31 March 2012

27 years

ago.  And yet it seems like yesterday.  I can still see your pale blue, crinkled eyes.  I can still hear your laugh.  I still remember that precious night that we drank and visited and visited and drank and the night disappeared and still we talked and shared.  So much to say to each other.  And so little time to say it, though we did not know that then.

27 years ago.  And still you haunt me.  I wasn't convinced that it was you.  We never saw your body.  Did you pull a fast one?  For years and years, I kept dreaming that you did.

27 years ago.  And the pain of your absence is stronger than ever.  You are wearing my loafers.  I'll not forget giving them up to you.   I miss my brother - so many things to share, so many words never spoken, so many joys never known.

27 years ago.  And now I am older far than you ever lived to be.  But you were right about the tropics - I love them too.

27 years ago.  I remember the call, Mom's voice, the unfathomable sadness and my stupid, stupid response.  The tears, the service, the flight home, Dave's mom and dad meeting us at the airport and lending us the car, and then the emptiness, the unspeakable emptiness of the apartment.

27 years ago.  Pegbe wailing in the morning, unable to be comforted.  Mom crying.  Three confused little girls, beautiful and at a loss.

27 years ago.  Maup, Butch and I visiting the site.  But there was nothing left there.  Nothing of you after all.

27 years ago.  I love you, Joe.  I always will.  Even when you destroy a banana bread for no other reason than you don't care for it!  Crazy man.

27 years.

I love the music

of Palmarum.  Here is the Entrance from last year's service:

29 March 2012

Well, if all goes

according to plan, we'll be closing on the new house two weeks from today.  All the paper work is in, but now it's in the hands of the Title Company.  I am thinking things will be a lot more emotionally "settled" for me once this move is over and done.  I don't think I've ever signed so many forms in my whole life!  But what I cannot for the life of me do is to picture what life will be like in that new space.  It was the same, I suppose, when we came to St. Paul's all those years ago.  But it's been so many that I don't recall a lot of it.  I do remember that the parsonage was (compared to our old home) rather homely on the outside, but very, very comfortable on the inside.  More storage than we could ever have imagined.  The new place is much prettier on the outside again, but the storage does not come close to matching the parsonage - unless you count the attached three car garage.  I can't even imagine what we'll end up doing with a three-car garage.  For now, I'm sure Bekah is planning on putting it to good use.  She's moving back in with us as David is moving out.  Musical children, I suppose.  I will confess that I am ridiculously pleased with a real wood burning fireplace in the living room.  Cindi would have preferred a gas set up, but to me the smell of a wood fire is still the smell of home - my grandparents' home in any case.  And a fenced back yard rather excites me too - after we plug a hole or two - because it means the dog can do its business UNACCOMPANIED.  Yeah!

The dining area is so small though.  That makes me sad.  There was nothing like the dining area in the parsonage.  We'd sit twelve around the table in a pinch.  I'm thinking there's no way that will happen at the new place - and now it will be even more (counting my little grandson!).  I'm sure we'll make do.  Certainly most of the time it will just be Cindi and I, and then the kitchen counter will likely work just fine with two stools.

Odd as it sounds, I'm glad I don't have to listen to the parsonage grow all quiet.  To me it was the place of growing little ones and boisterous teens and their friends.  I hope it may be that yet again for another pastor.  Meanwhile, counting down to two weeks on the house and trying desperately not to let this being my final Holy Week and Easter at my beloved St. Paul's dampen one iota of the joy these days bring us.  "For behold by Your cross JOY HAS COME into all the world!" (Good Friday Liturgy)

28 March 2012

27 March 2012

He was so right...

...Robert Frost, I mean:
















Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The appropriateness of the Incarnate Lord's exercising the office of judge, in which the Father and the Holy Spirit are most intimately united with Him, is discerned when we bear in mind that the criterion determining the destiny of each man is his acceptance or rejection of the person and work of Jesus Christ.  -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 108.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

I immediately ascend to Your heavenly Father in Your name and receive the forgiveness of sins, that I may descend again to my vocation with a joyful conscience and pass my life in the praise and worship of God.  -- Blessed Valerius Herberger (meditating on Jesus as Jacob's ladder), The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 185.

Patristic Quote of the Day

And we, in like manner, must confine ourselves, in whatever we say of God, to the terms in which He has spoken to our understanding concerning Himself. -- St. Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 5:22.

26 March 2012

More Letters

My mom kept some of the letters I wrote to her over the years.  I like these for the glimpse into our growing family.  I think you'll enjoy:

5 February 1990

Dear Mom,

It was sure good to hear from you yesterday.  I hope you read that book carefully so you can tell me all the history.

I am in the process of disciplining your granddaughter.  She said she was all done with breakfast, and handed me her bowl and cup.  And then she had a bit because she wanted her milk again.  I told her that if I poured her some more milk she would have to drink it all up or sit there all day.  Well, she insisted on having it.  So I poured it for her.  And of course after one swallow, she said she didn't want it.  So, there she sits.  Alternately whining, crying, and protesting the general unfairness of the world.

David is meanwhile having a great time.  He is obviously enjoying having the run of the house while his sister can do nothing to stop him from playing with any toy he wants....

Love,

Bill

13 February 1990

Dear Mom,

Just wanted to drop you a note.  I guess with this new postal rate they are proposing (or threatening, as is more the case), it will be just as expensive to write as to call.  And to think that you remember the day of the penny-postcard!

Are you doing better with your problem?  I sure hope so.  I know it must be terribly frustrating for you.  Has the Dr. suggested anything definite - you did say he wanted to see you again this week, didn't you?

Well, the roof got fixed yesterday.  The roofer was very nice.  He said that the only problem up there had been that the person who laid that roof (the previous owner, I suspect) didn't know what he was doing at all.  He said it had leaked from the first rain.  Well, now he says we are set for 15-20 years.  He only cost $740, which I thought was reasonable, as he also fixed a couple of spots on the upper roof that he thought looked suspicious.

