1st Sunday in Advent

Watchword: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zech.9,9)

The Introit from Psalm 24: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Old Testament lesson from Jeremiah 23,5-8: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

The Epistle Romans 13,8-12: Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

The holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 21,1-9. And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

The Sermon on Revelations 5,1-5 (6-14): And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

The liturgical colour is violet.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday: Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (LSB Pastoral Companion Pg. 538). Amen.

Hymn for the week:     Nun kommt der Heiden Heiland…                                                                                                                                                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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Kwaheri, my geliefde

Kwaheri-my-geliefde-Prinsloo-Lucia

Somewhere – it might have been the “Rapport” or “Beeld” this biography[1] of Dutch Reformed (“Hervormd” – NHK)[2] missionaries, pastors and their families was reviewed and I ordered a copy. It’s been in my shelf for quite a while, until I put it on my reading pile next to my bed. Last night was the night to get going and thankfully so. I didn’t put it down until I had scanned through it for the first time. It’s a short (221 pages) diary-style biography of several generations with pictures and lots of breathing spaces after chapters… Not as if you’d need those. Lucia Prinsloo – herself a daughter of missionaries, who worked amongst Afrikaners under the “Blue mountain” (Meru) up in Tanzania has got a fluent style, doesn’t get carried away, but still has the gift to describe the turmoil, dark valleys and psychological trauma missionaries and pastors (and their families!) go through as they try to follow their calling in this world and amongst God’s people.

These people got around S.Africa quite a bit. Starting off up there in Tanzania interesting insights for a descendant of Hermannsburg missionaries, who tried in vain to get into Dar es Salaam in the mid-19th century, these Dutch reformed farmers were called there by German colonial authorities and lived in areas missionized by the Leipzig Mission society. It’s rather fascinating for me, because LP doesn’t write about Africans – as in black – very much. Her forebears were to serve the afrikaans farmer community up there. The same goes for their service in the Republic later – whether it’s up in the bushveld (Letaba) with fascinanting hunting stories. She (or is it her mother?) shoots an elephant bull backed up by her husband and son. That’s decades ago from an age long gone. Now, the same family is into game conservation and the nurturing of their precious heritage, wherever they go.

Anyway, it’s more about the Afrikaners and less about Africans.  There’s not much about politics either. Only some indications here and there, but nothing serious. The same goes for the theology parts. It’s not much about what was preached, taught and confessed. Rather more about the sociological side of things as pastors try to balance their work-pastime activities and the congregations don’t like the “tent-maker” ministry of their “dominee” much, because they feel cheated and short-changed by his dentistry – or the farming activity of those following.

It’s enlightening to read about the wives, who shelve their chosen profession in support of their husband’s ministry, to raise children and take care of the family and house, but as things get tough, they are called to step back into the professional world to make things work out – here in Pretoria or in Britain, because they need to make ends meet.

This story is about passionate people and several generations, who love Africa. Who have a deep sense of calling and also a great sense of responsibility, wherever they live. But it’s also about people, who are rather restless, wandering from one place to the next, one congregation to another, one occupation to seek still another one. They bid farewell regularly, too often for my liking actually. I never did like leaving home since going to boarding school in my young years. These people however don’t stress about things, you can’t change. They are guided by God’s calling and make their temporary homes, wherever they come and as good as they can. Quickly, without much fuss about amenities, hard working and with close and unbreakable family ties, which are much stronger than any other bonds that come to my mind. They are carried all along and motivated continuously by the strong faith and hope, that God will make things work out. That’s what “Kwaheri” means in Swahili: “May it go well with you!”

LP’s got a knack to show, how the same spirit that drove her forebears is still in her children and grandchildren. Times and things have changed, but the Afrikaner are still freedom loving, passionate and god-fearing people, who take up the challenges of this millennium with similar trust and confidence as their ancestors – be it as a soldier in the British army in Afghanistan, an English as 2nd language teacher in England or as a game farmer in the bushveld or as dentist in Jeffries Baai. Theirs is a vision going much further than just the narrow confines of a traditional village. It’s more like those wandering archfathers of old or the people of Israel going through the desert lands to the promised place up front somewhere.

Hiking up the Drakensberg, along the coastlines or through challenging terrain of deserts and woodlands plays a big role in these people’s lives. They walk, climb and struggle up and down crevices, steep cliffs and severely challenging terrain pushing themselves further and further as they learn to cope with life and understanding their destiny. I’m looking forward to reading more by LP. She has touched my heart and soul. She and her husband are moving to the E.Cape, where he’ll continue his calling and she hers – writing more stories about Africa and it’s wonderful people – always with the intrinsic goodwill and peace loving attitude towards others that has determined their life: “Kwaheri.” Lovely people, moving story and I hope it will go well with them as family, tribe and nation – and that we’ll hear more of them in coming times! It’s much like the familiar greetings from around the world: Adieu, Tschüss, Vaarwel, Hamba gahle and God’s speed!

