18th Sunday after Trinity

Watchword for the 18th Sunday after Trinity: And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1Jo 4:21 NIV)

The Introit is from Psalm 122: 

I was glad when they said to me,

“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

2 Our feet have been standing

within your gates, O Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem—built as a city

that is bound firmly together,

4 to which the tribes go up,

the tribes of the Lord,

as was decreed for Israel,

to give thanks to the name of the Lord.

5 There thrones for judgment were set,

the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

“May they be secure who love you!

7 Peace be within your walls

and security within your towers!”

8 For my brothers and companions’ sake

I will say, “Peace be within you!”

9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,

I will seek your good.

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.

Lesson from the Old Testament from the 2nd book of Moses (Exodus) the 20th chapter: “And God spoke all these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.  “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.  “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Verses 1-17)

The epistle lesson from the letter of the apostle St. Paul to the Romans in the 14th chapter: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,  because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Verses 17-19)

The holy gospel according to the evangelist St. Mark in the 12th chapter: “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. (Verses 28-34)

The Sermon for this Sunday is based on the gospel of St. Mark, the 10th chapter: As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good– except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Verses 17-27)

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for the 18th Sunday after Trinity: O God, forasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee, mercifully grant that Thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn for the week: “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart” by Martin Schalling, 1532-1608 translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1829-1878

1. Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;
I pray Thee ne’er from me depart,
With tender mercies cheer me.
Earth has no pleasure I would share,
Yea, heaven itself were void and bare
If Thou, Lord, wert not near me.
And should my heart for sorrow break,
My trust in Thee no one could shake.
Thou art the Portion I have sought;
Thy precious blood my soul has bought.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word.

2. Yea, Lord, ’twas Thy rich bounty gave
My body, soul, and all I have
In this poor life of labor.
Lord, grant that I in every place
May glorify Thy lavish grace
And serve and help my neighbor.
Let no false doctrine me beguile
And Satan not my soul defile.
Give strength and patience unto me
To bear my cross and follow Thee.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
In death Thy comfort still afford.

3. Lord, let at last Thine angels come,
To Abram’s bosom bear me home,
That I may die unfearing;
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until Thy reappearing.
And then from death awaken me
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face,
My Savior and my Fount of grace,
Lord Jesus Christ,
My prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.

Hymn #429 from The Lutheran Hymnal Text: Psalm 18
Author: Martin Schalling, c. 1567 translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt.
Titled: “Herzlich lieb hab’ ich dich, o Herr” 1st Published in: Bernhard Schmid’s Orgelbuch: Strassburg, 1577

If you are called to preach this weekend, 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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Günter Scharlach in Bleckmar, Germany

Here are some pictures of Günter Scharlach’s time as theology student in the Lutheran Mission Seminary, Bleckmar, at the LTH Oberursel i.T. and also in Hamburg at the Mission Academy.

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Günter Scharlach on his way to marry Ingrid Ringelmann in Kirchdorf, KZN.

These are the first electronic copies after scanning some of those family photos showing Günter Scharlach’s final years in Bleckmar, Germany after World War II and coming to South Africa to be ordained and installed as pastor in Lüneburg, KZN and getting married to Ingrid Ringelmann from Kirchdorf, KZN.

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17th Sunday after Trinity

Watchword for the 16th Sunday after Trinity: This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (1Jo5:4b)

The Introit is from Psalm 25:  Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.  Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. (Verses 8.10.14-15)

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.

Lesson from the Old Testament from the prophet Isaiah the 49th chapter: “Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” (Verses 1-6)

The epistle lesson from the letter of the apostle St. Paul to the Romans in the 10th chapter: “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” (Verses 9-17)

The holy gospel according to the evangelist St. Matthew in the 15th chapter: “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. (Verses 21-28)

The Sermon for this Sunday is based on the gospel of St. Mark, the 9th chapter: nd one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth Awith his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.  When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. (Verses 17-27)

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for the 17th Sunday after Trinity: Lord, we implore You, grant Your people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow You, the only God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (LSB Altar Book Pg. 926)

Hymn for the week: ‘Seek Where You May to Find a Way” by: Georg Weissel

Seek were you may
To find a way,
Restless, toward your salvation.
My heart is stilled,
On Christ I build,
He is the one foundation.
His word is sure,
His works endure;
He over throws
All evil foes;
Through him I more than conquer.