Lauren and David are both doing well.  Colds are almost all gone.   They were miserable when they were both sick.  Both wanted Mommy and neither wanted the other to sit in Mommy's lap.  I honestly do not know how Cindi kept her sanity.

Any more developments with Maupin?  I hope all goes smoothly.  I'm sure you will enjoy having them so near.

All my love,

Bill

28 February 1990

Dear Mom,

Well, it's Ash Wednesday.  Can hardly believe it.  Seemed like only the other day we were trying to get you into the Christmas spirit!  We have already had our daffodils (is that how you spell it?) bloom and fade.   We picked two big bunches and had them on the altar last week. They sure were beautiful!  They have been in full bloom since the middle of February down here.

What did you find out with Maupin?  I am assuming you went along.  Was the lawyer (or whoever) able to speak in plain English or did they engage in legalese?

Cindi has started her Spring quarter.  She has classes 8-9 every morning, also 9-10 on Tuesday and Thursday, and 6:30-9:30 Monday nights.  She is really getting excited about it all.  The night class is in public speaking - a class she thought she was going to dislike.  Their first assignment was to interview one other person in the room privately and then report back to the whole class.  Well, Cindi was the hit of the class.  They wanted to know all about home-schooling, her ideas on hospitals (largely negative!), and child-birth, and why on earth we would want a larger family than the one she already has.  They were so interested, that the teacher had to put to a stop to the discussion of Cindi and say that Cindi could report on some of these things in another one of her projects.  Needless to say, she is liking the class very much now!  She is already getting her "ammunition" together.

I am enjoying the extra time with the kids.  They behave (generally) so well that it is a joy to spend time with them.  I think I wrote to you that Lauren has learned the art of releasing David from his pen?  Well, today it went too far.  The little stinker tried to get him into trouble at nap-time.  Cindi got them to bed, and came back downstairs.  A little while later she hears the pitter-patter of little feet.  Goes upstairs to investigate.  Lauren is lying in bed looking innocent as can be, and David is playing in the middle of the floor.  I really think she thought, "Boy, is he going to get in trouble now!"  Cindi got even.  She turned David's crib around so the only way for him to get out is to climb out.

I am glad for one change in Cindi's schedule.  I am able to go again to Greensboro on Wednesdays to meet with the other pastors.  I have really missed getting together with them.  I'd forgotten how much.

Well, you take care!  (I know, "I can't do anything else.)  Can't wait to see you again,

Love,

Bill

27 September 1990

Dear Mom,

Hi there!  Just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that I love you and have been thinking about you.  I would dearly love to see you riding that bike.  That must be some sight.

I am glad that Shannon and Kim got by.  They are both so sweet.  I miss seeing all of them a lot.  I was so upset that my car broke down at Brian's wedding so that I didn't really get a chance to visit with them.  Maybe when I am up there after Christmas I can see them again for a little longer.

Kids are doing great.  Lauren has just started singing, and it is so wonderful to hear her.  She knows "Jesus loves me," "Twinkle, twinkle," and "I am Jesus' Little Lamb."  She still has trouble pronouncing certain sounds.  The other day she said "nors" for "yours."  I corrected her and asked her to say it again.  She blushed and said:  "I don't say it very well."  I almost cried!  I took in her my arms and said, "Honey, any little girl that knows to modify her verbs with an adverb and not an adjective says everything very well!"  She looked at me like I had two heads.

David is acting more and more like Maupin.  I am beginning to wonder... Do you remember how you'd shout your head off and Maup wouldn't even hear you?  His mind was resting on Mars or something.  David is just like that.  He never "hears" you until you get up, and then he comes down to earth long enough to run away (and I do mean run!).  The other day when he came down the steps he said:  "Good MORNin" just the way Maup says it.  Cindi looked at me and said:  "And who does that remind you of?"

Well, take care.  We miss you.  Don't you think you could ask your doctor about getting away for a visit?  It's been so long since you've been down here.

Love,

Bill

5 September 1991

Dear Mom,

Well, it sure has been some nice weather this past week.  I hope that it has been nice up there too.  I always remember your saying that in August the evenings start cooling down, and this year I could really feel it.  When September arrived it felt like Autumn was here to stay.

Lauren is going for her first dentist appointment tomorrow and is all excited.  She seems to have the idea that he is going to pull out her teeth, and what's more strange, she is looking forward to it.  Ah, the innocence of youth! Lauren is starting her learning in earnest now.  She is mastering the alphabet (writing and recognizing) and learning to cut with scissors.  I never realized how hard it is to teach a child to use them.  But she is very eager and enjoys cutting up magazines and making posters.  David is too young to cut with them, but he likes to try.  I wish you could see Lauren ride her trike around the yard.  She really makes that trike fly!  I am always sure she is going to end up in the ditch in our front yard, but she never does.  She is a cautious little creature.

Bekah is almost crawling.  She gets on those hands and knees and rocks back and forth.  She moves a little across the floor, but she buries her head on the rug to do it - which makes matters more difficult than they need be.  She also has her very first tooth.  She is eating cereal now every morning and evening.  She has tasted (and approved) sweet potato and peaches.  A true Southerner!  Her disposition is so good. A sweet little baby if ever there were one.

And then there's my stinker, my little Davie.  You just can't help falling in love with the little boy!  Last week, he and I were walking home from the library and he saw this woman a block ahead of us.  "What's her name?" "I don't know, David."  "Well, she might be a friend."  That's the way he looks at any and everyone - just another friend to get to know.  He is such an awful tease, though.  He torments Lauren, but he can't take it when she treats him the same way.  But boy are they companions in mischief.  This morning they snuck downstairs and trashed the bathroom.  They basically EMPTIED a container of baby oil in the bath tub and on the floor.  What a mess!!!

Cindi and I have started some serious walking.  She walks one to two miles each morning about 6:30.  I walk one mile each evening around 9.  I like the darkness.  Cindi starts back to school next week.  She will have class Monday - Friday from 8 to 9, and on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7:30.  That gives me a lot more time with the kids, and I'm looking forward to it.

