Sasse: “But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait.”

Found on MercyJourney by President Harrison:

 

It is certainly not an accident that in the modern world the church year and the secular year, which at the time of Luther still coincided, have moved further away from each other. When we today celebrate the beginning of a new church year there is a hint of the fact that the church has a different division of time than the world has. The church lives in the world and there the law of the creator is in force expressed in the Old Testament in the great words: “There is a time for everything.” The church lives in the world in which the stars orbit, the years and seasons change, generations are born and die.

But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait. For nineteen centuries she has sung in her liturgy the “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” For nineteen centuries she has lifted hearts high to him who will come to judge the living and the dead. For nineteen centuries she has prayed “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” and heard the Answer, “Yes, I am coming soon.” For nineteen centuries she has heard the sneering question “Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers died everything remains as it always has been since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4). Through all these centuries right up to the present time she has received no other answer than the comforting and warning words of the New Testament to the Christendom of that time, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to persist but everyone to come to repentance.” (v9). Cod has been patient with us. So the church waits with patience. This patience is foreign to the world. It can’t wait. It must always have everything straight away. That has been true for the entire modem world of humankind in the last century. For it a hope that still hasn’t been fulfilled after nineteen centuries is simply makes no sense. Dear Advent congregation, we all need to be quite clear about what fools we make ourselves in the eyes of the world when we gather here in this house of God today in 1936 in order to have our hope strengthened in the coming of the Lord, and to pray with the Christendom of every century “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

Sasse, Sermon for Advent I, Nov. 29, 1936 in Zeugnisse, Trans. Strelan

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Sasse: “But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait.” — 4 Comments

  1. The church lives in the world in which the stars orbit,….

    The church lives in a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy?

    For nineteen centuries she has prayed “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” and heard the Answer, “Yes, I am coming soon.

    At least this part of the sermon will still be relevant 1900 years from now.

  2. @#4 Kitty #1
    For nineteen centuries she has prayed “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” and heard the Answer, “Yes, I am coming soon.[“]
    At least this part of the sermon will still be relevant 1900 years from now.

    It is probably as wrong to predict when the Second Coming will not happen as to predict when it will.
    Who told you what Christ said He did not know when He walked with the Apostles?

  3. @helen #2

    Who told you what Christ said He did not know when He walked with the Apostles?

    Nobody told me, just call it my “special understanding of time”.

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