31 August 2012

RAIN!

I'm loving it!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The one church is invisible in respect to the "who," and visible in respect to the "where."—Pastor Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 23.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Law is preached to us so we can recognize our revolt against it, feel the death and divine wrath which sin brings, and seek to embrace the better righteousness of Jesus Christ. He alone can help us out of our sin into righteousness, out of death into life, and out of wrath into the grace of heaven.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 682.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Reflect, therefore, how great are the things He bestowed on you. A great thing indeed it would have been for a sinner to die for anyone else; but when He who undergoes this is both righteous and dies for sinners; and not only dies, but even dies as one cursed; and not just cursed, but in so doing freely bestows upon us those great goods that we never looked for; what words, what thought would be sufficient to recognize these things? 'For the unrighteous,' Paul says, 'He was made a sinner; that He might make the sinners righteous.'—St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Corinthians 11.5.

30 August 2012

It's Here and WOW!


Best buds
What a beautiful volume it is!  CPH's The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes is a most worthy companion to sit next to your copy of The Lutheran Study Bible.

When you first open it, you will notice right away the similarities in layout. If you've mastered navigating TLSB, you'll feel right at home in The Apocrypha.  The text employed is the English Standard Version, and once again it delivers a text that is clear and dignified without being overly colloquial or informal.

But WHY? you might be asking.  Why bother?

Well, the Apocrypha is simply part of our heritage as Christians, and specifically as Lutheran Christians. It was invariably published in Lutheran Bibles in Germany, right between the two Testaments and with Luther's incredibly helpful little note:  "Apocrypha, that is, books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures, and nevertheless are useful and good to read." [This by the way was not merely his opinion; it was also the opinion, for example, of St. Jerome or St. Gregory Nazianzus.] These are books that were in the Greek translation of the OT but not found in the Hebrew text.

Putting them between the Testaments (rather than inserting them among the books of the Old Testament) is actually a good reminder that they specifically illuminate for us the time period between the close of the OT and the beginning of the New. Just a solitary example: we read in John 10 that our Lord was in Jerusalem "for the feast of the dedication." Well, you'd search in vain for this feast in the Old Testament writings and might wonder what this IS that Jesus is attending. The answer to your query is found in 2 Maccabees 10:1-8 - the institution of what we call today Hanukah!

You'll also find some interesting "middle" stories between the Old Testament and the New Testament accounts. Numbers 21:4-9 relates the story of the bronze serpent. And our Lord picks this up in John 3 as a type of His own crucifixion: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness..." Between the two accounts, we find this meditation on the event from the Book of Wisdom (16:5-8):

For when the terrible rage of wild beasts came upon your people and they were being destroyed by the bites of writhing serpents, your wrath did not continue to the end; they were troubled for a little while as a warning and received a symbol of deliverance to remind them of your law's command. For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by you, the Savior of all. And by this also you convinced our enemies that it is you who delivers from every evil.

And, of course, the Lutheran Church has always continued to make use of parts of the Apocrypha in our worship life. An ongoing frustration in the use of The Lutheran Service Book has been its oblique use of "liturgical text" whenever something was used from the Apocrypha. That's nice, but WHERE IS IT FROM? Be frustrated no longer. Your handy-dandy Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes gives you the info in a handy chart (thank you, Peter Reske) on pages 387, 388. Ah, so "When all was still, and it was midnight, Your almighty Word, O Lord, descended from the royal throne"—the lovely antiphon for the Introit at the Christmas Midnight Service—that comes from Wisdom 18:14-15! Or the Introit for Easter Tuesday "He gave them to drink of the water of wisdom"? That's from Sirach 15:3b-4a.

Perhaps most shocking to the sensitivity of modern day Lutherans is that our spiritual forebears not only continued to read the Apocrypha in private in their homes, but even publicly in the Church services!  A CPH published German Bible I have lists two readings from the Apocrypha on saints' days:

The epistle for the day of St. John is provided as Sirach 15:1-8
The epistle for the birth of Mary is provided as Sirach 24:22-31

In Lutheran Magdeburg's 1613 Cantica Sacra, we note that whole swaths of the Apocrypha were read in the daily Matins and Vespers in parts of the post-Pentecost season: Tobit, Judith, sections from Maccabees.

Some of my favorite sections are the "wisdom literature" (Sirach, Wisdom) and the "liturgical" pieces, above all the Prayer of Manasseh (cf. 2 Chron.33:12-13, 18-19):

for your glorious splendor is unendurable, and the wrath of your threat to sinners is overpowering; yet immeasurable and unsearchable is your promised mercy... the sins I have committed are more than the sand of the sea; my transgressions are multiplied, O Lord, they are multiplied. I am unworthy to look up and see the height of heaven because of the multitude of my iniquities... I earnestly implore you,  forgive me, O Lord, forgive me! Do not destroy me with my transgressions... For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent, and in me you will show forth your goodness; for, unworthy as I am, you will save me in your great mercy. [Does Paul echo this in 1 Timothy 1:15,16?]

