30 June 2011

Sister Sandra Bowers

forwarded to me some more pics from the Concordia Deaconess Conference at Seward:

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Careful attention to God's Word brings enlightenment and insight.  The light of His Word gives us a vision of Him and His wonderful dealings with us. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 128.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Epistles and Gospels selected for the Pentecost cycle of Sundays have love as their general theme.  They deal not only with the love we owe to Christ and God, which, is only to be thankful for the unspeakable blessing of forgiveness of sins and salvation through Christ's blood and death, but also of the love we owe our neighbor; not a love in return for favors, but one that unceasingly gives, forgives and works all good even when unrequited. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Church Postil VIII:41.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He willed not that we should believe Him speaking, but that we should have His Scriptures in our hands:...as though a kind of bond of God's, which all who pass by might read, and might keep to the path of its promise. -- St. Augustine, On Psalm 145

So do any of the rest of you...

...ever say to yourselves:  "Ah, when I get through with THAT, then life will go back to normal"?  I keep having new "thats" appear on the horizon though, and so the normal's return keeps getting pushed back.

Let the Little Children...

.... Enjoy:

29 June 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The whole ministry of Jesus was an act of intercession for us and for all sinners. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 159.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Whoever truly believes in Christ has eternal life.  Even though he still feels sin, death, and sorrow, he nonetheless possesses righteousness, life, comfort, and joy in heaven through Christ. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Sermon for Trinity 2, HP II:249.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Consider yourself: what did you deserve, O sinner? Despiser of God, what did you deserve? See if anything occur to you but penalty, if anything occur to you but punishment. You see then what was due to you, and what He has given, who gave gratis. There was given pardon to the sinner; there was given the spirit of justification; there was given charity and love, wherein you may do all good works; and beyond this, He will give you also life everlasting, and fellowship with the angels: all of His mercy....Hear the Scripture: I will not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn, and live. Ezekiel 33:11 -- St. Augustine, Psalm 145

28 June 2011


...for those of you who are Apple aficionados, what are you favorite, must have apps?  Certainly I'd put PrayNow at the top of my list.  What other apps have you found out there that you've come to use a lot (or just enjoy playing with)?

Commemoration of St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Today our Synod rejoices to commemorate St. Irenaneus of Lyons.  From the Treasury and our Synod's website:

Irenaeus (ca. A.D. 130-200), believed to be a native of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), studied in Rome and later became pastor in Lyons, France. Around 177, while Irenaeus was away from Lyons, a fierce persecution of Christians led to the martyrdom of his bishop. Upon Irenaeus' return, he became bishop of Lyons. Among his most famous writings is a work condemning heresies, especially Gnosticism, which denied the goodness of creation. In opposition, Irenaeus confessed that God has redeemed his creation through the incarnation of the Son. Irenaeus also affirmed the teachings of the Scriptures handed down to and through him as being normative for the Church.

Prayer from Treasury:  Almighty God, You upheld Your servant Irenaeus with strength to confess the truth against every blast of vain doctrine.  By Your mercy, keep us steadfast in the true faith, that in constancy we may walk in peace on the way that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord...

Our Synodical President on Church Art!

Amazingly good stuff.  Listen in!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The devastation of sin is most evident in the difficulty that we have with prayer. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 156.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In Christ there is pure joy, yes, everlasting joy; he is no longer sorrowful or fainthearted; he no longer sweats drops of blood as he did in the garden, but in him there is true joy and gladness.  And the same Christ, in whom comfort and joy are to be found, has become our food, served up in the Word and eaten by faith. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity 2, House Postils.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What means, The hills have been lightened? The Sun of righteousness has already risen, the Gospel has been already preached by the Apostles, the Scriptures have been preached, all the mysteries have been laid open, the veil has been rent, the secret place of the temple has been revealed: let them now at length lift their eyes up to the hills, whence their help comes...Of His fullness have all we received, John 1:16 he says. Your help therefore is from Him, of whose fullness the hills received, not from the hills; towards which, nevertheless, save thou lift your eyes through the Scriptures, you will not approach, so as to be lighted by Him. - St. Augustine on Psalm 121

27 June 2011

A Bit on Cyril

on Issues, Etc. today.  You can listen here.  And here Pr. Wilken and I are smiling (sort of) for Craig:

Even when he was a tyke...

...no one wanted to sit beside him because he made such a mess when he ate.  Some things never change.  This is from last night - pancakes, remember?  Only David dropped his butter and proceeded to "get it up" by wiping it across the table.  Sigh... Good luck, Meaghan!  We're counting on you to succeed where we have failed!!!  LOL.


New Lutheran Quote of the Day

When we pray for others, we may therefore be doing far more for the well-being of the human race than all the leaders of the world with their political activity. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace*, p. 156.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

For you are being invited to the banquet in the kingdom of God; if only you were willing to come.  The food is on the table; John the Baptist points to it and says, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world."  -- Blessed Martin Luther, Sermon for Trinity 2, House Postils.

Patristic Quote of the Day

[In honor of the commemoration of St. Cyril of Alexandria]:  For the Son dwells in us in a corporeal sense as Man, commingled and united with us by the mystery of the Eucharist; and also in a spiritual sense as God, by the effectual working and grace of His own Spirit, building up our spirit into newness of life, and making us partakers of His Divine Nature. Christ, then, is seen to be the bond of union between us and God the Father; as Man making us, as it were, His branches, and as God by Nature inherent in His own Father. For no otherwise could that nature which is subject to corruption be uplifted into incorruption, but by the coming down to it of That Nature Which is high above all corruption and variableness, lightening the burthen of ever sinking humanity, so that it can attain its own good; and by drawing it into fellowship and intercourse with Itself, well-nigh extricating it from the limitations which suit the creature, and fashioning into conformity with Itself that which is of itself contrary to It. We have, therefore, been made perfect in unity with God the Father, through the mediation of Christ. For by receiving in ourselves, both in a corporeal and spiritual sense, as I said just now, Him that is the Son by Nature, and Who has essential union with the Father, we have been glorified and become partakers in the Nature of the Most High. -- St. Cyril of Alexandria, Exposition of John, Book 11, Chapter 27.

