Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

February 7, 2008

Again I Quote #4

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 10:11 pm

“My dear friends, come here to grieve with this stooped father at the grave of his beloved child, I know you are not come with the intention of seeing a reed shaken by the wind. But what you find is in truth only an old stalk, which yet does not break even from this gust of wind that has suddenly struck him from on high, out of the blue. Thus it is. For a happy household, cared for and spared by Heaven for twenty years, I have God to thank; for a much longer pursuit of my vocation, accompanied by undeserved blessings; for a great abundance of joys and sorrows, which in my calling and as a sympathetic friend, I have lived through with others. Many a heavy cloud has passed over my life; yet what has come from without, faith has surmounted, and what from within love has recompensed. But now, this one blow, the first of its kind, has shaken my life to its roots.

. . . . .

“This charge, important above all others for the remainder of my life, to which my heart clung to full of love, is now ineradicably stricken through; the friendly, refreshing picture of life is suddenly destroyed; and all the hopes that rested upon him lie here and shall be buried with this coffin. What should I say?

“There is one consolation, with which many faithful Christians soothe themselves in such a case, which already many beloved, friendly voices have spoken to me in these days, and which is not to be simply dismissed, for it grows out of a correct assessment of human weakness. Namely, it is the consolation that children who are taken away young are in fact delivered from all the dangers and temptations of this life and are early rescued into the sure Haven. And this boy would certainly not have been spared these dangers. But, in fact, this consolation does not want to take with me, I being the way I am. Regarding this world as I always do, as a world that is glorified through the life of the Redeemer and hallowed through the efficacy of his Spirit to an unending development of all that is good and Godly; wishing, as I always have, to be nothing but a servant of this divine Word in a joyful spirit and sense; why then should I not have believed that the blessings of the Christian community would be confirmed in my child as well, and that through Christian upbringing, an imperishable seed would have been planted in him? Why should I not have trusted in the merciful preservation of God for him as well, even if he stumbled? Why should I not have trusted securely that nothing would be able to tear him out of the hand of the Lord and Savior to whom he was dedicated, and whom he had already begun to love with his childlike heart.

“Thus I stand here, then, with my comfort and my hope alone in the Word of Scripture, modest and yet so rich. ‘It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but when it shall appear, we shall see him as he is.’ And in the powerful prayer of the Lord ‘Father, I would that where I am, they also may be whom thou hast given me.’ Supported by these strong beliefs, then, and borne along by a childlike submission, I say from my heart, the Lord has given him: the name of the Lord be praised, that he gave him to me; that he granted to this child a life, which, even though short, was yet glad and bright and warmed by the loving breath of his grace; that he has so truly watched over and guided him that now with his cherished remembrance nothing bitter is mixed.

“Now, thou God who art love, let me not only resign myself to thy omnipotence, not only submit to thy impenetrable wisdom, but also know thy fatherly love. Make even this grievous trial a new blessing for me in my vocation. For me and all of mine let this communal pain become wherever possible a new bond of still more intimate love, and let it issue in a new apprehension of thy Spirit in all my household. Grant that even this grave hour may become a blessing for all who are gathered here. Let us all more and more mature to that wisdom which, looking beyond the void, sees and loves only the eternal in all things earthly and perishable, and in all thy decrees finds thy peace as well, and eternal life, to which through faith we are delivered out of death. Amen.”

Friederich Schleiermacher – Graveside sermon on the death of his son.

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