Well, Mom, it's after eleven, so I'm going to hit the hay.  I love you, and miss you.  Remember to drink some tea for me.

Love,

Bill

Lilacs - Can you smell them, Helen?


25 March 2012

Oh, wow.

I THINK I just finished up the last of the bulletins for St. Paul's.  This is feeling mega-strange!  Finished through to Easter II.  

24 March 2012

So, in going over

different things as we prepare to move (dejunking the house!), I came across some old letters I had kept.  This one is very precious to me.  It was written by my mom's aunt, Julia Lee Embrey (we always called her Aunt Gee).  It was the fall when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and given only months to live:

October 9, 1979

Dearest Bill,

Aunt Gee knows so well what you are going through now and she wants you to know her love and arms are around you always.

You have been a loving son to your Dad and Mother and I know your Heavenly Father will care for you and bring peace to your troubled heart.

Some things we can't understand but some day God will make it all plain for us.  We know whatever His will it's always for the best.

So, Honey, be brave - keep your faith, and care for your dear Mother - she needs your love so desperately right now.

Always know my love and prayers are with you and I love you -

Devotedly,

Aunt Gee

***

Wasn't that such a wonderful, comforting letter?  I am dejunking, but THAT is not junk.  How I miss her!  She always had the most wonderful laugh and except for special occasions was invariably wearing an apron - though why I never knew, because always she kept them spotless.

P.S.  I keep a picture of her (from her wedding, I believe) in our living room.  And I have a table she gave my mom that holds books in the bottom; and many of our oldest ornaments on our Christmas tree come from her (through my mom).  And in an odd twist:  she and her husband first lived in the home that my father's parents later bought, which now my sister owns.

Persistence

That's what the name Chancellor has!  How's this for persistence:

John Chancellor of Scotland (born about 1665) marries Margaret.  They have a son, Thomas Chancellor (1691-1761) who ends up in Westmoreland, VA, and marries Katherine.  They have a daughter Rebecca (1742-1796) and she marries Richard Wroe.  They have a daughter Lucy (b. 1763) and she marries John Weedon (who d. 1823).  Together they have a son, Thomas Wroe Weedon (1795-1875) who marries Mildred Stone.  They have a son, John Isaac (b. 28 June 1828, d. 7 May 1890) who marries Virginia Hall.  Their youngest son is my grandfather:  Chancellor Barbour (b. 1879).  No one carries the Chancellor name in the next generation, but I carry it my generation:  William Chancellor.  The next generation has no Chancellors, but then my nephew's son is Andrew Chancellor.  Even though it has not been the surname in our line since before the REVOLUTIONARY WAR, the name persists in our family.  I like that.  I also think it remarkably cool here in 2012, that MY FATHER'S GRANDFATHER WAS BORN IN 1828.  Yup:  Me (1960); Daddy (1920); Granddaddy (1879); Great Granddaddy (1828).

What's also kinda neat is that my great Uncle Isaac wrote poems about his father and mother, so I feel that I know something of my Great Granddaddy.  Here is some insight into the man - and it's pretty sweet:


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

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

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

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

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

23 March 2012

What a fascinating site!

It shows gravestones.  Here is my parents' grave.  Here is my brother's grave.  Here is my paternal grandparents' grave.  Here is my maternal grandparents' grave.  My mother's grandfather's grave. My mother's grandmother's grave.  They are all in the same cemetery:  Richardsville United Methodist Church.  Most of my relatives if you go back further are buried in family cemeteries on the various farms around Richardsville. You can visit the site that hosts these here.

+ Clara Henkhaus

Asleep in our Lord Jesus.  Give rest, O Christ, to Your servant with Your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, but life everlasting....

22 March 2012

Installation Set

I will be installed as the Director of Worship and the International Center Chaplain in a service at the LCMS International Center on Monday, May 7, 10 a.m., God willing.  President Harrison will preach; District President Scharr will install; Cindi will be singing a piece; Choir will sing; the amazing Mark Bender will be at the organ and we'll even be singing his wonderful setting of Starke's Te Deum.  Join us if you can!

The band of the apostles in glory sing Your praise,
The fellowship of prophets their deathless voices raise,
The martyrs of Your kingdom, a great and noble throng,
Sing with the holy Church throughout all the world this song:
"O All-majestic Father, Your true and Only Son,
And Holy Spirit, Comforter - forever Three in One!"

Well it sure doesn't work this year...

...I mean, Whitman's poem:  "When lilacs last in the door-yard bloomed"  April 14th it is not, and yet they burst into bloom today.  Amazing weather.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The church must follow Sacred Scripture by clearly confessing both that all the dead will be raised bodily, and that an indefinable but nevertheless real continuity will obtain between the risen bodies to which the souls of the dead are reunited and the bodies in which they lived and died on earth. -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 106.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

O dearest Lord Jesus, indeed You are the true wondrous Ladder by which all blessed souls ascend to heaven.  In Jacob's ladder my heart beholds a beautiful portrait of You.  -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV p. 182.

Patristic Quote of the Day

[Citing Mark 13:21,22] This shows that the established authority of Scripture must outweigh every other, for it derives new confirmation from the progress of events that happen, as Scripture proves, in fulfillment of predictions made so long before their occurrence. -- St. Augustine, Against Faustus, 13.5

Enjoying my second

round of french pressed coffee, made with the beans Dean brought out yesterday and that we roasted together (in a popcorn popper!) yesterday afternoon.  FABULOUS.

21 March 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Since the bodily resurrection of the dead is a mystery which Sacred Scripture sets in parallel with the creation of the world out of nothing and the justification of the ungodly, it may be described in its effects while yet remaining ineffable in itself. -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 105.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Your proper work is to remove the curse and to put eh blessing in its place; in this I take comfort.  Your benefits are pure blessing, comfort, protection, joy, and life! -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 161.