But the objection is raised:  "Look, our people don't even know the canonical Scriptures as they should!  Is it wise to bother with introducing them to the Apocrypha?" It's a fair question, and I'd certainly not suggest that a steady diet of the Apocrypha or anything else (TV, novels, the internet) be allowed to replace the daily discipline of time in the canonical Scriptures.  BUT, I suspect the folks who'd have the greatest interest in the Apocrypha are precisely the folks who are INTO the canonical Scriptures already. You know, the kind of folks who will have puckered a brow over a "Feast of Dedication" in John 10 and wondered what further information they might have learned about that.

And I'll be honest: I think for pastors especially the Apocrypha is invaluable. I mean, we make our promise to conduct all our preaching, teaching and administration of the Sacraments in accord with the faith as it is confessed in the Book of Concord, do we not? But this Book specifically references the Apocrypha more than once. At the very least we should KNOW the context of the passages that are cited. Luther's, Chemnitz's, Gerhard's, and Walther's sermons are peppered with allusions or references to the Apocrypha and I think we're definitely the poorer when we no longer "get" those.

What people fear, I think, from the Apocrypha is that somehow publishing this again will elevate these books to the level of canonical Scripture - i.e., to texts that can form the basis for the formulation of the Church's dogma. But such a fear is more than allayed in the very helpful study notes that accompany this version. Even on the very cover page, Dr. Luther's words to Eck are cited:  "I know that the church retains this book [of the Apocrypha] as I just said, but the church is not able to grant more authority or strength to a book than the book has on its own."

The long and short of it: it's utterly worth each pastor owning and studying in conjunction with the canonical Scripture for the wonderful light it sheds on the intertestamental period and for the place it has historically possessed in our liturgical, catechetical, theological, and homiletical tradition.  It's also utterly worthy of any laity who are already students of the Word of God, for the exact same reasons. Buy it! You won't be sorry!

28 August 2012

Four Generations


From Today's Book of Concord reading in Treasury:

So the worship and divine service of the Gospel is to receive gifts from God. Apology IV:310 (V:189)

Faith receives the forgiveness of sins in the promise in the present. Apology IV:312 (V:191)

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Church is created from above, by her Head, not from below, by her membership.—Pr. Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 5.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

No, the preaching office has a higher source. It is a holy, divine office. God, the Most High, established it to be the proper means through which His people could be led to blessedness.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 673.

Patristic Quote of the Day

It is a day of grace, of grace divine. Therefore, with ease even we shall obtain the crown. For if, when we were laden with so many great evils He both received and delivered us, then at the time when we are delivered from all of them, will He not also accept us?—St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Corinthians, 12.1

25 August 2012

You know,

This poem always reminded me of mom. Now I think it will describe me. Ah the circle of life!

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been; 

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair. 

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see. 

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green. 

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know. 

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

—J. R. R. Tolkein

23 August 2012

Thank you, Meaghan!

Meaghan, David, Dave, Cindi, Jo, Dean, Lauren and Sawyer, William and Bekah.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Christian mysteries (1 Cor. 4:1) are the very opposite of all mystagogical mumbo-jumbo. They are not a secret doctrine muttered darkly among the few in the know. They are rather the saving secrets of God, utterly inaccessible to all human ingenuity, yet freely revealed and publicly proclaimed in the "mystery of the Gospel."—Pr. Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 5.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We also grant this, that alms merit many favors from God, lessen punishments, and merit our defense in dangers of sins and death, as we have said a little before about the entire repentance.—The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, V:157 (IV:278)

Patristic Quote of the Day

He did not say, 'Who keeps us from suffering affliction,' but, 'Who comfort us in all our affliction.'... This truly happened also in the case of the three children (Daniel 3:21-30), for neither did He prevent their being cast into the flame, nor did He quench it, but while the furnace burned He gave them freedom. And such is ever God's way of dealing with us, 'Who comforts us in all our affliction.'—St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Corinthians 1:3.

Praying the Catechism

In the name of the Father...
Amen.

I believe in God the Father almighty...

Glory be to the Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You shall have no other gods.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord, your God.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Honor your father and your mother.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You shall not murder.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You shall not commit adultery.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You shall not steal.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that is your neighbors.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

He says: I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

But showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Glory be to the Father...

Our Father...

Bless we the Lord,
Thanks be to God.

22 August 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The New Testament church is altogether the salvific workmanship of God, the Blessed Trinity. As the Father sent the Son, so the Son—Who as the Second Adam is both church and ministry "in embryo"—sends His Apostles, having equipped them with the Holy Spirit for the mission to forgive and retain sins.—Pastor Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 5.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

You see, because they [pastors in the church] are admonished by their own example of human frailty and weakness, they use greater gentleness and mildness toward those who are weak in faith and have been caught in a fault.—Blessed Johann Gerhard, The Ministry, p. 264.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Already we begin to belong to those angels with whom we shall enjoy that holy and most delightful city of God.—St. Augustine, City of God, 22.29.

21 August 2012

Sequentia seu Prosa

It doesn't take very long spending time with old Lutheran liturgies before one realizes the remarkable amount of space (to our view) given to the sequences - an embellishment of the Divine Service that flowered in the Middle Ages. Jungmann estimates that there were some 5,000 of them written, of which Trent left only five in Roman use. The Lutherans long continued their use and they have a beauty of their own.

