29 September 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

When we fast we let God expose the secrets of our hearts and let His light drive out the darkness in them; we let Him set the agenda for our fuller participation in His holiness and with Christ in His battle against the evil one.  Fasting, therefore, is a kind of spiritual house-cleaning.  Its "reward" is greater freedom from oppression by Satan and deeper intimacy with God. -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 244.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Luther and his fellow priests did not want to forge a new church.  Rather, they were striving to cleanse, polish, and restore the prior church to its original splendor and youthful integrity, since it had been wretchedly befouled by bad behavior and false teachings.  They preferred to be considered as physicians who would heal and cleanse, rather than as parents who would give birth to a new church.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, The Church, p. 321.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When you consider creation I advise you to first think of Him who is the first cause of everything that exists; namely, the Father, and then of the Son, who is the creator, and then the Holy Spirit, the perfecter... The Originator of all things is One: He creates through the Son and perfects through the Spirit.  -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 38.

28 September 2011

Sad to say...

...they did it.  Minnesota South has sold University Lutheran Chapel's building.  Pr. Peters expresses his distress here.  I utterly agree, and the only thing I'd add is this:  let us not in righteous indignation fall into the snare of the devil.  Rather, when wronged by religious authority, let us do exactly what our Lord commanded us to do:  pray for those who do the wrong for the gift of repentance; pray for the wronged for strength to be kind and forgiving and loving especially to those who have wronged them; and above all put our concern for University Lutheran Chapel to action by gifts of support.  "...even when steeples are falling."

27 September 2011

The Prayer of the Church

This is one that comes from the Church Book.  Reed says it came into English from the Reformation at Cologne, composed by Melanchthon and Bucer, prepared for Archbishop Hermann in 1543.  It's a gem:

Merciful God, Heavenly Father,  Who hast commanded us to meet together in Thy Name, and in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, to ask of Thee what is requisite and profitable for us and for all men, and hast graciously promised to hear our prayers and grant our requests: We present ourselves before Thy Divine Majesty, beseeching Thee to pardon our sins and unrighteousness, and to quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that, with all confidence, we may ask of Thee whatsoever things are needful to Thy Church and to all men, and surely obtain the same to our profit and Thy praise.

For Thy Church and people, we pray: Save and defend them from the power of those whom Thou hast not sent, and send them Pastors and teachers who shall faithfully seek Thy scattered sheep, bring them to the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and diligently build them up in all Thy will and pleasure, that all ungodliness and wicked works, and all heresies, schisms, and false religion may be done away; and that, in the unity of thej true faith and the Confession of Thy j dear Son, we may be one in Him, and dwell together in love, to the honor of Thy Name, and the good of our fellow-men.

For all in authority, especially for all who bear rule over us, we pray: Grant that they may be Thine indeed, put down all evil, and uphold and further all good, that we, being delivered from the fear of our enemies, may serve Thee in all holiness and righteousness.

And as it is Thy will to be a Saviour to the whole world, we also pray for all sorts and conditions of men: Draw to Thy dear Son those who are yet far from Him, and grant that those whom Thou hast drawn to Him may daily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord.

For all who are in any trouble or sorrow, we pray; Comfort them in their distresses, and send them speedy deliverance out of all their afflictions; and help us to lay to heart Thy fatherly chastenings, that we may judge ourselves and amend our ways, that we come not under Thy judgments.

Grant, also, that we, who are here assembled for Thy worship, may hold fast Thy Word, die unto self, and be wholly given to Thy dear Son our Saviour, Who by His bitter sufferings and death hath redeemed us from sin and condemnation, and by His glorious Resurrection and Ascension hath brought us to oneness with Himself and with His Church.

May the holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood be meat and drink to us unto eternal life, that we may live in Him, and He in us, to the hallowing of Thy Name, the furtherance of Thy Kingdom, and the doing of Thy Will with cheerfulness ami love, as it is done in heaven.

Give us also our daily bread, and all things that pertain to our bodily comfort, health, and peace; and grant us grace to use the same to Thy honor and glory.

And forgive us, O Lord, our daily faults, as we now before Thee forgive those who in. any way have harmed us; and suffer not our adversary the devil to prevail against us, but deliver us from him, and from all evil; for Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Chemnitz on Receptive Spirituality

God does not confer and convey grace in this life just once, so that it is at once complete and perfect, so that as long as we are in this life God would will and convey nothing more, and that a person would need to receive nothing more from God; but God is always giving and man is always receiving, in order that we may be joined more and more fully and perfectly to Christ, and may hold the forgiveness of sins or reconciliation more firmly, so that the benefits of redemption, which have been begun in us, may be preserved and strengthened and may grow and increase.  - Examen II:76,77.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

All people remain in darkness until Christ comes and teaches them His Father's Word with authority.  That Word discloses and exposes the darkness.  With that Word Christ dispels the darkness from human hearts. -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 239.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Here we appeal to every truly devout Christian and ask whether in the terrors of conscience we are not forced to flee for refuge in true faith to Christ alone and rest solely on His merit. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 322.

Patristic Quote of the Day

In addition to these things the same man, while recounting the events of that period, records that the Church up to that time had remained a pure and uncorrupted virgin, since, if there were any that attempted to corrupt the sound norm of the preaching of salvation, they lay until then concealed in obscure darkness.  But when the sacred college of apostles had suffered death in various forms, and the generation of those that had been deemed worthy to hear the inspired wisdom with their own ears had passed away, then the league of godless error took its rise as a result of the folly of heretical teachers, who, because none of the apostles was still living, attempted henceforth, with a bold face, to proclaim, in opposition to the preaching of the truth, the 'knowledge which is falsely so-called.' - Eusebius quoting Hegesippius (Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 32, 7,8)

26 September 2011

Hans does it again...

...on University Lutheran Chapel:  check it out here.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Hatred is spiritual suicide.  It marks the end of eternal life, the new life that we have in Christ.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 235.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Yet it must follow that the truth of teaching, not antiquity of time, is a mark of the church and that the truth of a church must be evaluated on the basis of the truth of its teaching, which is something like the "soul" of antiquity, without which antiquity is a corpse lacking a soul.  The true antiquity is that which has to do with the "Ancient of Days", which has a divine origin, and which has truth of teaching connected to it.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 301.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Even while we wait for the full enjoyment of the good things in store for us, by the Holy Spirit we are able to rejoice through faith in the promise of the graces to come.  If the promise itself is so glorious, what must its fulfillment be like?  -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 36.

