Löhe on 1 John 3:16b and 18

IX crucifiedAnd we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1Jo 3:16-18 NIV)

Remember the millions of martyrs who did not only die to glorify Jesus Christ, their Lord, but who also did this willingly to strengthen the faith of their brethren in the faith and to encourage their fellow-Christians to continue in the ways of the true faith. Even bigger than the scandal caused by apostates, renegades, errant and lapsed from the saving faith is the motivational encouragement and upliftment caused by those, who remain faithful in good and bad days, who don’t give up the faith even under the cross, who remain faithful in love towards Jesus Christ even to the point of death. A Church, which counts its faithful martyrs by the millions will not be at a loss to find love even in these last and perilous days, when too many fall by the wayside and let the first love grow cold and give up hope and loose the faith. How is this with us? Oh, how many talk much about love, but deny the divine truth and faith in their hearts. They have but fake images of the real thing. They praise love as queen of all virtues, but deny its powerful witness in living service and faithful day-to-day duty. They offer idle words of praise, but it’s just prattle and remains empty talk. They don’t know the chores of sacrificial love called for by the master of all: Jesus Christ. Self-centred, egoistical and greedy is what they are. Don’t we all know this sinful state too well? Who could say that he always served lovingly and caringly as God would have us do? It would be good if at least some signs of repentance and contrition arose in our hearts at these questions. Let us take to heart the very serious admonition of the apostle St. John:  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Holy Father! Forgive us our sins against each other. There’s just too little unity and love, too much indifference and apathy amongst us. Let your spirit of love and trust reign powerfully amongst us and in our congregation and your Church, that we practice true and faithful fellowship, communion and unity as siblings in your holy family and heavenly kingdom. Break down the walls, that keep us apart. Clear away all that hinders us to come together in truth, faith and hope. Let us find unity in you, who is the centre of our love, trust, confidence and joy. Fulfill your promises and grant that at last there will be one shepherd and one herd. Amen. (P.Wurster)

May God bestow on us His grace and favour That we follow Christ our Savior And live together here in love and union Nor despise this blest Communion! O Lord, have mercy! Let not Thy good Spirit forsake us; Grant that heav’nly-minded He make us; Give Thy Church, Lord, to see Days of peace and unity: O Lord, have mercy! (Martin Luther 1483-1546)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the second Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 234 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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