31 October 2009

Singing to Angels, Mary, and the Saints?

Tomorrow we'll do it again: sing Hymn 670 in Lutheran Service Book. In this hymn, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones, the first hymn is addressed to the choirs of the holy angels:

Ye watchers and ye holy ones,
Bright seraphs, cherubim and thrones,
Raise the glad strain! Alleluia!
Cry out, dominions, princedoms, powers,
Virtues, archangels, angel choirs!

The second stanza, however, is addressed to the blessed and most holy Virgin Mary:

O higher than the Cherubim,
More glorious than the Seraphim,
Lead their praises.
Thou, Bearer of the Eternal Word,
Most gracious, magnify the Lord.

Nothing so vibrantly confesses the communion of saints as this joyful hymn that calls upon the Mother of God to lead the praises. Some might ask, can we say this about her? Is she truly higher than the Cherubim? Is she truly more glorious than the Seraphim? The only answer can be a question: which Angel gave birth to the Eternal Word and Son of the Father? No angel! Only the Blessed Virgin Mary did this, and so she is truly Mother of God and we rightly call upon her lead the angelic hosts in their praises of her Son, the Eternal Word; we ask her, the most gracious ("full of grace" as the Angel called her) to "magnify the Lord!" The words recall her hymn Magnificat: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."

After calling upon Mary to lead the praises of God's people, we move on to others:

Respond, ye souls in endless rest,
Ye patriarchs and prophets blest!
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Ye holy twelve, ye martyrs strong,
All saints triumphant raise the song,

From the angels to Mary, from Mary to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah and all the prophets. From them to Peter, James, John, Andrew and all the twelve and all who have poured out their blood for the Lamb. From them to ALL the saints - all who have been baptized into Christ and washed in His blood. We call upon them all to join the song of the Lamb's triumph with their alleluias.

And we join them too:

O friends in gladness let us sing,
Supernal anthems echoing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit,
Three in One,

So it is that the choirs of angels join the holy mother, the patriarchs and prophets, the apostles and martyrs, all saints and we, we whom our Lord called "friends," are privileged to sing our alleluias with them. Behold, beloved, the mystery of the Church as ONE communion, ONE fellowship in Christ, bound together by the one Spirit in the life that can never end! Alleluia, indeed!

Reminder for Treasury Users

1. Yesterday we switched to propers on page 0-70 - these are the invitatory, antiphons and responsory we use (except for All Saints) until Advent begins.
2. For tomorrow (All Saints), antiphons and a responsory may be found on page 0-72.
3. All Saints is the last feast or festival of the Church Year according to the LSB calendar before we begin again with St. Andrew's Day and the start of a new Church Year (though, of course, a number of commemorations fall during the month of November).
4. One more day of Deuteronomy and then into Jeremiah!


I had the opportunity to teach OT Catechesis this week on the covenant with Abraham. I was delighted by this note in TLSB on Gen. 17:12:
eight days old. Such infant circumcision points to God's inclusion of His people in the covenant promise even at a tender age. It also anticipated when circumcision would end and Baptism would become the sign of the new covenant (Col. 2:11-12). God finished the work of the original creation on the sixth day, and on the seventh He rested. The eighth day represented a new beginning. Christ finished the work of the new creation by redeeming us with His blood on the sixth day, Good Friday. On the Sabbath, He rested in His tomb. On Easter Sunday, Christ arose, starting the new creation on what may be referred to as the "eighth day."
Now, how sweet is that, I ask you?

From the Liturgy of All Saints

These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. In You, O Lord, do I take refuge, let me never be put to shame (Introit)...

You have knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Grant us grace so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love You (Collect)...

Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple (First Reading)...

Blessed are those whose strength in is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion (Gradual)...

We know that when He appears we shall be like Him (Epistle)...

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (Verse)...

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Gospel)...

Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine! We feebly struggle, they in glory shine, Yet all are one in Thee for all are Thine. Alleluia! Alleluia! (Hymn of the Day)...

In the communion of all Your saints gathered into the one body of Your Son, You have surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses that we, encouraged by their faith and strengthened by their fellowship, may run with perseverance the race that is set before us and, together with them, receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name (Preface)...

Respond, ye souls in endless rest, Ye patriarch and prophets blest, alleluia! Ye holy twelve, ye martyrs strong, All saints triumphant raise the song: Alleluia (Recessional)...

The Festival of the Reformation

Though we celebrated the festival last Sunday, today is the actual day. And here are Krauth's wonderful words on the subject (HT: Pr. Messer):

"When the Festival of the Reformation shall come and shall wake no throb of joy in [the Church's] bosom, her life will have fled. For if the Reformation lives through her, she also lives by it. It has to her the mysterious relation of Christ to David; if it is her offspring, it is also her root. If she watched the ark of the Lord, the ark of the Lord protected and blessed her, and when it passes from her keeping, her glory will have departed. Let her speak to her children then, and tell them the meaning of the day. In the pulpit, and the school, and the circle of the home, let these great memories of men of God, of their self-sacrifice, of their overcoming faith, and of their glorious work, be the theme of thought, and of word, and of thanksgiving. The Festival of the Reformation is at once a day of Christmas and of Easter and of Pentecost, in our Church Year; a day of birth, a day of resurrection, a day of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Let its return renew that life, and make our Church press on with fresh vigor in the steps of her risen Lord, as one begotten again, and born from the dead, by the quickening power of the Spirit of her God. Let every day be a Festival of the Reformation, and every year a Jubilee." -- Charles Porterfield Krauth, The Confessional Reformation and Its Theology (St. Louis: CPH, 2007), p. 4

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Letter to the Hebrews instructs us that the Day of Atonement's sacrifice was not ended with the slaying of the sacrificial victim, but needed the pleading of that act before the mercy seat to give it value; and even so Our Lord, having once and for all, by His one oblation of Himself once offered, made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, has entered in the most holy place on high and ever liveth to plead that His most precious oblation for us and in our behalf. And so in the transcendent miracle of the Holy Sacrament we stand in the presence of Calvary's sacrifice, the body that was given for our transgressions and the infinitely precious blood shed for our sins, and plead Christ's merits for that which we most need and desire. -- A.C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 97

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Thy heart is that closet into which thou shouldest enter if thou wouldst rightly pray. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, *Sacred Meditations* XXV

Patristic Quote of the Day

While you are standing in church, do not engage in idle conversation but listen patiently to the divine lessons. If a man wants to talk idly in church, he will have to render an evil account both for himself and others, because he neither listens to the word of God himself nor allows others to do so. -- St. Caesarius of Arles, Homily 13

30 October 2009

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

In this world we can hope to know only the church in her present aspect, hated by her foes, betrayed by false sons within her pale, sore oppressed by the vast number of evil persons in her membership, rent asunder by schisms, distressed by heresies, weeping amid the toil and tribulation and tumult of her warfare. To want to know any other kind of church is presumption, a hankering after a theologia gloriae instead of the theologia crucis that is our earthly lot. -- A. C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 49

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

No one should preach against those traditions having to do with adiaphora that were established for the sake of order. Rather, we should endorse them so that the laity are not frightened away from such ceremonies and traditions and start despising the exercise of piety in general. That will happen wherever preachers reject all traditions without distinction, as we see now in many places where people do not go to church, or if they go, disregard everything sacred. --Urbanus Rhegius, *Preaching the Reformation*

Patristic Quote of the Day

The whole virtue of faith seems to consist in two things: one, as was already said, that we believe most firmly that what God promises is true; the other, that it is fixed in our minds that what God threatens is not false. - St. Caesarius of Arles, Homily 12

Dr. Secker Responds

to the Theses on Worship. Totally worth the read!

A Response to the LCMS Theses on Worship

Beautiful - some poetry by Pr. Mozolak

our price the blood of Christ
Harvey S. Mozolak

beneath the cross
the broken bars of a fallen door
made table
covered with white linen shroud
there the coinage of our freedom
ransom's redness
cupped by broken loaf
the meal eaten
on the run
at the great escape
through the empty tomb
of waters parting
behind the snorting
of the horses chained to chariots
amid Pharaoh’s sinking spears and armor
this the shout of the other side
in the sand and broken shells
on the way
thankful for the filling spitted lamb
flat bread and waking wine
consumed without waste in haste
alleluias as yet unpacked
from bundles tied with worries
fear packed on our backs
and in our arms
reaching toward the promise

Harvey S. Mozolak

our price
the dice rolled
in the blood of Christ
this will suffice
the chance God takes
for our given
seamless surety

29 October 2009

And speaking of commemorating the dead...

...who yet live in Christ - today the famous organist and composer, Paul Manz, entered glory. I have loved his music ever since I first heard it at the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, MD. I got to hear him play but once, and it was an experience never to be forgotten. My favorite choral piece of his is, of course, "E'en So" (which our quartet will hopefully sing this month in honor of the great man's passing) but when it comes to organ works, "God of Grace and God of Glory" is my hands down favorite. HT to Fr. Peters for this video:

A Prayer of the Church for All Saints

[This prayer draws from a number of sources. The introduction and first petitions come from the funeral rite; the middle petitions from the General Intercession on p. 438 of the Altar Book; the final commemorations from the Lutheran Service Book Agenda for Commemoration of the Departed]

Let us pray to the Lord our God who raised Jesus from the dead.

