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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Löhe on 1. Peter 2,11

pilgrim»Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul« (1. Peter 2,11 ESV).

from http://kwaweber.org/2013/04/23/lohe-on-1-peter-211-2/

The Apostle encourages the Christians to live chaste and pure lives. This does not only relate to the 6th commandment, but goes further than that. Even the fifth and seventh commandments are directed against sinful desires, which war against our souls. Anger, revenge, theft, corruption and many other sinful desires war against our souls. They destroy the joy and gladness in our hearts. They work like frost in a spring night – destroying the blossoming fruits of the season in no time.
The word “war against your soul” can be understood in more than one way, but all will agree that the happiness of our souls and the associated holy lives are severely damaged by these sinful desires. How is the pilgrim to make his way home steadily if these things preoccupy him and keep him from going about his real business. Where is the joy and courage to come from to reach out to heaven if these things are pulling him back and holding him down? That is why we should concentrate our energy, strength and capacities to abstain from sinful desires, to rid ourselves of sinful ways and to put off all that holds us back and makes us sluggish in our Christian pilgrimage.
O holy God, who will be perceived only by those with clean hearts, grant us your Holy Spirit, that he cleanse our hearts from all sin and sanctify us through and through. Work in us both the will to do and the doing of good works. Strengthen, empower, confirm and capacitate us that we will be found pure and without blame on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Whoever strives to accommodate himself to this world, will be put to shame. The sinful world does not hold its promises. It is not dependable.
Whoever depends on God and the world, will limp on both sides. His heart will remain divided and won’t find peace. It’ll have trouble and pain – no end.
On God alone – that’s how it should be – he is the true sanctuary. Who trusts in God, builds on him alone, is blessed here and saved eternally. (Julius Sturm, 1816-1896)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Tuesday after the third Sunday after Easter: Jubilate. It is found on Pg. 182 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A thought on „The Bible“

One of my critiques of The History Channel’s recently concluded miniseries „The Bible“ is the fast pace it set in each episode. I am critical of this because in our 21st American society we cannot presume that someone knows the background of any particular Biblical story. There is a vast ignorance in our culture about the background and context of the Bible and the events recorded therein. As such, more time needs to be devoted when producing a film or series about the Bible.

Even with a thorough knowledge of the Bible, the miniseries was still too fast paced. Case in point, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the cornerstone of the Christian faith and the Church, was rushed. Important dialogue was left out that would have clarified the events. The Holy Gospels devote most of their pages to the Passion of Jesus. The Gospels slow down when they arrive at Holy Week and go into great detail about the events. The final episode crammed too much into a 2-hour block. It would have been better to make an additional episode so one could have been devoted solely to the crucifixion and resurrection and the last episode focus on Pentecost and the Book of Acts.

In spite of all this, „The Bible“’s ratings success has shown that there is a hunger for shows that tell a story, and this bodes well for the future of American TV which has way too much „reality“ TV that is void of any substance.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easter Monday

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them: „What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?“ And they stood still, looking sad. (Luke 24,13-17 ESV)

Yesterday’s gospel tells about Easter morning, today’s gospel talks about that evening. What a morning and what an evening – and all the difference made by Jesus Christ’s victorious resurrection from the dead. Two disciples are going to Emmaus mourning and crying. Asked by the stranger concerning their sorrow, they give an Easter answer, but without the joy of Easter. They are crying while spreading joyous seeds, which had not yet sprouted to their own rejoicing. In this way you can be rich without knowing about those boxes of treasures – hungry in spite of all your wealth. But this is to change quite dramatically. The stranger can call these sorrowing men out of their distress and bring them to the hopeful glory by his insight into matters. Their hearts start to burn. It was the fire of hope for an eternal life and the resurrection of the body, which even today still has the power to kill all sorrow, kindle comfort and awaken peace and in this way vitalize the soul with eternal joy.
Two disciples go with longing across the veld to Emmaus; their eyes are full of tears, theirs souls full of regrets and they’re sharing words of mourning, but Lord Jesus close already close by to dispel all misery.
Oh, so many hearts are caught up in despair, bewailing own pain and hurt while going forward heavily burdened – yet Jesus is already quite close by to dispel all misery.
If two souls are in discourse Jesus is the third. He knows all hurts, but has the cure too. He won’t fail us even as we are at a loss without hope, but does all to comfort and to heal.  (Johann Neunherz, 1653-1737)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday, the 2nd Holiday of Easter. It is found on Pg. 160 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.