I was looking over the one for Christmas Day, which appears in exactly this Latin form in the Magdeburg 1613 Cantica Sacra (and also in the Lossius, 1594, in which it is noted that the Apostrophe is to Mary "as an image of the Church"). The statement of Christ taking flesh "to make them companions of [participants in] your divinity" is rather a beautiful intro to the Christmas Gospel from Luke 2:1-14:

[la] Born before the beginning of time, the Son of
God, beyond perception, without limit,
[Ib] Through whom the workings of heaven and
earth were made, of the sea, and all things that
dwell therein,
[2a] Through whom the days and hours flicker and
then are rekindled,
[2b] Whom the angels in the celestial realm continually
proclaim with harmonious voice,
[3a] He had taken on a feeble body-without the
stain of original sin, from the flesh of the Virgin
Mary-through which the guilt of the first parent
and the lust of Eve might be wiped clean.
[3b] Hence the present short day, this day of brilliant
light, speaks forth, growing in length, because the
true Sun, the newly begotten Son, by the rays of
its light, had expelled the long-standing darkness.
[4a] Neither did the night lack the light of the new
star, for it struck fear in the knowing eyes of
the magi.
[4b] Nor was the light invisible to the shepherds,
for they were awestruck by the glory of the
heavenly host.
[5a] Rejoice, O Mother of God, whom, in place of a
midwife, angels surround singing "Glory of
God."
[5b] O Christ, only begotten of the Father, you who
have taken human form for our sake, restore
your humble servants;
[6a] And, O Jesus, you humbled yourself that you
might share in their suffering; deign to receive
their prayers,
[6b] So that you might deign to make them companions
in your divinity, O only begotten God!

[la] Natus ante secula dei filius invisibilis interminus
[lbl Per quem fit machina celi ac terre maris et in
his degentium
[2a] Per quem dies et hora labant et se iterum reciprocant
[2b] Quem angeli in arce poli voce consona semper
canunt
[3a] Hic corpus adsumpserat fragile Sine labe originalis
criminis de carne marie virigins, quo
primiparentis culpam eveque lasciviam tergeret
[3b] Hoc presens dies ista loquitur Prelucida adaucta
longitudine quo sol verus radio sui luminis
vetustas mundi depulerat genitus tenebras
[4a] Nec nox vacat novi sideris luce quod magorum
oculos terruit scios
[4b] Nec gregum magistris defuit lumen quos prestrinxit
claritas militum dei
[5a] Gaudet dei genitrix quam circumstant obstetricum
vice concinentes angeli gloriam deo
[5b] Christe patris unice qui humanam nostri causa
formam assumpsisti refove supplices tuos
[6a] Et quorum participem te fore dignatus es hiesu
dignanter eorum suscipe preces
[6b] Ut ipsos divinitatis tue participes deus facere
digneris unice dei

- Blessed Notker of St Gall

[Translation and Latin text from this website]

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

As the church wends her way through the centuries, the ever changing landscape compels her to attend now to this and now to that aspect of her faith.—Pr. Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 1.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Thus, it is certain: the justification of a poor sinner before God stands rock-solid, for it rests as much on God's righteousness, holiness, and faithfulness as on His goodness and grace. Its foundation is that God's Son has already reconciled all people, already paid their debt of sin, and already and acquired and offered them forgiveness and righteousness.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 658.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Thus He is both the priest who offers and the sacrifice offered. He designed that there should be a daily sign of this in the sacrifice of the Church, which, being His Body, learns to offer herself through Him.—St. Augustine, City of God, 10.20.

17 August 2012

Wisdom from the Large Catechism

While sanctification has begun and is growing daily, we expect that our flesh will be destroyed and buried with all its uncleanness. Then we will come forth gloriously and arise in a new, eternal life of entire and perfect holiness. For now we are only half pure and holy. So the Holy Spirit always has some reason to continue His work in us through the Word. He must daily administer forgiveness until we reach the life to come. At that time there will be no more forgiveness, but only perfectly pure and holy people. We will be full of godliness and righteousness, removed and free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body. [Large Catechism III:57]

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Our world is not "post-Christian," merely post-Constantinian, which is a very different matter.—Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 1.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

God's Word is always mighty. It brings people to the living faith, causing them to convert to God from the heart and to become new people by the changing of their heart, mind, and intellect.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 647.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Very persuasively Paul spoke, engendering awe. What he says is this: "That which is in the cup is that which flowed from Christ's side, and that of which we partake." But he called it a cup of blessing because holding it in our hands we so exalt Him in our hymn, wondering, astonished at His unspeakable gift, and blessing Him.—St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Corinthians, 24.3

16 August 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Such shape to the organization or the structure would, therefore, express itself also in the liturgical celebration. Members of the diaconate would have an integral and public work within the service.—Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 371.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The fact that the Christian Church has endured despite repeated assaults through all the centuries that followed the apostolic age, and that it continues to grow, is a greater miracle than all those performed in the earliest years of the Church.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 646.

Patristic Quote of the Day

As in the body, a neglect of a wound generates fever, infection, and death; so in the soul, slight evils, overlooked, open the door to graver ones.—St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on Galatians 1.7

Beautiful thought for the day...

...from the Apology (V:122 or IV:243):

Harmony in the Church cannot last unless pastors and churches mutually overlook and pardon many things.

