30 June 2012

Dr. Davis just nails it:

Elimination of wheat is the single most powerful strategy for health available to Americans, more powerful than any supplement, drug, or procedure to restore health, eliminate abnormal triggering of appetite and other abnormal mind and emotional effects, lose weight, and obtain relief from a long list of abnormal health conditions.

Read more here.

I feel for the wheat farmers.  There is no way that this info is going to be kept back from the public - it keeps spreading and folks keep experimenting and making the same shocking discovery over and over again. With tossing the grains out the window, a host of issues leave too and weight drops. Even O'Reilly's got it figured out!

29 June 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Since hymnody is meant to be ecumenical and transcultural, it should be inspired by the Psalms and, ideally, include the best compositions from all ages and cultures.  It should not represent the work of only one tradition or of the present generation. -- Dr. John Kleinig, Singing with Grace in our Hearts, Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord, p. 112.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

By our sins we had merited the fires of hell, but God looked upon us in His boundless mercy.  This is the reason He sent His Son, and for the sake of His Son He now remits our sins. -- Blessed Martin Luther, House Postil III:320 (Upon the Nativity of the Baptist)

Patristic Quote of the Day

Christ wills to suffer in His servants. -- St. Ambrose, Sermon against Auxentius, 14

Missionary Orientation DONE

Well, at least MY part in teaching is.  Now it's just providing the morning, chapel, and evening prayer services for next week. 

28 June 2012

Less than an hour

after the decision was issued from the Supreme Court of the United States, we gathered in chapel for worship at the International Center.  Dr. Oschwald gave us great joy out of Acts 16.  And in our prayers we remembered those afflicted by the wildfires, our new missionaries, and also prayed for our country:

Holy Father, You know how divided we have been as a nation on the question of health care as on many other public policy issues. Forgive us where we have failed to explain our neighbors’ actions in the kindest ways, when we let tempers flare and sully each others’ reputations. You have commanded us to pray for all our public servants and so we come to You now putting them all in Your omnipotent hands. We thank you for each branch of our state and federal governments. Grant them Your guidance in these difficult days. Help them to pursue policies that protect the rights of all the citizens of this nation to practice their faith without coercion or interference, and yet give them Your wisdom that together we might find ways to meet the deep needs and persistent challenges before us. Help us as a people to turn to You, to learn from You, to value what You value and to prize what You prize. Without Your blessing, we will surely bring it all to ruin; with Your blessing, we will not fail. We ask all these things in the name of Him who gave His very life in love for us and for all, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A Most Crazy Week

what with both Conferences, but the Deaconesses have departed to their blessed callings, and I have only one more day of teaching at Missionary Orientation.  It's so wonderful to get to know these folks a little bit - the ones who will be scattered across the globe.  May the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit bear rich fruit through them so that the Church may grow and many, many more be gathered into the Father's family.  If you are in the area, join us for the Sending Service - a Divine Service celebrated in the International Center Chapel on July 6 at 2 p.m.  Dr. Herb Mueller, Synod First Vice President, will preach; Pr. Kevin Golden will preside at the Eucharist and I will assist.

24 June 2012

Shortly off to Pallotine Retreat Center

where the Concordia Deaconess Conference (or at least a large part of the same) will gather to begin their conference.  I REALLY wish I could be at the entire conference - not only to visit with the Deacs but because two of my all-time favorite teachers will be presenting:  Prs. Bruce Keseman and Randy Asburry.  The topic this year?  Unpacking the parables of Jesus.  I hope to at least get to listen in on some. 

The fly in the ointment, as it were, is that running concurrently with the Deaconess Conference is the Missionary Orientation at the International Center.  The theme for this year's Orientation?  Credo:  Created...to live forever!  The theme verse is from 1 John 5:  God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son.  Part of the first week will involve five catechetical sessions on the Creed, and particularly attending to the Large Catechism's handy unpacking of the same.  Looking forward to that too.  And each day of the two week experience will wrap up with singing Evening Prayer.  I'll have to miss the first one of those because of celebrating the Divine Service at the Deaconess Conference. 

It promises to be a crazy, joy-filled, delightful week or two!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Lord entrusted His life-giving Word to the community and still leads it today through the Word.  The Holy Spirit adds to this community all who are baptized into Christ, trusting in the dead and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, which is the center message of Scripture. -- Edward Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

How does one come to faith?  I will tell you.  Our Lord Jesus said, "Peace be with you.  Behold, My hands, etc."  [In other words, he is saying] Look, man, I am the only one who has taken away your sins and redeemed you, etc.; now be at peace.  -- Blessed Martin Luther, cited in Today's Treasury reading (June 24). 

