Born to a middle-class family of Christian dissidents in Königsberg, East Prussia, Käthe Ida Schmidt was fortunate to have a liberal-minded father who encouraged her talent. Although women were barred from studying at the Academy, Schmidt began private art lessons with a copper engraver in 1881. Her education continued at the Schools for Women Artists in Berlin and Munich, from 1885 to 1889. Two years after completing her training in Munich, Schmidt married Dr. Karl Kollwitz and moved to Berlin, where her husband built a practice chiefly serving the poor. In her art, Käthe Kollwitz, too, occupied herself with the plight of those less fortunate.
Kollwitz’s work was grounded in the physical, spiritual, and social realities of life. Such symbols as she used (most notably the skeleton to represent death) served to underscore her understanding of human existence as it is. She recorded moments as small as a child learning to walk and as momentous as war or revolution. Even when picturing the incarnation, that most heavenly of earthly events, she showed the miracle taking place in a tangible human setting. Käthe Kollwitz’s imagery is more politically engaged. The daughter of a trained lawyer who chose to work as a builder rather than practice within the Prussian legal system, she spent her life depicting the plight of the poor and protesting the ravages of war. In her first great print series, A Weavers’ Rebellion (1897–98), she chronicled the causes, progression, and bloody aftermath of the 1844 revolt of Silesian home weavers against their employers. The series begins with Poverty (1894), where a family of weavers gathers around the deathbed of an infant, and concludes with The End (1897), where the bodies of slain revolutionaries are being laid out on the floor of a weaver’s cabin. In both of these dimly lit interiors, the looms and other apparatus of the weavers’ trade stand as ominous reminders of the weavers’ plight.
The artist’s haunting images from the interwar period chronicle the hunger and misery then seen in Germany and elsewhere. The 1919 woodcut Memorial to Karl Liebknecht honors the murdered Spartacist leader (whom Kollwitz admired, despite differing political views), the 1921 poster Help Russia, created for the Internationale Arbeiterhilfe, highlights Russian strife, and the War cycle of 1921-22 examines war’s civilian cost. Overtly anti-war works, such as the iconic poster Never Again War!, spur their viewers to action.1
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth;
O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise, alleluia. Psalm 66
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires, known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare your praise.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
HYMN: Gloria and Bill Gaither ©
1 God sent his Son, they called him Jesus;
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon;
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.
Because he lives I can face tomorrow;
Because he lives all fear is gone;
Because I know he holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because he lives.
2 How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy it gives;
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days because he lives. [Refrain]
3 And then one day I’ll cross the river;
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to vict’ry,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know he lives. [Refrain]
Psalm 104 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/uaqp2t4)
1 Praise the Lord, O my soul *
O Lord my God, thou art become exceeding glorious;
thou art clothed with majesty and honour.
2 Thou deckest thyself with light as it were with a garment *
and spreadest out the heavens like a curtain.
3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters *
and maketh the clouds his chariot,
and walketh upon the wings of the wind.
4 He maketh his angels spirits *
and his ministers a flaming fire.
5 He laid the foundations of the earth *
that it never should move at any time.
6 Thou coveredst it with the deep like as with a garment *
the waters stand in the hills.
7 At thy rebuke they flee *
at the voice of thy thunder they are afraid.
8 They go up as high as the hills, and down to the valleys beneath *
even unto the place which thou hast appointed for them.
9 Thou hast set them their bounds which they shall not pass *
neither turn again to cover the earth.
10 He sendeth the springs into the rivers *
which run among the hills.
11 All beasts of the field drink thereof *
and the wild asses quench their thirst.
12 Beside them shall the fowls of the air have their habitation *
and sing among the branches.
13 He watereth the hills from above *
the earth is filled with the fruit of thy works.
