26 February 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

If the Law has not produced total self-condemnation, there can be - will be - no joy. Instead, there will only be self-righteousness and hypocrisy, salted with an arrogant condemnation and snooping for the sins of others - a bad conscience seared into numb bitterness by denial. -- Matthew Harrison, *A Little Book on Joy* p. 40

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

[Faith] is a most hearty conviction of God's grace to us, a confident tranquillity of heart, and an undisturbed peace of conscience relying upon the merit of Christ. Such a faith springs from the seed of the divine Word. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, *Sacred Meditation* XII

Patristic Quote of the Day

The cross of the Lord became a trap for the Devil; the death of the Lord was the food by which he was ensnared. -- St. Augustine, Homily 263

25 February 2010

Vibram Five Fingers

I think I really like these silly things. Did trial run today; looking forward to real run tomorrow.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The secret to living a good news life in a bad news world is the joyous knowledge - by the gracious enlightenment of the Holy Spirit - that Christians are not always happy and joyous. Far from it. -- Matthew Harrison, *A Little Book on Joy* p. 27.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Those whom Christ looks upon, weep over their sins. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, *Explanation of the History of the Sufferings and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ* p. 121

Patristic Quote of the Day

Christ Himself is both the Way by which you go and the Haven toward which you make your way. -- St. Augustine, Homily 261

24 February 2010

What is it about...

...Passion Vespers that is so peaceful? The calm and silence before the Passion invites a soul in. It's always odd when the reading is longer than the homily. Yet that reading is the pulsing center from which the peace flows out. Much as I love Evening Prayer, I must confess that the austerity of the Vespers liturgy suits the Passion reading better. We wrapped up tonight with the Great Litany - taking all sorts and conditions of men to the Blessed Trinity in prayer.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The secret to living a good news life in a bad news world is to see myself, my sins, my darkest thoughts, my constant failings and weaknesses in the dark characters and their darker moments in the Bible. -- Matthew Harrison, *A Little Book on Joy* p. 23.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

You are to find peace in Him by a hearty despair of yourself and your own works. And now that He has received you, made your sins His and His righteousness yours, learn also firmly to believe this, as behooves you. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Letter to Friar Spenlein, 1516

Patristic Quote of the Day

Through the Man Christ you go to the God Christ. -- St. Augustine, Homily 261

UGH!!!

Jury Duty. And on Cindi's birthday no less. At least it's after Easter...

23 February 2010

On Lectors and Such

I've gotten into this discussion in more than one place on the net and often find myself on the other side of the fence on this particular question from those with whom I usually on the same side of the fence on other questions. I'm curious what thoughts the reader of the blog might have about it.

I see absolutely nothing wrong and much to commend the practice of the people of God sharing in the reading of the Sacred Scriptures during the Divine Service. The Scriptures do not belong to the ordained; they belong to the whole people of God! Granted, my own parish does not follow the practice of having lectors from the laity. Historically, we've had seminarians or vicars to fulfill that role. But I have served in a parish where it was the practice and further it was the practice in the parish where I was baptized, confirmed, married, and ordained. I know some pastors hate it - they love to read the Scriptures themselves. I totally sympathize with that, but I do think it can be very helpful for the congregation to hear the Scriptures read by more than one voice.

The appeal to 1 Timothy 4:13 as somehow meaning that only the pastors are to read in the Divine Service is a non-starter for me. I don't think that is what St. Paul is saying to St. Timothy. And in the history of the Church we've certainly had the office of lector for a very long time - since at least the days of St. Justin Martyr. Our current rite (LSB) clearly permits an "assisting minister" (defined as either ordained or lay) to read the Old Testament and Epistle readings (not to mention to bid the Kyrie, to intone the Gloria in DS 1 and 2, to bid the prayer of the church, to distribute the chalice, and to offer the post-communion collect and chant the benedicamus).

About this person, it says:

"In addition, many congregations select lectors from within the congregation to assist the pastor by reading the Old Testament and Epistle readings. As with all matters pertaining to public worship, good judgment should be exercised in the selection of lectors. Understandably, this selection should be based on their ability to read the Word of God clearly and distinctly in a public setting. Adequate training and coaching of such lectors remains the responsibility of the called pastor, who retains the ultimate responsibility for the proclamation of the Word." [Lectionary, ix]

So, fire away. Pros and cons of the laity serving as lectors for first or second reading of the Divine Service?

You have GOT to check this out!

Lutheran hymn-translator Matthew Carver offers up his translation of a hymn that paraphrases the ENTIRE AUGSBURG CONFESSION! It's set to "Now Thank We." Check it out here.