Patristic Quote of the Day

O Lord and Master of my life,
give me not the spirit of sloth, despair,
lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant,
a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother.
For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.
--Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

Happy 21st Birthday to MY BABY Bekah Lee!

20 March 2012

I have a new love....

Sweet taters. I'm serious. The more I eat them the more I ask, where have you guys been all my life? Better than roasted potato, better than French fries, better than hash browns. I think I could eat them every single day!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Christian's full share in his Lord's resurrection, surely pledged in Holy Baptism, remains the object of hope, a future even to be realized only at the parousia on the Last Day.  While the bodily miracles of the Incarnate Lord prefigure the coming resurrection, these temporary works of divine mercy are only weakly comparable with the grand eschatological event of which they offer a partial preview. -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 105.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

No saint in the world was ever spared the cross at God's hand. -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 159.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Holy One called Moses from the bush and said, "I am...the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."  When death heard this utterance he trembled in fear, was disturbed by terror, and knew that he had not become king forever over Adam... He learned that God is King of the dead and of the living, and that it is appointed to the children of Adam to come forth from his darkness with their bodies. -- Aphrahat, Of Death and the Latter Times, par. 2

19 March 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Creation has already come to perfect fulfillment in the Incarnate Lord. -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 103.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Oh, my Lord Jesus, help me not to cease to pray when I do not at once receive what I want.  Grant me also a twenty-years' patience, that I may wait for You and be of good cheer and not despair, but wait for You. -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV p. 153

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Baptism that is administered is in all cases of equal value to those who receive it (no matter how unequal in merit the persons may be by whom it is administered), because it is the Baptism of Christ, and not of those who administer it. -- St. Augustine, Epistle to Vincentius, 47)

17 March 2012

Funeral Homily for Ramona Prante

[Isaiah 25:6-9; 1 Cor. 15:51-57; John 10:27-30]

Joanie, Bill, Gerry, family and friends of Ramona Prante.  I had to begin with the reading from Isaiah about the feast, because I can’t even see  your mom without thinking of her sitting at that kitchen table and I don’t think a SINGLE time that I visited with her that she didn’t somehow bring up how much she liked cooking for you guys.  Goodness sakes, her pies were legendary, no?  And she was most happy when she had you all gathered there at home, laughing together.  Her family.

It was, as you know, the answer to her prayers.  For when that cancer struck her so many years ago and disabled her life, she had one prayer:  let me see my children grown, O God.  And He abundantly answered that prayer.  Not only seeing you all grown but your children and even unto your children’s children.

And yet which one of you had not noticed that despite the joys of being together as family, something inside your mom died when Bill was taken home.  Oh, she’d still laugh, but there was always something of her left outside that laugh.  And you all, each one in your own way, strove to reach her and to touch her and to somehow bring healing to that wound she carried in her heart.  But none of you had the power to do it.  There was only One who could - and THAT is what Isaiah celebrated in that first reading.  That God was planning on throwing the feast to end all feasts, the party better than any party, the ultimate home-coming feast of God’s children where death itself would be destroyed by God so that it could no longer ever tear apart those whom love had joined together.

So Ramona went through these last six years with their various trials and hardships, always with an eye toward the final Feast, always with her heart there.  She was so ready to go and be with her beloved Bill, to be in the presence of her Jesus and to be done with the weariness of life in this fallen world.  “To depart and be with the Lord is far better” St. Paul said and you know that she’d “amen” that without a hesitation.

But Christians don’t believe that in death our souls fly off to heaven and so we’re done.  No.  We believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.  And so even as we are sure of Ramona’s soul being gathered into the presence of Jesus and with the saints who await the day of His glorious return, we are also certain that THIS body, right here, will be raised from the dead.  Changed from mortal to immortal, from perishable to imperishable.  This body will not be forgotten.

Think of it for a moment - how many lie now in the dust of the earth.  So many - people that were known and loved by others who now are dust too.  But this we hold to and it is our sure confidence:  that no one baptized into Christ, no one into whom HE has fed His most precious body and blood, will ever be forgotten.  That Day, that glorious Day of His return, HE will stand again on this earth and the dead He will summon and His people will live again.  He will call Ramona, and this body will waken from the sleep of death and she will be whole, whole like she’d longed for.  Her soul comforted now in Christ’s presence, but her body and soul that day, changed in the twinkling of eye by Him who bore her every sin to death on Calvary and rose from the dead Himself, leaving death in shambles, as we heard in our epistle.  Darlene, you were there the last time in this life that I was privileged to give to Ramona the Savior’s body and blood - that precious Sacrament is His guarantee to her:  “Ramona, I will never forget you.  I have given my life for you.  You WILL live with me forever.  I promise this to you and seal the promise with My own blood.”

So Jesus says of his beloved in today’s Gospel:  “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give them eternal life and they will never perish.  No one can snatch them out of my hand.”  Not even death itself will prove mightier than Him who has made Ramona His very own.  She is His sheep and in His keeping and that, when you take it to heart, can fill you with peace today even amid your tears.

She’s already enjoying something of the feast that Isaiah described, and now she waits with all the saints for its final fulfillment.  And I do not doubt that she is praying nonstop for each of you that she loves so much, that you be kept in the faith and brought to that table too where the goodbyes are forever gone and where the family gathers together as one in Him who died and rose again and to whom with His Father and the Holy Spirit be all honor and glory, forever and ever!  Amen.


Ramona F. Prante, 72, of rural Worden, died at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at Anderson Hospital in Maryville. She was born Tuesday, March 5, 1940 in New Douglas, daughter of the late Charles C. and Emma (King) Row.
She married William H. "Bill" Prante on Jan. 12, 1957 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel. He preceded her in death on Monday, Jan. 9, 2006.

