It’s quite challenging to speak of our Christian community and fellowship with our head Jesus Christ, because quite often our congregations are not ripe for such profound truths. They desire milk and not tough food. Oh, far too many switch off already if God’s clear commandments or the very plain and basic catechetical teachings are expounded. How much more does this happen if the heavenly mysteries of our inner life and being are addressed? Yet I will still attempt to divulge some more on this verse from the apostolic epistle. Christ lives. The reign of death over him has ceased. We too have died with Christ on the cross and now live in union with him – thanks to the sacramental gift of Holy Baptism. Now sin no longer reigns over us, just as little as death reigns over Christ. Even if we still are in these our bodies here on earth, yet we are subject to no foreign power anymore, but live solely in and for the triune God. Our life is now a living sacrifice and constant worship of our living God. We lead a new divine life in that Christological power that we have gained through the sacramental union with his death and life. We have died with Christ. Our death is no longer punishment, but rather the gateway to heaven and eternal life with God and all saints. We live with Christ. We will be raised from the dead like he was. We will be, where he is and will live with him in eternity. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ all our well deserved punishment for our sins have been taken away for now and forever. That is why we live in peace and joy of God, which is reserved for us by God in heaven now and forever.
O Lord Jesus Christ: You live and reignest now and forever. You have broken the reign of death for us and all yours. In your power and strength we lead a new life and even when death comes, he will only aid us to that full communion with you and to await your glorious coming to the most joyful fulfilment and completion of your mission and work. We thank you for this comfort and trust that we can have in you and your promises. We ask you, keep and strengthen this in us by your eternal peace. Amen.
Let us also die with Jesus. His death from the second death, From our soul’s destruction, frees us, Quickens us with life’s glad breath. Let us mortify, while living, Flesh and blood and die to sin; And the grave that shuts us in Shall but prove the gate to heaven. Jesus, here I die to Thee There to live eternally.
Let us gladly live with Jesus; Since He’s risen from the dead, Death and grave must soon release us. Jesus, Thou art now our Head, We are truly Thine own members; Where Thou livest, there live we. Take and own us constantly, Faithful Friend, as Thy dear brethren. Jesus, here I live to Thee, Also there eternally. (Sigismund von Birken, 1626-1681 Translated by: J. Adam Rimbach, 1871-1941)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the sixth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 262 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.