HT: Cyberbrethren

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Here's the secret: if we seek joy for its own sake, we will not find it. If we seek Jesus, we will be engulfed and inundated by joy, and quite by surprise. -- Matthew Harrison, *A Little Book on Joy* p. 9

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Hence one of the two things is always present, continuing as an eternal conversation between God and the soul. Either He speaks to us and we are still, listening to God, or He listens to us as we speak to Him, praying for what we need. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Day by Day, p. 125

Patristic Quote of the Day

He came down from heaven to heal you; He ascended to heaven to lift you up. -- St. Augustine, Homily 261

22 February 2010

Today's Treasury Reading

comes from Dr. Luther's early Reformation piece, *The Babylonian Captivity.* Some helps in sorting it out:

"Woman who should bruise the serpent's head" is based on the old Vulgate reading of Genesis 3:15 where "she" (not "he") crushes the head. Medieval Christians took this as a reference to Mary. This was often depicted in art as in the picture in this post. Luther would later notice the problem as he translates the Hebrew and disagree with the Latin, siding with the Hebrew and the Greek translation: our Lord, not His mother, tramples the serpent!

"For such a promise, being the truth of God, preserves even in hell those who believe it and wait for it."

"Hell" here is not simply the place of torment for the unbelievers; it is the place of the dead - Hades, the place where BOTH the righteous dead and the unrighteous dead were kept - think of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Part of the early church's belief was that Christ descended to Hades, to Hell, in order to rescue these OT believers who were waited in faith for the day when the Promised Seed would descend to rescue them and bring them up with Him. This is what Luther refers to here. He also refers to this belief in his famous sermon for Holy Saturday in the House Postils - "rescuing the prisoners."

Read Hebrews 11 in light of this, especially vs. 13, 39, 40. Also our Lord's words to Nicodemus in John 3: "No one has ascended into heaven except He who descended from heaven, the Son of Man."

Hope that helps in sorting out the reading for the day!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

To the communal sacrifice of praise must be added the sacrifice of self in life. Perhaps no lesson will be harder to learn than this, but without this all we say and sing will be of little effect. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 109.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

As Christians, we must also let the Word be our weapon in all temptations. We must learn from our Savior to answer all attacks of the devil only with "It is written." The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. -- C. F. W. Walther, *God Grant It!* p. 248.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He rose again to give us hope that what dies will rise again, lest in dying we should despair and think what our whole life has come to an end. As a matter of fact, we were anxious about our soul; He, by rising again, has given us assurance about our body also. -- St. Augustine, Homily 261

21 February 2010

Pastor Peters

writes a fine piece on the future of the Missouri Synod belonging to those who are not ashamed of being Lutheran. Here's a snippet:

Missouri's future, and I believe she has one, lies in Pastors and parishes who want to be Lutheran, who are not ashamed of this identity, who are convinced that our Lutheran answers are relevant and speak in a timely way to the questions laid before us by our times and our culture, and who speak apologetically (in the sense of defending the faith) in a winsome way to those not yet with us, who do not attempt to be all things to all people but simply Lutheran people amid all things, and who are the same people when they are gathered on Sunday morning that they are throughout the week.

Read the whole piece here.

20 February 2010

I *think* I'm totally sold...

...on the new way of running. Calves still are sore but much better today than yesterday (when I ran 3 miles on the fore-foot). Eager now to get a pair of Vibram Five-fingers to try out. Wish I had more time to run, but summer is just around the corner, right? It sure felt like it today, but, alas, no time to run at all. Eagerly looking forward to Monday's run. Also looking forward to the St. Louis Higher Things gathering tomorrow evening down at Drury near the Arch.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

In the peace and joy of the Christian hope one must progress to the point where he can leave all final questions to God. One must live from His hand and cast oneself on His goodness. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* pp. 107,108.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We are not to look back to our conversion for assurance, but we must go to the Savior again and again, every day, as though we had never been converted. My former conversion will be of no benefit to me if I become secure. I must return to the mercy-seat every day, otherwise I shall make my former conversion my savior, by relying on it. That would be awful; for in the last analysis it would mean I make myself my savior. -- C. F. W. Walther, *Proper Distinction* p. 207

Patristic Quote of the Day

God does not need anything from you; but you need everything from God. He seeks nothing from you in order to be happy; but, if you do not receive from Him, you cannot be happy. -- St. Augustine, Homily 259

Reminder: Ember Days...

...fall this coming week on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. You can read some more about these special days of penitence, fasting, and prayer in The Treasury of Daily Prayer, p. 21. The Brotherhood Prayer Book supplies the following propers:

Ember Wednesday:

Morning Prayer - Matthew 12:38-50
Evening Prayer - 1 Kings 19:3-8

V. God shall give His angels charge over thee.
R. To keep thee in all thy ways.

Antiphon for Benedictus:
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign: and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.