15 August 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is when these pious opinions [about Mary's bodily assumption] are elevated to the status of dogmas which must be believed under pain of eternal condemnation that we declare this kind of constraint—rather than the opinions themselves—to be antichristian and diabolical.—A. C. Piepkorn, The Church, p. 330.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

O that blessed city of God, into which so many children, virgins, and martyrs have been received, where we will see for eternity apostles, prophets, patriarchs, and all the righteous who have believed in Christ, from Adam up to the last Christian on earth! We will see choirs of angels, and the most blessed mother herself who is the noblest member of the mystical body, finally the only source of eternal joy for angels and humans, Jesus Christ the king of glory, and God who is all in all. By reverently recalling such things, faith in our glorious resurrection and future life will surely be inflamed, nurtured, and confirmed in us.—Urbanus Rhegius, Confessor at Smalcald, Preaching the Reformation  from p. 99.

Patristic Quote of the Day

It was fitting that she, who held the creator in her lap as a baby, should rest in the tabernacle of God.—St. John of Damascus [Thanks, Trent!]

The Festival of St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord

AND Mother of God. Today we celebrate the day of her "falling asleep" in her Son. From the Treasury:

St. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned repeatedly in the Gospels and the Book of Acts, with nearly a dozen specific incidents of her life being recorded: her betrothal to Joseph; the annunciation by the angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of the Messiah; her visitation to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptizer; the nativity of our Lord; the visits of the shepherds and the Wise Men; the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple; the flight into Egypt, the Passover visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve; the wedding at Cana in Galilee; her presence at the crucifixion, when her Son commended her into the care of His disciple John; and her gathering with the apostles in the Upper Room after the ascension, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit. Thus she is present at most of the important events in her Son's life. She is especially remembered and honored for her unconditional obedience to the will of God ("Let it be to me according to your Word" [Luke 1:38]); for her loyalty to her Son even when she did not understand Him ("Do whatever He tells you" [John 2:1-11]); and above all for the highest honor that heaven bestowed on her of being the mother of our Lord ("Blessed are you among women" [Luke 1:42]). According to tradition, Mary went with the apostle John to Ephesus, where she died.

And traditionally, upon this very day.  The Lutheran Confessions say of the Blessed Virgin:  "He showed His divine majesty even in His mother's womb, because He was born of a virgin, without violating her virginity. Therefore, she is truly the mother of God and yet has remained a virgin." [FC VIII:24]

The Treasury appoints Psalm 132 as the Psalm for this day:  "Arise, O God, and return to Your rest, You and the ark of Your covenant."

The collect for the day:  Almighty God, You chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Your only Son. Grant that we, who are redeemed by His blood, may share with her in the glory of Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

14 August 2012

Paradise...

...holding my grandson.

Today's section of the Book of Concord

as indicated in the Treasury is one of my favorites.  Melanchthon is expositing Col. 3:14, and how "love, which binds all together in perfect harmony" isn't a reference to love justifying, but to the service of love in the life of the church:  "In a similar way, Paul commands that there should be love in the Church in order that it may preserve unity, bear with the harsher manners of brethren as there is need, and overlook certain less serious mistakes. This must happen or else the Church will fly apart into various schisms, and hostilities and factions and heresies will arise from the schisms." (Ap V:111 / or IV:232)

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Both the pastoral office and the diaconal office are expressions of the truth of the church's life—Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 370

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Every good thing in us—even the sinner's longing for deliverance—is a work of God's grace.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 641

Patristic Quote of the Day

Like a good servant, Job counted the will of the Lord his great possession, by obedience to which his soul was enriched; nor did it grieve him to lose, while yet living, those goods that he must shortly leave at death.—St. Augustine, City of God, 1.10

13 August 2012

From Year's Past, in Preparation for the Feast of St. Mary

I remember when the angel came and told me, and my heart burst with joy and terror.

I remember when I came to the door of Zechariah’s house and Eliabeth knew my secret and my heart melted and my eyes burned with tears and my mouth prophesied.

I remember when I felt your movement first inside my body, and I realized that I was the living ark of the living God.

I remember when first I saw your face, and touched your hands, and looked into my Joseph’s eyes.

I remember when they came creeping in to see you, to worship you, the shepherds of the night, and told me songs of angels: glory in the highest and peace on earth.

I remember when we brought you to the temple and the old man took you in his arms and blessed God, ready to die, and told me of pain yet to come.

I remember when they came from the East and bowed before you as I held you and gave their gifts - the gold, the incense and the myrrh, while the star's light shone upon us.

I remember when he woke me and we fled into the night ahead of the terror of Herod’s sword.

I remember when we came home at last, and people looked and talked, but you were all our joy.

I remember when you stayed behind, when you left us, and we found you in the temple and my heart rose up in fear realizing that you chose to abide in the place of sacrifice and death.

I remember when you spoke to me in roughness and yet made the water into wine.

I remember when we came to make you take your rest and you taught me that all these in need were dear to you as your own family.

I remember when they took you, tortured you, and crucified you; and before my eyes rose up the old man in the temple – his words haunted me still – and a sword ran me through as I watched you dying.

