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Archive for September 2007

14. Sonntag nach Trinitatis, 9. Sept. 2007 zu Alt Zion, Philadedlphia

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14. Sonntag nach Trinitatis, 9. Sept. 20075

Mose 30:15-20 Psalm 1 Philemon 1-21 Lukas 14: 25-33

Wenn ich mein Kreuz Wählen Könnte

Meine Mutter hat öfters eine Geschichte erzählt wo einer sich bei Christus beklagt hat.

„Mein Kreuz ist zu schwer! Und auf jeden Fall, will ich ein anderes Kreuz tragen.“

Im Traum hat Christus ihm in einen grossen Saal geführt wo alle Arten von Kreuzen herum standen und er durfte alle versuchen, bis er endlich eins gewählt hat.

„Dieser gefällt mir.“

Nun als er aus den Saal heraus kam, merkte er, dass er sein eigenes Kreuz wieder gewählt hat. Was zu tun? Er hat gesehen das sein Kreuz ihn passte und daher warum sein Kreuz nicht fröhlich tragen?

Es gibt manche Schein-heilige die tragen ein schweres holzernes Kreuz viele Meilen, bis Blut aus ihren Schultern spritz. Sie hören Gottes Wort, „Wer nicht sein Kreuz trägt und mir nachfolgt, der kann nicht mein Jünger sein“ (Lukas 14:27). Aber wo zwei dasselbe (äusserlich) tun, ist es nicht dasselbe. Denn Dieser hat sein Kreuz selbst gewählt, hat es selbst auf seine Schulter gelegt, aber die Römer haben das Kreuz auf Jesu Schultern gelegen. Der Vorige hat Werk-Gerechtigkeit geübt, weil Jesus sein Leben aus reiner Liebe für uns dahin gegeben hat.

Meistens verbinde ich das Kreuz mit Leiden um das Glauben an Christi willen. Paulus sagt, „Ich freue mich in den Leiden, die ich für euch leide“ (Kol. 1:24). Daher wollen wir uns im Leiden freuen und fröhlich das Kreuz tragen in der Nachfolge Jesu, d.h., nicht mit Nachahmung, sondern für das Himmelreich fröhlich leiden, für die Gerechtigkeit.

Jesus sagt, „Seid fröhlich und getrost [wenn ihr um der Gerechtigkeit willen verfolgt werdet (Mat 5:10)], es wird euch im Himmel reichlich belohnt werden. Denn eben so haben sie verfolgt die Propheten, die vor euch gewesen sind“ Mat 5:12).

Nun wie können wir die Bedeutung vom Kreuz verstehen? Das Kreuz bedeutete die Verfolgung in Betracht zu nehmen für den Widerstand damals gegen das brutale und ungerechte Kaiserreich von Rom. Das Himmelreich konnte überhaubt nicht mit dem Römischen Reich verglichen werden. Wenn jemand Widerstand leistete, dann haben die Römer immer gleich von Gewalt gedacht und konnten nicht Gewaltäter von die Friedfertigen unterscheiden, die mit der Liebe, d.h., Glauben und Liebe, Herzen und Sinne verändern wollten.

Als Jesus das Himmelreich predigte, fühlten sich die Herodianer und Römer gefährdet, sie hätten aber keine Angst haben brauchen. Doch verwechseln wir oft einen inneren mit einem äusserlichen Kampf. Zum Beispiel, weil jemand seine Sexualität unsicher ist, verprügelt er ein Homosexualer.

Und im kollectiven Bereich ist es auch viel mehr schwierig. Die Römer brauchten keine Angst zu haben im irdischen Sinn, doch eine innere Veränderung wäre stattgefunden sondergleichen, hätten die Römer den Jesus als Christus anstatt den Kaiser als Heiland angenommen. (Im Rom hat man den Kaiser angebetet.) Mit Christus, hätte das Reich eine Taufe erfahren, wär entfort auf Leben gegründet gewesen an statt auf Krieg, Blutvergiessen, und brutale, militärische Eroberung andere Völker. Das Reich so getauft hätte eine christliche Seele erhalten, und Gottes Gnade wäre vom Rom ausgegangen, wie die Römisch Catholische Kirche auch heute noch nicht dazu fähig ist. (Ich spreche garnicht vom Kaiser Konstantin, der Christus nicht verstanden hat, denn sein Reich setzte sich fort so grausam wie zuvor.)

