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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.