I remember when you looked on me and the beloved one and gave us to each other for all our days.

I remember when the light died in your eyes and my heart sank beyond tears and words.

I remember after the empty days when they came and told me that you lived again, and joy flooded my heart, and I knew then what I had always known - your every promise was true.

I remember when we prayed together after you had gone into heaven and the Spirit came in wind and flame.

I remember how they went and told the news to all the world. And I welcomed each new believer as my beloved child, a brother of my Son, the King of all.

I remember it all now as I die, as I lay my head down in death.

My Son, I am not afraid. I go to you, to you who have conquered death, to you who are the Forgiveness of all sins. Receive me, child. Receive me.

I remember. I remember. I remember.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Just as the pastor's work of the Word of God and prayer does not relieve the royal priesthood of believers from hearing and studying the Word or the life of prayer, so little does the work of the deacon relieve the members of the priesthood of believers from exercising the works of love in their daily vocations. As the episcopal task of the pastor is to train and discipline the royal priesthood in the Word and prayer, so the deacon trains and disciplines the members of the priesthood in their daily vocations.—Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 370.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

No one becomes hardened who did not first experience a time of gracious visitation.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 639.

Patristic Quote of the Day

How does it happen that they were first born of men should be born of God? How is it brought to pass; through whom? "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." What a wondrous exchange! He is made flesh; they are made spirit.... He shared with us our evil things to give us His good things.—St. Augustine, Sermons on the Lessons of the NT, 71.5

Chapel Homily on Ephesians 5:15-21

Nothing so sad as the human life lived from cradle to grave without a clue about what it’s here for.  Doesn’t take much living to discover that the days are evil and that evil awaits not just out there at every turn, but wells up even from within.  “Out of the heart” as our Lord put it.

What you are put here for is not being made drunk by wine or any other substance, not the life of chasing after pleasuring yourself to death, which is truly the waster.  We think of the Rich Man in the story of Lazarus, and if you had to write his obit, what could you say?  Here lies a man who liked to wear fine duds and eat gourmet meals?  That’s about it!  Which is to say:  Here is a man who simply didn’t ever discover what life was given for!  Here is a man who didn’t set free or liberate the time – who simply let the evil of the days rule him.

What a contrast is the life of the Spirit, people loved by God!  For the Spirit would open YOUR eyes to see why you’re here and what your life is all about and how its time may be redeemed. It is by the Spirit that St. Paul urges:  “watch accurately then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise ones.” The unwise walk aimlessly in the darkness – not you!  You have a lamp.  “Thy Word is lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”  By that Word the Spirit teaches you not to live the wasted life – wasted in both meanings of the word – but the wise life, the prudent life, the life of worship.

You do see that, don’t you?  It’s all about worship.  The Spirit who fills you impels you toward worship, because He united your life to Jesus, the worshipper par excellence – and so filling of time with psalms and hymns and spiritual odes, singing, psalming in your hearts to and with your Lord Jesus.  THIS is real life.  The poor world doesn’t have a clue as it wanders in its darkness, but you know.  This is what we were made for.  To join in this always-for-all-things Eucharist which is offered in the name of Jesus to His God and Father. 

When you settle for anything less than that sweeping vision of thanksgiving through the Son in the Spirit offered to the Father “at all times and in all places” you slip back into the foolish and imprudent way of living; you fail to redeem the time, to buy it back and set it free – and instead of time carrying you forward to the bright light of the Day without Evening in the Kingdom of your Father, then it can only carry you forward to the darkness of a grave, and to a dark fire flickering beyond, as the praiseless Rich man found out!

Time is meant for worship and praise – for that is life.  Have you ever taken to heart the astounding words of Psalm 115?  Turn there, please.  Front of the hymnal.  Look at verses 17 and 18.  “The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!”

The mark of being dead in the Bible isn’t that you are not breathing.  There are plenty of those who no longer breathe who still live – and the mark of their living is that they go on blessing the Lord!  “With angels and archangels and all the company of heaven!” Similarly, there are many who breathe who are dead as door nails.  The mark of their deathliness is that their mouths do not bless the Lord – instead of praise pouring forth, something else comes from within – bitter complaining and arguing, hateful words and divisions, gossip and slander. Dead words.  Words that leave the days even more evil than we found them.  This is what the Creed means when it speaks of “the living and the dead”! 

People loved by God, let us set the time free again!  This is the gift that He gives you today - He who came among us to live the life you, Adam, and all his children have failed to live.  Jesus offered a life that was one unending crescendo of thanks and praise to His Father. He did this for you so that you can live it with Him – not a wasted life, but the life you were made for. And that perfect life that culminated upon His cross and in the triumph of His resurrection and ascension, that life is YOUR life.  He gave it to you in your Baptism.  You can live it with Him now by His Spirit as you redeem these days, setting them free by filling them with what all creation will finally be filled with: a hymn of thanksgiving that expands into all time and all space, thanksgiving for the gifts that flow from the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit, to you and to all His children, and then the bounce back from us all in the Spirit, through the Son, to the Father, to whom be the glory, now and ever and to the ages of ages!   

“The dead do not praise the Lord, but we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.  Praise the Lord….with Psalms and hymns and spiritual odes, singing and making psalmody to the Lord with and in your hearts.”  Amen.


