28 November 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Isaiah speaks of peace, but it is a peace that the world cannot bring, a peace the world will never usher in. This is a peace that passes understanding, for it comes not from worldly stock, but from the fruit of the Virgin's womb. This peace is delivered into our world, not merited by the world's actions. This peace is brought into our midst, made into our flesh, in the person of the Son of God.—Jeffrey Pulse, A Year in the Old Testament, p. 400.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Grace is obtained either completely or not at all. It is never given piecemeal.—C.F.W. Walther, Law and Gospel, p. 164.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Newly created and reborn of the Spirit by the mercy of God, let us imitate what we shall one day be.—St. Cyprian, Treatise on the Lord's Prayer, 35.

What a delight!

One of the great joys of blogging is actually getting to MEET the folk you chat with across this marvelous medium. Last night who but George Marquart should breeze into town. He took Cindi and me out for dinner and then joined us for a glass of wine at home. What a fascinating man with such a history! Odd points of connection: he knew my pastor, George Lobien, from Lobien's Bronxville days; he is a sort of (it's complicated) cousin of the famous Orthodox theologian John Meyendorff (and told me how Meyendorff's grandfather planted a big statue of LUTHER on the family estate - they were originally Lutheran); he used to live in PARAMUS (which is right around the corner from where we lived during vicarage in Garfield). He does Russian as well as English and is just an all around delightful conversationalist. Joy indeed. And he left me a goodie to read - a rabbi's take on Matthew's Gospel. The evening went by way too quickly. What a joy!

27 November 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

A person is not baptized into Christianity but into Christ, the living, risen Christ. Being a Christian means first of all belonging together with Christ, having fellowship with Him, having life from Him.—Per-Olof Sjögren, The Jesus Prayer, p. 37.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The sacrament itself should not be a sacrifice but a gift of God which he has given to us and which we should take and receive with thanks. For this reason I think that the ancients called this office eucharistia or sacramentum eucharistie, that is, a thanksgiving. For in this sacrament we should thank God according to the command of Christ, and we should use and receive the sacrament with thanks.—Blessed Martin Luther, AE 38:122.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The great Physician of souls, who is the ready liberator not only of you but also of all who are enslaved by sin, is ready to heal your sickness. From Him come the words, 'Those who are well have no need of a Physician, but those who are sick...For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.' What excuse have you, what excuse has anyone, when He speaks this way? The Lord wishes to cleanse you from the trouble of your sickness and to show you light after darkness. —St. Basil the Great, Letters, 46.6

26 November 2012

Apocrypha Gem

And now bless the God of all, who in every way does great things; who exalts our days from birth and deals with us according to his mercy. May he give us gladness of heart and grant that peace may be in our days in Israel, as in the days of old. May he entrust to us his mercy! And let him deliver us in our days.—Ecclesiasticus 50:22–24 (Cf. Now Thank We All Our God)

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The fullness of joy does not consist of getting all our wishes fulfilled. We do not get it through even the most sophisticated method of prayer, least of all through closing our list of requests with a formula such as "in Jesus' name." Rather the fullness of joy consists in having Jesus in our heart. Then we need nothing more. Then the cup of blessedness is full.—Per Olof Sjögren, The Jesus Prayer, p. 36.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In the first place, therefore, it is necessary that both preachers and hearers take heed to doctrine and have clear, unmistakable evidence that what they embrace is really the true Word of God revealed from heaven; the doctrine given to the holy and primitive fathers, prophets and apostles; the doctrine Christ himself confirmed and commanded to be taught. We are not permitted to employ the teaching dictated by any man's pleasure or fancy. We may not adapt the Word to mere human knowledge and reason. We are not to trifle with the Scriptures, to juggle the Word of God, as if it would admit of being explained to suit the people; of being twisted, distended and patched to effect peace and agreement among men. Otherwise, there would be no sure, permanent foundation whereon the conscience might rely.—Blessed Dr. Martin Luther, Church Postil VII, p. 325.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The 'tree of life' signifies Christ, whom we know by the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Spirit, and whom we worship by the Spirit and the Spirit in Him. Through Him, the twelve fruits of the apostolic chorus give to us the inexhaustible fruit of the knowledge of God.—Andrew of Caesarea, Commentary on the Apocalypse, 22.2

25 November 2012

So Where Do You Want to be Buried?

