Is’s love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The first words that are read at a baptism are the words from the Gospel of Matthew: "All authority has been given to me," it says. These are clear words about the fact that all power is given to Jesus and that this power is given to him by God.
"All power is given to me."
But when the words are spoken and said like this, you haven’t actually said anything yet. For what is this power that is being spoken of here?? What is this power that God has, and what is this power that he gives or entrusts to Jesus?? What power is given to him?

The question of the power of God is a fundamental and theologically complex question.
I remember lively nightly discussions in our shared kitchen at the time of study. The question about the power of God, its extent and influence on our life is namely also the question about what idea we have of God.There are familiar patterns of thought on this subject in which one can quickly get caught up. First, you quickly get into the area of the so-called theodicy question. If God is so powerful and loving, as we Christians always tell about him, why does he allow suffering, lets innocent people die and does not prevent cruelty and violence??

One of the oldest questions of mankind. And if you rush into this question, you quickly end up with the answer that God is unjust because he allows suffering or that he is too weak to prevent suffering and injustice.
Both definitions of God, the one of the distant despot and the one of the weak miserable God, are rather philosophical in nature and have nothing to do with the image of God that is shown in the bible.
So today I am happy to explore with you / you the sermon text in which this power that Jesus is given by God is shown in a vivid way.

Mark 2 1 A few days later Jesus came back to Capernaum. Word got around that he was home again. 2 As a result, so many people flocked that there was not enough room – not even outside the door. Jesus proclaimed the word of God to them. 3 Then people brought a paralytic to Jesus. It was carried by four men. 4 But because of the crowd they could not reach him. Therefore, they opened the roof exactly over the place where Jesus was. They made a hole in it and lowered the paralytic on his mat. 5 Jesus saw how great their faith was and said to the paralytic, "My child, your sins are forgiven." 6 But there were also some scribes sitting with it. They thought: 7 "How can he say such a thing?? This is blasphemy! God alone can forgive sins." 8 But Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking. He said to them: "Why do you have such thoughts?? 9 What is simpler? Saying to the paralytic, ‘ Your sins are forgiven,’ or, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk around’? 10 But you should see that the Son of Man has received authority from God. So here on earth he can forgive people their sins. " Therefore he said to the paralytic, 11 "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."12 Then the man got up, quickly took his mat and went away – in front of them. They were beside themselves, praising God and saying, "We have never seen anything like it."

Here in our modern Bible translation, Jesus says this important phrase: "But you should see that the Son of Man has been given authority by God. So here on earth he can forgive people their sins."
The word "authority" in the Greek language is the same word as the power of God.
And the kind of healing that Jesus performs on the paralytic then also shows quite clearly what is meant by this authority from God.
The power of forgiveness. The power to forgive sin. The power to create a relationship.
This is the power of God. Not a power to rule at any price. Not a power to be able to do everything, but just a power to be a Relationship to create where there was no relationship. A power to create a relationship of power to that which was torn asunder.
What the Bible calls sin describes something that we modern people would call alienation. The alienation from ourselves and our needs and feelings, the alienation from our fellow man and clearly alienation from our God.
The forgiveness that Jesus speaks aloud and then demonstrates in the paralytic makes relationship possible. The paralyzed person can feel his body again, approach others himself and enter into a relationship with his fellow human beings. He is freed from the burden of being an outsider.
The power of God consists in the fact that it sets in relationship.

Our story also shows us that the power in relationship becomes effective in love.
The whole Christian basic narrative also tells about this power. When the relationship was first broken in paradise and then created anew on the cross – the break between God and man and the break between men – what was broken was healed in the resurrection. God created a new relationship on Easter morning.
So God is a God who creates relationship. And we believe in a God who creates relationship. We believe in a God who makes all things new.
This is the very essence of forgiveness: that the relationship is renewed. And this is exactly what Jesus shows in today’s sermon text: He has been given all power to forgive sins on earth.
He is given all power to renew the relationship.
He is given all power to build a bridge where there is no bridge.
God’s power is his love. The power of love.

From this, one can ask why God does not simply abolish pain and suffering with a snap of his fingers. But love is not like that. We know this ourselves from our experience with love. Love rather always continues to love through pain and suffering, indeed through cross and grave it is not destroyed. Love is the only power that can be unchanged by the cross, death and grave.
Therefore the power of God is shown in the power of his love. And love hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things, as Paul writes.
So when we hear the words at baptism that all power is given to Jesus, we are to hear that as a promise of love. As a pledge that God loves us with all the power that lies in his love. The power that embraces us in baptism and that hopes all things, despite all our failures, that believes all things, despite our infidelities, that endures all things, despite our lack of faith. For God is love, and with this love he embraces and redeems us and the world. Amen.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.


Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

in his classic children’s book Come, let’s find a treasure Janosch tells the story of how the little tiger and the little bear dream of riches, how they search everywhere for a treasure, how they actually become rich and lose everything again, and how they finally return home and discover what the greatest happiness on earth is. The adventure of the two friends takes place as follows:

When the little bear once caught nothing while fishing and therefore there is no fish to eat, the little tiger and the little bear think about what could be the greatest happiness on earth. Quickly the answer is found: Wealth, because then they could always buy trout and eat bee sting for dessert. They also notice that they need many other things: a rubber dinghy, a Hollywood swing, a hat with a buckle, a red lamp, fur boots…
So the next day they buy a rope, a shovel and two buckets and set off on a treasure hunt.
They dig in the field, they dig in the forest, they search in the river, and they ask the mole, the lion, the chicken, and also the donkey.
After a long journey, one night they sleep under a big tree and in the morning they find that the tree bears golden apples. At last they are rich!
But they soon lose their wealth again to an official of the king and to a thief.
Sadly they return home, where they realize that they actually have everything they need to be happy and how beautiful life is when there are cauliflower and potatoes, the mole comes to visit, the wren sings and the bees buzz.

Matthew 6, 19-21 (Zurich)

On dealing with possessions

19 Do not collect treasures on earth, where moth and rust eat away at them, where thieves break in and steal.

20 Rather, gather treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor rust eats away at them, where no thieves break in and steal.

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart is also.

When I was little, the highlight of every child’s birthday party was the treasure hunt: my father had great fun hiding a bag of candy in some bush in the neighborhood. We kids then got a treasure map with riddle questions and had to follow chalk arrows. I remember how exciting that was, and that the search was almost more fun than picking the candy out of the rustling bag afterwards.

What treasures do we actually look for when we are older and no longer walk around the neighborhood with a treasure map? I think that the desire for material wealth has a lot to do with longing. Those who dream of big money usually don’t wish to dive through the coins like Scrooge McDuck, but rather imagine all the things they could do with it. Those who dream of big money want to make their dreams come true. Sometimes these dreams have something to do with great freedom and independence. Simply to be able to do what one always wanted to do: Finally buy one’s own house, a new car, or go on a trip around the world. Finally not having to pay attention to how much something costs.

Even for the little bear and the little tiger, the search for treasure begins with longing and dreams: Eating fresh trout with bee sting as dessert every day and buying a Hollywood swing set. That would be fine. Wealth must be the greatest happiness on earth.

Birte Engelken and Stefan Seeger may be able to tell us whether such a blessing of money leads to the greatest happiness on earth; they are both lottery agents by profession and are employed by Lotto Hamburg. Their task is to kill people who have a sum of money over 100.To accompany a person who has won 000 euros.
The two gain advisors report about the fact that the money becomes only then for humans the life luck, if they thought already before about it, what this means actually concretely for them.

So a young couple, who had long dreamed of finally getting married, rejoiced. With the money they were able to realize their deepest wish: A wedding dress for 200 euros, a big family party with all their relatives and friends, and a new wall unit for the living room.
Money cannot be a reason for the soul, but only a means of transporting wishes: one of many or even limited possibilities to realize a life’s dream. But money can never be the thing that gives meaning or support to our lives. The soul cannot be comforted or encouraged by it.

Because where your treasure is, there is also your heart.
He who hangs his heart on money loses the anchor of life.
Because money is ephemeral, just as everything made by people is ephemeral.
Jesus says: Moth and rust can eat money, thieves can steal money.

"Easy come, easy go!"says an old proverb. "Easy come easy go!" would be probably also the suitable comment to the treasure, which the small tiger and the small bear find finally. They lose their treasure to an official of the king who collects taxes and the rest is stolen from them.
The thought of the transitoriness of money may not be at all comfortable for us Germans, since we are regarded worldwide as security-oriented savers. Because that is probably the second great longing that is connected with the search for treasures: The longing for security, perhaps even for a kind of peace of mind. That you no longer have to worry in old age. This longing is so obvious: After all, who doesn’t wish to live independently in their own home into old age?. But additional help and care services are expensive. It is understandable that one wants to take precautions for it.
But this longing can also lead to deceptive paths: Namely, if one does not allow oneself the experience of a fulfilled and rich life in one’s present everyday life. It can end very sadly, for example, if a married couple has saved many wishes and dreams until they reach retirement age: a trip around the world, playing with the grandchildren, voluntary work in a club. For we human beings are transitory and vulnerable creatures. Something can come in between: Illness and death can cruelly thwart such plans and wishes. And then only one of two is left standing.

Dear congregation, after all these reflections on the transience of earthly treasures, we now ask about the treasures in heaven. For Jesus urges us to store up imperishable treasures in heaven: where neither moth nor rust can corrode them, where thieves do not break in and steal. That sounds at first hearing after an unattractive alternative to the earthly treasures. That sounds like a kind of bonus system for the afterlife. This sounds like we should do good deeds in order to score points in the hereafter. But that is not what is meant here. This is not about the so-called works righteousness, which Martin Luther rightly criticizes.
Jesus is concerned with the heavenly treasures about the realization of the kingdom of God.

This becomes very clear when we look at the context of our sermon text today: For Jesus says these things in the context of what is called the Sermon on the Mount. Many of us know the famous opening part of this speech: The Beatitudes, in which Jesus proclaims for whom the kingdom of God opens a new perspective of hope.

This Sermon on the Mount is carried by the message of the coming Kingdom of God. For Jesus, the Kingdom of God is not something that occurs only in the afterlife, but it is for him something very much alive, which also occurs in interpersonal life: He himself eventually comes to the people. Jesus embodies with his whole existence: God is coming towards us. God’s kingdom is therefore already becoming a reality in our lives. Where people meet each other in the spirit of this kingdom of God. God’s kingdom happens every time I bring joy to another person and experience that I, too, may rejoice as a result. I experience God’s kingdom when I help others and feel that I am being fulfilled.

According to the Internet portal there are currently 16 million volunteers in our country. In the Protestant church alone, 1.1 million people are involved in volunteer work in their free time. If you were to ask these people why they do this, you would hear many stories. Stories of encounters. For example, when I am with the ladies of our visiting ministry circle, I learn about relationships that have grown over the years.
On the one hand, there is a jubilarian who looks forward to her birthday visit year after year. And on the other side there is a volunteer who gets to know and accompanies a person with his life story. A lively exchange year after year on the birthday. And when you meet in between, you greet each other joyfully: See you soon on your birthday.

When we humans do good to one another, do good to one another, God’s treasure in heaven grows. Rabbinic teaching draws our attention to this: We human beings create God’s wealth. God needs man. And the treasure that we accumulate does not belong to us, but to another person. Namely the fellow human being we do something good for. Our godly actions make God richer. He needs us so that His kingdom can be realized among us. The beauty is that we too can enjoy the riches of the heavenly treasure. Because when we reflect a little, memories come back of the encounters and events that have enriched our own lives.

The weekly newspaper The TIME gives readers the opportunity to tell stories of touching everyday encounters. The column is called "What makes my life richer". For example, a woman thanks her doctors, who saved her life by acting quickly and courageously. A young woman is happy about the elderly lady in her neighborhood who leaves the daily newspaper she reads at her door every morning. For the young woman, this is not only a nice gesture, but also a sign that the old lady is doing well, that she can leave her apartment cheerfully. In this way, a friendly gesture creates mutual joy and a relationship.

When Little Bear and Little Tiger return home without their treasure, they suddenly realize how rich they are after all. The greatest happiness on earth means: when there are cauliflower and potatoes, the mole comes to visit, the wren sings and the bees hum.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

17. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

with the young people from the current main confirmation group I recently organized a service in our parish garden.
We have thought about the meaning of light when it is reported about in the New Testament.
Jesus had disciples, some of them also young people, with life dreams and plans for the future, which they simply threw over the pile in order to set off together with Jesus on the way.
We asked ourselves: What was this light that they saw in Jesus?

Jesus says yes about Himself:

John 8.12: "I am the light of the world. He who follows me no longer wanders in darkness. Rather, it will have the light of life."

Jesus lets this light of life shine in different ways by turning to people who have become outsiders, are poor, have little power.
This becomes especially clear in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, where he specifically names these groups of people and promises them God’s attention and joy in life.
In another section of this famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about how we humans can become a light for others:

Mt 5, 14 You are the light of the world: a city set on a mountain cannot remain hidden! 15 No one lights an oil lamp and then puts it under a clay pot. On the contrary, they put it on the lamp stand so that it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 So shall your light shine before men. Let them see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

How can you let your light shine and give away some of the good things you may have received in your everyday life – for example, the love of your parents, friendships and wonderful experiences during the vacations??

The young people in our confirmation group had very different ideas about this.
In general, they find it important to treat fellow human beings with respect and to look each other in the eye, even if someone may be different from oneself and, for example, have a disability.
But there are also very concrete ideas, such as walking the dog of an elderly lady who is no longer able to walk well, so that she can continue to keep her beloved pet, taking an elderly person for a walk and listening carefully to her talk about her life, regularly donating money to charitable projects, or later adopting a child who lives in a region where poverty reigns…

What ideas do you have when you think about how you could let your light shine or light a candle to the hopeful light that has been given to you?

With these questions I bid you and you farewell into a hopefully bright next week.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

14. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

have you written personal letters lately, perhaps even by hand? Did you send postcards this summer? Send greeting cards on occasions like birthdays? What good wishes find their place in the last lines before the farewell greeting?

"Be embraced", "Stay healthy", "I look forward to seeing you soon", "I wish you happiness and contentment", "I wish you a break in a sunny place so that you can recharge your batteries again."Wishes that can resonate and have an impact when the vacations and the summer are long gone and you can use the encouragement all the better. Paul also holds out encouragement for the Thessalonians:

1. Thess 5, 12-24 (Basic Bible)

12 But we have a request for you, brothers and sisters: recognize those among you who labor for the church. They care for you on behalf of the Lord and also show you the right way. 13 Because of their commitment, meet them with the greatest respect and full of love. Live in peace with each other. 14 Brothers and sisters, we ask you: Rebuke those who do not live regular lives. Encourage the fearful, care for the weak, and have patience with all. 15 Take care that no one repays evil with evil. Rather, always strive to do only good to one another and to all others. 16 Rejoice always! 17 Pray without ceasing! 18 Thank God for everything! For this is God’s will, and this he has made possible for you through Christ Jesus. 19 Do not suppress the work of the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not disregard prophetic speech. 21 But examine everything and keep what is good. 22 Keep away from evil -whatever it may be. 23 God, who gives peace, make you wholly saints. May your spirit, soul and body remain unharmed. For there shall be nothing wrong with you when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God, who calls you, is more faithful and will do all these things.

Paul was still relatively young when he dictated these lines to his scribe. This letter to the church in Thessalonica is his first letter (which has come down to us) and one of the oldest documents in the New Testament.
In these last lines he bundles personal experiences of faith and good advice for a loving togetherness in the congregation. The Thessalonians could make a whole postcard wall with these good sayings if they wanted to.
How could we form this?

At the center is the sentence: "Pray without ceasing."This sentence is like an umbilical cord, a life line. On this everything depends. Whoever prays is in relationship with God, this relationship with God is decisive for all further announcements and recommendations, because only in the light of this relationship of faith can the relationships within the congregation function justly. From prayer comes thanksgiving and the ability to examine everything that is received and preached in the name of God.
The living relationship with God in prayer corresponds to a loving cooperation in consideration of needs, the weak are to be built up and encouraged, those who do not live a way of life that corresponds to the Christian faith are to be admonished. In this first passage it is clearly emphasized how important it is to have an attentive basic attitude in goodness. I fear that this loving ideal was a balancing act even in Paul’s day. Indeed, it is quite challenging to criticize one’s fellow man in a sensitive and relevant manner.

This section of the letter closes with a word of blessing, which is promised and thus also has an auspicious function.
Like a protective spell, the blessing will cover those called to the church, nothing will violate their dignity until they meet Christ the Risen One.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

13. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

This Sunday we encounter a "classic" as a sermon text, one of the oldest and most formative stories of the Old Testament. Right in the first chapters of our Bible comes the question of how evil came into the world and what that has to do with us humans and our needs and relationships with each other:

Genesis 4

1 And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said: I have obtained a husband by the help of the LORD. 2 After that she gave birth to Abel, his brother. And Abel became a shepherd, but Cain became a husbandman. 3 And it came to pass after a time, that Cain brought offerings unto the LORD of the fruit of the field. 4 And Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat. And the LORD looked graciously on Abel and his offering, 5 But on Cain and his offering he looked not graciously. Then Cain was very angry and darkened his eyes. 6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth?? And why do you lower your gaze? 7 Is it not so: If you are devout, you can freely lift up your gaze. But if thou art not godly, sin lieth in wait at the door, and desireth after thee: but thou shalt have dominion over it. 8 Then said Cain unto Abel his brother, Let us go into the field! And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and smote him dead. 9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?? He said: I know not; shall I be my brother’s keeper?? 10 And he said, What have you done?? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the earth. 11 And now, Cursed be thou upon the earth, which hath opened her mouth, and received thy brother’s blood at thy hands. 12 If thou tillest the field, it shall not yield thee henceforth. Thou shalt be unstable and fugitive upon the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is too heavy for me to bear. 14 Behold, thou castest me out this day from the field, and I must hide myself from thy face, and be unsteady and fugitive upon the earth. So it shall come to pass, that whosoever finds me shall slay me. 15 But the LORD said to him, No, but he who kills Cain shall be avenged sevenfold. And the LORD made a sign unto Cain, that no man might slay him that found him. 16 So Cain departed from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod, beyond Eden, toward the east.

I myself know quarrels and competitions among siblings only at second hand, because I am an only child. However, I have heard quite extreme scenes described that have already taken place between babies and toddlers: For example, a one-and-a-half-year-old demanded that his just-born sister belong in the trash can, and a pair of twins, only a few months old, inflicted clearly visible bites on each other’s upper arms.

But the first biblical brother and sister should not make us realize that even then there was jealousy in the struggle for the attention and affection of a parental caregiver (here it is God). Rather, this initial position is a true-to-life example of the potential that lies within every human being when it comes to violence, in this case in its most extreme form, murder.

Man can become a victim of violence at the hands of his fellow man, vulnerable and completely guileless, like Abel, the "breath of wind" (the literal translation of his name), who did not expect to be lured into a deadly trap by his own brother. But man also has the potential to become the worst enemy of his fellow man, the murderer of his own brother.

What I find interesting is how timelessly vivid and comprehensible the cause of the murder plot is:
Abel is clearly preferred by God, God spurns the sacrifice of Cain, although it would have been easy for him to appreciate both sacrifices.
In the tradition of interpretation there are different approaches of interpretation, why God accepts the one sacrifice and spurns the other one. What I find most understandable is the explanation that God sides with the younger and weaker, a motif that runs through the Bible:
Thus Jacob also obtains the blessing from the older and stronger twin brother, a small, weak shepherd boy later becomes King David, a foundling becomes the leader of the Israelite people (Moses), a Jewish scholar with poor health and a low voice becomes the apostle Paul, the founder of the church.
These are all slight figures with soft voices, like the "breath of wind" Abel.