Mrs. Prante spent 15 years doing house cleaning for many area families and individuals. She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel. She loved her family and enjoyed baking and cooking for all of them. She is survived by one daughter, Joanie L. Mertz, her husband Tom of Staunton; two sons, William "Bill" Prante II, his wife Lynda of Worden, and Gerald "Jerry" Prante, his wife Sandy, Staunton; seven grandchildren, Thomas Mertz and his wife Rachel of Edwardsville, G.T. Prante and his wife Amy of Fairfax, VA, Tammy Buffington and her husband Cory of Staunton, Andrea Prante of Bethalto, William Prante III of Worden, Matthew Prante of Worden, Katherine McQuillis of Worden, five great-grandchildren, Jacob Mertz, Katelyn Mertz, Carson Buffington, Liam Slagle and Elizabeth Prante; one sister, Darlene Lewis and wife of Charles of Troy; two brothers, Marvin Row and his wife Frances of Gilberts, and Charles Row of Troy, brother-in-law, Elmer Prante of New Douglas; sisters-in-law, Leona Albrecht of Staunton and Vera Prante of New Douglas; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles C. and Emma (King) Row; husband, William H. "Bill" Prante; brother, Billie Row; and sisters-in-law, Karen Row and Jean Row.

16 March 2012

The Prayer of the Church from the Church Liturgy

I just love the scope of these intercessions that were a standard of our early LCMS liturgy - these again from the book I referred to in the article down below a bit, the 1881 English translation of the Agenda:

Let us pray.  Almighty, everlasting God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of heaven and earth, we heartily beseech Thee, that Thou by Thy good spirit wouldst govern Thy Christian Church with all its teachers and servants, so that it be preserved in the true, unadulterated doctrine of Thy pure Word, here and everywhere, in order that by it Thy kingdom may be spread among us, true faith awakened and strengthened, and love to all men grow and increase in us.

We also pray Thee, Lord of Lords, that Thou wouldst graciously look upon this our country, preserve it unimpaired in its liberty, and constantly advance its temporal and spiritual welfare.  Take, we pray Thee, all the officers of this country into Thy divine protection.  Make them all a blessing of Thine, and crown them at all times with Thy favor and goodness, so that under their government we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.

Especially do we beseech Thee, let day and night Thine eyes be open upon this city [region] and all its inhabitants, and graciously also remember our congregation.  Almighty Protector of Thy Church, continue to be among us with Thy grace and help, forsake us not, and give Thy divine increase to all that is done for our temporal and eternal welfare.  Grant us holy courage, good counsel, and right works.

Into Thy gracious protection and care do we also commend the brethren of our faith abroad.  Be gracious unto them, Lord our God, and prosper the work of their hands.  Defend them mightily from all dangers which may threaten them, and preserve them in the one thing, to fear Thy name.

Graciously bless the education and instruction of our youth, that they may grow up in Thy fear, to the praise of Thy name.  Especially bless in our country also the institutions of the true faith, in preparing faithful laborers in Thy vineyard.

Advance every Christian trade, business, and occupation, and let every one walk in them before Thee in all good conscience, and support himself honestly.

Graciously provide for all sick, poor, widows, and orphans; keep all mothers and young children; be the guide of all those who travel by land or by water in the way of their calling; have mercy upon all those who are in temptations, and those who suffer persecution for Thy name's sake.  Comfort them, O God, with Thy favor and finally deliver them according to Thy fatherly pleasure.

Give Thy divine increase to the growth of the fruits of the land; avert all hurtful tempests, scarcity, famine, war, conflagration, inundation, and other calamities.  Do thus, O faithful Father, remain with us until our end, and let Thy spirit never depart from us, that we may live in Thy fear, die in Thy grace, and at last receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls.

All this grant for the sake of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and His precious blood, who with Thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth in equal majesty and glory, true God and man, blessed for ever.  Amen.

On Sad Days

A week of so many sorrows... Joanie's mom sudden death on Tuesday morning... The funeral for little Lily Ann Haarmann yesterday... Cindi today at the funeral for Dan Kostencki while I finished up homily for Ramona's service... Death everywhere.  "In the midst of very midst of life snares of death surround us." (LSB 755).  Or as Bishop Laache said so famously:  "In this life we carry each other to the grave."

Spent time this morning on the phone with my brother, hospitalized with an infection that may halt his chemo treatments for the time being - he sounded weak, weary, discouraged.  Spent time talking to my sister about how sad conditions are at the VA hospital where Maup is hospitalized.  Spent time in prayer for so many heart-aches of the parish and dear friends going through hellacious times.

In such downer moments, is there any comfort on God's green earth that comes close to what the Church gives us in her hymnody?  I think not.

Why should cross and trail grieve me?
God is near
With His cheer;
Never will He leave me.
Who can rob me of the heaven
That God's Son
For me won
When His life was given?

When life's troubles rise to meet me,
Though their weight
May be great
They will not defeat me.
God, my loving Savior, sends them,
He who knows
All my woes
Knows how best to end them.

God gives me my days of gladness,
And I will
Praise Him still
When He sends me sadness.
God is good; His love attend me
Day by day,
Come what may,
Guides me and defends me.

From God's joy can nothing sever
For I am
His dear lamb,
He, my Shepherd ever.
I am His, because He gave me
His own blood
For my good,
By His death to save me.

Now in Christ death cannot slay me,
Though it might
Day and night
Trouble and dismay me.
Christ has made my death a portal
Through the strife
Of this life
To His joy immortal.

15 March 2012

One of the odd things

about preparing for a move is the realization that David's "little" fir tree (now towering above the house), the Mimosa we planted last year, the bulbs Lauren gave me, the dogwood tree the kids gave Cindi, the lilac that Jean and Mark planted for us in the backyard, and the beautiful ginkgo tree that Paul gave in honor of my 25th anniversary of ordination - well, they stay here and we move on.  Someone else will be enjoying them.

And that's actually a picture of life.  We may plant and arrange and enjoy but finally we move on; the work and the beauty were never just for ourselves in the end.  Hopefully there is something left of us as we move on that continues to be a blessing to others - things that we worked on and enjoyed and that now someone else will discover and treasure and shape and improve.  And since we'll be nearby we can at least drive past and see and remember....