12 August 2012

Make that two great articles

and in the Times even!  Click here.

11 August 2012

What a great article

A Journey to Lutheranism:  Click here.

10 August 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The life of love and good works are the children, not the parent, of faith. The office of pastor (Word/faith) and the office of deacon (love/works) stand in relation to each other to reflect the relationship between justification by grace through faith and the holy life of service.—Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 369.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If you who are now firm in the faith do not watch and daily seek to strengthen yourself in the way of righteousness, you can certainly become offended and fall away into the idolatry of false doctrine, enthusiasm, and unbelief. Remember Aaron, and apply his example to yourself. If even he could fall, how much less secure is your own footing, no matter how highly enlightened you think yourself to be.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 631.

Patristic Quote of the Day

It was the chief and necessary sign of His [the Holy Spirit's] coming on those who had believed, that every one of them spoke in the tongues of all nations, thus signifying that the unity of the catholic Church would embrace all nations and would in like manner speak in all tongues.—St. Augustine, City of God, 18.49.

Commemoration of St. Lawrence, the Deacon

Today the Holy Church celebrates the glorious memory of St. Lawrence of Rome.  From the Treasury and our Synod's website:

Early in the third century A.D., Laurence, most likely born in Spain, made his way to Rome. There he was appointed chief of the seven deacons and was given the responsibility to manage church property and finances. The emperor at the time, who thought that the church had valuable things worth confiscating, ordered Laurence to produce the “treasures of the church.” Laurence brought before the emperor the poor whose lives had been touched by Christian charity. He was then jailed and eventually executed in the year 258 by being roasted on a gridiron. His martyrdom left a deep impression on the young church. Almost immediately, the date of His death, August 10, became a permanent fixture on the early commemorative calendar of the Church.


Oremus. Almighty God, You called Lawrence to be a deacon in Your Church to serve Your saints with deeds of love, and You gave him the crown of martyrdom. Give us the same charity of heart that we may fulfill Your love by defending and supporting the poor, that by loving them we may love You with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


09 August 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Adiaphora has come to mean, or so it seems, that these things have no significance, no import. Such an understanding of adiaphora is misleading. Things like liturgy, music, vestments, buildings, translations, church government have a great deal of import. To call these adiaphora is to say, "They are neither commanded nor forbidden by God, and therefore they are subject to human reason, human choice, human judgment." However, the import of these various adiaphora lies in what they expression of our doctrine and life, and what they protect or cultivate.—Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 368.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We teach that rewards have been offered and promised for the works of believers. We teach that good works have merit, not for forgiveness of sins, for grace, or for justification (for these we receive only through faith), but for other rewards, bodily and spiritual, in this life and after this life. For Paul says in 1 Cor. 3:8, "Each will receive his wages according to his labor." There will be different rewards according to different labors. But forgiveness of sins is given alike and equal to all people, just as Christ is one, and is freely offered to all who believe that for His sake their sins are forgiven.—Apology IV:194-5

Patristic Quote of the Day

Don't we maintain that when spiritual grace is dispensed to those who believe by the hands of a holy and faithful minister, it is still not the minister himself who justifies, but the One of whom it is said that He "justifies the ungodly" (Rom. 4:5)? ... Therefore, whether a man receives the Sacrament of Baptism from a faithful or a faithless minister, his whole hope is in Christ, so that he does not fall under the condemnation that cursed is he who puts his hope in man!—St. Augustine, On Baptism, against the Donatists, 3.49.

Weep with those who weep...

Kyrie, eleison
Christ, eleison
Kyrie, eleison

08 August 2012

Glory to God!

Glory to God today for the gift of Sawyer Dean Herberts - born into this world at 2:50; weighing in at 8 lbs. 1 oz., and 21 inches long.  Glory to God for bringing Lauren safely through labor and through surgery.  Glory to God for granting a safe entrance into this world to Sawyer.  Keep mother and child, Gracious Father, until the little one is brought into Your kingdom through the wondrous Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  And then, kind Master, keep him ever faithful to You, ever loving Your Word and trusting Your promises and living in communion with the God who has made him His own.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

If the key of binding is discarded, the key of forgiveness and opening heaven is altered, no matter how heavily we breathe about being kind, loving, sharing, caring people. If one key is lost, the other will be lost also.—Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 367.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

That is why we should never be offended by the fact that the Bible presents even the holiest people as sinners. We must recognize God's great wisdom in portraying them in this way. By revealing the sins that have flourished among God's people from the beginning of the world, God shows us that human righteousness and worthiness are nothing but an empty dream, that every person is a sinner, that even the most godly cannot stand before the heavenly Father in their own righteousness, that free grace is man's only refuge, and that there is no salvation and no blessedness outside of Christ. The ones whose horrible sins are related in the Bible should be a mirror for us, a mirror in which we learn to examine our own life and our own heart so we humble ourselves before God and flee to the cross of the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 626,7.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He is but one, one Jesus Christ for us, Son of God and Son of Man, God the Word and man in the flesh, who suffered, died, was buried, rose again, was received into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, who possesses in His one single self, according to the divine plan and nature, in the form of God and in the form of a servant, the human and divine without separation or division. —St. Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 10.64-65.

