Tenth Sunday after Trinity
"Oh sorrowless, when will you cease from sin? How long will you sleep in sin without sorrow? Oh how earnestly the Lord awakens you and asks you to come once on the right road. Although you have tarried so long, become penitent quickly." Old Finnish Hymn Book Number 408
This hymn of penitence of the hymn book is one crying voice, with which the Holy Spirit wants to awaken the sorrowless sinners from their sweet sleep, although often in vain. A pitiful voice of lamentation is heard over the hardened ones, which calls and exhorts sinners to repentance but some are not as though hearing. For first the quack of the world has given them sleeping potion, that they cannot awaken from their sleep, although the sexton shakes them with all his strength. Although he would strike them on the head with a staff, so that it makes a cracking noise, however they still do not awaken. Nevertheless, all who are asleep have not watched all night, for some have slept the whole night and even yet part of the day, and still have not awakened. Some have awakened too early, as they themselves think, and therefore sleep forces itself upon them during the day, But it still is not bed time no matter how early one would have awakened, surely there is still work both outside and inside. If you lie down before all the work is done, then the necessary work is left undone and the wage for the day is paid according to how the work is done. But I do not know who would have awakened too early, that he therefore would now need to lie down when the sun is still high. That time will probably soon come that the sun will set, and who then will see where the road goes to heaven.
The Saviour has said, "Walk while ye have the light lest darkness come upon you." He who travels in darkness cannot see where he travels, but woe to those wretches who have slept all night and still sleep all day; what will become of them when they finally awaken? They will probably sleep forever, who have not awakened thus far. So it appears that those wretches who have not yet awakened will go to eternity in their sleep. The Spirit of God in this hymn surely shakes those drunken ones, who sleep at the brink of the rapids, but they do not awaken from that any more than intoxicated ones awaken from the shaking of the sexton. They only lift their head and say, "Will you not give me peace of sleep?" The old people still remember that time when the sexton came here with the staff of Moses and knocked the drunken ones who snored so loudly that the sermon of the pastor could not be heard because of the snoring of the drunken ones. But now the knocking and shaking of the sexton is almost forgotten, and the old ones can as jokingly reminisce to the coming generations that before times the people awakened by the knocking of the sexton, when he knocked them with the staff of Moses, but nothing of that, that they themselves had a blow from the staff of Moses and that they had to then lift their head and say, "Why did you strike me? I am not yet asleep," Without any intention, no doubt, an old person leans his head against the rail, trying to sleep. He is not really sleeping, but he appears to be sleeping. Nevertheless it is noticeable that sleep comes soon even to those who are not trying to sleep, what then to those who are deliberately trying to sleep? The prophet says to those sorrowless ones who did not awaken from their sleep, although they are shaken through harsh law, of such it is written in the prophets that they love sleep. And what more do the sorrowless do than love sleep? They love sleep especially in the Lord's house, where the word of God goes as a hum over their heads and effects such a sweet sleep, that some surely do not awaken before only in eternity. The old man thinks, since he sees that the staff of Moses is no longer in the hand of the sexton; he thinks, no doubt, "I now can sleep in peace, he will not come to rap anymore. He will not come to wake me; no doubt from now on he will give me peace of sleep. I have once received one blow from the staff of Moses, he does not care to strike me anymore,"
But watch yourself, you old man, if you begin to snore too hard, that you will not receive yet another blow from the staff of Moses, and then you will get such a blow that you will remember for many years that you have once received quite a rap, and again lied down and began to snore in the Lord's house, but another time you will receive such a blow that a hole will come in your skull. Surely I know that some have such a thick skull that they do not feel anything no matter how it would be struck. We will take an example of a reindeer which has thick bones. It is so lazy that it does not flee no matter how it would be beaten. And we will take an example of a bear, which has such hardened bones in its skull that a bullet will not go through. But the devil has made steel helmets and breast plates for some people, so that God's two edged sword will not penetrate. How could such a hardened spirit feel the knocking of the sexton? And when the sexton shakes them, who have once awakened and again become sleepy, then the devil's angels get to laugh and say, "Look there! You got quite a blow," For the devil's angels themselves certainly do not sleep in church, but do such tricks that even those few souls who are watching would turn their eyes and ears away from the sermon. Therefore the sexton has not gone so often in these times with the staff of Moses, that the devil's angels will laugh. But if too much sleeping is done here, then the staff of Moses must begin to move. The Holy Spirit surely shakes some with these words which are found written in the old hymn book, "Oh Sorrowless, when will you cease from sin? How long will you sleep in sin without sorrow? Oh how earnestly the Lord awakens you and asks you to come once on the right road." But what does it awail that the Lord earnestly awakens them? The drunken, nevertheless do not awaken since the quack of the world gives them devil's dung and sleeping potion. The word of God goes like a hum over their head, or in one ear and out the other and never comes toward the heart.