26 June 2011

This Week

will mark my final Wednesday Catechism session at the Synod's International Center.  It's been such a joy tracking through the Catechism on those Wednesday mornings, as we passed from bitter winter into the warmth of summer.  I can't help but think that's how the Catechism carries us along:  from the coldness and deadness of our personal winters into which we are born into the full joys of of the warmth and shining light of our Lord's embrace.  Not an accident, then, that it STARTS with the Ten Commandments and ENDS with the Sacrament of the Altar.  I hope the catechetical review was a blessing to the participants - I know for certain it was a blessing for me.

[And yes, I AM looking forward to getting my Wednesday mornings back - so I can attend our local pericope study group in Maryville and also so I don't have to rush away from our TSP chapels, when Fall arrives.]

REMINDER: Sts. Peter and Paul

The festival of Sts. Peter and Paul will be observed this coming Wednesday at St. Paul's at 6 p.m.  This is one of the oldest festivals in the Church Year.  Join us for the joyous day when we remember St. Peter's crucifixion and St. Paul's beheading - giving thanks to the Blessed Trinity for these glorious witnesses to our Savior's victory over death and the grave.

Whirlwind Weekend!

Saturday began with Ray Blase's memorial service - great joy, and yet sadness, for he shall be sorely missed.  The choir did such a wonderful job on the anthem:  "Surely It Is God Who Saves Me."  Everyone commented on it.  I think they really sang for Ray.  And then the basement was packed for the dinner afterwards - good to see some Blase relatives and friends we don't often get to see.  Cindi and I came home and began a serious cleanup and getting supper going.  The rest of the paraments arrived and I got them up in Church.  Dave and Jo joined us for some cards in the afternoon (better luck next time, Jo!), and then Matt, Cami, and Annaliese arrived and joined us for supper and spent the night.  Matt is a friend from various places on the internet, and he is a member of the parish I vicared at:  Holy Trinity in Garfield, NJ. Today we did a single service with Bible Class preceding - singing was bright and joyous in Church.  Afterwards, we took a billion pictures (it seemed like) and yet it all went relatively quickly - thank you so much to Dana and Marc and Linda and Beth for organizing that so well.  Can't wait to see the results!  After the potluck, we came home and played a couple games of sevens with Lauren while Bekah snoozed a bit and David and Meaghan headed out to the movies.  I got some work finished up (bulletin for next Sunday and Bible Class for Wednesday) and squeezed in a brief snooze. Now, it's just David and Meaghan here for dinner and we're doing pancakes (don't worry, Lauren, you're not missing out because we're not making bacon) - yes, Virginia, there IS a delicious low-carb pancake recipe (yet another one of Dana Carpenter's outstanding recipes).  I think it will be an EARLY evening - very little sleep last night due to the storms rolling through.

24 June 2011

Heads Up!

Tonight is the Collinsville Chorale's Patriotic Concert - held at First Baptist Church on St. Louis Road in Collinsville.  Starts at 7 and lasts about an hour.  Free will offering received.  Yes, Cindi has a solo.  Yes, she and Lauren are both singing.  Join us if you'd like an evening of good music.  The only ICKY part is that they're also singing that nasty Battle Hymn of the Republic...  They seem to think they can counter-balance that travesty with a line from Dixie.  If they really wanted to hear the other side, there's always Maryland's State Song:  The despot's heel is on thy shore.... Virginia shall not cry in vain, Maryland, my Maryland!

23 June 2011

I think it was the Venerable Bede

who first commented on the connection between our Lord's Nativity and St. John the Baptist's, some six months prior.  After our Lord's nativity, the light begins to grow; but after St. John's it begins to fade.  "He must increase but I must decrease."  It seems odd at the start of summer (at least up here in the northern hemisphere) to be thinking already of the days growing shorter.  But such is the case.  From now until the winter solstice, there will be less light in the sky each day.  And that's a reminder as well how our earth lags behind the heavenly realities - for the Kingdom has already dawned in the Resurrection and yet its full joy and light await the day of the Parousia.  We live in the "catch up" time.

Sometimes I don't think they will ever grow up...

...and I kind of like that!  Licking up the extra chocolate from the brownie mix after an afternoon of roller-blading:

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

So I now no longer regard prayer as an obligation, a duty that I must fulfill, but as something that is given to me, something that I receive from the triune God.  The main thing in prayer is a trustful, receptive heart that takes in what God has to offer.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 152,3.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If, however, we esteem our baptism highly because it is God's sacrament, ordained and commanded by him, then we stand on sure and firm ground.  The person of man does not make baptism better, whether done by the pope or some bishop, parish pastor, or chaplain, than the baptism done by a midwife in time of emergency.  Similarly, the Word preached by a parish preacher is not better than that of a chaplain.  In short, it's a matter of the Word, not the person. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity 1, HP II:239.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The man who repents of his sin discovers himself, that he had not strength of himself; and does confess unto God, saying, that he is earth and ashes. O proud one, you are turned to your own dust, your breath has been taken away; no longer do you boast yourself, no longer extol yourself, no longer justify yourself; you see that you are made of dust, and when the Lord turns away His face, you have fallen back into your own dust. Pray, therefore, confess your dust and your weakness. -- St. Augustine, On Psalm 104

22 June 2011

It was a quarter century ago...

...upon this day that I was publicly placed into the Office of the Holy Ministry with prayer and the laying on of hands.  It was at the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Wheaton, MD (where I had also been baptized, confirmed, and married).  Dr. George Lobien presided over the service of the Word; Pr. George Plvan preached with his usual Slovak grace; my District President, Dr. Richard Hinz did the actual ordination, with the other pastors joining in; and afterwards I was privileged to preside for the first time at the Holy Eucharist.  It's been, for the most part, an overwhelming joy - and I thank the Lord for the opportunity to serve His church in this way.  I pray he grants me another 25!

