Can god stop me from killing myself

So that those who cannot / do not / are not allowed to attend a church service also have the opportunity to enjoy a sermon in the Corona crisis, we have (again) started to put this online here.
09.05.2021 Pray - Rogate - is called Sunday, May 9, 2021.
Prayer does something, the weekly saying tells us:
"Praise be to God who neither rejects my prayer nor turns his goodness away from me." (Psalm 66:20) My prayer goes to God. For some it is part of the daily routine, others pray sometimes, some cannot do anything with the prayer. As in every church service, we pray with one another, for one another and for others and the wisdom teacher Jesus Sirach broadens our horizons with his words to pray. He writes:
16He is not prejudiced for the rich, and when a poor person is wronged, he listens to his prayer. 17He never ignores an orphan's cry for help or a widow's complaint.18He sees the tears running down her cheeks 19and hears her cry, her accusation against the one who caused the tears.20Whoever serves the Lord as is right before him will be accepted and his requests will reach heaven. 21The prayer of the poor, who only expect something from God, permeate the clouds. It is only satisfied when it has achieved its goal. There is no rest until God, the highest, intervenes 22and procures justice for his own. (Jesus Sirach 35, 16-22a) Dear Congregation,
Tears run down his face. A sigh comes deep from the heart, slips through your mouth and floats through the air towards the clouds. The sigh is called: "Oh God, how should it go on?"
His wife died. She had fought cancer for a long time. She also wanted to see her three children grow up. But now she is dead.
The grief is enormous for the husband and father and the three children. "Oh God, how should it go on?"
Tears run down his face. A sigh comes from deep in the heart:"Oh God, how could this have happened?"
Her child is now grown up and tells about how the father always came to her in the nursery in the evenings when she was on shift. Nobody should tell them about it. That was her secret, he said, and slipped under her covers. "Oh God, how could this have happened?"
Tears run down his face. A sigh comes from deep in the heart:"Oh God, how I was so blind!"
His doctor had diagnosed cirrhosis of the liver. If they don't stop drinking now, they won't have long to livehe also said. "Oh God, how I was so blind!"
Tears run down his face. A sigh comes from deep in the heart:"Oh God, how do I get through this month?"
As a single parent with two children, the woman cannot do much work. The maintenance comes from the office. Then some Hartz IV money. But now the refrigerator is broken. What now? Buying food for the kids or a new fridge?"Oh God, how do I get through this month?"
Tears run down his face. A sigh comes deep from the heart, slips through your mouth and floats through the air towards the clouds. The sigh is called: "Oh God" a dumb and desperate one without words because the child is speechless in his pain.
These life situations are difficult, dark, and almost unbearable. All this and much more is contained in such sighs:
"Oh God, how should it go on with me?"
"Oh God, how could this have happened?"
"Oh God, how I was so blind!"
"Oh God, how do I get through this month?"
"Oh God" This is not meant as a prayer at all. Not as a dialogue with God, not as a search for consolation and certainty, not as a principle of trust. No, the sighs come from the middle of the darkness of life; hopeless rather than hopeful, desperate rather than trusting. And yet - they make their way through the air and fly towards the clouds. And they don't go unnoticed: when they break through the clouds, they land right in God's ear. God hears everything that resonates: all grief and all fear; all despair and need, all perplexity and also the small hopes that might have been there. In God's ears the sighs become a prayer. He makes God aware of a person's need. He changes and moves God's heart. And then? In fairy tales it would then be the case that God helps directly. Perhaps by raining the stars from the sky into the lap of the single parent and turning them into gold coins. That would be the case in fairy tales. And in real?
In real life, as we all know, fairytale answers to prayer are rare - although they certainly do exist. But what I've got to know in my life so far looks more like this: I'm experiencing an accident. I cry or scold. I complain of my suffering to others. I look for solutions and struggle. And in between I send a sigh and tears to heaven, take a few minutes to pray, hope for a miracle and don't even know whether I should really expect it. Sometimes I rather ask myself: “Does God actually hear me? Does God change the course of the world to dry my tears and heal my suffering? " The Bible says yes! Yes god hear me God hears us and God lets us move. God reacts to our tears and our suffering - in very different and sometimes amazing ways. The Bible tells of such answers to prayer: There is Cain who killed his brother and cursed God because of it. Cain laments:“The punishment is too heavy, God. The first one will kill me ", and God gives him a protective mark. Maybe not quite what Cain expected, but life-saving. There is Hagar, Sarah's maid, who has a child from Abraham. When she is banished into the desert with her son, she has no strength left for a prayer. It is only enough for tears while she has to watch her son die of thirst. But God hears the child crying and sends an angel to show them a well. Both survive, even if they no longer belong to the family. Maybe not quite what Hagar expected, but worth living. There is Paul, a preacher and missionary who travels the country and tells people about God's love in Christ. He has a serious illness that hinders him and asks God for healing. God's answer is: "Let my grace suffice for you, for my strength is mighty in the weak." Not quite what he had hoped for, but encouraging. And we?
