Lovely morning in Wittenberg. The clouds are heavy. Rains might be coming. That would be a perfect start to this working week after the wonderful beginnings in church yesterday. I know, why I became a pastor. The delightful treasures of our Lord are just too much to fit into one short hour and a bit on a Sunday morning. You really do need more time to get an idea of His overwhelming goodness and mercy, which is new every morning… As pastor, you get the chance to prepare the frameworks of those services and like a good manager to choose some of those riches, which are to feed the people this day… Readings, words, concepts, stories, parables, prayers, hymns, psalms, pictures, images and signs. There is just so much to choose from. Thank God for every new day, when we anew can see, taste, smell, feel and hear how friendly our good Lord and Savior is +
The rose outside on the pavement is just in the ground and already it blooms as if it´s going out of fashion. Two days ago, I could only see one bud, now it’s full of them. Reminds me a lot of that little nightingale, which is but a small, insignificant and dull colored bird – living out in the sticks, lonely and out of the way. Still, it sings it´s heart out: “was Neues hat sie nie gelernt, singt alte, liebe Lieder...“ I just love it. And the rose likewise. It´s but a small bush planted amongst the rocks, stones and pebbles – the mighty winds of Wittenberg pummel it day in, day out – and still, and still! – it blooms and does what it’s there for – bearing flowers, one, two, three … and one falls off, three take its place.
It´s a bit like Georg Merz´s passage on “God´s accompanying Mercy” in the anthology for Mondays. He writes:
„Always there is one firm consolation – to know the source of our office and ministry. We have it in an order instituted by God. This order stems out of mercy. Because we have received mercy and because this happened and continues to happen, we can serve. This mercy stands not only at the beginning of our ministry, it accompanies us constantly, even in time of doubt. Only one who makes mercy in this sense the foundation of his ministry can go on working. On the gravestone of Bodelschwingh are inscribed these words of 2. Corinthians 4:1, “Therefore, having this Ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” And so, he instructed the young men who were to serve even where no human justification of their work might encourage them. They were made to understand that misery exists that it may bring forth the praise of God’s mercy, so that, as Paul says, the bright light which God is shone in the heart may shine in the world (v.6).”Dobberstein 232
So, we´re happy to go about our business of showing mercy in this week too even as the nightingale sings and the rose blooms. Didn´t we hear it yesterday in the Epistle lesson?
„Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one bodyto this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”Colossians 3:15-17
And then we sang the hymn of the week (“Graduallied”) for the 4th Sunday after Easter: “Cantate”
1 Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice,
With exultation springing,
And with united heart and voice
And holy rapture singing,
Proclaim the wonders God has done,
How His right arm the vict’ry won,
What price our ransom 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.
But daily deeper still I fell;
My life became a living hell,
So firmly sin possessed me.
3 My own good works all came to naught,
No grace or merit gaining;
Free will against God’s judgment fought,
Dead to all good remaining.
My fears increased till sheer despair
Left only death to be my share;
The pangs of hell I suffered.
4 But God had seen my wretched state
Before the world’s foundation,
And mindful of His mercies great,
He planned for my salvation.
He turned to me a father’s heart;
He did not choose the easy part
But gave His dearest treasure.
5 God said to His beloved Son:
“It’s time to have compassion.
Then go, bright jewel of My crown,
And bring to all salvation.
From sin and sorrow set them free;
Slay bitter death for them that they
May live with You forever.”
6 The Son obeyed His Father’s will,
Was born of virgin mother;
And God’s good pleasure to fulfill,
He came to be my brother.
His royal pow’r disguised He bore;
A servant’s form, like mine, He wore
To lead the devil captive.
7 To me He said: “Stay close to Me,
I am your rock and castle.
Your ransom I Myself will be;
For you I strive and wrestle.
For I am yours, and you are Mine,
And where I am you may remain;
The foe shall not divide us.
8 “Though he will shed My precious blood,
Me of My life bereaving,
All this I suffer for your good;
Be steadfast and believing.
Life will from death the vict’ry win;
My innocence shall bear your sin,
And you are blest forever.
9 “Now to My Father I depart,
From earth to heav’n ascending,
And, heav’nly wisdom to impart,
The Holy Spirit sending;
In trouble He will comfort you
And teach you always to be true
And into truth shall guide you.
10 “What I on earth have done and taughtMartin Luther (1483-1546)
Guide all your life and teaching;
So shall the kingdom’s work be wrought
And honored in your preaching.
But watch lest foes with base alloy
The heav’nly treasure should destroy;
This final word I leave you.”
The peace of our Lord + be with You + if it rains or not.