Thursday, 9 May 2013

When Steeples Are Falling

Built on the Rock the church doth stand,
Even when steeples are falling;
Crumbled have spires in every land,
Bells still are chiming and calling;
Calling the young and old to rest,
But above all the soul distressed,
Longing for rest everlasting.

Nikolai Grundtvig, trans. from the Danish by Carl Doeving.

"We are not the ones who can preserve the Church, nor were our forefathers able to do so. Nor will our successors have this power. No, it was, is, and will be He who says, ‘I am with you always to the close of the age.’ As it says in Hebrews 13:8, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever,’ and in Revelation 1:8, ‘He who is and who was and who is to come.” This is His name and no one else’s.
A thousand years ago you and I were nothing, and yet the Church was preserved at that time without us. He who is called ‘who was’and ‘yesterday’ had to accomplish this.
Even during our lifetime we are not the Church’s guardians. It is not preserved by us, for we are unable to drive off the devil. If it were up to us, the Church would perish before our very eyes, and we together with it (as we experience daily). For it is another Man who preserves both the Church and us. He does this so plainly that we could touch and feel it if we did not want to believe it. We must leave this to Him who is called ‘who is’ and ‘today’.
Likewise we will contribute nothing toward the preservation of the Church after our own death. He who is called ‘who is to come’and ‘forever’ will accomplish it.”
Martin Luther, 'Against the Antinomians', 1539 (LW 47:118)

HT to Pr Vernon Kleinig for this quote.

1 comment:

Martin Yee said...

Encouraging quote indeed. It is so comforting. Luther was able to commit things to God. This is perhaps our Lutheran idea of God's sovereignty.