We were talking about this on the way home from hospital today. I confessed to Cindi and Bekah that  it seems odd to me to be buried away from Richardsville. Crowded into that little cemetery opposite Richardsville Methodist Church lie so very many whom I have known and loved over the years: my mom and dad, my brother, both sets of grandparents, every last one of my aunts and uncles (save Uncle Edgar, who - thanks be to God! - is still walking around), my mother's grandparents, my cousins, my mom's aunts and at least one of my dad's. Yet for all that, I've chosen to be buried at St. Paul's when the time comes. Richardsville is "home" in the since that it is where my family roots will always lie, but bury me with my fellow confessors of the Augsburg Confession here in Hamel beside the non-stop roar of traffic along I-55. I trust that on the day of the resurrection, we'll find each other soon enough no matter where our mortal clay is planted, and well, this place has become home of another sort.


Poor Joanne

is back in the hospital. She was having trouble breathing. What that poor thing has been through! And Dave too, right by her side. Please remember them in your prayers!


24 November 2012

Loving

Listening to Lutheran Public Radio. What a gift!!!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We can discuss election legitimately only as a comprehensive unitary concept (SD XI:13-14) and only in connection with God’s total plan for our salvation.—Dr. A. C. Piepkorn, Memorandum on Election

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Because confession and private absolution is a highly necessary thing in the church and through it the benefits of Christ are applied to each individual, the same are thus also to be retained in their correct use in the church. Therefore no one shall go to the sacrament of the altar, unless he has presented himself to the priest and confessed himself a sinner and received private absolution.—Martin Chemnitz, Jacob Andreae, Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel Church Order

Patristic Quote of the Day

Again, the expression, I through the Law died unto the Law, may be understood in another sense: the Law commands all its precepts to be performed, and punishes the transgressor; therefore we are all dead to it, for no man has fulfilled it. Here observe, how guardedly he assails it; he says not, the Law is dead to me; but, I am dead to the Law; the meaning of which is, that, as it is impossible for a dead corpse to obey the commands of the Law, so also is it for me who have perished by its curse, for by its word am I slain. Let it not therefore lay commands on the dead, dead by its own act, dead not in body only, but in soul, which has involved the death of the body.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Galatians 2

23 November 2012

Patristic Quote of the Day

And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works.

--St. Clement of Rome, First Epistle to the Corinthians, paragraphs 32,33

Sawyer's First Thanksgiving


A Different Thanksgiving



The joys of the day: singing in the choir with the bells; the beautiful thanksgiving hymns and also Matins; family gathered around the table being typically obnoxious with lots of laughter; liverpool (even though Meaghan was most unkind and beat us all - massively, I mean, massively).

The sorrows of the day: the missing folk (Dean, Lauren, Sawyer—though we did get to Facetime) and seeing how difficult it was for poor Jo (even eating and drinking can come as a challenge not to mention holding onto her cards).

Figuring things out in the new (and smaller) space was a bit of a challenge. We used a buffet approach and that worked well. Our dining area is impossibly tight when the table is opened all the way, so without loading the table with the food, we were able to keep it a size smaller and leave all the food on the counter.






Thoughts for future Thanksgivings or Christmases: we're heading for simpler.  Less food (I think I've given up on stuffing or dressing - Cindi and I are about the only ones who eat it; and four pies for 8 people just because each kid has a different "favorite must have"? Um, no. Now we've got pies sitting around the house that no one will eat - think they'll end up next door. Dave has a sweet tooth.).  Two tables for cards instead of 8 people playing a single game to speed things along (the Turkey effect was well underway before we came close to finishing).