Certainly it is time now to arise up out of sleep both for those who have slept during the time of darkness and even in the daytime, and also for those unfortunate souls who begin to regret that they have awakened too soon, and for that reason rest at noon time. However the husbandmen do not have time to sleep if their fields must be planted at the right time. Nor has the journeyman time to sleep during the day, if he must reach the destination before all the people are gone to bed. But to the whores of the world who peddle themselves out at night, it appears that sleep comes in the daytime; so also the thieves who go on their robbery trips at night, they sleep in the daytime; so also the drunkards, who tarry in the tavern until morning, they then sleep all day long. But the right kind of people, who take care of their work, do not have time to sleep in the daytime. Nevertheless sleep now presses forcefully upon some laborers in the Lord's vineyard. It appears as if they were now regretting that they had awakened from their sleep too early. But I tell you, you who are struggling with sleep, if you have awakened too early, then lie down now and sleep well, that when it is dark, you will be able to again drink and fight, be playing with whores and steal as you did before. Your heavenly Parent was not able to sleep, nor did sleep come to Him when He wept over you and pitied the unfortunate state of the ungodly children; since they had to become so blind that they could no longer see their destruction. Those wretches certainly have a good time who play with fire and run riot with knives, but the parent's heart shudders and tears flow from his eyes, since those blind wretches do not obey at all the commands of the parent, to stop playing with fire before the whole house is set afire. Look, thus they do in their foolishness, already then they cause the parent sorrow and bitterness of mind, And when these ungodly descendants become older, then they begin to drink and fight, to play with whores and to steal, and when the Parent scolds them and exhorts them to a better life, then they curse their Parent, mock His tears, and say to the sorrowful Parent, "Shut your mouth and do not worry about us, we will answer for ourselves," Behold, such nice sons the heavenly Parent has fed and raised until this day. Wo doubt now the enemy has joy when he comes to reproach the Parent and to say, "Such nice children you have, whores and thieves, drunkards and murderers, crooks and scoundrels.
Today the Parent weeps and pities those unfortunate wretches, who cannot see two cubits ahead and nevertheless hold themselves to be wise. Who knows if there will now be found any souls in the city of corruption who hear the painful voice of lamentation of the heavenly Parent, when He pities their blindness, that they knew not their time of visitation. And those few souls, who have seen His tears flowing over this unfortunate people, who knows, are even they able to watch in the Garden when the sins of the ungodly children begin to burn His conscience. But pray, nevertheless, you disciples of Jesus who have seen the tears of the heavenly Parent flowing, that He would protect you from that misfortune which stands before the hardened ones, that you would get to flee to the refuge of the heavenly Parent when the enemy comes to destroy the city of corruption. Hear, sorrowful Parent, the sigh of the weeping, lamenting, and suckling children. Our Father, etc.