Antiphon for Magnificat:
For as Jonas was three days and nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be in the earth.

Collect:
We beseech Thee O Lord that Thou wouldest graciously hear our prayers, and stretch forth the right hand of Thy majesty to be our defence against all adversities; through Jesus Christ...

Ember Friday:
Morning Prayer - John 5:1-15
Evening Prayer - Ezekiel 18:20-28

V. God shall give His angels charge over thee.
R. To keep thee in all thy ways.

Antiphon for Benedictus:
An angel of the Lord went down from heaven and troubled the waters; and whosoever did step therein was made whole.

Antiphon for Magnificat:
He that me whole, the same said unto me: Take up thy bed and go in peace.

Collect:
We beseech Thee, O Lord: mercifully to have compassion on Thy people, that they, which by Thee are enabled to serve Thee, may ever be comforted by Thy gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ...

Ember Saturday:

Morning Prayer - Matthew 17:1-9
Evening Prayer - 1 Thessalonians 5:14-23

V. God shall give His angels charge over thee.
R. To keep thee in all thy ways.

Antiphon for Benedictus:
And Jesus taketh his disciples, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart: and was transfigured before them.

Antiphon for Magnificat:
Tell the vision which ye have seen to no man: until the Son of Man be risen again from the dead.

Collect:
We beseech Thee O Lord: graciously to hear the prayers of Thy people, and of Thy great goodness turn aside from them the scourges of Thine anger; through Jesus Christ...

18 February 2010

Now this is cool!

An advertisement for Issues, Etc. that highlights one of the shows consistent features: providing comment upon the calendar of feasts, festivals and commemorations provided in our Lutheran Service Book:

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Christ came to sanctify all of life by His sacrificial life and death; He came to snatch men from their own self-centeredness, in their worship as well as in their living, and to free them for unselfish love of their neighbor; He came to claim our bodies, too, for divine service. So even the prosaic and commonplace tasks of life have acquired a meaning that stems from the Cross. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 105

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

O my Jesus, when my heart would mislead me into sin, I will remember the sufferings You endured and the blood You shed. When the world by its evil example would entice to follow its ways, I will place before my eyes Your bleeding image on the Mount of Olives, at the scourging, and on the cross. In the terror of my sins, I will flee to Your wounds. When my conscience fills me with fear, I will receive Your blood as my ransom. Yes, in my dying hour I desire to know nothing but You, O Jesus. Your holy name, O Jesus, shall be my last word. Your bleeding image, my last thought. Your last word from the cross, my last sight in death. With You I will say: “Father, into Your hand I commit my spirit.” In that last hour, Jesus, be my Comfort, my Joy, my Consolation, my Defense. Amen.-- Starck's Prayer Book, p. 79

Patristic Quote of the Day

Why do you fear to confess your sins to our good Lord? "Set them forth," He says, "that you may be justified." The rewards of justification are set before him who is still guilty of sin, for he is justified who voluntarily confesses his own sin; and lastly, "the just man is his own accuser in the beginning of his speaking." Proverbs 18:17 The Lord knows all things, but He waits for your words, not that He may punish, but that He may pardon. It is not His will that the devil should triumph over you and accuse you when you conceal your sins. Be beforehand with your accuser: if you accuse yourself, you will fear no accuser; if you report yourself, though you were dead you shall live. -- St. Ambrose, Repentance, Book II, Par. 53

Pastor Brian Holle

just sent me some pics of the new crucifix that now graces the sanctuary of Messiah Lutheran Church in Lebanon, IL. Beautiful! "Nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified!"


17 February 2010

Ash Wednesday

A beautiful liturgy tonight. Samwise preached the Good News to us. Together as a community in Christ and part of the wider Christian family we entered upon the Holy Fast. I love the opening litany at this liturgy, but especially these petitions:

To prosper the preaching of Your Word;
to bless our prayer and meditation;
to strengthen and preserve us in the true faith;
and to give heart to our sorrow and strength to our repentance:
We implore You to hear us, good Lord!

To draw all to Yourself;
to bless those who are instructed in the faith;
to watch over and console the poor, the sick, the distressed, the lonely, the forsaken, the abandoned, and all who stand in need of our prayers;
to give abundant blessing to all works of mercy;
and to have mercy on us all:
We implore You to hear us, good Lord!

To turn our hearts to You;
To turn the hearts of our enemies, persecutors and slanderers;
and gracious to hear our prayers:
We implore You to hear us, good Lord!

As the people streamed to the altar and I put the ashes on the heads of little children and old men, middle aged women and teenagers, the words remained the same: Remember, O man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return. But the ashes are place on in the shape of a cross - we are indeed dying, but we die in hope of Him who became dust and ashes for us and who raised that dust to a resurrection life that will never end and of which He even now grants us a share.