21 November 2012

Because Jamie asked..

...Thanksgiving menu at the Weedon household this year:

Breakfast: choice of ham/egg/cheese muffins and cheese cake muffins

Matins at Church (have to be there by 8:15 to practice with choir) for the spiritual repast - service at 9

Appetizers after Church:
Smoked salmon, almond thins, brie and sundry other cheeses

Main Meal:
Trader Joe's Turkey, paleo stuffing (sweet taters, apples, celery, onion, bacon, sausage, cranberries, pecans and assorted other goodies), mashed taters, gravy, creamed spinach, broccoli, cranberry almond muffins or pumpkin muffins (she's still debating about that), sweet potato soufflé

Dessert:
None paleo: Pecan pie, cherry pie, chocolate pie; Paleo: pumpkin pie in walnut crust

Of course, coffee, tea, wine served generously throughout!

And the greatest treat of all? Jo will be joining us! She's been in the rehab facility since her surgery back at beginning of October. Looks like she'll only be there for another week and then home for good, but she's even gonna try to make church tomorrow and then here for the feast.

Much for which to thank the Giver of all good!

20 November 2012

You know

why I like day 20 in the evening? It brings Psalm 104. I think that has to be one of the greatest of the psalms. "May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works...I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being." Psalm 104:31,33

18 November 2012

A Man's Life...A Woman's Life


























This explains so much...

17 November 2012

This totally cracks me up...



That happens to be the exact way his granddaddy AND his mother sleep. Heredity...

Saturday This-N-That

Last evening Cindi, Bek and I headed over to meet Dave at Jo's rehab facility and enjoyed a game of Liverpool. Slept in a tad this morning, and then got to Facetime with Sawyer and Lauren. We made some pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Cindi cut my hair, and then she and Dave set to work on finishing the shelves in the basement. I think they came out great:

Cindi recreated the shelves that used to be in the parsonage basement!

Meanwhile I fixed Bekah's toilet paper holder; swept and mopped in the kitchen; vacuumed; polished brass candlesticks and box (only once a year, and I don't think I did it last year!);

I remember those candlesticks on the organ in the living room of the Old House; cousin Loretta gave Cindi and me the brass box as a wedding gift—another old family piece.


 emptied and cleaned curio, then put stuff back in it; Bekah dusted for us and cleaned up her bathroom.

Went to pick up car after oil change, and then worked on computer stuff (finally caved for the convenience of iTune's Match in the Cloud). Cindi threw together a fabulous soup (kale, spinach, asparagus, garlic, onion, turkey stock, and lots of hot pepper) and then set down to work on the afghan for David and Meaghan which she'd been crocheting and finally finished it.

Wonder what the NEXT crocheting project will be?

Now she's off for an evening of bowling, Bek is baby-sitting and spending night with a friend, and I'm sitting here with the hound dog and the cat by the fire with a glass of wine. Treasury has brought us to the promises in Jeremiah and to the Passion in Matthew; and Walther was the Writing for today and he was brimming with the joy of atonement.  Vesper Psalm tonight was 89: "Blessed are the people who know the festal shout!" Right now am listening to Thrivent's recording of 16th century Lutheran Church music - some really fine pieces on that.

16 November 2012

Patristic Quote of the Day

What God promises, He Himself performs. He does not promise and another perform, which would no longer be promising, but prophesying. Hence it is "not because of works but because of Him who calls" (Rom. 9:11), lest the result should be their own, not God's, and the reward should be ascribed not to His grace but to their due.—St. Augustine, On the Spirit and the Letter, 1:41

15 November 2012

The BOC reading for today...

...indicated in Treasury includes the following gems:

Such basic rules as these accuse all the saints, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart." Likewise "You shall not covet." (Ap. XXVII:25)

[hence the fiction of surplus merit - the saints all confess themselves to be deficient in merit!]

