2nd Sunday after Trinity

Jesus Christ our Lord and God invites: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11,28)

Introit from Psalm 36: Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen. (Verses 6-9)

God’s holy Word from holy prophet Isaiah the 55th chapter: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. (Verses 1-5)

The Epistle to the Ephesians the 2nd chapter:  And (our Lord Jesus Christ) came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Verses 17-22)

The Holy Gospel according to the apostle and evangelist St. Luke the 14thchapter: And when one of them that sat at meat with him (our Lord IX) heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (Verses 15-24)

Sermon for this Sunday from the 1st Letter to the Corinthians the 14th chapter: Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort… Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. (Verses 1-3.20-25)

Liturgical colour: Green

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this 2nd Sunday after Trinity: Almighty and most merciful God, You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to seek and to save the lost. Graciously open our ears and our hearts to hear His call and to follow Him by faith that we may feast with Him forever in His kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn for this Sunday: Come unto Me, Saith God the Son… 

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However, if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

 

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1st Sunday after Trinity

Jesus Christ our Lord and God said: “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

Introit from Psalm 119: Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. (Verses 153-154.174-175)

God’s holy Word from the Old Testament in the 5th book of Moses (Deuteronomy) the sixth chapter: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Verses 4-9)

The Epistle from the first epistle of the holy apostle and evangelist St. John the 4th chapter:  God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (Verses 16b-21)

The Holy Gospel according to the apostle and evangelist St. Luke the sixteenth chapter: There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,  And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Verses 19-31)

Sermon text for this Sunday from the holy Prophet Jeremiah the 23 chapter: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Verses 16-29)

Liturgical colour: Green

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this first Sunday after Trinity: O God, the strength of all who trust in You, mercifully accept our prayers; and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing, grant us Your grace to keep Your commandments that we may please You in both will and deed; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn for this Sunday:

  1. To God the Holy Spirit let us pray Most of all for faith upon our way That He may defend us when life is ending And from exile home we are wending. Lord, have mercy!
  2. O sweetest Love, Your grace on us bestow; Set our hearts with sacred fire aglow That with hearts united we love each other, Every stranger, sister, and brother. Lord, have mercy!
  3. Transcendent Comfort in our every need, Help us neither scorn nor death to heed That we may not falter nor courage fail us When the foe shall taunt and assail us. Lord, have mercy!
  4. Shine in our hearts, O Spirit, precious light; Teach us Jesus Christ to know aright That we may abide in the Lord who bought us, Till to our true home He has brought us. Lord, have mercy!

Martin Luther 1483-1546

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However, if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

 

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Holiday of the Holy Trinity

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Watchword from the holy prophet Isaiah 6:3)

Introit from Psalm 145: I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen. (Verses 1.3-4.13a)

God’s holy Word from the Old Testament by the holy prophet Isaiah the sixth chapter: In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.  But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof. (This is also the sermon text)

The Epistle of the holy apostle St. Paul to the Romans the eleventh chapter:  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Verses 33-36)

The Holy Gospel according to the apostle and evangelist St. John the third chapter: There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (Verses 1-15)

God’s word for the Sermon the Epistle to the Ephesians chapter 1 verses 3-14:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[a] predestined us for adoption to sonship[b] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[c] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In him we were also chosen,[d] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

And here is my sermon on this epistle to read: Eph1,3-14 Trinitatis 2018 St.Pauls and to listen to: 

Liturgical colour: White

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this high Holiday of the Church: Almighty and everlasting God, You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true faith and to worship the Unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for You, o Father, Son and Holy Spirit, live and reign, one God, now and forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn for this Sunday:“Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest” by Rhabanus Maurus, 776-856 translated by Edward Caswall, 1814-1878

  1. Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
    Vouchsafe within our souls to rest;
    Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
    And fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
  2. To Thee, the Comforter, we cry,
    To Thee, the Gift of God Most High,
    The Fount of life, the Fire of love,
    The soul’s Anointing from above.
  3. The sevenfold gifts of grace are Thine,
    O Finger of the Hand Divine;
    True promise of the Father Thou,
    Who dost the tongue with speech endow.
  4. Thy light to every thought impart
    And shed Thy love in every heart;
    The weakness of our mortal state
    With deathless might invigorate.
  5. Drive far away our wily Foe
    And Thine abiding peace bestow;
    If Thou be our protecting Guide,
    No evil can our steps betide.
  6. Make Thou to us the Father known,
    Teach us the eternal Son to won
    And Thee, whose name we ever bless,
    Of both the Spirit, to confess.
  7. Praise we the Father and the Son
    And Holy Spirit, with them One;
    And may the Son on us bestow
    The gifts that from the Spirit flow! Amen.

