2020-11-22 - Eternity Sunday - Pfarrerin Nicole Otte-Kempf

( Sermon Revelation John 21: 1-7 ) [ German Sermon ] [ Announcements (German)369.93 KB ]

Where does God actually live? 

Dear congregation, children ask like this

But even as an adult it is not easy to think of God without some kind of house. I think there are indeed places where God comes closer to us, more accessible than others. 

A friend of mine, I also took it over from him, whenever he enters a church, he sits down reverently in the row and after a while he either says: he is there or he is not there. And by "he" he means God. 

If, for example, when a Gothic cathedral spreads its great silence around me - then I can feel God's closeness more easily than in the hustle and bustle of a supermarket or in the familiar everyday life of my own four walls. 

So when the sermon text speaks today of the New Jerusalem, a city that floats to us from heaven like a decorated bride, pure and untouched - then I have images in my head that have little to do with my everyday life or with everyday life in Jerusalem to have. Then I think of a venerable, beautiful cathedral. 

In addition, the twelve pearl gates from the weekly song that we have just sung reverberate: the hall of joy, the angel chants and God, who enthrones everything. A picture of heavenly joy, a place out of this world. 

But in the midst of this splendor, the sermon text shows us something like a foreign body. There is talk of a hut: this accommodation made of tarpaulins and poles, mats, pillows, ropes and cords seems quite provisional. 

And so I see the new Jerusalem in front of me, this great, beautiful city, in the center of which ... is a hut. And this is the center and the heart of it all.

Because that's where God lives. Without gates, among the people. Those who are sad can come to him and seek refuge in him, and God will wipe away his tears, so the text promises. 

As a child runs to its mother because it hopes that tears, pain, suffering and screaming will come to an end with her, so people are allowed to flee to God. Because they are his children. 

Then the child's question from before immediately arises for me too: Where does God actually live? Where is this hut located? 

Where do we get consolation when death takes away people who are dear to us? Do we have to wait until the first earth, the first sky and the sea have passed? Can we only hope for our dead, who have left and overcome this world, that they are now close to God while we are left here to our own devices? 

We often hear today's sermon text at funerals as words that promise a future in the hereafter. 

But the text means even more: God is not only to be found there, beyond, in another time. 

Hope for a future has a lot to do with the past and the present. 

Where does God actually live? 

When we light the first candle on the Advent wreath next week, it will be because we remember exactly that it is not enough for God to wait for us at the other end of time and in another part of the world. But that God opened up to us and lived among us, as a person among people. 

He came to us to comfort us. He was born in a stable, in a hut. 

The crib is the center of the new Jerusalem. 

Jesus made God's closeness to people tangible in a human life. He showed 

us humans what it looks like when God lives with them, when he forms the center and the heart of all life. 

It can look like you are trying to live - despite everything you have lost or perhaps precisely because you feel: life is precious and death can change your whole life from one moment to the next. 

No question about it: there are times and places when God does not seem to live with us humans. 

But God does not disappear from this world. I may not be able to feel it, I cannot see it and I often cannot understand either. 

He is God, hidden, more than anything I could ever imagine, but He is there. 

There - for us, there - for the world. Totally turned to us in his love. He lives in a relationship with us. He can stand it when we turn to him with our doubts and complaints, when we quarrel with him. He is God - he can wait and he waits for us. 

In the seconds in this life. But we cannot grasp it, we cannot press it into a prefabricated picture. 

Sometimes it is not easy to hold onto this picture of the hut. In this poor home of God. One would rather have a palace than a hut, strong walls, solid doors, towers with battlements. 

Something permanent that doesn't change. 

But that's exactly what we hope for: that something will change. That things don't stay the way they are, but become new. That's better. 

Change cannot be firmly cemented, it has to be lived. 

The new Jerusalem is not to be found where the streets are wide and the houses are high, but where God moves in with the people and is given a place. 

Where does God actually live? 

If we have come here today to seek God's closeness, it is not only because this house is a house of God, in which it may be easier for us to feel God's closeness, but also because he can be experienced in this community. In a community with the people who share our grief - and our hope. We pray with and for one another, sing together, keep silent together and speak words of hope to one another. This is how God builds his house among us. 

In this hope we can pray and celebrate together. We can live in this hope. And in this hope we can remember our deceased. 

He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.



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