Halt, das sind echt himmlische Möglichkeiten, wozu die Welt kaum gewachsen ist, daher taufen wir Einzelne, leisten Widerstand in Kleinigkeiten, bauen eine Kirche, und predigien weiter vom Himmelreich, worin Jesus als König herrscht, aber wir glauben gar nicht das sein Reich zu uns kommen wird.

Wenn wir Christi Reich ernst nehmen, dann erfahren wir schnell das Kreuz. Dann merken wir direkt wie Vater, Mutter, Frau, Kinder, Brüder, Schwestern und unser Selbst dazu, gegen an protestieren und versuchen uns gar davon zu bringen. Unsere Ohren hören, „Bist du nicht recht bei trost?“

Schaue nach, Jesu Familie hat ihn für Verückt gehalten. Leute sagten das er einen unreinen Geist hatte, im 3. Kapitel Sankt Markus, und seine Mutter und Brüder standen drausen, schickten zu ihm und liesen ihn rufen. Und das Volk um ihn sagte, „Deine Mutter und Brüder und deine Schwestern draussen fragen nach dir“. Jesus antwortete, „Wer ist meine Mutter und meine Brüder… Wer Gottes willen tut, der ist mein Bruder und meine Schwester und meine Mutter“ (3:30,31,35).

Wenn wir das Kreuz echt verstehen, dann schaut uns die Angst direkt ins Gesicht. In solch einer Verfolgung könnten wir alles verlieren, nicht nur unsere Arbeit, sondern auch Leib, Gut, Ehr, Kind und Weib, wie wir in „Ein Feste Burg“ mit wenig Besinnung singen. Wir könnten halt unser Leben verlieren. „Wenn wir nicht für etwas sterben würden, dann haben wir auch nichts wofür wir leben,“ sagte der Martin Luther King, Jr. Daher müssen wir die Kosten Christi Nachfolge nüchtern ausrechnen.

Für die Leute damals hat es bedeutet ein Kreuz auf die Schultern gelegt, es eine Entfernung zu tragen, und dann so gefoltert und genagelt am Kreuz zu sterben.

Wie kann man solch Angst bewähltigen? Solch Qual im Gesicht anschauen, solch Sterben nicht entfliehen wollen? Ich glaube ich würde so schnell davon laufen wie meine Beine mir helfen könnten. Wenn das die echte Taufe ist, dann hätte ich auch wieder die Beschneidung gewählt, wie die Juden Christen sie bei den Paulus Gemeinden wieder einführen wollten.

Nun, wir können ruhig und getrost hier in Freiheit unser Kreuz tragen, hier wo viel geduldet wird. Wir können das Reich Gottes predigen und auch mit ernst. Der William Penn hatte dieselbe Hoffnungen. Wir könnten aber ein bösen Nerf treffen, und dann muss man mit dem Kreuz rechnen. Nur vor Paar Monate, hat ein Pfarrer gegen die Drugenhändler gearbeitet und musste schleunigst Philadelphia verlassen.

Ich hab mein Freund, Tschenu Farasani, der im Süd Afrika gefoltert wurde, gefragt, wie er die Folter eigentlich ausgehalten hat. Er hat mir erzählt, dass Christus gekommen ist und die Folterschmerzen für ihn getragen hat als er immer wieder ohnmächtig wurde.

Wenn wir im Glauben aufwachsen und Christi Nachfolger werden, dann kann unsere Familie und auch unsere Gemeinde uns nicht aufhalten, denn in der Gnade Gottes wachsen wir von einer Reife zur Nächsten. Sie zu überholen ist oft nicht sehr schwer weil ihr Gangschalter manchmal nur Rückwärts hat.

