Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 23rd November 2014

virginsWherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. (2.Samuel 7:22 KJV) and Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour proclaims: Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:17-18 KJV)

Today is the Lord’s day. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. For we know, that it is he, that saves and preserves us all the days of our life. It is he, who we have not seen, but have heard so much about, that we trust, confide and hope in him alone – loving and fearing him more than anything and anyone else be it in heaven, on earth or underneath the earth under the sea.

Today is also the very last Sunday in the Church year. Germans call it “Sunday of the dead” (Totensonntag). Perhaps it would be fitting to translate it with Nürnbergers words: “Sunday of the living dead”. Others call it “Sunday of the blessed eternity” (Ewigkeitssonntag) or with Hopf “Holiday of the very last day” (Fest des Jüngsten Tages). Be that as it may, together with the entire Church on earth we remember that our Lord has promised to return in glory to judge the living and the dead. Then he will complete his wonderful work of salvation and let us see, what we have hereto believed on account of his holy Word.

This is a great comfort for us, because he is our friend and saviour, our loving brother and most caring Lord too. Nobody and nothing will stop him from finishing his good work in us and throughout the Church and the entire world/cosmos most perfectly and amazingly by the absolute power at his disposal. He uses this for our benefit, for our beatifcation and final sanctification that we will see him as he is and thus be fulfilled with blessedness and divine abundance of life.

We don’t see this yet. We are still troubled now by this and that. Yet our Lord admonishes us to not fear. He comforts us with the same words. We should remember that we are completely and utterly his. Nothing can seperate us from his goodness, mercy and kindness. In his wisdom and gracious foresight he controls all and everything in such a way that it will serve our best. That is why we are confident in all suffering, we don’t give up hope or dispair. We know, that our Lord is alive and well and is coming soon to fulfil his gracious promises.

Just like he died and is  now alive and evermore in the presence of the heavenly Father, so we too shall pass from this life into eternity – either by dying first or by being transformed miraculously by his intervention and doing. We will not be lost in space or time, but rather will be liberated from this categorical limitations and creaturly boundaries to be with him face to face in blessed eternity without end. That is why we are not afraid, but confidently look forward to seeing him soon.

We pray: “Come Lord Jesus and free us from all that still holds us back from perfect union with you. Strengthen our faith as long as we are still on our way and can’t see your glory yet. Grant us your Holy Spirit in richest measure through your holy Word that we will trust your gracious promises and live faithfully all the days of our life in this world and time. Prepare us to be ready when you come. Grant that we will be awake and that our lamps will be filled with oil and burning brightly when you come to take us in to the holy of holies – the great wedding feast that you have prepared for your saints from all nations and corners of the earth. Lord holy God and blessed Trinity come and complete your mission. In Jesus name we ask and confidently pray: Amen + Come Lord Jesus + come soon +

Wake, awake, for night is flying; The watchmen on the heights are crying: Awake, Jerusalem, at last! Midnight hears the welcome voices And at the thrilling cry rejoices; Come forth, ye virgins, night is past; The Bridegroom comes, awake; Your lamps with gladness take; Alleluia! And for His marriage feast prepare For ye must go and meet Him there.

Zion hears the watchmen singing, And all her heart with joy is springing; She wakes, she rises from her gloom; For her Lord comes down all glorious, the strong in grace, in truth victorious. Her Star is risen, her Light is come. Ah come, Thou blessèd One, God’s own belovèd Son: Alleluia! We follow till the halls we see Where Thou hast bid us sup with Thee.

Now let all the heavens adore Thee, And saints and angels sing before Thee, With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone; Of one pearl each shining portal, Where we are with the choir immortal Of angels round Thy dazzling throne; Nor eye hath seen, nor ear hath yet attained to hear What there is ours, but we rejoice and sing to Thee Our hymn of joy eternally.

(Philipp Nicolai, 1556-1608 tr Catherine Winkworth 1827-1878)

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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