.
  2. My soul He doth restore again;
    and me to walk doth make
    within the paths of righteousness,
    e’en for His own name’s sake.
  3. Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
    yet will I fear none ill;
    for Thou art with me, and Thy rod
    and staff me comfort still.
  4. My table Thou hast furnishèd
    in presence of my foes;
    my head Thou dost with oil anoint,
    and my cup overflows.
  5. Goodness and mercy all my life
    shall surely follow me;
    and in God’s house for evermore
    my dwelling place shall be.

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and 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)

Here is one of the three sermons I preached at Trinity Lutheran, Davenport (Iowa) this Good Shepherd Sunday for you to listen in: 

 

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Maundy Thursday: Institution of the New Testament (The Lord’s supper)

Here are today’s lessons: www.dropbox.com/s/spnd1lk5afl6yrc/Maudy Thursday 2017.docx

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Palm Sunday: 5th & last Sunday in Lent +

Watchword from the gospel of St. John: “The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (3:14b-15)

Introit Psalm 69

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.  I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.  Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.  For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.  This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.  For the Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners. Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein. For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

 God’s holy Word from the prophet Isaiah the fiftieth chapter: The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.  The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.  He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me! It is the Sovereign LORD who helps me. Who is he that will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up. (Verses 4-9. This is the sermon text for Palm Sunday this year)

The epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians the second chapter:  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (5-11)

The holy Gospel accourding to the evangelist St. John the twelfth chapter: The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!”  Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,  “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.  Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (12-19)

The liturgical colour is violet.

 A collect for this Sunday: O God, holy and eternal, you permit us to enter into the fellowship of that holy suffering by which your dear Son, our Saviour, conquered sin and death. Grant that we may celebrate the remembrance of his passion with true devotion, accept the cross as his disciples, and thus fulfill your holy will; through IX our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit – one God now and forever. (Dobberstein Pg. 83)

Hymn of the week A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676

  1. 1 A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
    The guilt of all men bearing;
    ‘Tis laden with the sin of earth,
    None else the burden sharing;
    It goes its way, grows weak and faint,
    To slaughter led without complaint,
    Its spotless life to offer;
    Bears shame, and stripes, and wounds, and death,
    Anguish and mockery, and saith,
    “Willing all this I suffer.”

    2 This Lamb is Christ, the soul’s great Friend
    And everlasting Savior;
    Him, Him God chose, sin’s reign to end
    And bring us to His favor.
    “Go forth, my Son!” He said, “and bail
    The children, who are doomed to hell
    But for Thine intercession.
    The punishment is great, and dread
    The wrath, but Thou Thy blood shalt shed,
    And save them from perdition.”

    3 “Yea, Father, year, most willingly
    I’ll bear what Thou commandest;
    My will conforms to Thy decree,
    I do what Thou demandest.”
    O wondrous Love! what hast Thou done!
    The Father offers up His Son,
    The Son content descendeth!
    O Love! O Love! how strong art Thou!
    In shroud and grave Thou lay’st Him low
    Whose word the mountains rendeth!

    4 Thou lay’st him, Love, upon the cross,
    With nails and spikes Him bruising;
    Thou slay’st Him as a lamb, His loss,
    From soul and body oozing;
    From body ’tis the crimson flood
    Of precious sacrificial blood,
    From soul, the strength of anguish:
    My gain it is; sweet Lamb to Thee
    What can I give, whose love to me
    For me doth make Thee languish?

    5 Lord, all my life I’ll cleave to Thee,
    Thy love fore’er beholding,
    Thee ever, as Thou ever me,
    With loving arms enfolding.
    Yea, Thou shalt be my Beacon-light,
    To guide me safe through death’s dark night,
    And cheer my heart in sorrow;
    Henceforth myself and all that’s mine
    to Thee, my Savior, I consign,
    From whom all things I borrow.

    6 By morn and eve my theme shall be
    Thy mercy’s wondrous measure;
    To sacrifice myself to Thee,
    My foremost aim and pleasure.
    My stream of life shall flow for Thee,
    Its steadfast current ceaselessly
    In praise to Thee outpouring;
    And all that Thou hast done for me,
    I’ll treasure in my memory,
    Thy gracious love adoring.

