The Bomb Crater and the Cross


In July 1944, Pastor Helmut Thielicke preached a series of sermons on the Lord’s Prayer, even as Stuttgart, Germany was being bombed.  During his sermon on “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” the sirens sounded and the church was totally destroyed.

The previous Sunday, he preached on “Thy Kingdom Come.”  I think his words speak to us in our day.

“So, God’s kingdom really does come in all secrecy and hiddenness.  Is there any more hidden setting than a bomb crater which is the grace of so many hopes and seems to be the grave of so many promises?  God builds his kingdom in secret.  It is like the building or a bridge that goes on beneath a covering of scaffolding, so that we cannot see the bridge itself, and we hear only drumming hammers.  But one day the scaffolding and planking is removed and the bridge is revealed to our wondering eyes.  God was not idle while we were looking in vain for the signs of his footsteps and his work.

Now God’s rule is hidden beneath the Cross, and only who accepts the Cross knows the secret. (What would you do with that bomb crater without the Cross?)  …The moment will come when God will be “all in all.” And that moment comes at the end of that hidden and seemingly tortuous road of the Cross where God seems to be nothing at all.  This is our comfort in all our confused journeying – that ends in glory.”

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