To close off, let me quote her farewell at her father’s funeral, where she put a big bunch of those beautiful and meaningful Strelitzias onto his coffin: “Totsiens, Pa. Dit was ‘n goeie reis. Rus nou in die aarde wat jy so lief gehad het. Ons wat hier agterbly, sal jou nooit vergeet nie, Pa. Ons het gesien hoe jy stry en nooit moed verloor nie. Ons het gesien hoe jy en Ma saamgestaan het en moed gehou het. Ons het gesien hoe julle geglo en gebid het. Ons sal die reis voortsit. Kwaheri, Pa![3]

[1] Lucia Prinsloo, 2001: “Kwaheri my geliefde”. Corals Copious Publishers, Wanderbijlpark.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Reformed_Church_in_South_Africa_(NHK)

[3] Roughly translated this means: “Bye Dad. It was a good journey. Rest now in the earth, that you loved so much. We, who remain, will never forget you, Dad! We saw your struggles, but also that you didn’t lose hope. We saw you standing together with Mom and how you kept the faith. We say, the way you trusted and prayed. We will continue the journey. Kwaheri, Dad!”

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Last Sunday in the Church Year

Watchword: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.” (Lk.12:35)

The Introit from Psalm 126:  When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. 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.

Old Testament lesson from Isaiah 65,17-19 (20-22) 23-25: For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.

The Epistle lesson Revelation 21,1-7: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

The holy Gospel according to St. Matthew in the 25,1-13. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

The Sermon on St. Luke 12,42-48: And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday: Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, to lead home His bride, the Church, that with all the company of the redeemed we maz finally enter into His eternal wedding feast; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (LSB Pastoral Companion Pg. 601). Amen.

Hymn for the week:

1 “Wake, awake, for night is flying,”
the watchmen on the heights are crying;
“Awake, Jerusalem, arise!”
Midnight hears the welcome voices
and at the thrilling cry rejoices:
“Where are the virgins pure and wise?
The Bridegroom comes: Awake!
Your lamps with gladness take!
Alleluia!
With bridal care and faith’s bold prayer,
to meet the Bridegroom, come, prepare!”

2 Zion hears the watchmen singing,
and in her heart new joy is springing.
She wakes, she rises from her gloom.
For her Lord comes down all-glorious
and strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her star is risen, her light is come!
Now come, O Blessed One,
Lord Jesus, God’s own Son.
Sing hosanna!
We answer all in joy your call;
we follow to the wedding hall.

3 Lamb of God, the heavens adore you,
the saints and angels sing before you
with harp and cymbals’ clearest tone.
Of one pearl each shining portal,
where, joining with the choir immortal,
we gather round your radiant throne.
No eye has seen that light,
no ear the echoed might
of your glory;
yet there shall we in victory
sing shouts of joy eternally!

For more details about this hymn click here.

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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Applying for a licence… (2003)

In 2003 I applied for a licence to own a shotgun. Part of the application was a biography of the applicant to describe his proficiency with the shotgun, hunting ethics and the like. This is was I wrote then: 2003 Application for licence 0307

 

 

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2nd Last Sunday in the Church Year

Watchword: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” (2.Cor.5:10)

The Introit from Psalm 50: Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. (Verses 2-6) 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.

Old Testament lesson from Jeremiah 8,4-7: Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord.

The Epistle lesson St. Paul to the Romans in the eighth chapter: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Verses 18-23)

The holy Gospel according to St. Matthew in the 25th chapter. Our Lord Jesus Christ said: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Verses 31-46)

The Sermon text from St. Luke the 16th chapter: And our Lord Jesus Christ said also unto his disciples, “There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations”. (Verses 1-9)

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday: Lord Jesus Christ, before whose judgement seat we must all appear and give account of the things done in the body: grant that, when the books are opened on that day, the faces of your servants may not be ashamed; through your merits, O blessed Saviour, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect from Dobberstein Pg.124). Amen.

Hymn for the week:

1 The day is surely drawing near
When Jesus, God’s anointed,
In all His power shall appear
As judge whom God appointed.
Then fright shall banish idle mirth,
And flames on flames shall ravage earth
As Scripture long has warned us.

2 The final trumpet then shall sound
And all the earth be shaken.
And all who rest beneath the ground
Shall from their sleep awaken.
But all who live will in that hour,
By God’s almighty, boundless pow’r
Be changed at His commanding.

3 The books are opened then to all,
A record truly telling
What each has done, both great and small,
When he on earth was dwelling,
And ev’ry heart be clearly seen,
And all be known as they have been
In thoughts and words and actions.