    7 Enlarge, shrine of my heart, and swell,
    To Thee shall now be given
    A treasure that doth far excel
    The worth of earth and heaven.
    Away with the Arabian gold,
    With treasures of an earthly mold!
    I’ve found a better jewel.
    My priceless treasure, Lord my God,
    Is Thy most holy, precious blood,
    Which flowed from wounds so cruel.

    8 This treasure ever I’ll employ,
    This ever aid shall yield me;
    In sorrow it shall be my joy,
    In conflict it shall shield me;
    In joy, the music of my feast,
    And when all else has lost its zest,
    This manna still shall feed me;
    In thirst my drink; in want my food;
    My company in solitude,
    To comfort and to lead me.

    9 Death’s poison cannot harm me now,
    Thy blood new life bestoweth;
    My Shadow from the heat art Thou,
    When noonday’s sunlight gloweth,
    When I’m by inward grief opprest,
    On Thee my weary soul shall rest,
    As sick man on his pillows.
    Thou art my Anchor, when be woe
    My bark is driven to and fro
    On trouble’s restless billows.

    10 And when Thy glory I shall see
    And taste Thy kingdom’s pleasure,
    Thy blood my royal robe shall be,
    And joy beyond at measure;
    It then shall be my glorious crown
    Thus I’ll appear before the throne
    Of God, and need not hide me;
    And shall, by Him to Thee betrothed,
    By Thee in bridal garments clothed,
    Stand as a bride beside Thee.

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully accourding 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.” (Romans 1:16f)

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Judica: 5th Sunday in Lent +

Watchword from the evangelist St.Matthew twentieth chapter

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [Verse 28]

Introit Psalm 43

Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

God’s holy Word from the 1st book of Moses (Genesis) 22nd chapter  

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.  2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”  3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.  4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”  6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,  7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.  9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.  12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”  13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. (Verses 1-13)

The epistle to the Hebrews the 5th chapter

 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. (7-9)

The holy Gospel according to the evangelist St. Mark the 10th chapter

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with,  but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (35-45)

The sermon text from the 4th book of Moses (Numbers) chapter 21

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Num 21:4-9 ESV)

The liturgical color is violet.

A collect for this Sunday

Lord God, heavenly Father, in your Son IX you have given the world a pioneer of salvation and made him the true and eternal priest and mediator of his people. Grant that we may hold fast to him in love, learn obedience in his discipleship, and so be brought into the heavenly sanctuary through him, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Dobberstein Pg. 84)

Hymn of the week

1  My song is love unknown,  

my Savior’s love to me;
love to the loveless shown,
that they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake,
my Lord should take frail flesh and die?

2 He came from His blest throne
salvation to bestow;
but man made strange, and none
the longed-for Christ would know.
But oh, my Friend, my Friend indeed,
who at my need His life did spend!

3 Sometimes they strew His way
and His sweet praises sing;
resounding all the way
hosannas to their King.
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
and for His death they thirst and cry.

4 Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight.
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
themselves displease,
and ‘gainst Him rise.

5 They rise, and needs will have
my dear Lord made away;
a murderer they save,
the Prince of Life they slay.
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
that He His foes from thence might free.

6 In life, no house, no home
my Lord on earth might have;
in death, no friendly tomb
but what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home,
but mine the tomb wherein He lay.

7 Here might I stay and sing,
no story so divine;
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

Samuel Crossman (1624-1683)

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and 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.” (Romans 1:16f)

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Laetare: 4th Sunday in Lent +

Watchword from the gospel of the evangelist St. John chapter 12

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” [Verse 24]

Introit Psalm 84

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.

Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

God’s holy Word from the prophet Isaiah the fifty-fourth chapter

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. (7-10)

The 2nd Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians the first chapter

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. (3-7)

The holy Gospel according to the evangelist St. John the twelfth chapter

And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (20-26)

The sermon on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians the 1st chapter

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:  The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (15-21)

Here the gospel in the three year series was John 3:15-25. I used that as the base for my sermon, which you can read here  and listen in here: 

The liturgical colour is violet.

