It’s Saturday. It’s raining softly and I’ve got time to think of this and that. It’s funny, how you pump into so many people, who have so much in common and get to make so many new friends here at the Seminary. I presume, that’s one of the great privileges and joyful honours of living at a place like this. It’s not just the regular Seminarians, who are so friendly and keen to meet exotics like me, sharing a table in the Mensa or a pew in the chapel but also those pastors and visitors, who come for their doctoral programs and share dormitories, gym and library here.
Take for instance that deaconess student (HH), who also hears the bell ringing and hastens towards Kramer chapel. We were both eager to hear God’s word and be kneeling at his table again. On the way there, we spoke about this and that.Her father deals with Kawasaki timber tools and logging machines. Well, that’s pretty close to home and very much, what our people were busy with down in Mpumalanga and especially in and with TWK. Small world really! The 5-7 minutes walk to chapel are a good introduction the next time we meet and greet like old acquaintances nearly. That’s the same if you run together on the treadmill or do those step-ups for 25 minutes next to each. Obviously it’s also is rather brief and doesn’t last forever. It’s easily forgotten if you don’t bump into each other again. So, when the candidates in the DMin class packed for the weekend is meant saying goodbye again. Too short, to quick. Who knows, whether we’ll meet again. Very much, what Franz Schubert takes up in those German folksongs, which he used to compose his “Winterreise” (https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwilhelm.weber%2Fposts%2F10212442164981575%3A0&width=500“>See yesterday’s post!).
This week I lived next door to one of these regular visitors to the Seminary here. He (TWD) is also director of Deaf Programs and “translated” the sermons during chapel simultaneously. What a gift and what a proficiency. Although I’m only going by the speed and various actions and expressive notions of face, hands and arms working together to get the message across. I just assume, that he’s doing a brilliant job and is no fake like that pretender, who was caught out playing his games and tricks at Mandela’s funeral back home. Would you think, that they are able to do such courses and helpful training sessions at the Old Latin School? I would think so.
Or take that navy captain (MS), who has been a long-standing head of chaplains in the US army and tells me, that they actually had their annual meeting in 2010 right there in Wittenberg already. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if they would repeat that for their 40-50+ chaplains in the OLS in the coming years. Well, I’m positive about that. Especially with his endorsement. But it’s not just about meetings and possible seminars. It’s also about actually going about learning from their expertise and learning. He’s doing his latest dissertation on counselling old veterans, who come back home traumatized by the action they’ve seen. It reminded me a lot of those, who fought the bush war up in Namibia, Caprivi and into Angola and then suddenly were returned home as if nothing had ever happened. I assume it’s very much like coming home from Vietnam, Afghanistan or Yemen, just to find out, that the people back home hardly took notice of that “foreign” combat. It’s a bit like going from one world to another like when reading that quest of Jake Chambers and other gunslingers in the “Dark Tower” by Stephen King. Or coming in from virtual reality into some or other dream world before hitting the road right here in Ft.Wayne again. No wonder, people – not just soldiers – have difficulty in coping on their pilgrimage through time and space. Seems we all need a “Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” (Douglas Adams) and that’s probably what we as theologians and pastors and Christians really are all about, don’t you think?
Thank God, we know, where life, light and salvation are in rich abundance. IX has provided that for us and all people in his holy Christian Church. We find it in his true Word as given to us by the Holy spirit, who spoke through his apostles and prophets of old and caused it to be written down for us and our salvation in the Old and New Testaments in both his enduring Law and forgiving gospel. But also in the visible means of his grace. It’s wonderful and truly comforting, but also good, right and salutary to read then this morning those ancient words, which still hold true today and provide guidance, help, life and salvation, which allude to our good Lord and Shepherd, who makes our cup overflow with good things and heavenly blessings. Yes, that is the reason, why we will gladly remain in his godly presence and rejoice in his goodness always – even unto the ends of our days and beyond. Thanks to his gracious promises + that we can here already see and taste, how friendly our Lord is.
Losung und Lehrtext für Samstag, den 27. Januar 2018
Gutes und Barmherzigkeit werden mir folgen mein Leben lang, und ich werde bleiben im Hause des HERRN immerdar. (Psalm 23,6)
Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch: Wer mein Wort hört und glaubt dem, der mich gesandt hat, der hat das ewige Leben und kommt nicht in das Gericht, sondern er ist vom Tode zum Leben hindurchgedrungen. (Johannes 5,24)