Herrenhuter readings for Thursday, the 22nd January 2015

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For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills. (Deuteronomy – 5.Mose – 8,7)

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river,was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelations 22,1-2)

Our good God lets us hear, what is to come, so that we don’t forget, that the best part is still coming. Now that might sound quite utopian to some, but for us, who believe that the Lord is faithful and does all he promises, this is very comforting indeed. It allows us to remember that the sufferings and hardships of this present time and age are but limited and nearly over. It also reminds us that our Lord has good and pleasant thoughts concerning us, favours our wellbeing and eternal salvation and that he is very much on our side and not against us. This gives confidence and hope – especially in sad and troubled times, when the fire’s burn low, the wind’s chill picks up, the tank is running on empty and we feel burned out.

There have always been detractors, who have doubted these promises of the Lord. They have taken up the lead of that old evil foe, who planted those doubts in us initially: “Should God really have said…”? Remember that old tyrant Pharao, who would not let the people go to worship in the desert and leave his slaves  free to go. Or those scouts, who were afraid of the challenges, the obstacles, the opponents and the opposition, which would face the people on the way into the promised land and even when they got there. So they just stayed and did not dare, leave their comfort zone – which was the desert after all, a harsh place and hardly something to hold on too. Or that rich young man, who turned away from Jesus, because he was afraid of giving away all he had to the poor. He did not believe that Jesus offered a viable alternative really. So he missed out on that, which St. Peter and St. Andrew, St. James and St. John and all the rest of it then grasped, when Jesus offered it to them: “Come and follow me! Whoever comes to me, will never again thirst, but will have eternal life!”

Marx put off paradise and the hopes of a promised heaven as human projections a la Feuerbach, preventing people from coming to grips with their situation and getting down to solving the problems here and now. He by far overrated our ability to change things for the better. Just look at the terrible experience of the real existing socialism and godless emancipation. Although they killed countless millions, implemented fundamental changes in society and turned all upside down – things did not work out to the better, but got worse than ever – not only in the Gulags, but also in the villages and most prosperous cities. They were not better than concrete jungles and grey, empty deserts. The revolution ate up its own children. Not heaven on earth, but regression into the worst tyranny and oppression our world has seen – and all in the name of liberation, equality and fraternity. (cf. Bishop Voigt’s sermon at Wartburg Synod 2014)

Sexual revolution following Freudian ideas did not bring liberation to women nor to men, nor did it gain blissful life for them or families and nations, but relations and society deteriorated and the already rotten state of human kind got much worse in that today sodomy & bestiality are being promoted much more than in the most terrible pagan ages. Even incest  is again openly propagated as a viable option. The Barbarians are truly with us. It is as Matthias Claudius composed: “Sie suchen viele Kuenste und kommen weiter von dem Ziel!

The last in this harmful trilogy was Darwin, who mislead so many to think of this world and our own status without God – all in the name of scientific advancement and human progress. As if life without God would be the best! However that’s the worst. There is no bigger foolishness, than to live as if there is no God. God is in the heavens and he derides these attempts to forget him. The promise: “Masters of the universe!” “Herrenrasse!” “Like God – and God’s itself” – disappointed dramatically and left civilisation in ruins. Not Godlike, but idiots instead, loosing their already corrupted mind, their short life and even substituted eternal salvation with everlasting damnation.  Abortion, euthanasia, genocide and all in the name of progress and as if knowing what would be better for people and humanity even. What terrible illusion and catastrophic delusion. Return to the time, when all was formless and void, dark and chaotic.

After the original fall into sinful doubt and distrust of God’s goodness and perfect providence, man did not rise to heavenly heights, but fell into dismal depths – outside of paradise, missing out on God’s presence, fellowship and communion. Yet God did not just give up on people. He gave his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to call and bring us back home and were we belong. That’s what God did with Israel. That’s what Jesus Christ’s mission was all about – bringing the lost sons and daughters back into the family and to the Father. He did that with the Samaritan women at Jacob’s well – and with her village too. He did that for Zaccheus, for Magdalene and countless others. He’s even doing it today – that we see, how kind and merciful our God is, overflowing in grace and abundant goodness, life and salvation. He heals the individual, but also the nations. That’s what St. John is allowed to see on Patmos – even as he is suffering exile and separation from his seven congregations. Our Lord promises this and we are waiting for the final consummation and their fulfilment when he comes again in glory and we will see, what we have here believed. Amen.

Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest,
Beneath your contemplation
Sink heart and voice oppressed.
I know not, oh, I know not
What joys await us there,
What radiancy of glory,
What bliss beyond compare.

They stand, those halls of Zion,
Conjubilant with song
And bright with many and angel
And all the martyr throng.
The prince is ever in them;
The daylight is serene;
The pastures of the blessed
Are decked in glorious sheen.

There is the throne of David,
And there, from care released,
The shout of those who triumph,
The song of those who feast.
And they, who with their leader
Have conquered in the fight,
Forever and forever
Are clad in robes of white.

Oh, sweet and blessed country,
The home of God’s elect!
Oh, sweet and blessed country
That eager hearts expect!
In mercy, Jesus, bring us
To that dear land of rest!
You are, with God the Father
And spirit, ever blest.

Hymn 309 from LW Bernard of Cluny 12th century. Tr: John M. Neale, 1818-1866

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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