Löhe on Philippians 1:7

rembrandt-saint-paul-in-prisonIt is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. (Phi 1:7 NIV)

As the apostle St. Paul was writing this letter to the Philippians, he was imprisoned in Rome. In this serious situation the remembrance of the Philippian congregation and the other Churches in Macedonia was very comforting to him, because they were sharing the partnership in the gospel. They shared the same faith and confession even as they shared similar discriminations and persecutions for their Christian confidence. St. Paul knew that he was not alone in this calamity, but that his brethren were sharing this very same fate and that they too were bearing it with patience and joy for Christ’s sake. That is why they were in his very heart and the love which he had towards them, gave rise to the strongest hope of all the best in and through them. This hope is a singular matter. Not all people are Philippians and not all stay and remain in the partnership of the gospel, not all are shareholders of the faith either. Some fall by the wayside, some forsake their Christian hope, others get lost on the way. Yet God would that all people be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. (1.Tim.2,4) Yet people, people would not listen! Their opposition, their unwillingness, their unfaithfulness is the reason why Jesus Christ cries and weeps outside of Jerusalem. Therefore test yourself! Don’t kill off the hope that is in you. Cling to the Lord and plead him to strengthen and keep you in the saving faith – now and always.

Lord Jesus Christ! Receive our prayers that we bring before you. Direct our paths to life according to your will and commandments. Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, guide our thoughts, consecrate our senses and save us from all sorrow and trouble. Keep and preserve us by your holy angels so that we may be protected against all evil and remain unified with you in the true and saving faith. To you be all thanks and praise now and forever. Amen. (W.Löhe)

1.  Entrust your days and burdens To God’s most loving hand; He cares for you while ruling The sky, the sea, the land. For He who guides the tempests Along their thund’rous ways Will find for you a pathway And guide you all your days.

2.  Rely on God your Savior And find your life secure. Make His work your foundation That your work may endure. No anxious thought, no worry, No self-tormenting care Can win your Father’s favor; His heart is moved by prayer.

3.  Take heart, have hope, my spirit, And do not be dismayed; God helps in ev’ry trial And makes you unafraid. Await His time with patience Through darkest hours of night Until the sun you hoped for Delights your eager sight.

4.  Leave all to His direction; His wisdom rules for you In ways to rouse your wonder     At all His love can do. Soon He, His promise keeping, With wonder-working pow’rs         Will banish from your spirit What gave you troubled hours.

5.  O blessed heir of heaven, You’ll hear the song resound Of endless jubilation When you with life are crowned. In your right hand your maker Will place the victor’s palm, And you will thank Him gladly With heaven’s joyful psalm.

6.  Our hands and feel, Lord, strengthen With joy our spirits bless Until we see the ending Of all our life’s distress. And so throughout our lifetime Keep us within Your care And at our end then bring us To heav’n to praise You there. (Paul Gerhard 1607-1676 tr F. Samuel Janzow 1913-2001)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Tuesday after the twenty second Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 371 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
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