21 June 2011

Speaking of Green...

...come Trinity Sunday, the pastor using LSB is given a choice of three "common" prefaces for the season.  I confess that my favorite is common preface II - which echoes the eucharistic anaphora of Hippolytus (having created all things, took on human flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary...to put an end to death, thus fulfilling Your will and gaining for You a holy people).  Historically in the LCMS before the advent of the Common Service (which, I believe, prescribed the Trinity preface for the whole of Trinity), the preface now listed under St. Michael and All Angels was the prescribed preface for a regular, non-festive Sunday:  "through Him Your majesty is praised by all the holy angels, celebrated with one accord by the heavens and all the powers therein.  The cherubim and seraphim sing Your praise, and with them, we laud and magnify Your name, evermore praising You and saying..."

The Green Season Begins

but it is not so long this year, as it often is, what with Easter having fallen so late.  This year, there are but 22 Sundays after Trinity.  That means green will deck the chancel (and celebrant and assistant) for the next 13 weeks - then a little break as we transfer St. Michael's to Sunday - and then back to green till Reformation followed by All Saints, and then Green through the end of the Church Year.  St. Paul's green paraments have yellowed a bit with age, so Cindi and I ordered a new green set (including chasuble and stole) from DK Brunner and Son and have given them to the Church in thanksgiving to God for being privileged to serve the Church in the office of the holy ministry for 25 years (19 of them right here at St. Paul's).  They are a rich, emerald green.  Vestments have arrived already; paraments are due before Sunday.  Hopefully the deep green will remind us all of the blessedness of the man who "delights in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither."  Planted by the living waters of God's Holy Word and the Blessed Sacraments, His people "green up" and bear an abundant fruit to the honor and glory of their Savior, Jesus Christ!

A Comment

I offered on a Roman Catholic friend's blog:

There is a difference, if you will, between "Peter has spoken through Leo" and "Leo speaks for Peter."

Think about it.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

On the other hand, we may also use a crucifix or a work of art, like an icon, as the focus of our meditation on His presence with us.  For me, icons of Christ work best because they are designed in such a way that when I look at them, I see Christ looking at me with understanding, compassion, love, and approval.  They portray the promise of Christ to His disciples on the night before His death in John 16:22:  So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 150.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Poor Lazarus dies, with no one on earth to give him a decent burial; but the angels carry him to Abraham's bosom.  The rich man dies, too, and is buried, but in his case there are other kinds of angels waiting, to carry him to hell. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Trinity 1, HP II:231

Patristic Quote of the Day

Immolate to God the sacrifice of praise. O sacrifice gratuitous, by grace given! I have not indeed bought this to offer, but You have given: for not even this should I have had. And this is the immolation of the sacrifice of praise, to render thanks to Him from whom you have whatever of good you have, and by whose mercy is forgiven you whatsoever of evil of yours you have. -- St. Augustine on Psalm 50

20 June 2011

ONE Divine Service

this coming weekend at St. Paul's!



  • No Divine Service


  • Bible Class (Adults) 8 a.m.
  • Divine Service 9 a.m.
  • Congregational Picture (inside and outside) after Service
  • Congregational Potluck, following pictures

We sure hope that everyone can make it - it will be a little packed and a little crazy, but we are hoping to get some decent pictures of the gathered worshippers for our upcoming directory, and we figured a potluck to finish off the morning would be just perfect.  Just bring along one main and one side dish to share.  Drinks and paper products are taken care of.

+Raymond Blase

asleep in Jesus on 15 June.  Rest eternal grant him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.  Memorial Service will be this coming Saturday at St. Paul's at 11 a.m., with visitation the hour prior.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Divine Service is thus the school for Christian meditation, its proper context.  There we receive meditation as a gift.  There we learn to meditate for ourselves as the Holy Spirit does His work in us while we listen to God's Word. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 119.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Whoever has been begotten of the Father from eternity and breathes the Holy Spirit together with the Father from eternity is the true God. -- Johann Gerhard, On Christ, p. 55.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. Romans 10:4 But The End He is called, not because He consumes, but because He perfects. For ended call we the food which is eaten, and ended the coat which is woven, the former to consumption, the latter to perfection. Because then we have not where to go farther when we have come to Christ, Himself is called the end of our course. -- St. Augustine on Psalm 46.

19 June 2011

Interesting Info from the Deaconess Conference from Dr. Herl...

...the year was 1616.  Johann Georg, Margrave of Brandenburg, converted to Calvinism and sought to enforce Calvinism on his very Lutheran territory.  What changes did he demand?

All images are to be removed from the church and sent to the court.
The stone altar is to be ripped from the ground and replaced with a wooden table.
When the Lord's Supper is held, a white cloth covers the table.
All altars, crucifixes and panels are to be completely abolished.
Instead of the host, bread is to be baked into loves, cut into strips, and put in a dish from which the people receive it in their hands; likewise the chalice is received by the people with their hands.
The words of the Supper are no longer to be sung, but rather spoken.
The golden chalice to be replaced by wooden.
The prayer in the place of the collect is to be spoken, not sung.
Mass vestments and other finery no longer used.
No lamps are candles to be placed upon the altar.
The houseling cloth is not to be held in front of the communicants.
The people are not to bow as if Christ were present.
The communicants shall no longer kneel.
The sign of the cross after the benediction is to be discontinued.
The priest is no longer to stand with his back to the people.
The collect and Epistle no longer to be sung, but spoken.
Individuals are no longer to go to confession before communing, but rather register with the priest in writing.
The people are no longer to bow when the name of JESUS is mentioned, nor are they to remove their hats.
The Our Father is no longer to be prayed aloud before the sermon, but rather there is to be silent prayer.
Communion is not to be taken to the sick, as it is dangerous, especially in times of pestilence.
The stone baptismal font is to be removed and a basin substituted.
Epitaphs and crucifixes are not longer to be tolerated in the Church.
The Holy Trinity is not to be depicted in any visual form.
The words of the sacrament are to be altered and considered symbolic.
The historic Epistles and Gospels no longer used, but rather a selection of the Bible by the minister, read without commentary.