25 September 2011

Random thought for the night...

...I wonder if you could summarize the difference between orthodox Christianity and antinomianism along these lines:

The orthodox Christian knows himself freed from the curse of the law (by the Savior's righteousness - his flawless obedience to the same);

The antinomian imagines himself freed from the law (which is, after all, but the expression of God's will that we live in love).

Today we anticipated

the feast of St. Michael's and All Angels.  Overwhelming joy, as always.  After service, Cindi and I grabbed a quick lunch and then headed over to the Braasch's for a house-blessing.  I'll never forget the day of the ice-storm when Sharon called and said there'd been a fire, and a passing motorist had seen the flames, and roused the boys (who were asleep and home alone).  The house is beautifully restored and even improved.  After the house blessing and a brief visit, home to teach catechesis (this is the week of the huge lesson - commandments 4 through 8!).  Bekah and Shawn joined us for dinner - we ate breakfast, actually - bacon and eggs and muffins.  Throughout the day, my voice has been deteriorating.  I'm hoping that it just is tired and that a night's sleep will do the trick.  Anywho, a wonderful and full day, and I think it will be early to bed tonight.

24 September 2011

Prayers arise...

...for my cousin Tommy and his family.  Tommy died yesterday morning.  His family is slowly wending their way back home to Virginia from Wyoming.  Of the first cousins on my mom's side, Tommy is the first to die a "natural" death (I hate calling cancer natural - blasted, wicked thing!).  Tommy was of the Martin clan - and my mom always said:  "The Martins are jolly!"  Of them, Tommy was among the most jolly.  Not long before my mom died, Tommy showed up to see her.  "Mildred," her sisters said, "Tommy's come a long way to see you."  My mom, stricken with Alzheimer's, didn't miss a beat:  "Well aren't I worth coming a long way to see?"  I'm sure Tommy laughed and laughed about that.  Indeed you were, mom.  Tommy, God's rest to your soul!  And may all my Martin cousins find peace in the promise of the Savior's defeat of death.


the latest silliness in Phoenix, I am of the opinion that Padre Dave hit upon an ingenious idea.  Lutheran parishes in the area should advertise:  "The Blood of Christ STILL served here to the laity."


Why do I NEVER remember Hymn #521 until the bulletin is finished for St. Michaels????

Homily upon St. Michael's and All Angels

You don’t get very far in the Bible before you start bumping into angels of this sort, that sort, and the other.  They come in a bewildering array of varieties, but in two basic flavors:  good or evil.  And since the fall of our race into the power of the evil angels (and the evidence of that is all around you – you don’t need to open your Bible for it.  Just check the latest Drudge Report or read the newspaper or watch CNN or Fox for a bit - or you might even try the gutsy approach and look into your own heart), as I was saying, since the fall of our race, we find the good angels somewhat frightening.  Even holy prophets do.  So when Daniel in his room suddenly feels an angel’s hand touching him, he drops trembling to his hands and knees.  But the angel wasn’t sent to scare him, just to bring him good news.  Hence:  “O Daniel, man greatly loved… fear not!”  The good news the angel brings is more than a tad mysterious.  It’s hard enough to make sense out of human warfare, knowing who to believe and sorting out what really happened and such.  But angelic warfare?  How will we ever get that?

But doesn’t much matter if we get it or not; or if we haven’t a clue how it relates to what’s going on in our world, this much we do know:  God hasn’t left us alone.  Though they scare the daylights out of us because of our sinfulness, the good angels are actually fighting for us!  And that battle has been going on for ages, and will go on until that joyous moment Daniel foretold:  when after the time of trouble, God’s people – all whose names are written in His book – will be delivered.  They’ll waken from the dust.  Multitudes upon multitudes standing alive again upon earth.  And for some it will be the awakening for which they have longed and prayed:  they arise to everlasting life and begin to shine like the bright stars in the sky.  But for others, it will be an awakening to shame and contempt – everlasting contempt.  Till that Day of the great division arrives, we have these angel hosts battling alongside of us, and in fact battling for us at God’s command – battling to have us join them in their choir, singing praises to the Blessed Trinity and finding that to be joy eternal.

There’s Michael again in Revelation – and it is not much clearer all that is happening this time.  But what is clear is this:  Michael shows Satan and his angels the door.  He can no longer pull off what he was doing in Job or in Zechariah – where he stands in the presence of God and accuses God's people of their sin.  Instead, God's saints have conquered the accuser by the blood of the Lamb.  You know, what will be up there in that chalice.  The blood of Jesus that has answered for every single sin that Satan could ever accuse you of.  As you testify to the power of that blood to blot our sin and deliver to you forgiveness, you join in the rejoicing of the heavens – even while you walk on earth, where the old serpent still lays his snares, seeking to pull you into his thankless, bitter, and empty existence, seeking to pull you out of the angel choir and bring you back down into his wrath and fury, inviting you to be like him "an accuser of the brethren."   If you’re angry all the time, it’s a warning sign that the devil’s digging in deep!  That’s not the Lord’s way – His way is the path of joy - singing with the angels.

So in the Gospel there is joy.  The 72 that Jesus sent out to bring the good news of the Kingdom, to heal and forgive, they return to Jesus celebrating that even the demons are subject to them in Jesus’ strong name – that name you utter so lightly and sometimes even as a curse!  God forbid.  Before that holy name the demons cower and do you dare foolishly treat it as a nothing?  Repent!

The disciples have joy – great joy – at the power that’s in the name of Jesus, and Jesus rejoices with them.  Tells them that while they’ve gone forth speaking His Word, driving the evil angels back and out of people’s lives by the power of His name, He’s been watching – and what He saw was nothing less than Satan falling out of heaven like lightning.  Suddenly struck down, unable to stand as the accuser of the brethren anymore.  And He has gift even bigger:  “Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”

What did He mean by that?  Serpents bite with their head; scorpions with their tail.  Over evil from start to finish then, he sets them free.  He doesn’t mean that they’ll not suffer.  You know that they did – almost all of them martyred for Him.  But this was key:  their suffering had no power to pull them into the sphere of the enemy.  They could be beaten, whipped, sawn apart, burned at the stake, or fed to the lions.  None of it could destroy the life that they had in Jesus.  None of it could make them hate those who ill used them.  None of it could draw them back into the life of complaining and anger and frustration.  Rather, they would triumph over every bit of it, singing along with the angels a hymn of heavenly joy.  As St. Paul would later say:  “More than conquerors through Him who loves us.”

