Herrenhuter Readings for Tuesday, the 3rd March 2015

dear in sunlight

The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. (Psa 33:5 KJV)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (Jam 1:17 KJV)

The seasons are changing. Autumn is upon us. Summer is history and the windy chill is pointing us towards winter. |The leaves are changing colour and we’re also going grey reminding us of the dry white season up ahead. Still we hear of the Lord’s goodness, which fills the earth so that my cup runneth over and there’s plenty to spare. Just look around you and watch that glorious sunrise, the intricate patterns on every leaf and those marvellous birds still singing although their time is getting lots tougher now too. So much goodness, beauty and compelling loveliness! Priceless – not countable, not measurable and for no practical reason. Not just a pragmatic means to an end, but an end in itself – good, perfect gifts of our Lord – the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit +

Martin Luther in his eloquent way goes quite some more distance elaborating this goodness of the Lord, which fills the earth. He does so in the 1st Article of the Creed of course as we read in the explanation of the Large Catechism:

I hold and believe that I am God’s creature, that is, that he has given me and constantly sustains my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, my reason and understanding, and the like; my food and drink, clothing, nourishment, spouse and children, servants, house and farm, etc. Besides, he makes all creation help provide the benefits and necessities of life—sun, moon, and stars in the heavens; day and night; air, fire, water, the earth and all that it yields and brings forth; birds, fish, animals, grain, and all sorts of produce. Moreover, he gives all physical and temporal blessings—good government, peace, security. Thus we learn from this article that none of us has life—or anything else that has been mentioned here or can be mentioned—from ourselves, nor can we by ourselves preserve any of them, however small and unimportant. All this is comprehended in the word “Creator.” (Kolb & Wengert,  432)

He goes on in the brief explanation of the 4th petition of the “Our Father”. He writes there in most impressive terms and lists all that belongs to daily bread:

Everything included in the necessities and nourishment for our bodies, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honour, good friends, faithful neighbours, and the like. (ebd 357)

Finally Dr Luther goes on to admonition us, that we should recognize that this bountiful goodness from our Lord, which fills heaven and earth for us and all people, is given to us so that we would thank, praise and serve him all the days of our lives. We should pray to him without ceasing, knowing that if would ever draw away his gracious and forgiving hand, we would pass away most dreadfully. Thankfully he is faithful and does not falter nor change. He is not as fallible, fickle and feeble as we are, but rather is as the Father of light there is with him no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Hallelujah!  Luther continues in the explanation of the 4th petition in the Large Catechism:

Out of it a person might make a long prayer, enumerating with many words all the things it includes. For example, we might ask God to give us food and drink, clothing, house and farm, and a healthy body. In addition, we might ask God to cause the grain and fruits of the field to grow and thrive abundantly. Then we might ask God to help us manage our household well by giving and preserving for us an upright spouse, children, and servants, causing our work, craft, or occupation, whatever it may be, to prosper and succeed, and granting us faithful neighbours, and good friends, etc. In addition, we may ask God both to endow with wisdom, strength, and prosperity the emperor, kings, and all estates, especially the princes of our land, all councilours, magistrates, and officials, so that they might govern well and be victorious over the Turks and all our enemies, and to grant their subjects and the general populace to live together in obedience, peace, and concord. Moreover, we might ask that he would protect us from all kinds of harm to our body and to the things that sustain us—from storms, hail, fire, and flood; from poison, pestilence, and cattle plague; from war and bloodshed, famine, savage beasts, wicked people, etc. It is good to impress upon the common people that all these things come from God and that we must pray for them. (ebd 451)

We join in and thank him for all his goodness and mercy, which is new every morning. Amen.

1. All glory be to God on high,
Who hath our race befriended!
To us no harm shall now come nigh,
The strife at last is ended;
God showeth His good will to men,
And peace shall reign on earth again;
Oh, thank Him for His goodness!

2. We praise, we worship Thee, we trust,
And give Thee thanks forever,
O Father, that Thy rule is just
And wise and changes never.
Thy boundless power o’er all things reigns,
‘Tis done whate’er Thy will ordains:
Well for us that Thou rulest!

3. O Jesus Christ, Thou only Son
Of God, Thy heavenly Father,
Who didst for all our sins atone
And Thy lost sheep dost gather:
Thou Lamb of God, to Thee on high,
From out our depths, we sinners cry,
Have mercy on us, Jesus!

4. O Holy Ghost, Thou precious Gift,
Thou Comforter unfailing,
O’er Satan’s snares our souls uplift
And let Thy power availing
Avert our woes and calm our dread.
For us the Savior’s blood was shed;
We trust in Thee to save us.

The Lutheran Hymnal Hymn #237  Text: Luke 2:14 Author: Nikolaus Decius, 1490-1541  translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1829-1878 titled: “Allein Gott in der Hoeh’ sei Ehr‘”

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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