Have you seen your complaint being heard? Have you seen your prayer change something? Perhaps very different from what we hoped for - but in such a way that we can say in retrospect "Did God help me there?" The sermon text firmly believes that God especially answers the prayers of widows and orphans and the poor. Why? Because they are the ones nobody else listens to; those on the fringes of society; who have no lobby and no influential advocates. Actually, it should not be the case that these weak and helpless only find help from God. No, actually it is thought differently; this is expressly recorded in the bible, but has to be called into consciousness again and again in a different way until today. God stands by the side of the disenfranchised, of those who are oppressed and treated unfairly, of the children and the weak. Hear and see their sighs, help and intervene, then we can also be God's helping messengers.
I would like to thank all police officers from the bottom of my heart who are on the Darknet and who recently smashed a child porn platform in Germany and arrested 4 suspects. It had an indescribable 400,000 members. The lives of countless boys in this case are deeply marked for their lives.
Perceiving people's sighs:
perhaps as a colleague of the alcoholic who gives him courage to go on detox and rehab.
Or not let up in the lobbying work of all diaconal agencies so that more money is given by politics for the socially disadvantaged so that they too could lead a decent life.
A grieving man has written a book about the fact that men grieve differently and invites them to go on a funeral hike. How is it with us? Do we sigh - and trust that God hears us?
Do we hear the sighs of others - and understand them as God's mandate to take care of those who need help?
Either way, the hope is that prayers are mighty. They change us; they change God; they change my fellow human beings. Therefore: Let us pray for people and their worries and needs here with us and in so many places in the world. Let us not stop sending prayers and sighs to heaven, for they go through the clouds in God's ear.Your pastor Ursula Ullmann − Rau
02.05.2021 Singing liberates and comforts
Sermon on the Sunday Cantata May 02, 2021 The sermon text takes us back to the day Jesus entered Jerusalem. It is only a short extract from it. When Luke writes his story, the temple in Jerusalem no longer exists. In the year 70 it was destroyed by the Romans in the Jewish war. The story of Luke therefore sounds a little different. "There were many“, Writes the evangelist Mark. "There was even a very large crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem“Reports the evangelist Matthew.
Only the Evangelist Luke holds back elegantly: Yes, it was a lot that moved from the Mount of Olives towards Jerusalem, but it was a small amount, just the amount of disciples. The Evangelist Luke wants to convince readers who are close to the Greek and Roman culture. He wants to avoid giving the impression that something like a rally with political ambitions took place at the time, let alone an uprising. But it was not quiet, the praise of God. Because it must not fall silent under any circumstances. And that's what Luke wrote down:
37And when he was near the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to joyfully praise God in a loud voice for all the deeds they had seen, 38and said, Blessed be he who comes, the king, in the name of the Lord. Peace be in heaven and honor on high! 39And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, Teacher, correct your disciples! 40He answered and said, I say to you, when these are silent, the stones will cry out. (Luke 19, 37-40)I sing my song to you - my life sounds in it. You gave me the key, the rhythm of closeness, the one that heals, we can find you, you wonder of life. I sing my song to you
I would have loved to go along to the organ in the service, because singing is so good for me, dear congregation!
While singing, feel the healing closeness of God.
What song do you like to sing Alone like me - or humming along or singing along in the shower or when going for a walk, with plugs in your ears. For some, just hearing is enough. Which texts and sounds inspire you on nice days and carry you in difficult times.
A colleague begins his sermon with the new song by Udo Lindenberg: "In the middle"- a song of encouragement:"Hey, welcome in the middle of it all, greetings from the hurricane.“It says there. I've read the text and I like the line: "Looking for the spark of hope even in the hottest flames; because even the darkest hour only has 60 minutes.
Yes, we are right in the middle of it. And dark times are long - even if in retrospect they are again, for a limited time - not my whole life.
A year ago we were allowed to celebrate the cantata for the first time again - like today without singing.
We are in the midst of a great ordeal in our society, in which some constantly complain about limitations, but have never worked in an intensive care unit, and others feel that they have to bear the entire burden of the demanding time alone. In which some should get their rights back soon and the others are still waiting for a vaccination appointment. And then we are still in the middle of our own life, in which everyday life has often become so arduous and exhausting.
Sunday "cantata"makes us painfully aware of what we are missing and that so many singers and wind players have not been able to get together to rehearse together for a long time.