On my heart imprint Your image,
Blessed Jesus, King of grace,
That life's riches, cares and pleasures
Never may Your work erase.
Let the clear inscription be:
Jesus, crucified for me
Is my life, my hope's foundation,
And my glory and salvation.

16 February 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

If one takes the formed prayer of the liturgy seriously, he will find he cannot be the same sort of person his selfish interests suggest he remain. In praying with the Church he will find his own spiritual life being deepened and his awareness of the needs of others growing. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 104.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The true body and blood of Christ are given in a heavenly and spiritual way which He knows, and which sorrowing and agitated consciences experience, and which surpasses the power of the mind of man. -- Jacob Andreae (cited Krauth, p. 765).

Patristic Quote of the Day

Only those persons who have experienced this life understand it; only those who believe can experience it. For, if you require me to show you what God promises you, I cannot do so. However, you have heard the words with which the Gospel of John ended 'Blessed are they who do not see and yet believe.' You wish to see and so do I. Let us believe together and we shall see together. Let us not be obstinate in regard to the word of God. - St. Augustine, Homily 259

15 February 2010

Mentioned by Brian

in the combox below, this book: Born to Run to really a fascinating read. I'd encourage it for all you runners out there! It's hard to put down. I read some preview chapters on Amazon and ended up ordering it for my Kindle app for iPhone. It wrecked a day of work...

A Beautiful Prayer for Lent

by St. Ephraim the Syrian:

O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness,
lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility,
patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King!
Grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother;
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

First Night for

Financial Peace University at St. Paul's. Definitely interesting - looks like I'm going to be made to understand money whether it comes naturally or not. He definitely makes it entertaining.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We misunderstand the liturgy if we feel that it permits us to remain at ease in Zion; every worshipper is a priest who has a lively concern for the well-being of his fellow man. So in a night liturgy of intercession we pray:

For all who tonight in any place stand in need of love and protection:
Hear us, good Lord.

On those beset by temptation;
On those who have yielded in the hour of trial;
On those who are in mortal sin;
On those who are given up to worldiness and have forgotten Thee;
On those who have never known Thee;
And on those who in this hour are in danger of losing Thee forever:
Have mercy, good Lord.

Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* pp. 103, 104.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Hence, now, as from the first, that is not a Lutheran Church, in the proper and historical sense, which cannot ex animo declare that it shares in the accord and unanimity with which each of the Doctrines of the Augsburg Confession was set forth. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 365

Patristic Quote of the Day

And so, my brethren, I urge and entreat you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom our sins have been forgiven, who wished His blood to be our purchase price, who deigned to make us His brethren although we are unworthy of being called His servants, I urge you to direct your entire reason for being Christians and for carrying His name on your forehead and in your heart solely to that life which we are destined to enjoy with the angels, where there is perpetual peace, everlasting happiness, unfailing blessedness, with no anxiety, no sadness, and no death. -- St. Augustine, Homily 259

Okay, I have to admit it...

...I am totally loving running for the last several weeks. Today I ran five + miles on the Y's indoor track; and I've been boosting the number of laps I sprint. Today, I sprinted 9 times around the track. Next time I want to sprint for 13 - which would make an entire mile at full speed (staggered between ordinary laps - which seem to get faster too).

Running is the perfect exercise for an introvert - it's almost an hour's worth of time all alone with my iPod delivering the Church's music into my ears.

I'm really itching to be able to run outside again. Yeah, I know those nuts up north do it all winter long (no offense, nuts), but that's not my idea of fun. Give me sunshine and warmth and I'm ready to hit the trail. The goal before this summer is up is to run 13 miles - a half marathon. Furtherest I got to last summer was 8 miles.

14 February 2010

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

Or, in English, you are what you sing.

Quinquagesima

done. Now the Fast is before us. Bootcamp for the age to come. Gloria in Excelsis silenced until Easter (save for Annunciation). Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Love taking shape in our concrete living. Returning together to the resurrection life given us in our Baptism.

13 February 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The early Christian community had experienced the unmerited good will of God toward them. They had seen that Christ's kingdom constituted a transforming power in their lives. A new relationship was now established toward their fellow men. It is on God's love as revealed in Jesus Christ that the whole quality of the Christian life depends... In Jesus Christ they had experienced God as forgiving Love. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 102.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Word of God opened the eyes of the Reformers to the existing corruptions; it called them forth from Babylon; it revealed to them the only source for the healing of the sick and wounded Church; it inspired them with ardor for their holy work; it lifted them above the desire for man's favor, and the fear of man's face. The Bible made them confessors, and prepared them to be martyrs. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 14.

