Löhe on Romans 15:4

biblical manuscriptsFor everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Rom 15:4 NIV)

Patience is not just lazily doing nothing. Rather Christian patience is active, works and has a definite goal. It knows, what it should do and that’s what it does. It goes about this in serious diligence and holy fervour. It is aware that there is a time coming, when no work will be possible any more. Perhaps that’s going to happen sooner than we can imagine. This is the reason that this Christian patience does not waste time, but continues with its crucial calling in this world as long as it is day and God still gives the many opportunities to do good.

We have many different gifts and people in our Churches – just like it was in Rome in the time of St. Paul. We too have the strong and the weak. Yes, we to have those, who take Christian liberty to mean licence to sin. That too is a reason to persevere in patience, to continue with prayer and working, but not to tire or despair or give up until the goal is reached or the work accomplished. The challenge remains until all opposition of God’s holy work and mission is overcome, until God’s mission is carried out in this world to the ends of the world and all are gathered in unity of praising the triune God in truth and faithfulness. There is still work to be done. Therefore let us lift up hands without ire or doubt, pleading our God that he will keep and preserve us in the true faith and in hope and patience as we go about our Christian calling wherever he has called us. Let us not write off anybody as long as it is day. Let us not give up on each other, not despising the other nor condemning him either in rage and fury. Rather let us persevere in honest and faithful love, supporting each other as we work to fulfil the most precious will of our heavenly Father. Amen.

O holy Spirit, almighty and eternal God! We pray, grant us the sweet comfort of your gospel and fill our hearts with your divine peace. Without you there is no good in us. Cleanse us from all impurity, nurture us with power from above, invigorate the weak and suffering. Correct those going astray. Heal the ill, warm the cold. Guide the opposing. Grant to us all, who trust in you new strength and courage, that we do good and flee all evil, so that we remain united in your love and peace and eventually are brought home to you in eternal blessedness and salvation. Amen.

Sin’s debt, that fearful burden, Let not your souls distress; Your guilt the Lord will pardon And cover by His grace. He comes, for men procuring The peace of sin forgiven, For all God’s sons securing Their heritage in heaven. (Paul Gerhard, 1643)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the second Sunday in Advent. It is found on Pg. 14 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.ily

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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