LÖHE ON EPHESIANS 5:1-2

jesus-fallsBe 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.  (Eph 5:1-2 NIV)

Here we are put under the impression, that we are called more to imitate and follow Jesus Christ than the Father; but God the Father appears to us in the Son Jesus Christ and only in the Son Jesus Christ do we recognize, that it means to imitate and follow the Father. It is the love towards those, whom the Father loves and also the Son. The Father and the Son do not express their love in the same way as we do. The Father receives sacrifice, but does offer sacrifice himself and yet he loves the human kind. The Son offers himself as pleasing and fragrant sacrifice to the Father. In this sacrificial offering he shows his love towards those, whom the Father loves. We however can not love like the Father loves, before whom all things are and from whom they all receive their being, nor can we love like the love, through whom all things are and continue to have their existence. Yet we ought to love like both and even if we can not be gift and offering for our brethren, we should be actively engaged for others even to the point of willingly suffering vicariously and in love for others fearing neither cross nor death.

Almighty, eternal God! We thank and praise you, that for Christ’s sake you have adopted us your children. We plead you, rule and guide us through your Holy Spirit, so that we would love you and our neighbor as your son loved us and gave himself as a living sacrifice and sweet fragrance for us and our salvation… We commit ourselves into your grace and ask you to wake us again in the morrow that we would rise afresh and healthy to praise and thank you. We ask this in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.

The inner Christian life is radiant even if their exterior is suffering and passing away. The eternal heavenly gifts that the king of the heavens has in store for them are yet unknown. What nobody has felt or experienced yet, is already enlightened them and is guiding them heavenward.

Externally they often appear poor and humble, a theatre for the angels really, and despised by the world, yet inwardly they are filled with glorious things, dressed with jewels and crowns that please Jesus. They are timeless miracles prepared for their king, who dwells amongst lilies, roses and orchids – to serve him willingly and therefore fitted in holy garments and finery.

Inwardly they are of divine ancestry, having their origin in God and through his most powerful word; his holy fires  are aflame in them, enlightened from above, sustained and nourished from there. The angels are their siblings, that join in their singing and praise with blissful and most exuberant songs and hymns. That sounds majestic and wonderfully in honour of their God and Lord + (Christian Friedrich Richter, 1676-1711)

This is a translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after Sunday Oculi (3rd Sunday in Lent). The hymn was translated rather literally, but not poetically. Both are found on Pg. 132 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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