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Text For The Month / Monatsspruch

Texts for the months of October and November 2010
Monatssprüche für Oktober und November 2010

 

October 2010

See, I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut. Revelation 3.8

The image of the open door is strong and the context in which this symbol can be used, manifold. In the text for this month the vision of Christ’s message to the young church in Philadelphia continues in the same verse: I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

To understand this message in its entirety, this second part of the text is as important as the reference to the open door. The persecuted early Christians were very much occupied with longings for a future life in a better world beyond the grave. Their faith centred on an imminent second coming of the Lord, when God’s people enter an eternity of glory and blessedness, enter into a Paradise restored.

Today, this faith, this form of piety, can be and is at times used as an escape from the realities of this life into a passive state of waiting for a life hereafter. But an open door is here to be used now. “By living in this world, and not by withdrawing from the world, show Christians their true citizenship… not by divorcing themselves from ordinary life and living, and retire into a life of detached and isolated uselessness and inactivity” (William Barclay in “New Testament Words”).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote on these lines often in his letters from prison: “It is not with the beyond that we are concerned, but with this world as it is created and preserved, subject to laws, reconciled, and restored… Christian hope of resurrection sends man back to his life on earth… The Christian has no last line of escape available from earthly tasks and difficulties into the eternal, but like Christ himself, he must drink the earthly cup to the dregs… This world must not be prematurely written off… Christ takes hold of a man at the centre of his life...”

Consequently, God’s open door provides opportunities for all, to serve him by serving their fellow men, here and now, according to his word and in his name. We may have little strength and think that our efforts serve no purpose. Therefore we may not even try. Thus open doors become all too often missed opportunities.

There are many kinds of doors open for the good around us. One simple, on the scale of things small example from the past provides the logo text chosen for this programme issue, where the Association, nearly sixty years ago, invited women and girls to participate in its activities. It changed the German YMCA forever.

And when in our time, the leaders and members of our Association use their abilities, talents and resources, individually and collectively, to identify a need and then act accordingly, an open door for service has not been passed by. God’s open doors will never be shut, but stepping through them requires our will.

Open doors can be ignored, overlooked, or deliberately shunned. But we are meant to see them as an invitation, a great opportunity for something good.

Wherever we stand on this issue, active or passive, we are involved, because God’s open doors are here and so are we.

Bernd Hildebrandt

 

 

November 2010

Gott spricht Recht im Streit der Völker, er weist viele Nationen zurecht. Darum schmieden sie Pflugscharen aus ihren Schwertern und Winzermesser aus ihren Lanzen. Jesaja 2,4

Aus diesem Satz ist das größte Sinnbild des Weltfriedens entstanden, die aus dem Schwert geschmiedete Pflugschar. Vor dem United Nations Gebäude in New York City steht die Skulptur “Beat Swords into Plowshares”, ein Geschenk der Soviet Union. Gegenüber im Park ist das Bibelzitat in eine “Isaiah Wall” gemeißelt. Doch was nützt die Proklamation, wenn die Nationen Gottes Zurechtweisung missachten und weiter zur Macht rüsten?

 

Pflügender Landmann, Holzschnitt

 

Welcher Gegensatz liegt da im Bild des pflügenden Landmann. Der Holzschnitt wurde nach Auflösung der Kriegsgefangenen-Lager in England mit anderen Druckplatten unserem Verein überlassen und ich schrieb damals unter anderem zum Bild:

“Der Ackersmann kämpft um einen sauberen Acker, ohne Steine, Unkraut und Dornen. Mit kräftiger Hand nimmt er ihn Jahr um Jahr unter den Pflug und bereitet ihn zu. So wie er sich um sein Feld müht, sollen wir uns auch um unser Leben mühen, es fest in die Hand nehmen… Unser Leben soll nicht verloren gehen, sondern gut zubereitet werden mit Gottes Gaben, unsere Begabungen und Fähigkeiten, die unsere Pflugschar sind. Erst nach harter Arbeit am Pflug findet eine Saat tiefen Boden zum Wurzelschlagen, und erst danach ist an eine Ernte zu denken. Dies ist besonders für junge Menschen gut zu wissen, dass erst die Arbeit am Pflug getan sein muss. Und mit Gottes reichen Gaben, mit denen wir ausgestattet sind, lässt es sich gut pflügen.”

B.H. in “Wort und Werk”, Januar 1959

 

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