Durch Christus und seiner Taufe stehen wir auf jenseits unseres Todes, jenseits unserer Furcht des Todes, durch Liebe getrieben. Terroristen gehen jenseits der Furcht des Todes durch Hass getrieben und daher richten sie so viel Unheil und vernichten so viel Leben. Aber jenseits unsere Taufe durch Liebe getrieben, bringen wir die Fülle des Lebens für Viele, Kranke werden geheilt, gute Werke der Liebe verbreiten sich unter uns, weil wir schon mit Christus gestorben sind, und unser Testament, ein neues Testament, steht Gottes Wille zur Verfügung. Nicht gerade so wie der kleine Helmsley Hund zwölf Millionen dollar bekam. Der Hund sollte echt „Trouble“ heissen! – Meine Mutter hat immer „Trubel“ gesagt anstatt „Schwierigkeiten“. Mit unser Erbe sollen wir Gottes Willen und Nächsten Liebe fördern.

Nun, wir alle sterben so oder so. Die Frage besteht, welch Zeugnis haben wir für Christus und sein Reich ablegegt? Gnädiglich kann die Taufe von Jesus Christus uns durch die Auferstehung jenseits des Schatten des Todes bringen, welcher Schatten die Furcht des Sterbens ist. Christus kann uns durch seine Taufe jenseits unserer Furcht bringen durch seine fröhliche Liebe getrieben. Wir wollen uns freuen am Leiden für das Himmelreich unter uns gelitten, denn dadurch bei uns geht auf die Sonne der Gerechtigkeit. Da wird ein richtiges neues Land sich auftun, und am Strand, am Ufer des neuen Landes, werden die Engel uns fragen, wie damals die Amerikaner meinen Vater immer wieder gefragt haben als er von Deutschland ankam, „How do you like this country“. Ja, wenn wir unser Herz im Himmelreich verlieren, haben wir’s echt wieder gefunden. Amen.

Written by peterkrey

September 12, 2007 at 1:06 am

14th Sunday after Trinity, September 9, 2007 at Old Zion

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14th Sunday after Trinity, September 9, 2007

Deut. 30:15-20  Psalm 1  Philemon 1-21  Luke 14: 25-33 

Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear     

A child comes home from Sunday School and the responsible parent wants to check out what the little one learned, she asks, “What did you learn in Sunday School today?”    

“The teacher was talking about a bear.”    

“A bear?”    

“Yeah, and it was cross-eyed.”    

“Cross-eyed?”

“And it’s name was Gladly.” continues the child.    

“A bear called Gladly?”    

“Yes, she kept talking about Gladly the cross-eyed bear.”    

Children often don’t understand what we are talking about. Here in the cost of discipleship, neither do we when it comes to Jesus speaking about our bearing crosses. “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”    

Now, one thing, the cross was the way the Romans put resistance to death and the kingdom, which Jesus was proclaiming was very different from the Roman Empire. There would be no gladiators or Ultimate Fighting Championships, there would be no slavery – in the Philemon passage St. Paul is asking him to free Onesimus, his run-away slave, and see him as his Christian brother. That was a hard assignment for Philemon to be sure. The Romans did not tolerate very much resistance, so they crucified Jesus – and Jesus was honestly telling those who followed him, they had to get ready to carry the cross to the place where they would get nailed on it, to follow him.    

The powers that be are so dumb. They don’t make distinctions. Jesus takes his followers beyond the fear of death for the sake of love and the Roman Empire had everything to gain from his message and nothing to fear. But they thought Jesus was taking his followers beyond the fear of death for the sake of hatred and the violent overthrow of the Roman authorities. He was not. He wanted a change of hearts and minds, which takes place by grace through faith, by means of the marvelous love that comes down from on high.     

The Kingdom of God does not counter one army against another and let them fight it out, or one state against another, or the church against the state. It takes one army, for example, and changes the hearts and the minds of the soldiers so they go from the side of injustice and death to the side of justice and life. The people stood before the Filipino army, which Marcos had sent to kill them, but the army turned and joined the people. It would not carry out the bloodshed.    

The same kind of thing happened in East Germany and brought the wall down and the something similar happened in the collapse of the former Sowjet Union. The soldiers refused to shoot the people, but joined them. The result is nothing ultimate, but the change points to the power of the spirit.    

A Christian who follows Jesus is an anti-terrorist. A terrorist calculates his own death into an act of hate and violence against civilians, children, whomever. But a Christian calculates his own death into an operation of love – and the horror that a terrorist brings negatively in death and destruction is the wonder that the follower of Jesus brings in abundant life, love, healing, and God’s continuous creation. So here we are talking about the powerful impact of Christian love.    

