With these words the apostle draws together the most diverse people and their very different situations and contexts including their dependencies, ranks and equalities. It is the apostle’s desire that all Christians would submit themselves one to another in the fear of God. This is a very high and most desirable attitude in the Church. Wherever that becomes reality you have the most lovely picture of holy communion and life together. The entire life appears in the most glorious attire of loving spring. Even just the prospect of such a life together can motivate us to strive for this condition. However this situation is never just the result of suitable arrangements, but rather one of ongoing endeavour and faithful undertaking. We need to be faithful in holy business and focussed on the good of God as on the most delightful expression of Christian virtue and living. God’s eternal mercy is to be glorified amongst us and promote holy passion and zeal in most devout repentance and also most blessed success.
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, you are praised by the songs of the Fathers and confessors, the martyrs and holy servants! Mercifully look on your congregation, that trusts in you – even though its faith is often weak and small, its love poor and its hope too flat. Behold, we are anxious for help and comfort as your word is too often despised and your sacraments rejected. You have been merciful in the past and you have taken care of our souls again and again. You have prayed for your doubting, timid, sleeping and denying disciples that their faith would not cease. Preserve us in faith too o Lord, so that we may overcome all conflict and strife, disunity and discord and your congregation be enabled to all goodness and holiness as is pleasing to you. Grant us shepherds according to your good will, pastors to your liking, teachers of your word. Give us faithful guardians without fear, who would stand up against intimidation and overcome all provocation. Grant that your congregation with all its pastors would decorate their faith, hope and love with holy living. Give us truthful confessors, who would stand up for you and your dearest Church and let this Church be consistent in pure doctrine and teaching, enduring in the most holy calling to be the city on the mountain, to which the intimidated may flee and the lost find refuge and mercy. Amen. (Hermann Bezzel)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Saturday after the twentieth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 361 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.