Jesus is also in the middle of an event that unfolds its own dynamic. Jesus goes with his own people down the path from the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem. They cheer and exclaim with enthusiasm: "Blessed be he who comes, the King, in the name of the Lord! Peace be in heaven and honor on high!“ It began with the common singing of those who went to Jerusalem at that time. And nothing in two millennia has been able to keep the believers from doing just that: singing together. It brings us together as people. It brings us together with God. It keeps our hope awake: Peace be in heaven and honor in the highest! Cheering so carefree is difficult at the moment. Who "in the middle"is looking for ideas on how I don't drown and how to get up in the morning with a helping of hope that carries me through the day. Music and singing are invaluable for that. Music therapists could give full-length lectures on how singing can be particularly effective and has a healing effect on all physical and mental powers. Singing and music are also a therapy for people who sometimes cannot show their feelings like that, for children to release their playful expressions, for older people for physical − mental revitalization, for people suffering from stress Development of creativity and fun in the game.
Anyone else who sings in a choir knows this. And our common inner singing in the service also has a comforting and healing effect. And later on we can sing at home with the hymn book or with CANTICO, an app from the regional church.
One thing is clear: even the singing of the cheering people on Palm Sunday did not prevent Good Friday at that time.
Peace be in heaven and honor on high! - They sang about it and yet the mighty were afraid that peace on earth would also be hoped for without Roman occupation. Jesus was executed as a political rebel and decades later the temple was destroyed.
According to Lukas he looks at "screaming stones“Back, the stones of the temple that cried out in 70 when the Romans conquered Jerusalem. The Jerusalem temple was destroyed, its cult objects looted and later carried on a triumphal procession to Rome.
Even our singing at home won't drop the incidence numbers all of a sudden and won't make the unspeakable hateful comments on the Internet go away. But singing gives us back the lightness for a moment. It is the lightness of the moment in which I can feel safe with God, because singing and all music are so important that they can bind and drive away fears. For a moment, anyway. Or for a day. Maybe for a whole week. Martin Luther once put it this way. "Music is the best gift from God. Through them many and great temptations are driven away. Music is the best consolation for a person, even if he can sing just a little.
Yes that's true. Music is comfort. And all the songs that we have on our "Consolation playlist“Having stored it on our cell phone or in our head gives us the confidence - sometimes just for a moment - that there is a great counterbalance to all worries. It doesn't matter if we sing: "Great God, we praise you“, „God brought me this far“, „I praise my God who takes me from the depths“Or a current song from the charts.
To my big "Consolation playlist"Also belong different songs from Taizé for example:"Nada de turbe"in the words of Teresa von Avila. The Spanish text for German singing was translated as follows:
Nothing should frighten you, nothing should torment you; if you stick to God, nothing will be lacking. Nothing should frighten you, nothing should torment you: God carries you. Amen. How much the nun Teresa of Avila certainly encouraged herself with these words, and did not allow herself to be put off by those who wanted to ruin all efforts to reform her Carmelite order in the 16th century.
Spiritual and secular songs are a consolation and music is a good gift from God. It is precisely when we are in the middle of our own life, which is sometimes fragile, sometimes uncertain, but always hopeful.
Now and in the week after the Sunday cantata, four weeks after Easter, we are still "in the middle"in the Easter season. The message of the resurrection cannot be stopped and cannot be eradicated from the world: the life for which Jesus stood up is always stronger and more comprehensive than anything that speaks against it. Therefore, praise and sing! Do not be Do not lose the spark of hope! You are right in the middle of your life! It is far from over. And every song you sing, you also sing for God and you also sing about God's work: "I praise my God with all my heart. I want to tell of all his miracles and sing his name. I praise my God with all my heart. I am happy and happy, Lord, in you! Hallelujah!"- so may music and singing give you and them joy and confidence now"in the middle".
Your pastor Ursula Ullmann − Rau
18.04.2021 Sermon from the Shepherd's Sunday, April 18, 2021
To be shepherdess and shepherd for one another In the ancient Orient, kings and pharaohs often referred to themselves as shepherds of their people. For the people back then that was a catchy picture. The profession of shepherd was one of the most common. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their families are shepherds. Moses is also a shepherd and learns this profession from his wife Zippora. The great King David is first of all a shepherd. David becomes king first, not without quirks. There are also many shepherds in the Second Testament: in the Christmas story, for example. And Jesus says of himself that he is the good shepherd. Shepherds, shepherdesses, we meet in beautiful pictures. But herding sheep and goats was and is a backbreaking job then. It doesn't make a lot of money. Even today, despite cell phones, electric fences and little wolves, it demands more than eight hours of work a day. In any case, it is a very responsible job with the care for the entrusted living beings.
