This life has troubles and fears in which we human beings are just not able to cope and where all our wisdom can’t comfort and all our powers fail. If a King dies no army of this world will save him and if a physician and medical professor is facing death no medical art or craft will save him. They must go and we must face it. This world does not bear any help nor comfort for this our mortality. In this our final strive – just as in our daily battles of sanctification and holy Christian living one single word from God’s mouth is much better and by far outweighs all worldly wit and fortitude.
Even the disciples of our Lord experienced this very fear and panic even before they found their comfort and peace in Jesus Christ himself. How sorrowful and despairing were they after he had died on Golgotha? All hope had expired and was utterly lost to them. Those two disciples on the way to Emmaus revealed this their mourning and despondency to their strange companion on the way: “And we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luk 24:21 NIV) We find them behind closed doors fearing the retribution and persecution from the authorities.
Yes, these first disciples knew of anxiety (Angst) and tribulation. Yet they too were allowed to experience the reconciling and comforting words from the mouth of their risen Lord and Savior. The peace that passes all understanding floods through their hearts and lives when Jesus greets them: “Peace be with you +” This word of our Lord changes fearful men into heroes in mission and conquerors of the world. It’s efficacious for sure – and it does mighty and wonderful things – creating all out of nothing.
We are by nature quite similar to those early Christians – fearful and rather miserable, not very powerful at all and least of all in doing good and promoting it in this world. Yet by the grace of God and through his most powerful gospel we too can be inspired like them, moving mountains by just little faith and heroes of God’s love and reconciliation, peacemakers of the Lord, witnesses of his gospel and forgiveness too – the gospel which grants life out of death through the forgiveness of sins and thus makes us Children of God and heirs of heaven.
O Lord Jesus Christ, you yourself offered prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears and learnt faithful obedience and reverent submission in suffering and hardships. We plead you to show us your judgment over your enemies and lead us out of all terror and alarm to victory and triumph in you and your glory. You are praised now and forever Amen.
Lord of our life, and God of our salvation, Star of our night, and Hope of every nation, Hear and receive Thy church’s supplication, Lord God Almighty.
See round Thine ark the hungry billows curling! See how Thy foes their banners are unfurling! And with great spite their fiery darts are hurling, Oh Lord, preserve us.
Lord, be our light when worldly darkness veils us; Lord, be our shield when earthly armor fails us; And in the day when hell itself assails us, Grant us Thy peace, Lord:
Peace, in our hearts, our evil thoughts are raging, Peace, in Thy church, our troubled souls assuaging, Peace, when the world its endless war is waging; Peace in your heaven! (Matthäus Appels von Löwenstern, 1594-1648; tr Philip Pusey 1799-1855)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the eleventh Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 297 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.