Löhe on 1. Thessalonians 4:14

The Harrowing of HellFor we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (1Th 4:14 NIV)

“Having fallen asleep in Jesus Christ” is a hopeful expression. Sleep is part of life and invigorates the one affected for his daily doings. If death is comparable to such sleep it looses some of its terror and fright even if it goes hand-in-hand with decay and decomposition to dust and ashes. Our Lord Jesus Christ knew this and still he called death and dying a sort of sleeping. When the Lord appears again in all his glory, then those who have died before, those buried on the continents of this world or lost at sea – they all will have finished with their sleeping. They will awake from this global graveyard. Nobody is going to miss out on his victorious parade, where all will be part of his triumphal booty. They will all be a demonstration of his almighty power and glory. This is part and parcel of the Christian faith and hopeful confidence. The time is coming, when we’ll see, what we have believed. Amen.

 Eternal, almighty God you are the God of life and death. We praise your mercy and grace that your dear Son Jesus Christ has granted us a assured confidence of eternal life even in this vale of death so that we can already rejoice in the coming glory and blessed salvation assigned to us by him. Fill our hearts and being with this wonderful hope founded on the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and stone grave at Easter. Grant this comfort and respite especially to those, who are pained by the death of their beloved ones. Let them believe that all things serve to the best of those who are yours – even death can not separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ. In this faith let us give thanks to you for all that we go through – be it joy or sorrow, life or death. More than all else keep us alive in faithful communion with your son Jesus Christ that we remain his whether we’re awake or asleep and praise and thank his holy name together with the entire Christian Congregation.    Amen.  (Church Book of Hesse 1904)

Thy way, not mine, O Lord, However dark it be; Lead me by Thine own hand, Choose out the path for me. I dare not choose my lot; I would not, if I might; Choose Thou for me, my God, So I shall walk aright.

Choose Thou for me my friends, My sickness or my health; Choose Thou my cares for me My poverty or wealth. Not mine, not mine the choice In things or great or small; Be Thou my Guide, my Strength My Wisdom, and my All. (Horatius Bonar, 1857)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the twenty fifth Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 391 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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