4 Then woe to those who scorned the Lord
And sought but carnal pleasures,
Who here despised His precious Word
And loved their earthly treasures!
With shame and trembling they will stand
And at the judge’s stern command
To Satan be delivered.

5 My Savior paid the debt I owe
And for my sin was smitten;
Within the Book of Life I know
My name has now been written.
I will not doubt, for I am free
And Satan cannot threaten me;
There is no condemnation!

6 May Christ our intercessor be
And through His blood and merit
Read from His book that we are free
With all who life inherit.
Then we shall see Him face to face,
With all His saints in that blest place
Which He has purchased for us.

7 O Jesus Christ, do not delay,
But hasten our salvation;
We often tremble on our way
In fear and tribulation.
O hear and grant our fervent plea;
Come, mighty judge, and make us free
From death and ev’ry evil.

Details on this hymn for this Sunday. 

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Last Sundays in the Church Year, Lectionary etc, Lutheran Order of service, Sunday, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rogue Lawyer (John Grisham)

Rogue Lawyer

I’ve confessed before, that I like reading John Grisham. Travelling for a few hours on Kenya Air and without a workable loudspeaker (I wanted to watch the film “Bucketlist” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman ), I somewhat grudgingly scanned through my Kindle for some unread novel and found: Rogue Lawyer and I wasn’t disappointed. I got about half-way before touchdown at O.R. Tambo and finished the rest at home and before midnight.

This is one of the best books I read by him up to date. Perhaps it was because Angelika is at a German symposium and Friederike is hiking in the Kahlamba range, RSG doesn’t broadcast the Springbok Internations anymore (The Springboks lost 3-38 against the minuscule Ireland. This borders on the catastrophic. It’s a paradigm change. The Springsboks are no longer, what they were. Islands like Ireland and Japan beat us – let alone New Zealand and other giants like Australia!) and I couldn’t get into the “Bundesliga” on ARD either.

Well, so I just continued reading the rogue lawyer. And it really turned me on. I must say, I was surprised, about how many jokes, insights and “Aha!”-occasions turned up. I didn’t just remind me of our South African dilemma of state capture, but also of the crazy direction of our institution and it’s way-out members. Grisham’s description of the rogue police department and heavy handedness of some political institutions in the US made me sigh once again: “And I thought, they only do that here…”

Grisham is master of personality depictions and I really like the way his stories unfold and come to a conclusion. I’m sure it’s not just because he’s Baptist, but perhaps also about my age, white, English and belonging to the Western hemisphere and background. Many of his characters are judged and boxed in a way, where I’d probably also classify them. Something for the Deconstructionists to chew on.

For instance, he counteracts the politically correct tendency to glorify homosexuals and from the outset put down straight white men, who are law-abiding and try to be good fathers and husbands and go about their daily work more or less conscientiously even if they like cage fighting, play Back-Gammon and pool, are attracted to pretty women, but stick to their wives (or not!), take care of their old mothers and struggling children, drink beer or stronger stuff, smoke this and that, struggle with their diet, have sleepless nights etc. The lesbian couple doesn’t get all the credit either, but neither does the creepy crawly of a sycophant, who somehow gets away with murder and worse.

He shows the struggles people are generally up against – and depicts them as likeable and normal people – even if they have their fights and the really bad guys aren’t so straightforwardly bad either like that drug dealer, who takes care of his mother most caringly, but goes about murdering others without even a twinge of guilty feelings.

There’s lots to learn about human personality and their complicated natures in the hinterland of the US. There are hardly any “just bad guys” and the good ones are not as uniform and straightforward as you might imagine. They are personalities with different streaks and surprising idiosyncrasies. He goes a long way to question the political ideologies, prejudices and setups in the USA. He questions the democratic values, violent computer games, popular dealings with minorities and accepted values and much more.

He takes you into maximum security prisons, let’s you sleep over in holding cells on just a dirty chair, because the other two beds are occupied; takes you into the waiting room on death-row and lets you get the feel of ostracised lawyers, who defend the opposition. This for me, was the most revealing. Reminded me a bit of “To kill a Mockingbird” and also “Bridge of Spies”. He lets you read about  the experiences of a father, who can see his eight-year-old child for only 36 hours every month, but tries hard to make this short period into something like quality time. So, it’s never boring and keeps your eyes glued to the unfolding cases.

I recommend this book and would think, that it could be a good basis for ongoing discussions in any book club or reader’s circle.

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3rd Last Sunday in the Church Year

Watchword: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2.Cor.6,2)

The Introit from Psalm 90:

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. (Verses 2f.12f)

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.

Old Testament lesson from Job 14: 1-6:

Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

And doth thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?

Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.

The Epistle lesson from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans in the 14th chapter:

“For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” (Verses 7ff)

The Holy Gospel according to St.Luke in the 17th chapter:

“And when Jesus was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.

