Löhe on Ephesians 3:18

preaching in the KalahariI pray that you may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. (Eph 3:18 NIV)

Enemies of the Church can’t grasp the amazing mystery of the salvation for Jews and gentiles and the truly remarkable expansion of the Christian Church throughout the ages. They don’t join in the praise and glorification of our God for this. They close their hearts against the width and breadth of the love of God that is revealed in the Church for all people – its height and depth too.  Many would prefer a tribal or partisan God, who would just take care of their own kind and sort. Bad enough that they should share some of the crumbs falling of their richly laden tables with those dogs under foot. They despise and shun the universal love and grace of our God – and even give up on his ways of salvation and try it their own way. The apostles were targeted by such enemies of the universal gospel of Jesus Christ and his one, global Church, because they were called witnesses of their Lord to all nations – and not just a certain group or faction. They persecuted the apostles for this missionary vision and outreach, punished them and threw them into prison. They wanted them to quit and so silence the gospel of salvation for all mankind. Yet he did not stop proclaiming and praising highly the width, breadth, depth and height of this astounding grace and mercy of God for all. So that’s why he was imprisoned.  In this situation he addresses this letter to the Ephesians and writes these very words of our meditation. His lips overflowed with prayers for all people, praising and worshipping the triune God and pleading him for grace and mercy for his Church and its mission of proclaiming Christ crucified amongst all people and everywhere to the very ends of the world. The apostle lived the glorious mystery of the Church – even as he was suffering bearing the cross of Christ. He suffered and eventually died for this very mystery and gospel. He, who at first persecuted the Church most harshly and fanatically, became God’s most gifted and effective missionary to the gentiles and among his own people – preaching the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, who came to justify sinners, the lost and dying.

Dear heavenly Father: You have elected and called your Church from all people of this world. You still call, gather, enlighten and sanctify them through your Holy Spirit. Daily you instruct and guide your people through your Holy Word to sanctify your holy name, to let your kingdom come and let your will be done. We thank you for this o Lord Jesus Christ! You are the head of the Church. You have purchased her with your precious blood and have made her your own priced possession that she may live under your gracious care and serve you in eternal righteousness, purity and blessedness. Sanctify your holy Church ever more in your holy truth and unify her in you, just as you are one with the Father. Vitalize that, which is ill and dying. Wake, what is falling asleep. Let her lamps burn bright into the night. Grant that we may keep your holy Word pure and give keen attention to it. Let us remain faithful to you o Lord, so that we may bear each other’s burdens willingly and thus become helpmeets for salvation to each other. Grant in your mercy that our children grow up as your children and that we old ones continue to live in you and according to your will. Permit us too to finally stand with your holy congregation and Church before your throne to serve you in eternity. Amen. (Church book of Mecklenburg-Schwerin)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the sixteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 331 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
This entry was posted in Meditations by P.Wilhelm Löhe (Translation) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Löhe on Ephesians 3:18

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