15 April 2014

The Lent that Almost Wasn't

As a pastor in a parish I could never understand the slightly less than enthusiastic greeting that the extra Lenten services received from so many. Oh, folks would show up. But they never seemed as excited about Lent as I was. Now that I'm sitting on the other side of the nave (so to speak), I begin to understand.

This Lent I've had to miss any number of Lenten services with sickness or being out of town, but I find it very difficult to focus on the ones I've been able to attend. I'm usually headed to bed come 8:30 and so I'm just plain tired, out of focus, and struggling throughout the services. Granted, worshipping in the wretched gym doesn't help one bit. Still I get it now.

Yes, the services are worth it. Worth every bit of it. But the effort involved isn't little for those with early mornings. It's hard to stay up, to yawn your way through the beautiful service, and to try to focus. I feel badly for thinking folks were just lazy. Tired is not lazy. It's just, well, tired.


Well, yes they are: the chants for the Easter Vigil. But here comes Fr. Sean Daenzer to the rescue and you have a couple days worth of practice:  Chants for Vigil.

13 April 2014

Locus Iste

from this morning's Divine Service. Click here.

P.S. Thanks, Millie, for recording it!

12 April 2014

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife!

It seems like only yesterday... you and Debbie Scott grudgingly agreeing to share your very tasty hot cinnamon toothpicks at Belt... "Hand check" on trips to T.A.G.... fighting over my class ring and your mom refusing to get involved... singing and playing guitar in the open trunk of your car at Wheaton High School... double dating with Jon and Chris... the many summers at the Purple Pad and sleeping up on the roof hearing the fight between the traffic and the ocean waves... the beauty of St. Thomas on our honeymoon... moving to St. Louis with a couple hundred bucks in our pockets and not knowing for sure where we'd live or if we could find jobs... Michael moving in with us... the Garfield days... moving to North Carolina and that disastrous camping trip... Lauren and then BOOM David... Mebane and (as Lauren would say) "my blue house."... Mom with us and so sick... Countless visits with Jim and Amy... walking the streets of Mebane to help get Bekah Boo moving on out under the warm sun and the blooming dogwoods... that monstrous sized placenta!... Moving back to St. Louis and your mom and dad none too happy with the decision... TSP and days filled with field trips, track meets, ballet, Tae Kwon Do, basketball, softball, and volleyball... Metro Days and learning to get used to children turning into adults... Dave and Jo and Nana and Sandy visiting and always having such fun... Sandy's broken ankle and kittens and Jo misbehaving... Dave and Jo moving out here and our trip down to Cairo that beautiful day... The storm in the summer and no power... The storm in the winter and no power, but David's famous video... So many joyful St. Paul memories... Trips to Chicago and our friendship with AJ and Kim... Two years ago today moving into this house right next door to Dave and Jo... Grand babies! One and then suddenly two and three... Missing you so much when you were in NC... Our huge sorrow last year and yet so thankful for all the blessing Jo has been to us through so many years... Our trips to Mexico and most of all that crazy cruise with Klingers and Van Ulfts... Times in the new house with grandkids and our very grown up children... As someone you love to hear sing put it: "It's been a good life all in all."

Which is all to say: I love you very much and I thank God He gave you to me as a traveling companion on this crazy journey of life. And I wrote all of that without telling the world you were 54. Amazing! :)

09 April 2014

Another Genealogy Post

Chancellor Weedon was my grandfather. He was born in 1879. HIS father, John Isaac Weedon, was born in 1828. So, well, yeah, my great grandfather was born in 1828, I knew my grandfather and he knew his father. How weird is that? My great grandfather was 51 when his youngest son, my grandfather, was born. My grandfather was 41 when his son, my father was born. My father was 40 when I, his youngest son, was born.

Nor is my great grandfather merely a name in a genealogy. You see, my great Uncle Isaac wrote a poem about his father that makes me love my great grandfather dearly:


My Dad, how I have missed him
In all these sixty years,
His company and counsel
In all my hopes and fears.

I remember well one evening
When I was in distress
And thought my lost condition
I must to him confess,
Expecting when he heard me
He would give up as lost
And think I was another
Deceiver he had crossed.

But when I heard His answer
To my very great surprise
He seemed to think my troubles
Were linked with Christian ties.
Christ said he came to seek and
To save that which was lost,
To heal the broken-hearted,
The weak and tempest tossed.

Whene'er one's lost condition
Is openly confessed
It shows some revelation
Of God that is expressed.
To look alone to Christ is
To look away from self;
This is the Gospel lesson
My father used to tell.

Daddy, dear old daddy,
Affections, how they bind,
His sayings, how they linger
And dwell within my mind.
The hope that God has given
Most highly do I prize
That I may meet my father
Beyond the vaulted skies.

Now I ask you, could John Isaac have given his son Isaac better counsel?

08 April 2014

Bekah is doing a

project on some family history for school. In looking through old papers I came across two items that I'd been looking for for a very long time. One I'll share today. A poem (loosely speaking) I wrote about my brother after his death 29 years ago:

In Memoriam J.F. W.

The long hours have fled us by—
you and I are sundered by the tideless sea.

And now, left behind, how can I express
the weight that presses hard upon me?
The weight wrought by your loss?

A beginning came on a day in March
as you and I walked the temples of the
Great City, the city immersed in cherry blossoms,
the city covered by a carven azure dome.