14 March 2012

An Article

that I had published a few years ago.  I think it helpfully tells a story that is not well known and should be:

A Forgotten Treasure – Church Liturgy, 1881


Almost completely forgotten in the annals of Lutheran liturgical history in North America is a slender volume that the Missouri Synod published for the first time in 1881.  It was apparently the work of August Crull (1845-1923), whom Walther had charged with bringing the core German hymns and liturgical treasures of the Lutheran Church into the English language. The title of that little 88 page volume is telling:  Church Liturgy for Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.  Published by the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States.  Translated from the German. This rather explodes the myth that the early Synod had no interest in work among English speakers.  Quite the contrary.   Walther had urged Crull to provide in English the orthodox hymns of the Lutheran Church and to put the Saxon service into that language.


The pedigree of Church Liturgy is largely that of the Herzog Heinrich Agenda of Ducal Saxony (1539). In itself, that order was one of the most stable liturgies in the whole history of the Lutheran Church.  It shaped the lives of Johann Gerhard (whose own version of it was called the Casimiriana) and J.S. Bach.  The remarkable story that G√ľnter Stiller tells in Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig (CPH, 1984) is the story of the Herzog Heinrich liturgy! It was largely unchanged from its first publication until it suffered “enlightening” in 1812. Partly to avoid the use of this updated, “enlightened” Agenda, and for freedom to return to the old Saxon liturgical tradition, the Saxon colonists came to America. Those colonists made the publication of a new Agenda  one of the Synod’s chief projects in her earliest years.  This was done in 1856 and the title page pointedly observes:  Church Agenda for Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, Assembled from the old orthodox Saxon Church Agendas and set forth for the General German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States.  Which is to say:  skipping over the 1812 enlightened Agenda, they sought to hold fast the older Saxon tradition to which they were heirs.


This is the tradition that Crull puts into English in 1881.  So, unlike the Common Service which was published later in the same decade, this English liturgy was not a compilation of what 19th century liturgiologists regarded as the best of Lutheran liturgies of the 16th century; it was rather one particular branch of that liturgy whose basic structure went all the way back to the initial ducal Saxon visitation accomplished under Justas Jonas and approved by Luther himself.   


Church Liturgy is divided into three sections:  Sacred Ministerial Acts (Baptism of Infants, Attestation of Baptism, Baptism of Adults, Confirmation, Solemnization of Marriage, Communion of the Sick); Order of Divine Service (Morning Service; Afternoon and Week Day Service; Catechetical Instruction; Short Service; Service for Confession; Early Communion; Burial; Day of Prayer and Repentance); and finally an appendix composed of “antiphonies (15) and collects (17).”


Due to limitations of space, we’ll just be peeking into the Morning Service – that is, the Hauptgottesdienst.  This liturgy begins abruptly with the hymn “Lord God Father” – that is, Crull’s translation of Kyrie, Gott Vater.  At the close of this hymn, the minister steps forward to the altar and intonates:  “Glory to God in the highest!”  Whereupon the congregation answers with “All glory be to God on high” – singing the great Gloria hymn of Decius, again in Crull’s translation.  At the close of the hymn the minister again approaches the altar and facing the congregation gives the salutation followed by the antiphon (on festival days, two antiphons).  The antiphon, we might note, rather takes the place of the Introit that has disappeared in setting the tone for the day.  Thus, the example provided in the liturgy itself is from Advent:  
M:  Prepare ye the way of the Lord.  Hallelujah.  
C:  Make His paths straight.  Hallelujah.
M:  Hosanna to the Son of David.  Hallelujah.
C:  Hosanna in the highest.  Hallelujah.
Then facing the altar, the collect.  Note that this is not a proper for each Sunday, per se, but a “suitable collect.”  The Saxon tradition did not render all the traditional collects into German, nor did this English tradition.


The order gives both the collect for Advent and a collect for Sundays, both of which the congregation answers with “Amen!”
The Epistle is read from the altar and bears this rather long introduction:  “The Christian congregation may hear now with due devout attention the Epistle for the day, the first Sunday in Advent, which is written in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans in the 13th chapter, from the 11th to the 14th verse, and reads as follows:”  The congregation then stands to hear the Epistle.
Following the Epistle, the pastor withdraws from the altar and the congregation is to sing “the leading hymn” – what we would call “the hymn of the day.”  


The Holy Gospel is introduced next and likewise read from the altar:  “The Christian congregation may hear also with devout attention the Gospel for the day, the first Sunday in Advent, which is written in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, in the 21st chapter, from the 1st to the 9th verse, and reads as follows:”  Again, after the announcement, the congregation stands.  


Immediately after the Gospel is read the people sing the Credal Hymn:  “We All Believe in One True God.”  The pastor enters the pulpit during the third verse of this and begins on festival days with an ex corde prayer or on common Sundays with an apostolic greeting.  The Gospel is invariably reread and then preached upon. 

At the end of the sermon, invitation is issued to confession:  “Having heard the Word of God, let us now humble ourselves before the supreme Majesty of God, and make a confession of our sins, saying:”


The confession that follows is largely the one in Divine Service III of The Lutheran Service Book, beginning, “O Almighty God” with some minor textual differences.  The absolution, though, is different enough to print out in its entirety:  “Upon this your confession, I, by virtue of my office, as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God unto all of you who heartily repent of your sins, believe on Jesus Christ, and sincerely and earnestly purpose by the assistance of God the Holy Ghost, henceforth to amend your sinful lives, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins, in the name of God + the Father, God + the Son, God + the Holy Ghost.  Amen.”


This confession is followed by a prescribed Prayer, a general prayer for all sorts and conditions and followed up by a series of occasional prayers that would be needed from time to time (for the communicants, for betrothed persons, for woman after childbirth, birth of twins, stillborn child, churching of women, churching of mother when child was stillborn, death of a young person, death of an adult).


All of this was led from the pulpit, not the altar.  The minister closes with the Our Father and gives a brief blessing before descending from the pulpit.  