The Gospel: Luke 19:14-44
We heard from our Holy Gospel that Jesus wept over the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem and pitied their blindness and misfortune, who did not allow themselves to be led to true penitence and repentance, although the Lord had so earnestly awakened them from sorrowlessness. Let us now today count these tears of Jesus and observe if some tear would have been shed even in our behalf, when we through God's grace observe: What could be the reason that the heart of a sinner must be so hard and hardened that Jesus must weep over hire? First: Israel and David, that is, godly parents receive sorrow and grief when the ungodly children bring them with sorrow to the grave. Second: Rachel weeps over her children, and would not be comforted; that is, a great sorrow comes to the Parent when the enemy slays His children.
If the heavenly Parent would give to all the penitent ones a broken heart, so that from even some child He would receive some joy for His tears, for although He has wept because of all, He does not however receive joy from many, since most mock the Parent's tears and trample His blood. First: Israel and David received sorrow from their children, for their children were ungodly. We cannot understand what kind the heart of the heavenly Parent is before we experience a natural parent's heart, although a natural parent's heart is lacking in many matters, some spark of love is still left in him, namely in such a parent's heart in which the devil has not excreted. We know that some parents do not have a parent's heart. Some parents are even worse than animals, who nevertheless are concerned over their young and even put their own lives in danger when their young are in danger. All the birds of heaven, who have warm blood in their hearts, give their own lives for the sake of their young, but some people are worse than a dragon, who lays its eggs in the sand and cares no more for them. From such parents we cannot take an example, for they do not have a parentīs heart, who do not acknowledge their own children to be their own, nor do they even give them the Father's name, but leave their children on a bank, like the dragon who lays its eggs in the sand. The devil of greed and the devil of honor have slain and taken away all the love from the heart of such parents, who leave their own children as orphans and without refuge on the earth. But of Israel and of David, who themselves were Christians although their children were ungodly, of them we can take some example, since we want to consider what has remained in a natural parent's heart of that original image of God, for they truly had a parent's heart. Therefore we hear from the Scriptures that Isreal's children were ungodly. They became angry with their brother Joseph, who bore tales to the parent of what an evil life they led behind the parent's back, and they would have even killed their brother if the oldest brother Rueben had not prevented them. Nevertheless, they sold him into a foreign land and lied before their parent that an evil beast had killed his son. And although they saw what kind of sorrow came to the parent because of their treachery, not one of them would inform their parent that his son was still alive. Not even Ruben, the oldest son, did that good thing to the parent, that he would have informed him that Joseph was alive, although he had saved Joseph from death.
And such is now that natural meekness: it does not want to cry out its own sins to the world, nor to reveal other's sins. He certainly could see that misery which came to the parent; he could see the parent dying of sorrow, but he did not care to say that much, that "Your son lives." Such are those nice children, who bring the parent's gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. First they commit evil, and then they lie so that their evil would not be known, but nevertheless their evil becomes known. When distress came to the sons of Israel, then the conscience began to reproach and to accuse, that they had well merited such punishment because of harshness and mercilessness toward their brother. What did It avail now that Ruben reproved them of that sin, since he, too, was a partaker In that, that he did not reveal to the parent what they had done to Joseph. He nevertheless brought his parentīs gray hairs with sorrow to the grave, since he concealed the other murderersī sins. No doubt he feared that those others would become angry with him if he would tell the parent the truth. He did not want to bear the hatred of the world because of the truth; he did not want to become honorless before the world. The friendship of the murderers was to him better than the parent's love. The parent's misery and the parent's tears did not touch the heart of the meek man. Because of him, the parent could certainly die of sorrow. Because of friendship of the world he had no mercy upon the one who gave him birth. Because of worldly honor he certainly brought his parent's gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Behold now your likeness here in Ruben, you meek men who say, "It is better to cover the sins of the whores and the thieves and to keep them secret than to reveal them." Behold now, you friends of the murderers, you are to blame for that, that the heavenly Parent must die because of sorrow, but as you have covered up the sins of the thieves and the murderers, you yourselves have covered up the Parent's heart of love forever, so that not one ray of grace can shine upon you.