Almighty God, You have knit Your chosen people together into one communion in the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Give to Your whole Church - in heaven and on earth - Your light and Your peace. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Grant that all who have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection may die to sin and rise to newness of life and so pass with Him through the gate of death and the grave to our joyful resurrection. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Grant that all who have been nourished by the holy body and blood of Your Son may be raised to immorality and incorruption to be seated with Him at Your heavenly banquet. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Send down upon all ministers of the Gospel and all the congregations committed to their care the healthful spirit of Your grace that they may please You in all things. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Behold in mercy all who are in authority over us. Supply them with Your blessing that they may be inclined to Your will and walk according to Your commandments. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

We humbly ask Your abiding presence in every situation that You would make known Your ways among us. Preserve those who travel, satisfy the wants of Your creatures, and help those who call on you in any need that they may have patience in the midst of suffering and, according to Your will, be released from their afflictions. Especially into Your hands we commend... Lord, in Your mercy, R.

In joyful expectation of the resurrection to life eternal, we remember before You, O Lord, our departed family and friends who have gone before us in faith and all those who are in our hearts and minds this day: [names are read out with the ringing of the bell] and those we name in our hearts…[leave a time of silence and then ring again]

Almighty God, we remember with thanksgiving those who have loved and served You in Your Church on earth and who now rest from their labors. Keep us in fellowship with all Your saints and bring us at last to the joy of Your heavenly kingdom; all these things we ask through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Kyrie from DS 5

Elder Training

I was recently asked if I could recommend any books for elder training. I thought about it for a few days and my mind really didn't change. There are two:

Concordia: A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord
Treasury of Daily Prayer

Let every elder read, study, and know his church's Confession. Let every elder be a man of prayer and daily in the Word of God. THAT'S the best training there is.

An Irritation

Why, oh, why do LW and LSB alter "For All the Saints" by SWITCHING the last two verses around. It makes NO sense (except to put a Trinitarian doxology at the end). Note that verse 8 describes the ingathering of the saints through death:

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

This is glorious, this is joyous...BUT!!!!

But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day,
The saints triumphant RISE in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on His way!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

That's how the piece was originally composed and I dare say William How knew exactly what he was doing when he put the stanzas in their proper order. Granted, it is a minor irritation, but irritate me it does every All Saints. How did that not get caught and fixed???

***CORRECTION: Terry checked this out and I was DEAD WRONG. I'd been misled by TLH, assuming it reflected the original ordering of the stanzas (and so how they were to be understood), but TLH inverted the last two stanzas (no doubt for the same theological reason I assumed). So as it appears in LSB and LW *is* the correct ordering from the original. As I said in the comments below - that will teach me to mouth off before checking the facts (well, probably not for long, but maybe for a little while?).

All Saints, 2009

Revelation 7:9-17 / 1 John 3:1-3 / St. Matthew 5:1-12

In this age, the Church is for the most part hidden. Wherever the Church gathers, you see only the tiniest fraction of her - and this holds even if thousands are gathered in one place for worship! For those thousands, let alone hundreds, are only the visible part of the assembly that butts back into time at that particular spot and moment. But the Church isn’t fractions. She’s the lot, the whole assembly. And so she appears in Scripture mostly in Revelation, where John is blest to receive the vision of how it will be at the end, as the veil is lifted and everyone sees what truly is.

And so the Church shines in today’s first reading: a great multitude, beyond numbering, and from every nation, tribe, people, and language. That’s what we mean by saying “catholic” - from everywhere! And they are gathered as one people, standing before the throne of God and of the Lamb, clothed in white garments, palms of victory in their hands, and crying with a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb!” That is, they confess with one voice that THEY didn’t get themselves there. They were GOTTEN there by the One on the throne and the Lamb. And the elders and the living critters they all fall flat on their faces and worship God and they say the same: “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever! Amen!” As John stares open mouthed at the spectacle - a mighty host raised up from the fallen race of mankind - he is suddenly catechized by one of the elders: “Who are these clothed in white? Where have they come from?”

John plays it safe. “Sir, you know.” Comes the answer: “these are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. THAT’S why they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He shelters them with His presence. They don’t hunger and thirst anymore - they are satisfied. The sun and the heat can’t get to them - for they live in the light of the glory of God. The Lamb in the midst of the throne is their Shepherd; He guides them to springs of living water - they drink the very fountain of deity - and God wipes away all their tears.” All of which is to say: Behold, the Church as she truly is. Now, hidden, but at last revealed in glory unutterable.

In our assemblies we participate in that one gathering of all saints around the Throne, but for us it remains a gathering in faith - even though a reality - but in faith because we cannot SEE it yet. For now, we can only believe. But see it, we will.

That’s what John spoke of in our epistle today. The reason the world does not know us as the children of God is that it didn’t know Jesus as the Child of God, the Only-Son of His Father. Yet that is what we are, and our future glory has not yet even been revealed. We know with the full assurance of faith, that when He appears, when our Lord reveals Himself in glory from heaven at that Last Day, it will not only be HE who is revealed; WE will be revealed as well. We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is - the Lamb whose blood has washed our robes and clothed us in His own holiness in the baptismal waters and who fed us constantly with His Gospel promises and the Holy Eucharist. What we have believed and learned to live from here in this age, will be finally visible for all to see. And you will shine as He shines now. For you will be in that visible glory of the Church. To have this hope, this hope of appearing in the very glory of the Son of God, means that we work now on becoming whom He has made us to be. The hope of the glory that awaits, leads even now to a purification of one’s self - no, you don’t get the glory BEAUSE you purify yourself; you purify yourself BECAUSE you get the glory! So what you do in your body now matters. Because you body matters. It is even now, even from the moment of your Baptism joined to Christ and made His member, a temple of the Holy Spirit, and so in your body you seek to glorify the One who will at that Last Day glorify your body with His own glory.

The Church, then, lives in this now and not yetness. Already by faith the coming age and glory are ours. And yet we cannot see them. We cannot see them in the Church’s institutional life. We cannot see them in our own lives. We see instead quite a mess and failures galore. But the Church lives by faith. What truly IS, is what God declares and promises. So it is with the holiness of all the saints. It is not first and foremost a visible holiness in this age; it is a hidden holiness which only begins to peep through in this life, but which will shine without interruption in the age to come.

That now and not yetness shows up in the Beatitudes. Abram was promised a Seed who would bring blessing to all the families of the earth. Jesus is that blessed Seed, and as He sits down with His disciples at the beginning of their time with Him, He opens up that blessedness to them. The now of the blessing is the Kingdom of God, His righteous rule over their hearts and lives. It belongs even now to the poor in spirit - to those who know they have no claim on God - and who are persecuted for the righteousness that they hold to by faith. That’s the first and last of the beatitudes. But still in the future are the rest of them: comfort for the mourning, inheriting the earth for the meek, being satisfied for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy for the merciful, the vision of God for the pure in heart, and the final acknowledgment that they are children of God for the peacemakers. Much lies ahead, and yet all is already ours in the Blessed One. We’ve seen how He has passed from death into eternal life - raised in the very body that bore our sins to death and was raised in incorruption, never to die again and made the source of incorruption for all who trust in Him, who receive His gifts in faith. He is the Guarantor of the Promise, the only Blessed One who bring us from the sufferings of this age into the unspeakable blessedness of the Age to come.

And here stands the Eucharist at the center of it all: here the Lamb in His glory, here the Lamb’s blood that washes clean from sin, here the fountain of the waters of life that we drink and not thirst forever. Here the future given to us already in the present to be our life as we journey towards that unveiling. And so here the saints - all those who are wrapped in the white linen that is blood washed. We gather with them around the throne of God and of the Lamb to chant His praises. You can’t be nearer to them any place on earth than here. The future world is here. Hidden, but present. But one day you WILL see it in all its splendor - the day YOU shine with the glory of Jesus Christ, to whom with His Father and the all-holy Spirit be honor and blessing, now in this age and unto the ages of ages! Amen.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

How it can be that what is plainly bread and wine is at the same time the body and blood of the Lord, Lutherans do not try to explain. They take the words of Jesus as they stand, as he said them, and they dispense with further questions and speculations. -- Henry Hamann, *On Being a Christian* p. 99

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Our life is the path by which Christ leads us into eternal life or the world and our own flesh and blood lead us to eternal death. How foolish, then, are those who waste their precious time on earth in pursuit of vain things! Whoever has squandered the time of grace has no hope of buying it back in eternity. -- C. F. W. Walther, *God Grant It!* p. 809

Patristic Quote of the Day

Truly deservedly is faith extolled, for without it no good work is ever begun or completed, according to what is written : 'Without faith it is impossible for anyone to please God.'- St. Caesarius of Arles, Homily 12

