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Text For The Month / Monatsspruch

September 2021

You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.
Haggai 1.6

The lead in to this verse is: This is what the Lord Almighty says. When in the August text the Lord is approached in prayer to hear and to look, then we have here his answer through a faithful leader, who aims to bring his countrymen out of their spiritual indifference back to God. When our forefathers founded the German YMCA, they chose as their motto: We will serve the Lord, for he is our God (Joshua 24.18). They did not add "although not yet, we are far too occupied with our ambitions and desires of our daily life". But that was exactly what happened when Haggai gave his message. The time passed between then and now does not matter. A thousand years in the Lord's sight are like a day that has just gone by (Psalm 90.4).

When the Haggai text was chosen for this month, it was not to highlight a spiritual attitude of a time long past, but because it mirrored the situation of mankind today. And that was before the present pandemic brought the physical, social and spiritual conditions of life into an even sharper focus. There is the exceptional demand for loving, caring service, by no means a prerogative of a religious public, but of society as a whole, in which secularism is growing unabated with a new confidence amongst the non-religious to declare themselves atheists. And there are the severe re strictions in daily life, that bring to the fore the multitude of non-essentials of every kind that are deemed important for earthly happiness. There is so much that goes into the purse with holes in it. And the individual struggles with the demands for moral responsibility.

People of faith confess their dependence on God, the creator, and his everlasting love for the world. They aim to serve him as exemplified in the life and teaching of Christ This means practical, caring service and making time for meditation, prayer and praise without reservation. But Christians experience also the reality, already expressed by the Apostle Paul: I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out (Romans 7.18). In conclusion I offer in translation a famous prayer by the German pastor and poet, Eduard Mörike:

Lord! send what you want,
A love or a sorrow;
I am pleased that both Wells out of your hand.

Don't shower me
With joy or suffering!
But in the middle
Lies gracious modesty.

 

Bernd Hildebrandt

 

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