If somebody would come around, who has some water or mixture, that could rinse and cleanse the deepest creaks and most serious cracks in our conscience, who could wipe out the hurting memories of sins from your mind and heart – would he not be most welcome? Not to me! That’s not really a cleansing of my conscience if I forget my sins, even if the sins remain and their detrimental consequences – which do their damage eternally if not dealt with in this time and world. Then they will surface if I am made to stand up before God’s judgment throne. There they will then raise its serpent head and show its poisonous fangs and lethal bite to complete its fatal attraction with eternal destruction and condemnation. However if somebody could work it out, that I don’t have to forget my sins, that I can actually consider them in truth and bright light and still not be afraid of this, no need for intimidation either, because the venomous sting is harmless, the toxic mix neutralized, absorbed, made ineffective – that if I could remember my sin and still be allowed, yes even be encouraged to hope in the grace and restoring peace of my God – then I would truly start praising and rejoicing this one. I would cling to him and not let him go, because he would have the ticket to life. I swear there is only one, who can do this and who has already done this. He – worthy of all our praise and worship alone!
Please – dear reader excuse me when I pretended not to know, whom I should worship and praise. Yet I ask you, do you know him too, who is the one, Israel longed for for centuries and prayed for in their regular morning and evening prayers, the one who was the goal of all sacrifices in the world, which pointed towards him, who would come and bring that all availing and efficient and sufficient sacrifice. The true priest, who was the goal and ideal of all priests who ever sacrificed and yet remained but poor resemblances of this one who is Jesus Christ. Do you know this Jesus Christ, who offered himself to God the Father as unblemished sacrifice to cleanse your conscience from all dead works? What does your heart say, when you hear his name and if you remember his vicarious suffering and death? Is there peace in your hearts as he prays for you in the highest heavens and is your advocate before the Father on your part? May there be peace and quiet in your blessed heart as you consider all he is and what he did for you and your salvation!
O Lord Jesus Christ! Deep peace is mine as I consider the thorough cleansing you gave me in holy Baptism already. You gave yourself as a living sacrifice into death for us and our salvation. You shed your most precious blood for me and for the forgiveness of all my sin. Therefore I worship and praise you my Lord and God. I am looking forward to seeing you from face to face in your holy temple up on high in all your glory. You are my purity and sanctity, my only glory and imperishable splendor – my Jesus Christ + (Wilhelm Löhe)
Oh – I am but a sinner here on earth – opposed to God and lost in my own ways. Jesus died for me – to save and make me live! Should he have saved his enemy by his most precious blood? Yes, that’s what he did. That’s his honour and glory. That’s my story!
Soul and life, body and all his members he offered sacrificially for me and all human kind. Should I not also give you all I have and am? I am yours alone. I dedicate myself to you now and always + Lord, help me and have mercy on me! (Gerhard Tersteegen, 1697-1769)
This is a translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Wednesday after Judica (5th Sunday in Lent). The hymn is translated more literally than poetically. Both are found on Pg. 148 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.