Now the reason I said that the powers that be are dumb is because they don’t make that distinction – and thus they crucified Jesus Christ our Lord. If only we could open their eyes and they could say, “Once I was blind but now I see!”    

What blinds us is our attachments and they can be relationships or possessions. Jesus uses the term – “who does not hate father, mother, wife, and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”    

A commentary said here the word, “hate” means “turn away from [their relationships], detach oneself from [them]. Even among primary relationships, Jesus demands first loyalty” (Harper’s Bible Commentary, 1033).    

For example, when you live in a very prejudiced and bigoted family, try joining a church filled with people of African American descent. Then hold out as you struggle against their bigotry.     

It becomes a matter of realizing that God is your real Father and even if you are a so-called grown-up, then God gives you the up-bringing of your life and you overtake your father, mother, wife, children, sisters and brothers, and your old self, to boot, as if you were standing still as God raises you up from one maturity to another.     

Then you return to these relationships with the grace and strength from on high to bring new life, abundant life, sight to the blind, new sounds to the deaf, the lame put one foot in front of another and get someplace again. You can go through the whole wonderful train of miracles until the people are raised up from the dead and we start experiencing some of the previews of coming attractions of the glorious kingdom that Christ proclaimed, even though we have to wait for the feature presentation in heaven.    

Now, possessions are nice, but they first give us the illusion – I’ll use a stronger word, the delusion that the more of them we have, the more abundant our lives will be. After supplying our basic needs, that is no longer true. Sometimes the more you have the less you are. I read about a vacation in Bora Bora. The hotel bill is 6,000 dollars a night, just that you have to be there with yourself! You can’t leave that poor little rich person home, that greedy old self you became. But we stay attached to the acquisition of possessions as if our lives depended on it. Now we are told that our economy depends on it too. The economy is supposed to supply our needs. We are not supposed to buy things we do not need to save our economy. With all the valleys of poverty and desperate needs all around us, to which our economy should respond, what have we come to?    

Life is a guest among us and came to visit us sent by the Father in heaven. And heaven is the source of more life, love, and abundant life come to us through Jesus Christ the Lord.     

Have you ever gone to an estate sale and learned that a person had died and all his or her possessions are scattered there. Strange people help themselves and everything is available and a whole lot has to be thrown away, no one even wants it. If you and I are baptized to follow Christ, we have already died to our old selves and been raised up in our new selves and all our possessions are available to how the Holy Spirit directs you and me to use them and give them away for the sake of love. Don’t you think that the Helmsly lady will be in big trouble, when she has to answer for giving 12 million to her dog, Trouble? I think she’s in big trouble!    

There is nothing wrong with capital. Like a housing developer, you can use it to build lofts and provide hundreds of people with homes at affordable rents. Or you can use it to rip off hundreds of people to give you the biggest pile of money and with it you can make an empire for yourself and build your own private Tower of Babel. Then you can give your dog 12 million dollars. But you are walking over a whole lot of dead bodies to get your personal empire, while on the other hand, you could provide for God’s people, help out all the sinners God loves so dearly; yes, provide for them in the most creative way you know how and watch countless people flourish in the abundant life that Christ came to bring.    

Therefore let us rejoice in our suffering. Let us rejoice in being able to bear the cross and follow Jesus. “Gladly the cross I bear” is not a bear, but a boon, a blessing, a joy, as the love of Christ touches us one and all and stirs up fresh new life, hope, and faith among us. Amen.

Written by peterkrey

September 10, 2007 at 5:05 am

Posted in Selected Sermons

Ups and Downs and Downs and Ups, September 2, 2007, Old Zion, Philadelphia

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Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity September 2, 2007

Proverbs 25:6-7 Psalm 112  Hebrews 13:1-8,15-16 Luke 14:1,7-1 

Ups and Downs and Downs and Ups 

At the end of his CD named, Sun Mountain Fiddler, Greatest Hits, Dick Solberg sings: 

Ups and downs, ups and downs,

gotta have downs to have ups.

Downs and ups, downs and ups,

gotta have ups to have downs.

Ups and downs, downs and ups,

that’s the way of life

Rich or poor, young or old,

you always have ups and downs. 

Down, down, down, ya’bring me down,

Down, down, down, you bring me down.