You can see from what the Elector objected to exactly what Lutheran liturgical practice was like in Brandenburg in his day!  I'm happy to note that the Elector would be distressed with much of the worship at St. Paul's in Hamel.  As Dr. Herl perceptively noted, the Elector believed that the only way to root out Lutheran doctrine was to change Lutheran worship, to get rid of worship that confessed in action what Lutherans believed in their hearts.

Four-Part Series on the Athanasian Creed

can be found here.  It was a great joy to spend four hours with Pr. Wilken on Issues, Etc. mining the rich depths of that Creed.

17 June 2011

Just spent a wonderful time in Seward...

...with these folks (and a few others not pictured).

It was a joy to lead Bible Studies for the Concordia Deaconess Conference (all Sister Sandy Bowers' fault!), to meet some old internet friends face to face, and to see some others that I've not seen for a long time.  Dr. Herl was amazing - as usual!  And the worship was reverent, joyful, and graciously led by Pr. John Berg - what a fine liturgist!  After I left I found out the Deaconesses elected me to serve as their Spiritual Counsellor (replacing Pr. Berg, who has filled out his term) for the next three years.  I am honored indeed, and look forward to more time with them - praying I can do half the job that Pr. Berg has done!

P.S.  A highlight for me was were some "Lutheran beverages" enjoyed with Dr. Phillips, Dr. Herl, and Pr. Berg on Thursday evening before Compline.

14 June 2011

Speaking of glorifying the Holy Trinity...

...have you ever pondered the Trinitarian richness of our Divine Service?  Consider:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit... I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit... Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever... Lord, have mercy upon us.  Christ have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us... Thou only, O Christ, art most high with the Holy Ghost in the glory of God the Father... through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever... Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia... I believe in one God, the Father Almighty...and in one Lord Jesus Christ...and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life... Almighty God, we give thanks for all Your goodness and bless You for the love that sustains us from day to day.  We praise You for the gift of Your Son, our Savior, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  We thank You for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter... All these things and whatever else You know that we need, grant us, Father, for the sake of Him who died and rose again and who now lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever... Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth... To You alone, O Father, be all glory, honor, and worship, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever... Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost... through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever... The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen. Amen. Amen.

And that's leaving out any glorification in the HYMNS (with their frequent doxological stanzas at the end).  Naturally on the Festival of the Holy Trinity, that is bumped up a notch even in the propers:  Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity; let us give glory to Him because He has shown His mercy to us...You have given Your servants grace to acknowledge the glory of the Eternal Trinity by the confession of a true faith, and to worship the Unity in the power of the Divine Majesty... It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, who with Your only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit are one God, one Lord.  In the confession of the only true God, we worship the Trinity in person and Unity in substance of Majesty coequal...

You Lutheran Witness Subscribers...

...be sure to check out Pastor Chris Hall's fine article in this month's edition on the Holy Trinity!  You slackers who haven't subscribed (yet! - you should!) can read it right here.

Speaking of Creeds...

...it is very interesting that we pray in the Tuesday Daily Prayer from Treasury to be "ever watchful for the confession of Christ's name."  And I do not think it an accident that our daily prayers in the Catechism prescribe the recitation of the Apostles' Creed at least twice daily:  every morning and every evening.  Why is that?  Because the Creed teaches us precisely HOW to confess the name of Christ.  Hearkening back to my own youth, I shall never forget the day when sitting idly at a ball game (and so, bored out of my gourd), two young men asked me if I knew what I needed to be saved.

I didn't understand what they were asking.  They proceeded to recite what I came to find out was the Apostles' Creed to me - they were Roman Catholics.  So began my trek into the Lutheran Church - long story - but the point of it is that it began with two young people simply using the Creed to confess Christ to another person.

Luther seems very conscious of such a use when he introduces the question in the explanation of the first article of the Creed in the Large Catechism:  "It is as if someone were to ask a little child, 'My dear, what sort of a God do you have? What do you know about Him?'  The child could say, 'This is my God:  first, the Father, who created heaven and earth..."   I.e., the Creed as a primary tool for confessing!  If we are to be ready always to give an answer to anyone who asks us about the hope we have, what better summary of that hope IS there than the Apostles' Creed?  Simple, direct, filled with the language of Scripture itself - it summarizes in three short articles the whole of our faith.  Yes, I think it was a wise thing when our Catechism prescribed it daily - and twice daily - in our prayers.

As we approach

Trinity Sunday again, the Athanasian Creed will be taken out of the closet, dusted off for use, and recited by (sometimes groaning) congregations.  I think it's a pity we only use it liturgically once a year.  To me, the great value of this creed is beyond words.  Today I'd just point out one very helpful thing (and I'm sure I've mentioned it on the blog before):  this Creed defines for us what the Catholic faith is.

"And the catholic faith is this:  that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the Persons nor dividing the substance."

According to the CREED, the catholic faith isn't submission to the Roman pontiff (why, he's not even mentioned!), nor is it adherence to this or that human tradition - no matter how venerable, and it certainly is not to be identified with the cult of the saints and such.  Rather, the catholic faith is worshipping the Trinity!  Find the glorification of the Father, Son, and Spirit going on without confusing the Persons or dividing the substance, and you've found the catholic church.

So, if you're one of those sorts who are ALLERGIC to the word "catholic" because you can only hear it as "Roman," well, let the Creed teach you that that is NOT what catholic means!  To say salvation ONLY in the catholic church is to confess salvation only in the worship of the Blessed Trinity.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

+Ruth Kelley

Asleep in our Lord Jesus this morning.  Rest eternal grant her, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her.  Pr. Gleason will have her funeral here at St. Paul's on Saturday at 10.  Ruth holds a special place in my heart - injured in a terrible car accident that took her husband's life, she has been home bound ever since I came to St. Paul's.  In the last year or so her cheerful, upbeat spirit has flagged under the weight of suffering - it's a comfort to believe her released from that:  "You have delivered my soul from death, my ears from tears, my feet from stumbling.  I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living."