Hymn #233  The Lutheran Hymnal Text: John 14:26 Author: Rhabanus Maurus, 856
translated by: Edward Caswall, 1849, Tune: “Komm, Gott Schöpfer” based on “Veni, Creator Spiritus,” c. 600

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However, if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

 

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Obituary for Ben Mathibe Mokopanele (Ps.147,3)

At the funeral of our long-time student representative at the Lutheran Theological Semianary in Tshwane the rector was absent and so was his representative. So the MC asked me to say a few words in  commemoration of the deceased, who passed away on the 13th of this month and was buried on the 19th. I gladly complied, because he was special to the Seminary, to our church and also to me personally – a good friend and true brother. He had shown us the best of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa and we surely miss him. It is as the venerable prophet says of our God and Lord IX: “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Is.53,12). I aimed at the daily reading from Psalm 147:3 “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”

Posted in LTS in Tshwane, Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, Obituary, Uncategorized, You comfort me + | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

High Holiday of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on Pentecost

Pentecost celebrations

“This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Watchword from the prophet Zechariah 4:6  )

Introit from Psalm 118: This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (verses 24-28)

God’s holy Word from the Old Testament by the holy prophet Ezekiel the thirty-sixth chapter: Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

The Epistle from Acts the second chapter:  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

The Holy Gospel according to the apostle and evangelist St. John the fourteenth chapter: Our Lord Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.

The sermon for this Sunday is based on the first Epistle of the apostle St. Paul to the Corinthians the second chapter: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ. (12-16)

Liturgical colour: Red (The Holy Spirit, the Church, the office of the ministry and mission)

Together with the Christian Church we pray this collect for this high Holiday of the Church: Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn for this Sunday:“Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord!”

  1. Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord!
    Be all Thy graces now out poured
    On each believer’s mind and heart;
    Thy fervent love to them impart.
    Lord, by the brightness of Thy light,
    Thou in the faith dost men unite
    Of every land and every tongue;
    This to Thy praise, O Lord, our God, be sung.
    Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
  2. Thou holy Light, Guide Divine,
    Oh, cause the Word of Life to shine!
    Teach us to know our God aright
    And call Him Father with delight.
    From every error keep us free;
    Let none but Christ our Master be
    That we in living faith abide,
    In Him, our Lord, with all our might confide.
    Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
  3. Thou holy Fire, Comfort true,
    Grant us the will Thy work to do
    And in Thy service to abide;
    Let trials turn us not aside.
    Lord, by Thy power prepare each heart
    And to our weakness strength impart
    That bravely here we may contend,
    Through life and death to Thee, our Lord, ascend.
    Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Hymn 224  The Lutheran Hymnal Text: Acts 2: 4
Author: Martin Luther (1483-1546): “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However, if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

 

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7th Sunday in Easter: “Exaudi Domine vocem meam…”

Introit: Hearken, O Lord, unto my voice which has called out to you, alleluia; my heart declared to you: “Your countenance have I sought; I shall ever seek your countenance, O Lord; do not turn your face from me, alleluia, alleluia.” The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen. Hallelujah.

Watchword from John 12:32

Jesus says: When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.

Old Testament lesson Jeremiah 31:31-34

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.  33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (This is the Word of God for the Sermon)

Epistle lesson Ephesians 4:2b-16

Be patient, bearing with one another in love.  3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called–  5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”  9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)  11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,  12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

The holy Gospel according to the evangelist St.Matthew 13.

Jesus Christ told another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”  33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

The liturgical color is white

The Hymn for this Sunday

1. Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ,
dass du vom Tod erstanden bist
und hast dem Tod zerstört sein Macht
und uns zum Leben wiederbracht.
Halleluja.

