Wednesday, October 24, 2012

She can wait.

Sasse: "But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait."

It is certainly not an accident that in the modernworld the church year and the secular year, which at the time of Luther still coincided, have moved furtheraway from each other. When we today celebrate the beginning of a new church year there is a hint of the fact that the church has a different division of time than the world has. The church lives in the world and there the law of the creator is in force expressed in the Old Testament in the great words: "There is atime for everything." The church lives in the worldin which the stars orbit, the years and seasonschange, generations are born and die.

But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait. For nineteen centuries she has sungin her liturgy the "Hosanna to the Son of David.Blessed is he who comes in the name of theLord!" For nineteen centuries she has lifted heartshigh to him who will come to judge the living and the dead. For nineteen centuries she has prayed"Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" and heard the Answer, “Yes, I am coming soon." For nineteencenturies she has heard the sneering question"Where is the promise of his coming? Forsince the fathers died everything remains as italways has been since the beginning ofcreation." (2 Peter 3:4). Through all these centuriesright up to the present time she has received no other answer than the comforting and warning wordsof the New Testament to the Christendom of thattime, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He ispatient with you, not wanting anyone to persist but everyone to come to repentance." (v9). Codhas been patient with us. So the church waits withpatience. This patience is foreign to the world. Itcan't wait. It must always have everything straightaway. That has been true for the entire modemworld of humankind in the last century. For it a hopethat still hasn't been fulfilled after nineteen centuriesis simply makes no sense. Dear Advent congregation, we all need to be quite clear about what fools we make ourselves in the eyes of theworld when we gather here in this house of God today in 1936 in order to have our hopestrengthened in the coming of the Lord, and to praywith the Christendom of every century "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"

Sasse, Sermon for Advent I, Nov. 29, 1936 inZeugnisse, Trans. Strelan

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