From Cain’s point of view, however, there is an injustice here that he deeply feels. God disregards him and his feelings. Cain becomes more and more angry. God notices him engaging in dark thoughts.
And then God instructs Cain. This moral sermon is quite appropriate and fully supportable in content:

"Then said the LORD unto Cain, Why art thou wroth?? And why do you lower your gaze? 7 Is it not so: If you are devout, you can freely lift up your eyes. But if you are not pious, sin is lurking at the door, and it desires you; but you rule over it."

The only problem is that at this moment Cain would have needed a loving gesture of attention rather than a lecture.
How close this situation is to human reality: that feelings are disregarded and emotional needs are not recognized, in which family, in which friendship, in which couple relationship does this not occur?
We all know this, and thank God most of us have enough impulse control and responsibility in us to control ourselves and not become murderers.
But if we are honest with ourselves, we have certainly used lesser forms of violence when we have found ourselves in such a frustrating and powerless situation as Cain.
Deliberately hurtful and insulting words are also a form of violence, they are often spoken more quickly than reconsidered, and they can result in deep-seated consequences such as unrelenting strife and separation. There are brothers and sisters and separated couples who treat each other as if the other person had died. Radio silence for years and decades, sometimes until actual death.

God places the responsibility on Cain to do what is morally right: Sin lurks at the door, but you rule over it.
But how to deal with such strong, destructive feelings and thoughts? Unfortunately, no violence prevention is included here.
From our point of view today, we are not as powerless in this situation as it seems. We have the possibility to seek professional help when we are stuck in a similar conflict situation. And I think it is still important that we work to ensure that family therapy, couples therapy, and violence prevention programs are not seen as something embarrassing, but as something meaningful, like a visit to the family doctor.

In this narrative, unfortunately, it comes to the extreme: Cain slays Abel in an insidious way. Clearly murder and not manslaughter, because he proceeds according to plan.
Cain denies the deed until he can deny it no more. He has to live with the consequences of his deed and loses his livelihood: his field, his profession as a farmer. Now he must flee and has no home, is outlawed, an easy victim for others who in turn want to do violence to him because he is a murderer.
But God does not only have the victim Abel in mind in this story. The blood of the slain cries out from the field to heaven. The murder of Abel does not go unpunished because Cain has to live away from God, beyond Eden.
But the perpetrator Cain is marked by him with a protective mark, no one is allowed to kill him arbitrarily. God expects Cain to face the consequences of his actions, but protects him from the revenge of men.

God is very mysterious in this story, it is not revealed why he does not accept both victims equally. This tension is not resolved, God remains a stranger to us.
God takes a stand: You are responsible for your actions, human being! You are clearly told that violence is not a solution!
God knows victims and perpetrators in situations of violence, he takes the side of the victims, but he does not lose sight of the perpetrators. They have to live with the consequences of their actions, they are protected from revenge, so that the spiral of violence is broken.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Thy face upon us and give us peace.

5. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

"Oh, I love my confis!", I keep thinking, because they often ask the best questions. Just from the gut, rarely at the appropriate place in class, but then out of real, deep interest. And then I am asked and must also take this seriously and answer accordingly. One of these questions is: "Mrs. Klasink, do you really really believe in God?"This question was asked in connection with the topic of death and resurrection, and probably meant whether I really believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. My short answer is: Yes, I do. My longer answer is found in the interpretation of the sermon text, which is quite challenging.

Sermon text: 1.Cor 1,18-25: The message of the cross and the wisdom of the world (Basic Bible)

18 The message of the cross seems to be a foolishness to those who are lost. But we who are saved experience it as the power of God. 19 For the Holy Scripture says: "I will wipe out the wisdom of the wise and leave nothing of the prudence of the prudent." 20 Where are now the wise men, where the scribes, where the eloquent orators of our time? Has not God exposed the wisdom of this world as stupidity? 21 The wisdom of God shows itself in this world. But the world with its wisdom has not recognized him. Therefore, God has decided to save all believers through a seemingly nonsensical message. 22 The Jews want to see signs. The Greeks strive for wisdom. 23 We, on the other hand, proclaim Christ crucified: this causes offence among the Jews and is pure stupidity for the other peoples. 24 Christ is God’s strength and God’s wisdom. We proclaim this to all who are called -Jews and Greeks alike. 25 For what appears foolish in God is wiser than man. And what seems weak in God is stronger than men.

Paul does not make it easy for himself. He insists on his point of view, even if he knows that he is holding an uncomfortable opinion. One who is marginalized and humiliated, dies a shameful death, is supposed to bring salvation to mankind. This was already a provocation in the thinking of the time, when the Christian community in Corinth was still young and there were still very few people who professed this faith in the Christ. The wise Greeks, with their education in rhetoric and logic and their epics of heroes, can see nothing to be gained from a weak God hanging shamefully on the cross. And the scribal Jews, certain of their belonging to the chosen people, able to interpret every nuance of the Torah, the Holy Scriptures, the Old Testament, and striving to follow them exactly – why should they consider a failed one who "hangs on the log" (Deut. 21:23) to be the chosen one of God? To both groups their wisdom, their knowledge of the world and religion, seems sufficient for a fulfilled life.

Paul relies on a humble attitude and emphasizes how much we need the grace of God, which is shown in this crucified one.

For us modern people, this is at first a very strange thought. In our religious need, we are looking for something encouraging and constructive that will give us the strength to survive in life. And Paul’s message seems to contradict this at first. To be dependent on something like divine attention, grace, seems like a sign of weakness.
And yet we live in a world in which we are supposed to prove ourselves as self-reliant human beings. Not only professionally, but also in the family, we are expected to engage and function with all our might. But he also puts pressure on himself to fulfill his own dreams in life.

We have not planned for the fact that we will reach a limit, that we will experience crises, that we will fail miserably. And yet this is the human reality.
That we are overwhelmed when a person we love becomes seriously ill and dies.
That we are overwhelmed when a global pandemic, already in its second year, more or less restricts our everyday life and in some cases raises existential hardships, such as fear for health, enormous family burdens, loneliness and worries about professional existence.
That we reach our limits when we try to behave like decent human beings and maybe even get involved socially or politically.

We are always told that every single person matters when it comes to slowing down global warming, shopping sustainably, and fighting unjust structures in our society where people are excluded because of their culture, the color of their skin, or who they fall in love with.
And it is quite appropriate to be aware of this responsibility. But there are those days when we become aware of our own limitations and feel our own powerlessness.

Paul insists that this weak Jesus, suffering on the cross, in his helplessness, helps faith to become strong. In Jesus, God allows himself to feel completely involved in this deep human experience of failure and abandonment. God stands in solidarity with me in my weakness.

For me personally, this experience does not preclude my efforts as an adult woman to act responsibly and sensitively.
As a Christian, I show my personal responsibility by being honest about where I reach my limits, where I make mistakes, hurt others or act selfishly. I find it liberating that I am taken seriously by God in my limitations. God becomes deeply human in Jesus on the cross, he goes with us into all abysses, he suffers, he is put to shame and ridicule.

Even though it is not yet dealt with at this point of the letter to the Corinthians. The cross is not the end, but the beginning of the change from death to life, to resurrection.
Jesus has taken away the power of the powers of death. I perceive my limitation, my fear, my failure, but I know that beyond that there is something more powerful: the power of a change to life and the power of a love that shows itself in vulnerability, weakness and maximum empathy with human suffering.

How is this for you, how is this for you? Christ shows us God’s power and wisdom in his very weakness. Are there weak moments in your life when you can feel this solidarity of God??

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

3. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

This week we read two well-known parables:

Sermon text: Luke 15, 1-10

1 And all the tax collectors and sinners came near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This one accepts sinners and eats with them. 3 And he told them this parable, saying, 4 What man is there among you who has a hundred sheep, and if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?? 5 And when he has found it, he puts it on his shoulders with joy. 6 And when he comes home, he calls his friends and neighbors and says to them: Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. 7 I tell you, there will also be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine righteous who have no need of repentance. 8 Or what woman, having ten shekels of silver, and losing one of them, doth not kindle a light, and sweep the house, and search diligently until she find it?? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors, and saith, Rejoice with me; for I have found my silver penny, which I had lost. 10 Thus, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Dear reader, how did you feel when you read these two parables?? Did you also think, did you also think: "This is typical for Jesus: He wants to convey to his opponents, the know-it-all scribes, that God does not condemn sinners but saves them."
When reading it for the first time, one can quickly get this idea. That’s what happened to me as a teenager.

But the focus of these two parables is not on those who, through Jesus’ message of God’s coming kingdom, fundamentally rethink their lives and change them for the better, and in this way experience acceptance by God and a new beginning. It is about the others who are like the 99 righteous sheep who have always faithfully listened to their shepherd. It is about us who read these parables and think we are on the morally "right" side: It is about our own identity. It is a typical human way of thinking to define oneself by what one is not: actually, I am a good person after all…

… because unlike others I buy fair trade products.
… because unlike others, I almost always ride my bike to work.
… because, unlike others, I am honest when it comes to tax returns.
… because, unlike others, I have never cheated on my partner – and so on.

In the protection of a group, for example, when talking shit among colleagues, it is easy to rise above the misconduct of those who are not there at the time. Even in the anonymity of the internet, in the social media, people are always publicly pilloried in their profiles when they have published an inappropriate or even questionable opinion. It’s called a shitstorm. Rarely do people who are subjected to such a shitstorm receive constructive criticism for their thoughtless remarks. You are judged as a whole person. Instead of "What you said is reprehensible," it reads "Because you said that, you are reprehensible as a whole personality and deserve to be ostracized."When a person who has been publicly pilloried apologizes, that apology is usually viewed critically and its sincerity questioned. Instead of a critical examination of opinions or expressions, people are sidelined.

By telling these two parables, Jesus draws attention to God’s perspective. The shepherd rejoices with neighbors and friends over the rescued hundredth sheep and the woman celebrates her recovered silver penny also with friends and neighbors. From Jesus’ perspective, we can become friends of God, defined by joy in community and sincere rejoicing when a person admits a mistake and changes his or her behavior out of fundamental conviction.
The shepherd and the woman in the parables represent this loving quality of God to welcome people with open arms who reorient their lives toward Him and discard behaviors and thought patterns that have alienated them from themselves, their fellow human beings and Him.

In the coming week, I will try to practice this loving view of God on people. Also join in?

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

1. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The Bible text for this Sunday is familiar to many children from kindergarten or the Bible read aloud. A real classic: The story of Jonah and the big fish. The fish is usually depicted as a whale in the picture books. And accordingly, most children will hear about "Jonah and the whale". An exciting and profound story, which makes it clear to the little ones that this is more than a factual report, that something generally human is conveyed here in a vividly pictorial story.

It’s about responsibility, overwhelm, escape, displacement, stagnation, transformation and a new beginning. Perhaps you will read or hear this old familiar text in a whole new way if you engage with its sentiment. A suggestion for dealing with this text: If you like, you can print it out and use colored pens to mark the different feelings and moods in the text (for example, yellow for joy, blue for sorrow, red for anger, purple for fear, green for disgust):

Jonah 1,1 – 2,1f.+9

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai: "Arise and go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, for its wickedness has come before me. But Jonah set out to flee from the LORD to Tarsis and came down to Jafo. And when he found a ship going to Tarsis, he gave ferry money and stepped into it to go with them to Tarsis, far from the LORD. Then the LORD sent a great wind upon the sea, and there arose a great tempest upon the sea, and it was thought that the ship would break up. And the shipmen were afraid, and cried every man to his God, and cast the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, that it might be lighter. But Jonah had gone down into the ship, and lay and slept. Then the master of the ship came to him and said to him, "Why are you sleeping?? Arise, call upon thy God! Perhaps this God will remember us that we do not perish. And one said to another: Come, let us draw lots, that we may know for whose sake we are so wicked. And when they loosed, Jonah was struck. Then they said to him, "Tell us why we are in such a bad way? What is your business and where do you come from?? What country are you from, and what people are you from?? He said to them: I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven, which made the sea and the dry land. Then the people were very afraid and said to him, "What have you done?? For they knew that he fled from before the LORD: for he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be still, and depart from us?? For the sea was going more and more wildly. He said to them: Take me and cast me into the sea, and the sea will be still and let go of you. For I know that for my sake this great storm has come upon you. But the people rowed that they might return to land; but they could not, for the sea was going against them more and more impetuously. Then they cried unto the LORD, saying: O LORD, let us not perish for this man’s life, neither impute to us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, doest as it pleaseth thee. And they took Jonah and threw him into the sea. Then the sea calmed down and ceased its raging. And the people feared the LORD greatly, and offered sacrifices unto the LORD, and vowed vows.

But the LORD sent a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the body of the fish three days and three nights. And Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God in the body of the fish

And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it spewed out Jonah onto the land.

We live in a time when many people reach the limits of their mental strength and fall into crisis. And I think it is very good that this subject of mental crisis or illness is no longer as taboo as it was a few years ago. Nevertheless, many people who have experienced such a psychological crisis feel shame and fear of dealing with it openly and think that this would be a sign of weakness.
The story of Jonah shows us that it is part of our humanity to make such borderline experiences, to admit to ourselves that we cannot go on alone, and to accept help.

Jonah is a prophet, he can hear the voice of God. He did not choose this. It is a gift. Jonah has a keen sense of what God wants him to do, and he also has a conscience within him that tells him that the city of Nineveh represents great injustice. At the time the story of Jonah was written, Nineveh (a major city in the Assyrian Empire) was the symbol of immoral, wicked behavior by people. For all who heard this story, it was immediately clear that Jonah was doing something good and right when he announced God’s judgment to the people of Nineveh.

So it is actually completely open what to do. Jonah also knows this. But when the order of God comes upon him, his chest tightens, his feet tingle, and he experiences shortness of breath and a racing heart. And when he had caught himself, he gathered up the bare necessities to embark on a ship for Tarsis. Where exactly Tarsis is to be located is not known today, it is considered a synonym for "far away in the west" and lies in the opposite direction to Nineveh, which lay in the east, in the area of Mosul in today’s Iraq.

Jonah is so afraid of the confrontation with the people of Nineveh that he tries to flee from God and the voice of his conscience. He disappears into the depths of the ship, falling into an exhausted sleep to escape this feeling of inner conflict. He would prefer to feel nothing at all, he wants to have his peace, everything is too much.
In the midst of the life-threatening storm Jonah is shaken awake.

The fellow travelers, all people who believe in deities other than Jonah, do not take it easy. Without hesitation they have thrown the precious cargo overboard. Even the life of this strange stranger they did not want to sacrifice lightly. They do not simply look for a scapegoat. They ask Jonah himself what to do now. Jonah admits that this dangerous storm is the result of a conflict between him and his God. He obviously has great feelings of guilt. But the shipmen of other faiths still do not want to abandon him to death, they struggle for his life and only let him fall into the water when there is no other way out. Their behavior reminds me of relatives of people with mental illness or addiction problems, who sometimes also have to drop their loved one until he or she gets himself or herself to accept help.

Jonah dives into the sea, the storm is instantly silenced by God. Jonah sinks into the water, but he does not sink. Instead, he is swallowed by God’s fish or whale and remains sheltered in the narrow dark space, the stomach of the animal, for three days, as if in a cocoon – or in the mother’s womb. Jonah finally finds peace there, tells God of his guilt, experiences forgiveness and salvation. He sings a long song of praise, a psalm in honor of his saving God, and when he is well again, he is spat back to life on land by the fish.

It is not weakness to show that you need help and a safe retreat to recover from your mental injuries. Faith and the relationship with God, but especially professional support in therapeutic form can be a source of strength and healing.

Jonah shows us that there is nothing wrong with making wrong choices or feeling guilt for not daring to do the right thing. There is a way out of seemingly hopeless situations for us, we can interrupt the course of events, take time out, and we can accept help from outside.
Then we can start again, God is by our side.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.


Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The text for the coming Sunday is not yet so well known, since it is not found in every edition of the Bible. It comes from the so-called Apocrypha or Late Writings of the Old Testament, which Martin Luther found "extremely useful", but did not include them in the canon of biblical books, as is customary in the Catholic tradition. Jesus Sirach was a wisdom teacher, educated in the holy scriptures of the Old Testament, who about 180/190 v. Chr. wrote down his thoughts on a good life, which he believed was based in the fear of God.

Jesus Sirach 35:16-22a
16 He helps the poor regardless of the person and hears the prayer of the oppressed. 17 He does not despise the plea of the fatherless, nor the widow when she raises her lament. 18 Don’t the tears run down her cheeks, 19 and aren’t her cries directed against the one who lets the tears flow?? 20 He who serves God accepts him with pleasure, and his prayer reaches to the clouds. 21 The prayer of a humble man penetrates through the clouds, but until it is there he remains without comfort, and he does not relent until the Most High takes care of him 22 and grants the righteous their right and holds court.

I am very grateful for one of the most important gifts of our faith: For the possibility to talk to God, to entrust oneself to him in all situations of life. To outsiders, it may seem strange that we as people of faith communicate with God in prayer as those might do with a trusted friend or family member.

That’s why it gives me so much joy to pray together with children and young people or to talk to them about prayer rituals. They are unbiased and interested and most of the time they trust God a lot. Likewise, they openly address what might be difficult about praying: z.B., That God does not answer our prayers like a human being and that his answer is sometimes difficult to understand or long in coming.
What experiences do you have with praying??
Are there rituals or recurring prayer situations? Or are these rather spontaneous prayers?
Do you feel carried after a prayer? Does God draw near to you? Or is he slow to answer? What makes praying difficult for you?

Wisdom teacher Jesus Sirach instructs us today in a little school of prayer. He does it in a poetic way and uses appealing images.
First of all, it makes clear that the people who are poor and powerless are especially dear to God’s heart. We already know this view of God from the Psalms, and Jesus also describes his heavenly Father to us in this way.
Jesus Sirach describes in detail the lamentations of the despairing widow and how the tears stream down her cheeks. We see it before us. And Jesus Sirach shows us: so closely does God look that he sees their tears flowing.

Next, Jesus Sirach shows us in his little instruction what qualities we need for our prayer to reach God.
Prayer should finally pierce the clouds, the mists and the gloom should clear, we praying people finally hope for something from God. We want to feel hope, see the sun, new life, God’s power and light.

Humility, perseverance, and a sense of justice are three important qualities that can help us do this. It might be a spiritual exercise for the days ahead to ask ourselves: are my prayers characterized by humility, perseverance and a sense of justice?

Humility: Is there something demanding in my prayers? For example, do I want God to act in a particular way in my life?? Or do I think with a certain humility of the request in the Our Father: "Thy will be done"?!"

Perseverance: We live in a time in which we are used to being able to satisfy our needs as quickly as possible. What about our patience and endurance, our perseverance and persistence?? Obviously, God expects us to persevere in our petitions and prayers. Our relationship with God is deepened with each prayer, our trust challenged with each petition, our supplication more earnest and sincere with each complaint. Over such a working off and also a certain fighting with God, the relationship with God can grow and become more complex.

Sense of justice: God is a just God. Again and again God is described in the Bible in this way. If injustice, envy and hatred still resonate in our thoughts and prayers, our intentions and motives, God will want to purify, renew and test us. God will not be moved by us to do unrighteousness, so every prayer and every question addressed to God asks me: Is your intention honest and good, are your goals in the spirit of the power of the coming Kingdom of God? Is your prayer focused on your relationship with God? Is it a matter between you and God? Or are you still thinking about other people who might be annoying you??

I spoke at the beginning about a school of prayer, which Jesus Sirach introduces us to. It leads us first all the way down into the hardships and fears of the outsiders and the powerless, and also into the darkness of our own struggles. There we hear God’s promise: He hears our pleas and sees our tears. We are encouraged to let our prayers go up to the clouds. If we do this with humility, perseverance and a sense of justice, our prayers will penetrate the clouds. And we’ll experience some of the freedom and lightheartedness we crave for our lives.

O LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.


Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Again and again I talk to people who feel connected to our church congregations about how much we miss singing together in the worship service. In the Advent season we met for distance singing with mask, until we had to renounce it again due to the increasing incidence numbers. Here and there we hummed under our masks. On Easter Sunday at the resurrection service, this was very uplifting and comforting. In some congregations in our area there is a precentor or precentor, representative of the congregational singing. But even that is not the same. We will probably have to long for the power of singing together for a while, just as we long for much that has to do with fellowship, which this pandemic has taken away from us or makes possible only under severe restrictions. One hears over and over again: "Let us not complain, we are healthy, we have our family, the garden, the forest ..!"But I believe that many people are reaching their limits at the moment, because it is still not clear how long this state of emergency will last.
In our sermon text, Jesus is in the midst of something whose magnitude and scope everyone around him cannot yet appreciate at this time. We are taken back, to the time before Easter, to Palm Sunday in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem:

Luke 19, 37-40
37 And when he was already near the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God with joy in a loud voice because of all the deeds which they had seen, 38 saying: Blessed is he that cometh, the King, in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Master, rebuke your disciples! 40 He answered and said: I say to you: If these will be silent, the stones will cry out.

This scene is told only in the Gospel of Luke. The Pharisees, who are always portrayed as the opponents of Jesus and criticize him for not following the rules of the holy scriptures, take his side. He and especially his loudly singing followers should not make so much noise, so as not to incur the displeasure of the Roman occupying power. But Jesus firmly contradicts this well-meant advice: No. They should continue to sing. Of the peace of God and of his glory. All shall hear. For, Jesus concludes, if they were silenced, – as indeed they will be a few days later on Good Friday, – the stones will cry out!
Jesus, unlike his friends, seems to have an inkling of what is to come. Whether he knew more exactly? Who would betray him, who would deny him among those now loudly rejoicing? Jesus is in the midst of it all. It can no longer be stopped and he himself has no power over it. Perhaps Jesus also senses that his people, the Jews, are also facing a difficult fate. The cry of the stones is a clear allusion of the evangelist Luke, which the people of his time understood. They knew that in the year 70 the Romans would conquer the city of Jerusalem and destroy the temple, the most important Jewish sanctuary, forever.
Truths and strong feelings are difficult to suppress. They break out sometime, even make stones cry out if need be.
As people who are troubled and tired of other things, we need both: on the one hand, the opportunity to make our frustration heard, whether by complaining, whether by grumbling, whether by shouting.
No one has the right to define our own personal breaking point except ourselves!
On the other hand, we desperately need comfort, encouragement, hope.
For many of us this goes especially well with music, sometimes with singing.
Therefore let us listen to or make music, whether secular or ecclesiastical. It must fit the mood. Exhilarating or comforting, powerful or angry!
Dances and sings in the living room! This can also be done with headphones when the child is asleep or the neighbors need peace and quiet.
My husband has been making a "mixtape" for ages this year, he put together a CD of the best songs against the lockdown blues and sent a copy to each of our friends. This has resulted in many long phone calls and video calls. There was much shared joy over the great music and of course also shared lamentations over the situation.
Now we all listen to the same songs in our living rooms. Not together but still connected. Rolling Stones instead of screaming stones.
Maybe now you also have an idea of how you can use music to connect with your favorite people. Maybe you’ve come up with an idea to counter your lockdown blues with music?
My wish for all of us these days is that God may touch us in one way or another, whether through music or other comforting moments.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.


Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

On the coming Sunday Jubilate, the service will be about God’s creative power and strength, which shows itself again and again. In spring weather and the blossoming of nature, but also in new beginnings and new perspectives in thinking and acting. Our sermon text leads us into such a primal situation.
On his missionary journey, Paul came as far as Athens, a metropolis that was considered innovative and leading in the ancient world in terms of culture, philosophical currents and a diverse coexistence of different religions and world views. Paul now steps boldly as if onto a stage. He chose a very special place for it, the Areopagus: a 115 meter high rock northwest of the Acropolis in the middle of Athens. The supreme council, which was also called the "Areopagus", also met there regularly.

Luke 17:22- 34 Basic Bible: In Athens: Paul speaks on the Areopagus

22 Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said, "Citizens of Athens, raise your faces to us! From what I see, you are very devout people. 23 I have walked through the city and looked at your holy places. In the process, I also found an altar that said, ‘For an unknown god’. That which you worship without knowing, I proclaim to you. 24 It is the God who made the world and all that is in it. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He does not dwell in temples built by human hands. 25 Neither does he depend on man to provide for him. It is he, after all, who gives us all life, breath and everything else. 26 He made all mankind come out of one man to inhabit the earth. For each nation he has determined how long it should exist and within what limits it should live. 27 He wanted people to look for him -whether they might sense or discover him. For he is not far from any of us. 28 Through him we live, we move and we have our being. Or as some of your poets have said: ‘We are even of his kind’.’ 29 So because we humans are of God’s kind, we must not deceive ourselves: The Godhead is not at all like any images of gold, silver, or stone. They are only the result of human skill and imagination. 30 Well – God looks indulgently over the times when people did not know him. But now he calls all people in all places to change their lives. 31 For God has set aside a day to judge the whole world. Then he will do justice -through the man he has appointed. That this man is really destined for it, God has proved to all men by his resurrection from the dead." 32 When Paul spoke of the resurrection of the dead, some of his listeners laughed at him. But others said, "We will hear more from you about this some other time!" 33 So Paul left the meeting. 34 Some people joined him and came to believe. Among them was Dionysius, who belonged to the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and several others.

I believe that even today one would hear from people who are not particularly devout but not averse to the Church: "That is beautifully said! So God is there for me too!"
In the second half of his address, when Paul talks about the judgment of God, in which Christ, the risen Christ, appears as the righteous judge, the reaction of the listeners is somewhat more restrained: while some laugh at him loudly, others respond with polite reassurance: "About this we want to hear more from you another time!" One who rose from the dead at the center of this otherwise quite appealing faith, no, that’s just too crazy!
I can also imagine this reaction exactly the same in today’s time.
What then remains is a small group of people who feel addressed, who want to know more, and who finally grow into the faith little by little.

Who are the people here in our village? What moves them? What are their questions in life and what do they long for?? People here in the region of southern Lower Saxony are accused of not being particularly devout and not being interested in the church.
I don’t agree with that, I think that also here in Eddigehausen there are people who are interested in a local Christian community, but couldn’t really get a foothold with us. Let’s find out what they need and how we can be there for them.
Many people, especially in individualistic Eddigehausen, are interested in meaningful messages, in values, and also have religious questions and needs, which they may not be able to express in the same words as the Bible or the sermon text; or they would not even think of approaching us as their local church community. How can we offer them a free trusting space where one can open up with such unspoken questions and at first elusive needs for trust, commitment and encouragement? What are you missing in our community? Do you have ideas? What do you want to find here? What do you long for? Let us seek it together and start anew!

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face to us and give us peace.

Sunday Misericordias Domini

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

If I were to ask you for a typical biblical animal, what would the answer be: donkey?? Almost. Sheep? Correct!
Sheep occur frequently in the Bible, not only because they correspond to the living world of the time when the Bible was written, but also because they belong to one of the most important linguistic images in connection with their shepherd.
You will probably think of the famous 23. Think back to the first Psalm or to the parable of the lost sheep, a parable of Jesus that is especially popular with kindergarten children.

In the Bible text for the coming Sunday, the popular motif of the sheep and their shepherds is also taken up. But the text is not yet so well known:

Ezk 34,1-2.10-16.31), Basic Bible

34 1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 You man, speak as a prophet to the shepherds of Israel. Yes, speak as a prophet and say to them, the shepherds: Thus says the Lord God! You shepherds of Israel, you feed yourselves. Do not shepherds usually feed the sheep?
10 Thus says the Lord God! I go against the shepherds and reclaim my sheep from them. I will see to it that they never again feed sheep. Nor will the shepherds feed themselves any longer. I will free my sheep from their jaws. They will no longer serve them as food.

God himself cares for his sheep

11 Yea, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will search for my sheep, and will take care of them myself. 12 I do just as a good shepherd does when his sheep scatter one day. Yes, this is how I will take care of my sheep. I will save them from all the places to which they were scattered – in the day that will be full of dark clouds. 13 I lead them away from the nations and gather them from the lands. I bring them back to their own land. I will feed them on the mountains and valleys of Israel, in all the pastures of the land. 14 Their pasture will be on the high mountains of Israel. Yes, I will let them camp there on good pasture land. On the mountains of Israel they will find a green pasture. 15 I feed my sheep and I let them lie down.- This is the saying of the Lord God.
16 I will seek the lost and gather the scattered. I bind up the wounded and make the sick strong. But I destroy the fat and the strong. I feed them according to law and justice.
31 You are my flock! You people, you are the flock in my pasture, and I am your God! – This is the saying of the Lord God

The good shepherd as a leader who acts appropriately and justly. This is what Ezekiel is about.
Ezekiel himself tried to be such a shepherd for the people of Israel, one who cared. And that is what the people desperately needed. In the year 587 before Christ the people had been led into exile to Babylon. Ezekiel was with these exiles. He had set out on this journey with them and therefore knew what it meant: to be carried away, to have lost everything, to have no hope, to be far away from the temple in Jerusalem, the place of God’s relationship. Ezekiel knew what it meant to have no shepherd, no one who cared. There in Babylon he is called to be a prophet, he has also worked as a priest. As a shepherd – pastor translates as shepherd/shepherdess. He did not only care for the people entrusted to him in this way. But he also showed: We can worship God here in a foreign land, far from the temple. And: God is also there for us here in the foreign land. God himself is our good shepherd. Ezekiel does not speak these words of his own accord, but as a prophet he proclaims God’s word, words that are given to him by God. It is no easy task to accept such a mission – and to pass it on in such a way that people want to hear it. And not reacting dismissively: "Oh, listen to Ezekiel, leave us alone. Where is your God, then, if all this is expected of us here??"

For the people of Israel it was an imposition to live in exile in a foreign land. They still had the possibility to keep their courage. They held on to their God who kept them together like a good shepherd. Their faith became their home. In this way they could survive the hard time.

This situation of the people in exile is far away from our everyday life. But what certainly comes close when we hear or read this text is the feeling of exclusion or. Isolation and the longing for the attention of God, who as a good shepherd provides justice and lovingly cares for his (human) flock. Even before the pandemic, it was a challenge as a Christian to find such a homely flock feeling in one’s own community. Of course, we are happy about our faithful churchgoers and the people who are still loyal to our church in one way or another. But if we are honest, we clearly feel that we have become a small flock, and the warmth and closeness that a larger flock seems to promise, we sometimes do miss, don’t we?? How do you see that? What do you feel in view of this development?? As a pastor, I still like being a "shepherdess". But without a flock? Whereby I also firmly believe that in a congregation that sees itself as a true community, we also become shepherds for one another. I still dream that such a thing is possible in these times, especially in a future after the Corona crisis. However, many things will be different from what we church people know or can imagine now – with and without Corona. To be honest, I find that pretty exciting too, and I’d love for you to be there when you then join in the journey to find out together what forms and formations the flock of God will come together in. And so I hear the old prophecy of Ezekiel for me completely new: God himself will take care of his flock. In this I trust. I rejoice in this. That’s what I expect and that’s where I belong.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Quasimodogeniti

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Good Friday and Easter were only a week ago. The great message of the resurrection and the turn to life, it still rings in the ears? Or has everyday life with its routines and worries already taken us again?
The disciples of Jesus seem to be in a similar situation, although they know about Christ, the Risen One. To some of them, also to the women who were connected with Jesus, he already appeared. But these encounters do not seem to have any effect on daily life.
In any case, the disciples returned to their old ways of life. Instead of going around with Jesus preaching about new beginnings and the vitality of the kingdom of God, they mend their old nets and go back to work as fishermen:

Jesus shows himself to seven disciples at the lake of Tiberias (John 21), Basic Bible

1 Later Jesus showed himself to his disciples once more. This was at the Sea of Tiberias and happened like this: 2 There were together: Simon Peter, Thomas, who is called Didymus, Natanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two other disciples. 3 Simon Peter said to the others, "I am going fishing!" They answered, "We come with."They went to the lake and got into the boat. But that night they caught nothing. 4 When morning came, Jesus stood on the shore. But the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus asked them, "My children, do you not have some fish to eat?"? They answered: "No!" 6 Then he said to them, " Cast the net on the right side of the boat. Then you will catch something!" They cast the net. But then they could not haul it in again, so full was it with fish. 7 The disciple whom Jesus especially loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his cloak and tied it high. He was naked. Then he threw himself into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net with the fish behind them. They were not far from the shore, only about 100 meters. 9 When they came ashore, they saw a charcoal fire burning there. Fish were frying on it, and bread lay with it. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught."11 Then Simon Peter went to the shore and pulled the net ashore, and it was full of large fish – 153 to be exact. And the net did not break, although there were so many of them. 12 Then Jesus said to them, "Come and eat!"None of the disciples dared to ask him: "Who are you??" But they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came to them, took bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus showed himself to the disciples after he had risen from the dead.

Sore fingers and the smell of fish, leaden fatigue and an empty stomach. The disciples return from work early in the morning unsuccessful and in desperate need of encouragement. For despite all their efforts their nets remained empty.
Then Jesus appears and provides a rich and strengthening breakfast. The day is saved.
Even before they recognize him, there is a miraculous catch of fish and a net that never tears. But the significance of this miracle is not revealed to the disciples until they hold fragrant grilled fish and crusty warm bread in their hands and bite down with relish. They realize it is indeed Jesus. As the favorite disciple and Simon Peter put it.
This inconceivable multitude of fish. "Didn’t Jesus ask us then to become fishers of men?", Simon Peter reminds the others.
The net, amazingly, is not torn. "Didn’t Jesus tell us about God’s Holy Spirit who will be with us like a comforter and hold us all together in faith?" asks the favorite disciple.
When they consider this together, they have long since become full, and the Risen Lord has disappeared again from their midst. Just as suddenly as it came.
But they feel very different. They have a renewed love of life and hope. Their work no longer seems in vain to them. Soul and body are nourished. And the day has just begun.

Imagine that our church community was such a place, where a fire burns that warms, where you can prepare a delicious simple meal, and where you can talk together about the big and small things in life.
Imagine if we offered people the space to encounter God in the same way the disciples did in this story.
To experience strengthening and fellowship, in various very simple forms, as it suits the people in our village, that’s how I imagine church.
Are you with us and share your idea of church?

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Palm Sunday

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

today I would like to involve you again in the sermon actively. Before you start, you need a little time for yourself, quiet time for reflection and a pen with paper.
I now ask you to consider the following questions and write down the answers as bullet points:

Who has been an important person for me in my personal faith journey? Who has shaped me on my faith journey, as a counselor, as a role model, or as a confidant?

For whom could I be a witness of faith today? Who could see in me a companion of faith?

The sermon text for Palm Sunday spans a broad historical arc and charts the paths of the most important biblical witnesses to the faith.

Hebrews 11:1-2(8-12.39-40); 12:1-3 (Basic Bible)
11 1 Faith is holding on to what you hope for -conviction of things that are not visible. 2 Because of their faith, God issued the good testimony to the ancients. 3 Because of our faith we recognize that the whole world was created by God’s word. So the visible has come out of that which is not seen.

Whoever likes can now read for himself the further verses about the ways of the witnesses of faith through history. Then the story of the witnesses of faith is summarized as follows:

12 1 So we are surrounded by a great multitude of witnesses like a cloud. Therefore let us cast off all burdens, especially those of sin in which we so easily entangle ourselves. Then we can go with perseverance into the battle that lies ahead of us. 2 Let us turn our gaze to Jesus. He has preceded us in faith and will also bring it to completion. He took up the cross and paid no attention to the shame. He did this because of the great joy that was before him: he sits on the right side of God’s throne. 3 Just think what hostility he has endured from sinners. Then you will not grow weary and you will not lose heart.

When you look back in your life story, when you think about your childhood and youth? Who taught you what it means to believe?? Who showed you how to pray and who God is for us?
The grandmother who says an old children’s prayer at her bedside in the evening. The neighbor girl who takes me to the children’s service on her bicycle. Your own father telling you about his idea of God and reading the children’s Bible with you.
Campfires and songs under the stars. Where have you thought about God? Who took you and your faith requests seriously and thought about it further together?
Without our ancestors of faith, the ancestors of our history of faith, we would not be where we are today in our relationships with God.
We were shown and exemplified what faith actually means, that it is a living relationship between us humans and God, that faith is not about getting something from God that we think we are entitled to, like z.B. life’s happiness or protection, but that we will be strengthened to continue on our paths in life, even if we have to go through adverse circumstances and crises.
Faith can be like a struggle: struggle with our personal environment, the people who surround us and reject our attitudes of faith, or struggle with God himself, that God does not want to correspond to our own idea of God or stays away and is silent, as Job experienced this.
Even Jesus, who is highlighted here as the highest and most important example in faith, had to struggle with hostility.

The author of Hebrews emphasizes that these were especially the hostilities of sinful people. Looking at the passion narratives in the four gospels, I would add that the enemy can also come from within: Jesus also had to struggle with his own fears and doubts, whether in the loneliness of the desert when, starved, he is tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread, or when he comes to his limits in the Garden of Gethsemane, bargaining for his own life before God.
Role models of faith show their strength in the fact that they do not hide these crises and fears, these doubts, but name them and face them.
What about your personal role models of faith?? Could they give you support in your crises? Could you learn something from them for the personal development of faith?
And if you yourself can be a witness of faith to someone: What would you give someone for their own faith journey and in what way?

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Judica (5. Lenten Sunday)

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

God is loving. With God we find comfort. God gives security and protection. In an emergency situation we can trust in God’s care.
These are examples of sentences of trust that we as Christians say to one another. This is the image of God in which we raise our children.
I am convinced of these qualities of God and I am very grateful that I have experienced God’s attention in this way myself.
However, I also know that God has another side that the Bible tells us about and I as a pastor do far too little about.
God can also seem distant and unjust, as if he were not interested in his people.
God can be silent for a very long time and at length.
Many people take this as proof that God does not exist. Because this way of behaving does not fit with the God we tell each other about in faith.
Therefore, it is now urgent that we hear from Job.

Job made an effort to live godly and righteous all his life.
But of all things he experiences unimaginable suffering. His family members die tragically, his wife abuses and leaves him, he himself falls seriously ill and loses all his possessions.
He has friends who at first also keep silent and mourn together with him, but then they lecture him and do not take him seriously.

Job 19:19-27 (Basic Bible)

19 My closest friends detest me. Even those who are dearest to me are hostile to me. 20 My skin is only sticking to my bones. Only the naked life is left to me. 21 Have pity, have pity on me, you are my friends! For God has struck me with this misfortune. 22 Why do you persecute me as God does?? When will you stop tearing me to pieces?? 23 Oh, if only I could wish, that my defense speech be written down – as with an inscription carved into the stone! 24 With a chisel they shall be hewn in the rock, and their letters shall be poured out with lead. 25 I do know that my Redeemer lives. As my lawyer he will appear on earth and in the end prove my innocence. 26 With torn skin I stand here. I am emaciated to the bone. Nevertheless I will see God. 27 I will see him with my eyes, and he will not be a stranger to me. So it will be, even though I’m already half dead.