28 October 2009

Someone really should

lock this man up and make him write nothing but profound blog postings:

The Case for the Liturgy.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The joyfulness of the liturgical action is the "holy joy" which accompanies the recounting of what God has done for us in Christ. -- Ernest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 22

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If thou wouldst be among those on the right hand of the Lord on that great day, show the kindly spirit He commends in them. Let the sad fate of those on His left hand strike fear in thy heart, because they are there not for doing evil so much as for not doing good. O God, incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness! (Psalm cxix.36) -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation xxxiii

Patristic Quote of the Day

Blood is given for blood, death for death, a victim for sin, and thus the Devil lost what he held. To him it is now rightly said: 'You have no excuses, Enemy. The first Adam sinned, but I, the new Adam, did not receive the stain of sin. The very flesh which you had made subject to sin through your seduction has now conquered you by My justice. Let My justice benefit the sinner, let the death unduly imposed upon Me profit the debtor. You can no longer keep man in eternal death, for through Me he has conquered, overcome, and broken you. Truly, you have not been conquered by power, but by justice; not by domination, but, rather, by equity.' Thus the Enemy gave up what he had swallowed, and what he held was justly taken from him, because he had unjustly dared to attack what in no way belonged to him. -- St. Caesarius of Arles, Homily 11

Thought for the Day

Faith doesn't save because it results in good works; faith results in good works because it saves.

27 October 2009

Reminder: Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles

Tomorrow, we will commemorate Sts. Simon and Jude at St. Paul's. Vespers will be at 5:45 p.m., with Divine Service at 6:15. Regularly scheduled Bible Class follows, tomorrow's topic being Jonah 4. Join us if you can!

Excellent Words

from Fr. Messer on The Eucharist.

Funeral Homily for Larry Gihring

[Isaiah 49:13-16 / 2 Peter 3:17,18 / Luke 2:25-32

Leona, John, family and friends of Lorenz Gihring, who would ever have believed upon first meeting Larry that he was almost 90? He certainly had no slowing of his mental capacities and he was spry as could be. Whose birthday did he forget? He was a man whose life followed a plan. He was organized, and that organization was in the service of kindness and love. How do you turn out to be a man like that? Think of his unspeakable patience as his second wife, Ann, grew ever more confused and slipped into forgetfulness. His loyalty did not waiver. His kindness seemed to have no end. I can still see them sitting together at the InnKeeper and he faithfully watching over her. Where did such profound inner strength come from? What’s the secret to a Lorenz Gihring?

To understand, you’d have to go back to that cold December day in 1919 when Minnie and Fred picked up their little bundle and hauled him off to the Baptismal font. As Pastor Hansen poured the water over that little one’s head in the name of the blessed Trinity, new life was poured out on Larry. His sins were taken away - all of them - and the promise of an eternity was given to him. Did you hear it in our first reading today?

“I will never forget you; I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Larry grew up in that assurance, in that loving embrace of the Triune God. And when he was still just a youngster - you can see his picture hanging up downstairs in the basement - he knelt before this altar when the building was only a couple year’s old and Pastor Hansen who had baptized him all those years before, confirmed him in the holy faith. As those aged hands pressed down on that young head, the words of 2 Peter 3:18 rang out: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory now and to the day of eternity.”

And that’s the secret of his life: he never stopped growing in the grace of God. He never stopped marveling at it, as you will hear very shortly when I read you the obituary he himself composed.

And he knew life was all about was praising the Lord; the Cardinals may be great and fun to follow, but you missed out on life, in his opinion, if you weren’t offering praise to God: “To Him be the glory now and to the day of eternity!” So all the years in the choirs, all the singing and the joy of the Church’s round of services. He faithfully attended them all and used his voice to give glory to the One who had chosen him, named him His own, and promsied that He would never forgot His little Lorenz Immanuel.

The strength of a man like Larry Gihring, then, is found in his very close walk with the Blessed Trinity. Faithful in his prayers, faithful in his service, faithful in his witness. Oh, he knew he was a sinner and he never pretended otherwise, did he? How many times did he gather with others in this room to confess that he deserved nothing from God but temporal and eternal punishment, and yet he never despaired. He pleaded always for mercy and grace in Jesus and knew that that prayer was not in vain. He lived in grace - for He knew that he had been engraved on His Savior's hands by the marks of the nails. The hands that held him tight bear witness forever to the grace that blotted out all sin!

And so he was ready to go whenever the Lord called. Like Simeon in today’s Gospel, he had held the Lord and seen him face to face - happened each time he came to receive the body and blood of his Savior - and there is nothing that sets one free to love like the certain joy of eternal life. Larry remembered as he received the Eucharist how the Lord promised him that he would never forget him, never leave him, never let him go.

That’s the secret to Larry, my friends. He lived his life in the joy of sins forgiven, eternal life won, and knowing that death, when it came would never be the end of him. He lives His life praising God. He kept on go on growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and he will keep on growing into it forever! Christ holds his soul in His safe-keeping and when the time comes, will raise his flesh from the dead on the Last Day. Larry knew that and He knew there was nothing more certain in this life than a promise from Jesus Christ.

And such knowledge set him free to love like he did - Tom, you told me the other day, “he was like my own Uncle.” Leona, you know what a dear friend he was to you and how he just wasn’t going to let up until he got you going to church with him and communing together. I’m sure he spoke about that to you, his family, too - and with Larry it never so much had the feeling of “you had better do this” but always the flavor of “you don’t want to miss out on this!” That’s what made his witness so winning.

A faithful soldier to his country, a loving husband to two wives, and a faithful companion to Leona here in these last years - as she was to him - a man who loved his family and never tired showing pictures of them (and of his trip to Germany!). Ask me how I know! A man whose life was simply an icon of the love of Jesus Christ; proof of the holiness which God can work in a person who humbly walks with God on this earth for 90 years. He was our Larry and we will miss him. But let his strong and bold faith be your comfort in these days, and let it challenge you to taste also the goodness of the Lord who comforts His people and gives them an eternal life. Then when your last hour comes, you too will be able to pray: “Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace. Amen.

Here are the words that Larry gave me some years ago to read for his obituary, I have modified them only by bringing up to date who preceded him in death and who survived: Lorenz “Larry” Gihring was born December 10, 1919 to Fred and Minnie Schlechte Gihring in Hamel, IL. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s, Hamel. In 1951 after getting married, he and his first wife, Agnes, transferred to Zion Lutheran in Bethalto, living in Meadowbrook. They both sang in the adult choir for over 25 years. Agnes died in 1978. After remarrying, Ann and Larry continued to worship at Zion in Bethalto until 1997, when they moved to Hamel and in 1998 transferred back to St. Paul’s. While at Zion Lutheran at Bethalto, he continued to sing in the adult choir, was also active in Voters’ and men’s club, served as elder and trustee for a few terms. I know there is no salvation in good works, but if we love God we will want to serve him. We are saved only by the grace of God through faith, lest any should boast. Larry retired from Laclede Steel in 1982. He was a member of the VFW in Alton (local 3643). He was in the army Illinois 33rd division from April 1942 to November 1945 in the Pacific Arena. Surviving, one son John Douglas Gihring of Godfrey, 4 grandchildren, 4 great grand children, one step son, Joe Urban and wife Donna, 2 step grand children, nieces and nephews, and his dear friend Leona Daube. Preceding him in death, his first wife Agnes, his second wife Ann, his parents, 3 brothers and 1 sister and spouses and 1 great grandson Jonathan.

There IS No Other Instrument

that can bring such peace! This is from a daughter of a couple that Cindi sings with in the Collinsville Chorale. Amazing, no?

Lectio Divina

What a treat today! Deuteronomy 29 offers two things in particular I find of interest. Hebrews warns us against allowing a root of bitterness to spring up. Deuteronomy 29:18, 19 identify this bitter root with secret idolatry of the heart - a root that bears poisonous and bitter fruit. And the glory of verse 29! Easy to remember (29:29): "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." There are things that are none of our business - questions we have no business answering, areas we have no business prying into. But when the Lord reveals something to us, that is our heritage, and a heritage to pass along to our children, so that we may live in obedience to the Revealer.

In the NT reading, impossible to avoid the fact that as forgiveness delights the heart of God, there is nothing that so angers Him as our refusal to forgive - we who have been so richly forgiven. Grudge bearing holds in contempt the unspeakable mercy we have received.

Great writing from Dr. Luther today too!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

A non-sacramental Protestantism will become the easy prey of Roman Catholicism. -- Hermann Sasse, *Scripture and the Church* p. 39

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Faith apprehends the promise in the present and claims with certainty that there will be a complete consummation of those things which have been promised, although this is clear because of neither reason nor experience. -- Chemnitz, Leyser, Gerhard. Harmony of the Four Evangelists p. 123

Patristic Quote of the Day

I beg and exhort you, dearly beloved, if anyone wants to be saved, let him learn the true Catholic faith, firmly adhere to it, and preserve it inviolate. Therefore, each one should see to it that he believes in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; and yet not three gods, but only one. As is the Father, so is the Son and so is the Holy Spirit. However, every one of the faithful should believe that the Son is equal to the Father in divinity but inferior to Him in the humanity of His body which He assumed from ours; the Holy Spirit, in turn, proceeds from them both. -- St. Caesarius of Arles, Homily 10

26 October 2009

Until CPH Comes Out With Their CD

featuring the music for the daily prayer offices, you can at least learn to sing Matins and Vespers from Lutheran Service Book right here.

