Invocation It is eighteen hundred years and more since Jesus Christ walked here on earth. But this is not an event like other events which, only when they are bygone, pass over into history, and then as events long bygone, pass over into forgetfulness. No, His presence here on earth never becomes a bygone event, and never becomes more and more bygone-in case faith is to be found on earth. And if not, then indeed at the very instant it is a long, long time since He lived. But so long as there is a believer, such a one must, in order to become such, have been, and as a believer must continue to be, just as contemporary with His presence on earth as were those [first] contemporaries.3 This contemporaneousness is the condition of faith, and more closely defined it is faith. O Lord Jesus Christ, would that we also might be contemporary with Thee, see Thee in Thy true form and in the actual environment in which Thou didst walk here on earth; not in the form in which an empty and meaningless tradition, or a thoughtless and superstitious, or a gossipy historical tradition, has deformed Thee; for it is not in the form of abasement the believer sees Thee, and it cannot possibly be in the form of glory, in which no man has yet seen Thee. Would that we might see Thee as Thou art and wast and wilt be until Thy return in glory, see Thee as the sign of offense and the object of faith, the lowly man, and yet the Savior and Redeemer of the race, who out of love came to earth in order to seek the lost, in order to suffer and to die, and yet sorely troubled as Thou wast, alas, at every step Thou didst take upon earth, every time Thou didst stretch out Thy hand to perform signs and wonders, and every time, without moving a hand, Thou didst suffer defenselessly the opposition of men-again and again Thou wast constrained to repeat: Blessed is he whosoever is not offended in Me. Would that we might see Thee thus, and then that for all this we might not be offended in Thee. Come hither to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest. Oh! Wonderful, wonderful! That the one who has help to give is the one who says, Come hither! What love is this! There is love in the act of a man who is able to help and does help him who begs for help. But for one to offer help! and to offer it to all! Yes, and precisely to all such as can do nothing to help in return! To offer it-no, to shout it out, as if the Helper were the one who needed help, as if in fact He who is able and willing to help all was Himself in a sense a needy one, in that He feels an urge, and consequently need to help, need of the sufferer in order to help him! i "Come hither!" There is nothing wonderful in the fact that when one is in danger and in need of help, perhaps of speedy, instant help, he shouts, "Come hither!" Neither is it wonderful that a quack shouts out, "Come hither! I heal all diseases." Ah, in the instance of the quack there is only too much truth in the falsehood that the physician has need of the sick man. "Come hither, all ye that can pay for healing at an exorbitant price-or at least for physic. Here is medicine for everybody . . . who can pay. Come hither, come hither!" But commonly it is understood that one who is able to help must be sought out; and when one has found him, it may be difficult to gain access to him, one must perhaps implore him for a long time; and when one has implored him for a long time, he may perhaps at last be moved. That is, he sets a high value upon himself. And when sometimes he declines to receive any pay, or magnanimously relinquishes claim to it, this merely expresses the value he attaches to himself. He, on the other hand, who made the great self-surrender here surrenders himself anew. He Himself it is that seeks them that stand in need of help; it is He Himself that goes about and, calling them, almost beseeching them, saysThornton, John F. is the author of 'Training in Christianity And, the Edifying Discourse Which "Accompanied" It', published 2004 under ISBN 9780375725647 and ISBN 0375725644.