Because God's kingdom is righteousness and life in hearts, perfection is GROWTH in the fear of God, GROWTH in confidence in the mercy promised in Christ, and GROWTH in devotion to one's calling. (Ap. XXVII:27)

[emphasis mine - but was thinking how it again shows a living growth in three directions simultaneously.]

Apocrypha Gem

Put on the robe of righteousness from God; put on your head the crown of the glory of the Everlasting.—Baruch 5:2

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The truly terrible nature of sin, however, becomes evident only when it is seen as rebellion against the good God.—Dr. Henry Hamann, On Being a Christian, p. 32.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Personal honor is a seed of the serpent; when the devil sows it in one's heart, one does not readily notice how destructive it is. However, once the seed is cultivated, nourished, and bears fruit, it reveals itself. For it gives rise to arrogance, envy, contempt, hatred, strife, yea, finally even to willful disobedience. Here we see why the serpent was so intent on luring our first parents into seeking their own honor.—Blessed Johann Gerhard, Postilla II:233.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Truly He died for us, not that we might not die but that we might not die for ourselves. He was spat upon, beaten, and mutilated for us, so that we, who were worthy of all these things because of our sins, might not only suffer them but also, suffering them for the sake of justice, patiently and gracefully accept them. —Origen, Commentary on Matthew 11,3.

13 November 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Now it is probably true that the words themselves do cause trouble, and that a sentence like "God justifies me" is an unusual one, a sentence often met by blank faces. But I do not believe that the idea itself is unusual or hard to explain. Public figures are continually defending themselves, their words, their actions, when others stand up in condemnation; and the common word for this defense is justify. So also, people are continually seeking justice in courts, pointing out that their actions are right and proper, and that they should be acquitted of all charges against them and declared "not guilty." This is just what justification describes—the one new idea being that God does the acquitting, the justifying. So the difficulty often seen in this terminology seems to me to be greatly exaggerated.—Henry Hamann, On Being a Christian, pp. 26, 27.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Let us, then, in faith embrace the cross of our Savior, and let nothing tear us away from it. Although death may come and the world may perish, the anchor of the cross will not break. We will be drawn up on it, above the poor earth with its misery, into heaven, where the crucified One sits upon His throne, which beams with His eternal glory and is surrounded by all of the faithful.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 866

Patristic Quote of the Day

Worldly society has flowered from a selfish love which dared to despise even God, whereas the communion of saints is rooted in a love of God that is ready to trample on self. In a word, this latter relies on the Lord, whereas the other boasts that it can get along by itself.—St. Augustine, City of God, XIV:28

12 November 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

So the Christian is one who holds that God is for him/her in every way, in every circumstance, now and in the hereafter. God is no enemy, no tyrant, no unfeeling or hateful God, playing around with human beings, treating them with indifference or contempt, like boys cruelly playing with flies (Shakespeare in King Lear). —Henry Hamann, On Being a Christian, p. 25.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

People today generally raise their voices against the state because they have to pay taxes. This happens because do not believe that God has said or commanded anything as regards Caesar. They think that what they possess is theirs, even though the Lord says here, Give Caesar what is Caesar's. —Blessed Martin Luther, Church Postils III:149.

Patristic Quote of the Day

So long, then, as the heavenly City is wayfaring on earth, she invites citizens from all nations and all tongues, and unites them into a single pilgrim band.—St. Augustine, City of God, XIX, chapter 17.

10 November 2012

I've commented before

on the odd pleasure derived from crossing things off to do lists. While the one at work at the moment is rather formidable, the home list has become rather tame. Little chores attended to today that I could cross off the list include fix the door frame of the master bedroom closet; bring furniture from deck to basement; clean fireplace and caulk a couple spots that needed touch up; bring some wood from wood pile into the garage ready for use; bring the hoses into the garage (hoping that they won't freeze in there). It's a nice warm "Indian summer" day and the perfect sort of day to attend to any last minute outside chores as we prepare for the arrival of old man winter. Now kicking back with a cup of wickedly strong Irish Breakfast Tea and then getting ready to preach up at Zion, Staunton.