13 June 2011


...breakfast; matins; communion to Jo; visit with Ray (may the angels attend him!); ran 3 miles; weights; lunch; worked on deaconess presentations; vacuumed pool; worked on deaconess presentations some more; dinner; finished up deaconess presentations and Sandy ran off (THANK YOU, SISTER SANDY!); finished last Athanasian Creed study for Issues; Elders meeting - forgot all about it, thank you, Scott, for phone call!; waiting for Cindi to get back from Chorale.  On the docket for tomorrow:  recording session at Issues at 10:30; sermon for Trinity Sunday; checking in on Ray; prayers for Sunday and School Board.  Then off to Seward!

12 June 2011

Pr. Johnson

linked to this on ALPB as we discussed Pentecost hymns.  That's a fine rendition of Luther's great hymn:

11 June 2011

'Twas absolutely delightful

to have Lauren stop in for a few days (Dean was at a camp), even WITH the critters - Dudley the autistic coon hound and Bilbo the grouchy cat.  Having her around for a few days reminded me of how very much I miss the kids.  Bekah lives on her own; David ostensibly lives here - though we rarely see him for more than the time it takes to woof down an occasional meal; and obviously Lauren and Dean are on their own.  I miss the days of a full table EVERY day and lots of laughter, argument, and conversation, and it makes me treasure all the more the rare (and growing rarer) occasions when we can all be together.

Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord

Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord,
With all Your graces now outpoured
On each believer's mind and heart;
Your fervent love to them impart.
Lord, by the brightness of Your light
In holy faith Your Church unite
From every land and every tongue;
This to Your praise, O Lord our God, be sung:
Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Come, Holy Light, Guide divine,
Now cause the Word of truth to shine.
Teach us to know our God aright
And call Him Father with delight.
From every error keep us free,
Let none but Christ our Master be,
That we in living faith abide,
In Him our Lord with all our might confide:
Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Come, Holy Fire, Comfort true,
Grant us the will Your work to do
And in Your service to abide,
Let trials turn us not aside.
Lord, by Your power prepare each heart
And to our weakness strength impart
That bravely here we may contend,
Through life and death, to You, our Lord, ascend:
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
LSB 497

Thus the Hymn of the Day for Pentecost.  I am struck by its beauty and majesty in both text and tune.  And it occurred to me for the first time that the three Chief Feasts - Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost - each feature a hymn of the day written by Dr. Luther.  On Christmas, we sing at midnight:  "From Heaven above" and on the day "We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth."  Come Easter, of course, we sing:  "Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands."  And on Pentecost, the hymn above:  "Come, Holy Ghost."

We usually remember our dear Dr. Luther as an outstanding catechist and continue to use his Catechisms; we remember him as an insightful theologian, and study his theological treatises and commentaries; we remember him as a fine preacher, and turn to his Postils for inspiration and comfort; we remember his towering translation work on the Sacred Scriptures; but it is easy to forget his exceptional gifts as poet and composer.  Tomorrow we'll be singing together with Lutheran Christians (and I suspect other Christians too) across the ages and across the world, praying the same words and asking for the Holy Spirit to strengthen our faith and empower our love, binding us in unity with the Lord Jesus.

From the Pentecost Liturgy...

O Holy Spirit, enter in and in our hearts Your work begin, Your dwelling place now make us... The Spirit of the Lord fills the world, alleluia!... O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of the faithful by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit.  Grant us in our day by the same Holy Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation... Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love... Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord, be all Your graces now outpoured on each believer's mind and heart; Your fervent love to them impart... and sitting at Your right hand, poured out on this day the promised Holy Spirit on His chosen disciples.  For all this the whole world rejoices with exceeding joy... Pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your gathered people that, faithfully eating and drinking the body and blood of Your Son, we may go forth to proclaim His salvation to the ends of the earth...

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Thus right from the beginning of the Church, there was a strong tradition of daily prayer in Christian homes and communities.  Yet that tradition did not displace the Divine Service as the center of Christian spirituality.  Rather, it built upon it and extended it.  Daily prayer related the whole cycle of daily work within the weekly and annual round of the public worship of the Church.  The practice of daily prayer established the home as the place of prayer for each human family, just as the church was the place for the performance of the Divine Service by the whole family of God. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 77.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Just as the Father sends and pours out the Holy Spirit, so also the Son sends and pours out the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the fact that the Holy Spirit is sent and poured out by the Son is tantamount to the Father's doing it, except that while the Son receives everything from the Father, the Father does not from the Son.  For the Father is the source or fountain (as the fathers call it) of the Trinity.  Yet what the Son has from the Father, he has essentially and fully from eternity.  -- Blessed Martin Luther, Homily 2 for Pentecost (HP II:169)

Patristic Quote of the Day

Behold His rewards. What, save punishment, was due unto the sinner? What was due to the blasphemer, but the hell of burning fire? He gave not these rewards: that you may not shudder with dread: and without love fear Him....But you are a sinner. Turn again, and receive these His rewards: He forgives all your sin....Yet even after remission of sins the soul herself is shaken by certain passions; still is she amid the dangers of temptation, still is she pleased with certain suggestions; with some she is not pleased, and sometimes she consents unto some of those with which she is pleased: she is taken. This is infirmity: but He heals all your infirmities. All your infirmities shall be healed: fear not. They are great, you will say: but the Physician is greater. -- St. Augustine on Psalm 103

10 June 2011

Setting up for dinner tonight...