Patristic Quote of the Day

It is significant that John's birth is recorded as having taken place when the days began to grow shorter, while the Lord was born as they grew longer. It was John himself who explained the meaning of this contrast when the crowd thought he was the Christ because of his great virtues, and the Lord was considered by some as only a prophet and not the Christ because of his lack of austerity. "He must increase," said John, "while I must decrease." -- The Venerable Bede

23 June 2012

Some Augustana Thoughts

as the day we commemorate its Presentation to Emperor Charles V approaches (Monday):

The Augustana in its doctrinal articles begins with the Triune God and ends with the saints (and the saints are put in the doctrinal articles, not the abuse articles! HT Fr. Heath Curtis).

 The order is significant in the first 13 articles of the first portion:  from the Blessed Trinity we recognize the fallen state of man (diseased and corrupted) to the remedy for our malady:  the Savior.  The Savior's great gift to us:  justification.  How He arranged that gift to be imparted (the Ministry).  What that gift produces by His Spirit within us:  good works.  The arena in which all this happens:  the Church (which is the One assembly of all saints).  How we are brought into Christ (Baptism), kept in Christ (Eucharist / Absolution) and so preserved in lives of repentance.

For Article XIV see here.

Article XV is huge in our day for its neglect.  Folks run right away to FC X.  But that's the wrap up, not the starting place.  The start is AC XV and it needs much more pondering among us.

I find it striking that AC IV was among the articles about which they apparently didn't think there'd be a disagreement.  They list those from XXII to XXVIII.  I think that is because the position of AC IV had always been a bit of an Augustianian option.  Does that account also for the fact that the contrary view is "rejected" but that the strong "condemn" word is not used here?

Schroeder I think it was who argued that the big fight in AC all along was the one they saved for last:  XXVIII.  The question of the authority of bishops.  I think there's some truth to that.  The authority question continues to plague us, complicated by the old Adam's drive to always "play the boss" and so utterly contrary to the Savior's notion of authority.  I think the AC runs well with the new rather than the old Adam.

The entire genius of the confession is its (to borrow Lewis' phrase) presentation of "mere Christianity."

A read of the entire can give a resounding call to repentance to our contemporary living out of the faith in the Church.  Here's a hint:  drop the silly mission statements and let every single parish adopt this one.  Our mission is to be the Church of God in this place and at this time.  That's it.  A baptizing, Gospel-preaching and teaching, Eucharist centered, sinner-absolving and repentance living community, drenched in prayer (the Church's prayers and hymns by which we echo the Word).  Or, said another way, to manifest in each locale the ONE assembly of all saints - even though due to our sin, our fallenness and weak hold on grace, it will be always but a partial and fragmentary manifestation.  Still, it will point to the coming Kingdom and even more, offer to the weary, rebellious and fallen world the opportunity to taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The AC is needed today, more than ever, and not as something that Lutherans wave at other Christians to condemn them, but as something that Lutherans use as a mirror.  To remember what we once were, to see where we have fallen, to see what by God's grace we might yet become again. 

A cleaned up pic -

 - thanks to Mark Huntemann.  Now you can clearly see the Alpha at the top (there's an Omega at bottom), the IHC (Jesus) to one side and the Chi-Rho (Christ) on the other. 

Behold, the Lamb of God!

So when I got back to work this week, I was absolutely delighted to see that the amazing Barb Knehans had indeed seen to the placement of the crucifix in the Chapel.  It had been planned for a while, but I asked her if there were any way it could be in place before the Missionary Orientation, and voila!  Thanks, Barb.  There is something so utterly powerful about having the great "for you" before our eyes - the Lamb of God, victorious in His sacrifice of love.  Behold, O Christian, your righteousness, your life, your very salvation. 

In old Lutheran art, much hay was made of the way that the crucifix stands above the altar from which the self-same body and blood are put into the mouths of His people. and to which all true preaching points and proclaims.  That will happen on Friday, July 6, when we celebrate the sending service for the new missionaries being oriented this week and next. 

Pastor Golden of Village Lutheran Church (which sponsors the Eucharist) will preside, Vice-President Mueller will proclaim the Gospel, and I will be assisting minister.  Christopher Ahlman (also one of the missionaries!) will be serving on the organ bench.  Lots of other special music too.  All to proclaim and rejoice in the presence of Him whose body and blood upon the cross atoned the sins of the world and who gives now that body and blood into us that we might share in His unending life - that life of being sent as sacrifices out into the world to give away to others the love and life that we have received in Him!