07 August 2012

Brief Meditation for LCEF Chapel this morning

on Exodus 16:2ff:

Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.  Goes for you too.  Every time you open your mouth to complain to others about others, make no mistake about it:  the one you’re really complaining about is the Lord.  Because the buck stops at His desk. The Lord doesn’t take kindly to grumbling. 

The implication is that Lord doesn’t have a clue what he’s up to.  What ever was he thinking?  Bringing this whole assembly out into the middle of a howling wasteland.  Where’s the food gonna come from?  Are we supposed to wait around for it to just drop out of the sky?  Fat chance, that!

Grumbling against God ultimately is simply unbelief talking.  It’s the conviction that God is inept, or God doesn’t care.  And what really runs unbelief is that God is irking us because He’s not doing things OUR way – the way that seems best and most logical to US.

The real God, the living God, the God of Israel, He is forever doing things that appear foolish to us, but that in fact are anything but.  So Israel discovered as they looked at it and asked:  Manhu? What is it!  And the answer?  Manna.  The bread that the Lord has given you to eat.   Made no sense, but there it was.

And as such it pointed beyond itself to another bread that makes just about as much sense.  The Bread that came down from heaven to give life to the world.  He who was born in Beth-lehem, the house of bread, and put with the grain into a cow’s feeding trough.  Grain that was roasted over the fire of divine love on the Cross to supply you with miracle food – food that can sustain you for the journey through the wilderness of this life as surely as the manna would supply the Israelites for their journey to Canaan.

It appears foolish to the world that a tiny piece of bread and a sip of wine could do anything for you – certainly not nourish you much.  But when you even think of it, you smile.  You know that His ways appear foolish, but you’ve learned that rather than grumble at them, you do well instead to open your mouth wide and let God fill it.  For fill it He does.  He puts into you the very body that was in the feeding trough and on the tree for you; the very blood that ran down the cross and stained the earth, blotting out your sins with the world's.  He reaches it to you as food for your pilgrimage – to get you through the wilderness and into His promised land.

It is called Eucharist.  Thanksgiving.  For it is food that frees you from grumbling against God and each other.  It drives out griping because it replaces it with thanksgiving:  “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever.”  “We thank you, almighty God that You have refreshed us through this salutary (wholesome!) gift…” An amazing gift – a gift for which thanks are due always and everywhere.  A gift that lifts you from being people of the gripe to  people of  praise.  “Take and eat…” Amen!



New Lutheran Quote of the Day

There are two keys. One alone will not work in the kingdom of heaven.—Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 367.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Whoever declares the difference between rich and poor, high and low, and commanding and obedient as a state of injustice, sacrilegiously declares God Himself to be unjust.  But He has might to do what He wants with His own, since He Himself established the difference among us fallen people. —C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 624.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Consider how Paul fastens [the Corinthians] as with nails to the name of Christ. —St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Corinthians 2.7.

Responsory

I love the responsory we use in Treasury from today through September 24 (p. 0-69):

We know no other God except the Lord, in whom we trust.

He does not despise us, nor does He take away His salvation from us.

Let us seek His mercy with tears, and humble ourselves before Him.

He does not despise us, nor does He take away His salvation from us.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.


He does not despise us, nor does He take away His salvation from us.

06 August 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The secret of God is the simplicity of the holy gospel by which the Holy Spirit for Jesus' sake forgives sins. He reorders the whole life with God on the basis of a gift, where no money is needed to buy our life. From this simplicity of the gospel there grows a wealth and abundance of holiness of living. —Dr. Kenneth Korby, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 366.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Whoever in his alarm over sin, does not wait until the hour of his death, but instead recognizes the magnitude of his sin and his worthiness of condemnation, can be led by the Holy Ghost, through the Gospel, to Christ. Then, by the power of faith, he will be strengthened daily so as to kill all sin in himself, crucifying his fleshly desires and walking in truth and righteousness. Such a person has protection against all accusations of his conscience, and peace and rest for his soul. —C. F. W. Walther,  God Grant It! p. 615-16.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Imitate these saints, and do not cease good works, so long as you are able. Although you see the devil thwarting you ten thousand times, never fall back! You might be shipwrecked, perhaps even with your wealth. But Paul, carrying the Word, which is far more precious than all wealth, was going to Rome and was shipwrecked. He sustained innumerable hardships... God permitted it, thus revealing the more abundantly His power, and showing that the many things that the devil did, or prevented from being done, neither lessened nor interrupted the preaching of the Gospel. —St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Statutes, 1.30.

05 August 2012

My new favorite way

To eat cauliflower:  cauliflower rice.  Use grater on your food processor to chop up 1/2 head cauliflower.  Put into microwave safe bowl with glass lid.  Microwave for six minutes.  Stir.  Microwave another three to four minutes.  Stir in some pastured butter and a bit of salt.  Voila!  Use for any dish you'd serve over rice.  Delicious, fast, simple.

