Word of the Month

Always the same?

February 1999

A young man, having built a successful career and who was now strongly challenged in his job said to his parents: "I am carrying on attending divine services, but not every single one. It is enough for me, if I attend service every two or three weeks, because ultimately you always hear the same things there." Is this true?

Without question, it is always about the same things in a divine service: to keep faith, to grow in knowledge, to follow until the goal of faith, to remain in prayer, in work and in joy, and to expect the Lord daily. Nevertheless, everything that is offered in the house of God is always new. Even if we have heard a sentence, a particular phrase or a Bible quotation one hundred times, the faithful reception of the word evokes new power, new light, new consolation, new hope and new blessing.

The alphabet consists of only about two dozens letters, but with words and sentences created out of them, books can be filled. No one would ever have the idea to say: "Always the same letters, how boring!" According to their combination, something new is always communicated. Even the most knowledgeable mathematician depends on the basic numbers from zero to nine; without them, he does not get by, even for the most complex calculations. When the Holy Spirit, in a divine service, transmits what is heard at the Throne of God, then he builds it on a firm foundation which is based on the firm foundation of our faith. What is this about? Exclusively it is about the plan of redemption, about our deliverance, about our salvation. And if we hear one hundred times: "The Lord will come and will complete his work.", this revives the longing for the Day of the Lord, this gives new impetus to continue joyfully in faith. And what would we do, to be freed of just a single sin, if we could not receive the forgiveness at the altar of the Lord? This grace is always given us anew there.

If we come into the House of God with the knowledge of being invited to the royal table, then we won't say: "Always the same!" Then we come full of yearning for word and grace. The peace of the prince of peace, Jesus, is laid upon us, in order that all restlessness and dissatisfaction go away. We feel how the word of God refreshes, rejoices, comforts, strengthens, lauds and orientates us and finally makes us blissful. In Holy Communion we experience the high point of the encounter with the Lord at his table: We partake of body and blood of Jesus. This provides us with the most intimate communion with him and contributes decisively to our perfection.

Most sincerely,<br/>

Richard Fehr