Seek whom you may
To be your stay,
None can redeem his brother.
All helper. Failed;
This man prevailed,
The God man and none other,
Our Servant King
Of whom we sing.
We’re justified
Because he died,
The guilty being guiltless.

Seek him alone,
Do not postpone;
Let him your soul deliver.
All you who thirst,
Go to him first
Whose grace flows like a river.
Seek him indeed
In every need;
He will impart
To every heart
The fullness of his treasure.

My heart’s delight,
My crown most bright,
O Christ, my joy forever.
Not wealth nor pride
Nor fortune’s tide
Our bonds of love shall sever.
You are my Lord;
Your precious Word
Shall guide my way
And help me stay
Forever in your presence.

Hymn # 358 from Lutheran Worship Author: Johann Stobaus 1642

If you are called to preach this weekend, 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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Review: Learning Zulu

Mark Sanders: Learning Zulu. A secret history of language in South Africa. Wits University Press 2016.

This is a book, good to read and most informative – not just teachers of language – and not only because it was my wife’s idea of a great birthday present. She was right of course, because this book is about learning the language most spoken in Southern Africa – not just in KwaZulu and our nation, but across the borders in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi – and about lots more. It’s an eye-opener for students learning the language like me, but also for citizens and others, who want to make some more sense of our situation and people. It’s very helpful, because it uncovers layers of vital knowledge and wisdom, which normally are not raised when learning a language – never mind isiZulu.

Mark Sanders is professor of comparative literature at New York University and has written extensively on South African politics, language and race issues in a scholarly fashion, enlightening, surprising and provocative. He’s come a long way from playing a minor role in that controversial musical “Ipi Tombi” at his school before it’s put on national stage and became the first “open to all races” concert at the Market Theatre.  However, it did get lots of flack overseas, so that the cast had to proclaim unequivocally: “Our entire cast is against apartheid.”[1]

The author goes far back even when tracing the steps taken “Learning Zulu, starting off with Bishop Colenso and his daughter Harriette, who surpassed her father in the proficiency of isiZulu and got more involved in the local politics and legalities than him when standing up for the persecuted Zulu monarchs in yesteryear.

He contrasts the two different ways of learning this language – either “the right, meet and salutary way” as proposed by the sage and somewhat purist Sibusiso Nyembezi (“Learn Zulu” and “Learn more Zulu”), who states: “Kudinga ukuba sifunde ngokucophelela.” (It is necessary that we read with great care) (44) or the depreciative and discriminative Fanagalo[2]: “With Fanagalo, as with the language Crusoe teaches Friday, we have an archetype of racist exploitation, and of a dehumanising of blacks by whites…” (24).

In this scholarly research, the professor shows how the initial project of “making good for historical wrong” through learning language becomes somewhat the opposite during apartheid after the ideologues have changed the purpose of language to separate the people into distinct and apart groups. Language becomes the basis for ethnic identity and separate development (Apartheid). This was very different from the initial object of getting into isiZulu. A fascinating example of the “revolt of nature” (Horkheimer).

During his long road to learning Zulu, Sanders searches for the initial owner of his 2nd hand copy “Learn more Zulu” and finds a German Lutheran Hedwig Eschen born in Germany in 1925 and working on the mission station Emmaus in Natal from 1953. “In 1974 the Berlin Missionary Society seconded her to the Bible Society of SA to help with the translation of the Bible into Swati.” (36) Just as Sanders learnt Zulu when studying Xhosa, so Hedwig learnt Swati as she was learning Zulu. The Swati Bible was published in 1996 and so Hedwig returned to Germany and before she departed, “she donated her books to the South African library.” (ebd.)

He addresses several other dictionaries and grammars e.g. P.W. Wanger (My father’s favourite and not only because it’s in delightful German, but also in such great detail and meticulously rich in examples and insightful diversity of fauna and flora, history, custom etc. Wanger was a Trappist monk from Marianhill 1917) and Doke’s “Textbook of Zulu Grammar”, “IsiZulu soqobo” etc.