The prophet Ezekiel - also called Ezekiel - is supposed to accuse the rulers of Israel, the shepherds of Israel, in the name of God, because they did not do their job well, on the contrary, they enriched themselves at the expense of ordinary people.
Let's hear what God made the prophets say:Excerpt from Ezekiel 34, 1−16 (basic Bible)
The bad shepherds "34 1The word of the Lord came to me: 2O man, speak as a prophet to the shepherds of Israel. Yes, speak as a prophet and say to them, the shepherds: This is what the Lord God says! You shepherds of Israel, you feed yourselves. Don't shepherds feed the sheep? 3But you eat the fat and make clothes with the wool. But you do not feed the sheep!4You did not strengthen the weak and you did not heal the sick. You have not bandaged injured people and you have not caught stray sheep. You have not looked for sheep that have lost their way. You wanted to rule them with strength and violence. 5They dispersed because there was no shepherd and became food for all predators. Yes, that's how they dispersed. 6My sheep got lost in the mountains and among the high hills. My sheep are scattered all over the country. But nobody asks about them and nobody looks for them.
7Therefore, you Shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: ...
10So says the Lord God! I go against the shepherds and reclaim my sheep from them. I'll make sure they never graze sheep again. The shepherds will no longer feed themselves either. I free my sheep from their jaws. They will no longer serve them as food.
God himself cares for his sheep
11Yes, thus says the Lord God: Look here, I will look for my sheep and take care of them myself. 12I will do just like a good shepherd if one day his sheep scatter. Yes, this is how I will take care of my sheep. I will save them from all the places they were scattered −on the day that will be full of dark clouds ...15I feed my sheep and I put them to rest.− This is the saying of the Lord God.
16I look for those who have lost their way and I collect those who are scattered. I connect injured people and make sick people strong. But I destroy fat and strong. I feed them according to the law. "
Do you, do you have the impression, dear Congregation, that we are well governed? I have a suspicion: Many become more or less energetic "No" say.
Where did my guess come from? Quite simply: Because it has always been that way. Because people rarely loved those who had power over them. And because they had the impression that "those up there"Do not know much about the"here below". And that apparently also continues in democracy. In earlier times, like the time of Ezekiel, people could not choose who had power over them. Kings and emperors inherited their office or were appointed by others. Today, in a democracy, it is different. The government is elected by the people.
And I ask you: You as a people had a choice, didn't you?
At least the adults. You youngsters not yet.
You could decide for yourself! - Like, there weren't any real alternatives, you say? And besides, I didn't vote for this government, you say? Well That's the way it is in a democracy - the majority decides and the others have to live with it. And the government has to live with the people - they cannot vote us out. We stay. It has not been so long that both sides, the people and the government, are dependent on each other. Democracy as we know it today is less than a hundred years old, and the time of the dictatorship of National Socialism goes from these years - and in the eastern part of our republic the time of the GDR. Compared to looking back at this period from 1933-1945, the question from the beginning appears in a different light: Do you think, do you believe that there is good governance? No question: of course yes! Any other answer would not take the horrors of the past seriously. That there is still criticism of the government from time to time - that is justified, but against this background and in view of the dictatorships in the world - I am currently also thinking of Brazil and Bolsonaro's denial that there is a pandemic, a complaint on a high level . In today's sermon text, which is over 2500 years old, God himself is now bringing a complaint against the shepherds, the rulers. Your job would be to make sure that people are doing well. The injured, the weak and the sick should be cared for. But they only care for their own well-being at the expense of those they should care for. The topic "good shepherd"is, however, not just a case for those who, as rulers, are above us. It also affects us. Otherwise it would be all too easy to point the finger at"those up there" to show. No, we're in there too. Because we too are shepherds.
As humans, we depend on one another. Each and every one of us. In such a way that we are sometimes sheep and sometimes shepherds. That changes. Think about it, think about it, who is the shepherdess in their lives; who is responsible for your and their life and well-being in everyday life, at work, in your free time and in general?
Perhaps it occurred to you and them straight away: Parents have such a responsibility towards their children.
