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Archive for January 2nd, 2018

Bio:  Although he never left Germany, Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, born in Fuerth in 1808, had a profound impact on the development of Lutheranism in North America. Serving as pastor in the Bavarian village of Neuendettelsau, he recognized the need for workers in developing lands and assisted in training emergency helpers to be sent as missionary pastors to North America, Brazil, and Australia. A number of the men he sent to the United States became founders of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Through his financial support, a theological school was established in Fort Wayne, Ind., and a teachers’ institute in Saginaw, Mich. Loehe was known for his confessional integrity and his interest in liturgy and catechetics. His devotion to works of Christian charity led to the establishment of a deaconess training house and homes for the aged.

Here is Pastor Loehe on the Divine Service:

Worries burden you and keep burdening you.  But no longer does sin torture you, no longer to do you fear evil, no longer do you sigh longingly, but joyful confidence  fills your soul. You sit behath the face of the Lord.  In the sermon you begin to experience the blessed communion of the saints who rejoice in the Lord.The worshiping congregation experiences itself as the Bride of the Lord, rich not only in and through Him but also in and through one another. The congregation, in its fullness, thinks of the special needs and miseries upon earth, delights in all good things, and goes before the altar of the Lord with intercessions, petitions, and prayers.

Here is Pastor Loehe on service to one another in quote cited in the Treasury of Daily  for the Commemoration of Phoebe, Dorcas and Lydia (link to full quote here), who served their neighbors in their need:  

…I said that because of Christianity uncommon has become common and the common uncommon the Spirit and the purpose and way it was done…. I point to Matthew 25. What does he say there by separating the sheep from the goats? Whom does he praise? Whom does He reproach? Whom does he call to inherit the kingdom of his Father? Does he call the heroes, who accomplished great things, the kings with their crowns and those who struck with their great swords and brought about great changes upon earth? What does He do? He names and praises the same common things that I have said Christianity has made uncommon. He says: “I was hungry” and so forth—”come, you blessed of my Father” (Mt 25:34)…. Thus, he asks for the food, for the drink, for the gift of oil and wine. He asks for all these common things, which I have said have become uncommon through his Spirit.—J. K. Wilhelm Loehe  

(Both quotes from The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

What connects vertical dimension of the Divine Service, and the horizontal dimension of service to our neighbors?  Answer:  Jesus, sent by the Father to the Virgin’s Womb, who gives us poor sinners His Body and Blood and died and rose for them.  In the Divine Service we lift up our hearts to the Lord  and give out of the heart of Christ to our  neighbors in need, the vertical and the horizontal met in the Cross, in His Body:  Poor sinners redeemed in Him in Baptism and faith and our fellow poor sinners, like us, who just need to be helped.  The vertical sanctifies the horizontal so that we know the gift is always the Lord’s.

The worshiping congregation experiences itself as the Bride of the Lord, rich not only in and through Him but also in and through one another.

Pastor Loehe had much to teach us in the Word of God.

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Wilhelm, who was faithful in the care and nurturing of your flock; and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his life, we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

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