And as if that’s not enough – even more!  “Don’t get so worked up about that, though.  I’ve got a bigger gift yet.  You take your joy from this:  that your names are written in heaven.”  This is the point where Janet Engelke likes to remind me that years ago I made the flip statement in Bible Class that people write down things not to remember them, but so they can forget them.  She likes me to remind me that now that I’m 20 years older, I’m writing things down right and left precisely so that I won’t forget them, but remember them.  And this is Jesus’ good news to His disciples:  Your names are written down.  You will not be forgotten.  No, even long after your body has turned to the dust, you will not be forgotten.  Your heavenly Father will remember you, will summon you by name on that joyous last day and call you into His everlasting kingdom – body and soul made new and whole.  THAT’S a cause for joy that’s overwhelmingly huge.  You’re remembered.  That’s what the name business is all about.  He put His name on you in Baptism.  He’ll not be forgetting you.

And while you still sojourn here, today we celebrate that the Lord hauls out His book, points to your name, tells his angels:  See that one right there.  That one is mine.  I love him.  I love her.  Now you go take care of him.  Guard her.  Protect them.  See them safely home till they join full-voiced with their new resurrection bodies in the hymn of praise that does not end.

St. Michael’s and all angels.  More joy than we can imagine as we thank the Lord for his angels and pray that they do their work well, keeping us with them in the Lord’s huge choir, and guarding us from the Accuser and his seductions.  Your name is written.  He won’t forget you. You’ve got a spot.  It’s blood bought and angel guarded, and for that all glory to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, now and ever.  Amen.

22 September 2011

I think it was

yesterday's reading in Treasury, but might have been the day before:  "for godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (1 Tim 4:8)  It struck me again how utterly true that is:  "promise for the present life."

Godliness, the life lived in communion with the Blessed Trinity, receiving all as gift and offering thanks and praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and loving service to our neighbor - well, there's just not a better way to live, is there?  I remember hearing someone remark along those lines:  if the whole thing were a fraud (which, of course, it absolutely is not!), still living here as a Christian is better than any other way of living.  And when we remember that this present joy is only the appetizer for the Feast???  Wow!

When we see the immense sadness that sin brings in our lives when it is embraced, coddled, even celebrated; when we see the untold damage that doing your own thing does to you as a person and to those around you - then we appreciate even more the words of St. Paul about godliness and we pray that we might always hold them in our heart and help others to see that repentance and faith landing us in doxology and service really IS what life is all about.

Another blog post

to commend to your reading.  Pr. Beisel holds forth on what characterizes the battle in this generation, this time, in our Synod.  I think he puts his finger squarely upon the problem.  What do you think?  Check it out here.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

In the front door attack he [Satan] tries to breaks into the conscience by attacking our faith in Christ; in the back door attack he attempts to gain a secret foothold by attacking our love for our fellow Christians, our brothers and sisters in Christ. -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 234.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Bereans are commended in Acts 17:11 because they passed judgment on the teaching of Paul and Silas "from the Scripture," not from the appearance of an apparent antiquity.  Therefore in just the same way, it is our duty not to be moved by the attractive pretext of antiquity but to pass judgment from Scripture about any doctrine as to whether it is truly ancient.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 300.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to Paradise, our ascension to the Kingdom of heaven, our adoption as God's sons, our freedom to call God our Father, our becoming partakers of the grace of Christ, being called children of light, sharing in eternal glory, and in our word, our inheritance of the fullness of blessing, both in this world and the world to come. -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 36.

Here a post you MUST check out

from Fr. Hollywood's blog.  Enjoy the enthusiastic singing of our fellow Lutherans in Africa as they work out of the new French hymnal (a companion of sorts to our LSB, put together by Pr. David Saar and others in Lutheran Church Canada).  Cantor Magness is the white face in the crowd - this is his second trip to Congo to help with teaching liturgy and the use of the hymnal.

21 September 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

By drinking Jesus' blood and trusting in it for our deliverance and safety, we overcome Satan.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 232.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If we wish to examine the facts, they are more correctly called "Papists" after their pope than we are called "Lutherans" after Luther.  They acknowledge the pope as the head of the their church, as the infallible judge in all controversies... We, on the other hand, attribute no such honor to Luther.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 293.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The water receives our body as a tomb, and so becomes the image of death, while the Spirit pours in life-giving power, renewing in souls which were dead in sin the life they first possessed.  This is what it means to be born again of water and the Spirit:  the water accomplishes our death, while the Spirit raises us to life.  -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 35.

Several sites are noting

a fine video and news story on the sale of ULC here.  The silence of the Board and the President of MNS is nothing short of stunning.  It's like deja vu with the Issues, Etc. fiasco, where Synod execs stonewalled for a number of days.  Chaplain Gard notes that this sort of behavior only increases the distrust of the district and its officials.  Once again I say:  David Kind for President of MNS!

Fall poetry

Pr. Mozolak has shared some poems on his blog and here; to me one of the endearing poems of fall is from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings:

Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
long years numberless as the wings of trees!
The long years have passed like swift draughts
of the sweet mead in the lofty halls of the West,
beneath the blue vaults of Varda wherein the stars tremble
in the song of her voice, holy and queenly.
Who now shall refill the cup for me?
For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of the Stars,
from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds,
and all paths are drowned deep in shadow;
and out of a grey country
darkness lies on the foaming waves between us,
and mist covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever.
Now, lost, lost to those from the East is Valimar!
Farewell!  Maybe thou shalt find Valimar.
Maybe even thou shalt find it.

20 September 2011

Pastor Peters nails it...

...yet again.  This is getting to be ridiculous.

Fall truly is in the air...