Repeating the Mistake of Rehoboam

It occurred to me the other day that when we listen solely to contemporary scholars and theologians, and when we listen exclusively to the demands of the folks around us, we are making the mistake of Rehoboam. You recall how he responded to the demands of the northern tribes and Jeroboam? He rejected the council of the old men who had served under his father and went with the young folks who grew up at court with him. The sad result was that he lost the larger part of his own inheritance. I think we repeat this mistake and lose our inheritance as a Church whenever we fail to attend to our fathers and mothers who lived the faith before us and give heed only to the "latest and greatest" - whose approach has not been shown capable of withstanding the tests of time.

On Vicarious Satisfaction

The reverend Dean of the Society of St. Polycarp has a fine piece on vicarious atonement here.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

In the Word of the Gospel, Christ, the Word Incarnate, speaks to us. In the Sacrament He gives us the same as He gave to the Twelve at the Last Supper. He gives us His true Body which was sacrificed on Calvary and raised from the dead on Easter. This makes us not only contemporaneous with Him, but unites us with Him in a way that transcends everything that we otherwise call 'remembrance.' The centuries that separate us from His earthly days and the time of His death disappear. -- Hermann Sasse, *This is My Body* p. 238

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Thus our nature is no longer foreign to God because in it, in Christ the Mediator, the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. In this way, through Him we are brought to God, in Him we have access to God, and in Him we apprehend God and become one with Him. -- Chemnitz, Leyser, Gerhard. Harmony of the Four Evangelists p. 149

Patristic Quote of the Day

A creed is not only written on tablets, dearly beloved, but is kept in memory in the heart, and for this reason it is helpful to repeat what should never be forgotten. -- St. Caesarius of Arles, Homily 9

25 October 2009

New Issues Ad!

This one has me laughing out loud...

Preface through Agnus - Divine Service 5

P.S. Note that youtube, as usual for me, has mismatched the audio and the visual. And sadly, on the disk I have the organist's fabulous prelude picks up in the middle and the Festival Gloria has numerous "skips" in it. I'll try with another disk tomorrow and see if we have any better luck.

Youth Group Tonight

The rain cancelled our trip to the corn maze, but we still hung out, ate hotdogs and chili, played dodge ball, and rescued balls stuck up in the rafters. Thanks to everyone who turned out!

Entrance Hymn for Reformation

Michele Said It

as she left church today: "That took my breath away." When Divine Service V is done with rich musical enhancement, it IS a stunning liturgy - overflowing in joy. And Carlo at the organ bench, well, words fail. I can't even begin to remember all the folks who commented as they left church about how wonderful his music was. Thank you, Carlo, for all the hard work, and thank you Choir and Bells and Quartet for your hard work also in leading our worship on this joyous Reformation festival.

24 October 2009


What HE said.

Larry Requested

for his funeral this hymn:

Chief of sinners, though I be,
Jesus shed His blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am His and He is mine.

Oh, the height of Jesus' love,
Higher than the heav'ns above,
Deeper than the depths of sea,
Lasting as eternity!
Love that found me, wondrous thought!
Found me when I sought Him not.

Only Jesus can impart
Balm to heal the troubled heart,
Peace that flows from sins forgiv'n,
Joy that lifts the soul to heav'n,
Faith and hope to walk with God
In the way that Enoch trod.

Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me;
All my wants to Him are known,
All my sorrows are His own.
He sustains the hidden life
Safe with Him from earthly strife.

O my Savior, help afford
By Your Spirit and Your Word!
When my wayward heart would stray,
Keep me in the narrow way.
Grace in time of need supply
While I live and when I die.
LSB 611

Sort of says everything you need to know about Larry, doesn't it?

Sure Looks to Be

an incredible resource:

The Concordia Organist

Yet it makes me rather sad. Have we really come down to this? A friend told me the other day that Concordia Bronxville no longer even has a music program - that's just unthinkable. The investment in training church musicians and the enrichment and support that such musicians can give to the liturgical life of the parish is simply beyond calculation. When we pray for workers in the Lord's vineyard, let's remember to pray as well for raising up organists and other musicians.

Prayer before Communing

Almighty Lord Jesus Christ,
as often as I shall come
to Your holy table to refresh my spirit,
I pray You to make me,
unworthy as I am, worthy through Your grace;
impure as I am, to make me clean;
naked as I am, to clothe me,
so that Your Body, so full of divine power,
and Your most precious Blood
may not become for me, Your servant,
the occasion for judgment or punishment,
but a memorial of the death You underwent for me,
a strengthening of my faith,
a proof of the taking away of my sins,
a bond of closer union with You and Your saints,
an increase of holiness,
the basis of a glad resurrection,
and a pledge of everlasting life. Amen.
[Prayer of Blessed David Hollaz]

+ Lorenz Gihring

Asleep in the sure hope of the Resurrection. Give rest, O Christ, to Your servant Larry with Your saints where sorrow and pain are no more, but life everlasting.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We know that He through whom God made all good things for human beings to use and to enjoy and to share is latently present wherever there is any unselfish sharing, just as He who will judge the world in justice at the end of time is present wherever there is justice, that He who is God's Word of pardon to the world is present latently, wherever there is any forgiveness, and that He who gave Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all the world is latently present in every act of generous self-sacrifice. -- A. C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 206

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Every Christian should live in such a way as to be able to die in peace any moment. -- Starck, *Prayer Book* p. 249

Patristic Quote of the Day

For this reason, at the beginning of the Creed we find: "l believe in God" and afterwards, at the end: "eternal life." Therefore, dearly beloved, the Creed is like an exceedingly beautiful building which is well begun; it has a very firm foundation, and an immortal summit, for it has God at the beginning and eternal life at the end. God is the foundation; eternal life, the summit. Faith, dearly beloved, is the entrance to life, the beginning of the road, the foundation of salvation. - St. Caesarius of Arles, Homily 9

23 October 2009


is not my all-time favorite music, but the Collinsville Chorale did a bang up job tonight on their Broadway concert. I was especially partial to the soloist on Willkommen, but I may be prejudiced. A little. Andy is simply an amazing conductor - he personally energizes the chorale and I'm sure it drains him, but what a sound he gets out of them! I'm greatly looking forward to the Christmas Concert. It will be at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Collinsville and the second half of the concert is the Christmas portion of Messiah. Woot!

What a Hymn!

And what an exhortation!

Let us gladly die with Jesus.
Since by death He conquered death,
He will free us from destruction
Give to us immortal breath.
Let us mortify all passion
That will lead us into sin;
And the grave that shuts us in
Shall but prove the gate to heaven.
Jesus, here with You I die,
There to live with You on high.
LSB 685:3

Day Off?

Started the day with an early trip into St. Louis to teach a class at the sem from 8 to 9:30 - guest of Prof. Cook on the topic of confessional leadership (thanks, Paul, for the recommendation). Then back to Edwardsville to workout at Y. Then to lunch with Cindi. Then to AT&T store to get a replacement for David's phone...DON'T ASK! Then to Kohl's to pay a bill and Shop-N-Save to pick up hotdogs for the Youth Group meeting here at the parsonage on Sunday. Then to lawyer's to draw up wills for Cindi and me. Then to Dobb's to pick up Bekah's car (new radiator). Then home. Still ahead: early dinner and then off to Cindi's and Lauren's concert. Somehow, this is not my ideal picture of a day off...

22 October 2009

One of the Frustrations of LSB

is that it is an incomplete work. At numerous points through the Altar Book we are referred to LSB Desk Edition for further information. Only problem is that it doesn't exist (yet), which leaves a number of questions hanging. It is the last piece of LSB that is really necessary (far more important than a book detailing the history of the hymns!). I hope it shows up soon. We need it.


Jo, Dave, and Sandy joined us for Supper tonight. Simple meal of tacos (Cindi and I used low-carb, whole-wheat wraps), home-made guacamole (Jen, it's become one of our favorites!), fried apples (sweetened with splenda and doused in cinnamon), and an orange jello salad (with cottage cheese and whipped cream - yum!). It was all really scrumptious. I am definitely married to a cook extraordinaire!

No cards tonight - Cindi was running out the door to get to the dress rehearsal for Collinsville Chorale's concert. Concert itself is tomorrow at 7 at St. John's UCC in Collinsville and will feature broadway hits. This time from the Weedon clan only Cindi and Lauren are singing in it.

I'm working on a lecture for tomorrow and in general planning on taking the evening easy.

