Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. (Psalm 66,16 KJV) St Paul writes: “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.” (1.Thessalonians 2:8 KJV)
The wonder of the Christian faith and especially of God’s ways with us, is that it’s just not like a technical manual so that you can get set up and going. It’s not like that at all. It’s not just about learning the history and wondering about the future either. It’s far more than that. It’s really about God’s entire life and being being shared with each one of us and this sharing of God’s story with us lifts up our life and story from the plain banalities of things into the realm of sublime truth and profound mysteries.
Each story of God’s people is quite incredible really, very special and absolutely unique. That is why it holds true for every one of us what St. John writes about our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of his blessed gospel: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book, But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) God leads his people most wonderfully and amazingly (cf Luther’s translation of Psalm 4,3)
That is why every life is of immeasurable value and should in now way be put down, discriminated or sidelined. If the almighty and everlasting God took trouble to call this life into being, create this remarkable individual in all its constituent parts – and then even went to ransom this life not just with silver and gold, but with the precious blood and most holy and divine life of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, to sanctify it specifically in the baptismal washing and regeneration of the Holy Spirit – then there can be no doubt in the heart of the faithful, that the triune God has done great miracles and wonders to this person. Reason enough to sing praises and give thanks every day anew!
And then I have not even gone into the specifics. The things which hold true only for this person and individual soul. God’s love from the very beginning, his creative attention to you and all detail that is yours and makes up your delightful complexion and composition, the unique beauty that his astonishing craftiness has installed in and fixed to you making you something truly awesome and praiseworthy. The way he leads and guides you every day, preserving you from and even in all evil, sorrow and difficulty of the day. That is why there is a reason for everyone to actually go and tell his own story. It is to glorify the Lord our maker, who has fearfully and wonderfully made us: How precious to me are your thoughts o God! How vast is the sum of them! (cf Psalm 139,14.17)
Now if you think of the holy Christian Church – and that large gathering, that nobody can overlook and count – from all nations, cultures and people, you will begin to realise the fastness of richness, diverse beauty and tremendous treasures that they represent and bring along as they stand before the throne of the lamb to worship him alone, who has done these great things for us and our salvation. He the creator alone, he our sole salvation and he the only truth, life and way +
That is why the Church truly believes that the gospel is a power to save everyone, who believes in it. The gospel is that power of God that unites him and us inseparably, overcomes the righteous condemnation of the law and grants forgiveness, salvation and eternal life in and through him our Lord and our God. It changes our dismal lives into a precious treasure of unfathomable worth – no erosion, rust, no moths or worms destroy this – and makes it worthwhile living in gratitude and joy every day.
Lord God, heavenly Father: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have created in this world and also that you have made me together with all creatures visible and invisible. You have given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still you take care of them. I can’t thank you enough for all of this and you do even more. You have given me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, my dear, lovely and honourable wife and my beloved children, land, animals, and all I have. How can I ever repay you for this? It’s impossible, but I thank and glorify your name for your undeserved love and kindness. Yes, you even richly and daily provide for me with all that I need to support this body and life. Thank you my dear God and Lord for all this and also that you defend me against all danger and you guard and protect me from all evil – even in the darkest night. All this you do without tiring, you do it faithfully and lovingly out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey you – now and always. Lord help me do this gladly, willingly and joyfully today and all days of my life. Amen.
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
The Lord has promised good to me, his word my hope secures; he will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.
Words: John Newton, 1779