Yet for all the beauty of day and place,
the beauty that transfixed me was the
discovery of my brother.

The tenderness with which you touched
that day and gave it to me
belied all your gruff exterior.

You loved. You cared. And I, I had
been given a great gift:
A brother, a friend.

The years crept away and so did you.
Gently you fostered in me that which
taught me to hear you aright.
Gently, did I say? Through tear and
anger and argument momentous over matters
the most part trivial and less than noble,
You forged a person who could think.

And our years and days were parted again
until the death of one that we loved
beyond the telling of words.

Though the days were evil and fraught with sorrow,
yet we stayed together as a family. And you,
dear brother, were as a mighty
magnet to us all.

The warehouse days ensued.
Oh, what agony and sweat!
And how I thought you cruel again and
bitter hard. Yet for the joy of our conversation
one day I should endure it all again—all again.

It was but three when we began. We talked and
shared and risked the great risk.

We spoke of who we are and of what we feared.
We shared our dreams and heartaches and our tears.
We spoke of things that have been and things that yet may be.
We spoke as sunlight died and even grew. We spoke and spoke away.

Your face and voice tinged with laughter
and almost with tears,
remain indelibly etched upon my memory
down the corridor of the years.

And after that a change. For we had
probed our simultude and stood in curious awe
of the image mirrored each in each. So
different, so distant, yet so much the same.

We grew to an understanding, and almost I came
to worship you. You were to me an image
greater than life. So perhaps began
the downward trip to the tideless sea
that sunders even now
you and me.

To keep the image untarnished, immovable, strong,
you hid yourself from me

and for long I guessed, but did not know...

until you were not.

Alone now I stand upon the tideless shore and
in my mind and heart I probe,
trying to see through the thick sea mists,
but I am daunted.

O fallen idol! I loved you and I do and shall,
but for who you were, not for whom you dreampt of being.

William Weedon, May 1985

04 April 2014

Homily from this Morning's Chapel on John 6:1–15

Jesus tosses Philip a hot potato, a problem that he cannot solve. “Where can get bread for these to eat?” Philip is one of you numbers people. He sizes up the crowd and figures out that having 200 days wages would not be enough for each one to get a bite. His attention is captivated by the huge size of the need. Andrew is a tad more practical, I suppose. He checks out the resources at hand: five loaves, two fish. He comes to Jesus shaking his head: “What are they among so many?”

Dismay and despair over the huge need and the meager resources and so the disciples fail the text. For they don’t look up from either to the face of Jesus. “Give them to me,” he says and then He offers His thanks and praise to the Father who loves His children and provides them with all they will ever need. Then Jesus takes those meagre resources and sends the disciples forth: “Go give it away.”

Can you see Peter… then the look of surprise… no matter how much he gave away, the chunk in his hand didn't diminish. From shock to the joy of giving it away to the hungry crowd!

Now ask yourself IF they had used their noggins and kept the food, how much would they have had at the end of the day? Their measly five loaves and two fish? Probably not even that, because they'd have eaten it! But because they did what Jesus told them to do: give it all away. What did they come away with at the end of the day? 12 baskets full of left overs.

No, makes no sense at all. But this is God’s arithmetic. And it is the arithmetic of Jesus’ own life. We fear if we give our lives away, we won’t have anything left for ourselves. But Jesus, who can take the bread and bless it and give it away and come up with more than you could ever dream, this is the Jesus who does the same with HIS LIFE. He spends His life in love for others, for you and for me. He pours Himself out till He’s all spent and theres nothing left but a corpse to put in a tomb. And yet raised from the dead on the third day, He shows how His Father vindicates such a life. Love is as strong as death, says Solomon in his Song. Jesus shows: No, love is stronger than death.

Don’t be afraid, people loved by God, to spend and be spent in loving service to others. You don’t come up the loser. You can’t. Jesus invites you to look away from the vast need, to look away from your meagre resources, to look to Him and to dare with Him to venture all on God’s amazing economy where love triumphs. Amen.


Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs, saying: “Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.”

For the grace of trusting in God to provide for every circumstance of our lives, let us pray to the Lord: Lord have mercy.

For deliverance from all fear that we might walk with Christ the path of loving service and mercy, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For those who cry out for Christ’s healing upon their lives, and especially for all we have been asked to remember: for Timothy and his family, for Maggie and her family, for Deborah, Felicia, Marcia, Baby Thomas, Cindy, Brian, Cindy, Mike, Charlotte, Karen and Ed, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the ministry and work of LCEF and for God’s richest blessing upon their service to His people, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all the students of the Concordia University system and especially for those gathered here that they may be filled with the Spirit’s wisdom and serve His purposes in this generation, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Finally for all our needs of body and soul, let us pray to the Lord in the words our Savior taught us: “Our Father…”

30 March 2014

St. Paul's, Iowa City

Great trip up to Iowa City (trip home was actually just shy of four hours!). Connected with old friends, met lots of new ones and enjoyed magnificent hospitality with the Mons family. And what an absolutely fabulous Divine Service this morning - musical gifts abounding in that congregation, and the liturgy celebrated so reverently and yet enthusiastically by the overwhelmingly young congregation. Was a great joy indeed. I presented on Living Liturgy, and if anyone had any doubts about the liturgy being alive in the Lutheran Church, go and visit this wonderful place.