Address at Martiņš’ Birthday

Address by Pastor Jürgen Philipps at the commemoration of Martins Urdze on 27 August 2021.

Dear congregation!

And now says the Lord who created you:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have saved thee, because I have saved thee; for I have called thee by thy name;
I call thee by my name.
(Isaiah 43,1).

Fear not, God said, God says to Martin, God says to us. You are protected in my love, in life, in death and in dying, now and forever.

For I have redeemed you, says God, my love for you knows no bounds.

I call you by your name, Martin. I know your strength and also your weakness, and also all the weight that you carry with the people whom God has entrusted to you.

God says: I am coming to you. I am with you, you belong to me, you are dear to me. You are dear to me.

Dear parish.

In his last letter to me, Martin wrote a letter of deep peace and trust. He has compassion on me: I am doing well, I am protected by God. I am surrounded by the love of those around me.

God looks at us with a loving gaze. God is with us. Martin lived his whole life with this conviction.

It gave him courage! It gave him the strength to give so much love.

Martin lived with the Church of the Cross and the Liepaja diakonia, following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus Christ said:

What you have done to some of my least sisters and brothers, you have done to me. (Mat 25,40)

Martin was with his wife Aija, his family, his friends and his girlfriends; Martin was with his church, people in need, the poor and the sick.

He persevered with great love and humility for his people. He inspired us to do the same.

Boldly and fearlessly he stood up for justice and mercy, because God loves justice and mercy.

Martin spared neither himself nor his own strength.

His life’s goal was to build a diaconal church in the succession of Jesus Christ.

A Christian church where the homeless can eat, where the sick can receive help, even free of charge, where the poor can receive clothes, where all can gather, live and work together, and where no one is excluded.

A Christian church where people reflect on and share their lives in Bible conversations, where they pray together in retreat and worship, and where God’s good news is proclaimed.

For God is the source of life, and in his light we see light. (Ps 36,10)

God’s light shines in the darkness and makes the darkness light.

Martin lived to bring this light of God to people, to pass on the message of God’s love and to live it.

For God is love; and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)

Martin is and remains a great example to us, a dear man, a friend, a brother in Christ; and he lives on in our memories and in our hearts.

God bless and keep Martin.