He stands there battered and emaciated, desperate, lonely. Job musters the last bit of strength left in his scrawny sick body to shout out his anger.
His so-called friends are unfortunately no help to him. You really do everything wrong.
They do not listen to him properly, they lecture him instead of remaining lovingly silent.
They insinuate that he has brought about his unfortunate situation himself, that he must have done something wrong to deserve this fate.
Job remains militant. He will not see this. He does not deserve this fate because he has done nothing to justify this sorry situation. Job wants the futility of his suffering to be acknowledged in its powerful pain.
Job now does something that at first seems absurd.
On the one hand, he accuses God, insults him and holds him responsible for his unjust life situation and accuses him of mercilessly persecuting him.
On the other hand, Job appeals to the fact that God will save and redeem him. He still trusts that God is just and that he can point him to it.
He remains in relationship with God, does not let go of God and continues to talk to him.
From Job we can all learn something:
On the one hand, we can learn how, as a Christian, to empathetically meet a fellow human being who is in a situation of suffering.
Instead of rashly recounting one’s own comforting experiences of God, it is helpful to focus entirely on the other person and his or her needs.
Anger and disappointment are legitimate feelings we can have toward God, and it is more appropriate to express them than to paint over them with pleasant notions of God.
A person in an emotional crisis often does not expect an explanation, but a fellow human being who has the courage to endure the silence and the perplexity together.
On the other hand, Job encourages us to stay in contact with God even in a difficult situation of faith and to show him our own anger and helplessness.
Job dares to nail God on the fact that he promised to deliver his people. He reminds God of his own justice.
It is perfectly legitimate to remind God. As it says in the psalm that gives this Sunday its name: Judica/ Judika (Make me right)

Psalm 43:1: Help me to my right, God! Represent me in court against the people who do not keep your commandments! Save me from false and evil people!

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Laetare (4. Lenten Sunday)

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

John 20:20-24 (lut) – The announcement of glorification

20 But there were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, saying: Lord, we want to see Jesus. 22 Philip comes and tells Andrew, and Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 But Jesus answered them and said, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you: Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Two adults ask about Jesus, two who are close to the Jewish faith but still interested strangers to the faith. You want to know exactly. "We want to see Jesus!"
Interested people who have not yet found a home in the faith, but who want to learn more about it, who show a genuine, sincere desire to know, are few and far between.
At least in this active form, that someone calls me or approaches me directly and wants an appointment to talk.
Often the encounters with people who have questions of faith are much more subtle. They happen between the lines, during visits and chance encounters. The questions of life and faith are disordered and groping. And for the questioning or thoughtful person it is important to meet an empathetic Christian who can help to sort out the unsorted things and who can also tell about personal experiences of faith. In many stories of faith there are people who become human anchors, who trustingly help to build up a relationship with God.
Philip and Andrew take the request of the Greeks seriously and immediately try to establish contact with Jesus.
Jesus now uses this request of the two Greeks to draw attention to his destiny, death on the cross.
For the disciples and the two Greeks, this event is in the future, and I can imagine how unsettled they may be, standing there in front of this well-known Jewish teacher, wanting to hear something descriptive from him, and then he gives something so mysterious: 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you: Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

The two Greeks, still new in the faith, want to see Jesus with their own eyes, clearly and understandably. But then they come into contact with something that requires exactly the opposite: A faith that is based on something that is not obvious. Death and resurrection remain the challenging core of faith until today. Because there is something happening that can only be expressed with figurative language and that is more and more profound than what is clearly in front of one’s eyes.
It becomes interesting when one re-enacts for oneself what is said in this figurative comparison by Jesus about his own fate, preferably together with children.
Now is the half time of the Passion.
If wheat grains are planted in a pot with nutritious soil, they will grow into green Easter grass on Easter. And who knows, maybe someday small ears of wheat will be formed with many grains of wheat.
For children, this is quite clear: the grain of wheat must be transformed in order to grow into the complete plant and itself produce many grains later on.
The one grain of wheat that is sunk into the earth becomes many. This is the only way. From the death of the one flows life (eternal life)! Life) for the many.
The wonderful passion song "Grain that sinks into the earth, into death" (EG 98) fits to this: "Love grows like wheat and its stalk is green." reads the reversal verse.
Love is what the death of the cross and the resurrection are about, a love that reaches beyond death and that does not fear death but defeats it in the end. Christ, the Risen One, stands for a life of love and thus inspires us to bear fruit through our own actions. Jesus even says this explicitly another time (John 15:5): "He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit."
"We want to see Jesus!"
The much cited fruits of faith, at least in the Reformed tradition, can be seen especially in this Passion season in giving a face to the Christian faith, in becoming an anchor person in questions of life and faith – especially where people are alone with themselves and their thoughts and doubts or specifically ask: We want to see Jesus.
May God give us the sensitivity in these last weeks of the Passion to sense where a loving address or promise is needed, and where a compassionate listening or shared silence is needed.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Okuli (3. Lenten Sunday)

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Ephesians 5:1-2;3-71;8-9 (Basic Bible)

How children of light live
5,1 So take God as your model! You are his beloved children. 2 And lead your life in such a way that it is completely determined by love. In the same way, Christ also loved us and gave his life for us – as a sacrifice and as a fragrance that graces God.

8 For in the past you yourselves belonged to the darkness. But now you are light, for you belong to the Lord. So live your lives as children of the light! 9 For the light yields only goodness, righteousness and truth.

On the first day of creation, God put darkness in its place. It has not been suppressed or destroyed. It got its place, the night – in demarcation to the day.
God created the light and everything he created after that became good and became visible through the light and began to shine.
Everything that became part of creation as a shadow side, because people have shadow sides, since God endowed them with a free will, all that remained part of creation as well. God made a conscious choice for his flawed creation, which is especially evident in the story of the ark, when at the end, when Noah, his family and all the animals are saved, God stretches his rainbow across the sky and makes a sacred promise never to destroy his creation again.
Instead, the motif of placing oneself in the light of God’s love runs through the entire Bible from the prophets to Jesus to the first young churches with their apostles.
In this epistle passage to the church in Ephesus it becomes clear what is meant by it. As Christians we live in the light of Christ’s love.
God trusts us, his beloved children, with a great deal. As people who are illuminated by the love of Christ, it is our task to radiate ourselves what God and His coming kingdom stand for: Goodness, in the sense of compassion and empathy, justice, which is always community justice, and truth, which is seen in truthful speech and action.
As children of light, we are trusted to support what God stands for in this world. We are to draw our pride and self-esteem from such loving deeds as serve the fullness of life and a righteous community.
When we feel bad or are treated disdainfully, it can lead to the reflex to rise above others in order to feel power and self-determination again.

This is what this epistle passage warns us against:
3 About fornication, any kind of immorality or even greed you shall not even speak. For this is not proper for saints.4You shall not say anything that belittles others, nor talk foolishly, nor make ambiguous jokes. That is not appropriate! Rather express your gratitude.5For you must know one thing: Every kind of fornication, immorality and greed is nothing other than idolatry. Whoever does this receives no inheritance in the kingdom from Christ and from God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty promises. For because of such things the wrath of God comes upon those who disobey him.7You must not have anything to do with such people!

It is not easy to find a healthy balance between disagreeing where others are belittled, marginalized, or insulted, and not becoming morally arrogant and dehumanizing when criticizing others.
We live in an age in which extreme opinions often clash with one another. Social media encourages people not to weigh their tone carefully, discussions quickly descend into unflattering and, above all, dehumanizing repartee.
"Rather, express your gratitude." This sentence from verse 4 helps to find this balance. If I concentrate on what makes my life rich, what I can be happy about every day, then I am also in a better mood when I get into a conflict with my fellow human beings. It is then easier to distance oneself from blasphemies or to contradict someone patiently and in an appropriate tone of voice when he or she spreads a lie. God’s love frees to solidarity. This message is a biblical leitmotif. It also resonates with warnings against greed and immoral behavior. As children of light, we also have the responsibility to make God’s solidarity and mercy shine.

Where and how can this happen today? Educators, teachers are doing incredible things in emergency care and in ever changing spacing and homeschooling scenarios and deserve not only our respect but also finally access to the rapid tests and vaccinations, which hopefully is now slowly getting underway.
What about our solidarity with people in caring professions? There was applause for them a year ago, but the debate that they should finally be paid better seems to be over again.
We hope for a life after this pandemic. It would be desirable that, even after all the relaxations, we do not simply return to a seemingly "normal" life, but look at where we can do something about the injustices that are now becoming so evident.
We are children of the light! God says to us: Then live also like this!
Let goodness, justice and truth shine!

O LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Reminiscence (2. Lenten Sunday)

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Isaiah 5:1-7 (Basic Bible)

In the Bible passage for next Sunday, we see the prophet Isaiah in an interesting role. He appears as a singer. He recites the song of a disappointed lover. The song of one who has put a lot of energy and care into the relationship, but receives no love, warmth and gratitude from his beloved. Disappointed and angry, he now wants to destroy everything they have built up:

The song of the unfruitful vineyard
5 1 A song of my friend will I sing unto you. It’s the song of my friend and his vineyard: My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. 2 He dug it up, removed the stones and planted it with the best vines. In the midst of it all he built a watchtower. He also raised a winepress for pressing the grapes. Then he waited for a good harvest of grapes, but the vineyard produced only bad berries.
Now judge for yourselves, you inhabitants of Jerusalem and you people of Judah! Who is in the right – me or my vineyard? 4 Have I forgotten anything?? What else could I do for my vineyard?? Surely I could expect it to bear good grapes. Why has he brought forth only bad berries?
I will tell you what I will do with my vineyard: I will remove the hedge around it and tear down its protective wall. Then the animals will eat him bald and trample him. 6 I will let it go completely wild: The vines will no longer be pruned and the ground no longer hoed. Thorns and thistles will overgrow him. I will forbid the clouds to water him with rain.
Who is this vineyard? The vineyard of the Lord Zebaoth, that is the inhabitants of Israel. The people of Judah, they are his favorite garden. The Lord waited for judgment, but look, there was lawbreaking. He waited for justice, but only hear how the lawless one cries out.

Isaiah stands up for his God like a good friend, giving voice to his anger and disappointment. Isaiah wants the people of Israel to be moved by these words. He wants them to realize how it is with God and their relationship. The relationship is broken. At least at this moment.
The God of Isaiah’s song of protest is angry, irascible. Like a disappointed family father he throws down the pieces! "Then do your crap on your own! , he shouts to his children. "I will not save you from the consequences of your bad actions! I will not take care of you anymore!"
"That’s not how I know God!"I would like to respond to Isaiah’s passionate speech. "God is infinitely patient, kind to me! He doesn’t need to freak out like that!"
And Isaiah would perhaps answer me: "You have made a picture of God that is rather limited! It shows me that you are doing relatively well at the moment. But imagine living on the fringes of society, with no advocate and now in the pandemic even more isolated than before. Imagine you would experience violence and abuse, in your own family, and no one would help you! Imagine you would experience war and destruction, your home would be uninhabitable and you would have to flee. Imagine you were working hard, toiling away for your family, and yet there wasn’t enough to go around, and you had to fear for the future! Wouldn’t you wish that God would really go berserk and show the red card to those who have done this to you and especially to those who look the other way and don’t help you?!"

"Perhaps," I would answer hesitantly. "But, Isaiah, if I put myself in the position of the people you mention in your examples, I myself would be angry and feel abandoned by God. I would shout at God and ask: Why have you abandoned me?! What have I done to you?"

"That is what it is all about!" Isaiah would answer. (In my imagination, he still claps his hands energetically and runs enthusiastically up and down.) "God wants to be in relationship with his people! He wants them to talk to him! That they ask for his justice! That they entrust their whole life situation with all feelings to him! Knocking it all back in his face!"

"But what good would that do: A disappointed man and a disappointed God shouting at each other?! And then… radio silence?" I ask.

" Or a new beginning. A real conversation. After the anger is gone and all the feelings have been named. God is about relationship and trust. This can only grow and happen if you live together and speak openly with each other."

"But Isaiah, how can I find out what God’s answers to my questions are?."

"You can only find out for yourself by getting involved and just trying it out! Unfortunately I can’t tell you more. Faith is this venture. I wish you patience on your way and that God’s answers will show up in your life."

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Invokavit

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

With the text for the coming Sunday, we are placed in the midst of the Passion. As if on a theater stage, we can witness the following scene:
John 13:21-28 Jesus, the favorite disciple and the betrayer (lut)

When Jesus had said this, he was moved in spirit, and testified, saying, Verily, verily, I say unto you, One of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked at one another, and they were anxious to know who he was talking about. But there was one of his disciples who lay at table at the breast of Jesus, and Jesus loved him. To whom Simon Peter beckoned that he should ask who it was of whom he spoke. Then he leaned against the breast of Jesus and asked him, "Lord, who is it?? Jesus answered: He it is to whom I dip and give the morsel. And he took the morsel, dipped it and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. And after the bite Satan went into him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do soon! But no one at the table knew what he was telling him to do. For some thought that because Judas had the bag, Jesus was saying to him: "Buy what we need for the feast!, or that he should give something to the poor. When he had taken the bite, he went out immediately. And it was night.

When the night swallows him, everything is set in motion. Judas Iscariot takes on the role assigned to him in the Passion narrative. He is the betrayer. The one who hands over his friend and teacher Jesus to the Romans. In the history of art and culture, Judas is eternally committed to this role assigned to him. "You Judas!" with this saying traitors are exposed, by people who are actually no longer familiar with the biblical stories and their characters. And to this day it is forbidden in Germany to give a child the name Judas. The name is too significant. However, Judas is more than a simple villain, acting for the opposite side, "on behalf of the evil one", as a henchman of Satan.
Rather, Judas, like almost every disciple who assumes a role in the passion event, is a representative. And that is a representative of something that I, as a reader, would rather not admit so readily. Judas shows the dark sides that every man carries in his heart and that sometimes more sometimes less occupy the space in the heart. Judas sits in church committees and in worldly structures. He is in our dark moments. He is the doubt and the breach of trust. He is the promise not kept. He is the betrayer. Judas is one of the twelve. Always. Just as Peter is one of the Twelve who, before the cock announces the end of this darkest night, will deny Jesus, not once but three times.
In the Passion of Jesus, we see how those who are closest to Him are darkened in their hearts by their fears, doubts, and disappointment that everything turns out quite differently from what they had imagined.
Jesus had told them that God’s reign was dawning, with Himself. He had told them about this world of God, in which those who otherwise came short in life come into their own. And Jesus had worked these miracles, small and spectacular. But the balance of power remained the same. Israel was still under Roman occupation. Perhaps they had put their faith in the wrong Messiah? Was that what had driven Judas, the disappointed hope?
What you do, do soon! Unlike Judas, Jesus seems to have a clearer idea of what is going to happen that night. And he himself will also come to his limits, in the garden of Gethsemane he will pray that God may spare him his fate on the cross.
From Jesus’ point of view, Judas has to do what he has to do so that everything can come as it has to come. Even Judas, the betrayer, is involved in what Jesus accomplishes through the cross and resurrection. He is part of the table fellowship of the Lord’s Supper and will receive forgiveness.
Between the hurt and guilt caused by such an abuse of trust as betraying a friend, and the forgiveness of that guilt, lies a long road, possibly a lifetime.
For forgiveness cannot be claimed. Forgiveness is given. And so it is in faith. Therefore we pray regularly with familiar words: And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

We can hope for forgiveness, always.
On the cross Jesus prays: Father, forgive them.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Estomihi

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

In the week following this Sunday, after this year’s silent carnival days, the Passion season begins. It is traditionally considered Lent. Of course, one can ask what benefit fasting can have for the life of faith after such a year in which our sensual pleasures such as celebrating together, going to concerts and movies have already been so severely limited . Our sermon text opens the view for holistic fasting, which focuses on the relationship with God as well as on the needs of our fellow human beings.

Isaiah 58 1,1-9a (Basic Bible) – The true fasting
Shout as loud as you can, don’t hold back! Let your voice resound like a ram’s horn! Hold up to my people their crimes, to the descendants of Jacob their transgressions. They question me day by day and want to know what my will is. As if they were a people who practice justice and do not disregard the right of their God! They demand from me righteous decisions and want me to be close to them. And then they ask me: Why don’t you pay attention when we fast?? Why do you not notice how we torment ourselves?? I answer: What then do you do on the days of fasting? You go about your business and drive your subjects to work! You fast only to stir up strife and quarrel and to strike with brute force. As you fast now, your voice will not be heard in heaven. Do you think that I love such fasting? When people hang their heads in torment like bent reeds and go in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call fasting, a day pleasing to the Lord?
That would be fasting as I love it: loosen the bonds of the unjustly imprisoned, untie their oppressive yoke! Release the abused and put an end to all oppression! Share your bread with the hungry, welcome the poor and homeless into your house. If you see one naked, clothe him, and do not withdraw from your neighbor! Then your light breaks forth like the dawn, and your healing proceeds swiftly. Your righteousness goes before you, and the glory of the Lord follows after you. Then the Lord answers when you call. When you cry out for help, he says: I am here for you!

Fasting in order to appear especially godly and humble misses its target, says the prophet Isaiah. Those who, while fasting, do not at the same time have in mind the welfare of their fellow men, are distancing themselves from God. Fasting should sharpen the senses and not only remove what distracts from God, but also bring to the fore the needs of our neighbor.
The most important phrase in this passage from Isaiah is God’s promise: "I am here for you!" This promise is already heard by Moses from the burning bush, when God reveals the meaning of his mysterious unpronounceable name YHWH: God is the "I-am-for-you!" God then shows this by delivering the people of the nation of Israel out of Egypt from Pharaoh’s bondage and leading them to the Promised Land.
As Christians we are united with the people of Jewish faith in this experience of liberation. For us, it is Jesus who takes us into this special God-relationship that Israel has with its God, and sets us free by breaking the power of death through crucifixion and resurrection.
God relates to us and wants us to relate to Himself.
So, contrary to all prejudices, holistic fasting can lead to inner liberation. It gives us the opportunity to get away from circling around the self and from excessive worries by opening our eyes to those who need our solidarity right now.
This can be people in the closer circle of acquaintances and friends, of whom we know how much the withdrawal and the isolation are hurting them and who would be happy about a sign of attention. These can also be people we don’t know personally, to whom we can show our solidarity by donating to a project or by consciously buying sustainably produced products that provide a good living for those who produce them.
Light bursts forth like the dawn! As a Christian, I can become a light of hope for my fellow man in everyday life. Even under the difficult conditions of a pandemic, which demands a lot from us as a community. God is a source of strength. But the relationship with him requires that we regularly allow ourselves time to nurture the relationship. That is why I myself use Lent, as I do every year, to read a short inspiring text every day that illustrates how I can deepen my relationship with God or how I can be mindful of my fellow human beings.
How do you spend the time before Easter this year?? Fasting this year? And how? By renouncing something or by consciously doing something, the introduction of a meaningful ritual?

In all that you do mindfully or what you deliberately leave undone, I wish God’s blessing:

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Sexagesima

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Corona time is time of self-restraint. You can do "nothing" and you have to be patient. Practicing patience – obviously it is neither natural nor easy! No wonder, then, that we find it difficult to do so, all the more so when we feel condemned to wait and hold still, that is, to a passive patience, an endurance against our will. Better feels active patience – when we persevere, but also bear with them and help shape them situation. A patience that does not allow itself to be defeated, and that puts a stop to both the restlessness that strives back or forward into making, and the dejection that destroys inwardly. In Luke’s parable of the sower and the seed, the key word is that the harvest is successful, hypomone: patience, perseverance, steadfastness – and in addition a serene trust in the power of the Word of God:

The parable of sowing in different soils (Luke 8:4-15 from the Basic Bible)
A great crowd gathered around Jesus, and from every place people flocked to him. Then he told them a parable: "A farmer went out into the field to sow his seed. While he was casting the grains, a part of them fell on the road. The grains were trodden down, and the birds picked them up. Another part fell on rocky ground. The grains sprouted and quickly dried up again because they had no moisture. Another part fell among the thistles. The thistles went up with and choked the young seed. But another part fell on good ground. The grains sprouted and yielded a hundredfold. "Then Jesus cried out: "He who has ears to hear, let him listen well"." Jesus explains the parable of sowing on different soils.
Then his disciples asked him, "What does this parable mean??"He answered: "It is given to you to understand the mystery of the kingdom of God. But the other people learn about it only in parables. For they shall see without knowing and hear without understanding.
This is the meaning of the parable: the seed is the Word of God. What falls on the way stands for the people who hear the word. But then comes the devil. He takes it away from their hearts again, so that they do not believe and are saved. Another part falls on rocky ground. It stands for the people who hear the word and immediately receive it with joy. But it takes no root. For a time they believe. But as soon as they are put to the test, they turn away again. Still another part falls among the thistles. It stands for the people who first hear the word. But then they go away. They suffocate in worries, in riches and the joys that life offers. Therefore they do not yield. 15 But a part also falls on good ground. It stands for the people who hear the word with an open and willing heart. They preserve it and persevere -and so they bring forth much yield."

