Our passion, our patience, our abstinence in living as Christians must be strengthened by enjoying and being invigorated by the holy Sacraments. As gracious source of divine life they supply the strength that enable us to follow the Christian way of life with all its struggles and challenges. If we apply them rightly, we will avoid the fate of those Israelites in the desert, then we will not run into a void, we will not just be striking the air, but will rather attain the reward and crown of life, with patience and good works we will reach eternal life.
Blessed are we if we practice this good fight faithfully! The goal is the eternal crown of life, not some temporary goal or passing fancy. Blessed are we if we hear and trust the written promise: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Lord God, heavenly Father, stand by us with Thy grace, so that we will fight valiantly against all temptations and thus retain the victory. If we stumble, support us; if we sink, lend us your strong arm; if we fall, pick us up. Revive us with the comfort of forgiveness and in all struggles assure us of your fatherly love. Empower the new creation in us. As we struggle and strive here on earth, endow and fill us with your grace and there in eternal salvation with your joy and bliss. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and savior. Amen.
Be faithful unto death, stand steadfast in the fight! If you suffer in difficult tasks and callings, remember victory is yours. Oh, the sufferings of this time and life are not worthy of the glory that is to be revealed to us. Jesus has prepared them for you in that life of joy out yonder.
Be faithful in your faith and trust! Never allow this firm foundation to be robbed from your heart. Hold on to the covenant that God has set up with you in Baptism. Never forget or even deny that! It’s the source and font of the new life in Christ, which lasts forever and ever. (Benjamin Praetorius, 1636-1674. The translation is rather literal and neither poetic nor hymnal)
(Translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the Sunday Septuagesiame as found on Pg. 100 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and puplished in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.)