October 2013

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News from Christopher S. Ahlman serving the Lord in Germany
Thus says YHWH: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush and the Sebeans, people of stature—they will cross over to you and will be yours; they will walk behind you; they will cross over in chains and will bow down to you; they will pray to you: “God is only with you and there is no other god that exists.” Surely, you are a God of secret places, O God of Israel, the Savior. All of them together are ashamed and also humiliated, all the engravers of idols walk in reproach; Israel is saved by YHWH with eternal salvation. You will neither be ashamed nor humiliated for all of eternity. —Is. 45.14-17 And since Jews ask for signs and Hellenists seek wisdom, we proclaim Christ himself crucified: a source of stumbling for Jews, and foolishness for the heathen, but for the called themselves—both Jews and Hellenists—Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. —1 Cor. 1.22-24 Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no To becomes added to removed one to or the Father from except this mailing list, send email through me. If you an knew me, message to know the Father also. you would Christopher.Ahlman@lcmsintl.org But from now on you know him with the word ADD or REMOVE in and have seen him. . . The one the subject line. who has seen me has seen the Father.” —John 14.6-7, 9b (personal translation)

Christopher.Ahlman@lcmsintl.org

If you want to know about YHWH and his salvation, just ask the veteran people of Israel. They are the experts, so to speak. When you ask, they’ll: 1. simply yet warmly inform you that YHWH and his salvation is not visible for all to see, but hidden for all to receive, and 2. readily confess that YHWH’s people are the last to come to terms with this and confess it. They’ll promptly explain that YHWH is the “God of secret places,” the God who hides not only himself but also the very treasure and hoards of salvation itself. He does so specifically, they happily relay, so that: 1. Israel may know that he, YHWH, calls them by name and equips them, even though they don’t even know him, and 2. pagan idolaters may know, from the rising to the setting of the sun, that there is no god besides YHWH (Is. 45.3-6). Then, even more promptly, with a motioning hand gesture, they’ll bring you to Jesus, the very YHWH himself and the very salvation itself hidden in human flesh, who is not visible to be seen by all but hidden to be given to all. They’ll quickly bring you to these “hidden places”: 1. Baptism, where YHWH names you with his name 2. Spoken Apostolic Word, where YHWH calls you by this name 3. Eucharist, where YHWH gives you the treasures of grace in body and blood. After this, even after some time, they’ll be patient with you, as you: 1. lament YHWH’s hiddenness and attempt to work around it, and 2. resent that fact that even the formerly-idolatrous “newbies” have come to terms with all of this and readily confessed it before you ever did. Finally (and thankfully), they’ll stick with you when you bottom out, welcome you “to the club,” and simply encourage you as you lend your expertise without shame or humiliation to someone else who wants to know and then asks you.

19. That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened. 20. He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross. 21. A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.
—Heidelberg Disputation (1518), Theses 19-21
Website: http://www.augustana.edu/religion/lutherproject/ HEIDELBU/Heidelbergdisputation.htm

The Post-Transition Transitions
Only five months after arriving in Leipzig, we already find ourselves in “transition mode.” One very happy transition for all is that Thomas is bac k in school as a Kindergartner. He enjoys his Kindergarten very much, is accumulating friends very well (true to his form!), and acquiring more and more conversational German by the day. One challenging transition is the entry of Matthias’ teeth, which we sense is beginning to “hit its stride.” One unfortunate transition pertains to our language instruction, as our language tutor needed to begin a new year-long contract position out of town and could no longer provide us instruction. We continue to search for a new teacher, even as we preoccupy ourselves with language materials and aids and continually engage in conversation. In these transitions, we continue to ask for the Lord’s providence and give thanks for the gifts he grants to us day by day.

Let Us Pray . . .
 For God’s continued keeping of us in his grace through Christ Jesus  For faithfulness to Christ and his grace delivered in Word and Sacrament  For the joy in promptly bringing people to Jesus in Word and Sacrament  For the gifts of repentance and self-control  For the leaders of lawful governments throughout the world  For protection of Christians in troublesome lands  For God’s abundant blessing in building up the Volkmarsdorf church plant  For intellectual enrichment for child and adult alike  For the gift of gratitude for opportunities, old and new

Ministry Update
Progress is being made toward utilizing Lukaskirche as yet one more “hidden place” for liturgy and concertizing. Conversations with the German Landeskirche (State Church) officials and representatives, who control the use of the property and with whom we are making arrangements, has been fruitful. I have submitted to the Landeskirche officials a modest schedule of initial activity for 2014, a plan that has received the support of the leadership of St. Trinitatisgemeinde, the SELK congregation in Leipzig that we are assisting. Currently, I am working to further refine the content of liturgical and musical activity at Lukaskirche, taking into consideration the likely timeline for renovations and repairs, advantageous days and times for activity, and so on. I will soon be seriously exploring possibilities for collaboration in Leipzig in the actual performances of these events, something to which I’ve been looking forward for some time, as Leipzig is a very resourceful city in terms of the arts. Time will tell, and to be sure, when time tells me, I will tell you in due time!

May God in Christ through the Spirit bless you now and forever.
Lukaskirche, Leipzig/Volkmarsdorf

There are many opportunities to serve as career and short-term missionaries. Consult the following link and download the PDF document for latest news and a position listing: http://blogs.lcms.org/2013/inte rnational-mission-june-2013

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