22 June 2012

A Review of David and Meaghan's Wedding Homily

by Pr. Todd Wilken on Issues Etc yesterday.  Listen in here.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

From the Lord,
through the prophets and apostles,
in the community of faith that confesses God's Word,
we receive the Gospel-promise of our salvation in Christ and
return to the Lord our heartfelt service, prayers, and praise.

--Edward Engelbrecht, General Editor of the Lutheran Study Bible, p. xxx in the same.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Moreover, the promises of the Law require perfect obedience as is said in the first commandment:  "I will do good to those who love me" [cf. Deut. 5:10].  But the evangelical promise - about remission of sins, justification, and the gift of eternal life - is gratuitous, offered on account of Christ, without a condition of our merits or our worthiness.  -- Philip Melanchthon, Romans,  p. 22.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Thus each of these heresies [he has just spoken of Marcionism and Arianism], in respect of the peculiar impiety of its invention, has nothing in common with the Scriptures. And their advocates are aware of this, that the Scriptures are very much, or rather altogether, opposed to the doctrines of every one of them; but for the sake of deceiving the more simple sort (such as are those of whom it is written in the Proverbs, 'The simple believes every word Proverbs 14:15),' they pretend like their 'father the devil John 8:44 ' to study and to quote the language of Scripture, in order that they may appear by their words to have a right belief, and so may persuade their wretched followers to believe what is contrary to the Scriptures.-- St. Athanasius, To the Bishops of Libya and Egypt, Chapter 4.

There IS one thing you don't want to...

...bring from Mexico with you.  Only I did.  Whoops.  It was still totally worth it.

An Open Letter on Religious Freedom

Can be downloaded as a bulletin insert here.  This letter was authored by President Harrison but 24 religious leaders from Lutheran, Orthodox, Roman, Evangelical and other groups joined in signing it with him. 

21 June 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Neglect of the elderly who are at forefront of spiritual battle is troubling. In the church we are often obsessed with meeting the desires of the youth at the expense of the elderly. - Dr. John Kleinig, from a lecture at St. John's in Wheaton IL. 

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Whoever believes and holds to Christ's Word, heaven stand open to him, hell is shut, the devil imprisoned, sins are forgiven, and he is a child of eternal life.  That is what this book teaches you - the Holy Scriptures - and no other book. -- Blessed Martin Luther, WA 48:155 (cited in The Lutheran Study Bible)

Patristic Quote of the Day

If the whole body is injured in one member, so also is the whole community of the human race disturbed in one man. The nature of mankind is injured, as also is the society of the holy Church, which rises into one united body, bound together in oneness of faith and love. Christ the Lord, also, Who died for all, will grieve that the price of His blood was paid in vain. -- St. Ambrose of Milan, On the Duties of the Clergy III:17

20 June 2012

Back in the Saddle...

...as it were, after a Mexican vacation.  This was, for us, the dream of a life-time that we've been planning since last year.  With a big boost from St. Paul's as a gift for the 25th anniversary of my ordination, and with a lot of scrimping and cutting corners all year, we were able to take the entire family to Mexico for a week and stay at the Palace in Barcelo Maya.  Mostly it was a week for sitting on the beach, swimming with the fish (and turtle - we only saw one this year), or lounging at pool-side.  Like the last time we were there, you're really only relaxed after a couple days.  But then that "ah" feeling sinks in and you begin attending to the present gifts that the Lord is showering on you.  Like the day we had a tropical thunderstorm.  Wow.  What beauty and force!  Like seeing tiger fish and blue-colored fish stare at you in your googles like you are a very stranger critter (which I suppose we are)!  Like enjoying the variety of foods and drink that this beautiful old earth has to offer (avoiding the franken-foods as best we could, for the ones that come from the earth or from the animals of the earth with minimal amount of processing) - including that bit of Octopus you see David holding below.  That was in his soup!  And yes, he ate it.

We were blessed that Cindi's Aunt Sandy could join us, so we were nine in all:  Lauren, Dean, and baby; David and Meaghan; Bekah; Cindi and I;  and Aunt Sandy.  Lots of precious memories to treasure away.  I don't think we'll ever get another trip like that, and it sort of just "topped" our family vacations - almost certainly the very last we'll all be able to take together now that the oldest four children have fully entered the work force. 