Patristic Quote of the Day

We have all sinned in one man, and we have all been born unto corruption. Sin is the cause of all our evils. As a matter of fact, it is not without reason that men suffer all these evils. God is just; God is omnipotent; in no way would we suffer these evils if we did not deserve them. But, since we were committed to these punishments to which we are subject because of our sins, our Lord Jesus Christ wished to be involved in our punishments without any sin on His part. By enduring the penalty without any guilt, He cancelled both the guilt and the penalty. He cancelled the guilt by forgiving sins; the penalty, by rising from the dead. - St. Augustine, Homily 240

11 February 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Where one has the forgiveness of sins sealed by Christ's body and blood, he also has the new life Christ brings. At the same time that the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel He gives the power to live a different kind of life. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 101.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Holy Spirit is the intercessor for the Father and the Son with us, and thus leads us actually to accept with the heart those most blessed gifts which the Father and Son offer us. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 497.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He who created the whole man and redeemed the whole man assumed the whole man and thus freed the whole man. In Him is the mind and intellect of man; in Him is a soul giving life to the body; in Him is flesh, true and entire; sin alone is not in Him. -- St. Augustine, Homily 237

10 February 2010

Ephesians wrapped up

tonight. But there's still so much more to say on this wondrous epistle. I think if there is one epistle that the Church truly needs to imbibe and live from - this is it.

Next Wednesday we'll not have Bible Class because we'll have entered into holy Lent and will be celebrating Ash Wednesday and then on the Wednesdays following the five Passion Vespers.

Another CPH Gem

is in the works. They are preparing to publish an ESV Apocrypha with study notes! That's exciting, because I believe it will be the first time that CPH will offer such a critter in English. It was standard in the past when things were in German to have these books bound into the Bible with Luther's explanatory note prefacing them. They were even read from in the Divine Service. Having the Apocrypha back in the hands of English speakers in ESV's crisp new translation is definitely a plus; and adding study notes will be very helpful as folks learn to again navigate these important and useful writings. Kudos, CPH! Another winner.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The aesthetic element in worship, for example in linens, vestments, or candles, becomes no end in itself but a means of expressing our devotion to the Lord of the church, who is present and active there. On the other hand, poor art is not simply a matter of bad taste but a sign of poor religion... Shoddy sacrifice and shoddy art have no place in Christian worship. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 79

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

But if it be granted that the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper is one which is fixed, absolute, and unchanging; then it must be substantial, and not imaginary; not a thing of our minds, but of His wonderful person; not ideal, but true; faith does not make it, but finds it, unto life; unbelief does not unmake it, but, to its condemnation, fails to discern it. The sacramental presence is fathomless, like the Incarnation; like it, also, it is in the sphere of supernatural reality, to which the natural is as the shadow. - C. P. Krauth, Conservative Reformation p. 64

Patristic Quote of the Day

The entire provision for our salvation, namely, the fact that God who had made man became Man for the purpose of finding man, the entire plan by which Christ poured out His real, not pretended, blood for the remission of our sins and with His own blood wiped out the handwriting of our sins all this accursed heretics tried to make void. -- St. Augustine, Homily 236

09 February 2010

An Invitation to Evaluate

I came across this catechetical commentary on Romans 3:21-25 today:

What then is the justice of Christ? Above all, it is the justice that comes from grace, where it is not man who makes amends, heals himself and others. The fact that “expiation” flows from the “blood” of Christ signifies that it is not man’s sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the “curse” due to man so as to give in return the “blessing” due to God (cf. Gal 3, 13-14). But this raises an immediate objection: what kind of justice is this where the just man dies for the guilty and the guilty receives in return the blessing due to the just one? Would this not mean that each one receives the contrary of his “due”? In reality, here we discover divine justice, which is so profoundly different from its human counterpart. God has paid for us the price of the exchange in His Son, a price that is truly exorbitant. Before the justice of the Cross, man may rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of Another in order to realize himself fully. Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need – the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.”

Now, no fair googling and seeing who wrote it. The question is: what do you think of this person's analysis? Does this person do justice to the text?

Today

Cin and I decided to hit the Y right about 10:30. I ran for four miles + and it felt fabulous. At two spots on the track there are big windows and the sunshine was pouring in, reflecting off the snow. Each time I ran by I felt energized. Come on sun!!!

This afternoon Fr. Steven Tibbetts from Peoria stopped in for a visit and dinner - on his way back from a local SST retreat. Was a joy to meet in person a man with whom I've corresponded for a number of years. Many fun stories. Cindi served us up a yummy meal of pulled beef barbecue, scalloped potatoes (not for us!), and coleslaw. Tasty indeed.