The Joy of Physicals

Ugh. You know what I mean. The INDIGNITY of it. But Doc smiled and said: "Next year you turn 50; we'll talk about more interesting tests then." Ick. Good news was that 8 years into Atkins, the cholesterol readings remained, in Doc's words, "beyond optimal" - HDL 94, LDL 79, Total 187 and Triglycerides 71. Yeah! Blood Pressure was also good: 128/76. Weight hanging in there just under 150. Creatine was a tad high and have to go back and get that checked in 3 months; but I DO eat a ton of protein. All in all, still on target for my "fabulously fit by fifty" goal. Now, if only I get in the exercise I managed back in the summer. Right now only holding to my 3 days a week at the Y.

Homily upon the Reformation (2009)

[Romans 3:19-29; John 8:31-36]

Do you have to change for God to regard you kindly, or does God’s kind regard of you have the power to change you? Think about that for a minute. The Reformation comes down to this question. Natively, we all think the first way. You spend your life in this world doing what you hope is enough good to bring about that kind regard that means God won’t send you to hell - which is where you end up when you lack that kind regard. The problem with that whole way of thinking is that it leaves selfishness intact at the deepest level: for then your doing good to others is simply USING them so that you can stack up the requisite amount of brownie points to assure that God will be kind to you.

The other way of looking at the question - the place from which the Reformation took root and grew - was the joyous “a-ha!” that God’s kind regard has already been given to us and to all of us in His Son, and that believing this kind regard is a power - the only power that changes a person from the inside out. When you know and believe that you have this kind regard (and it is a struggle to believe it!), when you rejoice that for the sake of Christ Jesus, your heavenly Father looks on you with tender mercy and eternal love, you are set free from all pathetic attempts to win that love and mercy, and you actually become some use to our neighbor. You see why? Because you are not using them as objects to do your good works on; instead, you want only to serve them, for if you have been kindly regarded, so have they. Loved with an eternal love in Christ Jesus. Purchased by the self-same blood that won you. And so they are to be honored as fellow-redeemed - even when they don’t know a thing about it yet. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we proclaim this: God has loved the world in the gift of His Son. His love doesn’t have to be earned or deserved; it’s a free gift! This isn’t some big theological theory; it’s bedrock reality. And it’s the difference between living as a son or living as a slave.

In today’s Gospel our Lord highlights the dreadful uncertainty of the slave in the household. “The slave does not remain in the house forever.” That is, the slave lives always in fear, always worried about when they’re going to get the boot. Will they have a place in that household? And especially when they majorly blow it. Do they not have to fear that the Master will say: “Enough is enough! I’ve had it up to here with you and your disasters. GET OUT!”?

In utter contrast is the place in the household occupied by “the Son.” The Son’s place is absolutely secure and certain. It’s his HOME. What’s to fear? There is only One Son whose place in the Father’s house was so secure, and yet He came among us to free us slaves to sin and fear. He came to break the shackles of sin, for you know the truth of His words that everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. You’ve tasted the slavery. You know how the evil one seduces you into it - “just once; just try it” and you know how you end up losing your freedom because of it, and being unable on your own to ever break loose again. You have tasted that bitterness in your life. And you’ve known in your heart of hearts the fear that because you are sin’s slave, there is no way that God can regard you kindly, no matter how many good works you pile up to load onto the divine scales, you KNOW the heart out of which they flow and in whose bondage it lies. And so there is fear. Not even “have I done enough” but in your most honest moments, the despair: “I cannot do enough.” As old Job cried out in anguish: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.

He was mostly right, but not entirely. We can’t, but there is One who can. And He has. Along comes the One who IS free, the Son of His Father’s house, the Son over whom sin has ZERO power because it can’t get its claws into Him at all. And He comes to you, bound in your iniquity, to shatter the shackles and lift you up to the joy of being children of the household alongside Him. He takes away the fears by teaching you that the love that is in Him is the Father’s love for you from before time began. A love that is eternal, free, and unmerited. You could never earn it or deserve it. It’s just gift. “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” as Gomer Pyle might have said: You have been loved with a love eternal, vast, divine.

As you continue in Jesus' words, this is the truth that is brought home to you. And so the shackles of sin are cracked open wide. The lies of Satan exposed. How different the whole world becomes when the realization sinks down into the depths of your being: I do not have to change for God to kindly regard me; it is His kind regard that changes me, sets me free.

This is what St. Paul is glorying in in today’s Epistle. The Law demands our lives be wholly love, it shuts our mouths and strips us of every excuse - it forces us to see the plain truth of our bondage to sin. It can show us that bondage, but it can never free us. But then God in unfathomable grace manifests a righteousness, a justice, that is apart from the Law. It’s a justice, a righteousness for all who believe. There’s no difference - every last one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. And there’s no difference - every last one of us has been justified - kindly regarded - by His grace as a GIFT through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Jesus is the Wiping out of Sin by His blood. He is the gift into our flesh of eternal love, a kind regard that lifts us from slavery and exalts us to be sons in the house of His Father. All gift and a gift for all. No one excluded. That suffering and death of His were for you and you and you. No boasting allowed. No one can say: God owes me. What God owes you is that eternal death you fear. What God freely gives you is pardon, forgiveness and eternal life in His Son.

THIS is the heart of the Reformation and this is what He gives us to proclaim through the length and breadth of this world: People of the earth, hearken! You who are slaves to the bitterness of sin, listen up! In Jesus, in His bloody death, in His glorious resurrection, YOU have been freed. God looks on you in love and mercy and calls you to the grace of sonship. Rise, people! You have a home waiting where with the angels and saints you will give glory forever to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit unto the ages of ages! Amen.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Because the sacrifice that is made present again in the Eucharist avails for the reconciliation of the entire world with God, our own task is clear: We need to communicate the good news of God's act in Christ to those whom it affects, that is, to all men.... Somehow we need to say exactly what St. Paul sensed as his message: Be reconciled to God. Know that He reconciled you to Himself as part of the one world. Become what you are. -- A. C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 205

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The reading of Holy Scripture can instruct the laity salutarily, it can support them with life-giving comfort, it can correct faults of behavior in them, it can arm them against Satan and make them wise to eternal life. We must not keep the laity from reading Scripture, but rather invite them to it. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, *On the Nature of Theology and Scripture* p. 451

Patristic Quote of the Day

Therefore consider at once, brethren, and carefully notice that the man who frequently reads or listens to sacred Scripture speaks with God. See, then, whether the Devil can overtake him when he perceives him in constant conversation with God. However, if a man neglects to do this, with what boldness or with what feelings does he believe God will grant him an eternal reward, when he refuses to speak with Him in this world through the divine text? -- St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 8

21 October 2009

On Mary

The question was posed in Catechesis on Sunday: Why Mary? Why did God choose her?

I think there are many ways to answer the question, but the one that came to mind first was this: because He knew it wouldn't destroy her.

Think of the overwhelming pride that would engulf us if an angel informed us that we had been chosen for such a task and such an honor! Our fat heads would be fatter than ever. But not she.

She marveled that God would so lift up the lowly, for that is how she continued to think of herself: as the lowly servant of the Lord, who consented to her Lord's bidding in faith. God chose a mother for His Son who was by God's unspeakable grace a truly humble person. Like her Son after her, she thought not of privilege and power but of undeserved favor and service.

O Blessed Trinity, lift us to the humility of the Mother of God!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Eucharist....makes us in our dividedness and separation one body in Christ. Its thrust toward unity is more powerful than the divisive elements that fragment our world and our lives. The God who is one is finally stronger than the demons that are legion. -- A. C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 204

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

One should not think that the witness of an earlier age has been preserved for us in vain but that it may be a sort of support for searching out the meaning of Scripture, so that the spirits of the devout may become more heartened when the true meaning has been grasped from the sacred writings. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, *On the Nature of Theology and Scripture* p. 501

Patristic Quote of the Day

He found us not only proud but impious, slaves not only to original, but also to actual, sins; yet He forgave us everything, without anyone asking it. Not only did Christ fail to oppress us with chains and shackles in order that we might perform laborious tasks, as we deserved, but in His ineffable goodness He kindly and mercifully invited us to reign with Him. -- St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 7

20 October 2009

Duties of Members

St. Paul's constitution lists six duties of members of the parish. They are rather succinct:

Members shall:

1. Conform their lives to their baptismal vow.
2. Attend services faithfully and frequently partake of Holy Communion.
3. Engage in person private Bible Study.
4. Be active in personal evangelism.
5. Contribute willingly and according to his God-given ability toward the maintenance of church and school and the work of the church at large.
6. Bring up children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4) and to this end, besides teaching them the Christian faith at home, take advantage of all the Christian educational agencies for the children, so that all children may be properly guided in the Christian faith.

We reviewed these briefly last night in our elders meeting, and it occurred to me how wonderfully easy #3 has become with both the Treasury of Daily Prayer and The Lutheran Study Bible at hand. What riches God places before us in His Word!