But as Israel received such great sorrow from his children, although he himself was a Christian, so David also received even greater sorrow from some of his children, although he himself was a Christian. Perhaps he had truly gone before the children with a bad example, since he fell from the state of grace into willful sins, for which reason the enemies of Jesusī cross imagine they receive joy. And from the fall of a Christian, the devil's angels also receive joy and say, "Beautiful are the Christiansī examples, beautiful are the fruits of the Christians, Was David, too, a Christian? some bloodhound and whore-buck!" But David did not become angry although some enemy of the Christian came to bark at him as a bloodhound, David did not avenge his enemies, although his own people urged him. But David had a parent's heart when that ungodly son Absalom sought his parent's life, nor would that son have spared his father if he would have gotten him into his clutches. But all the same, such a sorrow of the heart came to David over the death of that ungodly son, that be began to cry out,"Oh my son Absalom, would that I had died for thee!" Behold, there now was the right parent's heart. If the ungodly children seek the life of the heathenish parents, they become terribly angry and love is completely lacking, there is no more grace in the parent's heart to such children no natter how they would regret. But a Christian parent still has so much love that he could even die for the sake of ungodly children, and for the sake of his murderers. Oh wonderful heart of a parent! There is one deep place which man's intellect cannot comprehend. But now from a Christian parent heart can be concluded what kind the heavenly Parent's heart is. If David's heart could know an unspeakable sorrow over the death of his ungodly son, if he has cried out, "Woe, woe, my son Absalom!", how than does the heavenly Parent cry out when He sees His children, who anyway in behalf of creation are His children. How the heavenly Parent cries out, "Woe, woe!" when He hears His children screaming in the claws of the enemy, and nevertheless cannot get to help them, since they are so hardened that they curse their Creator and trample His blood and mock His tears.
Woe, woe, how even today He weeps and pities those unfortunate souls who have not received His teachings, but go to hell in their blindness; and are all now blind who go to hell? Do not some go to hell with open eyes? Those who have once had their eyes open, have already felt what a terrible torment there is in hell, have also felt what an unspeakable joy is in heaven, but all the same turn back into the world and begin to crucify the Saviour anew with lusts and desires. Do they go blindly to hell? No, but such ones go to hell with eyes wide open. Woe, woe, how the heavenly Parent today weeps over you, you miserable souls,, and cries out with a sorrowful heart, "Oh, if you knew, unfortunate city, unfortunate congregation, unfortunate community, if you know what belongs to your peace, you would think in this your day, but now it is hid from your eyes,"
And since we hear the heavenly Parent's painful voice of lamentation, since we see the tears of love flowing from His eyes, then we can say: there is thanks, now, to you sorrowful parent; there is thanks now for that, that you have given birth to these wretches with great pain and shedding of blood. There now, sorrowful parent, is your thanks that you have fed and reared these wretches. As soon as the first tooth grows in the mouth, they bite your breast. When they begin to crawl, they already pull the parent's hair, when they take the first steps, they are able to do evil. When they begin to walk, that desire comes also to play with fire and to run with a sharp knife, so that the parent's heart just trembles when he sees how the devil gives such fools boldness to play with fire, to run quickly with a sharp knife, and to climb up on the table. And when the parent takes away those murder weapons from the child's hand, then he still cries and threatens. Although he himself is no bigger than a weasel, he already threatens to beat the parent with his fists because he took the murder weapons away. Such now is the life story of old Adam's children, selfishness, pride and obstinacy right from infancy. The offspring no bigger than the fist thinks he is so wise that he does not need to listen to the commands of the parent. If the parent's heart shakes and trembles because of the foolish boldness of the children, then the fools laugh. If the Parent forcefully takes some whore from under the whorebuck, then the whore says, "For goodness sake, you are not always watching my butt," such thanks now a parent receives from his children, when he wants to prevent them from sin and from killing themselves. What do such wolf whelps now do when they grow older? Do they become wiser, do they then begin to regret the foolishness of youth? No doubt they regret! When they themselves become men, they begin to drink, curse and fight, commit adultery and steal, and if the parent wants to warn them of such a terrible life, then they whip their parent and say, "Shut your mouth, old fool, you are not answering for me." Such now are old Adams children, even worse than wolf whelps. Woe, Woe! those wretches who do not see two cubits ahead and nevertheless think they are wise. If the natural parent's heart can suffer sorrow and bitterness of mind from such children, who do not see their unfortunate state at all, but run headlong into hell, so that the parent must lament as old Israel, "Ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave," what then the heavenly Parent, who can see even farther than the natural parent. His heart wants to break with sorrow when He sees how those blind wretches, who live in the city of corruption, become so unfortunate already in this life, and also then eternally, since they have not known their time of visitation. They themselves intentionally incited the enemy upon themselves and in that way were killed.
