Nobody will miss the obvious promise, but also the hidden threat in these words. Even if love does not work for reward or gratitude, yet our love is not just divine, but also rather human. Therefore it needs motivation and encouragement now and again. That is why our good Lord, who knows us well, has given us such comforting promises, but also such serious warnings and admonitions. It is his gracious will that his servants and ordained ministers would present both to his people – especially the holy Church. The warning threats should frighten the sluggish and lazy, whereas the promise should encourage the despondent and dejected. If the Lord is not ashamed to warn us with admonition and to motivate us with his promises, then we should not be ashamed if we accept these warnings and motivations in good faith and spirit too. Whoever deems that he can do without these “means of grace” from God’s side, doesn’t really know them and their benefit. Whoever believes it is just too common and below himself to strive after heavenly reward and to flee all punishment, should take good care that he doesn’t fall down from his imagined loftiness and lands down amidst the ruins of his own expertise and vain craftiness.
Lord God, heavenly father! We pray: Work in us with your gracious Spirit, that we shall not rest assuredly in our own sinfulness, but rather remain in constant repentance and contrition, willing to daily renew the faithful resolve to only follow your word and will. Comfort us with what your Son Jesus Christ has graciously achieved for us, the forgiveness of our sins and the reconciliation with you our heavenly father. Help us out mercifully to come to your eternal kingdom! Amen. (Veit Dietrich)
Oh you have patiently sought out my soul to draw it ever closer to you, so that I might be pulled from sin and rather be found in you, where I have reconciliation through your most precious blood. Thousand, thousand times be thanks to you for that o King.
You’ve worked with love, you worked with sorrow – just to make it right with my heart and soul o God. You would have me be dedicated totally to you and live in and with you now and always. Thousand, thousand times be thanks to you for that o King. (Ludwig Andreas Gotter, 1661-1735)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Saturday after the fourth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 249 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.