There is nothing moralistic, legalistic, judgmental or even judicial in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also quite by chance if it serves to condemnation. The fault is never and in no way that of the gospel or it’s author, but rather only people are to be blamed for this. It’s not a matter of lacking grace or mercy from God’s side, because the triune God has done everything to even save the godless and bring them to eternal life.
Each individual story is either the persons coming to the Lord or his/her separation from him, who is the source of all life and grace. That too is the sole meaning, measure and criterion of every period in life, of every day and hour – namely to be moved closer to God or to remove oneself further from him. That holds true for the great big time frames in world history and especially the various eras in Church history too. Since the coming of Pentecost this is all the more visible and has become much more urgent as we are moving powerfully and without fail towards the revelation of God’s final judgment in that ultimate hour: The world is gathered towards that goal and the Church is gathered around its Lord and savior, whereas those outside the Church are then separated from him for ever.
Lord our God! Let us strive for salvation with fear and trembling, so that we are not separated from you, but rather are gathered into your blessed and holy presence. Let our soul bow before you every hour – you our Lord and good shepherd, so that you can lead us into the peaceful fellowship of your saints and believers. Let us continually draw closer and nearer to you O God together with all those that love you and are enjoying your blessed communion. Amen.
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord! Be all Thy graces now outpoured On each believer’s mind and heart; Thy fervent love to them impart. Lord, by the brightness of Thy light Thou in the faith dost men unite Of every land and every tongue; This to Thy praise, O Lord, our God, be sung. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Thou holy Light, Guide divine, Oh, cause the Word of Life to shine! Teach us to know our God aright And call Him Father with delight. From every error keep us free; Let none but Christ our Master be That we in living faith abide, In Him, our Lord, with all our might confide. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Thou holy Fire, Comfort true, Grant us the will Thy work to do And in Thy service to abide; Let trials turn us not aside. Lord, by Thy power prepare each heart And to our weakness strength impart That bravely here we may contend, Through life and death to Thee, our Lord, ascend. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! (Martin Luther 1524)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Tuesday after the high Christian holiday of Pentecost. It is found on Pg. 210 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.