Look, such sorrow and bitterness of mind the ungodly children cause their Parent. And there now is the thanks to You, sorrowful Parent, there now is thanks for that, that You have given birth to these wretches with great pain, trouble, and shedding of blood. There now is thanks for that, that You have fed and reared these wolf whelps. Often in watching over them, You bow Your knees praying in behalf of these unfortunate wretches, that they would become God's children, that You could rejoice with t;hem in the kingdom of heaven. But Your tears have flowed in vain, heavenly Parent; in vain Your blood has flowed to the last drop. The hardened children have not taken heed of Your tears and of Your sighs, they mock Your tears and trample Your blood. Are there any here from whom the Parent could receive joy, are there any from amongst the hardened who fit into the Parent's heart?
Second: Rachel weeps over her children and will not be comforted. Rachel, Israel's beautiful wife, mother of that righteous Joseph and Benjamin, died while giving birth to the youngest child. She was one parent whose innocent children were slain in Bethlehem, from which pain of the heart came to the parent's heart when she saw how the enemy slew innocent children. Would there be one here now from whom there would come joy to the sorrowful Parent if they would be slain in Bethlehem because of the Son of Mary? There was one righteous Joseph then, who was dear to the parent's heart, but he, too, was sold to the pagans. And when he did not want to commit adultery with the heathen woman, he had to sit in prison for two years; nevertheless the parent received joy from this son, namely Joseph. But are there now many children here, from whom joy would come to the sorrowful Parent? There are not many who because of righteousness would have sat in prison, or because of the Son of Mary would have been slain bodily in Bethlehem. There are not many of whom the parent would receive such joy that he could say, "Now I want to die, since my eyes have seen you, that you are still living." You righteous Joseph; are you still alive? Can the sorrowful parent receive that joy from you, that you are still alive, or has that cruel beast torn and rent and ravaged your soul and killed your spirit, as your paganish brothers say that a beast has killed you? However I think that you are alive, Joseph, although in a pagan land, where shameless whores lie against you, that you have wanted to bring them to shame. The hope is that joy will come to the Parent's heart from you, if you always hold fast to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, although the paganish brothers hate you and want to kill you, all the same their hatred turns to glory of God, that the paganish brothers must finally ask forgiveness of their wrong doings, which they have done to you.