...not only the relief from the heat, but the leaves falling (the drought helped that along!), the growing darkness and the since of stillness that sets in in nature.  I love the changes that the seasons bring with them.  And how they call for different foods. I made some ginger bread today and my sister said right away:  "Ginger bread.  Must be fall."  Exactly.  And also Cindi prepared a fine stew for lunch (using some of our fresh basil) - we never eat stew in the summer!  We also fried up yesterday the last bit of St. Paul's famous sausage.  Soon it will be sausage supper days again.  Anyway, this time of the year always leaves me sad, but contentedly sad.  I'm in the "fall" of my own life now.  Summer is past.  And it has been joyous to be the guest of the Lord on this earth, marveling at his yearly round of beauty and in each season reminding us that this is only the prelude to greater gifts to come.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Church therefore is the main enemy of the evil one.  But he cannot destroy it, for it has been given a safe place by God, a place where it remains out of his reach. -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 230.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Luther did not introduce any novelty but removed the papal errors that had been brought into the church catholic and taught the old and truly catholic faith on the basis of the catholic writings of the prophets and apostles.  It is not we who call ourselves Lutherans.  Rather, our adversaries call us that.  We allow this to the extent that this title is an indication of the consensus that our churches have with the orthodox and catholic doctrine of Luther, set forth from Holy Writ.  Therefore we allow ourselves to be named after Luther, not as the inventor of a new faith, but as the asserter of the old faith and the cleanser of the church from the stains of papist dogmas.  Consequently, we also do not reject the names "Christian" and "catholic," nor do we render ourselves unworthy of it by the approval of an heretical dogma, as did the Arians, Nestorians, Eutychians, etc.  Rather, we are called "Christians" from Christ as the only Author and Teacher of our faith.  We are called "catholics" from our consensus with the catholic faith.  We are called "Lutherans" from Luther as the asserter and defender of that faith, but especially as the reformer whom God raised up. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, pp. 287,88.

Patristic Quote of the Day

How can we become like Him [Christ] in His death?  By being buried with Him in baptism. -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 35.

19 September 2011

Every departure

from our Lord's mandate only introduces doubt.  Beloved, let us not set stumbling blocks before the people of God!  Let us rather abide by the mandated institution of our Lord and thus live from the certainty of His giving.  Take bread and wine, bless them with His words in thanksgiving, and thus give out to His royal priesthood His body and blood, having tasted of them yourself.  Take anything else, bless them with His words and give them out, and what do you give out?  Neither you nor your people have the first clue!  We mayn't suppose our Lord is bound to what He has not commanded.

A Week Without David...

...is like a week without sunshine.  True for Lauren and Bekah too.  But David still lives here, and so we feel his absence keenly.  He's been up in Michigan working on a project for Cindi's cousin, Russell.  Only his flight was cancelled due to bad weather up in St. Ignace, MI.  So he and Russ headed down to Grand Rapids and he booked a flight out of there tomorrow.  He should arrive home sometime in the late afternoon.  We've missed him a lot.  No one to make us our margaritas....or entertain us!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Once we are united with Christ, the conscience becomes the main battleground.  Any attacks from the world around us, no matter how real, merely divert and distract us from that chief place of engagement.  We ourselves are the battlefield.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 224.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If a woman claims to be the bride of the king, goes about clad in purple robes, and counterfeits every external splendor of the king's bride, in the opinion of many she could be considered the bride of the king.  But when they go back to the certificate of the marriage covenant, it will then become clear that she is not the true bride.  In the same way, though an apostate church may claim to be the true bride of Christ and may shine with outward splendor, still the certificate of the heavenly betrothal made in faith, that is, the Holy Scriptures, reveals that that is not the true church.  In connection with this, Augustine calls Scripture "the marriage certificate of this Bride." -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 264.

Patristic Quote of the Day

God, who provides us with every good thing, leads us to the truth, by gradually accustoming our darkened eyes to its great light.  -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 33.

Back to routine!

Today, Cindi and I hit the gym together for the first time since her surgery.  Felt great to have our cardio done so early (though it never feels good to get up in the dark and head to Edwardsville - particularly in the rain!).  Came home and prayed Matins, then showered and enjoyed breakfast, now Cindi's off to work and I'm off to lead responsive prayer in the school, teach a couple classes (already on the Creed!), and then do preschool chapel.  Ah, Mondays!

18 September 2011

On Divine Embassies

The Father sends the Son to reclaim human nature by uniting our nature to His Divine Person, and suffering, dying, and rising in it to forgive sin and destroy death.

The Father sends the Spirit to reclaim human persons by uniting them to His Son through living faith.

I think that's an insight from Lossky, but I'm not sure anymore.  What I AM sure of, is that it is accurate.

Reminder: St. Matthew's Day

The day of the Apostle and Evangelist St. Matthew will be observed this Wednesday at St. Paul's with Divine Service at 6 p.m.  Be sure to join us if you can!  

Just gotta say...

...looking toward Advent and Christmas, how very rich the LSB is in its offerings.  Who could not love Advent and Christmas season chocked full of so many wonderful hymns and carols?  Such beauty to sing and proclaim the grace of our Lord's first, constant, and final Advent!

17 September 2011

I grow old, I grow old...

... (from Elliot).  But in my case it is apparently true.  I TOTALLY forgot that I wasn't up to preach this weekend until Pastor Gleason popped in a few minutes ago to remind me that he had the sermon for Trinity 13.  Sigh.  I'm delighted to sit back and let the Word be fed to me so richly (as is his wont), but I wish I HAD remembered earlier in the week!!!  Memo to self:  Self, calendars are useful only if you USE them.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

In spiritual warfare we operate in the dark.  We must learn to see with our ears, for here we depend completely on the unseen presence of Christ and His Word.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 220.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Here the Bereans pass judgment on the basis of the Scriptures and teach by their example that sound teachers must be distinguished from false prophets on the basis of the harmony of what they teach with the rule set forth in the Scriptures. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 252.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Since the first-formed man necessarily exists in each of us and will continue to be transmitted among us until the end, it is said that in Adam we all die, and that death reigned until the fulfillment of the law and the coming of Christ. -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 31.

16 September 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

I also make it a practice never to go to Holy Communion just for myself.  I go with some specific request for myself, but I also so for help for some people whose needs I have discovered the previous week. -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 215.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Surely, the question about the marks of the church is worthy of careful treatment because the hinge of salvation turns on it, so that we may recognize the true church, join ourselves to it once we have recognized it, and persevere in it after we have joined it.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 236.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Faith and baptism are two inseparably united means of salvation. -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 28.

