Herrenhuter readings for Monday, the 19th January 2015

monk praying

Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my soul is also sore vexed (Psalm 6:2.3 KJV)

St. Paul writes: And the Lord said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2.Corinthians 12,9 KJV)

All depends on God’s mercy. And in Jesus Christ he has had mercy on us. We are free, we are forgiven and his grace is sufficient for us. That is what our Lord told St. Paul. That’s what we hear from his holy Word today. That is how he answers our calls in distress, our plea for help and healing even as our soul is sorely vexed.

As we begin the work of the new week, strengthened and at peace through his gracious gifts handed to us in richest measure during his divine service yesterday in word and sacrament, we are encouraged and motivated by our Lords declaration, that his grace is sufficient for us. It’s all we need. He, who grants willingness and accomplishment too, is the same, who uses our shortcomings, failings and misdoings to show his greatness and power.

Remember yesterday’s gospel? The story of Jesus at the wedding of Cana? Well, empty water jars are filled with superb wine. God’s abundance is revealed when our possibilities run empty. No wonder God had to lead his people through the desert initially. Otherwise they would have thought it was they themselves, who had kept, preserved and allowed themselves to flourish in those past 40 years. Yet – in the desert it became clear, that it was God alone, who fed them, who preserved them against enemies, who gave fresh water and prevented them from getting lost and perishing in the wilderness.

It’s not that the merciful God would want us to suffer really. He wants to bring us to the promised land. Yet, the suffering helps towards this goal. It’s a means to an end. It is because of the hardness of our hearts – our soul’s callousness, our incredulity and stubbornness, we know it as our poor, miserable sinfulness, that he has to show, prove and let us experience again and again our own helplessness and his unfailing willingness to help, promote, heal and rescue, save and deliver – so that our hope would not be on our own strength or ingenuity, but rather trusting faithfully in God’s great mercy, which is new ever morning.

The suffering kills off the old sinful self – the old Adam in us – drowning him with all sinful desires, faithlessness and lack of trust, love and fear of God. It also rekindles the new creation in us, started off by the Holy Spirit in us through our Baptism, so that we live in righteousness and holiness all the days of our life. A continual struggle yes as long as the old sinful being is still with us and that is until our dying day, when they finally bury us in the earth from which we were originally taken – only to rise up again as a new man at the final Judgement day at the resurrection of the dead, when we will rise in this very flesh yet sinless to be with our God eternally.

So let us bear with our and others weakness patiently. Knowing it is passing. The Lord is eternal. His mercy is forever and that is why, we too have sure hope and the blessed conviction that there will come a time, when we will at last be free from this sinful burden that is ours from the start and we will at last behold and experience God’s perfection as it is – without end. He in us and we in him – nothing will ever part us. Amen.

Oh, How Great Is Your Compassion by Johannes Olearius:

Ho, how great is your compassion,
Faithful Father, God of grace,
That with all our fallen race
In our depth of degradation
You had mercy so that we
Might be saved eternally!

Your great love for this has striven
That we may, from sin made free,
Live with you eternally.
Your dear Son himself has given
And extends his gracious call,
To his supper calls us all.

Firmly to our soul’s salvation
Witnesses your Spirit, Lord,
In your sacraments and Word.
There he sends true consolation,
Giving us the gift of faith
That we fear not hell nor death.

Lord, your mercy will not leave me;
Ever will your truth abide.
Then in you I will confide.
Since your word cannot deceive me,
My salvation is to me
Safe and sure eternally.

I will praise your great compassion,
Faithful Father, God of grace
That with all our fallen race
In our depth of degradation
You had mercy so that we
Might be saved eternally.

Hymn # 364 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Johann Olearius 1611-1684 tr August Crull 1845-1923
Tune: Ach, was soll ich Suender machen? 

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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