2. Wir bitten dich durch deine Gnad:
Nimm von uns unsre Missetat
und hilf uns durch die Güte dein,
dass wir dein treuen Diener sein.
Halleluja.

3. Gott Vater in dem höchsten Thron
samt seinem eingebornen Sohn,
dem Heilgen Geist in gleicher Weis
in Ewigkeit sei Lob und Preis!
Halleluja.

Nikolaus Herman 1560 (Strophe 1); Thomas Hartmann 1604 (Strophe 2); Iglau, Mähren 1591 (Strophe 3)

We pray with a collect for this 7th Sunday in Easter (Exaudi): O King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation, but send us the Spirit of truth whom You promised from the Father; for you live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. (LSB Pastoral Care Companion Pg.560)

If you are called to preach this Sunday, may the triune God give you joy and strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However, if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen for God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

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The High Holiday of Christ’s Ascension

The Watchword

Our Lord Jesus Christ promised: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32)

The Introit Psalm 47

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah. God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen. Hallelujah.

Old Testament lesson 1 Kings chapter 8

And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart: Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.

And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee today. (Verses 22-24.26-29)

The Epistle lesson Acts chapter 1

To whom also our Lord IX shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Verses 3-11)

The Gospel St. Luke chapter 24

And our Lord IX said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. (Verses 44-53)

The Sermon based on Revelations chapter 1

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Verses 4-8)

The liturgical colour is white

The Hymn for this high Holiday

  1. Up through endless ranks of angels,
    cries of triumph in his ears,
    to his heavenly throne ascending,
    having vanquished all their fears,
    Christ looks down upon his faithful,
    leaving them in happy tears.
  2. Death-destroying, life-restoring,
    proven equal to our need,
    now for us before the Father
    as our brother intercede:
    flesh that for our world was wounded,
    living, for the wounded plead.
  3. To our lives of wanton wandering
    send your promised Spirit-Guide,
    through our lives of fear and failure
    with your power and love abide:
    welcome us, as you were welcomed,
    to an endless Eastertide.
  4. Alleluia, alleluia,
    oh, to breathe the Spirit’s grace!
    Alleluia, alleluia,
    oh, to see the Father’s face!
    Alleluia, alleluia,
    oh, to feel the Son’s embrace!

Text: Jaroslav J. Jajda, 1973. (c) 1974

We pray with a collect for this Holy Feast of Ascension: Almighty God, as Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. (LSB Altar Book Pg.899)

If you are called to preach this holiday, may the triune God give you joy and strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

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5th Sunday in Easter: Cantate Domino…  

Introit from Psalm 98

O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. (Verses 1-4)

God’s Holy Word from the prophet Isaiah the twelfth chapter

 In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.  Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” (1-6)

The Epistle from the apostle St. Paul to the Colossians the third chapter

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  (12-17)

The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew the 11th chapter 

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (11-30)

The sermon for this Sunday is based on Acts the 16th chapter

And when they (soldiers & prison wardens) had laid many stripes upon them (Paul & Silas), they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. (23-34)

The liturgical colour is white.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday: O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn for this Sunday:

  1. Lob Gott getrost mit Singen, frohlock, du christlich Schar!
    Dir soll es nicht misslingen, Gott hilft dir immerdar.
    Ob du gleich hier musst tragen viel Widerwärtigkeit,
    noch sollst du nicht verzagen; er hilft aus allem Leid.
  2. Dich hat er sich erkoren, durch sein Wort auferbaut,
    mit seinem Eid geschworen, weil du ihm bist vertraut,
    dass er sich lässet finden in aller Angst und Not;
    er wird auch überwinden, die dich noch schmähn mit Spott.
  3. Kann und mag auch verlassen ein Mutter je ihr Kind
    und also gar verstoßen, dass es kein Gnad mehr findt?
    Und ob sich’s möcht begeben, dass sie so sehr abfiel:
    Gott schwört bei seinem Leben, er dich nicht lassen will.
  4. Darum lass dich nicht schrecken, o du christgläubge Schar!
    Gott wird dir Hilf erwecken und dein selbst nehmen wahr.
    Hat er dich doch gezeichnet, gegraben in sein Händ:
    dein Nam stets vor ihm leuchtet, dass er dir Hilfe send.
  5. Gott solln wir fröhlich loben, der sich aus großer Gnad
    durch seine guten Gaben uns kundgegeben hat.
    Er wird uns auch erhalten in Lieb und Einigkeit
    und unser freundlich walten hier und in Ewigkeit.

