You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that! What anyone else dares to boast about–I am speaking as a fool–I also dare to boast about. (2Co 11:19-21 NIV)
Today’s gospel on the fourfold soil is very serious. The apostolic epistle is worthy to stand right next to this word of our Lord Jesus Christ. It shows the holy apostle St. Paul, this diligent sower of the Lord, as he goes about his wide flung mission field sowing good seed all along. Truly he goes about this with tearful sorrow and trouble. His is not an easy task. Severely challenged by the ungratefulness of the Corinthians and by most impudent lies and false allegations from false apostles. Yet St. Paul opens his mouth even as he is tempted to keep it shut. He even gives us a summary of his apostolic story as conclusively as nobody else would have been able to instead. That is how we hear his inside story, things that are not recorded in the Acts of the Apostles nor in any other letters. It appears as a true reflection of today’s gospel. Telling us about the troublesome labour of this valiant sower, who goes about in autumn and sows seed in the hope of coming spring trusting in God’s faithfulness even as the people amongst whom he is working and sowing, give so little reason for being hopeful in this time or the coming season.
Merciful and eternally gracious Father! We thank you for the faithful witnesses of your word through whom you have talked to us. You have made us heirs of the rich heritage of our fathers and you have entrusted us with the great treasure of your truth. We thank you for this from the bottom of our heart. Grant us the ongoing liberty in which we are now living and which enables us to confess it fearlessly. Awake many more faithful witnesses of your truth, whose walk and talk reflect your authority and grant them free access to people and nations. Please prevent us, who enjoy your word and sacraments in fullness, to be bored and wearied by these precious gifts of yours. Let us continue to follow those, who have followed your son in this life faithfully. Amen. (P. Wurster)
Grant your shepherds strength and a rich measure of your Holy Spirit to live in pure doctrine and holy lives. Your word is the divine pasture, which feeds your congregation well. Let all hearers be doers and keep us from hypocrisy, but let us live in the strength and patience of faith in your promises and everlasting presence. (Heinrich Cornelius Hecker, 1699-1743. The translation is rather literal and neither poetic nor hymnal)
(Translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the Sunday Sexagesimae (2nd Sunday before Lent) as found on Pg. 103 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.)