The parsonage – a good place to be +

Next to the church comes the parsonage. The study window looks out upon the churchyard, and if the pastor wants to see the steeple near, he must raise his head and eyes higher than other people need. The bell that summons to prayer has, too, a louder voice for him than for the rest of the inhabitants, and the graves speak in deeper tones to his ear. The parsonage garden runs along the churchyard wall, and a door opens out of it to the bench under the old lime tree, from which one can overlook both sides of the village. Each one who passes up and down the street has an undying, soul, and of each one the pastor must give account, as to whether he has sought, urged, and allured as a good shepherd should. On that bench under the lime tree, how much silent intercession must, indeed, be poured out! Nor is this intercession all. The Lord said unto Moses, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak to the people, that they go forward.” Outwardly, the parsonage is a house like others, but whenever the devil goes about the village, seeking his prey, and planning where best he can spread his net, he goes about the parsonage thrice, and looks into every window. And most of all he rejoices if the door of that house be open to him, and he cannot only make his way in accidentally, but rule there, and even hold his ground in the study, without being annoyed by prayer and the reading of the Scriptures. Watching and praying are the only bolts this thief fears. A parsonage is either a house of prayer or a very den of iniquity. There is no peace, indeed, for any of the ungodly, but a minister who lives without prayer and struggle is the poorest and most miserable man in the whole village. (Dobberstein 303f)

The parsonage (Karl Büchsel quoted by Dobberstein Pages 303-304)

That fits nicely with Luther´s explanation of the 3rd petition and explains, why Dobberstein uses this elaboration by Büchsel in his anthology to illustrate this part of the “Our Father” in the Tuesday´ section:

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” What does this mean? The good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also. How is God’s will done? God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.”

Martin Luther´s explanation to the 3rd Petition in his Small Catechism

Let us sing with Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) in the translation by John Kelly (1833-1890):

1 Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My Savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings its flight.

2 The foe in triumph shouted
When Christ lay in the tomb;
But lo, he now is routed,
His boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free;
In glorious victory
He who is strong to save
Has triumphed o’er the grave.

3 This is a sight that gladdens–
What peace it doth impart!
Now nothing ever saddens
The joy within my heart.
No gloom shall ever shake,
No foe shall ever take
The hope which God’s own Son
In love for me hath won.

4 Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their pow’r are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all his might
Cannot my soul affright;
It is a pow’rless form,
Howe’er it rave and storm.

5 The world against me rages,
Its fury I disdain;
Though bitter war it wages,
Its work is all in vain.
My heart from care is free,
No trouble troubles me.
Misfortune now is play,
And night is bright as day.

6 Now I will cling forever
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whate’er He passes through.
He rends death’s iron chain;
He breaks through sin and pain;
He shatters hell’s dark thrall;
I follow Him through all.

7 He brings me to the portal
That leads to bliss untold,
Whereon this rhyme immortal
Is found in script of gold:
“Who there My cross has shared
Finds here a crown prepared;
Who there with Me has died
Shall here be glorified.”

And pray:

“Almighty God, by the death of Your Son You have destroyed sin and death, and by his resurrection You have restored innocence and everlasting life, in order that, delivered from the power of the devil, we may live in Your kingdom. Grant that we may believe this with our whole heart, and, steadfast in this faith, may praise and thank You evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Easter Collect

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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