Herrenhuter readings for Friday, the 20th February 2015

IC Lamb of God

Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light… for he commanded, and they were created. (Psalm 148:3.5 KJV)

Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty. (Rev 15:3 KJV)

The Greek philosophers speculated about the spheric harmonies, which resounded cosmically even without us perceiving it at all. It’s as if they vaguely remember the presupposition alluded to by the psalmist that sun and moon, stars and planets created by the living God praise his holy name and his mighty work of creation with which he did great and marvellous things. Just look around you and see!

In the triumphant Church the glorious company of the apostles praise him (Te Deum LSB 223) – together with the goodly fellowship of the prophets, the noble army of martyrs and all the saints, redeemed by his most precious blood! They all laud and magnify the holy name of the blessed Trinity – the one and true divinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They will praise him for his most gracious salvation and work of redemption and sanctification that he has accomplished, finished and completed so gloriously and victoriously – overcoming all odds and shaming devil, death and all evil too. They, who thought they would triumph in their shameful, deceitful and crooked ways, will see the Lamb enthroned in all authority and glory and all those, who have been cleansed and purified by the washing in his most precious blood will stand around him – a crowd nobody will be able to count from all nations, tongues and tribes – the one, holy Christian Church – will sing: Soli Deo gloria without end!

We on the otherhand are still very much in the militant church. We feel our old Adam passing away, drowning, dying yet always struggling against God’s means of sanctification – licking against the thorny prick. The faithless world together with its beastly leader of lies in cohorts with our very own sinful selves struggle and oppose the godly ways of redemption and healing, putting us down and trying to bring us off course and tempting us to fall from faith and trusting our saviour Jesus Christ. That is why we cover ourselves in ashes, fast and pray that our Lord may finally come to save and redeem us, taking us home and bringing all to peace. We do this not so much literally, but rather washing ourselves, putting on proper clothes and going about our business, yet wrenching our hearts within, bearing the cross of Christ patiently and waiting for his coming and our final release. There’s lots trying to distract us. Plenty reason to get lost, yet by the grace of God we stand and are uplifted, propped up and edified by the songs of the Church and the heavenly hope taught us from of old in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs: “A mighty fortress is our God, a trusty shield and weapon; He helps us free from every need That hath us now o’ertaken”. There will come a time, when we too will join in the victorious songs of triumph and glory without any restraint or trouble. Until then we join in them rather stubbornly and defiantly, knowing that the evil foe can harm us non. He’s judged; the deed is done; one little word can fell him: Jesus Christ the living king and Lord of all +  Amen.

“Christ, the Life of All the Living” by Ernst C. Homburg, 1605-1681
Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1829-1878

1. Christ, the Life of all the living,
Christ, the Death of death, our foe,
Who, Thyself for me once giving
To the darkest depths of woe,–
Through thy sufferings, death, and merit
I eternal life inherit:
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

2. Thou, ah! Thou, hast taken on Thee
Bonds and stripes, a cruel rod;
Pain and scorn were heaped upon Thee,
0 Thou sinless Son of God!
Thus didst Thou my soul deliver
From the bonds of sin forever.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

3. Thou hast borne the smiting only
That my wounds might all be whole;
Thou hast suffered, sad and lonely,
Rest to give my weary soul;
Yea, the curse of God enduring,
Blessing unto me securing.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

4. Heartless scoffers did surround Thee,
Treating Thee with shameful scorn,
And with piercing thorns they crowned Thee.
All disgrace Thou, Lord, hast borne
That as Thine Thou mightest own me
And with heavenly glory crown me.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

5. Thou hast suffered men to bruise Thee
That from pain I might be free;
Falsely did Thy foes accuse Thee,–
Thence I gain security;
Comfortless Thy soul did languish
Me to comfort in my anguish.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

6. Thou hast suffered great affliction
And hast borne it patiently,
Even death by crucifixion,
Fully to atone for me;
Thou didst choose to be tormented
That my doom should be prevented.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

7. Then, for all that wrought my pardon,
For Thy sorrows deep and sore,
For Thine anguish in the Garden,
I will thank Thee evermore,
Thank Thee for Thy groaning, sighing,
For Thy bleeding and Thy dying,
For that last triumphant cry,
And shall praise Thee, Lord, on high.

The Lutheran Hymnal Hymn #151  Text: Matt. 26:64-67 Author: Ernst C. Homburg, 1659, ab. Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt. Titled: “Jesu, meines Lebens Leben”

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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