15 September 2011

A superb observation

by Pastor Eric Brown (in relation to the matter of selling University Lutheran Chapel):

We cannot afford a bureaucracy that will sacrifice Word and Sacrament ministries to fund experimental projects that attempt to justify their existence. No longer needed, and a bad idea.

As our Eastern brothers and sisters are wont to say:  "Wisdom!  Let us attend!"

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

By itself, theorizing about prayer is as useless as theorizing about love.  So teaching about prayer is only useful if it comes from praying and improves our prayers. -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 215.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The corrupted and depraved churches can and should be reformed, recleansed, and brought back to wholeness from no other source than from the Word of God.  Certainly, therefore, those churches that come most closely to the norm of the Word are true churches.  Consequently, one should pass judgment on a church on the basis of the rule of the Word.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 251.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Whoever does not hold fast to this confession as his sure foundation at all times, to the end of his life, makes himself a stranger to God's promises.  That man's profession of faith is recorded in his own handwriting and it will testify against him.  If baptism is the beginning of my life, and the day of my regeneration is the first of days, it is obvious that the words spoken when I received the grace of adoption are more honorable than any spoken since.  How could I be snared by these subtle arguments, and abandon the tradition which led me to the light, and gave me the blessing of divine knowledge?  Through this confession I was made a child of God, I, who was His enemy for so long because of my sins.  May I pass from this life to the Lord with this confession on my lips.  I exhort them to keep the faith inviolate until the day of Christ's coming:  they must not divide the Spirit from the Father and the Son, but must persevere in the profession of faith and in the doxology the teaching they received at their baptism.  -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 26.

14 September 2011

University Lutheran Chapel

in Minnesota has long been one of the flagship campus ministries of the LCMS.  Today the Minnesota South Board of Directors made the absolutely inane and foolish decision to SELL the building in which they dwell for some $3 mullion buckeroos.  Pray for Pr. Kind.  Pray for his wonderful parish.  But let us put our love into action:  give toward the purchase of their own property.  You can do so right here.  If you want to see more and more college students formed in the faith expressed in the Small Catechism and the lived Lutheran liturgy, please help out.  And I have to say, given the remarkably gentle and pastoral way that Pr. Kind has conducted himself through this trial where his own District turned on him and his parish, I think he would make a FABULOUS president of the Minnesota South District next year.  You folks in Minnesota, remember to nominate him!  I suspect he would end up being the sort of president who makes sure that the ministry of Word and Sacrament is always valued far, far more than the dollars that might be obtained from the sale of property.  "You cannot serve God and mammon" remains as true today as it ever was.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Full joy comes from praying together with Jesus and receiving the Father's gifts through him.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, Grace upon Grace, p. 213.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

A very beautiful type of this is set before us in Mary, who told the servants at the wedding of Cana:  "Do whatever He tells you."  That is the constant voice of the true Church. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 222.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What makes us Christians?  "Our faith," everyone would answer.  How are we saved?  Obviously through the regenerating grace of baptism.  How else could we be?  We are confirmed in our understanding that salvation comes through Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Shall we cast away the standard of teaching we have received?  This would surely be grounds for the greatest sorrow.  -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 25.

13 September 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Political instability and social unrest are signals for Christians to increase intercession so that matters do not get out of hand.  We can do more for international justice and world peace by our individual and corporate prayers than by anything else we ever do.  Our prayers are our greatest contribution to the welfare of the world and the salvation of its people. -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 212.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Error is in the intellect; sin in the will.  Therefore if the will has not yet been confirmed in goodness so as to be free from every peril of sin, then certainly the intellect has also not yet been so fully illumined by the divine light as to be free from every peril of erring. Sin itself is a species of error because the will errs by selecting something that is seemingly good instead of something that is truly good. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 208.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Everything that partakes of His [the Holy Spirit's] grace is filled with joy. -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 22.

12 September 2011

On Manifesting the Church's Unity

I'm not even sure how to get into this.  It will probably sound a bit corny.  Folks have noted for a long time the divide that runs straight through the various jurisdictions between the modernist (post-modernist, post-post-modernist - whatever) and the traditionalist.  It's generally true that traditionalists of various jurisdictions end up being actually closer to one another theologically than they are to any modernist (etc.) within their own "tradition" (well, using the same name as they).  Dr. Tighe is a traditionalist Roman Catholic history prof (who kindly sends me books from time to time) and I'm more at home with him or Fr. David (an Orthodox priest whose father is a member of St. Paul's) or Fr. Steven Tibbetts (an ELCA pastor), than with some of my own fellow LCMS clergy who are on the post-modernist side.  Traditionalists operate, if you will, in the same thought world even when we disagree with one another.  Is there hope for unity among us?

Actually, I find precious little if that's all there is.  For JUST being in the same thought world - sharing the same or quite similar perceptions and understandings of the Church - leaves one in the sphere that St. Paul characterized like this:  "Knowledge puffs up."  We can be rather ratty in our treatment of those with whom we disagree, whom we regard as heretics of the first rank, even while we respect fellow traditionalists...to a degree.  That's not the way toward unity.

But I've noticed something else.  I see it in some of my humblest parishioners.  I don't know what else to call it but love.  Love that doesn't ignore theological differences.  Love that realizes, after all, I'm a Lutheran and that other person doesn't share the same confession - we don't commune together.  And yet.  And yet these folks seek after holiness, they desire to grow in conformity to the image of the Savior's self-giving love, to do to death the impulses of the old man, and to live in the freedom that becomes the children of God.  I see these folks - and they don't judge others, they don't put them down, they don't delight in winning arguments just to show that they're in the right.  Instead, they know some disagreements won't be settled short of judgment day, but are confident that the Lord will sort it all out then.  Meanwhile, even those we believe to be wrong about this or that, we are called to love and forgive.  And so they do.

My hope for manifesting the true unity of the Church rests more in the second group than the first.  For the unity that we are given in Jesus is finally a shared love:  a love that can believe all things, hope all things, endure all things, a love that finally does not fail.  That's because it's our Savior's love living within us.  I wonder if we can grow in being the sort of traditionalists (of whatever our conviction) who truly manifest the Church's unity as a unity not in "rightness" but in love?  For truth, not spoken in love, isn't true at all; it's a lie.