10 June 2012


The other day I was blessed to have a chat with Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller, who was preparing to head up to Canada to present to the St. John Chrysostom Preacher's Retreat.  I was totally intrigued by his thoughts on preaching and its relation to conscience.  He shared so many profound things in such a short time that I'm still digesting them.  First, here's a challenge for you:  use an electronic version of the Confessions and read what they say about conscience (AFTER you do the same in the Scriptures!).  Second, think about the effects of the fall on the conscience and the fact that a human being now may feel guilt or shame over something that he ought not; or the fact that a human being now may not feel guilt or shame over something that he ought; and finally the fact that a human being may in fact read a situation rightly in the conscience.  Third, think of the task of preaching in relation to the conscience:  by the gift of the Ten Commandments we have a tool from God that can correct a conscience that is crushed under a burden it ought not be - for they inform us what is sin and what is not; likewise, when our conscience is broken and not warning us about sin, the Ten Commandments can reinforce and bring back to the conscience the knowledge of what actually is sin that we've pretending is not.  But the best of all is how the Gospel enables a good conscience (check those Confessional references again!), and how this is first and foremost because it rests our entire righteousness in the flawless righteousness of the Son of God.  Here Pr. Wolfmueller pointed to the parallel uses of "Paraclete" for the Divine Persons of the Son and the Spirit.  As the Son lives to intercede for us and is our advocate before the Father (1 John 2), ever pleading His own all-sufficient propitiation, so the Holy Spirit is the advocate within, in the conscience, also pointing ceaselessly to that perfect righteousness of the Son of God and proclaiming it as our very own.  There is no human righteousness that WE could come up with that would give us a good conscience in the light of the Law of God's relentless demand for absolute purity and perfection ("as Your Father in heaven is perfect!"), but the Spirit witnesses within our spirit that we are sons of God and if sons then heirs, heirs of God and coheirs with Christ.  The Spirit is given to us so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.  Also note the role of the conscience with Baptism in 1 Peter 3.  Still so much to think over, but is that not a fascinating area?  You know, it's been a long, long time since I sat in a seminary homiletics class, but I do not recall the area of conscience ever even being addressed, yet it is surely ought be.  Through preaching the conscience is informed and corrected and strengthened.  And the result is that we are kept humble in repentance and made firm in faith.  More later as I continue ruminating on the topic.  Any of you have further thoughts?

09 June 2012

Yet another Primal Success Story

on Mark's Daily Apple.  Check it out here.  I have definitely decided that when it comes to discussing this with folks (particularly devout Christians who balk at the evolutionary framework in which Sisson sets the story), the key is simply to invite folks not to pass judgment on it without giving it a try.  One month.  Just do one month.  See how you feel, how you look, how much you weigh afterwards.  No need to get wrapped up in the "why" - Sisson offers one explanation of why it works the way it does, but there may be others.  My encouragement to one and all is just try it before you rule it out on philosophical or theological grounds.  Delighted to see Father Hollywood's succcess on it; or Pastor Asburry's similarly striking transformation.

08 June 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Now God's grace is so wonderful and rich that mere prose and plain human language are incapable of adequately and comprehensively communicating his goodness.  The mystery of his gracious presence with us in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is best announced and best proclaimed in full-bodied, wholehearted, corporate praise.  The marriage of poetry and music in the song of the whole church alone suffices to preach the gospel to the world in a way that leaps across the normal barriers of communication and reaches the very heart of the hearer.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, "Singing with Grace in our Hearts" Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord, p. 112.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Oh, how Joseph's heart must have moaned at God's letting him suffer adversity so long when he was innocent.  Yet it comforted him to know that God never spares any godly man the cross.  -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 370

Patristic Quote of the Day

It was right that the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, as He has lifted us up to the highest heights, also suffered with us even to the lowest depths.  -- St. Augustine, Tractates on John, 51.1

06 June 2012

At all times and in all places...

...thanksgiving, that is.  Meet, right, and salutary whenever and wherever.  Last night Cindi's phone rang about 1:30.  Didn't recognize the number and so she didn't answer it.  They called again.  Still let it go.  Then Larry Barringer called.  Uh-oh.  David and Meaghan had a break-in in Italy at the place they were staying.  The thief (or thieves) actually robbed them while they asleep in their bedroom.  Spooky!  So gone are David's SS card, his wallet, their cash, and Meaghan's very nice camera.  Much to complain about, right?  I've been thinking today much to give thanks for:

Thank you, Father, that David and Meaghan were not hurt;
Thank you, Father, that nothing has been lost that cannot be replaced;
Thank you, Father, that the thieves were apparently scared off before taking the kids' laptops or finding their passports.
Thank you, Father, that they had each other at a very difficult moment and were able to comfort one another other and grow through a taste of adversity.
Thank you, Father, that Meaghan's grandma thought of traveler's insurance.

