Johannes Weissingers Predigt vom 18. November

Psalm 133

When Brothers Dwell in Unity

1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore...

Sermon

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.

What do we do, when we give thanks to God? And how can we do this condign and acceptably? These questions are the both questions I want to try to answer.

What do we do, when we give thanks to God? We thank God for the gifts he has given to us, we praise His name for all the benefits, for all goods God has given. The Hebrew word “hallel” means originally to reflect, to mirrow. When we sing Alleluja we reflect the goodness of the creation to the creator,when we sing Alleluja we are the mirrow which God can recognize himself in. To laud somebody means to recognize him as good and to say this public.

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! is the beginning of Psalm 133. Ma tov uma naim schävät achim gam jachad! How good is living of brothers together. Brother doesn´t mean only the male children, the sisters are included. Why it is good? We know: The parents are glad when the children live together in peace. That´s not naturally the case. In the same way God the father is pleased with the living of his children together in justice and peace. God is the father of all people – and by the way he is described in the bible like a mother, his mercy comes from his womb, biologically is not possible, but we must not understand this biologically. God is our father and our mother and we all are his or her children, we are brothers and sisters.

There is a old Jewish parable. When the darkness of the night will be ended? Will it be when you can distinguish a cow from a sheep or an ewe from a lamb? The answer is “no”, the darkness of the night in our world will be ended if anyone recognizes another one as a brother. We are brothers and sisters we all have one Father. God is glad when we live together in justice and peace because he has created us to live together. In contrary God is sad if his children don´t live together, especially if one kills the other. The Jewish tradition can read the word “where” used in God´s question to Kain “where is your brother Abel” as “alas”, a word expressing sorrow and complaint.

In Psalm 33 is used the same Hebrew word jachad as in Psalm 133. God created all of us for living together and he ist glad if we live together. The word “tov” in the beginning of Psalm 133 “how very good it is” is also used to describe the opinion of God at the end of every day he created his creation. “And God saw that it was good,” said God every Day when his work is done. And after the creation of the sixth day he said just “it was very good” in Hebrew “tov meod”.

By the way. I want to point a special way to read the bible, which is called “Midrasch”. This word comes from the verb darasch meaning to seek. In this way to read the scriptures the Jewish tradition tried always to find out a respectively new, a deeper understanding. And the method is to read the same word in a different way. That´s possible because the Hebrew is written originally only with consonants without vowels. According this method in the English language you can read the word to thank also as to think – the same consonants. Or to live you can read as to love. And it makes sense to do so and find connections between the words.

One who want to thank ought to think about. And vice versa: One who thinks about his life will come to the conclusion that he ought to thank for his life as a gift. Or: One who want to know the destination of his life can find out that the destination of the life is to love. And vice versa one who loves feels himself of herself as a really living being.

Another method to hear the words of the scripture is to bring together two different words which have a similar sound, pronunciation. In this way the Jewish tradition can read the words tov meod “very good” as tov moth. The word mot means: to die. Therefore: it is good that we dy at the end of our life. The fact that we are time limited beings does not disprove the sentence God has said about his work the opinion “very good”. When a man died he or she make place for the following generation. The word for history in the Hebrew language is “toledot” and means the sequence of generations. Not this that man must die is that what is not good. God said: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” And the Hebrew word translated with “alone” you can translate also with “only for himself”. There is a crack, a disruption through the creation if a man lives only for himself. God gives us brothers and sisters, father and mother, daughters and sons, friends and companions in the aim that we are not alone. And he wants that we don´t live only for ourselves because that is not good – good is living together and each for another in solidarity and justice. If they live in such a way together they are “image of God”. Like the name father as a name for God also the meaning of the words male and female are not limited in a biological sense. Same sex couples have the same mission to live together in justice, solidarity and peace and to be image of God.

How good it is when men live together. God wants that the men are well, that they enjoy their lives which he has given. One of the commands which God has given concerns the harvest. When the work of harvesting is done the people ought to go to Jerusalem and there they ought to eat and drink and be merry in the presence of God. You know the story about the so called rich crop farmer. He saw that his harvest was very abundant and said to himself: relax, eat, drink, be merry. The same words which are used in the command of God with only one difference. The phrase “in the presence of me” is missed. Remember: That what the rich farmer did is not bad I a moral sense. In the contrary I think: We must learn to say that what we have is enough, let us enjoy in the presence of God. The rich man is called “You fool”. Psalm 14 for example says: “Fools say in their heats, “There is no God”. They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does what is good.” To have fun in the presence of God includes to live together and to share the goods God has given us.

In the life of Jesus we find many stories which tell us the way Jesus is sitting together with other people to eat and to drink with them. A sign for this sharing the life is the table we ought to come together in our life on earth, today, also in the coming world. “Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat (will sit around the table) in the kingdom of God.” From east and west people will come. From east and west – that sounds in our ears like the people who are threaten each another with weapons which can exterminate all life on earth. From north and south – that sounds in our ears like the people among who have some more than they need and can enjoy and the most have less than they need to live.

Wherever and whenever people come together and share what they have, it is good. Where that happen the kingdom of God is amidst us. Whenever that happen God finds what he wants to find: people doing justice, loving kindness and walking humble with him. That´s good how is written with the prophet Micah. How we can do that? One answer is the following I saw in front of a Methodist church in Tiffin: “A humble mind is the soil thanksgiving springs.” Humbleness and reverence is an insight into a sense of our life which is reaching beyond ourselves. One humble man does not need always more and more. An awful, a reverential man can say: It´s enough and can stop of growth which is not good for us and not sustainable for the earth. In the German language two words have the same origin: enough and merry or cheery. That people are merry who can say it is enough. Enough is enough. If we are recognizing each another as brothers and sisters, If we are living together and we are sharing the goods of God`s creation there is enough for all – it was it once more this year and hopefully it will be it again and again in the following years, too.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.