Just when you ask is it ever going end

Here come the ups around again,

You see, maybe it ain’t so bad – after all.[1] 

Or here we can sing:

You see, Christ will bring us back up after all! 

It is often God who brings us down. Some one once said,

“If it weren’t for my bad luck,

I wouldn’t have any luck at all.”

Now that is down there! 

As Christians we have to go beyond luck. Trusting God, we willingly go down, so that God can lift us up. Putting ourselves up, makes us go down. Going down can mean being humble, but when we do that consciously, it becomes disingenuous, phony. So going down merely means facing up to who you really are, with all our faults and short- comings, weaknesses and strengths, and no one is so holy they do not smell up the bathroom and that goes for Miss America, the pope, a saint, a bishop, and certainly you and me. On occasion some people smell up a whole country; but we won’t go there. 

Jesus made the self-righteous Pharisees angry, because he ate with the outcasts, sinners, tax-collectors, and all the other undesirables. You see, Jesus went down. In our story today, it is the last time Jesus eats with the Pharisees. Yes, unless we confess that we are sinners, Christ will not eat with us or commune with us. The only way we can worthily come to the communion rail, is conscious of our sin, so Christ can take it away from us and forgive us. (Here I am quoting Martin Luther.)[2]  

I felt good about Senator Craig’s chief of staff. He maintained that he would continue to be the senator’s friend and when you see all the hypocritical political condemnation of the sinner, that man’s friendship made me respect him.

We could wish that our sins were not so real. They are blemishes. But let me continue quoting Luther. In a case such as this, to be Christian, we do not assassinate a person’s character. Luther bids us cover their sins with our righteousness and act as if their sins were our own.[3] And of course, it is Jesus that can really act as if, because he is the completely righteous one. We cannot claim that. We can help others bear the burden of their sins, yet we also have our own – and everybody has got to be trouble to somebody. It is usually a rough road that brings us to maturity. We are all mixed blessings in one way or another and Jesus calls upon us to forgive each other where we are liabilities.

In our marriage vows we pledge faithfulness for better or for worse. What kind of commitment is it that accepts the benefits of a relationship, but not the liabilities? Bear one another’s burdens and you will fulfill the law of love.     

When you’re high, when you’re on top, and you stay up there; you can’t get down under other people’s problems and help them get through them. You don’t even realize how you made your fortune at the misfortune of others. Therefore the real thing to do is to live shoulder to shoulder with the unfortunate and allow your fortune, in which ever form you have it, faith, wisdom, maturity, wealth, what have you…yes, allow your fortune to alleviate the edge of their suffering in the most creative way you know how.     

For example, a student goes off to college and their parents work hard and sacrifice to pay for it. Then the student comes back and rejects them for their ignorance. The student says, “Their education is so limited!” A mature student will empty himself or herself out, stand shoulder to shoulder with common folk and use the light of their knowledge to light their lives up, to serve them with the light in which we see light. What a cop-out to get high on alcohol, drugs, or other chemicals! Grow up yourself! Lift up the quality of life of others, help raise their standard of living, lift up their hearts. Yes, we lift them up unto the Lord, around the table of the Lord, which is the economy of the Kingdom of heaven.

Luke symbolizes this economy by a great wedding banquet, a feast that God has prepared for those who not only knew what was coming down, but went down themselves. “Amen, amen,” Jesus would say, and they will feel themselves lifted up by the angels into heaven.     

Jesus was going to a leader of the Pharisees. Pharisees were the more moderate and liberal party of the day. The Sadducees were the conservatives. But even the Pharisees could not accept Jesus healing on the Sabbath. Jesus does not flinch under their glare. He heals a man with dropsy right before the meal. He was drowning in his own fluids. With that disease a person drinks and drinks but continues to be thirsty. The water stays in him and makes him swell up like a balloon. He is not bent over under the weight of the world like the woman Jesus healed last time. He consumes great quantities and blows up like a blow fish; takes it all in and can never give it out. The meaning of his disease is that he is a constant receiver, who cannot give.     

When Jesus heals him he says that you would prevent an ox from drowning in a well on the Sabbath, but not a man drowning in his own fluids?     