And it is not uncommon for the grown children to face their growing old parents later. Or the older siblings compared to the younger ones - or friends among each other. And there are teachers in the schools who will see half a class again from next week. They are educators in daycare centers who have been back for the children entrusted to them for a few weeks now. In this pandemic time, your commitment must really also be valued highly. It is the superiors at work, bosses in companies and authorities who are responsible for many people. There are also those in sports clubs who, hopefully, will be able to resume training in a few weeks or months. And also landlords to their tenants and many more. Pastors or leaders in church committees and boards also have to put up with the question as shepherdess: How do you perceive your task? Which standard guides you in your actions? Do you care for the weak Do you take those seriously that others overlook? It's never easy - it's especially difficult in this pandemic time. We have to weigh up who needs our support more urgently and who can stand back: be it here at home and around the world. Politicians have to decide, for example, who is allowed to do what and who is to be vaccinated and when. And as much as I wish that my husband and many others here can soon be vaccinated, just as many in the USA, Great Britain and Israel already have this protection, but I also have to direct our attention to the fact that many countries still have cannot even vaccinate their medical staff. And if we don't support these countries, it will also fall back on us and our country. I am currently reading the book: "Why is it so difficult to talk about racism?"by Alice Hasters. I keep catching myself how much racist thinking I have in me. I only know and see the world and people from my perspective as a wealthy white woman from the rich north. It would never have occurred to me that it was a problem for women that there were no color-matching sheer tights for them. I learned once, and still told the kids at school, that the pink pencil is skin-colored. This is also what the current women's magazine Brigitte says with beige underwear. There are many different skin colors in people around the world.
How do I meet others, how do I perceive my job as a shepherdess - this has to be considered over and over again. When Jesus of Nazareth went through Galilee preaching and healing, people experienced the closeness of God in him. Jesus also saw himself in this connection: "I am the good shepherd.“Jesus took up this old image again. At least that's how people understood Jesus.
Have passed on to us this image of a shepherd, whom none of us can reach, but whom we can use for orientation and be there for one another. From Jesus is the "Golden rule"handed down in the positive variant:"Exactly how you want to be treated, treat the others too!"(Matthew 7:12) 2500 years ago the prophet Ezekiel, 2000 years ago Jesus pointed it out and both encourage us not to give up in this situation, not to come to terms with the status quo, not to let go of fatalistic, resigned fatefulness and to give up, but to remind us, that even the prophet had to announce a bold alternative that could be experienced in Jesus Christ: God - not just any God, but the God who liberates and leads out of oppression and captivity - will himself be shepherd and take care of people.
And we are asked to do this with God and Jesus:
with heart - to be present in all dubiousness, as far as possible in favor of others with our thinking, speaking and acting in the certainty that God wants to be the liberator, himself shepherd, with whom nothing and nobody gets lost.
I wish all of us that we will always find the trust, strength and courage to do so.
Your pastor Ursula Ullmann − Rau
04.04.2021 Sermon on Easter Sunday, April 4th, 2021 in the cemetery The Lord is risen - he is truly risen
with this old greeting I wish you and you a very happy Easter.
On Easter Sunday morning in the cemetery we heard the Easter story from the Gospel of John:
1On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early when it was still dark and saw that the stone was away from the tomb.
11But Mary stood outside the tomb and wept. When she was crying, she looked into the grave 12and sees two angels in white robes sitting, one at their head and the other at their feet, where they had laid the body of Jesus.
13And they said to her: Woman, what are you crying?
She speaks to them:
They took my master away and I don't know where they put him.
14And when she said that, she turned and saw Jesus standing and didn't know that it was Jesus.
15Jesus said to her: Woman, what are you crying? Who are you looking for?
She thinks it is the gardener and says to him, Lord, have you carried him away, tell me where you have put him; then I want to get him.
16Jesus said to her: Mary!
Then she turned around and said to him in Hebrew: Rabbuni !, that means: Master!
17Jesus said to her: Don't touch me! Because I have not yet ascended to my father. But go to my brothers and say to them: I rise up to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. 18Mary Magdalene goes and proclaims to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord, and he said this to me."

(Joh 20, 1.11-18) When it was still dark, Mary Magdalene set out. Easter morning begins in the dark.
The sun has not yet appeared over the horizon when Mary goes to the grave. Perhaps Maria just couldn't sleep - people who are grieving, desperate or stressed and who have a lot of worries or simply old age - there are many people who roll over in bed and cannot sleep. In addition to darkness, some mourners also experience emptiness, a lack of orientation after a loved one has died. But Mary Magdalene gets up and goes. She does not lie there, does not turn in a circle, but puts foot to foot, goes to a place, goes to a person who is close to her heart. Today we hear and experience anew: Resurrection is movement. Resurrection happens step by step. We cannot make resurrection. It happens. It is a spiritual experience, not linear, not logically predictable, but very real. Resurrection turns grieving and desperate people into co-creators.
What touches me most is the meeting of Mary Magdalene with the angels at the grave and the risen One in the garden. It is still dark when they meet. Maria was on her way. And now it was all in vain. Their desperation, their search for consolation and meaning are condensed in the words "They took my master away and I don't know where they put him.
And the gardener asks himself similarly: "Lord, have you carried it away, tell me where you put it; then I want to get him.“ Maria is deeply affected and unsettled. Her task, her purpose in life was taken from her. People have this experience every day: the pandemic or globalization have stolen my work, I am in a life crisis.