Böhmische Brüder 1544

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However, if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

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No matter what happens…

 

“No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” (Jewish Proverb) And going from the US Midwest to Germany’s heartland is no different. Can you imagine the poor girl, who thought I ran off with her suitcase at O’Hare International? And bear with me, can you imagine her inner state of affairs, once she checked my bag hopelessly overweight with books and Luther materials and found out, that it was not hers? Now she did not only have to try and get this situation zipped up again, which was tough enough, but she had to go through all the fear all over again because in the meantime, all dangerous nutters out there could have descended on her bag and made off with it whilst she was off on the wrong track and all caught up unzipping and zipping my baggage. Poor girl! Life can be so cruel.

After all, I did not land up between those giant ladies from down south as I had fearfullz fantasized previously. The real neighbours turned out to be rather cheery specimens from St.Louis and Tucson. The first was visiting her brother, who was stationed as a fighter pilot in Kaiserslautern or Ramstein (She was not quite sure!), but he was to be transferred to the S.Pacific soon, for all she knew. So, she was making the best of the situation and catching up with him, planning to take a whirlwind tour of what our forebears considered their homeland for centuries in the old dazs. She was all exited about this tour de force. It was her first trip abroad. So she watched movies all night and kept herself fueled with energy dispensed by ever helpful crew.

Every time, I opened my eyes a bit there was this screen glittering away with this or that story. She didn’t pull down the blinds either. Perhaps she wanted to catch the first glimps of European sun light. So the early rays soon gave that glimmering screen serious competition. It really was just past midnight Central American Time, but we were just so quick at rushing towards the rising sun out East. That would teach me not to forget my old balaclava, never mind the earplugs.

We were seated amongst this huge school class, which was going to do Germany in the next 5 weeks. They were as fit as my neighbor on the right. Trying to go full blast from the word go and not wind down until they were back home or in the classroom. Now was the time to go wild. So they kept howling like a bunch of jungle apes impressive in decibel output. I couldn’t catch a work, it was more like shrieking Piha birds or Hadeda Ibis back home. The meaning remained a mystery, but the volume beat out loud and clear. Ideal conditions for an old traveler to yearn for the quiet of home or at least some hidden hermitage. I watched “Darkest hour” instead, but Churchill’s mumblings were drowned too often in the cacophony. I’ll really have to do that film again.

On the left was a missionary on her way to Kenya. She had visited her parents in Tucson and was now back to join her husband working for some American Health Organization struggling with the HIV/Aids pandemic in Central Africa. She had travelled much further already than I had – Ft.Wayne is  only ½ hour away from O’Hare – and she had another 8 hours to go from Frankfurt to Nairobi still. And that was without the travel time by car or donkey cart or on foot. They say, missionaries do that for days, even weeks – never tiring, just on the move on a higher mission from God. So, what was I complaining about? She had slept like a Zulu. All wrapped up in her blankets from head to toe. They say, the Zulus do that even as the prop up their beds on bricks, so that the feared tokoloshe doesn’t get to them. I’m sure, flying at 10km in the sky, we were pretty much out of reach for these devilish creatures. Still, I probably should have followed suit and covered my head with that blanket like a turban too. Then I wouldn’t have noticed that screen nor the rising sun nor those screetching kids.