And of you, too, there is hope, Mary Magdalene, that your tears and your sighs effect so much, that the great Crossbearer arises from the dead. But you unfortunate Judas, who have fallen through deceit, and because of love of the world have agreed with the enemy, and because of greed have promised the enemies of Jesusī cross that you would deliver Him without struggle under the judgement of the chief priests and lords of the world. You have gone so many years in the school of Jesus in vain; He has taught and counseled you in vain. You have not become wiser through that, but have hardened the more. What devil was it which went into your heart when you went back into the world; and what devil was it which went into your heart when you went out of the company of the other disciples after that dipped sop, before the Lord's Supper was finished, before the hymn was sung? Could it have been the devil of greed which made you betray your Saviour? Could it have been the devil of anger which gave you haste to separate from the company of the other disciples, or was the dipped sop caught in your wind pipe that you had to go out to vomit poison upon the Christians? You certainly will not go to hell blind surely that much was told to you, how it will go with the betrayer of the Saviour. But no doubt you thought that the other disciples do not need to know what kind of a man you are. You want to be a Christian among the Christians and a devil amongst the devils, and nevertheless the dipped sop effects so much, that you must now flee out of the company of the other disciples although it is night. Where are you going, Judas, since you do not remain anymore in the company of the other disciples, and did not return to the prayer meeting to sing the hymn of thanks? Did you get the urge to urinate, or for what reason did you go out into the dark world before the Lord's blessing was read? Since you now have separated from the company of the other disciples and have gone out into the dark world, although you have received such a warning and the final sign of love from the Saviourīs own hand, certainly that innocent blood which you have betrayed will once burn your conscience. But then penitence will avail no more; confession of sin will no longer help since you have not confessed then when it was a tine of consideration for Jesusī disciples. Not even that will help, that you throw back the ill-gotten money into the church, but you must go out to hang yourself so that all of the other disciples could see what an unfortunate and terrible death comes to those wretches who betray their Saviour because of greed. The tears of the heavenly Parent have flowed in vain because of you, poor Judas! Although you, blind wretch, have not seen Him bleeding in the Garden and on Golgotha's Hill, the other disciples, however, have seen His blood dripping from His forehead, but sleep forces so intensely even upon then, that they are not able to watch and pray with Him. Woe, woe! also to those wretches who, in the stupor of sleep, see the heavenly Parent sweating blood, nor are they, nevertheless, able to watch and pray so that they enter not into temptation. Has the Lord not gone three times to awaken you and every time that He came, He found you lying down because of sorrow. Are you still lying down and resting? And now the time is at hand. Behold, Judas comes soon with the crowd of the enemy to take ahold of Jesus, and then you must finally awake from your sleepiness.
We have now seen the heavenly Parent weeping and pitying that unfortunate people who live in the city of corruption, but this people have not known their time of visitation. The Saviour's tears have been shed in vain because of them, no help has come to those wretches because of the Saviour's suffering and death, joy has not cone to the Parent from many children, to whom He has given birth with great tribulation and shedding of blood. Is there some soul here, who is reconciled with the heavenly Parent, upon whom that precious reconciling blood has not flowed in vain? Come now with cleansed hearts and nevertheless with broken hearts before the mercy seat, and pray that the tears of the heavenly Parent would never be forgotten, that the blood would never dry up which has flowed from the Parent's heart, but that it would always remain fresh and new and moist. What does dried blood effect? If the blood of the Parent does not remain fresh and new and moist in the heart, death will come. Where have the newly-born received that blood which is in their heart? Has this blood not come from the Parent's heart? Namely that blood which sustains the life of the newly born. Woe, woe! children, take heed that the blood which is in your heart and in your veins has come from the Parent's heart. Should you mock the Parent's tears anymore, you who have received blood from the Parentīs heart, which sustains your life? And the heavenly Parent must still suckle you, He must allow you to suckle His grace flowing breasts so that the weak life which is in you would remain with you. Remember now, children, these tears of the Parent, which today have flowed from His eyes because of you and all ungodly children. Let those tears shine like pearls in your eyes, as precious stones in your crown, as the rays of the morning in your heart, that you can finally get to count the Parentīs tears with transfigured eyes in the city of the new Jerusalem, the hot tears of the Parent, which have truly flowed for all ungodly children in that great city of corruption. But only the disciples see them and feel them weighty and heavy when they fall upon the hardened conscience. Count, count, you disciples of Jesus, count the Parent's tears if you can, and gather them into your heart now and forever. Amen.