Devotions: April

The focus of the Sunday services in April is on the Lord’s Prayer. The sermons will focus on a significant statement from this prayer that Jesus Christ has taught us. Although we speak this prayer in every divine service, we probably do not always reflect on its rich content. This is why the wealth of the Lord’s Prayer is to be made clear and comprehensible to the congregation.

The sermon on the first Sunday in April will explore the opening lines of the prayer: the significance of the “kingdom of God” will be addressed. The kingdom of God has both a present and future dimension: it is present in Jesus Christ and in His church, but at the same time is also of the future, and will only come to its completion in the new creation.

On the second Sunday the basis of the sermon will be the petition: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Here the bread serves as a symbol for the preservation of natural life by God, but is at the same time also a reference to the fact that the will of God itself is a kind of food that provides sustenance. Finally, the bread is also an allusion to Holy Communion. Bread is an image of sustenance for spirit, soul, and body through God.

The third Sunday in April is devoted to the plea for forgiveness and the profession of our willingness to forgive. In order to have a life with Him, it is necessary to ask God for forgiveness of our sins, and to have the firm resolve to change our conduct and attitude. Willingness to forgive is a direct implication resulting from this plea for forgiveness. Only those who exhibit such a readiness to forgive can reasonably ask God for forgiveness. The important thing is for the congregation to understand that forgiveness of sins does not occur automatically, but rather that their participation— that is to say, their willingness to forgive—is also required.

The last Sunday in April is dedicated to the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, the doxology, which is the praise of divine glory. This passage once again makes reference to the kingdom of God, the presence of which we already experience today—and the future of which is the subject of our longing. Also addressed is the “power” that is God’s, which finds its direct expression in His creatorship. The “glory” referenced here signifies holiness and inviolability. We encounter this glory directly in Jesus Christ and in the sacraments which He has instituted. The word “forever”, with which the doxology closes, alludes to the fact that God is also the creator and ruler of time.

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