He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might (2Th 1:8-9 NIV)
This is like a mighty storm going over the face of the world. The terrible revenge of our Lord over those, who do not obey and believe his gospel, is to serve as a dire warning for all of us. Although God did not spare any trouble to get us ready and prepared, we are too often blatantly ignorant and even derisive of his most holy will and blessed expectations. In the ancient Greek Church the deacon would call out before the Lord’s Supper: “Look up to the sun rising!” Who knows, how soon our Lord Jesus Christ will return again? What an expectation and anticipation! We have all reason to wake up from the sleep and to strive for that which serves everlasting peace. We should work on ourselves and also warn those on the way with us. God is still working in all of us. It’s still time of grace. It’s still time for repentance and turn-around. May he grant us his blessed hope and keep us from the terrors of his righteous judgements! Amen.
Lord, heavenly God! Nothing is hidden before your eyes. You give to each one as they deserve and according to their works and the fruit of their doing. We plead with you: Wake us up from sinful sleep and make us alert and attentive for your holy will and law. Grant that we pray constantly and remain faithful stewards of your gifts and talents. Give to us peace and eternal life through your son Jesus Christ, our Lord and saviour. Amen. (Dr. Martin Luther)
1. Saints, see the cloud of witnesses surround us; Their lives of faith encourage and astound us. Hear how the Master praised their faith so fervent: “Well done, My servant!”
2. These saints of old received God’s commendation; They lived as pilgrim-heirs of His salvation. Through faith they conquered flame and sword and gallows, God’s name to hallow.
3. They call to us, “Your timid footsteps lengthen; Throw off sin’s weight, your halting weakness strengthen. We kept the faith, we shed our blood, were martyred; Our lives we bartered.”
4. Come, let us fix our sight on Christ who suffered, He faced the cross, His sinless life He offered; He scorned the shame, He died, our death enduring, Our hope securing.
5. Lord, give us faith to walk where You are sending, On paths unmarked, eyes blind as to their ending; Not knowing where we go, but that You lead us– With grace precede us.
6. You, Jesus, You alone deserve all glory! Our lives unfold, embraced within Your story; Past, present, future–You, the same forever– You fail us never! (Stephen P. Starke, b 1955)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the twenty sixth Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 402 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.