19 October 2014

A Tribute

He was always so...polite, kind, intelligent. He had the gift of putting others at ease. I always wondered if the Lord who snatch him up for the office of the holy ministry. His eyes were quintessentially honest. They were an open door to a beautiful soul. He couldn't deceive if he tried. And now he's gone. Crossing a street and struck, a college freshman. And a family left in ruins behind him. And all the inevitable questioning: "why, Lord?" and the stony silence of heaven the only answer. Well, not the only answer. Connor knew that the final answer, and the only one that held, was from a Cross. It doesn't answer our "why?" but it does assure of the only thing we can know with certainty: behind all the mess and the disaster and the tears, stands a Love that is unshakeable, secure, and our only peace. Connor goes to his grave redeemed, loved, and REMEMBERED. The Savior who has named him His will raise him on the last day and we will be there, rejoicing with him again. In the meantime, rest in peace, young friend.

15 October 2014

Home

again after a wonderful time in Texas at Built on the Rock: Christ, Culture and Sacred Music. Pr. Todd Wilken, Dr. Charles Ore and yours truly got to present and it was a lot of fun. I am very, very thankful, howevever, to be home again. Dorothy had it right. There's no place like it. I am sitting here on this cloudy, chilly day in my recliner with faithful Lucy dozing beside me, a glass of wine at my side and a good book on my iPad. Ah, if only it gets a little more chilly I may well throw a match on the fire (it's ready to go!)...just hope I remember to open the damper. 

Each Wednesday

in the Treasury's Daily Prayers, we pray for the dying. Thinking of the growing Ebola crisis, the prayers become ever more apt and fitting:

To comfort all the dying,
To forgive them all their sins,
To lead them out of this misery into eternal life:
We implore You to hear us, good Lord.

And for ourselves:

Holy Lord God, 
holy and mighty God, 
holy and most merciful Redeemer, 
allow us not to lose hope 
in the face of death and hell: 
Lord, have mercy.

14 October 2014

Listening to Pastor Wilken

at Built on the Rock: Christ, Culture, and Sacred Music at Lord of Life in Plano, Texas, and he mentioned the personal prayer of the communicant after receiving.

Christians pray different prayers at this point, of course. Many use the prayers in the front of the hymnal; others offer their own.

Here is a prayer that I prefer to pray after receiving the Savior's Body and Blood:

I thank You, O  Lord Jesus Christ, that You have granted me,  unworthy servant that I am, grace to receive this, Your most holy body and blood, and I pray that it would be to me for the forgiveness of all my sins, for strength in resisting temptations, for service in Your kingdom and finally for the glories of the life that never ends. Glory to You, Lord Jesus Christ, my King and my God!  Glory to You forever! Amen.

30 September 2014

On a roll

Usually things are so backed up at work that my to-do-list is quite depressing. Two relatively quiet and very productive days resulted in getting tons of projects finished and enabling that eminently satisfying moment of crossing them off my list. The big projects still to go:

Presentations for Plano conference
Homilies for tomorrow, next Monday, and next Wednesday
Drafting Prayers of the Church for one year series for December

There IS light at the end of that wretched tunnel...and here's to hoping it is not the proverbial train!

28 September 2014

A quiet breakfast

today. Just Cindi and Bekah and I. The memories of busy crazy breakfasts juxtaposed themselves. A crowded table after church on Sundays with all the kids home, sometimes their friends, Dave and Jo, and whoever might be visiting. Everyone talking louder and louder, the laughter, two cats wandering around and the dog begging scraps.

We usually have David, Meaghan and Lydia join us, but they attended her parents' church today. Dave was up in Michigan for a surprise birthday party for his nephew, Russ. So it was just us three. And Lucy. She's still around AND still begging.

Instead of just expecting a weekly crowd, we now look forward to visits when the house will be noisy with grandchildren and children and friends. And in between? Lots of quiet and silence. In which, like Bilbo,

"....I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door."

Very excited

to attend Church this morning because I get to sit in the nave instead of balcony. A true "back to normal" Sunday! Am eager to experience that lovely space from a different angle and perspective and to check out the sound.

27 September 2014

This-n-That

This week I was privileged to speak at the International Disaster Response Conference, held on the lovely campus of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


I wish I could have attended a bit longer and learned more! I presented on Worship in a Time of Disaster: Semper et Ubique. The radical words of the Preface challenge us to see that the Church gives thanks to God through Jesus Christ at ALL times and in ALL places. 


In an idea I stole from Dr. Joseph Herl I suggested that all of liturgy and hymnody is practice for the worship that takes place in disaster...whether communal or personal. We practice to be able to fall down with Job and declare: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!" This is possible for us through Jesus Christ because we bow together before Him who knew life as a refuge, who knew what hunger is, who knew what it was to weep at the grave of a friend, and who experienced in his own flesh the violence of those who think they serve God by inflicting suffering and death on others. And He triumphed over them all, loving all the way! So His life never ends and so we are baptized into Him are called upon to offer in and through Him a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

When my presentation was over, Ross Johnson, Director of Disaster Response, gave me this beautifully hand-painted original piece of art called "Doxology." The artist is Patti Miller.


We have it hanging now in our living room, a constant reminder that praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the calling of our lives, the great gift we are given through our Savior.



21 September 2014

Yup

It's as great as all the hype. The iPhone 6, I mean. I've only had the puppy for a few days and I'm totally addicted. The camera and video features are truly made for a klutz like me. Point and shoot and it just looks great. And the stabilization is a godsend for shakey hands like mine. 

This is Carlo's Postlude

from today. Loved it!