Songs of Thankfulness and praise…

When I finished my initial studies in Germany, we subscribed to the latest edition of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia. It was to last a lifetime. The annual updates kept coming even when we moved to Pretoria. Angelika used it sometimes for her lessons at the University. Detlev liked it for school projects. Today both don´t have access to the 30+ volumens in Pretoria, whilst they are far away in Wittenberg and Seattle respectively.

I´ve switched to Wikipedia long ago. Not just to keep updated on the various Bach Cantatas on Sundays, but lately on art related to the Propers of each Sunday found on Wiki Commons. This Sunday the gospel lesson is John 2 – and takes us back to the wedding of Cana. Previously I would find an icon or special painting – and be done for. Now, there´s a treasure trove just waiting for the picking. It´s absolutely fabulous.

As for matters of truth and wisdom, well, there You have to be choosey – and that´s not so easy as being impressed by beauty and lovely melodies. Even best friends get lost in weird ideas and strange postings, never mind the local or even national newspaper. Truth is complicated and not only because Maths is complicated as are Physics and Astronomy, but rather all of life is so intricate, complex, and intertwined especially when different people of different generations, nations and cultures get involved. Putting together Wikipedia is something like that. Following a series like “Game of Thrones” you see, there is no easy answer to any of those complicated issues – especially with man´s heart being a den of covetousness, deception, and downright evil.

No wonder the faithful are afflicted and go through dark valleys of death, loss, and mourning. Often, they are only left with cries of lament. (cf. Psalm 42&43). Still, there are some basic parameters – and that´s old news – even to the wise King of old, who taught us:

Fearing the Lord is the beginning of discernment, but fools have despised wisdom and moral instruction.

Proverbs 1,7

It´s an old fad, that fools claim, there is no God (Psalm 14), but still far too many follow that route. However, we won´t be put off by such vain speculation (Psalm 37 & 73). We recall the venerable preacher, who claimed:

What exists now is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth…

Ecclesiastes 1,9

– and wait for the Lord and His salvation as the Psalmist impresses on us:

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…For me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

Psalm 73,23ff

He has answered our prayers and sent His only begotten Son to lead and guide us in His truth – His word is the truth. He is the source of all wisdom and true discernment. To Him we pray for the gift of His Holy Spirit – to lead and guide us in all truth. His Word is the truth + and to Him we raise the songs of thankfulness and praise, for He answers our prayers – and changes all our plain and simple waters into wine :

Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to thee we raise;
manifested by the star
to the sages from afar,
branch of royal David’s stem
in thy birth at Bethlehem:
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in flesh made manifest.

Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
prophet, priest, and king supreme;
and at Cana wedding guest
in thy Godhead manifest;
manifest in pow’r divine,
changing water into wine;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in flesh made manifest.

Manifest in making whole
weakened body, fainting soul;
manifest in valiant fight,
quelling all the devil’s might;
manifest in gracious will,
ever bringing good from ill:
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in flesh made manifest.

Grant us grace to see thee, Lord,
present in thy holy word;
grace to imitate thee now
and be pure, as pure art thou;
that we might become like thee
at thy great epiphany,
and may praise thee, ever blest,
God in flesh made manifest.

Christopher Wordsworth, 1807-1885, alt

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
This entry was posted in Bibel und Übersetzung, Epiphany, Gedankensplitter, Hymns and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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