Seeking the city, that is to come!

We´re going to be judged. We and all our life. Going to stand judgment. God the final judge and me accountable for all my thoughts, words and deeds – and even my very self, my existence and being. Standing before God´s throne to be judged – once and for all. Behold – the naked WW! 

The 5th Sunday in Lent “Judica” presses that home. That´s where we´re going. That´s our destination and our eventual goal, whether we´ve got it marked on our bucket list or not. We´re going. Like it or not. No excuses: Missed the bus! No latecomers. We´ll be right dead on time. No place to hide. Not even in far off places or lonely stretches. The Introit for this Sunday – Psalm 43 – sets the tune: “Judge me, o God!” The faithful cry out, their only hope: “Vindicate me, o God!”  

Obviously, we´ve had our sights on more likeable destinations: Dreamboat! Call it heaven or paradise. That´s where we want to go. That´s where we want to pitch our tents, set up camp, make ourselves comfortable and finally at home. And You know? God had/has the same idea. That´s where he would like us to be – in His good company and well taken care of – flourishing forever. Imagine! That´s the divine design for us and our life. No shortcuts. The whole package. Free.  

Our sinful inclination doubt God´s good intention. We suspect, He´s hiding something from us – probably the best. So, let´s do this on our own – because we can. Just do it. We´ll be so great!  So, it came to pass – the fall into original sin and the subsequent avalanche of dreadful – if unforeseen – circumstances and unfortunate events. Taking forbidden fruit. Building towers with our name on it. Getting away with murder and demanding others to believe: “My intentions are good!” Subjugating the vulnerable, persecuting poor and hunting down the others. In the end, we even crucified our Lord and God.  Can You hear Your voice in the bloodcurdling demands: Crucify, crucify? Well, it´s there. Just as Your beating the thorns into the innocent brow and swinging the cat-with-nine-tails as if it´s going out of fashion:  

I caused Your grief and sighing by evils multiplying as countless as the sands. I caused the woes unnumbered with which Your soul is cumbered, Your sorrows raised by wicked hands.1  

No wonder, this world is not going to survive. It´s doomed. We wrecked it. That´s our record. That´s what we accomplished. No question. It’s just a question of time – and nobody is going to turn that around – not even the most promising youths of today. The brains of yesteryear couldn´t save us, nor the free economies of today. It´s just too bad.  

The only way out is the exit our Lord has carved out for us. It´s his way out. The emergency exit. So, we´re to follow him. Listen to his voice. Stick to his guidelines. He knows the way. He is the way, the light and the truth. So, follow in his footsteps – on the steep and up the narrow – all the way to holy city Jerusalem – the heavenly Zion – God´s kingdom and our paradise regained.  

Abraham did that. He heard God´s call. He obeyed. He went out of his way as he trusted God´s promise – way beyond his familiar framework of reference. He was assured, that God could do, what he promised and to that he stuck through thick and thin. So, he became the father of this movement. Even our good Lord IX points to him as a model of discipleship for generations to come, although he alone is the perfect example of faithful obedience – without sin, without blemish, without stain – absolutely perfect in obedience all his life – even through all temptation, even in the most serious affliction, cruel martyrdom and innocent suffering.  

He, who is true God and as Lord of all and over everything is worthy of all adoration and worship, whom we together with all creation in the heavens and on earth owe all allegiance, service, honor and praise, he did not seek this service, nor did he press home this Lordship due to him, but rather he subjugated himself to become the obedient servant himself – following the will of the Father, fulfilling the law to the very last detail, not leaving out even one little requirement of the divine and most holy institutions. All his life was but obedient service – faithful to God and loving to his fellow human beings e.g. Washing the feet of his disciples…

He loved, feared and trusted God above all else – and gave himself as a sacred and holy sacrifice for all people – yes, for all sinners, the very enemies of the living God. Thus, he became the very propitiation for the sins of the world. The vicarious satisfaction for our justification in the highest and final judgement of the only God. Thus, he attained the lasting favor of the supreme judge for us – poor miserable sinners. That we go free – in peace to thank God and serve our fellow human beings. No longer afraid of the judgement to come, but knowing for sure, that God has vindicated us through his son IX – once and for all.  

