There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28 NIV)
It is divine providence that we are German. He willed that there are different nations. The Lord confused the languages and separated the nations as punishment for their sinful pride and godless endeavour at Babel. In course of time the nations nurtured their various gifts and different talents, which show themselves even as we enter the holy sanctuary.
Satan can’t unite humanity against God. This is a lost cause. However God himself unites his people through the justifying grace as he builds and edifies his Church. He calls people from all nations and different languages to be part of his one herd under his unifying care as the one and only good shepherd. This is a holy and truly profound idea of God. It liberates God’s people throughout the world to be part of his one holy family and congregation. As long as we try to tie the gospel to one language, nationality and even race then we are still thinking along human lines, tied to the vain ways of our fathers and stuck to the derelict traditions of this world, time and age. Yes, if we would tie the gospel to our culture, then we would build up barriers, fences and obstacles, that the Holy Spirit is busy tearing down – ever since Pentecost, when he made it manifest that the Christian Church is not limited to the Jews and their lawful ways, but rather open to people from all nations. It is God’s doing that the barriers are broken down. The unification of the Church is the favourite and dearest endeavour of the triune God. Obviously this is accomplished on no other basis and by no other means than the justification, liberation and unification in Jesus Christ our Lord + Amen.
Lord, our God! You desire that we be one just as you are one with your Son. We pray to you: Preserve us in this one truth, that we fear your name and flee the world’s alluring alienation tempting us to sin, so that we would serve you with a pure heart all the days of our life. We ask this in the precious and saving name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Th.Schäfer)
1 O Christ, our true and only light, Enlighten those who sit in night; Let those afar now hear Your voice And in Your fold with us rejoice.
2 Fill with the radiance of Your grace The souls now lost in error’s maze; Enlighten those whose inmost minds Some dark delusion haunts and blinds.
3 O gently call those gone astray That they may find the saving way! Let ev’ry conscience sore oppressed In you find peace and heav’nly rest.
4 Shine on the darkened and the cold; Recall the wand’rers to Your fold. Unite all those who walk apart; Confirm the weak and doubting heart,
5 That they with us may evermore Such grace with wond’ring thanks adore And endless praise to You be giv’n By all Your Church in earth and heav’n. (Johann Hermann, 1585-1647; tr Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the 3rd January during the high holiday of Christmas. It is found on Pg. 44 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.