"If I have not love, I am nothing."  And being nothing, will be of precious little use to God or to my fellow men.  Lord, make us men and women of love - whatever our confession - and bring your Church at last to the fullness of concord and manifested unity here upon earth!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We use our access to God to thank Him on their behalf for His loving kindness and generosity to them because they are not yet in the position to do so themselves.  This is an aspect of intercession that has received scant attention in recent times, but it was prominent both in Judaism and the Early Church.  They believed that the Church was appointed to serve, together with the angels, as a single choir that voiced thanks and praise to God on behalf of the whole human race.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 211.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Regarding the church of the elect that is still militant on earth, we must answer with proper distinction, since there are two kinds of errors.  Some are fundamental and overthrow the very foundation of faith.  Some are not fundamental and exist together with the foundation of faith.  Furthermore, error can occur in two ways:  temporarily or finally.  The elect can be entangled temporarily.  Some are actually entangled in errors, not only unimportant ones, but fundamental ones.  Nevertheless they struggle out of them again before the end of their life, for otherwise they would not be the "elect" properly speaking, about whom we are speaking here hypothetically.  Hence they do not persevere in fundamental errors, but they can be entangled in unimportant errors (which the apostle calls hay and stubble, 1 Cor. 3:12) not only temporarily but even finally.  These errors in them, however, are consumed by the fire of cross and trial so that they do not lose their salvation.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Church, p. 188.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He [the Holy Spirit] is simple in being; His powers are manifold; they are wholly present everywhere and in everything.  He is distributed but does not change.  He is shared, yet remains whole.  -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 22.

11 September 2011

Long, full, joyous day...

...today brought three Divine Services, one Baptism, one Installation, two different (one delivered twice) homilies, and one Bible Class. Consequently, ready for a long night's nap.  At least I hope so.  But first to make the coffee and tea for tomorrow.

Homily upon the Installation of Pr. Jeff Hemmer

as pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, O'Fallon, IL.  The feast of the Holy Cross is being transferred to this afternoon in that parish:

Pastor Hemmer, Laura, dear members of Bethany:  the observance of Holy Cross day and an installation – it doesn’t get better than that.

We had a hint of it already in the Introit:  “The Lord has made known His salvation; he has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.”  The Lord has a righteousness that is His and that He wills to make it known to us and to all – in fact, to give it to us as our very salvation.  And this righteousness He reveals upon the Holy Cross where His right hand and His holy arm worked salvation for Him – a salvation at which all the world is summoned to break forth into joyous song, singing His praises:  “Sing my tongue the glorious battle, sing the ending of the fray, now about the cross, the trophy, sound the loud triumphant lay.  Tell how Christ the world’s redeemer as a victim won the day.”

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, Pr. Hemmer - which at this point I think you had better - is to hold up that righteousness to this people, to remind them ceaselessly that it is theirs.  You are to wrap them up in it in Holy Baptism in that font.  You are to constantly renew them in it as you feed into their mouths the very body and blood of Jesus. And when they come to you broken and despairing and wondering how on earth God could possibly want or love them, you must yet again drape that righteousness right over them with the word of Christ’s absolution and proclaim to them that rotten as they are and have been or will be, their standing before God will always be based upon a righteousness that is alien to them, coming from the outside in, the righteousness of the Man upon the tree, who lived that perfect and unbroken “yes” to the will of the Father and did so for them, so that clothed in His perfect righteousness they might stand guiltless, without spot or blemish, before the judgment seat.  Having clothed them anew in the promise, you will bid them join in the unending song of praise to the Crucified and grow daily in their “yes” to God’s will with their Jesus.

And when your congregation grumbles – don’t  you all look at me like that - you know perfectly well you do and that you will. Repent!  But you, my brother, when they fall in their weakness and grouse and complain, and when they are afflicted, as in today’s OT reading, you must do as faithful Moses.  You must not cease to pray for them, and to set before them the curse upon the pole, which our Lord says in John 3 is a picture of His own crucifixion.  You must lift high before them the righteousness that is mightier than all grumbling, that if we humble ourselves to gaze upon, the nasty bite of the snake from which we all suffer – and which shows up in our grousing about the Lord and the way He would lead us – it comes to no harm at all.  For there He did not complain one bit at what His Father laid on Him, but received it and bore it and did so in confidence that His Father would neither abandon Him nor us in Him to the serpent in the end – that the end would be resurrection and eternal life, for Him and for us!

So your ministry must be single themed.  As St. Paul said in today’s epistle:  the wisdom of the cross.  For this simple message, which looks like so much hooey to those who are perishing, is actually – for those who are being saved – the very power of God!  Who’d have ever thunk that the Church could go on being Church precisely by this single theme – like Ravel’s Bolero – played every louder and stronger and gripping people in their heart of hearts until it sees them through death itself and into everlasting life:  Christ died for you; Christ is your righteousness.  His cross has answered for your every sin.  You are holy and without blame before Him because of what He has done for you.  Ah, the message of the Cross, that in His foolishness and weakness, God chose to EMBRACE your sin, to carry it to death in His own body, to bear Himself the consequences of your disobedience, to answer fully for the eternal punishment that was your choice, and then to present His righteousness to you as sheer gift - unasked, unsought, unearned – just laid on you in the waters of our Baptism, in the Absolution, in the Eucharist, in all the times you speak His Word to one another.  The world cannot even believe that the Church can go on existing yakking endlessly about the cross, but we know that the only reason the Church does go on existing is because the cross is her one themed joy.

So, dear brother, what the saints here at Bethany would hammer into Hemmer today is the request of the Greeks to Philip from the Gospel:  “Sir, we would see Jesus.”  What Jesus would they see?  The One who is glorified upon the Tree, doing the will of His Father.  The One who falls into the ground like a grain of wheat in order to bear much fruit – the First Fruits of a new creation!  The One who loses His life to keep it for eternal life.  The One who will not ask His Father to save Him from the hour, but instead asks only that the Father’s name be glorified in what He is about to do upon His cross.  The One whose cross is the judgment of this world, that casts the ruler of this world out, and whose lifting upon upon the tree draws all people to Himself.  THAT’S the Jesus they want to see and that’s the Jesus that the Lord puts YOU here today to deliver to them.  Not you with your bright ideas and notions.  He IS bright, you have been warned!  I wouldn’t like to tangle with him in an argument.  But it’s not about you or your brightness, or you and your athletic prowess – he bikes centuries and runs marathons and all sorts of things that will make you feel like slugs besides him.  It’s not about you and your  carpentry skills or ability to fix cars or to wring chicken's necks – don’t even get me started.  Oh, you will love him and he will love you.  But that's not really the big deal.  It’s about JESUS and Him crucified.  That’s the sole point of Pr. Hemmer being put today as pastor in this place.  Jesus.