...and a conversation online about what traditional families used to look like, called to mind again the joy of life at Aunt Emma's (Granddaddy Mastin's).  You never knew who would be there for breakfast or supper - Uncle Jimmy might be stopping by, or the neighbors Earl and Norma Allen with their miniature poodle Pierre, or even the minister!  Then there were the relatives who dropped in for weeks at a time - Sidney and Pete, Virginia (oh, how she kept us in stitches!), and us.  So many more.  After a breakfast table that groaned under the good things laden on it, the day might find some work in the garden (I even remember helping Aunt Emma weed once - not a successful venture.  Turned into rock collecting instead), snapping green beans on the back porch of an afternoon, all the family and whoever else showed up gathered around the huge dining room table, and Uncle Jim praying:  "Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all Thy mercies and make us ever mindful of the needs of others, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."  My family never felt constrained with "don't talk with food in your mouth."  Talking was just fine!  A habit that Cindi has mostly - almost - broken me of.  And the laughter around that table!  I can hear it still.  My grandfather had the odd habit of not asking for a dish, but wiggling his finger at it - that way, the conversation wasn't interrupted.  I do the same to this day.  I usually ate in the kitchen with my cousin George, because I was a bit shy of all those people!  After dinner and cleanup, then the folks would make their way to the screened porch and the conversation and laughter would continue.  My mom had her spot on the swing and we'd sit and listen and talk and laugh as the sun set and the song of the whippoorwill's began.  Sigh.  Summer in the country.  And now the house stands so silent and empty.  But I like to think we've carried a piece of that heritage onward with us here.  No whippoorwill, but we will certainly feast together and laugh and then play cards as the evening shadows fall.


Logged 17 miles of running in this week - the most in a long time.  And all outside.  Been a great week for it.  Did five miles Monday and then three miles each of the other days.  Three miles is perfect (with intervals).  It works up a total sweat and yet doesn't take too much time out of the day. Have taken to circling the church property.  It provides an easy 1/4 mile and best of all?  The restroom is always right at hand.  Nothing like nature deciding to call when you're three and half miles from home!!!  And naturally, since I've been running so close to home, nature hasn't bothered calling during a run at all.  I think it's that:  "Gotcha!" factor.

In Luther's Exhortation to All Clergy Assembled at Augsburg

he describes a bit of the topics that the true Christian Church ought be concerned and draws a contrast with the then-current practices in the Roman parishes (which he proceeds not to reject, but to reject the focus upon them in place of the focus upon the matters he listed).  It's fascinating to study both lists.  What I found most interesting in his list of things that the true Christian Church ought be concerned about was this section:

What the keys are.
What a bishop is.
What a deacon is.
What the preaching office is.

I've italicized the item that surprised me.  If Luther thought that the office of deacon was something that deserves the Church's attention, it has been sadly true that since the time of Luther, precious little attention has been given to the diaconal office among Lutherans.  This is truly odd given the way that the constant pairing of bishops and deacons run through the Pastoral epistles.  I believe that the time has come for Lutherans to seriously ponder this office of deacon, so rooted in the NT, and to seek the manner of its restoration among us.  We've done some decent work with deaconesses, but we've failed as a Synod (though there are Districts that do better on their own) to provide for the "male deaconess" as one wag put it.

And here deacon ought NOT be primarily a stepping stone to the pastoral office, but precisely seen primarily as its own office.  Imagine if we gave attention in each parish to the office of faith (the pastoral office with its preaching and teaching of the Word for the salvation of our bodies and souls) AND to the office of love (the diaconal office with its attention to the material needs of the community).  We might even become again such a Church that the heathen around would cry out:  "Behold, how they love one another!"

09 June 2011

I don't think I'd ever really registered

that Acts 1:8 isn't a commandment; it's a promise.  Not:  "Go be my witnesses" but "you will be my witnesses."  Fits rather well with the insights from Pr. Curtis' paper, eh?

08 June 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Through the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in us, we become givers of thanks.  Then our deeds harmonize with the song in our hearts, which resonates with the song of the Church in the Divine Service.  That inner song of thanksgiving to God the Father, which is heard only by Him, colors everything we do and say. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 68.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We desperately need this Pentecost sermon of the Holy Spirit, so that he may give us a courageous heart, so that we, too, may persevere, regardless of who is offended, regardless of how much people may slander us. -- Blessed Martin Luther, House Postil II:163.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Be sure that the Lord He is God Psalm 100:3. Who knows not that the Lord, He is God? But He speaks of the Lord, whom men thought not God: Be sure that the Lord He is God. Let not that Lord become vile in your sight: you have crucified Him, scourged Him, spit upon Him, crowned Him with thorns, clothed Him in a dress of infamy, hung Him upon the Cross, pierced Him with nails, wounded Him with a spear, placed guards at His tomb; He is God. It is He that has made us, and not we ourselves. -- St. Augustine on Psalm 100

Since January, I've

been leading the Wednesday Catechism Service at the Chapel of the LCMS International Center.  It occurred to me that many folks have never been to the IC, and might like to see what the Chapel looks like.  I took a few pics this morning before anyone arrived:

07 June 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

There is in fact no better way to publicize His hidden riches and glory than by whole-hearted, full-bodied communal praise. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 67.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We must talk about this joy-filled sermon because, by the grace of God, it has been handed down to us, so that we might preserve the distinction between the Law and the message of grace, which is the Lord Christ's' proper message.  -- Blessed Martin Luther, HP II:159.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For this shall every one that is holy pray unto You in an acceptable time: for this wickedness of heart shall every one that is righteous pray unto You. For not by their own merits will they be holy, but by that acceptable time, that is, at His coming, who redeemed us from sin. -- St. Augustine on Psalm 32

Nicest Feature of New Pool?

