Herrenhuter readings for Thursday, the 25th June 2015

Prodigal Son by Eugene Burnand

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you.  (Isa 30:18 NIV) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20 KJV)

It is the image of the Father looking for his lost son combined with the only begotten Son Jesus Christ, who remained at home with the Father, but then went out in the power of the Holy Spirit – left his very own for us and our salvation – and became man like one of us from the holy mother of God, the very blessed Virgin Mary, so that he might seek and save the lost. He and the Father are one and they have the very same mind and approach in this most central mission of theirs: The mission of grace, forgiveness and bringing home, those long gone and away – so that they too will sit at the table with Abraham and all other patriarchs, prophets of old and most holy apostles, martyrs and faithful Christians from across the globe – for they all are children of the heavenly Father and siblings of our most precious brother, saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.

These biblical images of divine longing, waiting, looking forward to and awaiting the return of the children is wonderful and delightful. Perhaps as parent you know the feeling of great expectation when the children are about to return home. Whereas with us there are always some selfish motives and even sinful parts to the deal, the triune God is pure, innocent and truly holy – even as he awaits our eventual return and final homecoming. For him its all about us and our salvation. That’s what he longs for. That’s what he strives for. That is his hearts desire and innermost motivation for inviting to the great banquet and glorious wedding feast, when at last the bridegroom will take home his most beloved bride – the holy Christian Church – to be with her and she with him and nothing will ever separate them again.

That is why he is still sending out his messengers, ambassadors, missionaries, evangelists, teachers, bishops, theologians, envoys and servants out to the streets and byways of the world, the great cities and wayward rural places: Come – for the feast is prepared – the Lord of all and King of kings is calling you: Come and see, how friendly your God is + Come, taste and enjoy the  divine communion prepared for you by him and all his angels + Come home and be at peace in blessed union with God and all his people.  He has done it all and we are called to enjoy it now and forever. Amen.

  1. Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice, With exultation springing, And, with united heart and voice And holy rapture singing, Proclaim the wonders God hath done, How His right arm the victory won; Right dearly it hath cost Him.
  2. Fast bound in Satan’s chains I lay, Death brooded darkly o’er me, Sin was my torment night and day, In sin my mother bore me; Yea, deep and deeper still I fell, Life had become a living hell, So firmly sin possessed me.
  3. My own good works availed me naught, No merit they attaining; Free will against God’s judgment fought, Dead to all good remaining. My fears increased till sheer despair Left naught but death to be my share; The pangs of hell I suffered.
  4. But God beheld my wretched state Before the world’s foundation, And, mindful of His mercies great, He planned my soul’s salvation. A father’s heart He turned to me, Sought my redemption fervently: He gave His dearest Treasure.
  5. He spoke to His beloved Son: ‘Tis time to have compassion. Then go, bright Jewel of My crown, And bring to man salvation; From sin and sorrow set him free, Slay bitter death for him that he May live with Thee forever.
  6. This Son obeyed His Father’s will, Was born of virgin mother, And God’s good pleasure to fulfill, He came to be my Brother. No garb of pomp or power He wore, A servant’s form, like mine, He bore, To lead the devil captive.
  7. To me He spake: Hold fast to Me, I am thy Rock and Castle; Thy Ransom I Myself will be, For thee I strive and wrestle; For I am with thee, I am thine, And evermore thou shalt be Mine; The Foe shall not divide us.
  8. The Foe shall shed My precious blood, Me of My life bereaving. All this I suffer for thy good; Be steadfast and believing. Life shall from death the victory win, My innocence shall bear thy sin; So art thou blest forever.
  9. Now to My Father I depart, The Holy Spirit sending And, heavenly wisdom to impart, My help to thee extending. He shall in trouble comfort thee, Teach thee to know and follow Me, And in all truth shall guide thee.
  10. What I have done and taught, teach thou, My ways forsake thou never; So shall My kingdom flourish now And God be praised forever. Take heed lest men with base alloy The heavenly treasure should destroy; This counsel I bequeath thee.

Hymn 387 The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH) Text: Rom. 3: 28. Dr.  Martin Luther, 1483-1546 translated by: Richard Massie, 1854, alt. Titled: “Nun freut euch, liebe Christen g’mein

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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