Sanders goes into Zulu novels, written by his teacher Sibusiso Nyembezi: “The Rich Man from Pietermaritzburg” and especially “Mntanami, Mntanami” contrasting them with Alan Paton’s “Cry, the beloved country”, which is translated into isiZulu by the same Nyembezi. Both have the theme of paternal protest, but deal differently with the guilt and debt involved. Whereas Paton attaches strong positive value to rustic paternalism, Nyembezi cries out loud for the coming generation. Paton values the great language abilities of Jarvis – the white protagonist and the “good white man’s exceptionality” as does Nyembezi, but the latter demonstrates in his translation, how this exceptionality remains flawed and somewhat foreign, politically and morally ambiguous to say the least[3]. J.M. Coetzee calls it “Phantom Zulu” and others “Bible Zulu. It remains fascinating, how these novels reflect remarkable differences, subtleties and highlights (51ff), which Sanders picks up, because he is an attentive reader, good listener and able to argue his point too. An excellent example of a teacher if ever there was one.

Here’s an example of his insightful musings: “One learns, and then one thinks that one knows. Is it possible, in all rigor, to speak or write without claiming to know, or even to know better? There have been times when I have, imagining I know more of the language than them, assumed toward my race-kin the air of superiority and election hardly different from what one discovers in Colenso and other missionaries of his era. Learning Zulu seeks to emphasize learning – and that means relinquishing the profession to better knowledge if it connotes moral superiority. One may attempt to make good, but finally one cannot make oneself good. That is in the hands of the other.” (63 cf. 67)

And another for good measure: “This fear – a projected fear of being deprived of one’s language – is something that Khumalo appears to disavow, but he has already uttered the word ukuncima, as if the one whom “Nyembezi” has made good, threatens to become, if not his better, perhaps then his rival. Is this outcome generalizable – to all the fears of a deprivation of substance, and their allied mutual fearful projection, of fathers and sons afraid of mutual annihilation that besets these Cold War books, which leads to the phantasy of the murder of the father and the murder of the son?” (68)

Johnny Clegg – the “White Zulu” or “The White Zulu Man” (81) and his Zulu mix and music from “Juluka” and “Suvuka” fame is contrasted with the above-mentioned musical by introducing his “secret history” (82) e.g. studying under the very David Webster, who presented Sanders teacher in Jozini, Musa Mthembu, with a “bed as parting gift” (85) and wrote in his diary before his infamous assassination something well worth considering by all those, who want to learn Zulu and learn it well: “It is clear to me that my Zulu needs a ton of improvement. It must go very high on my list of priorities.” (86)

The book takes another fascinating tur, when Sanders addresses the “100% Zulu Boy” (96), who is now our president accused, but declared innocent of rape of his deceased friend’s daughter. In this chapter Sanders addresses the quandary arising, if we try to be 100% Zulu – even if not along the lines of Antjie Krog’s “Begging to be black” (96) – and the president tells us, what it really means to be a Zulu man especially in relationship with women and girls. Questions about Zulu identity and inter-personal relationships are answered by him in a way, that makes one sceptical of the exemplary role of being Zulu and talking Zulu well.

The president on his part argued that he and his Zulu tradition and culture were on trial. The victim – herself a declared lesbian – dared to contradict and question these values as outdated and illegal even. The issues were complex and not only because one of the opposing parties was obviously lying in the face of the other, while the other was just as obviously being taken for a ride. Who was who and what was the truth? The Afrikaans judge, who switched to isiZulu as he passed judgement, switched codes and played on certain symbolism himself keeping the attempts at explanation, interpretation and evaluation very academic and rather ambiguous. Sanders brings in Foucault for clarification: “being a point at which sex becomes a subject’s truth, object-choice can be used as a verifiable fact in order to test whether a subject is telling the truth.”[4] (104)

The fact that the victim’s mother was brought in, because she was legible for compensation and reparation by the offending “uncle” (Malume), didn’t make things easier to understand. “The codes of ilobolo and inhlawulo reduce everything to a set of heterosexual assumptions, functioning within a patriarchy, but more importantly – like the idea that if one is raped one must be a lesbian – they tend in practice to leave aside, or negotiate away, the matter of consent.” (109) In the end, Zuma put his Zulu education on the line. Waetjen and Mare evaluate this as a feeble excuse on his part and his cheap attempt to demonize a “vindictive woman” by declaring it a Zulu cultural commonplace to equate leaving a woman in a state of arousal as being “tantamount to rape” (112)[5]. Perhaps De Beer puts it best: “That is not Zulu tradition, it is Zuma’s tradition.”