We from the older generation both enjoyed the piping hot Pasta, which really was the best I’ve had on any airplane so far. Perhaps it helped, that I had that Chilly con carne some hours ago. She had some red wine, the other preferred white. I stuck with bock beer. The choice was Heineken or Shiner Bock. I choose the later, because I knew the former. This new one wasn’t bad. Nothing fancy. Glad for that. Thanks to Churchill’s motivational speeches and this beer started in 1973 (i.e. before I got confirmed!), I slept ok. See, that’s normally the case – thank God – and I only used the flashing screen and the rising sun as story fillers. You never know, when starting the story, whether you’ll end up with enough to go the whole session.  The flashing light really wasn’t an issue at all, neither were those teenagers. I was just happy, that I wouldn’t do the 5 weeks with them. 9 hours on the plane was enough. The young teachers accompanying them were obviously better suited for this job. They were in the row in front of us and watched one Pixar movie after the other. Obviously the next generation – cartoons, virtual reality, plastic and tattoos, piercings and stylish hair glues. I still regret, that I didn’t ask the taxi driver to the John Wayne airport, what his tattoos were all about. I had inwardly debated the right to privacy, but there was an obvious desire to communicate the screaming images from his side. Conflicting situation. No questions asked, no answers given. So, I missed that chance and just have simple speculation from my side.

Travelling on with the train through early summer on a bright Friday in Hesse, Thuringia, Saxony and finally Saxony-Anhalt was relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable. Especially as I had my seat booked well in advance and didn’t have any real issues like that young girl from Eritrea, who had just gotten on the wrong train in Frankfurt and was on her way to Fulda instead of Würzburg. That wasn’t the worst of her troubles. She had actually left her 2 children – a son and a daughter – behind on the station platform as she got her suitcases stowed. Can you imagine? Even the stoic ticket collector went so far declaring: “We’ve got a crisis!” That daughter of hers was but 7 months old. Imagine the little brother at Frankfurt Main without his mother and burdened with a helpless sister not even able to walk or talk. It would just be a few hours and they’d probably both be crying at the top of their voices in some Eritrean dialect. Their mother was but a girl, lost in a strange land on the way to some distant friends of the husband, somewhere in Bavaria, whilst she was on her way in another direction and without a clue, how to get back on track. However, her only worry was, whether the conductor would be angry with her for not having a valid ticket. Oh my, oh my. The irony of it all. No wonder the Leftist and Green Party tried to decriminalize the ticket business to a minor offense last week. Still, they didn’t get through with it in parlament. Imagine all those free rides across Europe by train. I wonder, if I also wouldn’t have gone for the free option.

The Eritrean mother was not a member of Mekane Yesous as I had hoped. Rather, she was a Muslima and one of three wives. Obviously her husband was not as advanced as our previous president, who is now all out to marry his 7th wife. Zumzum is well over 70. One wife per decade and still going strong. His latest capture is scarcely 24. I don’t get it. Can’t she do better than that? She doesn’t look at a loss. She’s a pretty lass. Her eyes don’t seem dull either. I wonder, what makes her do this. Is it love? Is it a business deal? What’s it about? She’s going to be one of a crowd not so special in any sort of way. She’s not even going to get the pension of the other president’s many accomplices in crime and bedded life. Even his inheritance is limited split up 7 ways and that not counting 25 kids – nearly half legitimate. And will he have to pay for those 283 cases of fraudulent crime, he’s accused of? But Zumzum is no Muslim like this Eritrean. His polygamy is part of his   “traditional African chief” and specifically Zulu strongman thing. Like Putin putting on that Tsar’s gown and trying to hide under that ancient glory. However, I’m reminded of Mark Sanders, who made it very clear in his excellent book “Learning Zulu”, that Zuma’s way was not traditional Zulu, but a very corrupted version of that fine tradition from my home- and fatherland. Ever since his forebears colluded with the British taking even old tribal lands from the Zulu for his betrayal, he has been on deceitful and crooked paths. Hey, South Africa is supposed to be far away and so is Swaziland. And still, the first Advert I saw in Leipzig on the bulletin board in the station was of the King Mswati’s idea of renaming his kingdom to eSwatini. As if they didn’t have enough troubles than name changes, but that is another topic. Well, the little Muslima from Eritrea eventually got off in Fulda and hopefully found her way back to her children. Hopefully these would not be too traumatized by this experience, which sounds very much like from the great wars back then and not from current Germany.

