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Text For The Month / Monatsspruch

May 2021

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31.8

When the text for April leads us to the faith in Christ, the image of the invisible God, then this verse from Proverbs tells us of one of the many ways we can express this faith to our fellow men, so that it becomes believable to all. The short answer is love.

In a December 2017 issue of the Church Times one can find an article about 'The simple faith of Charles Dickens'. From this, some quotes convey perfectly, what I wish to emphasise about the May text: Charles Dickens possessed throughout his life, a simple, sincere, and, above all, practical faith... This was especially the case with regard to social justice and the plight of the poor. Christianity was not about ritual or formal religious observance, but a matter of individual conscience and attitude of heart, which manifested itself in action rather than words. In his will, Dickens strongly urged his family to adopt his personal position: "My dear childrenhumbly try to guide yourselves by the teaching of the New Testament in its broad spirit, and so put no faith in any man's narrow construction of its letter here and there." ... to effectively retelling the story of Jesus's life, he was also able to introduce to his children two central aspects of his own beliefs: the necessity for faith to be shown through works and the Christian responsibility of individuals and society to care for the poor.

Dickens wrote to his children in turn in letters about his faith words like: "I most strongly and affectionately impress upon you the priceless value of the New Testament and the study of that book as the one unfailing guide in life. Deeply respecting, and bowing down before the character of Our Saviour, you cannot go wrong, and will always preserve at heart a true spirit of veneration and humility".

Likewise, the German lyric poet Matthias Claudius wrote to his son Johannes in 1799. In translation it reads: What you can see, see, and use your eyes, and about the invisible and eternal hold on to the word of God. Do not go out of the world without having publicly testified through something your love and reverence for the founder of Christianity.

All this brings us back to the guiding theme for the whole year: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful". (Luke 6.36)

Bernd Hildebrandt

 

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