The Sermon

by Pastor Abraham Wickbom

“This sermon is said to have been preached in 1860. It was reproduced by Aug. Bäckman from Vetlanda in the book Forntid and Nutid (Past and Present) that reports parish life and cultural history from Östra Härad in Jönköping’s Province. For its truthfulness the writer is not responsible, however there have been several persons that have given witness that the sermon actually was given.”

Hear now what will happen on the last day! Then everybody will receive what he or she has earned, both you and I. There will be a long register of sins presented and in it all your wicked deeds will be brought to light, you people of Myresjö. Then you will wish that you had lived as I had exhorted you, but then it will be too late for regret. If you then pour out a sea of tears, the Lord shall not care in the least because this is His day of punishment.

And you must believe that this day will not be pleasant for me either. Because then I shall have to answer for how I have discharged my duty to my congregation. And you can well imagine how I will feel that day when your spiritual condition is revealed.

Yet I am glad that I will not be called first, but rather among the last. First the Lord shall call Kings and Rulers, Popes and Bishops to account for their area of responsibilities. Thus far I am calm; but then it will be us Pastors and then I will begin to tremble. Then the Lord will call my colleagues from Alsheda, Korsberga, Fröderyd, and Vetland parishes as I hide as far away as I can. But at last I hear a voice calling: “Wickbom! Where are your sheep?” I don’t respond because there are other Pastors named Wickbom.

“Abraham Wickbom, where do you have your sheep?” the Lord calls with a louder voice. But I still remain quiet, because there is perhaps someone else with the name Abraham Wickbom.

Then the Lord calls with a thunderous voice: “Abraham Wickbom, Pastor in Myresjö and Lannaskede parishes, come forward and account for your sheep!” Then I, my whole body shaking, call out as loudly as I can: “Lord, Lord! I have no sheep, only these ragged billy-goats!” And then will come the terrible answer: “Go to the eternal darkness with all your billy-goats!”

But just as we are marching there, a sweet angel’s voice calls me back alone and says: “Wickbom, Wickbom! Rejoice in your Lord’s pleasure, because you have done the best you could with these people from Myresjö!” And then I will enter into glory, while you go to eternal damnation.

Therefore, reform and amend yourselves! Amen!