A terrible accident took my child away from me and my life was shattered.
My home has been taken away from me, I'm on the run.
My illness has robbed me of my freedom of movement, I feel excluded.
Addiction has robbed me of my freedom, I'm trapped.
The many reports of frauds rob me of my belief in the good in people, and I give up. The Gospel of John lets this meeting of Jesus and Mary take place in a garden. It's not a coincidence. The garden is a protected space. In the Gospel of John it is always a place of retreat for Jesus and his followers.
It is a space of life.
A garden is always reminiscent of the garden of Eden, the paradise garden from the first book of Moses. There the relationship between humans and between humans and God was undisturbed, perfect. And many people have this longing that it should become so whole and perfect again.
This longing is especially great when it is not like that in life, not completely, but rather exactly the opposite: broken, in the face of death or now in the face of the global pandemic.
Maria experiences a transformation in this garden. She experiences a perfect moment. Nobody can make such a moment and also not hold on to it.
Jesus said to her: Mary!
Mary recognizes Jesus. She sees him anew, as a resurrected one, as a gardener - as a gardener of life. Even before his death, Jesus plowed, sown and let people's lives grow, Jesus was a gardener of life. He remains a gardener of life. He is a gardener of life. Maria should tell the others about it.
And Mary proclaims Jesus and the power of God. She passes this power on to his people. She becomes a life gardener, she becomes the first apostle who proclaims: "I've seen the Lord.
Mary becomes the first apostle and is one of the people who shaped the Jesus movement. It allowed this movement to continue. "The new way"Luke will name the Jesus movement in the Acts of the Apostles.
What happens in this story is resurrection. Mary experiences, through her encounter with Jesus, the risen one himself, resurrection. A resurrection from their darkness. Now she has a new task in life.
This is also happening today: a tenor in New York who has not been able to sing for months has learned to be a nurse, a crisis-proof job, as he himself says. He will sing again when he can, but by then he will have found a new meaning in his life.
The Stuttgart cabaret artist Sabine Schief now works as a freelance funeral speaker. Your good perception and listening to what moves people - these skills of a cabaret artist, she says, I can also use well in this new field of work.
Mary of Magdala and none of us are in paradise yet. But especially now in spring every garden and also here the cemetery shows that life is green and blooming again. As a life gardener, it pays to continue where Jesus' mission on earth ended. This is what Mary encourages us today - this is how we celebrate the resurrection - Happy Easter - Hallelujah.
Amen.
28.03.2021 Sermon service on Palm Sunday March 28, 2021 Jesus is jubilantly greeted with palm fronds as he enters Jerusalem. A little later that week happened what is narrated in the Gospel of Mark: (Mk 14, 3−9)
"And when he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper and was sitting at table, there came a woman who had an alabaster vessel with unadulterated, precious nard oil, and she broke the vessel and poured the oil on his head. Some became indignant and said to one another, What is the point of this waste of the anointing oil? You could have sold this oil for more than three hundred silver groschen and given the money to the poor. And they drove up to them. But Jesus said: Leave them behind! What do you bother them? She did a good work for me. For you always have the poor with you, and if you want you can do them good; but you don't always have me. She did what she could; she anointed my body in advance for my burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in all the world, there will also be said to her what she has done." Dear Congregation, an unknown woman grasps the moment, shows her love generously and anoints Jesus. Through these words of Jesus she is and remains an example in faith and love. Even today, strangers do what is necessary at the crucial moment. Pastor Michael Becker wrote down what happened in America a few weeks ago:
A man goes home from work. He sees a boy sitting by the roadside, about seven years old.
He looks bleak and has a stuffed animal in his hand. The man speaks to the boy. He asks him what's going on.
The boy says:
"I'm hungry. I would like to exchange my stuffed animal for money and something to eat."
The man doesn't think twice and takes the boy with him. You go to a takeout. There the boy eats his fill. He can keep his stuffed animal. Then the man calls the youth welfare office. They're taking matters into their own hands now. They are bad things. But the boy is full for now and is now getting a bed for the night.
His story will probably not be written down and passed on for centuries, just as little as much of the good that is done here in Germany and around the world every day - charity that is lived out of faith or simply out of humanity. As a result, life has changed and improved for countless people. Jesus' care for sick and expelled people has found many successors, such as the Landgrave Elisabeth of Thuringia, who actively helped and later had hospices built with her money.
Or Gustav Werner, after whom our parish hall is named. Gustav Werner said: "What does not become an act has no value“And practically lived his faith by providing a home to the needy and orphans. And on the side has made car history: One of his pupils was the future engine designer Wilhelm Maybach. He met Gottlieb Daimler in Gustav Werner's diaconal brother house.
