Last updated on February 23rd, 2022
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
October 24, 2021 Sermon (in German) by Iris Schweiger, Lay preacher. Recorded in the on-site service at the church at 11:00 a.m.
The Lord rescues the prisoners. That is what we hear in Psalm 126. That is also the message of the gospel. Bartimaeus, trapped in his blindness, calls loudly to Jesus: “Help me!” Bartimaeus believes in the change that Jesus can provide. Jesus hears Bartimaeus’ request and makes the beggar see. This message speaks to our week, to a world shaken by COVID. To this world of profound changes in all aspects of our being. We read this in the newspapers and see it on our streets; Poor people becoming poorer because the goods that God has given so abundantly are poorly distributed. The earth is getting hotter, storms are getting worse and more frequent. Many people lose everything in the raging water of the floods or the sun scorched drought. For many this means leaving their beloved home because the climate is changing so drastically.
The German author Hanns Dieter Huesch writes the following (excerpt):
It is true
The peoples begin to migrate
The poor knock on the doors of the rich
And if we have peace
Which is just barely dragging along
So used up, injured, and seriously ill
If we want to heal this peace
We have to show all our tenderness
Use all of our imagination
Our anger at injustice
Transforming it into the courage to share
Everyone must, divide everything in two
And we must be patient and indulgent
To practice living together under God’s heaven and on God’s earth
That is a very big ask. The poor knock, the rich divide everything in two; all while being patient, tender, and indulgent.
How does that sit with us? We – who believe God’s promise, we – who live with the promise that we will be like those who dream, who laugh and praise God, who sow with tears and reap with joy. We go and weep and scatter the seeds and then happily return with songs of joy carrying our bundles.
Despite this very big ask, I notice there is precisely movement in this direction in our congregation. We are very careful right here in our building. We give our child care center the space and freedom that is needed to provide good care for the children and families in our vicinity, despite all the ever new and stricter, i.e. restrictive, rules imposed by the government.
We, as a congregation, bemoan the loss of our freedom to use all the space at any time. With our tears we sow joyful seeds. Our willingness to provide space is our gift to the child care center to let the children play freely and happily.
We bring our laughter and our joy outside to the front of our building. The hungry partake of the soup allowing it to warm their bodies. Many people stand in front of the soup and blessing table coatless and with holes in their shoes…
We provide the joy of a warm soup and the gift of listening. We say: God bless you! With every spoken blessing we feel how the blessing sprinkles over us like warm rain.
We pick up the phone and talk to our seniors or take our cars to visit them. Sadness, loneliness is dispelled by this visit. We laugh, we sow joy and leave traces of a conversation, a card, a present, an entry in a calendar.
And further beyond our church building we sow the seeds of immigration. Our refugee team waits at the airport to give a warm welcome to people without possessions. Tears are dried, a new life begins in a new home.
Many of us are the rich who hear the poor knock. “Knock, Knock, Knock.”
Sometimes we yearn for what used to be. It was good. It was important. It was familiar and warm. Despite this sadness, we believe in God’s promise. We count ourselves among those dreaming who shout like Bartemaeus: “Have mercy, Lord. I am blind and I want to see. Help me out of captivity.”
Many years ago, I was struck by Psalm 126 in the form of a song by Peter Strauch. His interpretation of the psalm is as follows with the title: You shouldn’t get tired
1. You should not get tired even if the light on earth seems to be gradually waning. For God’s future will triumph over hatred and war, and when his great day appears:
Refrain: We will be like the dreamers, who cannot grasp what they see. We will laugh and joyfully stand before Jesus.
2. Do you want to lose heart? Do you want to give up because there is nothing left to hope for? You shouldn’t end up worthless, God wants to turn your life around because he loves you infinitely.
3. So let the sadness go, let yourself be guided to joy. Soon you will see that the festival begins. You too are invited, then God will heal all pain. A new song is intoned.
And the peace of God, which exceeds all our understanding, keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.