Löhe on Rom.8:23

natures groaningNot only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom 8:23 NIV)

Our bodies are related to creation – yes, are part of creation really – and therefore share its lot and predicament. We too are subject to frustration and bound to decay. So we’ll disintegrate and return to dust when we die. Although we have the firstfruits of the Spirit and in faith have already attained the adoptions as sons by our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, yet we still are groaning inwardly and waiting eagerly to receive the final salvation of our bodies from the shame and destruction by death through the glorious resurrection of our bodies and thus come to enjoy the promised fruits of our Lord’s redemption and salvation. There is no greater fear and dread than that facing death and our utter demise. Thus there is no greater expectation or yearning than desiring to be free of death and our ruination on the one side and on the other to be connected to the source of eternal life and salvation. This yearning for deliverance from death breathes – yes, rather groans – in all of creation. Our souls and bodies echo this deep cry in all of nature. All and everything in this created cosmos carries this deep nostalgia with it. Our joy and happiness lie beyond all this. How could we arrange ourselves here in this transient abode as if it would last and forget our heavenly destiny and predestination to everlasting joy?

Dear heavenly father, you the creator and ruler of the universe: Hear the pleading of your creation and the let our completion and fulfillment appear without much further delay. Let also your dear son appear again in glory so that we may rejoice and our bodies and souls may finally be rescued, saved, healed and perfected soon. Oh Lord, let body and soul be united in such a way that we will celebrate in celestial joy and ongoing delight. Amen.

What blissful joy and glorious sight we’ll have in Christ’s most gracious light? How happy all will sound! With more than thousand seraphim rejoicing with clear voice and tongue intoning glorious hymns just for him.

O would I be already there o sweetest God before your throne to waive most glorious palms. Then I would sing your holy name’s praise like perfect angels loud and clear with a thousand psalms for sure, a thousand psalms for sure.

Yet as I am still living here and carrying this my bodies frame, its yoke and daily burden, yet I will sing and praise your name, here and in every place I go for your everlasting glory, your everlasting glory. (Paul Gerhard, 1607-1676)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the fourth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 248 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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