20. Juli 2019

Sermon on September 2, 2018

Sermon: Pastor Mag Christoph Petau

James 1,17-27 und Mark 7,1-8.14f.21-23

In preparation for this sermon, I wrote down idiomatic expressions and proverbs my notebook and I would like to share these with you.

„carved from precious wood“ wood, dust sawdust and bark are a constant concern. The children make balcony furniture out of pallets or a carved apple tree from the neighbor becomes a wardrobe closet. Leftover pieces of wood are polished and become jewelry.  Bark is removed from branches and are worked into pieces of art in the house and garden.  I did this a bit simpler.  The Austrian Post together with the Federal Forestry made a stamp valued at 6.90euro. This, „Oak“, each – one of a kind – is in my collection or waits for a recipient.

People also call those who are carved from precious wood a role model. This can be teachers, parents, contemporaries or saints.  „Clouds of witnesses“ is what the Bible calls such people. I am now going to take a short break. Maybe you can bring the one or other before your spiritual eye.

James, writes Renate Kirchhoff in the introduction to the letter to James in the Bible in fair language (Gütersloh 2006), clearly states that living is a necessary part of a relationship with God. People carved out of precious wood are needed in the congregation, in the church and in the world.

That has a hand and a foot“ If something works well, let’s say it has a hand and foot. With this phrase I remembered the song „Children“ of the GDR singer Bettina Wegner.


Are such small hands

With tiny fingers.

Don’t hit them

They can break.


Are such small feet

With small toes.

Don’t step on them

Cause then they couldn‘t walk.

Is such as small backbone

One can barely see it.

Do not bend it

Because it could break.


Hey people

It would be a nice goal.

People without a backbone

But we have too many.

People whose work has a hand and foot, who show a backbone, people who look outside the box are needed in political culture in the present.

„Fire and flame“ are, next to wind and pigeons, images of the Holy Ghost. Why are we fire and flames? What excites us? – Take to heart this word, which is planted inside you (James 1, 21). It shows the law of freedom, listening, acting and doing. How often have we heard the Biblical sentence: You are the light of the world, you are the salt of the earth? People, who live the Gospel, have overcome trenches by what they have understood (Frere Roger). Let us be guided by the spiritual power when we say peace to one another during church service.

„hard nut“ When we say: That is a hard nut, is what we mean with an assignment that is too hard to solve. It is easy to open peanuts. We need some tools to open hasel nuts and definitely with almonds. Walnuts and Brazil nuts have to be worked out of their shells.  We even use a hammer for coconuts, sometimes nails and saws. Hard nuts require different capabilities, sometimes cooperation. In the end the work will be rewarded. Where different capabilities interact, where cooperation strenghtens congregations, where a goal is in mind, the congregation, the community grows. God’s spirit is felt when we grow from assignments.

„one heart and soul“ Luke describes the story about the Book of Acts about the young congregations. They were one heart and soul. With this he not only wrote history but also formulated an ideal. He reminds the congreation in his area about the initial impulse. He extorts them to the original faith. In this source, the church experiences one thing.


These five phrases (i have written more in the text or have some to come to mind spontaneously) Diese 5 Redewendungen (weitere habe ich im Text verarbeitet oder sind mir spontan eingefallen) I have added two more in my notebook:

The way to the source leads against the current and

Constant dripping wears away the stone

In our latitudes we experience that congregations are getting smaller and districts are being put together. Bank branch offices are being replaced by ATMs. Post Offices replaced by post office partners in businesses and gas stations. Christian values can not be replaced by a pastoral partner in the village. Recently, one of our politicians said in a discussion about foreigners and deportations, that politics should not be guided by humanitarian ideas. I have learned in school, that politics comes from polis and means, „look at the whole thing”. The word ecumenism is a familiar word amongst Christians. It means, „the whole inhabited earth“. Acting from this perspective corresponds to the unity of word and deed.