In this parable, it is very important in the interpretation to focus on the seed or the seed. Planting the seed as the Word of God, and how this develops in different situations. It is easy to pre-judge and get stuck on the meaning of good soil, and then convey to the hearers of the parable that they themselves are not trying hard enough to be a good breeding ground for the Word of God.
Instead, the parable uses the examples of the soil to characterize various life situations and states of mind of people who come into contact with God’s Word. Here I would like to emphasize that every human being carries within himself both fertile and unfruitful parts. In this parable, however, of the seed is so abundant that in spite of all loss, in the end an abundant harvest has ripened.
The parable offers the chance to reflect on one’s own life and faith biography: What states of mind or personal phases of life do the different types of soil represent?
– The way: A way is made to walk on it. Where and which ways do we go? What habits do we follow? In what hamster wheel we run? What thought carousel keeps me brooding? What is trodden flat with me, ironed over …?? What comes up short – because there is no time for it, because it "doesn’t fit?"
– The rocky soil: What is hard, angular, rough, hostile to life with me? Where is something hardened – and by what? Where is "life" "rocky" to me? What hurts are behind it? Where do I behave "rocky" to myself? But where do I also need hardships, and what purpose do they serve?
– The thistles: Where something overgrows me, goes too fast for me, suffocates me, overwhelms me? Where do I get lost in the undergrowth? What do I tolerate in myself or. to whom or what I give space, although it does me no good?
– The seed on the way could be a grain in the gear of the hamster wheel. A kernel (perhaps like a stone) of impetus to get thinking. As food for the birds, it gives strength to other living creatures and provides them with a basis for life.
– The seed/flower on the rocky soil refers to impermanent phases in our gardens of faith. Sometimes a splendid flower grows, which we can’t offer enough support and nourishment, which then quickly dies again.
– The seed under the thistles could sleep and maybe sprout, resurrect at a later time. Some seeds lie in the ground for years before they germinate. Maybe it just needs a gardener again to put the bed in order. And not everything that wasn’t originally planted needs to be uprooted right away: Many a weed in my garden turns out afterwards to be a beautiful flower that attracts insects.
– The good soil: Finally, the parable invites us to keep our hearts ready as fertile soil for God’s good news. Here it is about the loving invitation to do heart building without putting pressure on oneself. Instead of stirring up fear of the harvest failing, anticipation is awakened, of the rich harvest of faith in which all will share, even if there are thistles, rocky soil and paths in the garden of the heart.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Last Sunday after Epiphany

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Today I would like to actively involve you/you in the thoughts for Sunday. All that is needed is a pen and paper and a little time to yourself. Are you with us??
Please come to rest for a moment, possibly go to a place of security for this purpose. Breathe deeply. Let memories rise. The following questions guide your thoughts: Where has God been close to me in my life?? How has God’s nearness shown itself to me? What thoughts and feelings do I associate with it? Please note/ briefly jot down these memories, thoughts and feelings. Then read/read on.
The sermon text for this Sunday is about reassuring yourself of your faith. The author of the second letter of Peter refers to a very concrete impressive experience of faith that the disciples Peter, James and John had with Jesus on a mountain. (Mt 17:1-9, Three disciples see Jesus in the glory of God)

2.Letter of Peter 1:16-19 Basic Bible
We have announced to you that our Lord Jesus Christ will come again in power. And in doing so, we did not rely on elaborate, made-up stories. but we have seen with our own eyes his true greatness. From God the Father he received his honor and glory – from the majestic glory of God a voice came to him saying, "This is my beloved Son, in him I delight.". We have heard this voice ourselves. It came from heaven when we were with Jesus on the holy mountain. In this way the prophetic words become even more reliable for us. And you do well to pay attention to this. For these words are like a light burning in a dark place -until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart.

"Elaborate, made-up stories" – that’s how many people in our society would describe what we believe as Christians, or even more rudely.
Since my student days, I have repeatedly encountered people who, in light of my career choice, recognize that I am a Christian and then try to convince me to abandon my "naive" trust in a God who does not exist. Over time, I have learned with whom it is worthwhile to continue to "argue" about questions of faith and to steer the conversation into deeper areas, and with whom I prefer to quickly change the subject.
At the moment we have little contact with the outside world, and it is our own doubts about faith that become louder and ask: "Do you really believe that?? Do you believe in a God who has been faithful to his people Israel, in his Son who conquered death and rose from the dead, in the power of the Holy Spirit that unites us all and makes faith tangible? What does this bring you now?"
The author of the second letter of Peter refers to a very special moment of faith that fills him with hope, strength and confidence, as well as a light in a dark place: Jesus is wrapped in a mysterious radiant light. The voice of God is heard: "This is my beloved Son, in him I delight"."
A moment of faith that shines long within and encourages in dark times. How is it with you/ with you looking at the note from the beginning?
What moments of faith have you/ have you recorded? What thoughts and feelings are associated with it?
Some of your memories may be connected with a challenging or difficult period of your life. Other moments of faith may not seem spectacular at first glance, but may convey a sense of connection.
All of these memories are precious, even the ones that carry difficult feelings like grief and pain. In times like these, which demand a lot of strength from us, experiences of faith can bring us closer to God’s attention again. They can become the light in the dark place, until hope shines into the heart again.

Finally, I would like to share an inner image that comforts me in dark times.
God’s love is like the sun to me. When the sky is gray and cloudy, no ray of light and warmth penetrates, I know that the sun continues to shine beyond the dark clouds and I just can’t see and feel it right now.
And even though it is hard for me, I have to be very patient until the clouds go away and the sun brings brightness and warmth into my life again.

O LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up thy face upon us, and give us peace.

3. Sunday after Epiphany

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Few biblical books are suitable for reading in one go, like a novel. The Old Testament book of Ruth is definitely suitable for this purpose. I would like to suggest to you and to you to take out the Bible and open the following text passage. It may happen that you want to read on right away/, that you want to read on right away.

Ruth 1:1-19a (Luther Bible 2017) – Ruth moves with Naomi to Bethlehem
At the time when the judges were judging, there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went out into the land of Moab to dwell there as a stranger, with his wife and his two sons. And his name was Elimelech, and his wife Naomi, and his two sons Machlon and Kilyon, which were of the Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. And when they had come into the land of Moab, they abode there. And Elimelech Noomi’s husband died, and she was left with her two sons. They took Moabite women; one was named Orpa, the other Ruth. And when they had dwelt there about ten years, Machlon and Kiljon died also. And the woman was left without her two sons and without her husband. And she arose with her two daughters in law, and departed out of the land of Moab: for she had heard in the land of Moab that the LORD had taken care of his people, and given them bread. And she went out from the place where she had been, and her two daughters-in-law with her. And when they were on their way to return to the land of Judah, she said to her two daughters-in-law, Go and return, each to her mother’s house! The LORD have mercy on you, as you have mercy on the dead and on me. The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in her husband’s house! And she kissed them. Then they lifted up their voice, and wept, and said unto her, We will go with thee unto thy people. But Naomi said, Return, my daughters! Why will you go with me? How can I once again have children in my womb who could become your husbands?? Turn back, my daughters, and go; for I am now too old to belong to a man again. And if I thought I still have hope! And that night belonged to a man and would bear sons, would you wait until they grew up?? Would you shut yourselves in and belong to no man? Not so, my daughters! My lot is too bitter for you, for the hand of the LORD has struck me. Then they lifted up their voices and wept still more. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth would not leave her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is returned unto her people, and unto her God: return thou also, after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Distress me not, that I should leave thee, and return from thee. Where you go, I will go; where you stay, I will stay. Your people are my people, and your God is my God. Where you die, I also die, I also want to be buried. The LORD do this for me, and that for me: only death shall separate me from thee. Now when she saw that she was determined to go with her, she desisted from persuading her. So the two walked together until they came to Bethlehem.

In the book of Ruth, we meet two courageous women who take their fate into their own hands together. Both have lost their husbands, both are childless and therefore without retirement security, both have to cope in a world dominated by men. The unusual thing is that the two are not intimidated by it.
Naomi takes on the role of wise matriarch. She is kind and experienced in life, caring for her daughters-in-law as for her own sons. She persuades the two to stay in their own country, in their familiar culture, in order to find a husband again. In this way, the two still young women would have the perspective of having children, sons, who would provide for them in their old age.
While Orpah gratefully accepts this sensible advice and tearfully says goodbye in the middle of the road and turns back to Moab, Ruth remains faithful to her mother-in-law.
The unusual thing is that Ruth is not only willing to move with Naomi to a foreign land, but also willing to embrace the Jewish faith out of personal conviction. Ruth does not know at this point if the people in the small village of Bethlehem will accept her as a foreigner and a newcomer, even if she wants to integrate so willingly.
Noomi and Ruth are not portrayed as particularly pious. Nevertheless, they place their future in God’s hands. This is announced in verse 6. The reason for the journey to Noomi’s old home in Bethlehem is that God has made sure that there is bread to eat again in the "house of bread" (translation of the name Bethlehem).
How Naomi and Ruth continue to stand by each other and how their situation changes for the better under God’s blessing is, as I said, something I would definitely recommend you to read for yourself. It is worth it.
I would like to emphasize that Ruth, of all people, the stranger from the land of Moab, who only comes to believe in the God of Israel through her mother-in-law, becomes the progenitor, the ancestress of the Messiah Jesus Christ.
God also walks with us on unusual paths of faith. He accompanies us through strokes of fate, sets out with us for new shores, for new ways of life, far away from what we have known before.

The year 2021 is still young. It’s hard to make plans. We must endure that much still remains in the unknown. And yet we must put our feet forward one step at a time, as Ruth and Naomi did.

I find this poem encouraging.
"I said to the angel who stood at the gate of the new year, Give me a light, that I may walk safely toward uncertainty.
The angel of the new year answered:
Go into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God. This is better than a light and safer than a known way"
Minnie Louise Haskins.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

2. Sunday after Epiphany

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The luxury problem
My husband and I have a special expression for an everyday concern that is about something that is already uncomfortable or inconvenient, but nothing existential. We call this "a luxury problem". About a luxury problem we may complain to each other. But we would not do that to others because it does not seem appropriate in the face of much worse problems of other people. One particularly urgent luxury problem at the moment we may share with you and yours. And since it’s just the two of us here, I’m going to have a quick whine: I think it’s very silly that my husband and I haven’t had guests over for dinner in a long time. How we would love to sit around the table laughing with others, enjoying good food and a glass of wine. I probably get a lot of approval from you/your side on this luxury issue. I am glad to have expressed and shared this once. Sometimes it is important to be allowed to be dissatisfied with something that is called "not system relevant" in the new pandemic language. I find it all the more amazing that there is also a biblical sign where Jesus solves such a luxury problem:

The wedding in Cana, John 2:1-11 (Basic Bible)
On the third day a wedding took place in Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother also took part. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding feast. During the feast the wine ran out. Then Jesus’ mother said to him: "You have no more wine!" Jesus answered her, "What do you want from me, woman?? My hour has not yet come."But his mother said to the servants, "Do everything he tells you!" There were also six large water jars of stone. The Jews needed it to purify themselves. Each jar held two to three buckets. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." They filled it to the brim. Then he said to them, "Now scoop out something and bring it to the master of the feast." They brought it to him. When the master of the feast took a sip, the water had become wine. He did not know, of course, where the wine came from. But the servants who had drawn the water knew about it. Then the master of the feast called the bridegroom to him and said to him: "Everyone else pours out the good wine first. And then when the guests are drunk, the less good follows. You have withheld the good wine until now."This was the first sign. Jesus did it in Cana of Galilee. He made his glory visible and his disciples believed in him.

One can imagine the turmoil in a devout Bible study group:
Instead of leading tax collectors back to the path of virtue, healing the terminally ill or comforting the sad, Jesus saves a wedding party. Did he really have to make about 600 liters of wine – so much alcohol, for a senseless and unhealthy feast? How can this behavior be appropriate in view of the coming kingdom of God, which Jesus himself embodies with his words and his actions??

The miracle of wine at Cana is the first sign of Jesus in the Gospel of John, others will follow, miracles of healing, miracles of feeding, which also have to do with the life and living conditions of the people. But which perspective is opened there in Cana, which width, which living space! It is the perspective of celebration, of joy, of abundance.

Wine traditionally represents the joy of life in Judaism. "Le Chaim!" – "To life!" is the appropriate saying, with which one raises his glass together.

Jesus, with this miracle of wine, saved the feast, the feast of life to which he invites again and again. "I have come that they may have life in abundance." The feast celebrated here in John’s Gospel at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry offers a foretaste of what awaits us in his kingdom. Against this background, it does not seem to be a luxury problem if one feels excluded from this fullness of life, the common celebration and enjoyment.

The question is: How do we deal with this?? Finally, the current commandment of charity is a paradoxical one: to stay away from each other instead of celebrating together, so as not to endanger the health of one’s fellow human beings. I think there is no harm in sharing your personal resentment about your situation with God. And then, when one’s heart has been lightened, one can consider for oneself what joys are still there in everyday life and have hitherto seemed too much to be taken for granted.

David Steindl Rast is a Benedictine monk and spiritual teacher who recommends very simple exercises to consciously perceive one’s own gratitude every day. He relies on sensory perceptions in the process. A taste, a sound, a poem, a cloud in the sky. "Stop, look, go" is his basic principle and he lives it like this: "Before I go to bed, I look back on my day and ask myself: "’Have I stopped and allowed myself to be surprised by life?? Or simply plodded on? Was too busy to feel gratitude? And – once I paused – I looked for an opportunity for gratitude? And finally: Was I mindful enough to turn to the given opportunity and make full use of it?’" (…) "My recipe for a joyful day is simple: stop and wake up – look and be aware of what you see – then move on with all the mindfulness you can muster for the given moment. To look back in the evening on a day in which I took these three steps over and over again is like looking at an orchard full of fruit."

I wish you and yours much patience and joy in discovering your personal moments of gratitude. We keep the longing for community, for celebration and enjoyment alive in us. Let us look out for the aliveness of God and the fullness of life.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

1. Sunday after Epiphany

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

There are these typical words and phrases that we hear and immediately know: "That sounds biblical!" Or "I know this from the service."

For this newsletter, I set out to re-explore some of these typically biblical or typically ecclesial words and ask: What is actually meant by them?? Whenever a biblical text or theological topic brings up such a concept, I am happy to join you in this space to breathe new life into old words. Let’s go!

Mercy – The annual motto for the year 2021 is found in Luke 6, verse 36:
Jesus Christ says: "Be merciful, as your Father is merciful!"

(published with kind permission of Adeo Verlag, graphic: Eva Jung)

The poster with the graphic interpretation of this year’s motto by Eva Jung also hangs in our showcases. When she was designing, she probably had the guiding question in mind: "What would we say today when we mean the word "merciful"??"That is why she lets roll towards the viewers of her graphic a whole column of qualities in a big block of letters. White letters on a colorful background push their way between the yellow printed text of the year’s motto. Many good qualities are lined up, which carry the appeal of the old biblical word "merciful". Among others are mentioned there:

‘Compassionate, devoted, accommodating, empathetic, tolerant, restful…

Even though the abundance of words slays me for a moment, two things strike me. On the one hand, I am impressed by the complexity and the multiplicity of the qualities that go with the word merciful.
On the other hand I like the idea of the reflection in this bible passage. Jesus says our human behavior should reflect God’s good behavior toward us, in all its facets.

"Be merciful, says Jesus, just as your Father is merciful!" As God, the heavenly Father, so are we. We are to act in the image of God.

I always find it fascinating which biblical world of thought a word originates from. In ancient Greek resp. Roman thinking means oiktirmos or. misericordia the personified compassion. The Latin expression misericordia comes from our German word Barmherzigkeit – the heart for the poor or compassion for the miserable.
In the Jewish tradition there is the Hebrew expression rachamim, which is used in the Old Testament whenever one of God’s most important attributes, mercy, is mentioned.
God behaves mercifully especially to his people Israel, that he looks upon as his own child. He mercifully overlooks transgressions or sins of his people and remains in covenant with the people of Israel.
If you put the Hebrew expression for mercy in the plural -racham -, it means mother’s womb.
The womb is the place where new life grows, the place where the little unborn human being is safe and listens to the heartbeat of his mother.
I like to think that God’s mercy springs from just such a place of life, growth and security.
God shows himself to us humans in his mercy. With Him we can find refuge in our neediness, even when we have done something wrong and feel guilty. For a moment to be buried in God and listen to his heartbeat.

This beautiful thought leads me to ask:
How can we humans worthily reflect this generous and maternal mercy of God?
How can we show our heart for those who need our help or compassion??
This brings me back to the plethora of qualities Eva Jung puts before us in her graphic.
To act mercifully towards our fellow human beings requires an eye for the diversity of human needs and feelings.
Who needs my caring today? To whom I show my sensitive side today? Who do I let feel my warm-heartedness? Where my charity is desperately needed?
Given the spacing out of these days, practicing mercy is a special challenge. Even under normal circumstances, it is difficult to see and recognize behind your own blind spots: Who needs me? How much more difficult it is in times of lockdown, when so many are in danger of disappearing into isolation. Rarely, then, the practice of this virtue more important than now. Therefore, I wish you and you much creativity in practicing mercy in your and your families, in writing letters, making phone calls and zooms, in distance walks and in reading newspapers (through prayer).

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

4. Advent

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

"Advent is a time of joy and hope, a time when we can come to God with our longing for peace, and leave all that is burdensome with Him. Advent is also a time of pause, when we can breathe, when we can come to ourselves and get ready for the feast.".
This is what I wrote in the newsletter for last Sunday. Now I am sitting on the article for the newsletter for the coming Sunday and I am thinking: A time of joy and hope?
So much has happened again in the last few days. To keep the joy and hope for me is a challenging task. We cancel church services. On Christmas Eve. For many people, this service is the only one they planned to attend this year. For some, because they otherwise never come to church anyway, but the service with the nativity play is part of a beautiful Christmas celebration. For others, because they have foregone attending church services this year with the special circumstances. In "normal" times, for some people in our communities, attending worship on Christmas Eve might have interrupted the feeling of loneliness and being lost for a moment, and allowed for comfort. And now? We will try to make the consolation possible with the "Open church". But is this enough?
A few days ago I heard the sentence: "We don’t have to save Christmas, Christmas saves us"."Yes, this is our hope as Christians: That we will be saved, snatched from our sorrows, freed from our entanglements in guilt and fears. The longing for salvation and deliverance from everything that burdens us is already great, perhaps we are not always so aware of it, because we like to repress difficult things and do not like to deal with the fact that we could also be challenged to change our attitude, to open ourselves for the one who comes: GOD.
"God comes to meet us on our sometimes very winding paths, always already, even when we don’t expect it at all," I wrote last week. For this we shall be prepared. Are we the?
Last Sunday evening I had a good conversation. God is coming, and we must let him come. "And it’s not always funny," said my interlocutor. No, it is not always funny. It requires a lot of us to allow God to come to us. Not the people in general are meant – each and every one is meant personally. And that can mean: just leave everything and get involved in what is to be seen, heard and experienced anew – like the shepherds in the field. When they returned to their lives, everything had changed for them. Into their night the bright star of hope had shone. But they would not have noticed and slept through it, if they had not been involved in it. Were the shepherds prepared? No. But they were ready to leave everything behind, to set out and go on the way to the one who, as it were, comes to meet them, comes into their world.