Intex finally figured out the "vacuum."  All the pools we owned before this made the vacuuming a nightmare.  You had to take out the skimmer basket, soak the vacuum and the tube in the water, and then quickly flip it over and insert it in the skimmer basket holder, hoping that you didn't let enough air in the system to stall the filter pump (and it often did!).  And then it only did a so-so job of sucking stuff off the bottom of the pool.  The new "vacuum" doesn't vacuum at all.  It's a hose attachment, shooting a targeted stream of water into a simple little gauze bag you tie onto the contraption.  So you get the power of the hose and the bag catches everything that the stream shoots into it.  Very slick, very easy, very non-stressful.  Kudos, Intex.  That puppy works!

06 June 2011

It Just Occurred to Me

that we are almost five years into the "new" hymnal, Lutheran Service Book.  Wow!  They have flown by.  I think it was in early August of 2006 that the hymnals appeared in St. Paul's pews - we got to be the first congregation of Synod to have them.  We also were the first to notice the misprinting in some of the volumes!  Pr. Gleason's wife found yet another misprinted hymnal just the other day.  We've mostly got them all replaced gratis - thank you, CPH!

There were disappointments, of course, but over all LSB has been enormously well received here as in the Synod as a whole.  You can pretty much walk into any LCMS congregation (except the far out contemporary worship ones) and find it in the pews - though it is used to varying degrees in various places.  Still, it's a comfort to find a familiar hymnal ready and waiting.  It truly is the next "TLH" - the hymnal set to last for a generation and more - built to last.

In our parish, we've mastered Divine Service 3, 4, and 5.  We also know Matins and Evening Prayer, and some of our members have learned Compline and Service of Prayer and Preaching (Catechism Service).  We've learned a number of new hymns that have quickly become "old favorites" and we still have others we're working on mastering (like last Sunday's "Christ is the World's Redeemer").  Occasionally, we switch back to an old TLH tune (our folk absolutely love Spanish Chant for "Savior, When in Dust" - so we sing that though the new tune is a better fit to the text, in my opinion).  Private Confessions, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, and Funerals are all "right out of the book."  We've learned most of the Psalm tones and are comfortable chanting Psalms, Introits, etc.

Behind the scenes, the Hymn Selection Guide (also built into Builder) is an absolute God-send.  We rarely depart from its suggestions.  Builder is not Mac native, but since we use the One Year Series, I only needed to create the bulletins in Builder once - after that, I tweak them yearly in Word and rarely need to access Builder itself anymore.  The Altar Book is remarkably complete and very easy to use.  I set the ribbons before each liturgy (one at the Kyrie, Gloria / one at the Preface for the day / one at the Prayer of the Church / one for the Propers of the Day; and I keep a permanent tab at the Sanctus and following) - a little practice and the ribbon turning becomes second nature.

As far as I can see, the biggest mistake was NOT including the Passion Readings in the Lectionary and instead placing them in the Altar Book - that means that each Lent I have to bring my personal Altar Book from home and put it on the Lectern for midweek Lenten Vespers. And that's my biggest complaint!  Honest injun!  It's just an exceedingly well thought out and put together set of books.  When I remember what it was like when I started, well, I'm just very thankful to the Synod and Commission on Worship for providing such an outstanding and unified resource. It makes being a pastor wonderfully simple - at least as far as liturgy is concerned.

Pr. Gernander just wished me...

...an early Pentecost greeting, and it struck me that pastors tend to live a week ahead of their parishioners.  I just walked over to see if the paraments had been changed (they had - thank you, dear ladies!) and I put up the Pentecost banner and got the hymn board ready for the weekend.  And yes, the Pentecost readings have been much in my mind since yesterday.  Language - how little reflection we give to it, and yet how huge it is in the Pentecost readings.  Not only Babel and Babel reversed in Acts 2, but also Jesus promising the Holy Spirit's intimate connection with language:  the Spirit will bring to the Apostles' remembrance "all I said."  Language again.  And of course, we have a collection of writings that are the fulfillment of that promise - the New Testament! - a speaking Spirit, like a speaking Son (the Word) of a speaking Father.  The Reformation in many ways was about language and taking it seriously.  It is not an accident that Luther's great theological "aha" came via a linguistic discovery, and that Lutherans have seriously pursued the study of language as a key to the Church's preserving her theological heritage.  "Love the languages as you love the Gospel" Dr. Luther once urged.  And is it not utterly of a piece with the incarnation that we have the Gospels not only as story, but as written accounts?  Writing is our protest against the ravages of death and the fading memories along time's everflowing stream.  Make the words into something written and it can float down the stream and reach people who live far removed from the original events.  But when the writing is about THAT event - our Lord's life, death, resurrection, ascension, and pouring out of the Spirit - then it is more than a protest against the ravages of death and fading memory.  It is a living gift of the Spirit that brings to us today as our own those once for all time events.  Hence the great "Hodie" of the Church's song.  Well, enough rambling.  But it's all Jerry's fault... He started the mind wandering.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

A secret remains a secret only as long as you don't know it.  Once it is revealed, it ceases to be a secret.  But a mystery remains a mystery even when it is revealed.  In fact, the more you know about it, the more mysterious it becomes. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 57.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

At this new Pentecost, we see how the Holy Spirit transformed the fainthearted, despairing, and cowardly hearts of the apostles and disciples into courageous heroes, awe-inspiring giants and invincible men, who boldly defy the whole world and the devil himself. -- Blessed Martin Luther, HP II:160.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For, behold, in iniquities I was conceived. Was David born of adultery; being born of Jesse, 1 Samuel 16:18 a righteous man, and his own wife? What is it that he says himself to have been in iniquity conceived, except that iniquity is drawn from Adam? Even the very bond of death, with iniquity itself is engrained? No man is born without bringing punishment, bringing desert of punishment. A Prophet says also in another place, No one is clean in Your sight, not even an infant, whose life is of one day upon earth. For we know both by the Baptism of Christ that sins are loosed, and that the Baptism of Christ avails the remission of sins. If infants are every way innocent, why do mothers run with them when sick to the Church? What by that Baptism, what by that remission is put away? An innocent one I see that rather weeps than is angry. What does Baptism wash off? What does that Grace loose? There is loosed the offspring of sin. For if that infant could speak to you, it would say, and if it had the understanding which David had, it would answer you, Why do you heed me, an infant? Thou dost not indeed see my actions: but I in iniquity have been conceived, And in sins has my mother nourished me in the womb. - St. Augustine on Psalm 51