A collect for this Sunday: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Hymn of the week

  1. Jesus, priceless Treasure,
    Fount of purest pleasure,
    Truest Friend to me.
    Ah, how long in anguish
    Shall my spirit languish,
    Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
    Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
    I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
    Naught I ask beside Thee.
  2. In Thine arms I rest me;
    Foes who would molest me
    Cannot reach me here.
    Though the earth be shaking,
    Every heart be quaking,
    Jesus calms my fear.
    Lightnings flash And thunders crash;
    Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
    Jesus will not fail me.
  3. Satan, I defy thee;
    Death, I now decry thee;
    Fear, I bid thee cease.
    World, thou shalt not harm me
    Nor thy threats alarm me
    While I sing of peace.
    God’s great power Guards every hour;
    Earth and all its depths adore Him,
    Silent bow before Him.
  4. Hence, all earthly treasure!
    Jesus is my Pleasure,
    Jesus is my Choice.
    Hence, all empty glory!
    Naught to me thy story
    Told with tempting voice.
    Pain or loss, Or shame or cross,
    Shall not from my Savior move me
    Since He deigns to love me.
  5. Evil world, I leave thee;
    Thou canst not deceive me,
    Thine appeal is vain.
    Sin that once did blind me,
    Get thee far behind me,
    Come not forth again.
    Past thy hour, O pride and power;
    Sinful life, thy bonds I sever,
    Leave thee now forever.
  6. Hence, all fear and sadness!
    For the Lord of gladness,
    Jesus, enters in.
    Those who love the Father,
    Though the storms may gather,
    Still have peace within.
    Yea, whate’er I here must bear,
    Thou art still my purest Pleasure,
    Jesus, priceless Treasure!

Lutheran Hymnal Text: Matt. 13: 46 titled: “Jesu, meine Freude” by Johann Krüger, 1649

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and 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.” (Romans 1:16f)

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Oculi: 3rd Sunday in Lent +

Watchword from the gospel of the evangelist St.Luke chapter 9

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” [Verse 62]

Introit Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.  Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LordWhat man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good. Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.  The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

God’s holy Word from the first book of Kings the nineteenth chapter

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.“ Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?“ He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.“ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Verses 1-8 (9-13)

The epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians the fifth chapter

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person– such a man is an idolater– has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.  Therefore do not be partners with them.  For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  (1-8a)

 The holy Gospel accourding to the evangelist St. Luke the ninth chapter

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.“ Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. (57-62)

The sermon is on 1st Peter the first chapter

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (13-17) 18-21

The liturgical colour is violet.

A collect for this Sunday Oculi

Heavenly Father, you sent your Son to us and laid on him the burden of the cross that we might see and know the glory of your holy love. Grant that our faith in him may not be shaken by adversity or daunted by the threat of it, but that we may ever follow steadfastly the way that leads to perfect fellowship with him, and so with you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. (Dobberstein Pg. 83)

Hymn of the week

1. May God bestow on us His grace,
With blessings rich provide us,
And may the brightness of His face
To life eternal guide us
That we His saving health may know,
His gracious will and pleasure,
And also to the heathen show
Christ’s riches without measure
And unto God convert them.

2. Thine over all shall be the praise
And thanks of every nation,
And all the world with joy shall raise
The voice of exultation;
For Thou shalt judge the earth, O Lord,
Nor suffer sin to flourish;
Thy people’s pasture is Thy Word
Their souls to feed and nourish,
In righteous paths to keep them.

3. Oh, let the people praise Thy worth,
In all good works increasing;
The land shall plenteous fruit bring forth,
Thy Word is rich in blessing.
May God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit bless us!
Let all theworld praise Him alone,
Let solemn awe possess us.

Hymn 500  The Lutheran Hymnal Text: Ps. 67. Author: Martin Luther, 1524 Translated by: Richard Massie, 1851, alt. Titled: “Es wolle Gott uns gnädig sein

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully accourding 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.” (Romans 1:16f)

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