For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Verses 20ff)

The Sermon text from the Holy Gospel accourding to St. Luke the 11th chapter:

And Jesus was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. (Verses 14-23)

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday: O God, so rule and govern our heargts and mins by Thy Holy Spirit that, being ever mindful of the end of all things and the day of Thy just Judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with Thee forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Hymn for the week:

1 Rejoice, rejoice, believers,
and let your lights appear;
the evening is advancing,
And darker night is near.
The Bridegroom is arising
and soon is drawing nigh.
Up, pray and watch and wrestle;
at midnight comes the cry.

2 The watchers on the mountain
proclaim the Bridegroom near;
go forth as he approaches,
with alleluias clear.
The marriage feast is waiting;
The gates wide open stand.
Arise, O heirs of glory;
The Bridegroom is at hand.

3 The saints, who here in patience
their cross and sufferings bore,
shall live and reign forever
when sorrow is no more.
Around the throne of glory
The Lamb they shall behold;
in triumph cast before him
their diadems of gold.

4 Our hope and expectation,
O Jesus, now appear;
arise, O Sun so longed for,
o’er this benighted sphere.
With hearts and hands uplifted
we plead, O Lord, to see
the day of earth’s redemption
that sets your people free!

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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20th Sunday after Trinity

Watchword for the 20th Sunday after Trinity: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8).

The Introit is from Psalm 19: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Verses 7-11) 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.

Lesson from the Old Testament from the 1st book of Moses (Genesis) the 8th chapter: “And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Verses 18-22) This is also the Sermon text.

The epistle lesson from the first letter of the apostle St. Paul to the Thessalonians in the 4th chapter: “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.  He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.” (Verses 1-8)

The holy gospel according to the evangelist St. Mark in the 10th chapter: “And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you. And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.  And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.  And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” (Verses 2-12)

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for the 20th Sunday after Trinity: O Lord, keep Your household, the Church, in continual godliness that through Your protection she may be free from all adversities and devoutly given to serve You in good works; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Hymn for the week: “The Law of God Is Good and Wise” by Matthias Loy, 1828-1915

1. The Law of God is good and wise
And sets His will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
And dooms to death when we transgress.

2. Its light of holiness imparts
The knowledge of our sinful hearts
That we may see our lost estate
And seek deliverance ere too late.

3. To those who help in Christ have found
And would in works of love abound
It shows what deeds are His delight
And should be done as good and right.

4. When men the offered help disdain
And wilfully in sin remain,
Its terror in their ear resounds
And keeps their wickedness in bounds.

5. The Law is good; but since the Fall
Its holiness condemns us all;
It dooms us for our sin to die
And has no power to justify.

6. To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at His throne,
Saved by His grace through faith alone.

Hymn #295  The Lutheran Hymnal Text: Ps. 19: 8
Author: Matthias Loy, 1863 Tune: “Erhalt uns, Herr bei Deinem Wort”
1st Published in: Geistliche Lieder Town: Wittenberg, 1543

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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Matins in the morning: Lk.19,1-10

Here is my sermon this morning on our Lord IX visiting Zaccheus based on St.Luke’s gospel chapter 19,1-10: 

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19th Sunday after Trinity

 

Watchword for the 19th Sunday after Trinity: Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved (Jer 17:14).

The Introit is from Psalm 32:  Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. (Verses 1-2.5.7) 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.

Lesson from the Old Testament from the 2nd book of Moses (Exodus) the 34th chapter: “And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.” (Verses 4-10)

The epistle lesson from the letter of the apostle St. Paul to the Ephesians in the 4th chapter: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Verses 22-32)

The holy gospel according to the evangelist St. Mark in the 2nd chapter: “And again Jesus entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,  Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?  And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.  And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. (Verses 1-12)

The Sermon for this Sunday is based on the gospel of St. Mark, the 1st chapter: “And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Jesus all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.  And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. (Verses 32-39)

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for the 19th Sunday after Trinity: Almighty and merciful God, of Your bountiful goodness keep from us all things that may hurt us that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish whatever You would have us do; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn for the week:

1 Now let us come before him,
With song and prayer adore him,
Who to our life has given
All needed strength from heaven.

2 The stream of years is flowing,
And we are onward going,
From old to new surviving
And by his mercy thriving.

3 Our God his own is shielding
And help to them is yielding.
Our work will prosper never
Unless he bless it ever.

4 To all who bow before you
And for your grace implore you,
Grant, Lord, your benediction
And patience in affliction.

5 Be with the sick and ailing,
Their Comforter unfailing;
Dispel their grief and sadness,
And give them joy and gladness!

6 Above all else, Lord, send us
Your Spirit to attend us,
Within our hearts abiding,
To heav’n our footsteps guiding.

Paul Gerhard (1607-1676 ) translated by John Kelly

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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