The final chapter of this 200 pages book deals with the xenophobic attacks of 2008, which also had a very “Zulu” spin, touch and flavour. Sanders put’s this as a problem and wants to find out, whether this was inherently Zulu or just projected on to them as a suitable “black sheep in the family” cf. Inkatha. He describes, how foreigners are tested in public and on the road by letting them utter “Shiboleths” of archaic and somewhat obscure Zulu custom. Making “Zulu the language of xenophobia. Zulu is being used to discriminate against, and to deprive.” (117)

Sanders shows how 2 very influential editors in Zulu national Daily’s (Professor O.E.H.M. Nxumalo in Ilanga and Ngeso LikaVolovolo in the Isolezwe) took their stands addressing this issue again and again as these attacks on foreigners unfolded across the nation. This is a very fascinating bit of research on current affairs and reveals issues hidden to those, who can’t read Zulu daily magazines and are not privy to the insiders take on domestic matters in the Zulu landscape and ethnic enclaves and backrooms. Sanders shows that he’s got a good sense of humour, but also that he really does want to “Learn Zulu” to make things good – and not just sweep black spots of “secret history” under the carpet of “political expediency.”  In the end, he comes to a surprising judgement. Just read and see!

My highest accolades go to Sanders and I really do recommend this book to all, who want to make it good and continue learning the language of “Ubuntu” and the path to the other through this or that language.

[1] Chapter 3 goes into this history in greater detail, (74ff) but these words by Matthew Bodibe are quoted on page 77.

[2] Fallitaal, Tsotsitaal (69)

[3] “In an excellent essay on Paton, Tony Morphet shows how that fear (inherited from our forebears WW) arises from unacknowledged feelings of guilt connected to a history of colonial dispossession.” (56)

[4] “If the truth of culture is produced by the expert, say the ethnographer, just as it will have been produced by “customary law”, then propositions about culture, like those about sex, become subject to procedures of verification.” (107)

[5] The fact that Zuma compared himself to Jesus going to Calvary is not just megalomaniac, but idolatrous.

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16th Sunday after Trinity


Watchword for the 16th Sunday after Trinity: Our Savior, Christ Jesus, has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2Ti 1:10 NIV)

The Introit is from Psalm 68:  Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Jehovah, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto Godthe Lord belong the issues from death. (Verses 5f.20f)

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.

Lesson from the Old Testament is from Lamentations the 3rd chapter: “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD… For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. (22-32 KJV. This is also the text assigned for this Sunday’s sermon)

The epistle lesson from the second letter of the apostle St. Paul to St. Timothy in the 1st chapter: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (7-10 KJV)

The holy gospel according to the evangelist St. John in the 11th chapter: “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha… Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick… Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world…. Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. (1.3.17-27.41-45 KJV)

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for the 16th Sunday after Trinity: O Lord, we pray that Your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may continually be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (LSB Altar Book Pg. 926)

Hymn for the week: “He’s Risen, He’s Risen” by: C. Ferdinand Walther

  1. He’s risen, he’s risen, Christ Jesus, the Lord;
    Death’s prison he opened, incarnate, true Word.
    Break forth, hosts of heaven, in jubilant song
    While earth, sea, and mountain the praises prolong.
  2. The foe was triumphant when on Calvary
    The Lord of creation was nailed to the tree.
    In Satan’s domain his hosts shouted and jeered,
    For Jesus was slain, whom the evil ones feared.
  3. But short was their triumph, the Savior arose,
    And death, hell, and Satan he vanquished, his foes;
    The conquering Lord lifts his banner on high.
    He lives, yes, he lives, and will nevermore die.
  4. Oh, where is your sting, death? We fear you no more;
    Christ rose, and now open is fair Eden’s door.
    For all our transgressions his blood does atone;
    Redeemed and forgiven, we now are his own.
  5. Then sing your hosannas and raise your glad voice;
    Proclaim the blest tidings that all may rejoice.
    Laud, honor, and praise to the Lamb that was slain;
    In glory he reigns, yes, and ever shall reign.

Hymn # 138 from Lutheran Worship author of text and tune: C. F. W. Walther

If you are called to preach this weekend, 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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Matins in the morning

Here’s this morning’s sermonette on God’s gracious providence as he takes care of his prophet Elijah hiding him near the brook Kerith and feeding him with ravens: 

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Simeon’s “Nunc Dimittis” in pictures

This mornings classes on the presentation of the little baby Jesus – eight days old – in the temple concentrated on Simeon’s “Nunc Dimittis”. Here are some pictures used as illustration. One group depicting Greek and Russian icons, whereas the other is comprised entirely of paintings by the Dutch Rembrandt van Rijn. Guess which is my favourite?