And thanksgiving also calls forth intercessions:

May it please You to send Your holy angels to stand guard over them;
May it please You to prevent this burglary from weighing on their minds and hearts, turning them to fear;
May it please You to stir them up to thankfulness to You for Your protective care;
May it please you to bring them home in safety and in peace.

Glory to God for all things!

04 June 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Songs of praise are a form of corporate teaching and preaching.  This has, I fear, been forgotten in many parts of the church today.  When modern Christians speak of praise, they, at least if they have been influenced by the charismatic movement, identify praise, by and large, with either thanksgiving or adoration, which are quite properly addressed to God and spoken to him.  Yet the psalms, the Scriptures as a whole, and our Lutheran tradition hold that we speak to each other when we praise God.  We do not sing hallelujah to the Lord but to each other.  When we praise the Triune God, we address each other and tell one another how good he is.  Our song of praise, then, is the corporate proclamation of the gospel by the congregation in the very presence of the living God.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, "Singing with Grace in our Hearts," Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord, p. 111.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

That cannot die which God wills to sustain. -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 341.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Lord roused [Lazarus] with as great ease from the tomb as one rouses a sleeper from his bed. -- St. Augustine, Tractates on John, 49.9


What a weekend!  Family arrived Thursday evening - sadly, none of my side of the family could make it (grand-daughters graduating on that side the same weekend as wedding), but Cindi's family was out in force - only niece Dorothy and husband, Fr. Christopher, could not be with us.  Friday I ran into the IC to do Chapel in the a.m. and then back home, cut grass, helped cook and then set up for the rehearsal dinner at the house (Cindi's sisters very kindly grilled the burgers for us).  Place was packed for that, and it was such a joy visiting with folks.  Saturday had just perfect weather for the wedding.  Jenelle Wright was awesome on the viola, Carlo likewise on the organ (Gigue fugue, baby!), and Cindi and Melissa sounded like two angels singing the "Laudamus Te" from the Vivaldi Gloria.  David dropping the ring was, of course, classic David.  David and Meaghan had each chosen a hymn for the service.  David selected:  "O Holy Spirit, Enter In" and Meaghan "Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus."  The singing was powerful, loud, joyous.  Nothing like a room full of Lutherans making music!!!  The joy continued at the reception.  I'm always amazed that my children know how to dance - well, I guess I shouldn't be.  Cindi is their mother.  She can move - me, um, well, it's just rather comical.  Sunday David and Meaghan flew out to Italy for a week - and since neither one of them has the first sense of direction, we're kind of hoping that we might see them someday again.  Sunday naps were a must after church for the rest of us - and then a big meal together at our house.  Dee taught us the secret to perfect sweet tater fries (oil not too hot and LOTS of it).  This morning saw the Dillons off at 5 and the Quades at 6.  It will be rather quiet without any young folk around the house.

03 June 2012

Homily for David and Meaghan's Wedding

What a powerful prayer with which to begin your married life.  To pray to the Holy Spirit:  “O mighty rock, O source of life, Let Your dear Word in doubt and strife, Be in us strongly burning, That we be faithful unto death, And live in love and holy faith, From You true wisdom learning.  Your grace and peace On us shower, by Your power Christ confessing, Let us see our Savior’s blessing.”

For marriage is a journey and the wedding is merely the grand send off.  It’s a journey toward unity, as we heard Paul say in the epistle:  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  That two become one is the goal of marriage.  And many are the obstacles along the path of that journey.  Many a marriage is brought to a premature end because the two are no longer walking the path toward unity. 

You begin the journey today by asking Jesus to come to your wedding.  That’s always a wise thing to do.  He comes along, bringing gifts abounding and unexpected.  As He did at Cana where the wine overflowed and not the cheap stuff either like in my house - the good wine that astounded the Master of the feast.  Asking Jesus to be present and bless your wedding - that’s such a good beginning.  But many have done so and then failed in the journey toward unity.  You see, they invited Jesus to the wedding, but not to their marriage, not into their home.