I wish you and yours that this Christmas, despite all that will be different and unfamiliar, will be your own personal Christmas.

On Sunday, song 16 from the hymnal will be the sermon text:

The night has advanced, the day is no longer far away.
So now praise be sung to the bright morning star!
Even he who wept in the night, let him join in joyfully.
The morning star also certifies your fear and pain.

To whom all angels serve, now becomes a child and servant.
God himself appeared for the atonement of his right.
He who is guilty on earth, cover no more his head.
He shall be saved if he believes the child.

The night is already fading, make your way to the stable!
You shall find salvation there, the course of all time
proclaimed from the beginning, since your guilt happened.
Now he has joined you, whom God himself has chosen.

Many a night shall fall on man’s sorrow and guilt.
But now the star of God’s grace travels with them all.
Shining with his light, no darkness can hold you any longer,
from God’s face salvation came to you.

God wants to dwell in the darkness and yet has lighted it up.
As if to reward, he judges the world.
He who built the world for himself does not abandon the sinner.
Who trusted the Son here, comes out of judgment there.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

3. Advent

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

In the book of Isaiah (chapter 40, 1-11) we find words that are often heard as a sermon text in the churches during Advent:

Comfort, comfort my people!, says your God.

There is a voice calling: In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord. Make in the steppes a level path for our God!
"Preach!" God invites him. But: "What shall I preach?" is Isaiah’s answer. Yes, what can we say in the face of the desert that is dark, in the face of the hopeless disorder of our world?? What to say in the face of the abundance of problems, crises, political debacles? What to say in the face of disturbed interpersonal relationships, hatred, violence and indifference towards others? What to say in view of the loneliness and feelings of helplessness and suffering of many people in our near and far surroundings? And what to say in view of our churches, where some people can no longer find their spiritual home?

"Comfort, comfort my people!"Isaiah is not called upon to preach a sermon of judgment. It should speak kindly to the people, should comfort, give hope, bring light into their darkness, tell them: Their guilt is forgiven them. The bondage has an end. A new time is dawning. The glory of the Lord is revealed. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arms and carry them in the bundle of his robe and lead the ewes.
Isaiah proclaims the new time. A joyful message. People are free for a new life, full of hope, their eyes no longer downcast, but looking forward. They have a future again, the longing for a free life, a redeemed life has a good reason with God.

This is the message of Advent. The Lord comes to us, comes to meet us. He comes into the desert. He sees people in their hopeless entanglement, sees how fears hold them captive and weigh them down. And we Christians believe: He who comes to meet man is God in the man Jesus. With Jesus comes the new time. And this is how it is told in the Gospels: Jesus comes to the people who are on the margins. He speaks to those for whom others have not a word to say. He heals those who suffer from broken relationships. It shows those who see no meaning in their lives that they are valuable to God, his creatures, his children, his people. God turns to the people.

When we read or hear this message today, we also hear something of the faith experiences of the people who heard this message at that time and took it in. For her, this was an answer to her longing for a God who frees her from all that is oppressive and burdensome. For them, this was the hope that God would set them on their feet anew, show them a new path to follow. And we can let ourselves be taken into this experience of faith and longing. Because we also know this longing: that we can live a fulfilled life. That we can rejoice over many things that we encounter in life – both small and large. That we feel well taken care of, protected and accompanied by God’s good spirit. God comes to meet us, every day, sometimes inconspicuously, in the small, in the everyday. Often it is difficult for us to recognize that. Then perhaps worries get the upper hand, terrible images that we are confronted with every day are difficult to bear, or anger is too great. Then it helps to pause once and remember: God comes to meet us, God comes to meet me, always has. Perhaps I have even felt this: in a smile, in a good word that someone says to me, in a conversation that has done me good, in a ray of sunshine that I feel on my skin . Perhaps such an encounter also occurs to you?

Advent is a time of joy and hope, a time when we can come to God with our longing for peace and leave all that is burdensome with him. Advent is also a time of pause, when we can breathe a sigh of relief, when we can come to ourselves and get ready for the feast that we celebrate again and again every year because we want to remember it: God comes to meet us on our sometimes already very winding paths, always already, even if we do not expect it at all. Always, every day, this unique event shines into our lives.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

2. Advent

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Open up and become light!
Open up and become light!
Open up and become light;
for your light is coming!

(Song 537 in the EG)

Arise and become light;
because your light is coming,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you!

(Isaiah 60:1)

Isaiah is familiar with hopeless situations, with difficult times, when no spark of joy in life may stir and resignation hangs heavy over the minds like a dark cloud. And nevertheless: He invites the people of his time not to remain in darkness. It does not help to moan and complain. It does not help to freeze in self-pity and to watch impotently how everything only seems to get worse. Open up, Isaiah tells the people, become light, become bright, radiate kindness, hope, confidence. Turn to the people around you. Give them your attention. Make their faces shine. For this is the confidence that makes your life bright: The glory of the Lord rises upon you, upon us. God is with us.

Light makes the time of waiting bright.
We do not wait for darkness.
We do not wait with trepidation for what is to come.
The light makes our waiting bright.
The longer we wait, the brighter the light shines.
We wait with hope.
We wait with anticipation for what is coming, what is promised to us:
God is with us.

Light of hope
Our hope is not just a dream.
Our hope is reality.
By her, with her we live.
Our hope makes our life bright,
Makes us strong for what is coming, what is promised to us:
God is with us.

Light of peace.
We feel peace when we are together, singing, listening, praying together,
together we wait, hope and rejoice.
Peace – God’s bright presence in our midst.
Peace higher than anything we can grasp, think, dream.
Peace that is promised to us:
God is with us

Light of joy.
In the darkness a light shines for us.
With all that frightens us,
what makes us sad, what makes us doubt, what makes us despair – in the darkness a light shines for us,
warms our hearts, kindles in us joy for what is coming, what is promised to us:
God is with us.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

1. Advent

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Do you know the biblical story of the five wise and the five foolish virgins? It is in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 25:1-13) and is a parable of waiting for better times, for the Kingdom of God. Waiting is a difficult exercise, even when it is a waiting for an event that one looks forward to with anticipation and some excitement. If this event is too long in coming, we become weary. This is how it is with the young women who are told about here. The long wait makes them tired. You fall asleep. That’s understandable, after all it’s deep night. And there are guards who can wake the young women in time, when the expected event begins: Behold, the bridegroom comes! And now it becomes clear: on the one hand there are the wise ones who have prepared themselves, who have made sure that their lamps will not go out, because they have enough supply of oil ready. On the other hand, there are the foolish ones who simply ran away, not caring that their lamps might eventually go out, because they did not provide the necessary supply of oil. Now that they realize their mistake, it is too late: they are late, the party has begun, the door is closed, they will not be allowed into the banquet hall.

Why is the host seemingly so unmerciful? And why do the wise women not want to share their oil with the other women??

The lamps can only be lit if they have first been sufficiently supplied with oil. The light is not divisible, each of the women has her own light, each shining on her own. My light shines for me, in me. I can let my light shine for others, before others. But my light can only be made to shine if I am receptive to it, if I am ready for it. The wise young women can shine. They are prepared. They have taken seriously the invitation to be prepared for the feast. They are filled with expectation, with hope, with joy for the coming of the bridegroom, their host. Even though they have been asleep – when the bridegroom arrives and invites them, they are ready. By her light they are recognized.

The foolish women surely also looked forward to this feast. They wanted to be there when the groom comes and invites them to his banquet hall. Too late they realize that they are not prepared. Too late they realize how seriously the invitation had been meant. That it was an invitation not to be missed. That the bridegroom is not some random host. The bridegroom does not recognize it. Their light is going out. They have bought oil, but obviously it does not burn. This attitude of readiness, this hope, this joy cannot be bought in a hurry. This attitude must be able to grow, to mature, to endure a long wait. Even though the waiting can be tiring. Even though we may forget over time what we are waiting for. That is why it is good to have times and occasions when we can remember that it is worth the wait. That is why it is good to celebrate this time of Advent, the time of waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ. So we can always be sure of our hope, strengthen each other in the hope of the one who is coming, and thereby experience the encouragement that sustains our hope, makes our light shine brightly. The light, the hopeful light of joy, it shines in us if we keep it burning. So we are ready when the bridegroom comes and invites us to the feast in his banquet hall.

Light of joy.
In the darkness a light shines for us.
In all that makes us afraid, in all that makes us sad,
what makes us doubt, despair – in the darkness a light shines for us,
warms our hearts, kindles in us joy about what is coming to us,
what is promised to us: God is with us.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up your face upon us and give us peace.

Last Sunday of the church year/Eternity Sunday

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

For behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth,
that the previous one will no longer be remembered and taken to heart.
(Isaiah 65:17)

A new earth
what a dream
no tears, no pain
no violence, no hatred
no lie, no deceit
no hunger, no drought
no injustice, no unfairness

A new earth
what a dream
Comfort for those who weep
Healing for the wounded
Tenderness and kindness
Truthfulness and honesty
Bread for all to share

A new earth
What a dream
burdensome things are thrown off
Chains of fear will be broken
Worries no longer weigh down the heart
Thoughts can unfold freely
breathe a sigh of relief, be happy
Encourage to live, give hope

And above all
a new heaven
God’s rich blessing embraces life

A new heaven, a new earth
what a dream – only a dream?
God wants to dream this dream, with us
God gives us this dream
as a light of hope that illuminates the sadness
Step by step, piece by piece, moment by moment
this dream will illuminate our reality
and change.

God’s word is like light in the night
it has brought hope and future;
it gives comfort, it gives support
in distress, need and fears,
it is like a star in the darkness.
(Song 591, EG)

Lord, our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Penultimate Sunday of the Church Year/Day of Mourning

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The national day of mourning has a deep meaning for many people – in different ways and for different reasons. On this day we remember the people who suffered and became victims in two cruel wars and under the terrible rule of the National Socialists. On this day we also realize how little people have learned from their sorrowful experiences and history. War and displacement are commonplace in the world. Wars also take place on a small scale, often right on our doorstep. Violence against foreigners, attacks, rapes, murders, that is basically war between people in a society. Violence makes us afraid. Whether we experience violence directly, whether we feel it in body and soul, whether we remember how it was when we had to suffer violence, whether we witness violence directly or through the images in the media – we feel the threat, we are afraid for our lives, for our existence. Many people in our country, many of you have already experienced threat, hostility, violence on your own body and soul, many of you know the fear that can determine life, even consume it. Many have experienced this fear, in the war, during the time of National Socialism, in the time of persecution and expulsion. The younger generations are familiar with the fear of dangers that are perceived as life-threatening: the nuclear threat, the time of the "Cold War", the threat to life from irreparable damage to nature, but also violence – in the streets, in schools. Even elementary school children know this fear. Fear that life could be threatened. The fear that there might be the peace that we want so much, that we keep striving for, there might not be that peace at the end of the day. It is the fear that ultimately peace between people is impossible, that there is actually no hope at all. How do we deal with this fear? How should we live with this fear?

In the 138. Psalm we read: When I walk in the midst of fear, you refresh me.

This person who says this knows what it is like to live in fear.

The Psalms know many images of fear. In 69. Psalm reads: The water comes up to my soul. I am sinking in the deep mud where there is no bottom; I have fallen into deep waters, and the flood wants to drown me. I’ve screamed myself tired, my throat is hoarse.

Fear can pull me down, take the ground from under my feet. Fear can swallow me up, drown me. And nowhere is help, no one hears my cries.

In the 22. Psalm says: Mighty bulls have surrounded me, mighty buffaloes have surrounded me. Their jaws they open against me like a roaring and ravening lion. Dogs have surrounded me and the evil one has surrounded me. I can count all my bones, but they watch and look down on me.

You can feel the fear when you hear and read this. Fear destroys my soul. I feel surrounded, beset by enemies, I am helplessly at the mercy of them and my fear. The experience of others looking down on me with indifference or even derision makes my fear grow immeasurable and unbearable.

The language of these psalms is characterized by expressive and drastic images. There are no more words to describe this fear of life. But there are still images that can express what we experience and feel. These are images with which we also process fear in our dreams. In the Psalms, people express what moves them in the depths of their souls. Just as they process in dreams what moves them in the depths of the soul.

When I walk in the midst of fear, you refresh me. The people who speak of their fear in the Psalms know only one address to which they can direct their desperate cry: God. "God, help me" they cry, even in the feeling of abandonment of God. God is the last hope, when there is no more, there is only the deep mud of fear. The very fact that they can tell their God their fear, that they can cry out to Him their abandonment and despair, is important to them, the "first aid". They don’t call out into the void, and that gives them support.

When I walk in the midst of fear, you refresh me. What deep trust is in this sentence. God gives my feet support. He does not let me sink in the deep mud. He does not allow the tide to wash over me. He puts a stop to grimaces and tearing maws. He lifts me up and doesn’t leave me in the dirt. He assures me that I am valuable, that my life has meaning and value. He assures me of his protection. He keeps me alive.

That is the beauty of the Psalms: The people whose voices we can hear there speak a lot about threatening, bad life experiences, but they do not know the church. But they also speak of their great hope, which sometimes seems to almost disappear, but then can become strong again. They hold fast to their hope, and hope holds fast to them. And this hope is with God, who refreshes them, as the saying goes, who gives them new courage and strength so that they can continue on their way, comforted and confident.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Third last Sunday of the church year

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Paul writes to the Christian community in Rome. He has not yet met the congregation. And the congregation does not know him either. Paul finds: It is time for him and the Christians in Rome to get in touch with each other.

For I would so like to meet you. I would like to pass on to you something of the gift I have been given by the Holy Spirit. I would like to strengthen your faith. Or rather: I would like us to encourage each other during my visit through the faith that unites us – you me through your faith and I you through my faith.
(Romans 1:11-12)

Share the faith with each other;
Encouraging each other and giving each other support;
experience with each other that which unites all, even if we do not know each other;
encourage each other and give each other strength to survive as Christians in a world that does not make it easy to trust in God:
All this is difficult to achieve in the physical distance. In Paul’s day, communication by letter was a lengthy and difficult endeavor. There was no post system. It may have taken weeks for the letter to reach the Roman church – if it reached its addressee at all. This is hardly imaginable today in the age of the Internet and communication channels that can overcome distances in a flash. But transports correspondence and also our fast ways of communication actually everything we want to know about each other? Is that enough for us to really understand each other?? Can we get to know each other like this? Can we be so close to each other?

For I would so like to meet you, writes Paul. He needs direct contact. He wants to know how people are doing. He wants to see how they live and how they look when they are happy or when they are sad. And hear how their voices sound when they talk about their faith or their problems. And he wants the Christians in Rome to get to know him in this way – as a whole person, with his voice and his moods, with his posture and his upright walk.

If we know a person and he is familiar to us, we can perhaps guess what mood resonates in the voice on the phone or in the video call. But we can really only sense how the other person is doing when he is standing opposite us. This gives us an idea of how Paul dealt with the Roman Christians.

Because I would like to meet you so much, Paul writes: I want to talk with you about what moves you, what moves me. About faith, which is very different for each and every one of us, but which has a common basis. About what makes faith difficult in our times. And about what faith makes easier for us in these times: passing on hope, praying with each other – even across distance, trusting in our God who helps and gives us confidence: All will be well.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

20. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The Lord sets the captives free.
(Ps 146:7)

If now the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.
(John 8:36)

– a word of longing.
When am I really free?

– in fears and worries,
in the daily grind.
Tasks must be done.
Duty calls.
I must work efficiently.
I must look good.
I must not sweat.
I must not be distracted by unimportant things.
Always be kind and courteous.
And: keep your distance – mouth-nose protection – move as little as possible, as much as necessary.
Do not go off the deep end!
Not an evil word!
No impatience!
No exclamation marks!

– a word of longing
When am I really free?

I’m going outside, to the fresh, damp, cold autumn air.
I breathe in, I breathe out.
The thoughts sort themselves out. They become clear.
My fears and worries no longer determine my thinking.
My daily routine is broken.
I have time for the you may.
I don’t need to fly off the handle at all, don’t need exclamation marks,
i stand by my question marks.
You make me free, God.
My trust that you are there, now, here, always
my hope that all will be well,
In spite of all that is burdensome and distressing and difficult
– this is my freedom.
You set me free, my God.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

18. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The commandment which I command thee this day is not too great nor too far from thee.
It is not in heaven that you must say: Who wants to go to heaven for us and get it for us, that we hear it and do it?
Nor is it beyond the sea that you must say: Who will cross the sea for us and get it for us, that we may hear it and do it??
For the Word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart to do it.
(5. Genesis, 30, 11-14)

No invitation
None: If you want, you can do, think, say this or that. What to do and what not to do is God’s commandment, the commandment of the hour. It’s your turn now.

No excuse
No: This is unrealistic. That is too much to ask. This is not the right time at all. Someone else must do it. You are challenged, with your commitment, with your strength and your ability. No more, but also no less. Not less, but not more.

All this has nothing to do with you?
Yes, you may, and you know what to do. Deep in your heart, in your soul, God’s word is firmly anchored. As a commandment. And as a promise: You can, you will do it, if you hear my commandment.

The word of God, near to you, in your heart and in your mouth

Only be still to God, my soul; for he is my hope.

This too is God’s word: hope that sustains me. Confidence that makes me strong. Protection that sets me free to do and say what is the commandment of the hour.

Silence helps me to make God’s word resound in my heart. Stop for a moment, listen to yourself, discover what I actually already know: the word of God, the promise of his blessing and his command to live, act and speak out of this blessing, this word of God is very close to you – not too far and not too high.

Bless us, O LORD our God, and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

17. Sunday after Trinity – Harvest Thanksgiving

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

All eyes wait for you, Lord, and you give them food in due season.
You open your hand and satisfy all that lives according to your good pleasure.
(Psalm 145:15-16)

We are not used to wait.
When we want something, we take it.
When we need something, we assume that it is available.

Waiting requires patience.
When I wait, I have to take my time. Maybe this is the time when I realize what food I need, what would really do me good now. Or it is the time when I realize: I don’t need anything right now. I am well satisfied. But my neighbor just needs attention, comfort, a good word. The man on the street corner needs something to eat right now. The child who sits alone on the playground needs a friend to play with.
Waiting can mean Pausing. Be aware of my surroundings, the people around me. Discover what is important and what is not.

Waiting can open your eyes.
For the other, for me, for God: All eyes are waiting for you, Lord.
Eyes can reflect how the soul is doing at the moment. They look sadly or full of joy into the world. Your gaze is directed more inward or curious about what is happening outside. You look resigned or hopeful, hungry or full and satisfied, skeptical or confident.

All eyes are waiting for you, Lord.

We wait for God and rejoice when we can feel: God is in our midst when we worship together. God bring us together as we set up our harvest table in the parish garden. His Spirit is with us when we sing and pray. He is there when we experience fellowship. Give us what we need when we need it: You give us food at the right time. Let us/let us celebrate this gratefully this Sunday!

Lord, our God, bless us and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

16. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The Spirit that God has given us does not make us despondent. Rather, he awakens in us strength, love and prudence. So do not be ashamed to stand as a witness for our Lord. (2. (Timothy 1:7-10)

These words are the beginning of the sermon text for next Sunday. When I first read it, I immediately noticed: Strength, love, prudence – and not despondency! – Shall guide us in our lives, in our faith, in our parish life. And do not be ashamed to confess Jesus Christ.
We have a lot of things to think about in our communities in the near future: The celebration of the "big" services – how we can and want to celebrate is already being discussed. And we do not agree at all. How can we lead these discussions well and constructively, so that we can then really all celebrate together??
The elections for the church council next spring – how can the work of the church council be organized in such a way that all those who have an interest in the continued existence of the congregations and the building up of congregational life can have their say and participate without being worn down and worn out? Here, too, we are always in conversation and need many voices and a lot of commitment in doing and thinking together.
Strength, love, prudence – are given to us through the Holy Spirit. That does not protect us from having to argue and disagree with one another. But it keeps us from being imprudent and disrespectful to each other: Everyone has something to contribute to the discourse about how we want to be and can be a congregation, not just in these times, but in principle. Strength, love, prudence enable us to open up to each other, to listen to each other and to become active together. And last but not least: celebrate with each other! By the way: If we succeed in this, we need not be ashamed to confess Jesus Christ as His church in public.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

10. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(from the Beatitudes: Matthew 5, 8)

Jesus speaks to the people who have gathered to hear him. The famous Sermon on the Mount does not begin with demands on how people should live well together. Nor does it begin with a statement of how difficult the times are. The listeners know all this, no one needs to tell them any more.