When communion is celebrated, the congregation sings:  “Create in me…” and the pastor goes to the altar to arrange all things for the consecration.  He faces the congregation to give the salutation, but the altar to sing “Lift up the hearts!” and “Let us give thanks unto our Lord God!”


Prefaces are provided for general, Christmas Day, Epiphany Day, Lent, Easter Day, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, and Feast of the Holy Trinity.  They usually begin:  “It is very meet and right, becoming and salutary…”


The Preface leads into the Sanctus, which assumes an interesting form:


Holy, holy, holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is Mary’s Son [or, the Paschal Lamb] that cometh in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!


The minister then chants the Our Father, the congregation answering with the doxology, and then the pastor chants the Words of Institution to which the congregation answers with the singing of “Lamb of God, O Jesus!” – Crull’s translation of the Agnus Dei.  


Following the distribution of the Sacrament, the minister is to intone “a suitable antiphony” [the example is:  M:  As often as ye do eat this bread and drink this cup.  C:  Ye do show the Lord’s death till He come].  This is followed by Luther’s closing collect from the German Mass: 

Let us give thanks unto the Lord and pray:  We thank Thee, O Lord, Almighty God, that Thou hast refreshed us through this wholesome gift, and we beseech Thy mercy, that Thou wouldst cause it to redound in strong faith toward Thee and in fervent love among us all, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.


The congregation answers Amen! The Aaronic Benediction closes the liturgy followed by the singing of “May God be Praised” [our “O Lord, We Praise Thee,” “Gott Sei Gelobet”] or another suitable hymn and then silent prayer.  


This English form was thus available to the congregations of the Missouri Synod a few years prior to the publication of the Common Service and its adoption by the English Synod.  The old Saxon Service in fact continued in Missouri’s English publications right up till the arrival of The Lutheran Hymnal.   It appeared in print for the final time in the 1936 Church Agenda, where it was denoted as Divine Service, Second Form; First Form being the Common Service.


Sadly, in most accounts of Missouri’s liturgical history one finds nary a word regarding this little volume, Church Liturgy.  One searches for information about it in vain in Lutheran Worship:  History and Practice (CPH, 1993).  It is almost as though it had never happened.  That’s a shame, for when the Synod rendered her service in English she was not offering a reconstruction by liturgical scholars of a service that had in fact, in that form, never been used; she was offering her own treasured liturgy in which she had for centuries received the gifts of the Lord and extolled them with her hymns of praise.  For myself I would have known nothing of Church Liturgy had not Dr. Norman Nagel years ago directed my attention toward this important but neglected chapter of Missouri’s liturgical history.  I am most grateful to him for pointing it out, and to Pastor Paul Sauer for the invitation to tell a little bit of the story in the pages of Lutheran Forum.    

For Helen

! 



Ramona's funeral

will be at St. Pauls on Saturday at 11.  The visitation is the day prior at Lesicko's in Livingston from 4 to 8.

13 March 2012

+ Ramona Prante

Asleep in Jesus this morning, following a sudden heart-attack.  Give rest, O Christ, to Your servant with Your saints where sorrow and pain are no more.

12 March 2012

I would like to introduce you...

...to my grandson, officially known as "What's His Name" since Lauren and Dean won't spill the beans on the name yet.  Isn't he ADORABLE?

09 March 2012

What struck me as a rather odd

comment was made by a former Lutheran (now a Roman Catholic) on a forum.  He said that Lutheranism only works if God is an enemy.

I think I know what he meant - he was referring to the notion that the Son propitiates the divine wrath.  It is a Biblical theme that cannot be gotten around, no matter how uncomfortable it may make us moderns.  But I do think that we cannot and dare not ignore that alongside this teaching, we have some very, very clear statements in our hymns proclaiming us the objects of the Father's love precisely IN the sending of His Son.

Consider a few:

Oh, how great is Your compassion,
Faithful Father, God of grace,
That with all our fallen race
In our depth of degradation
You had mercy so that we
Might be saved eternally.

Your great love for this has striven
That we may, from sin made free,
Live with You eternally.
Your dear Son Himself has given
And extends a gracious call,
To His Supper leads us all. (LSB 559:1,2)

God said to His beloved Son:
"It's time to have compassion.
Then go, bright jewel of My crown,
And bring to all salvation.
From sin and sorrow set them free,
Slay bitter death for them that they
May live with You forever."

The Son obeyed His Father's will,
Was born of Virgin Mother,
And God's good promise to fulfill
He came to be my brother.
His royal pow'r disguised He bore;
A servant's form like mine He wore
To lead the devil captive. (LSB 556:5,6)

Should we fear our God's displeasure,
Who to save
Freely gave
His most precious treasure?
To redeem us He has given
His own Son
From the throne
Of His might in heaven.  (LSB 360:3)

O wondrous Love, what have You done?
The Father offers up His Son,
Desiring our salvation.
O Love, how strong You are to save!
You lay the One into the grave
Who built the earth's foundation.  (LSB 438:3)

Each day at His good pleasure
God's gracious will is done.
He sent His dearest treasure
In Jesus Christ His Son.
He every gift imparts.
The bread of earth and heaven
Are by His kindness given.
Praise Him with thankful hearts! (LSB 713:4)

The Only Son from heaven,
Foretold by ancient seers,
By God the Father given
In human form appears.
No sphere His light confining,
No star so brightly shining,
As He, our Morning Star.  (LSB 402:1)

Almighty Father, in Your Son
You loved us when not yet begun
Was this old earth's foundation. (LSB 395:4)

Thou Christian heart,
Whoe'er thou art,
Be of good cheer and let no sorrow move thee!
For God's own Child,
In mercy mild,
Joins thee to Him;
How greatly God must love thee! (LSB 372:4)

