Ausbund, 55

Father, you have provided a crown for us if we remain in your Son, if we carry the cross and suffer with him, if we give ourselves to him in this life, and strive for community with him at all times.

You said that if we have community with him and walk in his steps, you will give us your Spirit to help us, and fight for us when the prince of the world comes riding out to meet us.

You gave your beloved Son, pure source of life, to be our captain. He welcomed us into his loving community. Let us not be ashamed of him! Let us look, little flock, at how he walked among us, so we may become like him in suffering and love. So that we may remain in his covenant and not despise his body and blood.

The Spìrit teaches community. To eat and drink the body of Christ is to have the “old man” die and the Spirit begin his work in us.

God serves us through his Son. His Son is the rock and cornerstone. His church community is his wife and has become one flesh with him. Through her he does his work on earth.

All the members of the body of Christ do his work according to his will, following him even into death. They are one loaf with Christ—the bread that was broken on the cross because of our sins. Christ is the bread of life. He gave us his flesh and blood, and his Spirit teaches us what “eating it” really means.

Christ gives us new garments in which to meet him if his love burns in us. Every old garment must go into the trash before he can work in us. Old skins cannot hold new wine. That which is of the old life cannot comprehend Christ. It hates him and cannot walk on his way.

Therefore, all newborn Christians, come without hypocrisy to the paschal lamb whose kingdom and community will never end. Come with joy in new clothes, discerning good from evil. The one that is still uncircumcised, still not separated from the world nor surrendered to Christ hobbles along, smelling like dreadful sin. He can have no part in eating or drinking him.

Only those that have witnessed for the Lamb may come to him. His Spirit, the water, and the blood belong to them alone. They cling to him and drown the old flesh in the water of voluntary baptism.

If we open our hearts to Christ he pours the Word into us and a spring of life begins to flow from our being. If we do not fear the cross and pain, he will give us his Spirit as a pledge. His Spirit will lead us into all truth.

Hans Schmidt,        -1558, Raiffach, Tirol, Austria

Anabaptist leader among refugee communities in Moravia, sent on many mission trips, captured in Aachen, Germany, long imprisonment and torture, publicly strangled, burned with 4 others

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