The Sermon on the Mount begins with the comforting promise. People who are rather marginalized in society; people who live and think differently than the "mainstream"; people who cannot cope with the "normal" lifestyle that determines everyday life in society – to them Jesus promises: Blessed are you, yours will be the kingdom of heaven. Justice will be done for you. God is with you and will always be with you, you will be called children of God. You will be the ones who will "see God".

Blessed are the pure in heart.
"I am small, my heart is pure" – I have to think of this saying when I reflect on this beatitude. In this saying naivety in the positive sense resonates: Nothing bad or evil can touch the heart. Honesty, an unbiased view of reality and a deep trust in God – blessed are the people who can entrust themselves to God with all their heart. Blessed are those who can meet their fellow men without falsehood. Who say what they think and feel. Who do not close their eyes to reality and see the problems without being taken over by evil.

For they shall see God.
We are perhaps used to thinking of the "hereafter" of our world when we hear this part of the Beatitude. To stand before the face of God, to see God as He is, we associate with the hope of eternal life in the kingdom of God – after life in our world. For Jesus, the connection between this world and the hereafter has long been a reality: God’s kingdom is coming and is already here. In every person who is our neighbor, God looks at us: What you did to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did to me, it says in his speech of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25, 40). God meets us in every person who needs our care and help. He meets us in every man with whom we suffer and rejoice.

Be joyful and confident; you will be richly rewarded in heaven.
Thus it says at the end of the Beatitudes. Heaven begins here and now in our lives. But he does not stop with our finiteness. What has begun with and for us goes beyond anything we can think and grasp.

Heaven is coming,
greets already the earth, which is,
When love changes life.
(Song 153, 5 in the hymnal)

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

9. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

You know, Lord, that my heart does not boast,
does not paint pride in my eye.
What is high, I do not make small;
the miraculous is not mean.

The soul, soon despondent, soon wild,
I have nursed it with you.
Through you embraced she has it good,
a child resting against its mother.

Hope, people of the Lord, with Him tarry!
Where else can it be with you?
You run in circles and fear.
The Eternal provides motherly.

(Psalm 131 from the Psalter in the hymnal)

You shall know that there is a living God among you. (Joshua 3, 10)

There are days when you wake up in the morning in the best of moods, the sun is shining, then a telephone call – and the mood is gone. Reasonable reaction is called for, but anger is great. The weekly schedule has to be overturned, phone calls, emails, letters, conversations, meetings, and then the very "normal" things that are actually going on this week . Where can God be, in my chaos, in my bustle?

You shall know that there is a living God among you.

There are days, in the midst of all this hustle and bustle, when people sit together and talk about what it means to be a Christian, what it means to say the Creed. Or why the congregation is important to them and so close to their hearts that they work and commit themselves to it despite all the annoyances and some disappointments. And these conversations are intensive, go into the depth and into the breadth. You can feel how good it makes you feel, and how it helps you to organize your thoughts, to concentrate on the essentials again.

You are to realize that a living God is among you.
This sentence is an invitation. You should. If we are to realize that God is with us – fully alive, fully part of life, then we must be open to it. We are to expect God to be present in our lives at all times, not just in worship on Sundays or holidays. We are to count on him and rely on him. Because then – and this is the other side – then this sentence becomes a promise: You will be .

You should realize that a living God is among you.

This sentence is a promise. We can count on God being with us – fully alive, because he lives our lives with us. Quite alive, because he is present on such and such a day. A God who gives strength when we are worn down. A God who gives us courage when we have to make difficult decisions and stand by them. A God who gives joy when everyday life threatens to wear you down, who gives peace in which you can come to yourself. A God who catches us when we run in circles and lose our bearings. A God who cares for us in a motherly way.

You shall know that there is a living God among you.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

8. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Solomon had a large, magnificent temple built in Jerusalem for the glory of God. Should God really dwell on earth? Solomon asks in the service for the dedication and opening of this temple. Slight doubt seems to come up in this question. God is so incomprehensible and so great and vast that even all the heavens cannot contain him, so how could this temple?? Should God really be present here with his people, with his people? Should God’s presence really be effective and determine people’s lives??
Solomon reckons that God’s dwelling place is in heaven. He sees a distance between God and people. Heaven is far away, it is great and unlimited, and no matter how much people strive for heaven, they will never really reach it. Is God also unreachably far away??
Solomon would not want to sign this promise. After all, God has promised to be there for his people. But this distance between heaven and earth is there for him and must be overcome, through prayer and worship: people turn to God, plead and pray, offer sacrifices – and God hears and listens and responds with his grace. The temple should be a place where this communication between people and God takes place, where a connection between heaven and earth can be established.
Such a conception of the relationship between God and man is not entirely foreign to us today. If you ask small children what a church is, you often hear: God lives there. After all, you go to church for worship. And to us, too, it may seem at least questionable whether God can really be present, even at home, in this world as we experience it. Or maybe the world is the way it is because God is not in it? Our faith also lives on the confidence that God’s promise to always be with us until the end of time is reliable and valid. But what we then experience and see and hear sometimes makes us doubt: Should God really dwell on earth??
People have always asked themselves this question. But they have also always made the experience: God can not be limited, not locked in, certainly not by people. God cannot be decreed, he cannot be fixed to a place or to an effect or to a certain time. This has consequences: God and faith in him is not just a matter for Sundays and holidays and for services in churches or temples. Nor does it belong only in the quiet chamber. Faith and religion are not only "private matters". Why? God sent his Son to mankind as the Word made man. That means: With Jesus Christ he wanted to reach people directly in their lives, in their everyday life, visibly and audibly, he wanted to go after them. And this Jesus Christ has called to make the faith in this God publicly known, by word and deed, so that faith may become effective in the world. And the message of this faith is: freedom. Faith will free people from the boundaries they have built up between themselves and their fellow human beings: in the church of God there are neither Greeks nor Jews, women nor men, slaves nor masters, says Paul once. All these distinctions that define our societies are ultimately insignificant when it comes to our standing before God as people who want to live under his blessing.
Faith will free people from the boundaries they have built between themselves and God. For God comes to the people and addresses them. This is what the speech about the Word made man means.
The message of our faith is liberation through faith, liberation to faith in the liberating God. How could a God give liberation if he himself was limited?? How could there be a message of liberation if it only applied on Sundays?? And what kind of freedom would that be if it didn’t affect all of our lives? So let us count on the fact that God is not only in church on Sundays, but always "in our midst". And even if, admittedly, there are still some questions to be considered, we count on a God who dwells and is present in his world and ours, and who sees what worries and frightens us.

And then we let ourselves be touched and carried by the spirit of freedom, on Sundays in church, in the quiet chamber, in our places in the world.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up your face to us and give us peace.

7. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

A story about trusting God in stormy times is the subject of Sunday’s sermon: Matthew 14:22-33.

Jesus crosses the water. It’s dark, it’s stormy, the waves of the lake are crashing, it’s a threatening situation. The disciples see something on the water. It comes to them. Truly an eerie image. A ghost?
The disciples recognize Jesus only when he speaks to them: "Be of good cheer, it is I". Do not be afraid. Jesus sees the disciples. He recognizes their fear, he perceives the threat that frightens them. Be of good cheer, he says. I come to you. I am with you. Nothing will happen to you. Trust me, do not be afraid. It is Peter who cannot believe his eyes and ears. He asks for proof: let me walk on the water and come to you. At least he dares to make an attempt. But in the midst of it all, courage deserts him. He sees the waves, he feels the storm, he feels the whipped up water. Obviously he no longer sees Jesus, his goal. Obviously, he no longer feels the power that makes him walk on water. He threatens to perish. This Peter, to whom Jesus had said he should be a fisher of men, one who should convince people of Jesus and his message. This Peter, who had been given his name because he was to be the cornerstone of the community that was to follow Christ. This rock begins to waver. This Peter begins to doubt. This rock is in danger of sinking.

And yet, in the midst of trouble Peter recollects: Lord, help me. His last hope is Jesus. You of little faith, why did you doubt?? Jesus asks Peter. Yes, why? Peter’s attention to the water is stronger. But the water does not carry him. It is stirred up by the storm. So it becomes a threat. Fear is greater than trust, than faith in Jesus and his power. Jesus reaches out his hand to Peter. He holds him fast before the really sinks. Now Peter also recognizes him: You are truly the Son of God. And although Peter’s doubts were stronger than his trust, Jesus had reached out to him. When Jesus gets into the boat with the rescued Peter, the storm calms down. This experience makes the disciples realize: Here is God’s Son. He is with us. His presence gives us support and peace. You are truly the Son of God.

This story is told because it should strengthen our hope and confidence. It is told because it shows us that it is not only those who are strong in faith who can expect help from God. We, who are often of little faith and discouraged, can hope that God will come to meet us and give us his hand. He takes us by the hand and is with us when we have no strength and the water is up to our necks. He is with us and walks our path with us and holds his protective hand over us. So truly is he our God.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

6. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Thus says the Lord who created you, Jacob, and made you, Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are mine!
When thou passest through waters, I will be with thee, that the rivers shall not drown thee;
and when thou goest into the fire, thou shalt not burn, neither shall the flame scorch thee.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Fear not!
In the midst of the crisis, God speaks to his people: "Fear not. I have called upon thee. I know your name. I know who you are, what you are like, what moves you and concerns you.

Fear not!
In the midst of hard times, God promises His people: In all dangers, in all threats, in all crises of life, I am with you, because I want to be with you. I will not leave you alone.

Fear not!
In the midst of despair and fear, God assures His people: I will not allow you to be at the mercy of your adversity, to let adversity rule your life, to become master over you. I am the Lord thy God. And you are mine.

Fear not!
In the midst of bondage, God says to his people: All that oppresses you, all that makes you small, all that binds you, has no power over you. I am the Lord your God, your Savior. I have redeemed you. And that is why you are free.

Fear not! Do you say to me.
Comforting warmth radiates toward me from your word.
I know: many things can happen to me that I am afraid of.
But with you I am safe. I belong to you. And you will not let me go.
I know that many things can take me captive and make me afraid.
But with you I am free. With you I can breathe. And you go my way with me.
I know: many things make me feel my powerlessness, that makes me angry and sad.
But with you I can leave my questions, my doubts and my anger. With you I am in good hands with everything.
Fear not! Do you tell me. Again and again.
And sometimes I remember your comforting, warm word.
Then I breathe a sigh of relief – and fear no more.

O LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

5. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

God equips me with strength. (Ps 18:33)

God equips me with strength. This statement comes from the 18. Psalm attributed to King David: "when the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul.". David attributes his victory in the battle against his enemies and in the power struggle with Saul to the saving hand of God. God made him strong, equipped him with strength, that he could stand his fight for his position and ultimately for his survival. And this is not just about physical strength, which is certainly also important in such a struggle. More decisive is probably the spiritual and mental strength – today we like to speak of mental strength. David needed courage and confidence in his struggle. He needed the assurance that he is not alone in his struggle, that he does not depend only on his little strength. He felt the protecting hand of God, he felt the assistance when his own strength was no longer sufficient.

We like to see ourselves as powerful people who shape their lives by their own strength. And we need strength every day. Perhaps our "struggle" is not as existential as David’s, but organizing our everyday life, balancing family and job, surviving difficult life situations, carrying out our tasks, etc. is not as easy as it might seem.B. in the community demands quite a bit of us. But what if we lack the strength? When we run out? When we become powerless because the task before us seems too great? When all we see before us is a huge mountain? Where do we get the strength when problems and worries overwhelm us??

God equips me with strength. From this sentence speaks confidence, certainty, consolation. Here someone knows: God helps me to endure. He knows what I need. I do not have to manage everything out of my own sometimes small strength. God gives me the strength I need. This confidence can make you strong. It can comfort us when our own strength is not enough. Then we can "refuel" with God. These are the pauses we need to rest, to breathe, to reflect, to become still, and to hear and feel God’s encouragement. God gives us these breaks, on the day of rest, but also in between in our daily lives. Maybe it’s the time of prayer, maybe it’s a walk, or just sitting there listening to nature. These pauses may and must be. No one has the strength to be constantly active, constantly doing and running. Whoever does not have time to feel God’s presence will eventually run out of breath.

God equips me with strength. That makes us courageous and strong to tackle the tasks that lie ahead of us. This makes us confident that we do not have to spend ourselves, but are strengthened again and again by his Spirit. This also comforts us when we realize that our strength alone is not enough to accomplish our tasks. God equips me with strength. We can be sure of that. Amen.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

4. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
Luke 19, 10

Zacchaeus is a poor man. Although he has a lot of money and a roof over his head, which is certainly noble and expensive. But he has no friends. No one pays attention, worse, no one shows real respect. Maybe some people are afraid of him – but that would not be a reason for joy either. His whole purpose in life seems to be to accumulate more and more money. There is no real joy in that either.

Zacchaeus is a little man. Even if his riches are great, it is not enough to look over the others. On the contrary, they block his view. He has to make a lot of effort to get a clear view. And he may be small, but he is not stupid. Hidden in a tree and unmolested by others, they can now see who is making people want to come together, hear and see what gives hope.

Jesus sees Zacchaeus, the poor, rich, small but not stupid man in the tree. The others had not discovered him. But Jesus finds Zacchaeus and goes with him to his house. He is not interested in what others think about Zacchaeus. And why they feel this way about Zacchaeus. Nor does he care what people think about him sitting at the table "with such a one".

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.
This is Jesus’ answer to the questions of the others, to their astonishment and even indignation.
And Zacchaeus understood Jesus’ answer in exactly the same way:
In this man Jesus, God has come to me. He searched for me and found me, even though I was hiding from everyone and everything. He came to my house and sat with me at my table. He came into my life and took a seat there. Everything has changed for me. My whole life has taken on a new meaning. Now I can change my life, now I can become someone else. Now I am really rich. No longer lost, but blessed, content, happy, full of the joy of life and hope.

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.

Bless us, O LORD our God, and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

3. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what is lost.
Luke 19, 10

Zacchaeus is a poor man. Though he has plenty of money and a roof over his head, which is certainly noble and expensive. But he has no friends. No one pays attention to him, and even worse, no one shows real respect. Maybe some people are afraid of him – but that wouldn’t be a reason to rejoice either. His whole purpose in life seems to be to accumulate more and more money. This also does not really bring joy.

Zacchaeus is a little man. Even though his wealth is great, it is not enough to look over the others. On the contrary: they block his view. He has to make a lot of effort to get a clear view. And he may be small, but he’s not stupid. Hidden in a tree and unmolested by others, he can now see who makes people want to come together, hear and see what gives hope.

Jesus sees Zacchaeus, the poor, rich, small but not stupid man in the tree. The others had not discovered him. But Jesus finds Zacchaeus and goes with him to his house. He does not care what others think about Zacchaeus. And why they think so about Zacchaeus. Nor is he interested in what people think about him wanting to sit at the table "with such a one".

The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
This is Jesus’ answer to the questions of the others, to their astonishment and even indignation.
And Zacchaeus understood Jesus’ answer in exactly this way:
In this man Jesus, God has come to me. He sought me and found me, even though I was hiding from everything and everyone. He came to my house and sat with me at my table. He has come into my life and has taken a seat there. Everything has changed for me. My whole life has taken on a new meaning. Now I can change my life, now I can become someone else. Now I am really rich. No longer lost, but blessed, satisfied, happy, full of joy and hope.

The Son of Man has come to seek and to make blessed that which is lost.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

2. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28)

God, my soul is restless.
My inner balance gets out of joint again and again.
Questions that do not find an answer.
Fears that remain diffuse.
Impatience that robs me of rest.
Freedom that is always in question.

When will the exception end again?
When will everything be "normal" again?
When can I live the way I want to again?

I want to take my friend in my arms when she is sad.
I want to meet people in everyday life without fear of contagion.
I don’t want to have to hide my face behind a mask.
I want to see the faces of others.
I want direct, not digital encounters.

God, you tell me
With all the thoughts and questions,
with all the burden that makes tired,
you can come to me.
Everything you can say.
Everything you can unload, lay at my feet.

I want to refresh you.

It will free you to speak out what is troubling you.
It will do you good to have someone listen to you.
Your burden is safe with me.
It will widen your view and direct it to the life that is also possible now,
On the beauty, the truth, the light.

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.

Lord, your goodness reaches as far as the heavens are,
And your truth as far as the clouds go.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God, and your justice like the great deep.
Lord, you help people and animals.
How delicious is your goodness, God,
that the children of men have refuge under the shadow of your wings!
They will be full of the rich goods of your house,
and you water them with delight as with a river.
For with thee is the fountain of life,
and in your light we see the light.
(Psalm 36:6-10)

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up your face upon us and give us peace.

1. Sunday after Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

You are a God who looks at me.

Now the multitude of the faithful were of one heart and one soul; neither said any man of his goods that they were his, but all things were common unto them.

A strong community – an ideal? A utopia?
People are social beings, dependent on mutual solidarity and help. Man cannot live alone, as we have seen in the last weeks and months. If visits have to be omitted, if interpersonal contacts have to be reduced to telephone and video, this is not enough for us in the long run. The touch is missing, the talking face to face, the contact that also touches us emotionally. And many people, who already did not have many contacts, suffer even more from loneliness during this time. And loneliness makes the soul sick.
We have also felt: the common celebration of the service has been missing. An audio file, a TV service, a You Tube video – all these are no real substitute for a "presence service", a gathering in the church. Worship is more than hearing and seeing. Worshiping is celebrating, praying, listening, feeling together. Worship touches all the senses, it is an event that can touch the whole person.
One heart and one soul – That’s how the first Christians lived in their community. Even if the sermon text here "only" tells of the community of goods of the first church, behind the One heart and one soul more. In 2. The first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles describes how the first Christians organized their community life: SBut they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and in fellowship and in the breaking of bread and in prayer.
A strong community – for the first Christians this is more than a community of goods. The community of faith is important to them. They strengthen each other in their faith in God, they keep the words and deeds of Jesus Christ in their hearts. They look out for each other and care for each other. Breaking bread together and sharing meals strengthens community. Community of faith is also community of hearts and souls. The first Christians shared their faith, their time, their mental and spiritual needs with each other – the community of goods was a consequence of their community of faith and life.
One heart and one soul – a high ideal. Maybe it doesn’t always work out to hold this idealistic community thought high. But the idea of living together in this way makes visible the hope that sustains us in our lives. For this ideal community is an indication of the kingdom of God, which is already unfolding its effectiveness in the living together of people here "in the midst of us," where people come into conversation with one another and form community as a community of faith and also as a community of life.
One heart and one soul – that does not always work out. But in principle we can one heart and one soul It can be, if we realize that the spirit of God brings us together to a church of Christ and we celebrate this, on Sundays in the service and in everyday life, by looking after and caring for each other. And when we realize: We stand and walk, believe and live together under the blessing of God.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up your face upon us and give us peace.

Sunday Trinity

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

You are a God who looks at me.
You are the love that gives dignity.
You are a God who respects me.
You are the mother who loves,
you are the mother who loves.

Your angel calls me where I am:
"Where do you come from and where are you going??"
Fled from need into loneliness,
his word crosses my time of desolation.