04 June 2011

Whirlwind Trip to Chicago and Back

for Board of Regents.  Thursday night, didn't sleep well anyway, and then up at 5:00.  We hit the road by six and were in Oak Park by around 10:30.  Quickly changed and then we walked up to the University.  Luncheon began at noon, and then meetings started at 1 p.m.  We went to the Johnson's for some wine and appetizers afterwards, and then off to dinner.  Cindi had selected an Indian restaurant and I made an utter pig of myself - was definitely waddling when we left.  It was quite tasty, needless to say.  Visited the hotel bar for an after dinner drink, caught a wee bit of the Cards vs. Cubs - and joined a few others in cheering on the Cards - strangers in an alien land...  After not sleeping well for the second night, up early this morning and enjoyed a brief breakfast at local bagelry.  Meetings wrapped up before noon, and we drove back to Oak Park for lunch at the Jerusalem Grill and then hit the road.  It was difficult staying awake for the drive home - blazing hot and just wanted to nod off.  Had to stop again and again for coffee and to wake up.  Finally called Pr. Gleason to ask him to take the service by himself tonight.  Pulled in, unloaded, and took a nap!  Now up and groggy; it will be an early evening.

02 June 2011


seems to be dying a slow death here in the USA.  So few Churches celebrate the feast on the 40th day after Easter anymore.  In Roman Churches here, it is mostly moved to the Sunday following.  Some Lutheran parishes join together for service on its own day, but the congregation still diminishes yearly.  Is it really unthinkable that Christ's people gather on a Thursday once a year?  I often think, though, what a blessing that the first Ascension was attended only by 11 men on the earthly side of the service, but it was overflowing joy as the countless hosts of Angels and Archangels trumpeted the enthronement of Mary's Son as their King and welcomed home the human flesh to the throne it was first created for.  Maybe it has ever been so - heaven realizing the greatness of the day and earthlings mostly oblivious.  People loved by God, do not deprive yourselves if the unique joy of this splendid feast!  I don't know how many showed up at St. Paul's tonight, but my sense is that each year it is less than the year before.

Time Out: with St. Bede the Venerable!

Ascension Day Joys!

From Starck's...for Ascension

O my Jesus, let me be where You are.  Draw me to Yourself, to the place where You are exalted at the right hand of God.  Bring me to the company of the holy angels and all the saints.  Let me behold Your glory, the glory You have prepared for Your believers.   (p. 96)


Divine Service at 7:15 p.m.  "Up through endless ranks of angels..."

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We quite readily imagine that we are actors performing before God to gain His applause rather than beggars receiving His gifts. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 38.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We held Christ to be our angry judge and Mary to be our throne of grace, where all our comfort and refuge lay, if we did not wish to despair.  Was that not that a horrible innovation?  Where were the bishops who rebuked such blasphemers and betrayers of Christ who took away Christ's office and gave it to Mary, who taught us to flee from Christ and to fear him as a whipmaster, and directed elsewhere our confidence which we owed to him as the true divine service? -- Blessed Martin Luther, Exhortation to the Clergy Assembled at Augsburg, 1530 [This is actually a fascinating read - I've never had the joy of it before.  Luther is massively on target in it]

Patristic Quote of the Day

God has gone up with jubilation. What is jubilation, but admiration of joy which cannot be expressed in words? As the disciples in joy admired, seeing Him go into Heaven, whom they had mourned dead; truly for the joy, words sufficed not: remained to jubilate what none could express. There was also the voice of the trumpet, the voice of Angels. For it is said, Lift up your voice like a trumpet. Angels preached the ascension of the Lord: they saw the Disciples, their Lord ascending, tarrying, admiring, confounded, nothing speaking, but in heart jubilant: and now was the sound of the trumpet in the clear voice of the Angels, You men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This is Jesus. --St. Augustine on Psalm 47

01 June 2011


Off to pray with Michael before surgery today down at SLU - sounds like it turned out well, thanks be to God!  Then chapel at IC on Confession and Absolution.  Back to Illinois for lunch with pastors (and deaconess!).  Home to catch up on work, and out for a run in the sun to Hamel and back followed by a quick cool off in the pool.  Then dinner (Bekah and David joined us - yeah!) and off to Bible Class - the joys of Colossians 3.  Day ended where it began:  trip to hospital for Cindi to get an MRI done (yes, scheduled at 9 p.m. - unbelievable).  Now home and ready for bed.  Looking forward to the Feast tomorrow:  the Ascension of our Lord!

Commemoration of St. Justin Martyr

Today we commemorate St. Justin, Martyr.  From the Treasury and our Synod's website:

June 1 
Justin, Martyr  Born at the beginning of the second century, Justin was raised in a pagan family. He was student of philosophy who converted to the Christian faith and became a teacher in Ephesus and Rome. After refusing to make pagan sacrifices, he was arrested, tried and executed, along with six other believers. The official Roman court proceedings of his trial before Rusticius, a Roman prelate, document his confession of faith. The account of his martyrdom became a source of great encouragement to the early Christian community. Much of what we know of early liturgical practice comes from Justin.

My favorite quote from Justin is this:

For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but just as our Savior Jesus Christ, being incarnate through the work of God, took flesh and blood for our salvation, so too we have been taught that the food over which thanks have been given by a prayer of the Word that is from Him, from which our flesh and blood are fed by transformation, is both the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.  (First Apology 66:2)

Almighty and everlasting God, You found Your martyr Justin wandering from teacher to teacher, searching for the true God.  Grant that all who seek for a deeper knowledge of the sublime wisdom of Your eternal Word may be found by You, who, sent Your Son to seek and to save the lost; through Jesus Christ, our Lord...

What is so rare as a day in June?