So very many others that one could put forward.  But clearly the gift of the Son into our flesh is a sign of such magnitude of the Father's infinite love for the lost race of men that it cannot be gainsaid.  If I may, the love of the Father for the entirety of our race is so complete that there is not a single soul who languishes in hell for whom the Father did not send His Son into the flesh, to shed His blood, to impart forgiveness.  That's Lutheran teaching too, and the other may not be divorced from it as though what I presented above were somehow less authentically Lutheran.  Rather, as we sing, so we believe, so we pray.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Exclusively through the Incarnate Lord and His work as communicated in the means of grace, fallen mankind has been graciously taken up into the streams of divine life, into the currents of love which pass back and forth in eternity between the divine Persons. -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 102.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Where You are, there will I also be.  You are at work in confession, where You absolve Your repentant Christians; there will I also be found.  You are also at work in Your most worthy Supper, where You pledge Yourself with infallible love to all believing hearts; there will I often be found.  You are also at work with the poor; for these will I also gladly care. -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 147.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Jesus offered Himself to those who gave up the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees and came to Him, who was the living bread, which came down from heaven, and gives life to the world. -- Origen of Alexandria, Commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew, 12.5.

08 March 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Almighty God alone knows the point in time  when, with the incorporation of the last of the elect into the mystical body of His Son, the "whole Christ" is to be glorified in Head and members.  Pastoral duty in the face of the impending parousia is therefore to summon sinners in general - and not the least the sinful flesh remaining in Christians - to repentance, since faith lives not in speculation but in penitence (Ap. IV.152). -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 97.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Oh, Lord Jesus!  Thank You for Your love.  You loved me beneath the heart of Your mother.  You pressed me to Your loving heart in my Baptism.  You have Your loving heart described in all evangelical preaching.  You have Your sweet heart declared to me in Absolution.  You assure me of Your gracious heart in the Holy Supper.  I have often experienced Your faithful heart in my troubles.  I will experience Your love - Your untainted, bridegroom like love - in my death, yea, I will see it on the Last Day.  Isaac could never treat Rebekah as fondly as You will treat me.  There You will embrace me with eyes of love, extend to me the hand of Your grace, and lead me into the dwelling of Your inheritance, where You will love me each day more than the last. -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 142.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The power that may not be handled came down and clothed itself in members that may be touched, that the needy might draw near to Him, that in touching His manhood they might recognize His Godhead.  -- St. Ephrem the Syrian, Homily on Our Lord, 10.

05 March 2012

A Lamb Goes UnComplaining Forth

is Gerhardt's immortal Lenten hymn.  You can listen here to an interview on this hymn for Issues, Etc.

03 March 2012

So, what's primal eating like?

More veggies than you are thinking, I'll warrant.  Just thinking from dinner last night to lunch today, how's this for variety of food?

Dinner:
Chicken roast in crock-pot with chunks of:
Onions, celery, turnips, and carrots
Collard greens
Broccoli
Celery slices with cream cheese
Apple and strawberry slices

Breakfast:
Roasted sweet potato (topped with butter, kosher salt, and cinnamon)
Bacon
Paleo pancakes (made of coconut flour, 1/2 banana, six eggs, raw honey, salt, cinnamon)

Lunch:
Green smoothie (strawberries, blueberries, Kale, spinach, banana)
Eggplant Parmesan
Lebanese salad (a wondrously garlicky fresh cabbage salad)

Throw in some handfuls of nuts and an indulgence of 85% dark chocolate.  Good grief, what is there NOT to like in such a wonderful spectrum of foods?  Infinitely better than straight low-carb; but everything (save the cheese) was made from scratch, from whole food.  Even the tomato sauce for the eggplant was home made from last summer's tomatoes (thank you, Louis!).

I'd sure encourage anyone who is struggling with weight, with energy, with allergies, with darned near every result of eating the standard American diet, to TRY this and rediscover REAL FOOD!  Your body and your mind will thank you...

02 March 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

World-wide evangelization must not be confused with the chimera of world-wide Christianization. -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 82.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Isaac went to meet his dear bride.  Oh Lord Jesus, You are the Bridegroom of my soul; how often do You come to meet me!  When I pray, You come and listen to me.  When I suffer any cross, You help me.  When I fall into temptation, You protect me.  Oh, when I must die, come to meet me with Your Bridegroom-like love, and preserve my soul to eternal life.  -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 141.

Patristic Quote of the Day

This is especially true because the spirits, seeing what is unseen by men, could tell if Christ were powerless and refuse to obey Him at all.  Now what unbelievers do not believe, the spirits see:  namely, that He is God. -- St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation 32

01 March 2012

I have a friend

who loves Emily Dickinson.  I always liked her poetry too.  There's a truth about her that's hard to beat.  I've been thinking a lot about my friend's favorite poem from her:

The bustle in the house
the morning after death
is solemnest of industries
enacted upon earth.
The packing up the heart
and putting love away,
we will not need to use again
until eternity.

There is something of that after a pastor takes a call.  The packing up the heart and putting love away.  Well, love is never put away and it cannot be put away, and that's part of the pathos of the piece.  But there is a packing up and putting away - if not of love, of the things that loved ones shared together.  As mundane as assembling files that may be useful for another on the computer and files that you know you'll not need ever again and hitting that delete button.  I haven't hit it yet.  Still can't bring myself to.  But it's only a matter of time.  Maybe I'll hit it tonight for at least a few of these things I'll not use again because they are so St. Paul's specific.  Sigh.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The eschatological sign of false prophets peddling their errors has been interwoven with external Christendom from the New Testament times onwards, nor will it lesson its grip in the space of time that remains before the parousia.  -- Dr. John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, p. 74.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Abraham's servant stood by the well and there met his young master's bride and adorned her.  God's servants stand by the healing well of the Holy Gospel and the most worthy sacraments, preaching, baptizing and distributing the Holy Supper.  There they meet the bride of their Lord Jesus and present her with the treasures and jewels of heaven, that they may be adorned and pleasing to the Lord Jesus.  -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 138.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Mary is more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ than in conceiving the flesh of Christ. -- St. Augustine, On Virginity, 3.