14 He bringeth forth grass for the cattle *
and green herb for the service of men;
15 That he may bring food out of the earth,
and wine that maketh glad the heart of man *
and oil to make him a cheerful countenance,
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
16 The trees of the Lord also are full of sap *
even the cedars of Libanus which he hath planted;
17 Wherein the birds make their nests *
and the fir-trees are a dwelling for the stork.
18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats *
and so are the stony rocks for the conies.
19 He appointed the moon for certain seasons *
and the sun knoweth his going down.
20 Thou makest darkness that it may be night *
wherein all the beasts of the forest do move.
21 The lions roaring after their prey *
do seek their meat from God.
22 The sun ariseth, and they get them away together *
and lay them down in their dens.
23 Man goeth forth to his work, and to his labour *
until the evening.
24 O Lord, how manifold are thy works *
in wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches.
25 So is the great and wide sea also *
wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
26 There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan *
whom thou hast made to take his pastime therein.
27 These wait all upon thee *
that thou mayest give them meat in due season.
28 When thou givest it them they gather it *
and when thou openest thy hand they are filled with good.
29 When thou hidest thy face they are troubled *
when thou takest away their breath they die,
and are turned again to their dust.
30 When thou lettest thy breath go forth they shall be made *
and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
31 The glorious Majesty of the Lord shall endure for ever *
the Lord shall rejoice in his works.
32 The earth shall tremble at the look of him *
if he do but touch the hills, they shall smoke.
33 I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live *
I will praise my God while I have my being.
34 And so shall my words please him *
my joy shall be in the Lord.
35 As for sinners, they shall be consumed out of the earth,
and the ungodly shall come to an end *
praise thou the Lord, O my soul, praise the Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.
Psalm 104 (LSB Tone J: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-104-LSB.mp3)
1Bless the LORD, O my soul!*
O LORD my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,*
2 covering yourself with light as with a garment,
stretching out the heavens like a tent.
3 He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;*
he makes the clouds his chariot;
he rides on the wings of the wind;
4 he makes his messengers winds,*
his ministers a flaming fire.
5He set the earth on its foundations,*
so that it should never be moved.
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;*
the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they fled;*
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
8The mountains rose, the valleys sank down*
to the place that you appointed for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not pass,*
so that they might not again cover the earth.
10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;*
they flow between the hills;
11 they give drink to every beast of the field;*
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;*
they sing among the branches.
13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;*
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,*
that he may bring forth food from the earth
15 and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine*
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
16The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly,*
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 In them the birds build their nests;*
the stork has her home in the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats;*
the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.
19 He made the moon to mark the seasons;*
the sun knows its time for setting.
20 You make darkness, and it is night,*
when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
21 The young lions roar for their prey,*
seeking their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they steal away*
and lie down in their dens.
23 Man goes out to his work*
and to his labor until the evening.
24 O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;*
the earth is full of your creatures.
25Here is the sea, great and wide,*
which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,*
and Leviathan, which you formed to | play in it.
27 These all | look to you,*
to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;*
when you open your hand,
they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;*
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit,
they are created,*
and you renew the face | of the ground.
31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;*
may the LORD rejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,*
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;*
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,*
for I rejoice | in the LORD.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more!*
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son* and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the be ginning,* is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Blessed are you, God of hope;
you restore the fallen
and rebuild the broken walls.
Teach us the song of thanksgiving,
for you are the strength of your people;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCW
THE WORD OF GOD
Reading: Exodus 12:33-42
The Egyptians urged the people to hasten their departure from the land, for they said, ‘We shall all be dead.’ So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading-bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders. The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewellery of silver and gold, and for clothing, and the Lord had given the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians.
The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. A mixed crowd also went up with them, and livestock in great numbers, both flocks and herds. They baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt; it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. At the end of four hundred and thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. That was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. That same night is a vigil to be kept for the Lord by all the Israelites throughout their generations.
1 When Israel was in Egypt’s land,
Let my people go,
oppressed so hard they could not stand,
Let my people go.
Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land,
tell old Pharaoh: Let my people go.
2 The Lord told Moses what to do,
Let my people go,
to lead the Hebrew children through,
Let my people go. [Refrain]
3 As Israel stood by the waterside,
Let my people go,
at God’s command it did divide,
Let my people go. [Refrain]
4 When they had reached the other shore,
Let my people go,
they let the song of triumph soar,
Let my people go. [Refrain]
5 Lord, help us all from bondage flee,
Let my people go,
and let us all in Christ be free,
Let my people go. [Refrain]
Reading: Revelation 1:12-20
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades. Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
HYMN: William Walsham How
Tune: Munich https://tinyurl.com/2p9c952w
1 O Christ the Word incarnate,
O wisdom from on high,
O truth unchanged, unchanging,
O light of our dark sky,
we praise thee for the radiance
that from the hallowed page,
a lantern to our footsteps
shines on from age to age.
2 The Church from her dear Master
received the gift divine,
and still that light she lifteth
o’er all the earth to shine;
it is the precious treasury
where gems of truth are stored;
it is the heaven-drawn picture
of Christ, the living Word.
3 O make thy Church, dear Saviour,
a lamp of burnished gold,
to bear before the nations
thy true light, as of old;
O teach thy wandering pilgrims
by this their path to trace,
till, clouds and darkness ended,
they see thee face to face.
Reading: Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
CANTICLE Revelation 11:17-18; 12:10b-12a
(Chant by John Michael Talbot: https://tinyurl.com/ycrn2d4f)
Ant. The Father has given Christ all power, honor, and kingship,
All people will obey him.
We praise you, the Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was.
You have assumed your great power,
you have begun your reign.
the nations have raged in anger,
but then came your day of wrath
and the moment to judge the dead:
the time to reward your servants the prophets
and the holy ones who revere you,
the great and the small alike.
Now have salvation and power come,
the reign of our god and the authority
of his anointed one,
for the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who night and day accused them before God.
They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
So rejoice, you heavens,
and you that dwell therein!
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
THE PRAYERS WS2
God of life,
we rejoice in the resurrection of your Son,
his defeat over death, and his gift of new life.
We praise you for the reflections of that new life
in creation . . .
in nations and governments around the world . . .
in the ministry of the church universal . . .
in our community as it . . .
in the sacrifice of those who serve . . .
in our new life in Christ . . .
To you as the giver of new life and renewed hope
we bring our prayers
for creation and its care . . .
for the nations of the world . . .
for our nation and its leaders . . .
for this community and those who are in authority . . .
for the church universal as it works on your behalf . . .
for this local church in its ministry . . .
for persons with particular needs . . .
We pray all this in your name, the Lord and giver of life. Amen.
(Karin Simmons: https://tinyurl.com/y7vwp7dd)
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Gentle mothering God,
help us to look at life with the eyes of a child,
that, like Käthe Kollwitz,
we may voices the sufferings of people,
the sufferings that never end
and are as big as mountains,
and then place our hope in Jesus,
who has shown us the new life to be found in love. Amen.2
Go in peace, alleluia, alleluia!
Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia!
Glory to God whose power, working in us,
can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine:
Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church,
and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20,21
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Since 1993, Oremus has been done on a volunteer basis. If you are able, please consider supporting this work at the PayPal link below. For software reasons, I’ve set the value at $10.00, but feel free to change it. Thank you.
BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.
1 Adapted from a blog post by Victoria Emily Jones https://artandtheology.org/tag/kathe-kollwitz/ and a biographical sketch at https://kallirresearch.org/bio-kathe-kollwitz/
2 Stephen T. Benner, 2022; using two quotations by Kollwitz.
WS2 The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources
The main scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The traditional language psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). Psalm 69 is in the version sung by Karl Kohlhase http://www.k4communications.com/karl/index.html. Psalm 70 is from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and is chanted by Ryland Angel.
Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.
Compilation © 2022 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.