Amika George, a 17 − year − old student in England has the movement "period poverty"was launched, which demands:"We need free toiletries in schools - that's a human right!". The boys have the toilet paper they need in their toilets. However, girls also need tampons and sanitary towels during their period. Amika George found that in the UK, one in 10 women between the ages of 14 and 21 cannot afford toiletries. It is now a worldwide campaign. In Germany, the VAT on feminine hygiene products was only reduced from 19 to 7 percent in 2020. A first success, but one that doesn’t end the subject. And there are many more:
starting with the desert fathers and mothers,
the Beguines in the Middle Ages and Francis of Assisi,
Martin Luther and Katharina Zell,
Nikolaus von Zinzendorf and Ämilie Juliane von Schwarzburg − Rudolstadt: two of their songs are in our hymnal: God brought me this far and Who knows how close my end is to me
Or in the last century Dorothee Sölle and Heiner Geißler, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa.
Or today Felix Finkbeiner. He comes from Bavaria and now lives in Zurich.
Felix Finkbeiner became a climate activist as a fourth grader because the report on global warming made him aware that the habitat of his favorite animal, the polar bear, is in danger. Felix Finkbeiner discovered the first Kenyan professor and African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai, who together with other women planted 30 million trees in Africa in 30 years. Today 95,000 children's ambassadors from 74 countries are involved in the children's and youth initiative launched in 2007 by Felix Finkbeiner, who was 10 years old at the time. "plant − for − the − planet". You never get tired of planting trees worldwide and here in Kings to counteract the climate crisis. There are countless more people who are worth talking about.
But why am I doing this today? Our sermon text from the letter to the Hebrews, from which I will quote a few verses, tells in detail about a cloud of witnesses from the beginning of the Hebrew Bible to the prophets - you are welcome to read this in detail in the 11th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews. In my opinion, it is a somewhat unusual selection that is written there in the Letter to the Hebrews.
And it is also my choice.
Each and every one of them could add many other people from the past millennia to the present day.
They are all role models in faith and in life.
And without such role models, I am sure, it is difficult to believe and live by yourself.
I cannot believe alone.
Many others teach me to trust in God.
In the community of believers I am surrounded by people who talk about what they wear in life and death, who bear witness to how God's will takes shape in their lives and actions.
People who also pass on the faith and pray for me when I have doubts and cannot trust.
Because with faith it is different than with knowledge.
Belief cannot be proven through experiments.
Belief becomes implausible when it pretends to know. Knowledge becomes alternative truth when opinions are presented as supposedly provable facts.
In politics and society it is now clearly recognizable what it means when the boundary between knowledge and belief - willingly or unknowingly - is shifted. "Alternative facts"remain lies and nothing else. What does it mean to believe? In response, the Letter to the Hebrews holds a fiery sermon to an insecure church around the year 90 AD and wants to persuade the believers to persevere. I read Heb 11, 1 + 2 and 12, 1−3: "But faith is a firm confidence in what one hopes and a non-doubt of what one does not see. In this faith the ancients received God's testimony.

Therefore we too: Because we have such a cloud of witnesses around us, let us put aside everything that weighs us down and the sin that engulfs us. Let us run with patience in the struggle that is destined for us and look up to Jesus, the beginner and finisher of the faith, who, although he could have had joy, endured the cross and disregarded shame and sat at the right hand of him Thrones of God. Remember the one who endured so much opposition from sinners that you do not become weary and do not lose courage.
“ Faith is a word of action in Hebrews, not an abstract concept. Faith is not a firework of joy and lightness. On the contrary. The image of the "cloud"is the assurance that individuals are lifted up in the community of those who believe. This community consists of individuals who have acted in faith, and from all of these is condensed into the community of the wandering people of God. In order to believe, i.e. to be able to trust in God, we need patience, perseverance and discipline. Patience is not an apathetic state, but must be actively shaped as a struggle. Patience is the staying power of our résumé.
I remember when I was training with some of our youth workers for the Reutlingen city run. Only the mutual memory and motivation for training beforehand and the strengthening while running together allowed me to persevere.
Others teach us the faith, which is not fixed and abstract, but practiced and patiently learned again and again and how it has to be practiced and fought for in a strenuous endurance run. The two songs that I've been singing in the morning for a few weeks now I know by heart. It is worth repeating the effort.
That may be even more difficult in our fast-paced world, but it was a big task in the past too.
"Being patient"Being able to wait has a positive value. And we have to get rid of things that hinder us, such as annoying pieces of luggage. The text mentions sin, fatigue and discouragement. It feels like the lockdown has been going on for over a year. In between, I have to remember that there were many weeks last summer where we could do a lot - with significantly fewer requirements. But now the stamina and patience are running out. Now it is time to fight and not give up.