Only by Jesus and His presence and power can the miracle of the ordinary becoming extraordinary take place.  And if that miracle doesn’t take place, the journey to unity will falter.  Here’s the ordinary:  a sinful, selfish human being, bent in on one’s self, thinking life’s all about himself, herself, all about what I want, when I want it, and good for you if you happen to fit into my plans at the moment.  Lord, have mercy.  That’s the ordinary.  That’s the way each one of us comes into this world.  And it’s the way we leave this world unless the Lord Jesus does His miracle work in our lives.

When He is invited to bless a wedding and to bless a marriage, something profound begins to happen.  He transforms those bent in on themselves people.  He begins to unbend them.  He begins to teach them a whole new way of living with each other.  Welcome to the martrydom!  Marriage is His arena for putting to death the self.  Yes, it becomes His gift for you to die every day in little ways toward that impulse to do it my way or the highway, and instead you begin to live for the other, toward the other, to be a blessing to them.  Did you catch how St. Paul described it?

Both of you, called to imitate God as beloved children, to walk in love the same way that your Lord loved you and, here’s the key, gave Himself up for you, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  God awaits the sacrifice of yourself that you will get to offer morning and night in your marriage. 

David, let me be concrete.  That means that instead of first considering what’s up in World of Warcarft and whether or not it’s a raid day, you get unbent and turned toward Meaghan to ask:  how can I be a blessing to my lovely wife today?  What can I do to encourage her and bring her joy?  How can I communicate to her that she is a precious gift from God that I will not take for granted?  Think about it, okay?  She doesn’t need to be a WOW widow before she’s even been married a month.  Got it?  Yes, today Jesus crowns you the King of a new family.  And the crown He places upon your head is made of thorns.  A servant’s crown of thorns for you to wear that you might mirror Christ to your wife, and as God wills, to your children.

Meaghan, I’ll be concrete with you too.  God through His apostle asks a sacrifice of you that’s very difficult and that the world today thinks is foolish.  He asks you to submit to yourself to David and to do so trusting that denying yourself that way isn’t the path toward misery, but the path that leads to unity and to joy.   To trust that the path of submission when offered to the Lord in the Lord is a path of blessing.  It is to recognize that even though your husband’s crown is made of thorns, it’s still a crown.

How on earth will you two pull it off?  You can’t do it on your own.  You don’t have the strength or even the will.  But where Jesus is present, the water can change to wine, the person bent in on themselves become one who is free and upright and able to think about the other and to serve their spouse and bless them.  He can pull off what you can’t even begin to imagine.  Without Him, it’s hopeless. But with Him, where He is present, where His forgiveness is poured into you for your failures to walk the path toward unity so that they cannot hinder or hamper you.  Where His Spirit comes to abide with you and fill you with His peace, His joy, His love.  Where He molds you and shapes you to set you free - THERE the path to unity is finally possible.  “With God all things all things are possible.”

So don’t be DUMB.  Don’t invite Jesus to your wedding and then leave here when you drive off today.  Invite Him into your MARRIAGE.  Into your HOME.  Into your LIFE TOGETHER.  Read the Word in your home.  Pray to Him every day.  Go confess your sins regularly and receive His forgiveness.  Don’t you go missing the Divine Service where He waits to dish out to you more forgiveness than you have sin, more Life than you have death, more Joy than you will ever have sorrow.  He waits to bless you, forgive you, and bring you ever closer to Him, and so ever more one with each other, till the journey’s over and you are fully One in Him forevermore. 

It’s a journey, and you’re just starting.  But “let us ever walk with Jesus, follow His example pure,” and as you walk with Jesus on that journey, you will find that its joys will only grow day by day - and that is our prayer for you both today and so we give all glory to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages!  Amen.

01 June 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Paul's argument is as follows.  God has joined both Jews and Gentiles together as his people in Christ.  They are therefore to live in harmony with each other, so that they may all together glorify him with one voice.  For Paul corporate solidarity is both the presupposition for corporate praise and the consequence of it.  Christ's body sings with one voice to God the Father.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, "Singing with Grace in our Hearts" Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord, p. 110.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

You, O Lord Jesus, took upon Yourself the sorrows that I deserved; Your grief won me eternal joy.  Your hoarse words of lament gained me the sweet-sounding Alleluia.  Your painful fall brought me boldness to fall before Your Father and a joyous hope that my prayer will be heard.  You gained me the fellowship of the holy angels.  Your anguish of death won me eternal life.  Your sweat of blood ransomed me from hell. -- Blessed Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God III/IV, p. 337.

Patristic Quote for the Day

For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through His Son, Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit.  -- Justin Martyr

Commemoration of St. Justin, Martyr

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

The Treasury writing today quotes from the First Apology:

We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our Savior, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead.

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