Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 14th December 2014

gottesdienst bildBut take careful heed, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Josua 22:5) and Jesus Christ says: If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also.” (John 12,26)

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Advent. We’re going to church. The triune God is serving us once again with his most holy Word and his precious sacraments holy Baptism, Confession and Absolution, his most holy body, which was born of the virgin Mary and his blood, which was shed for us under Pontius Pilate for the forgiveness of all our sins and that we thus may have salvation and share eternity with him in his glory.

In his holy Word, which we will hear in readings and well prepared sermons, he will teach and instruct us about his holy ways in this world and with us. His Holy Spirit will remind us of all those things, which he has done for our fathers and for us and our descendants – and admonish us to abide in his commandments and follow the ordinances and prescriptions of his will and encourage to hold fast unto him and all his promises, which he has given from the very beginning and which he fulfils most faithfully through his son Jesus Christ – in whom all promises are yes and amen too.

By his grace and calling, we will give careful heed to all that is read, taught and preached so that not one of God’s most holy Words just falls to the ground unheeded. We will listen attentively and absorb those precious words and meditate them in our minds and hearts like a cow chewing the cud – wholesome, vitalising and utter goodness. This God, who loved us before the creation of the world, is the focus and centre of our love too. If we have him, we don’t ask for heaven or earth. He is the be all and end all of all and everything – now and always. That is why it is good, right and salutary that we are in the house of our Father, where he serves us and we are equipped and edified to live our lives, that he has given us and which he still sustains to this very day in such a way that is pleasing to him and in accordance with his holy will and his order of creation.

We are going to gather to plead and ask of him, that he will hear our prayers that his name be sanctified amongst us, that his kingdom would be come to us and his will be done amongst us, for the holy Christian church, for the world and all its people – especially for those, who need it most – the leaders, various offices and institutions both to the right and to the left of his kingdom, for peace and goodwill amongst all people, for our daily bread and the forgiveness of all our sins, that we will not fall in temptation, but finally be delivered from all evil.

We will also support the collection with our offerings of thanksgiving so that the Church can go about its business of spreading the gospel and bringing the Word of God and Luther’s teaching into this world as a light for all people.

All this we will  do because we love our God and want to serve him from the bottom of our heart and with all our soul – even if we know now already that our services is tainted with sinfulness, weakness and plain evil of hypocrisy, egoism and false beliefs too. We therefore come before him and plead that he will prepare us for this his divine service and make us ready and open and receptive for his guidance, goodness and grace – not dealing with us as we deserve, but rather according to his great mercy and love. He is in our midst with his means to create grace, peace and hope. He will grant us all this according to his most holy will and gracious promise: Behold – where I am there my servant will be also + Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

“O Lord, How Shall I Meet Thee”
by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676

1. O Lord, how shall I meet Thee,
How welcome Thee aright?
Thy people long to greet Thee,
My Hope, my heart’s Delight!
O kindle, Lord, most holy,
Thy lamp within my breast
To do in spirit lowly
All that may please Thee best.

2. Thy Zion strews before Thee
Green boughs and fairest palms,
And I, too, will adore Thee
With joyous songs and psalms.
My heart shall bloom forever
For Thee with praises new
And from Thy name shall never
Withhold the honor due.

3. I lay in fetters, groaning,
Thou com’st to set me free;
I stood, my shame bemoaning,
Thou com’st to honor me;
A glory Thou dost give me,
A treasure safe on high,
That will not fail or leave me
As earthly riches fly.

4. Love caused Thy incarnation,
Love brought Thee down to me;
Thy thirst for my salvation
Procured my liberty.
O love beyond all telling,
That led Thee to embrace,
In love all love excelling,
Our lost and fallen race!

5. Rejoice, then, ye sad-hearted,
Who sit in deepest gloom,
Who mourn o’er joys departed
And tremble at your doom.
Despair not, He is near you,
Yea, standing at the door,
Who best can help and cheer you
And bids you weep no more.

6. Ye need not toil nor languish
Nor ponder day and night
How in the midst of anguish
Ye draw Him by your might.
He comes, He comes all willing,
Moved by His love alone,
Your woes and troubles stilling;
For all to Him are known.

7. 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.

8. What though the foes be raging,
Heed not their craft and spite;
Your Lord, the battle waging,
Will scatter all their might.
He comes, a King most glorious,
And all His earthly foes
In vain His course victorious
Endeavor to oppose.

9. He comes to judge the nations,
A terror to His foes,
A Light of consolations
And blessed Hope to those
Who love the Lord’s appearing.
O glorious Sun, now come,
Send forth Thy beams so cheering,
An guide us safely home.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #58
Text: Matt. 21: 1-9
Author: Paul Gerhardt, 1653, cento
Translated by: composite
Titled: Wie soll ich dich empfangen
Composer: Melchior Teschner, 1613
Tune: Valet will ich dir geben

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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