Turns out everything got cancelled tonight - bells and school board. So we have an unexpected evening at home. A surprise ending to a very nice day.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Liturgy may become something vaguely sentimental or a cult of the beautiful. Instead of worshipping God in the "beauty of holiness," we may instead worship Him in the "holiness of beauty." Beauty then exercises a demonic spell over the worshipper that blocks any real encounter with God. Liturgical forms no longer act as bearers of the holy but are viewed as holy in themselves. So the possibility of entering a relationship with the holy, the source of man's life and righteousness, is prevented by an idolatrous attachment to symbols robbed of their transparency. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 73

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

They [the Reformers] allowed no authority save to the word of God, but they listened respectfully to the witness of believers of all time. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 203

Patristic Quote of the Day

He had nothing to atone for on the cross, because He was without sin when He was lifted up on the cross. Let us be freed from sin by His cross; let us there lay down what evil we have committed so that we may be able to be justified by His Resurrection. -- St. Augustine, Homily 236

08 February 2010

Makes one cheery all day...

...listening to the children in the upper grades at TSP simply BELT OUT "Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness."

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We have lived for so many generations in a tide of decline that we cannot imagine the vitality of the Hauptgottesdienst or Hoegmessa of the Reformation period. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 73.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

For the conscience is not able to ask and to expect other benefits from God if it feels he is angry with us and that he will not hear us. Therefore it is necessary that confidence in mercy always come beforehand. -- Philip Melanchthon, *Commentary on Romans* p. 72

Patristic Quote of the Day

As such He came; He came as Saviour. He died, but He vanquished death; in Himself He put an end to what we feared; He took it upon Himself and He vanquished it, as a mighty Hunter He captured and slew the lion. Where is death? Seek it in Christ, for it exists no longer; but it did exist and now it is dead. O Life, O Death of death! Be of good heart; it will die in us, also. -- St. Augustine, Homily 233

07 February 2010

The Silence of the Praise

It starts on Septuagesima: no more joyful Alleluias. Instead, the plaintive Tracts appear.

It deepens on Ash Wednesday: no more Gloria in Excelsis (and at St. Paul's, the nine-fold Kyrie appears and the Apostles' Creed replaces the Nicene in all Divine Services).

It deepens further still on Judica (the fifth Sunday in Lent): no more Gloria Patris.

The silence of the praise grows deeper and more profound in stages throughout the days of Pre-Lent, Lent, and Passiontide, until we are reduced to silence before the marvel of the Cross on Palmarum and throughout Holy Week. And having stood before the Supreme Sacrifice in silence on Good Friday, our praises burst forth with greater joy than can be imagined in uncounted alleluias and Glorias come the great Paschal Feast.

Lamb of God, pure and holy,
Who on the cross didst suffer,
Ever patient and lowly,
Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us,
Else had despair reigned o'er us;
Have mercy on us, O Jesus! O Jesus!
Thy peace be with us, O Jesus! O Jesus!

Productive Day

After the two morning liturgies and Bible Class, we gathered at the parsonage (Cindi, Dave, Jo, Bek, and I) for lunch and a game or two of liverpool. (Cindi is a dog; 'nuff said). Then while Cindi, Bek, and Lauren took in a movie, I headed up to Staunton to check on Norma (and got a bonus visit with Ruth) and then to Y for workout. Ran four miles (slower than Friday) and did upper body. Came home and finished fixing the pizza for dinner. After dinner, prayed Vespers, finished up Ash Wednesday and Invocabit bulletins for Joanie and Carlo, and then wedding renewal bulletin for John and Lauri. A good jump on the week. I like days like today - days when you weren't counting on being productive and it turned out that way anyway!

For Becky!

As requested, here is the anthem the choir sang this morning at St. Paul's, authored by our own Jonathan Schkade in both text and tune:

As the Rain from Heaven Comes

1. As the rain from heaven comes,
As snow falls from the sky,
And wets the earth and brings forth bud,
As I your bread supply,
So shall My Word go from My mouth,
So shall My Word go out.

REFRAIN: And you shall go with joy,
And peace shall lead you on,
And you shall go with joy.

2. My dear Word will not return
To Me short of its goal.
It will achieve My holy will
And prosper in your soul.
Receive the Word I send to you.
Receive the Word I send.
REFRAIN

3. As My Son from heaven comes
To live as mortal man
And walks the earth and brings forth life
As I work out My plan,
So is the Word among you now,
So is the Word with you.
REFRAIN

4. My dear Son will not return
To Me short of His goal.
He will achieve My holy will
By dying for your soul.
Receive the life He gives to you.
Receive the life He gives.
REFRAIN

5. As the rain from heaven comes,
Renewing tree and vine,
So too your heart has been reborn.
Forgiven, you now shine!
Live out the Savior's boundless love!
Live out the Savior's love!
REFRAIN

Copyright Jonathan Schkade, posted with permission of the author

06 February 2010

Oh, and on the subject of ribbons...