Jesus comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. They are glaring at him. Meanwhile he continues to make observations about them. Imagine the tension at that meal! They had an order of seating from the highest places of honor to the lowest ones. Jesus sees how they struggle for the highest places. And Jesus describes that approach to their seating arrangement as a parable for what happens in our lives. We often trample each other to get to the top. Political offices are arranged in a pecking order and in every business there is also pride of place, and you certainly have to know your place, the boss on top and the employee, below.      

Now if that order is designed merely to have effective government or to run a business that provides goods and helps people make a living wage, then there is no problem. But it spills over into our life-world and a class chasm puts people on top and others at the bottom.     

We all want to get to the top. But that is where God is, and God does not tolerate anyone trying to take a place beside him, nor those who blatantly try to knock God out of his place, to be God themselves. Luther said, “Let God be God.”[4] We have to be human beings. God can only see us, if we are down below and the further down we are, the better he sees us,[5] hears us, and can send his messengers, send us, to bring help. Of course, we turn a deaf ear to God.     

So if you want to go up, put yourself down and wait for God to lift you up. God needs you down here; God needs you to respond to whom he is sending you.     

When we try to be humble consciously, it does not work. In the Bible Study, Pastor Paul Townsend told us about Brother John. He was a humble man, who was a monk. And he was proud of the fact that he was humble, and then when he realized he was proud of it, he became more humble. But then he became more proud of being more humble, and that, of course, goes on and on.      

To be really humble you have to melt away among the common folk and be yourself in such a self-forgetful way, that you are not even conscious of it anymore. It is like the way you cannot be good and know it. If you know you are good, then you aren’t. That gets into the self-righteousness syndrome again.     

So Jesus embarrassed the guests by showing them how immature they were. Then he criticizes his host about the way he picked his guests. Everybody that was somebody was invited. “No, invite the nobodies,” Jesus says, “the people who cannot repay you.” Then the source of your giving will be pure and completely unselfish. It will be coming directly from heaven, out of God’s inexhaustible source.     

“Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind to your banquet.” If you are like me, Jesus exasperates you! “Jesus, you are no longer preaching. Now you’re meddling! They will ruin my party! It’s my party and I’ll invite who I want to!” Yes, I want to be seen with the elite, the rich, people with beautiful bodies on red carpets with gorgeous dresses, people who have proved they’ve gotten somewhere in life, (not the lame!) and those who have the eyes that see and can interpret our times. I want them at my party, because they make me somebody by association. What will people think of me if they see me with this low-life?     

Ah, but that is the point, isn’t it? I should want God to see me, but I want to be seen by those who can give me worldly success. God can’t see you or me up there. Let me explain: if God can’t see you, you don’t exist. It is only when you get down where you love others as you do yourself, that God sees you and you become somebody in God’s eyes. In the end that is the one thing that counts.      

God will one day throw a banquet, way over there at the end of time, and all of us sinners will be sitting around that welcome-table on that great-getting–up-morning and we’ll have nothing to give. We’ll be there just as we are, with empty hands, just as we are, with our blemishes galore, but God will remove every spot and wrinkle and make us pure. Then he will provide such a feast for us at his glorious table, with such a spread of goodness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and love till our lives rise up so high, they will be overflowing as we worship and praise God and enjoy him forever! Amen. 

N.B.: My German sermon develops further some of the ideas contained in this sermon.


[1] See his product website: http://www.sunmountainfiddler.com/1-main=frame-product.html. This CD is the sixth one down. I’m not sure of all the words, I have up here, because some of the words required my guessing. Only cassettes are left, all the CD’s are gone. His “Orange Blossom Special” on this CD is superb. Plays “Ode to Joy” and other songs while he’s playing this one.

 

[2] I also remember Brian Gerrish saying this in his lecture at Luther’s Jubilee in Washington, D.C., 1983.

 

[3] From “The Freedom of a Christian”, see Philip and Peter Krey’s, Luther’s Spirituality, (New York: Paulist Press, March, 2007), p. 89-90.

 

[4] Luther says this in many places, one time for example in “A Sermon about Preparing to Die” (1519) in section 12. WA 2:690.16. That means Luther’s Works, the Weimar Edition, page 690, line 16.

 

[5] This comes from Luther’s explanation of the Magnificat: again, see Peter and Philip Krey, Luther’s Spirituality, pages 94-95.

Written by peterkrey

September 3, 2007 at 2:56 am

Posted in Selected Sermons