07 November 2012

Enjoying a most stimulating

Lutheran Free Conference at the lovely campus of Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota. Things chasing around my mind at present, provoked directly or indirectly by presentations:

Is canon law best understood as the description of the way that the People of the New Age order their lives in the Old Age toward the reality of the New?

Some speakers have made a distinction between grace perfecting nature and grace liberating nature. I'm not sure I see the difference, for surely nature's perfection is found in her liberation from the bondage of sin/death/decay?

I really appreciated Paulson's presentation - it opened up vistas that I've not yet worked my way through. It will take some time. I did LOVE his take on the rejection of the AC's confession just leaving everyone under the law. More later on that.

Enjoy some pics of the interior of the Chapel of the Christ:







Do you notice how everything about that building confesses? It does. And it gets the confession just right: truly an orthodox space that proclaims the orthodox faith of the Christian community in the Lamb of God who takes away the world's sin!  As I said to Pr. Schroeder, I think it leaves behind the silliness of some of the 60's-70's architecture while picking up from it the very best (light, space, gathering) and by a return to truly classic art produces a thoroughly contemporary space that is rooted in the ageless light that streams into this fallen world through the means of grace. VERY well done.


05 November 2012

A Homily for Commemoration of the Faithful Departed


Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. - Matthew 5:4

A tale of two sorrows, people loved by God.

Charlie was my friend – we played racquetball together; he sang in the choir and he literally bounced along in the joy of the Lord each day. The call came a few days before Christmas. It was a Saturday night. One of my members was driving the ambulance and said: You better get to the hospital; this one’s not gonna have a good ending. Despite valiant efforts by the ER team, my member was right. Charlie, my bouncing, laughing, singing beer drinking buddy Charlie, was gone. By the time I’d broken the word to his children and his wife, and we’d prayed and cried together, it was wee hours of the morning. I got home and snatched a troubled couple hours of sleep and then headed over for 7:45 service. I walked at out the ringing of the bell and just about lost it. There they were, sitting in Church. His wife, his kids, and all looking sad, but peaceful. I told them afterwards I couldn’t believe they were there. They said: “But it was communion; we wanted to be with dad today.”

Charlie’s funeral kept up the same blend of tears and joy. We sang to defy death. The choir belted out the Hallelujah chorus with not a dry eye in the house. One of Charlie’s rather unsavory business associates from Chicago was there. He literally looked at me as he walked out and said: “I don’t get it. It’s like you guys are happy or something.” With laughter and tears streaming down our faces, we assured him we were.

The death of a Christian can be a celebration of unspeakable comfort and joy even here and now. That was Charlie.

Then there’s Joe. Joe was my brother. We were kindred spirits in so many ways, but he was 11 years older. I think I idolized him more than little bit. Cindi and I were awaken by one of those dreaded early morning phone calls on Palm Sunday when I was serving as a vicar in Garfield NJ. My mom. She told me that my brother had died in a car wreck early that morning. It was Palm Sunday and I was preaching on the OT:  “Rejoice, daughter of Zion! Your king is coming to you!” It was a sermon all about joy.

I was so empty inside. You see, the very last conversation I’d had with my brother I had tried to witness to him, but he told me:  “Billy, I don’t have time for that…stuff.” (Okay, he didn't really say stuff).  I have no assurance whatsoever that my brother ever changed his mind about that.

I remember sitting outside our bedroom in the vicarage and pondering, really pondering for the first time: wouldn’t I rather be with my brother in hell if that's where he ended up than without him in heaven? Maybe the words of Jesus sank in: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father, mother, sister, brother…”  Not hate in the sense of “harbor bitter resentment towards.” Hate in the sense of preferring Him to them. But did I?

The death of someone we love about whom we have little hope of them dying in the faith, it brings to the Christian a kind of mourning and grief that words can’t begin to cover. You know, everything inside of me WANTS to be a universalist. I want to believe that there’s no way that everyone won’t finally be overcome by the great love that we have known in Jesus. But you know the Scriptures as well as I do. You know that’s not the way it will be.