And, people loved by God, how we need that Jesus.  Who else could see us through the horrors of life in this world – things like the sad events our nation remembers this day.  Hopefully we’ve come far enough away that we’re not picking at scabs, but sadly reminiscing over the scars.  But you just think of it:  when horrifying moments like that befall us (and you know they come crashing down on us individually as well as upon us as a nation), what a comfort beyond words it is that we can turn to Jesus – to the One who is no stranger to the terrible things that humans do to each other, to Him who is with us in our tears and in our sorrows.  He knows what it is to weep at death.  He has felt in His own body the irrational hatred of those who think they serve God by dishing out violence and destruction.  And most of all Him who can and will transform the ashes and cause them to live again.  That’s Whom you must preach, Pr. Hemmer:  the Crucified One who rose from the dead to dish out the gift of righteousness and a life bigger than any death that His baptized brothers and sisters, including you, will ever face.

So I close this homily upon Holy Cross Day with the words of Dr. Luther:  “Preach one thing:  Christ crucified.”  Amen.

Very funny

The Invisible Ron Paul

09 September 2011

Ten Years

Has it really been that long?  The attacks were on a Tuesday; the congregations of Trinity and St. Paul's gathered at St. Paul's on Wednesday evening for a brief service of prayer.  Pr. Gross spoke and reminded us who it is who comes to steal, to kill and to destroy and that it was to destroy the devil's works that the Son of God appeared among us.  Then I spoke briefly and led some prayers.  Here are my brief words:

We're gathered tonight, people loved by God, in the spirit of Job.  Our minds shrink from the staggering numbers of those who are dead; as well as from the horrible way so many of them died.  Our hearts go out to the families who are now as torn apart and devastated as any of the buildings we saw in New York or Washington - families where a mother's voice will never be heard again or a father's face never seen or a child's hand never touched again.  In the face of such terrible wreckage of human lives and the unimaginable tidal wave of human sorrow, we can only ask Job to move over for a bit so that we might sit with him for a while in the dust and ashes and learn from him to turn to God in worship, because there really is nowhere else to turn.

Today is not the time to theologize about good and evil in the world.  It is too soon for such.  Today is the time for us to get on our knees and pray.  And to do so knowing that the One to whom we pray is no stranger to the terrible things that humans do to each other, to know that He to whom we pray became One with us in our tears and in our sorrows.  He knows what it is to weep at death.  He has felt in His own body the irrational hatred of those who think they serve God by dishing out violence and destruction.  What a comfort that in our prayers tonight, we pray to the Crucified One.  And above all to the Risen One.

For Job would go on to confess "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand upon the earth and that after my skin has been destroyed nevertheless in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself and not another.  How my heart yearns within me."

Our prayers rise tonight to Him who walked among us as the man of sorrows, who is acquainted with our grief, and who died to conquer and destroy death's power over his people forever.  We pray tonight before the God who will make the ashes live again.

Prayer -

Hear us, dear heavenly Father, as we join our prayers to those of your children throughout the world in the face of the terrible events of yesterday.

For all the children who have lost parents, let us pray to the Lord. R.
For all the parents who have lost children, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all the husbands who have lost their wives, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all the wives who have lost their husbands, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all whose lives have been shattered and whose hopes and dreams have been destroyed, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For the families of those brave souls who responded to others' needs only to lose their own lives, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For the firefighters and policemen, the doctors, nurses and EMTs and all those who participate in the relief effort, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For any who are still alive in the rubble, that aid may be brought to them speedily and that they not lose heart, let us pray to the Lord, R.

More on Jo

Last night Jo's oxygen level's dropped - she'd been overmedicated - and they took her into ICU.  They reversed the medication (not sure what that means exactly); but the end result was that she didn't have any real relief for pain.  She was thrashing around quite a bit, incoherent much of the time today, and not a happy camper.  Cindi, Dave, Bekah and I spent the morning with her, and then headed out for lunch while the nurses took over.  I got Cindi back home while Bekah headed over to sit with her.  When I got back Bekah and I sang Vespers to her, which seemed to calm her a bit.  She even joined in the doxology to the Our Father, and when we sang the Kyrie, she told us:  "More Lord, have mercy!"  So we sang every piece with the Kyrie we could think of.  Plus a bunch of hymns that we loved.  It was odd - standing on either side of her bed and singing every so softly the canticles and hymns and psalms together.  "Redeeming the time because the days are evil."  And there's nothing that so redeems the time when you can do nothing yourself to ease a loved one's suffering as spending it in praising the Blessed Trinity, hearing His words and promises, and petitioning Him for His great mercy and love on their behalf.  If you all would keep her in your prayers, I'd be ever so grateful.

08 September 2011


Jo continues hospitalized.  Truthfully, she was a bit more out of it today than yesterday.  I'm hoping to see some marked improvement tomorrow.  Dave spent the night with her (and she's up all night and then sleeps most of the day) - and he's still doing his school bus route besides.

Cindi continues to improve each day - and Mary stopped by today for a nice visit that kept her occupied and entertained through the afternoon (while I was at hospital).

On the home front, the only thing I didn't get done today that I wanted to was the vacuuming.  Laundry is in the dryer; dishes in the dishwasher; kitchen cleaned; breakfast stuff readied.  Sermon written for Sunday and prayers finished.  Oh, and I started mopping kitchen floor but the swiffer wet jet gave out - drats!  Maybe tomorrow?

For dinner made noodle-less lasagna, salad, and chocolate medallions for dinner tonight.  I am truly enjoying the cooking - I haven't got to do much of it in recent years and it is very satisfying and relaxing.

Anywho, hope the above explains the paucity of internet interaction at the moment - just not a lot of spare time in the day.

07 September 2011


the Wednesday night Bible Class began a study of Jeremiah.  Good group and lots of discussion.  Looking forward to working our way through the rest of the book...wonder how far we'll get before Advent kicks in?

06 September 2011

On Exercise...