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15th Sunday after Trinity


Watchword from the holy apostle St. Peter chapter 5: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1.Pt.5,7)

The Introit is from Psalm 127:  Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. 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.

God’s Holy Word from the Old Testament in the first book by the holy prophet Moses (Genesis) the second chapter: This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens–  5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground,  6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground–  7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground– trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  … 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:4b-9.10-14.15)

God’s Holy Word from the first letter of the holy apostle St. Peter chapter five: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1.Pt.5.5c-11)

The Holy Gospel by the holy evangelist St. Matthew in the sixth chapter. Our Lord IX preaches in the sermon of the Mount: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Mat 6:25-34).

The Sermon text for this 15th Sunday after Trinity is from the holy gospel of the evangelist St.Luke the eighteenth chapter: Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,  Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. (Luk 18:28-30)

The liturgical colour is green.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for the 15th Sunday after Trinity: O Lord, we implore You, let Your continual pity cleanse and defend Your Church; and because she cannot continue in safety without Your aid, preserve her evermore by Your help and goodness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (LSB Altar Book Pg. 926)

Hymn for the week:

  1. In God, my faithful God,
    I trust when dark my road;
    Great woes may overtake me,
    Yet he will not forsake me.
    It is his love that sends them;
    At his best time he ends them.

2. My sins fill me with care,
Yet I will mot despair.
I build on Christ, who loves me;
From this rock nothing moves me.
To him I will surrender,
To him, my soul’s defender.

3. If death my portion be,
It brings great gain to me;
It speeds my life’s endeavor
To live with Christ forever.
He gives me joy in sorrow,
Come death now or tomorrow.

4. “So be it,” the, I say
With all my heart each day.
Dear Lord, we all adore you,
We sing for joy before you.
Guide us while here we wander
Until we praise you yonder.

Translated by Catherine Winkworth 1827-1878.

If you are called to preach this weekend, 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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Obituary for missionary E.A.W.Weber DD DD


fullsizeoutput_4932On Saturday, the 9th September 2017 missionary E.A.W.Weber DD DD was buried in Lüneburg, KZN in the presence of his mourning wife Karin and eight of their nine children and eight of their nine sons-and-daughters-in-law with most of the grandchildren and all great-grandchildren.

Pastor loci Dieter Schnackenberg welcomed the funeral entourage at the cemetry gate of the St.Peter and Paul’s Lutheran Church after his brother and son-in-law of Weber pastor Kurt Schnackenberg had led the committal in German at Welbedacht for the close family and missionary Peter Weber had done that in isiZulu for the attending mourners from the farm at the outset. The Zulu hymns were:

  • Noma ngisaswele utho, ngihlushwa okuningi…
  • Ngishonise egazini loMsindisi wami; yena lapho emuthini wangifela nami. 
  • UJesu wami uyaphila ngizakwsaba yini na?

About 25+ pastors from the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LCSA) and the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod (FELSISA) were in attendance and remembered their teacher, father, pastor and missionary with biblical quotes in English, German, isiZulu and seTswana.

A student choir of about 30+ from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane (Pretoria, South Africa) under the baton of Mr Ben Mathibe Mokopanele sang “Amazing grace” while the grave was closed and decorated with many flowers and a provisional cross. Other hymns were played by the local brass band and the congregation sang from the Lutheran Service Book:

  • This body in the grave we lay… (759)
  • Jesus Christ, my sure defense… (741)
  • For me to live is Jesus … (742)
  • Jesus, lead Thou on… (718)

The choir also started off the proceedings in the congregational hall up the hill with the spiritual “When peace like a river…”, because the church of St.Paul and Peter is being renovated. Rev. Kurt Schnackenberg led the liturgy in English, read the biblical lessons in that language too, but read the “curriculum vitae” penned by Karin Weber in German. Dr. Radikobo P. Ntsimane read the obituary penned down by Professor Dr. Volker Stolle (Mannheim) on the 7th September and translated by Dr. Karl Böhmer on the very same day.  Here it is in German: Nachruf Wilhelm Weber 2017 Stolle and also in English:  Obituary of Wilhelm Weber (2017) 

Dr. Ntsimane preached on “Weber – the biographer and signpost” (going into St.John the Baptist and St. Paul, the apostle pointing us both to IX” before we heard official greetings from the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa by Bishop Modise A. Maragelo (Kagiso) and from the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa by their vize-bishop Rüdiger Gevers (Vryheid).