The hardest is the first: that's the daily death of the old Adam and the daily rising of the new self, created in Christ. That we learn to live our lives more and more from the new self and continually reject and put to death the desires of the old self. It's a never ending task for us - and we'll never master the art of it so long as we live in this flesh, though we keep trying by the Holy Spirit's power and DO see some growth and progress.

Number two is also rather easy: how hard is it to come to Church and allow God to do His work in us through the preaching of His Gospel and the reception of His Sacrament? And through it we can certainly grow in glorifying the Blessed Trinity for the unspeakable kindness and love He shows us.

Number four gets some solid help in The Lutheran Study Bible. If you've not found it yet, check out the helps for witnessing found on page 1425 that uses the Apostles' Creed as a simple tool for growing in the art of sharing the faith.

Number five is positively addictive. The more you discover the blessing in giving, the more it becomes something you simply WANT to shape your life and to do. There is something incredibly empowering in refusing to let money and fear have dominion and in giving toward the Lord's work and mission.

Number six is addressed not only by using the Sunday School, the Vacation Bible School, and the Parish Day School and Preschool. It is above all addressed in that first assumption: in the home. Treasury again is your friend. A way to have a special time in the Word every day with your little ones. How I wish I had had it available when my kids were wee ones!

Anywho, I thought the list from our Constitution was a pretty good prescription for growth and maturation in the faith (dying to live, receiving God's Divine Service to us and glorifying Him, daily into the Word, watchful for confessing Christ's name, giving in alms and to support the Church, and providing for the next generation to receive the blessings we enjoy and even more), and I've been mega-impressed at the way our Synod has lately moved to provide solid materials for growth in all these areas. Faithful use of the Treasury and The Lutheran Study Bible will indeed yield a rich harvest for the Kingdom!

The German Gloria

All glory be to God on high
And thanks for all His favor;
No harm can touch or terrify
A child of God forever.
God shows His good and gracious will
And grants His peace, the world to fill -
All strife at last has ended.

We praise and laud and worship You;
We give You thanks forever,
O Father, that Your rule is just
And wise and changes never.
With boundless pow'r, Your mighty reign
Fulfills whatever You ordain.
Lord, grant us ev'ry blessing!

O Jesus Christ, the only Son
Begotten of the Father,
Your saving death has made us one
With God and with each other.
O Lamb of God, to You on high
In our distress we sinners cry,
Have mercy on us, Amen!

O Holy Spirit, our delight
And source of consolation,
Protect us from the devil's might
Through Jesus, our salvation,
Who by His death upon a tree
Has rescued us from misery:
To this we hold forever.

--LSB, Divine Service 5

Yeah! Children's Christmas Program...

basically finished - Lutheran Service Builder made cranking that puppy out quite a simple task. Now the draft is in the hands of the ladies who will be fine-tuning it and working out the rest of the details. Good to have that DONE (mostly).

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The fellowship that the Eucharist creates is universal.-- A.C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 203

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In the Supper of the new covenant the same Victim which was sacrificed to God for our sins is also given to us in the Lord's Supper and shared in by the communicants, so that through this participation in this same Victim we are joined to Christ and made partakers of His merits. -- Blessed Martin Chemnitz, *The Lord's Supper* p. 146

Patristic Quote of the Day

Therefore, I beg and exhort you, dearly beloved, if any of you know letters, read the sacred Scriptures rather frequently; those of you who do not should listen with attentive ears when others read it. The light and eternal food of the soul is nothing else but the word of God, without which the soul can neither see nor live. Just as our body dies if it does not receive food, so, too, our soul is killed if it does not receive the word of God. -- St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 6

Jo Update

Surgery was cancelled today. Anesthesiologist felt that there were too many risks at the moment. Hopefully will reschedule in a week or so. Thanks for the prayers on her behalf!

Anglicans Who Hanker for Union with Rome

now have something to work with: check it out. Can the Lutherans continue to stand apart from the Holy See calling her errant children home? We can if we understand the weight of this posting by Nathan. As Nathan so often does, he simply cuts straight through to the heart of the matter.

19 October 2009

And ANOTHER Reminder

St. Paul's will observe on this coming Friday, October 23, the Festival of St. James of Jerusalem. Vespers from Treasury prayed at 5:45 and a spoken Divine Service at 6:15.


If Reformation is this week, that means that All Saints is just around the corner. Any member of the parish who would like to have loved ones commemorated during the Prayers of the Church on that Sunday (we will automatically include all members who have died since last All Saints) can email me their names and I will include them.

From Lutheran Service Book Agenda, p. 151,152:

In joyful expectation of the resurrection to life eternal, we remember before the Lord our departed family and friends who have gone before us in faith and all those who are in our hearts and minds this day.

The names of those who are to be remembered may be read. A bell may be tolled following the reading of each name. The following prayer is then spoken:

Let us pray. Almighty God, we remember with thanksgiving those who loved and served You in Your Church on earth and who now rest from their labors. Keep us in fellowship with all Your saints, and bring us at last to the joy of Your heavenly Kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Reformation Service

This year will again feature singing Divine Service, Setting V at the Sunday liturgies. We'll be blessed to have brass, bells, organ, tympani, adult choir, and quartet leading the singing. This particular setting of the Divine Service is based largely upon Dr. Luther's famous German Mass. On this day when we commemorate the inauguration of the Reformation, it makes a most fitting ordo with which to hear God's holy Word, receive the Blessed Eucharist, and render to the Blessed Trinity the thanks and praise that are His due and that our duty and delight. Here's an outline:

Confession and Absolution
Entrance: "Our Father's God"
Kyrie, God Father (sung by Quartet)
Festive Gloria ("All Glory be to God on High" with ALL the musicians and the congregation)
Hymn of the Day: "A Mighty Fortress" (Choir on part of this and with descants)
Holy Gospel
Credo: "We All Believe" (Luther's)
Prayer of the Church
Our Father
Sanctus: "Isaiah, Mighty Seer"
Agnus: DS 3's "O Christ, Thou Lamb of God"
Distribution with singing of "Salvation unto Us Has Come" and "Built on the Rock"
Post Communion Hymn: "O Lord, We Praise Thee" stanza 1
Hymn: "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast"

What a way to welcome in our new organist! God willing, the DVD will come out and I'll post some clips up on Youtube.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

[In the Eucharist] He is saving us, that is, He is rescuing us from our fallenness, our lostness, our isolation, and our alienation, and giving us in this age a part of that independence and power and wholeness that will be ours totally when He once more manifests Himself at the great epiphany. This is ultimately what we mean when we say that forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are there for us in the Sacrament of the Altar. -- A. C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 202.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

May the grace of the Father keep me! May the love of the Son sanctify me! May the communion of the Holy Spirit make me fruitful in all good works! -- Starck's Prayer Book, Monday morning prayer (p. 16)

Patristic Quote of the Day

No one escapes His sight; no darkness, no concealing walls, nothing is a hindrance to the eyes of God. He is so far from failing to look upon each individually, that He even looks into the hearts, which He Himself formed without any admixture of evil. God, the creator of men, made the heart simple according to His own saving image; but later we made it, by union with passions of the flesh, a complicated and manifold heart, destroying its likeness to God, its simplicity, and its integrity. -- St. Basil the Great, Homily 15

18 October 2009

Huge Thanks

to Christopher Loemker for stepping in at the 11th hour to play for us today. Always a treat to have him on the organ bench. Reformation Sunday, though, brings our new organist, Carlo Van Ulft, and the musicians and I are all VERY excited to have the vacancy filled and filled with such a gifted organist. This coming Sunday's prelude will be "A Mighty Fortress" by Vaclav Nelhybel and the postlude Toccata in d minor by Gordon B. Nevin.

17 October 2009

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Today our Synod commemorates St. Ignatius of Antioch. From the Treasury and our Synod's website:

Ignatius was the bishop of Antioch in Syria at the beginning of the second century A.D. and an early Christian martyr. Near the end of the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (98–117), Ignatius was arrested, taken in chains to Rome, and eventually thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. On the way to Rome, he wrote letters to the Christians at Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna, and also to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna. In the letters, which are beautifully pastoral in tone, Ignatius warned against certain heresies (false teachings). He also repeatedly stressed the full humanity and deity of Christ, the reality of Christ's bodily presence in the Lord's Supper, the supreme authority of the bishop, and the unity of the Church found in her bishops. Ignatius was the first to use the word catholic to describe the universality of the Church. His Christ-centeredness, his courage in the face of martyrdom, and his zeal for the truth over against false doctrine are a lasting legacy to the Church.

The prayer for the day includes:

"...we praise Your name for Ignatius of Antioch, pastor and martyr. He offered himself as grain to be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts so that he might present to You the pure bread of sacrifice. Accept the willing tribute of all we are and all we have and give us a portion in the pure and unspotted offering of Your Son..."

The writing for the day includes these words of his:

"The prophets were His servants and foresaw Him by the Spirit and waited for Him as their teacher and expected Him as their Lord and Savior, saying, 'He will come and save us.'"