Dreary thoughts for an All Saints Day celebration, Chaplain? No. I’m sure that for most of the folks on our commemoration list, it’s a Charlie-like feast. He always called All Saints “the little easter in the fall.” Loved it. And loved singing that “For all the saints!” It’s a joy indeed. But I want to be honest and realistic. I suspect everyone in this room has those loved one who have died, about whom doubts and fears linger. Did they die in the faith? Did they die trusting in the One who is the Forgiveness of Sin and the Destruction of death? And what if they didn’t? Is there a comfort big enough for that? Because we love them. And death doesn’t diminish the love. Comfort? Really?

I don’t know how, but I do believe that the answer is yes. Jesus, the Blessed One, speaks the promise in today’s Gospel:  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” He didn’t say: “Blessed are those who mourn for believers”; just “those who mourn.” And like all the beatitudes but the first and the last, He puts that which will bless you out into the future, into the Age that is to come. “WILL BE comforted.”

I don’t know how. But I know He never lies. He will reach out a nail-scarred hand. He will touch you, and He will wipe away the tears, and somehow, someway that ragged hole in your heart will be healed. I can’t even imagine how it will be possible when you think of those who are missing, but you will experience it nonetheless. And I don't believe for one second that it will be by making you forget them or your love for them. For He who bore your sins and theirs on His cross did so because He loved them even as He loves you. And He who rose from the dead, rose for them even as He rose for you. This is the confidence you have in Him: that in Him every last child of Adam and daughter of Eve has been loved with a love immeasurable, vast, divine. Whatever healing awaits us is perfect love in a way that we cannot now begin to conceive; but this All Saints we wait for it in hope.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. You shall be comforted. For the Charlies of your life, and also for the Joes. With man such comfort is impossible; but not with God. With God all things are possible. For God is love. Amen.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Heterodox churches are churches and sects at the same time. They are churches insofar as they still retain such essentials of the Gospel and sacraments as will allow people to be converted and become children of God. But heterodox churches are also sects insofar as they deviate from the evangelical truth and so divide the church and by their errors threaten the faith of Christians.—Prof. Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 69.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

God has so inextricably joined together the love of Him and of one's neighbor that the bond of love for one's neighbor may not be separated without also separating the bond of love for God.—Blessed Johann Gerhard, Postilla II, p. 224.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Holy Scriptures teach us that there are two feasts of the Lord: one to which the good and evil come, the other to which the evil cannot come. The first feast, of which we have just now heard in the Gospel that was being read has both good and evil guests. Those who excused themselves from this feast are evil, but not all those who came in are good. You, therefore, who are the good guests at this feast I address. You are taking careful notice of the words, "Anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself." I am addressing all who do this, so that you do not look for good outside the Church and so that you bear with the evil within her.—St. Augustine, Sermons on the New Testament Lessons, 90:1.

Whirlwind Week

Had a great time at the International Conference for Confessional Lutheranism. Truly one of the greatest things was hearing the same confession of faith come tripping out of tongues from literally all ends of the earth. Glory to God!

Attending to worship matters complicated by my own native inability to sit still left me missing some of the presentations, but the ones that I was able to attend to were all quite outstanding.

Moments that stick in the mind: the beautiful singing and music leadership of our music team and the joyous Reformation fest at Faith Lutheran Church with President Harrison's strong Gospel proclamation from Romans 3... how many times the speakers hearkened back to the calling of Abraham as foundational for mission... Our emphasis upon the "Means of grace" as true Lutheran treasure... Although he did not use these words, McGrath seemed to suggest that Luther's theological approach was essentially iconic: where all things are viewed in and out from the image of the Cross of our Lord... The joys of hearing the Our Father and the Apostles Creed prayed and confessed in so many tongues... A lot more, but that gives a bit of flavor for the event. I was truly blessed to be able to attend and serve as Chaplain.