A Saxon couple sitting opposite me was very comfortable in their delightful dialect. I couldn’t help myself, but got caught up chatting with them. Anything to hear their beautiful melodious mouthing of words and ideas. Luther must have talked something like that back then. At least somewhat similar and probably just as witty and humerous too. I would have listened to him for hours on end, no question. Well, these two were on their way home after a 6 week tour to India. They were so impressed, that it was much cleaner than 10 years ago and things did look up and more organized now than then. At least from their perspective. They didn’t even burn widows alive anymore. At least not legally and only sometimes. Now that was positive developement if ever there was one. Especially from the widows viewpoint, I dare say. Still, there was still ways to go before things would be nearly as good as back home in Risa.  Tea was ok. Coffee was bad. Hotels had air conditioners and reasonable facilities. Still, they were happy to be back in good old Saxony. It was just too hot down in the subcontinent. And those many people on the trains, in the streets, literally everywhere. For me, just another opportunity to draw attention to Vishal Mangalwadi: “The Book that made your world”. And that’s where our discussion ended. Not that they were turned off by this reference. No, it was less prosaic than that. They had failed to reserve their seats. Now the ticket owners of those seats had arrived and were claiming them as their rightful theirs. So the Indian story was cut short. It remains incomplete, imperfect and far from a truthful reflection of that far off place. Just a brief impression shared by foreign tourists with own biases and prejudices. If they would have only stayed on in India for another lifetime or more (you know it takes reincarnation and quite a number of lifetimes to reach enlightenment – if ever!). Still, they might have eventually seen it differently, perhaps even the light or at least perceived things more compassionately and finally even reached nirvana. Who knows? To complete the act follow up with little shakes of head, this way and that, crooning softly, smiling, click clack and move on. I’m not at all convinced and remain highly skeptical. Mangalwadi has a point after all and more. Read him for yourself and see.

In Leipzig I had to leave the speed train (ICE), which was moving on to Dresden and board the S-Bahn to Wittenberg. That’s where I saw that Swaziland news. I was too late to snap it. I was glad to get to the next train in the subterranean basement in good time. Eventually I sat in a compartment for bicycles and other copious luggage. Clinging to my bags and grateful that I got a seat to myself, I watched others comfortably tie their cycles to the railings available and relax in the German summer. As soon as the train got moving, we saw the brilliant sunlight again. It was Friday afternoon and people were looking forward to the weekend. I saw a number of young mothers pushing prams, nursing babies, working through homework with little kids. Playing something like cards in preparation for school. Learning to count, to read, to combine things logically, to thinnk straight. It was a happy sight and it was good to see the joyful care provided. One little daughter was wearing a crown of flowers to match her brilliant white dress. Quite the princess. Her brother was content in the pram. Drinking from his bottle.  Their tatooed mother was obviously caring well for both. She was not loosing sight of the children, never mind leaving them alone in the woods, the train station or some other hidious place. Good for her, good for them. For there are just too many dangers out there.  I actually saw an extremely ugly couple on that train. Not old – 35 or so. Rotten teeth. Only stumps left. Perhaps they weren’t to be called teeth, but tusks. Skew and awkward in the mouth, brown and I’m sure with a distinct odour too. Not healthy. Not inviting. Both looked like some old wizardry couple, despite their fairly young age . They were not to be likened to some romanticized version from Kathy Rawlings, but rather akin to those German originals depicted by Brothers Grimm. Quite frightful to look at. Something like the “Hough” I knew to fear as a child in Enhlanhleni. That old depraved hunchback sneaking along those lonely tracks crossing barren bushland, shouting her fearsome “Hough” in some demented, forlorn, stubborn and yet strangely threatening way. She had her face painted blood red with floor polish and her hair was on fire too. Rather like some ghoulish tokolosche. Well, these Germans in the train didn’t shout or act too strangely even though they kept to themselves and just peered over to my side now and again furtively. But they did look hideous. They had been out shopping. Bought some harless garden lamps amongst other things popping out of their filled bags. Smiling sheepishly, they were obviously looking forward to the summer celebrations outside somewhere, perhaps in their very own garden patch with the obligatory “Pfefferkuchenhäuschen” and the attached furnace notorious from the days of “Hänsel & Gretel”. I’m just grateful, that they didn’t get to hear about those 2 little Eritreans lost at the Frankfurt station. Can you imagine, how my story would have ended then? But who knows, what was in the bottom of their plump bags even as they jostled around with their colorful lamps and things, preparing for some morbid party under the moon somewhere along the dark Elbe river. Meantime in Wittenberg the moon is rising. Tourists enjoy fireworks. Unaware of those lurking dangers beyond. The clock strikes another passing hour. It gets darker still.