...and such: WHY do some people insist on leaving the ribbons dangle out of the hymnals and not put the hymnals back the way they found them? I know, people call me obsessive-compulsive - hey, Mr. Monk makes a great deal of sense to me - but when I stand in the back of the church and look forward and see a hymnal upside down or with its ribbons fluttering lose, it aggravates me no end. So, you St. Paul members who may be reading this, remember to help your pastor's sanity in this small way: PUT YOUR HYMNAL BACK THE WAY YOU FOUND IT. There, I feel better already... :)

I have a silly friend...

...who complains that the Lutheran Service Book: Altar Book is unusable. It's not the only reason he's silly, but it's certainly one of them. This afternoon as I was preparing for tonight's liturgy, the thought struck me again about what a blessing the whole LSB series is. I set one ribbon for the propers, one for the prayer of the church, one for the start of the liturgy and one for the preface (and I have a permanent tab set to turn to the Sanctus). That's all it takes. Oh, and checking the Lectionary to make sure that the ribbon there is in the correct location for the observance (today for Sexagesima). Done. Count them up: four ribbons in the Altar Book and one in the Lectionary and you're ready to celebrate. Seriously, how much simpler could it be?

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The basic structure of our Order of Holy Communion has stood for centuries in the liturgical churches as the supreme witness to the reality of God. Here God gives Himself in the sacramental elements of the service and man acknowledges his indebtedness to God in the sacrificial. This is no theatrical invention, based on clever psychological insights. Here man is led into the presence of God, who took the initiative once in the redemptive work of Christ and is active here again in His means of grace. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 68

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If it [the Eucharist] tells us that His body and blood were necessary to make our redemption, it tells us also that they are still necessary to apply the redemption they then made. He made the sacrifice once for all - He applies it constantly. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 653

Patristic Quote of the Day

Adam was man, but not the son of man. The Lord Christ constantly speaks of Himself as the Son of Man to make us remember the man who was not a son of man, so that we may be mindful of death in the one and life in the other; of sin in the one and remission of sins in the other; of enslavement in the one and of freedom in the other; of condemnation in the one and of acquittal in the other. - St. Augustine, Homily 233

05 February 2010

I really do think...

...that tonight's liverpool should continue in the same vein as last week's. A change in fortunes would be most, um, unfortunate!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

How can one escape the sacramental nature of the Word in the old liturgical forms? -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 58.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

What a blessing it is, then, when Christians can freely assemble in a church where God's Word is purely and clearly proclaimed and where the holy sacraments are administered according to Christ's institution. Such a church, no matter how small and poor it may appear, is of more value than all of the splendid palaces of the world. -- C. F. W. Walther, *God Grant It!* p. 219

Patristic Quote of the Day

The end of life is uncertain. Every man walks about at his own risk. Why do you delay to live well, thinking that life will be long? You are planning on a long life; do you not fear a sudden death? -- St. Augustine, Homily 232

04 February 2010

Hope the snow holds off...

...or goes elsewhere. Want to get in a good run tomorrow a.m.!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Luther reiterated a basic element in the New Testament preaching when he said that the preacher must be able to say of his sermon, "Haec dixit Dominus," "This the Lord has spoken." If we cannot say this, he has no business preaching. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 57

[Luther citation from WA 51,517]

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

O Lord, do Thou, who hast given me grace to live a holy life, give me also grace, to persevere in that life to the end! -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XXIX

Patristic Quote of the Day

He accepted the death merited by our misdeeds, that He might give us life by His merits. -- St. Augustine, Homily 232

03 February 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Each Eucharistic celebration points beyond itself to the final coming of Christ at the end of time... Each Eucharist is already now a foretaste and token of the heavenly banquet at the consummation of all things. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 61

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The power of God to apply Redemption without the Word is not denied; but we have no promise assuring us of such an application. God does not bind Himself; but He binds us to His Word. -- H. E. Jacobs *Elements of Religion* p. 135.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He accepted your evil; will He not give you His good? Certainly He will. He promised His life to us; but what He has done is more unbelievable. He offered His own life to us, as if to say: 'I invite you to My life where no one dies, where life is truly blessed, where food is not corrupted, where it refreshes and does not fail. Behold the place to which I invite you, to the abode of the angels, to the friendship of the Father and of the Holy Spirit, to the eternal banquet, to My companionship, finally, to Me Myself and to My life do I invite you. Do you not wish to believe that I will give you My life? Take My death as a pledge.' - St. Augustine, Homily 231

Sun Is SHINING

right in my window. Beautiful. I got to watch it rise this a.m. Went to Y early and got in a four mile run (first time I've used their track - it's great, soft so the impact on the knees isn't bad at all) and did weights. Came home to a wonderful breakfast of country ham (thank you, SAM!!!), eggs, and half a piece of whole wheat toast. Finishing up some coffee, and then headed over to Matins for the school. We'll be observing the Purification. Then to pericopal study group (presenting on Quinquagesima) and home to knock out some more writing assignments, God willing. Day will wrap up with Bible study on Ephesians 5. I hope the sun shines all day long!