03 August 2012

Commemoration of the Myrrhbearers

This day our calendar commemorates the Myrrbearing women.  From the Treasury and our website: 

Known in some traditions as “the faithful women,” the visit of these three persons and other women to the tomb of Jesus on the first Easter morning is noted in the Gospel records of Matthew (28:1), Mark (16:1), and Luke (24:10). Joanna was the wife of Cuza, a steward in Herod's household (Lk. 8:3). Mary, the mother of James (the son of Alphaeus), was another of the women who faithfully provided care for Jesus and His disciples from the time of His Galilean ministry through His burial after the crucifixion. Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt. 27:56), joined with the women both at the cross and in the bringing of the spices to the garden tomb. These “faithful women” have been honored in the church through the centuries as examples of humble and devoted service to the Lord.

Chemnitz wrote of them:  "But God exalts them by revealing to them the resurrection of His Son, which is an excellent article of our faith.  Indeed, He even sends them to the apostles to share the message of Christ's resurrection with them, so that they becomes, as the ancients say, like "apostles to the apostles."  (Treasury for Aug. 3)

Prayer:  Mighty God, Your crucified and buried Son did not remain in the tomb for long.  Give us joy in the tasks set before us, that we might carry out faithful acts of service as did Joanna, Mary, and Salome, offering to You the sweet perfume of our grateful hearts, so that we, too, may see the glory of Your resurrection and proclaim the Good News with unrestrained eagerness and fervor worked in us through our Lord Jesus Christ, who rose and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

There is no authority outside of that Word. Perhaps that statement should be modified to read: "Since 1969 we have learned how to have a political party playing a political game to keep the church orthodox and pure and holy." With these devises, we can set in motion all sorts of shenanigans. A naughty acid has been turned loose on the fabric of the synod, and it will take two generations of suffering pastors and congregations before that acid is sweat out of our lives. But it must be sweat out. We have no authority but that Word. All we can do is say it—and suffer and pray and weep. And we must wait with hope, knowing that the labor in the Lord is not in vain. We are exactly like the Lord. We are as impotent and as powerful as He was and is. —Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay, p.365.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Through the woman Eve, death came to all human beings. On account of this, Christ wanted His resurrection, which brings us righteousness and life, to be told to others by women. At the fall of the first human being, these three worked together: the devil, who deceived; the woman, who proclaimed his talk further; the man, who ate and corrupted human nature. So also at Christ's resurrection, these three work together: Christ who rose and redeemed human nature; the angel, who proclaimed the resurrection; and the women, who carried the joyful message further. —Blessed Martin Chemnitz, Treasury, p. 588.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Why did God not save the ship? That they might perceive how great a danger they had escaped, and that the whole matter depended, not on the help of man, but on God's hand saving them without a ship. —St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Acts 53.

02 August 2012

What's a Typical Day Like These Days?

So far...

Up and in the shower by 5:20 + Cindi and I sat down to a breakfast of fried eggs, baked sweet potato, and a smoothy (kale, spinach, banana, berries) + By 6:15 in car driving to IC + Prayed Matins  + Treasury readings + Brief meeting with Larry Vogel about upcoming International Conference + Announced and then led Chapel at LCEF + Worked on worship planning for Conference + Liturgist for Chapel at IC with Dr. Frazier Odom preaching + Private Absolution + Worked on Issues, Etc. show + Got Prayers of the Church back from Doctrinal Review and published them to LetUsPray list + Caught up with Barb about some projects at IC that are still ongoing (Chaplain's Office/Visitor's Lounge and the Sacristy) + Got proofed copy of Lectionary Summaries back and made grammatical fixes (thanks, Jim!) + Scheduled regular Monday Pericope Studies for the preachers at the IC + Worked more on worship for Conference + Headed to Collinsville +

Still to come...

Issues, Etc. show on "Worthy is Christ" + Visit to Funeral Home + Dinner + "Lift Heavy Things" workout + Reading + Bed

Rather a typical workday.  The huge variety of tasks that present themselves definitely keeps one from ever getting bored!

01 August 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

In the LCMS these canonical requirements are summed up most brightly and clearly in the constitution: this synod is bound to the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions. Period. Beyond that, all is advice.  But what do we mean when we put one under orders in terms of evangelical energy, the ordering of the church's life by the Holy Gospel? We say: "We tie you to the cross and the church to your back. We pray for you; we lay hands on you for a gift of grace to be faithful and courageous in your service to that God who called you to be a servant, a servant in the style of Jesus Christ. Endure suffering as a faithful soldier. Be a man of prayer. Tend your people." —Dr. Kenneth Korby, The Pastoral Office and the Priesthood of Believers, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay? p. 364, 365

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

So in the action of the Eucharist the minister acts as an ambassador in the place of Christ, who is Himself there present, and through the ministers pronounces these words: 'This is My body, do this, etc." and for this reason His Word is efficacious.  Therefore it is not a man, the minister, who by his consecration and blessing makes bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, but Christ Himself by means of His Word. —Blessed Dr. Martin Chemnitz, Examen II:229

Patristic Quote of the Day

The world was aflame with raging and strife, and while the earth was perishing the only thing left were the fires.  Just as water extinguishes a blaze, so too, does love extinguish the flames of hostility. For love is the water of peace, the dew of kindness, the shower of charity, the seed of harmony, the sprout of affection, and the most abundant fruit of benevolence; and in short, love is God, as John attests when he says: "For God is love." —St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 178