We as Christians can do this by looking up to Jesus, the beginner and finisher of the faith, the letter writer reminds us.
In these days of Passion, we remember what Jesus endured. We can ask from him the courage to persevere. With him we can put down what complains us. Those who stand in their own way can gain new confidence. The community of believers, the cloud of witnesses that surrounds us - be it those who are alive today, but also those who lived and believed before us, can open paths for me and you through their example. Because:
Those who trust in God always get new strength that they flare up with wings like eagles.
They walk and don't get tired, they run and don't break down.
(Isaiah 40:31) I wish you a merry Holy Week and a happy Easter.
Your pastor Ursula Ullmann − Rau
21.03.2021 Why do people suffer
Sermon on Sunday March 21st, 2021 on Job 19 Dear Congregation!
Pull yourself together! Others are even worse off! Everyone has a bad day! Get your butt up! - In Bullshit Bingo, these sentences stand for depression by the Health Knowledge Foundation. Collected sentences that people with depression get to hear that do not help them at all. The English word "bull − shit"Means here"nonsense"Or"empty sayings“- often well meant - these sentences have a hurtful and marginalizing effect. They feign sympathy, fail to perceive suffering and play down pain.
Sick, disabled and grieving people have this experience again and again. So also Job in the great wisdom story of the Bible. He is deeply grieved. First he loses all his possessions, then his children, and finally he gets ulcers all over his skin.
Why me?“I was a righteous person! He complains, he argues with God and wrestles with the well-meaning advice of his friends. They try to convince Job that he has an unconscious or unknown guilt for which he is being punished. They say that in his anger at God he gets lost and makes things much worse. They try to convince him that he is separating himself from people with his unbridled anger and pain. They don't listen, they don't look. Your sympathy is a pushing aside and an attempt to rationalize:
The inexplicable is explained until it somehow fits into their worldview:
People are to blame for their own fate.
Let us hear from Chapter 19 an answer from Job to the speech of his friend Bildad:
19All my loyal followers detest me, and those I loved have turned against me. 20My bones are clinging only to skin and flesh, and I got away with nothing but bare life. 21Have mercy on me, have mercy, you my friends; because the hand of God has hit me!22Why do you persecute me like God and cannot be satisfied with my flesh? 23Oh that my speeches would be written down! Oh that they would be recorded as an inscription, 24carved into a rock with an iron pen and lead forever! 25But I know my Redeemer lives, and he will be the last to rise above the dust.26After my skin is still so bruised, I will see God without my flesh. 27I myself will see him, my eyes will see him and no stranger. That's what my heart longs for in my chest. Dear Congregation,
Job's story is also our story - it is part of the great history of mankind. We wrestle with the big questions in life, always looking for and finding better answers. One could tell the history of mankind like this:
Long ago there was a human family of different groups. They had learned to work together. That made it easier to get something to eat and to defend yourself against wild animals. And as their life became easier, they began to accumulate possessions. However, this also caused a dispute. One took something from the other. One said that the child he was raising with his wife was not his. One got angry and wanted punishment. Or rather: revenge. But vengeance sparked even more vengeance. If you kill my brother, I'll kill two of your brothers. That is why people discovered laws that create a balance: for justice. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth - was such a law. You could only take away as much as had been taken from you. Reparation: Yes - but no revenge. People were proud of this discovery. Now they could distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad.
They noticed: this distinction is powerful. So they were convinced that this distinction must have come from God. They introduced themselves: God was their chief judge who could see everything. God made sure that the laws were kept. God would like it if they did everything right. And God would punish them if they didn't.
If something bad happened to someone like illness or accident, it was said:
You must have done something bad or God wouldn't punish you.
And again the people were proud. Because with God's punishment they could explain things that had previously been a mystery to them. They found that no one succeeds in always being good. So they made sacrifices to God so that God would not punish them anyway.
They also started telling stories of amazingly righteous people who did everything God wanted them to do. They told of Abraham who even sacrificed his son for God. They told of Job, who lost his children, his wealth and his health because the devil had bet with God for the loyalty of Job. But God won because Job stood by God. Job grew well, richer, and more children than before. Nobody cared about Abraham's terrified son or Job's dead children. Nobody was interested in the question of whether a just judge would put people to such trials. What was important was the incredible obedience to God, even when Job wept and screamed and accused God.
For God appeared to Job like a wall against which Job ran until God finally spoke to him in all his might and redeemed him from his suffering. People loved these stories. They knew from their own experience what it felt like to suffer.
They knew how terrible it is when you are sick or lost your children and when others blame you for it.