Jo Update

Today is night and day difference. She's alert, and she looks WONDERFUL. Still fretting a bit at having to stay in bed all day. But it's only hours now before she'll be able to get up and move about. She'll either come home this evening or tomorrow. Next surgery scheduled for Tuesday to deal with a problem in the neck that has left her arm and hand a bit numb and unreliable. Thanks to everyone for the prayers, and if you would not mind, continue to remember her before our gracious Lord until the next hurdle is past.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Eucharist is the occasion for the church's intercession on behalf of all the world. It is at the Eucharist that historically the church has offered her most fervent supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. -- A.C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 200

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

As far as possible we should observe the same rites and ceremonies, just as all Christians have the same Baptism and the same Sacrament and no one has received a special one of his own from God. -- Blessed Martin Luther, AE 51:61

Patristic Quote of the Day

This world itself is mortal and is the place of mortals. Since the substance of visible things is composite, and every composite thing is wont to be destroyed, we who are in the world, being part of the world, necessarily possess the nature of everything. Therefore, even before the soul is separated from the body by death, we men frequently die. -- St. Basil the Great, Homily 22

A Much Needed Look in the Mirror

by our beloved Father Peters.

Homily upon St. Luke's Day (2009)

[Isaiah 35:5-8; 2 Timothy 4:5-18; Luke 10:1-9]

This week I spent even more hours hanging around the hospital than I usually do. We can post-pone facing it for a while, but we know the truth. These bodies of ours run down, grow tattered and worn, begin to fail. We are more fragile than we dare to imagine. And when our bodies begin to fail us, we are forced to face what we know is true but avoid considering most of the time: our pilgrimage here has a limit and this world is not our final home and this flesh in which we live is destined for the grave.

Isaiah saw a time, though, when there would be a great push back. Suddenly defective bodies, grave-bound and shackled, were being restored. Blind eyes opened again. Deaf ears unstopped. Those who have lost the ability to walk on their own, are suddenly leaping and dancing. And tongues that have been rendered silent - now singing for joy. Isaiah saw a time when Death’s feeding on us would be pushed back and halted. And it would be like waters pouring through a thirsty land - for we do thirst for a life that death cannot rob us of. And in it all the prophet sees a way, a highway. It leads home, away from the sorrows of this troubled age and to the true home we’ve been promised. Only the clean walk on that way - the people God has cleansed in that water breaking out in the desert - the waters of baptism. Even if they’re fools, if they walk on that way, they won’t go astray or get lost. They’ll head down the road to home. And at the end it will be not just a temporary healing of this or that, but a total healing of body and soul, as everlasting joy crowns our heads and sorrow and sighing are chased away forever. What a vision!

What Isaiah saw beginning to happen was, of course, our Lord’s ministry. For the first time, there stood One upon the earth who could and did push back death and all its attendant sorrows. And as He was getting ready to make his grand last tour before heading up to Jerusalem, He took 72 of his disciples - and tradition says St. Luke was among them - and sent them out to every place He was headed Himself. And the power that was in Him to manifest the glory of the coming age - a glory over which death and bodily decay stand no chance - that power He laid on the 72 as He sent them forth. He sent them forth, and to told them to pray that the Lord of the harvest would raise up yet more workers. He sent them forth defenseless - lambs in the midst of wolves - armed only with the truth that they carried. He sent them forth impoverished, having only a greeting of peace to give and totally dependent upon the good will of those who heard them for bodily needs. But what peace! He sent them forth not jockeying for better positions and easier living, but occupied with but a two-fold task: to heal the sick and announce: The Kingdom, the reign of God, has come near you. Jesus is on the way. Or as C.S. Lewis would say it, Aslan is on the move. Isaiah’s vision is coming true and waters are about to bust forth that will wash you clean and set you on a highway that leads to home.

But we mustn’t forget that our Lord gives us all of this as promise in this present age. He didn’t heal every blind man or every deaf man. There were plenty left still in their beds, unable to get up and move again. There were many who never had their tongues loosed to sing. The healings and even the raising of the dead that our Lord or His disciples performed, these were all the promise of what He would finally do for all in the end. They showed where He was headed and what His death on the tree and resurrection from the dead would finally bring about. But it wouldn’t be right away. They give us a bright future and joyous hope - and with that bright future and joyous hope we can battle our way through the trials still before us. How well St. Paul understood.

In our second reading, he knows death is not far away. His life will be poured out like a drink offering. His departure from this age is at hand. Does it make him despair? No. His Lord went into death and came out alive - having secured forgiveness for the sins of the world, including Paul’s own. So he knows that what awaits him is the crown of righteousness - a crown earned by our Lord Himself for all His baptized brothers and sisters - that crown the Lord, the righteous judge, will award him on that day. He thinks about it and he is comforted. And yet…

The sorrows abound. He’s lonely. He’s in prison. His friends have all deserted him - all save St. Luke. He tells St. Timothy to bring St. Mark to him. Pitifully he tells him to bring also some of the things he’s left behind - he must have been the absent minded sort too - the cloak, the books, and above all the parchments, the papers if you will, so that he can write more. Death is before him, and yet he has more testifying to the grace of God in Jesus Christ to do. All alone he had stood at his trial, no one standing with him, but the Lord. And yet that was enough.

And so for us too, how often we will go through experiences like St. Paul’s in our lives. When we feel alone, abandoned, and death is breathing down our necks. And it’s frightening. And yet the Lord stands by us. The Lord whose very life is the guarantee that this death which we are facing down will not be the end of us. This Lord who rescues us from the lion’s mouth by setting our feet upon a holy way that the devil who prowls as a roaring lion cannot come up on. This Lord who rescues us from every evil deed and finally brings us safely into His kingdom. Even in his loneliness, his fear, his pain - the apostle is comforted and comforts others. The life that appeared in Jesus is no cheat. It is the ultimate reality - for He is the forgiveness of all sin and He is the destruction of all death and He has made us His own and we will live with Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

And this is the truth that gets us through the hospital days and the funeral home days and the long emptiness when we feel so alone and abandoned or frightened and worried about what tomorrow will bring. The Lord, who has already shown us what our future will be, stands by us then to strengthen us and get us through to that Kingdom, and for that we give all glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

16 October 2009

Bishop Horpynchuk of the Ukrainian Lutherans and the Treasury

What a beautiful post!

Sounds from the Kitchen

Mom! Why don't we have any Brie? It's a problem! A MAJOR one!

--signed David

A lad after me own heart!

Another Hospital Day

Jo didn't get to see cardiologist till noon. And then there was an emergency and she wasn't carted off for surgery till about 5. She just was sent to ICU after a rather rough time in the recovery room. She's sleeping and resting well at the moment - and we're hoping she'll sleep all through the night. Thanks for all the prayers...and keep them coming! Next step is surgery on the neck this coming Tuesday (we hope).

15 October 2009

You know...

you've been around an area way too long when you go to the hospital and...

1. You run into a woman who had kids in your school and who also is (or used to be) a nurse there
2. You run into a neighboring pastor you went to seminary with
3. You run into a parishioner who is a PA at the hospital
4. You run into the PA's step-son who happens also to be your parishioner and who ends up being the person assigned to sit with your mother-in-law
5. You run into one of the nurses assigned to Jo for whose mother Cindi used to be a caregiver

How small is my world...

Neglected Rubrics

The presiding minister may conduct the Confession and Absolution from outside the chancel.


The presiding minister and his assistants may enter the chancel.

These two "may" rubrics are common to all the five Divine Service Settings of LSB.

There is a truth contained here that is wonderful to mark: the confession and absolution are preparation, not actually a part of the service itself. The service proper begins with the entrance of the presiding ministers and assistants into the chancel at some point during the singing of the Introit, Psalm or Entrance Hymn. Why? Because we literally "enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!" (Psalm 100:4) The movement of the clergy to the altar manifests that in the Divine Liturgy and the songs we offer therein, we have come into the Holy of Holies and offer our praises before the throne of God and the Lamb in the power of the Holy Spirit.

An Unexpected Hospital Day

Jo (Cindi's mom) fell last night and really ripped up her hand. Cindi took her to the hospital this a.m. for what we thought would be stitches. Ended up that her heart was doing some strange stuff - sometimes beating 25 times a minutes and then up to 155 and everything in between. After the ER no doctor got to see her today, so tomorrow the GP and the cardiologist are supposed to check in on her. Keep her in your prayers, please. She's hooked up to heart monitor and restricted in movement - which doesn't leave her in the cheeriest of moods, let the reader understand...