High time to revive the office of the watchman going through town and keeping an benevolent eye on things. He, the one, who alerts us of the passing hours and the coming daylight too. Singing the old tunes and ways as the “Wiener Sängerknaben” impress on us so impressively and faithfully even though they here sing but a few of the views handed down traditionally:

  1. Hört, Ihr Herrn, und laßt euch sagen unsere Glock´ hat neun geschlagen! Waret das Feuer und das Licht Daß dem Haus kein Leid geschicht ! Menschen wachen kann nichts nützen Gott muß wachen, Gott muß schützen Herr, durch deine Güt´ und Macht schenk uns eine gute Nacht!
  2. Hört, ihr Herrn, und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat zehn geschlagen.
    Zehn Gebote setzt Gott ein;
    daß wir gehorsam sein!
  3. Menschenwachen kann nichts nützen;
    Gott muß wachen, Gott muß schützen.
    Herr, durch deine Güt und Macht
    gib uns eine gute Nacht!
  4. Hört, ihr Herrn, und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat elf geschlagen!
    Elf der Jünger bleiben treu,
    einer trieb Verräterei.
  5. Hört, ihr Herrn, und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat zwölf geschlagen!
    Zwölf, das ist das Ziel der Zeit.
    Mensch, bedenk die Ewigkeit!
  6. Hört, ihr Herrn und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat eins geschlagen!
    Ist nur ein Gott in der Welt,
    ihm sei alles anheimgestellt.
  7. Hört, ihr Herrn und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat zwei geschlagen!
    Zwei Weg hat der Mensch vor sich.
    Herr, den rechten lehre mich!
  8. Hört, ihr Herrn und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat drei geschlagen!
    Drei ist eins, was göttlich heißt:
    Vater, Sohn und Heiliger Geist.
  9. Hört, ihr Herrn und laßt euch sagen:
    unsre Glock hat vier geschlagen!
    Vierfach ist das Ackerfeld.
    Mensch, wie ist dein Herz bestellt?
  10. Alle Sternlein müssen schwinden,
    und der Tag wird sich einfinden.
    Danket Gott, der uns die Nacht
    hat so väterlich bewacht!

 

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Jubilate: 3rd Sunday after Easter

 

Watchword from the 2nd epistle of the apostle St. Paul to the Corinthians in the 5th chapter:“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (Verse 17)

Introit from Psalm 66 Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

God’s Holy Word from the 1st book of Moses (Genesis) the first and second chapter: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. (1,1-4.26-31; 2,1-4a)

The Epistle from the first letter of the apostle and evangelist St. John the fifth chapter: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.  This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1-4)

The Holy Gospel according to the apostle and evangelist St. John the 15th chapter:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (1-8)

The sermon for this Sunday is based on the 2nd letter of the missionary & apostle St. Paul to the Corinthians the 4 chapter: Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (16-18)

The liturgical color is white.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday “Almighty God, who showest to them that be in error the light of Thy truth to the intent that they may returning to the way of righteousness, grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion that they may eshew those things that are contrary to their profession and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

Hymn for this Sunday: 

  1. Mit Freuden zart zu dieser Fahrt lasst uns zugleich fröhlich singen, beid, groß und klein, von Herzen rein mit hellem Ton frei erklingen. Das ewig Heil wird uns zuteil, denn Jesus Christ erstanden ist, welchs er lässt reichlich verkünden. 
  2.  Er ist der Erst, der stark und fest all unsre Feind hat bezwungen und durch den Tod als wahrer Gott zum neuen Leben gedrungen, auch seiner Schar verheißen klar durch sein rein Wort, zur Himmelspfort desgleichen Sieg zu erlangen. 
  3. Singt Lob und Dank mit freiem Klang unserm Herrn zu allen Zeiten und tut sein Ehr je mehr und mehr mit Wort und Tat weit ausbreiten: so wird er uns aus Lieb und Gunst nach unserm Tod, frei aller Not, zur ewgen Freude geleiten.

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However, if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

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