This text is the refrain and the first verse of a song from the songbook "freiTone" for the Kirchentag 2017: Hagar’s Song. I immediately thought of this song when I read the sermon text for this Sunday (4). (Genesis 6:22-27):

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying:
Tell Aaron and his sons, and say, Thus shall ye say unto the children of Israel, when ye bless them:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

For you shall put my name upon the children of Israel, that I may bless them.

God sees me. He turns his face toward me. He sees my distress, my loneliness, my perplexity. He does not look away. He does not stop. Not even when I run away from everything because I know no other way out. He walks with me, my way in the desert, he goes after me and speaks with me – he does not remain silent. He gives me, the slave, dignity and respect.

This is the experience that Hagar has – Hagar, the unloved concubine, the rival of Sara, who has to give way. Hagar, the stranger who will have a son with Abraham: Ishmael. He too, like Isaac, will become the progenitor of a people.

God’s blessing is more than the promise of His protection, more than His companionship on our journey through life. His face shines over us, gives us peace – nothing more is possible. The promise that God sees us when no one is paying attention; that God lights our way brightly when everything around us is dark and confused; that God gives us peace in our strife – this is a blessing so great that it is hard to grasp.

Hagar, who feels this great and magnificent blessing of God, can come to terms with herself. She gains self-respect, she realizes that she, too, as a slave and a stranger, has dignity, human dignity – because God gives her this dignity with his loving care. Her origin, her social position, also her weaknesses and her certainly not irreproachable behavior towards Sarah, all this does not prevent God from showing Himself to Hagar as the loving and caring God. His face shineth unto her in the wilderness; his eyes meet her, and lift her up out of the dust of the desert. Hagar feels peace, shalom, protection, light and healing.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

By the way, Hagar’s story can be told in 1. Read Genesis 16 and 21.


Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

It shall not be by host or by might, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
(Zechariah 4:6b)

In the Bible we are told a miraculous story about the Day of Pentecost: The disciples, first of all Peter, are animated by the message that they want to bring among the people. With powerful images, the book of Acts tells how everything begins, which continues until today: the history of the Church (Acts 2, 1-21).
The sound of a strong wind that fills the whole house where the disciples are staying cannot be ignored. Something like lambent flames that touch everyone, set them on fire, as it were, they cannot be overlooked, and everyone can feel them.
The Spirit of God comes with such power that no one can resist it. He brings everyone out of the safe hiding place of the house into the public eye. The message must go out to the people, the rejoicing over the liberation to liveliness must be shouted out loudly.

The disciples, who had just been despondent, are overcome by this great power, like a storm wind. Moved by the Holy Spirit, they speak of Jesus Christ, and the miracle happens: Everyone can understand them in their own language. Everyone feels addressed, understood, touched. People can feel this power, this spirit that breaks down all barriers of not being able to understand, that overcomes walls in people’s minds. What a wonder! No human being can – alone only with his intellect, his power of persuasion or even by force create such a thing.
Many are baptized: The Church is born.
Can we imagine that we can let ourselves be animated by such a power? Can we imagine being touched and addressed in this way?
Pentecost invites us to reflect on the language we speak: the language of fear or the language of love. The Spirit of Pentecost keeps Jesus alive among us. It is a spirit that unites and does not separate people, that liberates and does not constrict, a spirit that opens our eyes to injustice and our mouths to the truth. A spirit that calls out of death into life. A Spirit who frees us to hope that all will be well, because God means well with us – in living as well as in dying, in believing as well as in not believing, in the world as well as in the church.

The Spirit of God, who wants to work so powerfully in us, directs our gaze to the miracle that he can perform. He wants to inspire us, and he wants us to share our enthusiasm with all the people we meet. We should not overlook all that is difficult and burdensome in our ecclesial life. But the Spirit of God gives us a different perspective on all that is happening around us: He does not put before our eyes what is lacking, but what is possible in spite of all deficits. We should not look at what we cannot do, but at the possibilities He gives us: to speak to each other in our words, to celebrate life with each other; to open our borders and be there for each other; to touch each other – with good words, thoughts, gestures and deeds.
There is so much freedom in everything that limits us especially in these days, there is so much creativity and imagination possible if we look and listen carefully. God’s Spirit gives us strength and courage to keep this perspective in mind and to maintain it, now and beyond difficult times.

This is the day that the LORD is making;
Let us rejoice and be glad in Him!
O LORD, help! O LORD, let it be well!
Praise be to him who comes in the name of the LORD!

We bless you who are of the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God who enlightens us.
Decorate the feast with may to the horns of the altar!
You are my God, and I thank You;
my God, I will praise you.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
and His goodness endures forever.
(from Psalm 118)

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

6. Sunday after Easter – Exaudi! – Listen

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Lord, hear my voice! (Psalm 27:7)

The Lord is my light and my salvation,
of whom I should be afraid?
Lord, hear my voice when I call;
be gracious to me and hear me!
For you are my help, do not leave me
and do not remove your hand from me, O God, my salvation!
But I believe that I will see
the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord!
Be strong and of good courage and wait for the Lord!
(from Psalm 27)

"When I pray, I often hear no answer. Then I ask myself: Is God listening?? Does he hear me?" When I talk to young people and children about praying, I often hear this question. Praying is a very personal experience, there is no general statement like: "You only have to pray seriously enough, you have to make an effort, then God will show himself to you and answer you."No, it is not that simple. It is difficult to talk to and confide in someone you cannot see or hear. We are used to communicate with someone who is a concrete counterpart. Prayer is a difficult form of communication.
This is also known by the man whose words we hear here in the 27th verse. Read Psalm. On the one hand, he speaks of his certainty that he knows God is on his side. On the other hand, we also hear his uncertainty: Does he hear me?? He perceives me, with my worries and fears? With my guilt and my doubts? Is he really there? The psalmist seems to know the feeling of protection and helplessness. Perhaps in some situations he thinks: "Has God abandoned me now?? Has he turned away from me? And then he reminds God: You are my help! You have promised me!
We see in this psalm prayer how torn the person praying is: between confidence and uncertainty, between certainty and doubt, yes, between the courage to hope and despondency. We probably feel the same way when we pray. I find it encouraging that the psalmist, despite all the questions he has for God, does not give up hope that God will listen to him and hear him. He does not stop turning to God with his thoughts. And finally: But I still believe that I will see
the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
In the depths of his soul, this hope remains untouched by all doubt and fear: God is with me with his goodness and blessings. With him I remain alive. He accompanies me on my way through darkness and hopelessness. The Lord is my light and my salvation, Who should I be afraid of?

God – my light
He enlightens my path when I am in danger of getting lost in the confusion of time.
God – my light
He gives me orientation when I no longer know which way to turn.
God – my light
He lightens my soul when dark thoughts make me uneasy.
There is no reason why I should be afraid.

God – my salvation
He tells me that he is with me with his protection.
God – my salvation
With him I can feel safe.
God – my salvation
My soul can become calm, and all will be well.
There is no reason why I should be taken captive by my sorrows.

Wait for the Lord!
Be confident and undaunted and wait on the Lord!

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Ascension – Heaven is open!

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Christ says: If I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to myself.
(John 12:32)

Ascension Day is a farewell. Christmas, Easter, Pentecost celebrate a beginning, celebrate arrival; at the Ascension we look at the end of the Easter season, at the end of the time when the Risen Lord appears to his disciples and followers, is miraculously present with them, talks with them and has table fellowship with them.
The risen Jesus shows Himself to His disciples, talks to them, spends time with them. This gives them hope: now does he stay with us after all? Will all be well now? Is this now the beginning of the New Era? And yet Jesus takes leave of them a second time:

I will send the Spirit to you, whom my Father has promised. Stay here in the city until you have received this power from above.
Then he lifted his hands and blessed them. And then, while he blessed them, he departed from them and was lifted up to heaven. They threw themselves on their knees before him. Then they returned to Jerusalem full of joy. They spent the whole time in the temple praising God. (Luke 24, 49.51-53)

The Ascension marks the end of Christ’s presence.
Jesus moves away from his disciples, Luke says. And yet this is not a sad farewell, not like Good Friday, when all hope and trust seemed to have become futile. The Ascension is different, a little wistful perhaps, but not despairing, dejected are the disciples who witness Jesus withdrawing from their gaze. No, hope and trust have a meaning again for the disciples. They remain together after this farewell, "with one accord in prayer", as it says in a passage in the Acts of the Apostles. Because for them something new has begun. For them the future has begun. For Jesus remains very close to them.

Heaven is open – the boundary between heaven and earth is overcome.
The horizon is wide and bright.

Pentecost is already shining: God’s Spirit – the power of life and faith – will come to you.
You will be strong because God’s spirit will protect you.
You will be courageous because God’s Spirit fills you with hope and confidence.
You will be glad because God’s Spirit is showing you the way to His good future.
You will be able to live because God’s kingdom is already at work in the midst of your life.

The disciples return to their lives full of joy after this experience. And even if they suffer persecution and fear of reprisals and have to hide in the following time: they hold on to their joy and their hope in the Spirit of God.

Heaven is open – the boundary between heaven and earth has been overcome.
The horizon is wide and bright.

The meaning of the Ascension is not in what once was, but in what it makes us see today. We are presented with a life from the future of Christ, Christ’s arrival in my life, in the life of the church. Christ in heaven with God, that makes sense and has nothing to do with a distance of Christ to us. On the contrary, Christ lets himself be seen from heaven – and if you see him, you see God.

Heaven is open – the boundary between heaven and earth is overcome.
The horizon is wide and bright.

Lord our God,
The Bible tells us about the Ascension of Jesus Christ. Help us to understand that you have not moved away from us, but have overcome the boundary between heaven and earth.
Now you are building your kingdom of justice and peace here, in our midst.
Let us look up from hopelessness and sorrow and fix our gaze joyfully on the fact that you – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – live and reign forever and ever.

LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up your face upon us and give us peace.

5. Sunday after Easter – Rogate – Prayer

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

Praise be to God, who does not reject my prayer nor turn away his goodness from me.
(Psalm 66:20)

In the Sermon on the Mount there is a passage about praying. It is suggested for this Sunday’s sermon: Matthew’s Gospel 6:5-15. I take up a verse from it that is especially important to me today:

When you pray, go into your room and lock the door.
Pray to your Father who is in secret.
And your Father, who also sees what is hidden, will reward you for it.
(Mt 6:6)

In yoga there is an exercise where you sit down on the floor, put your legs straight forward and bend your upper body slightly over them. My hands rest loosely on my legs, my chin sinks to my chest. An attitude of being introspective. My yoga teacher always says: "I enter my space of inner peace".
Now my inner space is often abundantly untidy. There’s anger and disappointment lying around. Things that make me angry or sad are found in the corners. And I can constantly stumble over much that is undone and pushed away. And loud it is too sometimes: when the voices of expectations and demands speak up. Of course, I can also discover beautiful moments and experiences that make me happy, and moments of happiness – sometimes I have to dig them up. You know this? My inner space is often chaotic and exhausting. "Inner peace" sounds to me more like order, peace and space.

When I read the verse from the Sermon on the Mount, this image comes to mind. The image of "inner peace," the image of being introspective.
When you pray, go to your room and lock the door, I am asked: Retreat to your quiet chamber.
Praying means: I step out of everything that moves me and occupies me.
I leave outside for a moment everything that affects me from the outside:
The daily hustle and bustle,
the loud and quiet voices of other people,
the pressure of foreign influences,
The demands that come crashing down on me,
The obligations that bind me.
I close the door and enter my room where I can be like I I am. Now I can listen to myself: What do I need? What do I feel?
Praying means: I enter into a relationship with God. Prayer is about God and me. My prayer is my business – a matter between God and me. Intimate, private – withdrawn from the public.
So praying means: I am completely with myself and in myself. And: I am completely with God and in God. My quiet chamber is the space and time I take for prayer.

Everything I can bring before God:
My worries and fears,
my anger and disappointments.
My anger and my sadness and my doubts.
My emptiness and my speechlessness.
And my joy and my happiness.
My quiet chamber can be anywhere:
The view from the window into a sunrise.

My room with the comfortable sofa.
The forest through which a walk leads me.
A time in worship that I celebrate in church with others.
Silence with a good friend.
In prayer I come to rest, I come to myself and to God. Prayer is my pause, where I can draw strength and find comfort. And after this break, I can go "outside" again, strengthened and refreshed, face my tasks and open up to my fellow human beings.

In prayer I can sort myself out and create order in my inner space. I can detach my attention from the abundance of everything that affects me every day and direct it to what is essential: I am well taken care of and protected by God with everything that makes me and how I am. Then I enter my room of inner peace.

Praise be to God, who does not reject my prayer nor turn away His goodness from me.

Lord, our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Cantata – 4. Sunday after Easter

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

And here are some thoughts on the fourth Sunday after Easter – Cantata – this is also a Sunday of joy, rejoicing, confidence: Sing to the Lord a new song! (Ps 98:1)

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he does wonders!
He creates salvation with his right hand and with his holy arm.
The Lord makes his salvation known;
before the nations he makes his righteousness manifest.
Remembering his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel,
The ends of the world see the salvation of our God.
Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth, sing, praise and extol!
Praise the Lord with harps, with harps and with strings!
With trumpets and trumpets exult before the Lord, the King!
The sea roar and what is in it, the earth and those who live on it.
Let the rivers rejoice, and let all the mountains be glad before the Lord;
For he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness and the nations with justice.

Singing is an expression of joy and love of life, especially when it is a song in praise of God. We can hear everything singing and rejoicing when we read these verses from Psalm 98. What a joy! And what music! Even nature joins in the hymn of praise. World music in the truest sense of the word.

And then: the national church strongly recommends NOT TO SING in the services that can now be celebrated again! It is not yet known for sure, but it is assumed that the risk of infection is greater than usual when singing, due to the exhalation of finer droplets and the deeper inhalation. So to the praise of God murmur in the mouthpiece?
On the other hand, we can hardly imagine a church service without songs. Even people who don’t sing along tell me that singing is an indispensable element of the service.

Singing liberates. When I sing I let out everything I feel, think, believe. Singing is sometimes easier than speaking. When I want to express something in words, I often search for the right words, and sometimes I don’t find the right words. A song is often easier. Because the melody already conveys so much. That is why some people find it difficult to put a prayer into words. But for what they want to say to God, they can think of songs that reflect their state of mind quite accurately. Everything I want to say to God, everything that is on my heart, I can SING to Him!

That is such a thing, that with the new songs. Many worshipers do not know the new songs. In the hymnal there are actually no new songs, but old familiar and well-tried ones. Although: Many old songs in the hymnal are unknown and can perhaps be rediscovered! Why not leaf through your hymnal and go on a journey of discovery?!
New songs – that also means: to look at something new, to develop a new perspective. That’s what the 98. Psalm namely: looking forward after a difficult time and singing of confidence. Leaving difficult and burdensome things behind – not forgetting them, but no longer letting them take us captive.
Singing liberates! And so every song can become new, if it frees my gaze and lets me go, see and hear the world anew. And the rejoicing of nature – we notice this especially in spring – is a NEW SONG every day!

One of my favorite hymns that I always rediscover is Psalm 103 of the Geneva Psalter, found in the first section of our hymnal:

Sing praises to God, awaken your powers,
my spirit, its praise be always your business.
O worship him, his name is majesty.
Praise the Lord, lift him up, my soul!
He will faithfully see to it that you do not lack a good thing.
Do not forget the one who exalts you with mercy.

O LORD our God, bless us and keep us.
Let thy face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Jubilate- 3. Sunday after Easter

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

The world comes to a standstill – at least the usual activities on all levels of society are restricted and shut down. The pace of our daily lives has been drastically reduced. Already many spoke of "deceleration".

All things new.
Many things have changed. And the chance that we can see some things differently and approach them in a more thoughtful way becomes clearer. This chance was always there. But all went well. We always had an answer to everything. We always found an answer. We hardly had any questions. That has changed.

Everything new.
That, too, has changed in the course of the last few weeks: Hardly anyone talks about "deceleration" anymore. The impatience grows. Calls for more loosening, for decisions that help the economy, for a "return to normalcy" are getting louder. Whether we will seize the opportunity to work on social grievances, which now become particularly clear in the Corona time? Whether we will fundamentally change our consumer behavior and our attitude towards environmental and climate protection? There are now quiet doubts to be heard. Should the after become like the before??

All new.
Crisis means: decision. The Corona period has made us realize that we can’t just "carry on like this". We can decide how we want to continue to shape our social, economic and political, also our church life. And we can decide how we want to continue our life path.

All things new.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold, new things have come into being. This is what Paul writes in his 2. Letter to the Corinthians (2. (1 Cor. 5:17) – the slogan under which the next week is set.
The sermon text for this Sunday (John 15:1-8) reads: I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.

The vine has become a symbol – Jesus, the vine that feeds the branches, the people who follow Him, who trust Him and put their hope in Him; Jesus who makes sure that the people who believe in Him are "fruits" that show the world: With Him is true life. From Him we get what we need to live: Strength, courage, confidence, truthfulness – and therefore also: freedom, love, peace.

If we are and stay with Jesus, we are like newborn, newly created. Every day we have the chance to dare a new beginning, without fear. Every day we have the opportunity to reflect, to make new decisions that give new direction to our thinking, speaking and acting. And every day anew: we can entrust ourselves to God with all our worries and questions, leave our doubts with Him and rejoice with Him in the blossoming and greening of life.

Rejoice God, all the earth!
Sing praises to the glory of His name;
Glorifies Him gloriously!
Say: how wonderful are your works!
Praise, O peoples, our God,
Let His glory resound far and wide,
who keeps our soul alive
And does not let our feet slide.
(from the 66. Psalm)

God, creator of all life,
we ask You:
Awaken new life in us,
awaken in us new strength and courage.
Warm us with Your Spirit of love.
Show us the right way with Your light of truth.

Lord, our God, bless us and keep us.
Let Your face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up Your face upon us and give us peace.

Misericordias Domini – 2. Sunday after Easter, according to the words of Psalm 33:5: The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

Is's love louder nothing like that she disenchant me

I am torn.
Nature shows me: All is blooming. Everything grows.
Soon the fruits will be visible.
The sun is shining. The sky shines with a joyful blue.
Unclouded spring.
One could:
Meeting with friends. Make excursions. Have a picnic.
Celebrating life.

But life is still restrained.
The feeling of bondage is getting stronger.
To live in community, to meet each other, to celebrate life together –
this can only be done from a distance, virtually.

And yet: The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
When I read this verse, my eyes turn back to the essentials.
The waiting loop of life we are in will come to an end, God’s goodness will not.
We must keep our distance from each other.
God is close to us.
Our impatience grows from day to day.
God’s reliability remains great.
The LORD looks from heaven and sees all the children of men.
From His firm throne He looks down on all who dwell on earth.
Behold, the eye of the LORD watches over all,
who fear Him,
who hope in His goodness.

My freedom lies in my trust in it,
that God is near to me,
even if sometimes I have the feeling,
he has nothing to do with what is happening here.
But, he sees what is happening,
he sees how we are, how we feel!
My freedom is in my confidence,
That God’s goodness meets everything and everyone.
It contradicts everything that has power over us and wants to bring us down.
My freedom lies in my faith,
that God protects and preserves life with His blessing
and make it blossom.
Despite all displeasure. Despite all the limitations we impose on ourselves.
Despite all the fears that dominate our daily lives.
Despite all the trouble we feel and cause each other.

Everything blooms. Everything grows.
Soon the fruits will be visible.
Unclouded spring.

The earth is full of the LORD’s goodness.
Behold, the eye of the LORD watches over all,
who fear Him,
who hope in His goodness,
that He will save them from death and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and shield.
For our heart rejoices,
and we trust in His holy name.
Your goodness, Lord, be upon us,

as we hope in You.

LORD our God, bless and keep us.
Let YOUR face shine upon us and be gracious to us.
Lift up YOUR face upon us and give us peace.

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