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Our Lord takes this God-given and man-made bread and wine and by His mighty Word makes it His body and blood. In so doing He affirms His right by creation and conquest to all the creatures of God's hand, to all fruit of human labor, and to all the orders and institutions of the universe. But He does more. In taking a particular loaf and a particular chalice of wine as the vehicles of His body and His blood, at random, as it were, He anticipates the time when all of the groaning and travailing creation will have achieved the freedom that is its destiny, when the power of futility and of sin over it will be broken and it will possess the transfiguring glory for which it now waits in hope with such eager longing. -- A. C. Piepkorn, *The Church* pp. 199,200

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

And this was the greatest thing in His Passion: it issued from His endless and perfect love. Love was the fire that consumed His sacrificial offering. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Postilla II:189

Patristic Quote of the Day

"For thou wilt render to every man according to his works." If you remember this sentence throughout all your life, you will be enabled to flee many sins, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power forever. Amen. -- St. Basil the Great, Homily 21

14 October 2009

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Eucharist is a symbol of the renewal of all things by Christ and in Christ. This is part of Christ's total sacramental design. By His own Baptism He hallows Jordan and all water to be a saving flood and an abundant washing away of sin. By His union with His bride the Church He reflects this great mystery in the union of every Christian husband with every Christian wife and, in a fainter refraction of the mystery, in every union where every act of unselfish giving of one's self in authentic love, no matter how fleeting, mirrors His love for the world that He has reconciled to God. By His separation to His service of a man upon whom the Spirit's charism of priesthood is bestowed by the laying on of hands, Christ affirms His will that no potential harvest anywhere in the world be lost because of a lack of laborers - a point the earliest Lutheran ordinals made very strongly. Through the reconciliation of the penitent in holy absolution He affirms that the door of hope and of rescue that the Holy Spirit opened in Baptism is never closed as long as life lasts. -- A. C. Piepkorn, *The Church* pp. 198, 199

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Lord of the harvest gave His Church a formula, and, so to say, instruction [as to] how they must be like in doctrine and life who are to be chosen and called for the ministry of the Word, 1 Tim 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9. And this rule, which is to be followed, the church must set before itself in true fear of the Lord, if it wants the Lord Himself to call and send workers into His harvest through means. -- Blessed Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, II, 703

Patristic Quote of the Day

The price of man is the blood of Christ. -- St. Basil the Great, Homily 21

13 October 2009

New from Down Under

Lutheran Catholicity! Looks promising indeed.

A Wistful Watching

Cindi and Bekah have been busy around the house. Painting and such. And I look at the transformation of Bekah's room and it makes me kind of sad. Don't get me wrong - looks very nice, very nice indeed. But it is no longer a high-schooler's room (just as earlier it had ceased to be a little girl's room). It is an adult's room now. Tastefully arranged. David's room is the same way (when he straightens it up, which does periodically - ever the artist, I think he artfully arranges his clothe dumps all over the floor!). It's an adult room. There are no more children here, and the rooms declare it. I love my children as adults and dearly enjoy their company, but still I note the passing of the marks of their childhood and adolescence with some sadness.

Lectio Divina

From Deut. 12, did you notice the JOY? This one place that the Lord will establish where our worship is to be offered? "There you shall eat before the Lord, and you shall rejoice." "And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God." This "place" for us is the Table of the Lord which is now set up throughout the world. And as we gather before that place to bring to Him of what He has given to us so that He can give back infinitely more than we offer to Him of what was already His own, He brings joy to our hearts. Worship is the fount of joy - from it comes the joy that is lasting - this joy of "eating before the Lord" or with the Lord or actually eating the Lord Himself, shocking as that sounds. Joy overflowing indeed!

On the second reading from Matthew 12, is it not absolutely striking how the Lord Jesus, when speaking of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, makes it utterly clear that the Holy Spirit is a PERSON? Sasse once said that you might get the impression from the rest of the NT, absent John 14-17, the farewell discourse, that the Spirit was but a force or power of God. But you can't sin against a force, you can't sin against a power. You can only sin against a Person.

On the Call

I was chatting with a friend who takes issue with the way we speak of "call" inside of the Lutheran Church, particularly in the Synod. He pointed out that the usual word in the NT is "sent" not "called." But I think much is clarified if we consider that the word "call" in this instance should be understood out from Matthew 10:1 and Mark 3:13,14.

Our Lord CALLS the twelve to Him (Mark adds the all important "that they might be with Him") so that He can send them out to preach. The calling of Christ precedes the sending. He calls a man to first of all BE WITH HIM; to spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer, and these are the ones He sends.

When speaking of a congregation's relationship to one of these called and sent servants, I think it's best expressed this way:

Pastors are called BY Christ THROUGH some agency of men (in our case, the congregation*) to do the tasks Christ sends them to do in that arena as servants of the people of God in that place and they are to be readied for this task by continually "being with" Him.

* Note also Didache 15: "Therefore, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, 1 Timothy 3:4 and truthful and proven; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers."

On Variation in Text of the Ordinary

A comment was made yesterday at Octoberfest that I mostly agree with: it's a crying shame that we have various texts of the ordinary, which really result in differing liturgies, not "settings" as they are misnamed.

But it is worth noting that in one regard, this peculiarity of LSB is actually deeply imbedded in Lutheranism itself. From quite early on, the great rimed hymn paraphrases of the Ordinary were treated as full equals to the straight forward prose texts (which mostly persisted in Latin, rather than German). If we were to drop for a visit to the Thomas Kirche in Bach's day, the Mass was held with great reverence and dignity. On the Sunday the good choir was at work, the Latin ordinary was sung: Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus... On the next Sunday the "b-level" choir led the singing of: Allein Gott in der Höhe sei Ehr. The Latin Gloria or the German Gloria, they were thought of. Similarly, and even more shockingly so, the Nicene Creed. In either case, the priest intoned the solemn "Credo in unum Deum" to be followed by the so-called "Patrem" - one week the actual text of the Nicene Creed (Patrem omnipotem etc.) and the next week Luther's paraphrase "Wir glauben all in einen Gott."

Some argue from this that Lutherans were free to substitute ANYTHING for the ordinary and thus the ordinary doesn't really exist. But that's precisely not the case. Rather, a distinctly limited set of chorales came to be regarded AS the Ordinary. The idea that you would have a Mass without singing Kyrie was unthinkable to them! But the Kyrie could be one of the troped Kyries from the Middle Ages (Chemnitz cites the Kyrie Fons Bonitatis as the clincher in setting forth the Church's confession of the Trinity in Loci Theologici), a straight Gregorian Kyrie (though usually reduced from nine to threefold), or Kyrie, Gott Vater!

Now, what they were doing, in their own minds, was providing a vernacular setting of the Latin ordinary, but doing so in rimed paraphrase and using the chorale as the musical idiom. What they were not doing was saying that you can use just any old text. The depth of this rimed paraphrase tradition is always before me here at St. Paul's, where the great bell is inscribed around with "Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr!" They didn't think of it as "just a paraphrase"; they thought of it AS the Gloria in Excelsis - the German version.

Thus, I believe that what the LSB did in part was to recognize this tradition as an authentic ascpect of our heritage (Divine Service, Setting Five) and one worth preserving; and also attempt a similar matter for English (Divine Service, Setting Four). The intention of either of these is not to suggest that one can decide to toss the Kyrie or the Agnus. It was rather to say that the Church has various ways to sing these texts, and straight forward prose rendering is one of those ways, and will, I would think, always be the touchstone against which the authenticity of the rimed paraphrases should be demonstrated.

P.S. No, Terry, I'm not addressing the matters of DS I and II in the above, as you will no doubt note... The real crying shame is that *the prose versions* do not agree!!! Here my touchstone will always be the Common Service, Divine Service, Setting 3 because it is a more faithful rendering of the Latin text. Note the apocopation in the Gloria in Exclesis and the paraphrasing of Lord of Sabaoth or hosts with "God of power and might."

P.S.S. Studying Lutheran liturgy vs. Anglican liturgy is always instructive too - because the one thing that screams out from the pages is how preoccupied Lutheran liturgy was from the get go with MUSIC. And it from the music that you can see why we have the two different prose texts of the ordinary in LSB: the COW desired to preserve music that had become dear and loved to many of our parishes.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Everyone who eats the body and drinks the blood of the Christ through whom and in whom and for whom all things were made can, according to his vocation and influence and resources, conscientiously seek to redeem the area of his own influence for the Christ whose advent into this world had as its aim the destruction of the works of the adversary. -- A. C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 198

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

He [the person with "an established heart"] looks alone upon the certain, never-changing Word. This is the precious thing of which our text speaks: an established heart that is not carried about by various and strange doctrines. -- C. F. W. Walther, *God Grant It!* p. 774,5

Patristic Quote of the Day

You were angry, since 'we were by nature children of wrath,' having no hope, and being without God in the world. You had mercy on us when You set forth Your only-begotten Son as a propitiation for our sins in order that in His blood we might find redemption. -- St. Basil the Great, Homily 20

12 October 2009

A Query

So, if we were to put together a seminar here in Southern Illinois which featured learning how to use the LSB to the max, with help on the psalm tones, the choices in the rubrics, three year vs. one year, and so forth - would anyone be interested in attending such a thing? Think Zion's St. Michael's, but in an LSB tonality. Takers? We've discussed it for some years, but we've not got it off the ground, but I'm thinking that it's time may have come.

And Octoberfest

made me quite grateful for the simplicity of the LSB Psalm tones. True, they are no match for the beauty of the Gregorian tones; but they enable us to focus upon the words of the Psalter and even a musical idiot can pull them off!