... you know, I used to think sleep was refreshing.  Now I wake up still and have trouble moving for an hour or so.  I realize sleep is just practice...for when rigor mortis sets in.  GRR.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We are all members of Christ's royal priesthood.  As such, He has given us spiritual responsibility for the circle of people around us.  The range of our responsibility depends on our location and vocation.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 211.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

One must not look for the elect outside the assembly of the called. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, *The Church* p. 185.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He [the Spirit] is the source of sanctification, spiritual light, who gives illumination to everyone using His power to search for the truth - and the illumination He gives is Himself. -- St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, par. 22.

Jo Update

This morning Jo had surgery to reverse the colostomy.  The surgery took a longer time than expected, but the Dr. was quite upbeat when it was over.  In fact, he chatted for at least 45 minutes about the joys of touring around Southern Illinois and gave us about four history lectures and numerous assignments of places that we had to see.  I headed out after he wound down.  A bit later, Dave called to let me know she was still in recovery and they'd decided to move her to the Intermediate Care Unit due to some concerns about her oxygen levels and a bit of irregularity in the heart-beat.  Doc seemed to think she'd be in the hospital for at least a week.  Prayers appreciated as always.

[Cindi, by the way, is improving rather dramatically.  Slept in her own bed last night.  Is slowly backing off the pain meds.  Generally seems more upbeat. - Deo gratias!]

05 September 2011

It was a bit crazy...

...but what a beautiful day for it.  I got up about 2 and was on the road by 2:30.  I welcomed the silence in the car on the seven hour drive  - and I-70 through the Flint Hills is always a treat.   I arrived at St. John's Lutheran Church, just south of Lincoln, Kansas at 9:45 with an hour and 15 minutes to spare before the memorial service for Eunice and her committal.  It was so good to see Rose Mary and Carl's sister and brother again - and sundry other Aufdemberge relatives who visited at St. Paul's over the years.  Up on the hill behind the cemetery stands a cairn that folks have added to over the years.  Seeing it, hearing Carl's voice as he first described it to me - and Jo telling me about it too (forgetting, I'm sure that Carl had), well, I can't begin to say how it made me feel except that it made me feel very close to them both - even though they are buried here at St. Paul's.  Still to stand in this Church where Carl was a youngster and see in the distance his family farm, and think of how this community of faith had shaped that towering man of faith and song - well, it was an honor indeed.  I was smiling much of the way home just thinking about it.  The day was flawlessly beautiful too - crisp and clean - and the shining white Church (shaped rather like St. Paul's, but frame, not brick) standing on its little hill with its cemetery spread to its side, and the parsonage between them - it's a scene that I will treasure for many a year.  AND at the day of the Resurrection, Eunice will not need to shake that finger of hers at me.  I did as she asked.  We planted her where she wished to be planted, beside her mom and her sister.  Happy wakening, Eunice dear!  We miss you - and Julana and Carl!

03 September 2011

This and That

Cindi continues to recuperate.  Progress is slow (a lot slower than when she had a hysterectomy more than a decade ago).  Tomorrow is the usual round of services, and then I'm fixing breakfast for Dave, Jo and Cindi.  We're HOPING she'll up to a bit of cards.  We'll see.  Labor Day I'll be driving out to Lincoln Kansas to inter my dear Eunice.  That same day, Jo goes into hospital to prep for surgery on Tuesday.  Never rains but it pours. Sometime I've got a very funny story about Dudly and Bekah, but not now.

Calendar Wars

My friend Latif was a bit miffed over the LSB joining with the RCC to commemorate Pope St. Gregory the Great on the day he was made pope rather than the day he died (falls in Lent).  Latif is very consistent in insisting that the church's usual practice is to observe a saint upon the day of his or her "heavenly birthday" - the day of their death.  LSB has a number of areas where they play fast and loose with that rule, or ignore it altogether.

What interests me is the emotion of the arguments.  It has a long precedence.  One thinks of the early fights over the dating of Easter - and they were ready to excommunicate each other over it!  One thinks of the huge fights between the old Calendarists and the new Calendarists in Orthodoxy.  Christians historically cared a great deal about their calendars.  Why?  I suspect because our faith is fundamentally an embodied faith, lived out in time.  After all, its central events happened at a particular place and time:  in Palestine under the Governor Pontius Pilate.  And so we've attended to the historicity of the Word's triumph ever since.

What is completely odd is the detached way that modern Christians view the calendar.  Vatican II was much of the spirit of the age in shifting people around right and left; as though it were about celebrating the IDEA of that person, rather than the concrete saint who entered eternal rest on a given day.  Dr. Maher has detailed some of the more egregious movements - and what is interesting to me, he and Latif witness the old fighting spirit of the earlier Christians about the calendar.  It's something that MATTERS and not the celebration of disembodied persons or ideas.

I am committed to living under the LSB's calendar - part of the catholic heritage is also this renouncing of one's own preferences for the sake of the community of which we are a part in Synod, even when you think they may be wrong in choosing a less than optimal practice.  But I must confess that I'm glad we have voices who still care deeply about the calendar.  Their grumps are a good thing.  They might even result in some things getting put back next time round.  I hope so.

02 September 2011

Cindi's home...

...Deo gratias.  Now to figure out the schedule for the meds and how to adjust things around the house to make it easier for her.  Lord, have mercy.  She said that if she knew it was going to be this painful she's not sure she'd have done it.  I can only hope it pays off in the end.

01 September 2011

Today started off

relatively badly - Cindi had lots of back spasms that she said shot the pain way over 10 on a 1-10 scale.  She was also nauseous quite a bit - we're fairly sure it was the narcotic that was doing the tummy bad.  By noon the narcotic was no more, the tummy had settled, and she actually ate.  She started getting pronounced pain again about 15 minutes before the next round of medicine - but after that she ate some dinner and seemed better.  Sharon and I even took her for a walk down the hall - yeah!

Thanks to Dean for bringing a thermos of fresh brewed coffee, some bacon and scrambled eggs, some cheese and fruit, and some toast.  Just what the Dr. ordered!  (Do I have a winner for a son-in-law or what?)  Also thanks to those who stopped in during the day and cheered her some:  David, Meaghan, Bekah, Sharon, Dave and Jo, Lauren and Dean.  God willing and things work well, she'll be released tomorrow.