In Memory of Jean Steinert: “A heart of wisdom”

Jean SteinertI think the two passages from the Bible, which we just heard (Ps 90 and 1 John 1:1-10), summarize well the most important things we need to reflect on today. They are a fitting description of our lives.

As psalmist said: “God returns everyone to dust.” For our Creator a thousand years are but as yesterday when it is past, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed, in the evening it fades and withers.

What a fitting picture of our lives. People are like grass… Sure, we don’t usually think about ourselves this way. So often we think about ourselves as somebody important, as doing great things, as being in control of our lives and so on.

But where is this our control? Events happen that change our lives, or even take our lives away. Events which we don’t plan, events which we can’t predict, events which we can’t escape. We are not in control, even if good life often tempts us to think so.

We simply deceive ourselves, for we are scared from the fact that we don’t know what the next day will bring. Everything can change, and everything does change so quickly. As is happened the last week…

But when we stop and reflect, when we try to see ourselves with eyes of our Creator – we really are not much different from grass, that flourishes in the morning and withers in the evening. All its beauty is gone and nothing remains.

If all goes well this is what our lives are like, – seventy and if you are strong then eighty and may be a few more on top of that. But what kind of years are these? As psalmist wrote, their span is but toil and trouble, they are gone soon and we fly away.

You know what our lives are like. Even in this prosperous and safe corner of the world. Brokenness in relationships, anxiety, meaninglessness, loss of our loved ones, search of peace and security in the stressful world which becomes more and more unpredictable.

In the Bible God reveals that death is wages of sin. In a way we could say that death is here as a gracious solution, to stop our ongoing misery, to rescue us from the world of toil and trouble. But what then? What comes after?

As we go through this life, we know that we are accountable. Everyone knows it. We all have this strange thing built into us – our conscience. And it accuses us when we do wrong, and pushes us to do what is right. And we have no idea where this voice comes from and to whom it belongs. But obviously it knows us from the inside.

As psalmist wrote: “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” This is what we all know, what all human being sense in their hearts. We are accountable, and one day all our iniquities and our secret sins will be set in the light of God’s presence. When we leave this world. On our Last Day.

Sure, it is not nice a thought. Again in words of psalmist: “Who considers the power of God’s anger, and God’s wrath according to the fear of God?” This is why we often try to avoid these thoughts and to silence both our conscience and this sense of final accountability. We are like children, we think that if we close our eyes and hide under a blanket, then this scary reality will go away. I won’t. It never does.

Days like this remind us about the inevitable end of this life. We will do well if we take up this advice of the ancient sage and ask our Creator: “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Put it in different words, – even if we are like grass, teach us your wisdom so that we can have a life, true life, here and also when this life is over.

All that has been said so far probably is familiar to almost everyone if we honestly look at our lives. The key question is how can we get this heart of wisdom? Where to find this wisdom? God gives us the answer – the true wisdom is to know Him.

To know your Creator. Not to know about Him, but to know Him. Easier said than done. How can we, being like grass, find Him for whom thousands years are like one day, for whom the Universe is the work of His hands?

The reality is, we can’t. Unless He comes to you. And this is exactly what He did and does. This is what we heard from Jesus beloved disciple apostle John. It sounds like John was stuttering in excitement when he wrote these words.

“That which was from the beginning [true God Himself], which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life, the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us, that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with […] the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

Wonderful words of eyewitness. This is the wisdom. To know Him. There is only one name given to us under the sun by which we can know Him, our God, in which we can find wisdom, forgiveness, truth, salvation and life.

One name which reveals you what God’s attitude towards you is. What He expects, what He offers. The name of Jesus Christ. So what does He expect from you?

It is almost embarrassing. It is not perfection, it is not goodness, it is not faithfulness – it is repentance. He asks us to admit what is obvious. “I have sinned, please, forgive me!” That’s all that is needed. And forgiveness, and salvation and life is yours.

But, as John continues: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” How beautiful is this promise?!

Jean was baptized in this name. In this name where we can find forgiveness and life. Now we entrust her to our God, trusting not in our own goodness, but in goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to die for us, so that we could live with Him.

May God the Father give you hearts of wisdom, so that you all could lead your days with Him.

Amen.

 

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