In today’s peril, as in Nazi Germany, the tempted Christ stands close by(From Our Heavenly Father, ©1960 by John W. Doberstein; used with permission from Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.)
Death squads. Incest. Bombs exploding in restaurants. Invective flung across both international borders and breakfast tables. The news of evil thoughts and evil deeds assault us daily.
Helmut Thielicke speaks to this in his sermon “Deliver Us from Evil,” part of a series on the Lord’s Prayer. The sermon on this topic is uniquely powerful because of the circumstances in which it was preached during the Nazi era in Germany. Here is Thielicke’s description:
“These sermons, delivered to congregations in Stuttgart, were addressed to people who continued to assemble throughout the horrors of the air raids, the declining days of a reign of terror, and finally through the period of total military and political collapse and the beginning of the occupation. They were begun in the Church of the Hospitallers when Stuttgart was still more or less intact and its cultural life still flourished in the midst of war. They were concluded in the small auditorium of Saint Matthew’s parish house, the largest auditorium available at the time when there were no more churches in Stuttgart and only bizarre remnants of walls showed where the venerable Church of the Hospitallers once stood, where people had lived for centuries, people who had now come face to face with Eternity.
“The preacher saw written upon the faces of his hearers the destinies from which they had come or which they were approaching. He sensed the tension they were feeling, not knowing whether the next moment the scream of sirens would scatter them in all directions—which happened not infrequently. He ...1
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