Herrenhuter readings for Thursday, the 5th March 2015

Invitation to wedding Jesus

Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live. (Psa 119:77 KJV)

Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. (Mat 22:9-10 KJV)

Timothy Wengert summarizes Luther’s creedal explanation with the pithy: “I believe that I cannot believe” (ML’s Catechisms 2009:45). That’s the whole point of the following:

“I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith.” (Kolb & Wengert BoC 2000:355)

That is why the Lord needs to come to us. Without his coming we remain lost and condemned. The good news is, that he has come. He has had mercy on us and he has forgiven us all our sins and iniquities. (cf Ps 103) In his great mercy and to really help and get to us with his goodness, he has given his church the mission mandate to preach, teach, spread the word and thus making disciples of all nations (cf. Mt.28:18ff). Melanchthon writes, what blessed Bishop Schulz + called the “mission article of the Church”:

To obtain such faith God instituted the office of preaching, giving the gospel and the sacraments. Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when he wills, in those who hear the gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe. Condemned are the Anabaptists and others who teach that we obtain the Holy Spirit without the external word of the gospel through our own preparation, thoughts, and works. (CA 5 in Kolb & Wengert BoC 2000:40)

So even today that story goes on for it is still day, but the night will come, when nobody can work. However that is not today. Today is not the day to shy away from doing, what the Lord has called us to do, wherever he has place us by his infinite wisdom, goodness and merciful favour. No today the invitation of the Lord is still carried out into all the world: “Come! Come, taste and see how friendly your God is! Come it is all prepared! Come to the wedding feast of the Lamb and his bride – Christ and his holy Church” – and the “wedding was furnished with guests!” – oh, what a miracle and wonder. The word does not come back empty. Good and bad are gathered into the communion with God and the Christian congregation. The holy Word of God achieves and accomplishes all the Lord has intended it to do. The Church is gathered from all nations and it is sustained throughout the ages until the Lord himself will come again in Glory to judge the living and the dead. Then he will grant eternal life and salvation to his people. We will see him as he is and he will let us see and taste all he has promised us. Praise be to him now and always + Amen.

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 Lutheran Worship by Johann Olearius 1611-1684 tr August Crull
Tune: Ach, Was soll ich Suender Machen

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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