O if I but had a trombone or trumpet to penetrate the spiritually deaf ears and awake them to join us in our prayers and pleas to the living God during this Lenten tide! Whoever does not learn to understand and trust the suffering of Jesus in this life, was born in vain – is but a sorry miscarriage and deserves all tears and mourning of his/her unhappy mother. Whoever does not learn to understand the suffering of Jesus while living, lives, learns, struggles, dies all for nothing and in vain. For it is the very purpose of life and the reward of life too to get to know to love and trust the suffering, dying, resurrected and living Christ + In suffering Jesus reveals his saving wisdom, blessed redemption and sweet life even in the bitter hours of death and dying. Life, eternal, blessed and joyful life is the fruit of Jesus suffering, sacrifice and death.
Or is this putting it a wee bit too thick? Do I say too much? Are we preachers like screaming hawkers promising all and keeping nothing? Why do you not pray to the living God for true enlightenment and that he reveal to you, whether its just empty talk or witness of the blessed truth after all?
Blessed are those who pray, o Lord, to you and who proceed from being heard once to being heard more and more and thus progress to more and more faithful clarity until they finally reach that bright and joyful day waiting way ahead, thus coming closer and closer to you as they move along through their lives until they are with you for ever. First it’s the cross illuminated by the light, then the light in the cross, the world in the light of the cross, in heaven’s light the cross and then seeing the heavens in the cross’s light. You Son of David – hear my prayer, have mercy upon me and all those others suffering from hard-hearing and spiritual blindness. Let us hear clearly and let us see more and more. Your cross is before us in the middle of the dark night at noon on Good Friday: Let us see it in the light of the evening, when the son is setting, in the light of fulfillment and the promise: “It is done, complete, finished!” Grant that the blocking scales fall from our eyes, that we simply see und faithfully trust too – you and your glorious splendor in your patient suffering and in this perception are saved by holding on to your revealed promises. Let us enter our temporal dwellings with joyful witness to our children at home, that they too hear of your glory and kingship – and then let us finally enter the eternal dwellings to see you as you are, o Lord Jesus Christ and praise, glorify and worship you without end being at home at last. Amen (Wilhelm Löhe)
Would you be a trumpet of God’s grace? Then trust him primarily and praise those holy wounds that have saved and forgiven you.
Together with the holy Church militant we gather under the cross and give confident witness to the one and only all sufficient sacrifice for all the sins of the world by the one hanging up there on the cross of Golgotha. Our Lord Jesus Christ did that for you and the rest of the world +
(Nikolaus Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf, 1700-1760. The translation is somewhat liberal, not quite literal and not poetical either)
Translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Saturday after the Sunday Estomihi (Last Sunday before Lent) as found on Pg. 116 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.