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation… Therefore, to sanctify the people by his own blood, Jesus also suffered outside the camp. We must go out to him, then, outside the camp, bearing the abuse he experienced. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name. And do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. 

Praise be to God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – now and always. Amen.  

Click here´s the German outline for tomorrow´s service in the Old Latin School:

Darum hat auch Jesus, damit er das Volk heilige durch sein eigenes Blut, gelitten draußen vor dem Tor. So lasst uns nun zu ihm hinausgehen vor das Lager und seine Schmach tragen. Denn wir haben hier keine bleibende Stadt, sondern die zukünftige suchen wir. 

  1. Lieder & Lesungen:  
    1. Eingang 54 O Mensch bewein Dein Sünde groß…        
    2. Introitus 027/S99 (Ps.84) Gn.22,1-14; Hb.5,7-9 und Mk.10,35-45  
    3. Vor der Predigt 57,1-4 O wir armen Sünder…   
    4. Nach der Predigt 57,5-7 Des sollen wir uns trösten gegen Sünd und Tod    
    5. Ausgang 54 So laßt uns nun ihm dankbar sein…  
  1. Judika: Richte mich Gott! (Ps.43,1-2a) bzw vor dem Richterstuhl Gottes.  
    1. Auf der Suche nach der zukünftigen Stadt  
      1. “Caravans…” 
      2. Wenn das Leben nochmal geschenkt wird1: Freispruch, Genesung, Anstellung 
      3. Wohin wollen wir und was wollen wir erreichen? (Bucketlist)  
    2. Heimatlos bzw unterwegs in die Zukunft  
      1. Abraham:  
        1. Gehe aus Deiner Stadt, Heimat & Familie…  
        2. Opfere deinen Sohn Isaak! (1-3 Gebot): Brandopfer.  
        3. Gehorsam, Vertrauen auf Gottes Verheißung gegen allen Augenschein 
        4. Vater des Glaubens: Alles Gute vom dreieinigen Gott erwarten 
      2. Völker:  
        1. Lasst uns einen Turm bauen und einen Namen machen  
        2. Großmächte dieser Welt:  
          1. Richten und Herrschen; Helfen und Heilen; Schaffen und Zerstören 
          2. Hybris: Sein wie Gott.  
          3. Katastrophale Folgen: Rom, Inca, Deutsche Reich, China… 
      3. Israel: Gottes Knecht, kleinste unter den Völkern – Erwählung/Bestimmung zur Heiligung: Gottes Volk und Licht unter den Heiden. Brandopfer/Holocaust.  
    3. IX: Nicht gekommen zu herrschen, sondern zu Dienen 
      1. Seht welch ein Mensch!  
      2. Fußwaschung 
      3. Leiden und Sterben  
        1. Draußen vor dem Tor:  
        2. Opfer für die Sünden; Geschmäht und verworfen 
        3. Bitten und Flehen: Schreien und Tränen 
      4. Gehorsam: Urheber des ewigen Heils 
      5. Heilige sich ein Volk zum Eigentum…  
        1. teuer erkauft, nicht durch Gold & Silber 
        2. sondern mit seinem eigenen teuren Blut,  
        3. bittere Leiden und Sterben 
      6. Lebt und regiert in Ewigkeit.  
    4. Nachfolge  
      1. Hinausgehen – Schmach tragen (Joch/Last)  
      2. Keine bleibende Statt – Wanderschaft/Pilgerreise  
      3. Unterwegs zur zukünftigen Gottes Stadt nach Gottes Verheißung – Heimat im Geist und in der Wahrheit (Zuhause, Gelobte Land, Himmel, Paradies)  

Und hier nun die gehaltene Predigt über Hb.13,12-14 zum Anhören:

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
This entry was posted in Lectionary etc, Lent and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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