The Pastor’s Sermon to Himself

“Des Pfarrers Predigt an sich selbst”
By Dietrich Vorwerk

Translator’s Preface

I had a professor in college who had “Des Pfarrers Predigt an sich selbst” on his office wall. To those who had any sense for German, he loved to point it out and watch them read through it all the way to the end, especially the last line. “Isn’t that just the neatest thing?” or “Doesn’t that about sum it all up?” he would then tell them. And they knew it did, even though they didn’t necessarily catch all of it.

It is one of those poems that is at once something for the young pastor to aspire to and something only the experienced pastor can fully appreciate. It will be a long time before I have the experience necessary to appreciate it in full, but I pray that it is scanned by at least a few pairs of eyes belonging to pastors who do.

What a beautiful poem. To the glory of the triune God:

The Pastor’s Sermon to Himself

A pastor of the first degree—
Both great and small a man is he;
The lofty mind of kings must have,
Yet simple as a farmer’s slave;
A champion who himself has bended,
A man who has with God contended,
A spring which bubbles holy living,
A sinner God is e’er forgiving;
A lord to dreams that are his own,
A slave to those who cry and groan;
He bends his knee to bigwigs none,
But to the lowliest, every one;
Before his Master, a boy in training;
With spirits, a general hard campaigning;*
A beggar, he prays with outstretched palms;
A herald, he doles out golden alms;
A man’s man when in battle vying,
A woman with the sick and dying;
In outlook, an ancient;
In faith, but an infant;
Thoughts upward ascending,
Fine details attending;
Joy is his bread,
To sadness he’s wed;
A grudge never near,
His thought process clear,
He speaks truth sincere;
Peace is his friend,
Hard work his trend;
As sure as can be—

Quite different from me!

* Rf. Ephesians 6:12

About redbrickparsonage
Red Brick Parsonage is operated by a confessional Lutheran pastor serving in the Midwest.

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