02 February 2010

What Joy

to celebrate tonight Vespers and the Divine Service for the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord. There were only thirteen of us there (at least at Divine Service; didn't count for Vespers) and yet what overflowing joy in the gift of this Feast. We stand with Simeon in the Lord's temple, receiving the same body and blood that He held long ago, and we - like him - are prepared to depart in peace. We can die with joy for we have met and greeted, seen and tasted, Him who is death's Destruction, sin's Forgiveness.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Through the words of men the Word of God resounds - judging, condemning, forgiving, strengthening, restoring. The God-for-us Himself is present and active, through the working of the Spirit, in these otherwise weak words. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 56.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

All the apostolic teaching was concentrated in their commission to be witnesses of the Resurrection, Acts. 1:22. -- H. E. Jacobs, *Elements of Religion* p. 100

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Lord Jesus Christ came to die; He did not come to sin. By sharing with us the penalty without the sin, He cancelled both the penalty and the sin. What penalty did He cancel? That which was destined for us after this life. Hence, He was crucified, so that on the cross He might show the destruction of our old man; and He rose again so that He might point out the newness of our life. For thus the apostolic teaching expresses it: 'He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification.' - St. Augustine, Homily 231

A Blessed Feast of the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord!

Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr dahin
In Gottes Wille,
Getrost ist mir mein Herz und Sinn,
Sanft und stille.
Wie Gott mir verhei├čen hat,
Der Tod ist mein Schlaf worden.

I don't believe that Luther ever wrote another melody that was so perfectly wedded to the text; the very sound of peace!

01 February 2010

An Interesting Post

over on Lutherans Persisting. I am quite convinced that Dr. Root is onto something very important here, and that it directly connects with the current Lutheran aversion to speaking of progress in sanctification; and that it connects intimately with Elert's (and Koeberle's) repudiation of "cooperation" language in the Formula of Concord. The approach that Elert et al. advocate results in the total coming unglued of the objective and perfect righteousness of our Lord, which is His gift to us extra nos, from the subjective inchoate, imperfect righteousness that begins to grow from that gift in our concrete living intra nos in this world so that our lives *even in this world* are in the process of being transformed and made new in Christ (though always in great weakness). Against the whole approach that Elert and Koeberle and their current day disciples advocate, the "healing of human nature" language of the Formula stands as a bulwark.

If Cindi says anything...

...about her husband being wine-box challenged, feel free to ignore her. Stupid boxes. Grr.

From Starck's - A Living Sacrifice

Heavenly Father, You have created me that I should be Your own. Dear Jesus, You have redeemed me with Your blood, that I should live Your kingdom and serve You in holiness and righteousness. O precious Holy Spirit, You have sanctified me that I should be Your dwelling place and that Christ should live in me. I shall in turn make an offering of my entire self and dedicate myself to You. I offer up to You my will; no longer do I want to accomplish what I want, but what You desire. I offer up to You my mouth, that I may praise and magnify You, and not use it in filthiness or foolish talk. I offer up to You my heart; fill it with living faith, with Your grace, with Your love, with true godliness. -- p. 162

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The personality of the preacher, whether neutral or magnetic, weak or dynamic, falls into the background in the proper preaching and hearing of the sermon. The tradition of liturgical preaching stands poles apart from the modern "cult of personality," which in politics as well as in church life distracts men's minds from actual issues. Preaching is not a matter of entertaining or pleasing people, of rhetorical skill or imparting information; it is not the preacher's opportunity to air his personal impressions or recollections; it is a serious call to repentance and the announcement of God's grace. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* pp. 54, 55.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We must acknowledge, worship and invoke God in the way He reveals Himself in His Word, and we dare not listen to shrewd arguments of human reason contrary to this revelation given in the Word. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, *On the Nature of God and the Trinity* p. 416

Patristic Quote of the Day

By what you have received I beseech you to focus your attention on Him who called you, who loved you, who sought you when you were lost, who enlightened you when you were found. I beg you not to follow the paths of ruined souls among whom the name of believers is lost. -- St. Augustine, Homily 228