2021-11-07 - Third Last Sunday of the Church Year - Jubelkonfirmation - Pfarrerin Nicole Otte-Kempf

Sermon Genesis 12:1-4 ) [ Deutsche Predigt ] [ Abkündigungen611.78 KB ]

Theme: Looking back and new beginnings with God's blessing

Grace to you and peace from him who was and who is and who is to come.

Jubilee confirmation. Memories come back. For me too. I was the only one confirmed 30 years ago in our small village church in the Odenwald. And there were many relatives at the celebration who are unfortunately no longer alive today. Presents were brought and for days we carried cakes into the neighbourhood. And the feeling of being a little bit more grown up.

And you, who were in the same year, may still have the opportunity to remember collectively today. An encounter with your own past. How have you changed since then? Externally. But a lot has changed on the inside, too. In attitudes, in feelings, in new insights. Some have started families, moved house, experienced breaks and disappointments, changed jobs or retired.

Movement.... Being on the way... until the last breath... dealing with changes and accepting challenges... all this describes, I think, quite well, our human life. And if we don't avoid it completely, then we are always faced with new beginnings....

We are here today not only to remember, but also to look forward. And that is also what is the more important of the two?

Where do I want to go? What else do I want to do in my life? Those well- known crossroads in life where you have to make a decision.

That's why today I have a text for you from the Book of Genesis. It tells the story of a call to set out.

Both the path and the destination are completely uncertain. Only the blessing is certain.

Reading of the sermon text Gen 12:1-4

What we hear here, dear congregation, is the new beginning of a 75-year- old man!

No matter how old you are, a move is often a completely new beginning, a departure to a new land, literally or figuratively. Nothing will ever be the same again. Not only do you leave old acquaintances and familiar places behind, but often also your previous way of life.

This can make you feel like a stranger at first.

But if you're old, you're usually dependent on help, and there's usually the fear that things will go downhill once you've given up your independence.

Abram should not move into a retirement village and not into a retirement home. “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you”, says God. It is about departure and farewell in all its facets - from that which one leaves behind more easily and even gladly, to that which goes to one's heart when leaving. The old man Abraham would have had every reason to stay where he was, together with his wife. After all, there is a lot of the past. But he does it differently. He wants to win a future. And off he goes. "So Abram went, as the Lord had told him." (Genesis 12:4a)

Abraham is a man who wanted the future more than the past. And set off, slowly probably, step by step and with pauses.

But God promises Abram: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Dear congregation,

over this departure lies God's promise of blessing. Even in his old age, he will be given what has been denied him so far, despite all the successes in his life: children.

Abram's path will not be easy and it will be long. He will still make a new name for himself on this path. But he will walk this path with God by his side.

Blessing is all the good that God gives to a person. One can ask God for this good and bestow it on another person.

Blessing means: being connected to God. To be able to hold on to him and to be held by him. Blessing can also mean: what is still outstanding will be completed.

I can imagine that Abram was able to set off in the certainty of God's blessing.

New situations, challenges and people await us at every age. Blessings can give us strength, courage and also comfort to continue on our own path in life and thus to look ahead.

Don't look back, God says to Abraham. For you cannot go this way. Look ahead, set out, go. Go for yourself and for all those who belong to you. Abraham could not take everything with him when he set out. Just as we cannot take everything with us on the road ahead.

Nowadays, when the confirmation candidates choose a Bible verse to accompany them on their journey, they also tell us in the congregation what the verse means to them.

On Wednesday, when some of us jubilee confirmands met, we also talked about our verses from back then.

And one of them was in our sermon text, which I would like to share with you today.

God's promise to Abram "I will bless you and you shall be a blessing." For yourself and for others. Wherever you are, however old you are.

This promise is not only for Abraham, but for all peoples, you and me.




covid 19

Logo and link provide as required by Government Notice No. 417 of the
South African Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services