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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Worship et al in Berlin

Bishop Schöne, President Harrison, Bishop Voigt in
St. Mariengemeinde in Zehlendorf (Berlin) -- Rev. Dr. Gottfried Martens Pastor
The Divine Service at St. Mariengemeinde in Zehlendorf, an area of Berlin, was a joy. The sanctuary was packed full. The service began with corporate confession and absolution; now this was not done in the typical Missouri Synod fashion (is there a typical Missouri Synod fashion? I haven't been to many congregations that use the Order for Corporate Confession and Absolution found in the hymnal.). In any case, after the general confession, the congregation was invited to the kneeling rail to receive absolution. Bishop Schöne and Pastor Martens then laid hands on every person's head and said, "Dir sind deine Sünden vergeben." ("Your sins are forgiven you.")

During the service, President Matthew Harrison preached on the text, "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." (My brief summary follows...) He began by saying that the New Testament isn't primarily about morality or ethics. The purpose of the Sermon on the Mount is not to teach ethics or morals. In fact, the ethical values found in the Sermon on the Mount are not much different from the ethics and morals taught in other religions. The purpose, he said, is to increase the law upon us. If you hate another person, you have murdered them. It is an increasing of the law. After expounding upon how heavy the law is from the Sermon on the Mount, he directed us to see Jesus. Jesus was perfect as his Father in heaven was perfect. The perfect Jesus sought out the imperfect. He healed the lepers. He sought out the sinner. The perfection of the Law is fulfilled when Jesus cried, "It is finished." There the perfect One redeemed imperfect people. Jesus only came for sinners. He came to save sinners and He has saved people like you and me.

President Harrison Presenting in the Fellowship Hall
After the conclusion of the service, there was a Russian style lunch and a presentation by President Harrison about the Missouri Synod. Just as many people in the Missouri Synod are not familiar with their brothers and sister in Christ in the SELK (Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church) in Germany, many people in the SELK are not familiar with the LCMS. One very noteworthy point President Harrison made was that the confession and theology of SELK gave birth to the Missouri Synod. You can read more about SELK here (the German page about SELK has much more information).

Bishop Voigt Presents President Harrison with a Gift
The history of the SELK
Bishop Voigt presented President Harrison with Quellen zur Geschichte selbstständiger evangelisch-lutherischer Kirchen in Deutschland (Sources on the History of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany). This book gives the history of the independent Lutheran Church in Germany since the Prussian Union of 1817. It looks like a great book. You can read more about this book on the publisher's page here.

Closing hymn, "Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ"
(Lord Jesus Christ Will You Not Stay)
The afternoon came to a close with the singing of Lord Jesus Christ Will You Not Stay. This was the favorite hymn of Hermann Sasse.


Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ


Nikolaus Selnecker et al., 1611.

1. Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ,
Weil es nun Abend worden ist;
Dein göttlich Wort, das heile Licht,
Laß ja bei uns auslöschen nicht!

2. In dieser, letzt'n, betrübten Zeit
Verleih uns, Herr, Beständigkeit,
Daß wir dein Wort und Sakrament
Rein b'halten bis an unser End'!

3. Herr Jesu, hilf, dein' Kirch' erhalt,
Wir sind gar silcher, faul und kalt!
Gib Glück und Heil zu deinem Wort,
Damit es schall' an allem Ort!

4. Erhalt uns nur bei deinem Wort
Und wehr des Teufels Trug und Mord!
Gib deiner Kirche Gnad' und Huld,
Fried', Einigkeit, Mut und Geduld!

5. Ach Gott, es geht gar übel zu,
Auf dieser Erd' ist keine Ruh',
Viel Sekten und viel Schwärmerei
Auf einen Haufen kommt herbei.

6. Den stolzen Geistern wehre doch,
Die sich mit G'walt erheben hoch
Und bringen stets was Neues her,
Zu fälschen deine rechte Lehr'.

7. Die Sach' und Ehr', Herr Jesu Christ,
Nicht unser, sondern dein ja ist;
Darum so steh du denen bei,
Die sich auf dich verlaßen frei!

8. Dein Wort ist unsers Herzens Trutz
Und deiner Kirche wahrer Schutz;
Dabei erhalt uns, lieber Herr,
Daß wir nichts anders suchen mehr!

9. Gib, daß wir leb'n in deinem Wort
Und darauf ferner fahren fort
Von hinnen aus dem Jammertal
Zu dir in deinen Himmelssaal!

1 comment:

  1. Well received. Rich blessings on your travels. Peace . . .

    ReplyDelete