Herrenhuter readings for Tuesday, the 16th February 2016

Through his prophet Isaiah the living God promises: “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” (Isa 55:3 KJV)

And St. Paul hands on the holy account of that blessed history he himself was told and which is celebrated in the Christian church ever since: “After the same manner also our Lord Jesus Christ took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1Co 11:25 KJV)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always +

Dear friends of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ: In this mornings reading we are reminded of the great things and saving miracles our Lord God and creator of all has done especially to his servant Israel, but also to his one holy Christian Church. Today the focus is on his abiding covenant which he made not just with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but also with their children and children’s children in more than a thousand generations. It is the covenant, which has its binding power and enduring fulfilment in the very faithfulness of our God and his great mercy and goodness. Not even the unfaithfulness of the receiving party can make this undone. Rather even when heaven and earth pass away God’s gracious promise and merciful favour will not cease or depart from us. Rather God’s word remains forever and therefore also his most stable and abiding covenant of mercy, forgiveness and eternal life. That is why God’s covenant with us is not so much a partnership between two equal parties depending on the strength and power of both, rather it more of a testament instituted and grounded by the almighty and lasting faithfulness of God. He thus ensures and guarantees the permanence of this institution and testament with his own longevity and lasting stability and durability.

In the night, when our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ was betrayed, he instituted his new testament of his most holy and precious body and blood for us Christians to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of sins. He invited us and said: “Drink of it all of you!”  “This blood is shed for your for the remission of all your sins.” Nothing can stand up against it, dent or cancel the loving goodness and forgiving mercy of our Lord, which is shared for us in this holy cup of salvation and everlasting life. All sin is washed away. All transgressions are forgiven. All iniquities subsumed are now cancelled and nailed to the cross, which no longer is only a sign of accursing for us, but rather it is now also the high throne of the Lamb of God’s glorification, the revered place of our propitiation, redemption and sanctification too. There is no forgiveness without the shedding of innocent blood, but where there is forgiveness of sins there you find blessed life and salvation.

We eat and drink the very body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in this most holy sacrament. The gift of his grace and enduring mercy. So that we never forget how much it cost him, that we are saved, but also that we taste and see, how friendly and forgiving and merciful he is. If he didn’t spare his only begotten Son, but rather gave him into this sacrificial death so that by his vicarious death in our stead and for our sins, we would live instead of die and be condemned forever, and by his resurrection we would also be drawn into the new and sanctified creation where he is all and everything now and forever. This wonderful and miraculous exchange happened objectively there on Golgotha and through the awesome resurrection on Easter, but it also happens subjectively wherever we are baptized into his death and raised by his glorious resurrection, wherever we by God’s goodness and mercy hear and believe his promise of him doing this for us and our salvation, where we eat and drink his most holy sacrament instituted by him and practiced in the way he ordered it most right, good and salutary – there he does and fulfills the promises of his holy covenant, that he doesn’t hold our sins against us, but rather forgives, heals and lets us life with him now and forever.

Thanks and praise be to him our God and savior, he our Lord and king, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit – one God now and forever. Amen.

The peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you always + Amen.

1. O Lord, we praise Thee, bless Thee, and adore Thee,
In thanksgiving bow before Thee.
Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish
Our weak souls that they may flouish:
O Lord, have mercy!
May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary,
That our sins and sorrows did carry,
And Thy blood for us plead
In all trial, fear, and need:
O Lord, have mercy!

2. Thy holy body into death was given,
Life to win for us in heaven.
No greater love than this to Thee could bind us;
May this feast thereof remind us!
O Lord, have mercy!
Lord, Thy kindness did so constrain Thee
That Thy blood should bless and sustain me.
All our debt Thou hast paid;
Peace with God once more is made:
O Lord, have mercy.

3. May God bestow on us His grace and favor
To please Him with our behavior
And live as brethren here in love and union
Nor repent this blest Communion!
O Lord, have mercy!
Let not Thy good Spirit forsake us;
Grant that heavenly-minded He make us;
Give Thy Church, Lord, to see
Days of peace and unity:
O Lord, have mercy!

Author: Martin Luther 1483 -1564 and melody: “Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet

 

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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