Hymns sung during the divine service were:

  • O God, our help in ages past…   (733)
  • Oh, how blest are they… (679 Melody: Oh wie selig seid Ihr doch Ihr Frommen… in Hannoverschen Gesangbuch 625)
  • Through Jesus Blood and merit…   (746)
  • Guide me, o though great Jehova… (918)

Many thanks were expressed to the hospitable congregation for not only being a home to the retired Webers for over 17 years now, but also helping with the flowers, lunch for the many guests (Dr. Cordula Niebuhr) and providing the most beautiful accompanyment with the church choir (Erich Niebuhr), organ (Dorle Beneke) and brass band (Erich Niebuhr).

And this is what the SELK INFO wrote 3 days ago: “SELK: Missionar i.R. Dr. Wilhelm Weber verstorben: Missionar – Dozent – Übersetzer

Paulpietersburg/Südafrika, 8.9.2017 – selk – Missionar und Dozent i.R. Dr. Wilhelm Weber D.D. D.D. (Paulpietersburg/Südafrika) ist am 6. September im Alter von 83 Jahren verstorben. Er war am 17. November 1933 in Paulpietersburg geboren worden und musste während des Zweiten Weltkrieges einen Teil seiner Kindheit in Deutschland verleben, weil der Kriegsausbruch ihn mit seiner Mutter und den Geschwistern an der Heimreise nach Südafrika hinderte und ihn von seinem Vater abschnitt. Zum Studium kehrte er dann 1952 nach Deutschland zurück –  erneut mit einer familiären Trennung verbunden. Nach seinem Ersten Theologischen Examen am 14. August wurde er am 16. November 1958 in seiner zweiten Heimat Dreihausen zum Missionsdienst der Bleckmarer Mission – heute: Lutherische Kirchenmission der Selbständigen Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche (SELK) – in Südafrika abgeordnet.

Seine Braut Karin Ziegenhagen folgte ihm ein Jahr später. Am 23. April 1960 schlossen sie in Wittenberg die Ehe, aus der neun Kinder hervorgegangen sind.

Ihren Einsatzort fanden die jungen Eheleute zunächst nicht im vertrauten Zulu-Bereich, sondern in der großen Tswana-Gemeinde in Roodeport. Weber widmete sich unermüdlich der Übersetzungsarbeit: Schon 1964 schloss er die Übersetzung der Augsburger Konfession ab – als ersten Schritt des großen Projektes der Übersetzung aller lutherischen Bekenntnisschriften.

1965 wurde er als Dozent an das Lutherische Theologische Seminar in Enhlanhleni berufen und übernahm dann 1970 auch dessen Leitung mit allen damit zusätzlich verbundenen baulichen und verwaltungsmäßigen Aufgaben. Hier wirkte er über eine Generation lang als Lehrer der angehenden Pastoren der Lutherischen Kirche im Südlichen Afrika (LCSA), einer Schwesterkirche der SELK. Er unterrichtete Dogmatik, Praktische Theologie und Altes Testament.

Wilhelm Weber übersetzte eine hebräische Grammatik, um seinen Studenten das Erlernen der Sprache des Alten Testaments zu erleichtern. 1975 promovierte ihn die Universität von Südafrika (UNISA) zum Doktor der Theologie aufgrund seiner Dissertation “Der Begriff der Verantwortung in der Theologie Martin Luthers und Dietrich Bonhoeffers”.

Noch über seinen offiziellen Ruhestand hinaus setzte Wilhelm Weber seine Lehrtätigkeit bis Ende 2000 fort. Auch danach übersetzte er weiter und sorgte für Literatur in den Sprachen, die in der LCSA gesprochen werden.

Neben diesem immensen Arbeitsprogramm übernahm Wilhelm Weber viele weitere Aufgaben. Sein Schüler Abel Sibanyoni zählt nicht weniger als 13 Tätigkeiten auf, in denen ihm sein Lehrer deutlich in Erinnerung ist.

Die kirchliche Beerdigung des Verstorbenen findet am 9. September auf dem Friedhof in Lüneburg/Südafrika statt.
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