18 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

However, those are unworthy guests at this heavenly Meal who do not examine themselves; who do not judge themselves; do not remember the death of Christ, nor proclaim it, nor discern His body; i.e., who without true repentance, without true faith, and without the sincere intention to better themselves from now on, who live in impenitence, self-assurance, godlessness, and unreconciled with their neighbor; who do not from God’s Law confess their sin, nor bear any contrition or sorrow over their sin; who do not believe that Christ’s body and blood are truly present; who do not believe these words, given and shed for you; who do not thank Christ for this His great love, etc.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:115.

It is clear, therefore, that whoever does not inquire of God about his choice, depending on his own wisdom or following impure motives, takes a spouse, but does not find her. He may make his choice on the basis of fleeting beauty, uncertain riches, quickly dwindling honor, or the hope of good days or a voluptuous life.—C. F. W. Walther (sermon on Proverbs 18:22), God Grant It!, p. 133.

Patristic Quote of the Day

So then let us understand, dearly beloved, that this parable relates to us all, that is, to the whole church together, not to the clergy only, of whom we spoke yesterday, not to the laity only, but generally to all.—St. Augustine, Sermon 93 (the passage he considered the day before was on Matthew 24:45-51).

Catechesis: Our Father

Indeed, the greatest need of all is to pray for the civil authorities and the government, for it is chiefly through them that provides us our daily bread and all the comforts of this life. Although we have received from God all good things in abundance, we cannot retain any of them or enjoy them in security and happiness were he not to give us a stable, peaceful government. For where dissension, strife, and war prevail, there daily bread is already taken away or greatly reduced.—LC III:74

How much trouble is now in the world simply on account of false coinage, yes, on account of daily exploitation and usury in public business, commerce, and labor on the part of those who wantonly oppress the poor and deprive them of their daily bread! This we must put up with, of course; but let those who do these things beware lest they loose the common intercession of the church, and let them take care lest this petition of the Lord’s Prayer be turned against them.—LC III:84

He has reserved to himself this prerogative: those who boast of their goodness and despise others should examine themselves and put this petition uppermost in their minds. They will find that they are no more righteous than anyone else, and in the presence of God all people must fall on their knees and be glad that we can come to forgiveness. Let none think they will ever in this life reach the point where they do not need this forgiveness. In shortly, unless God constantly forgives, we are lost.—LC III:90, 91

17 January 2021

Joyous and fun weekend

Saturday found us heading to Murphysboro to help Andy and Bekah move to a new duplex, a really nice place. I think they’ll love it there. So spacious!

Today, after morning coffee, we headed out to Lauren and Dean’s and attended at St. Paul’s, Deterich, where Dean is the pastor. We got to visit with Ashley and Margaret White, old friends from NC, together with Dean’s family, Tim and Deborah Herberts. Lauren made a scrumptious breakfast after Church. AND of course, we got to love on the grandkids! I can’t even believe how much Griffin has changed since we last saw them at Christmas! He’s at that age, I guess. So thankful that both my daughters and their families are so close now; and of course David’s family is closest of all, down in Edwardsville. 

15 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

We through this Sacrament [the Eucharist] are made one body with Christ, and are fed unto eternal life.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:106.

Any Christian who wants to be a spiritual priest must separate himself from the world. He cannot walk through life in a wild, disorderly manner or participate in its vain desires.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 127.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What is the meaning of “to go and meet the bridegroom”? To go with all the heart, to eagerly await His coming.—St. Augustine, Sermon 43

Catechesis: Our Father

Now we ask for both of these things: that [the Kingdom of God] may come to those who are not yet in it and that, by daily growth here and in eternal life hereafter, it may to us who have attained it.—LC III:53

But because he is God, he also claims the honor of giving far more abundantly and liberally than anyone can comprehend—like an eternal, inexhaustible fountain, which, the more it gushes forth and overflows, the more it continues to give.—LC III:56

14 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Since Christ united Himself with us so deeply and so closely that He proffers to us His body to eat and His blood to drink, we also should bind and unite ourselves to Him through faith and love. What is more closely related to the Lord Christ than His body and blood which He assumed into His eternal Person? Once again, what comes closer to us than the above as we eat and drink it? What comes closer to us than that which enters into us and is united with the substance of our nature?—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:106

To be a priest of the Most High God is the highest honor and blessedness in which a created being can participate... The main duty of a priest is to sacrifice... But how can a Christian sacrifice himself? He does this when by the power of the Holy Spirit, he daily and even hourly, kills everything evil that is in him, and lays at God’s feet everything he has that is good.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 123, 124.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What does He refer to when he says “this generation”? He is speaking not of the generation then living, but of the age of believers. For He is prone to distinguish a generation not by times only, but also by the mode of their religious service and practice.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily77 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Our Father, 1st Petition

Since we call God our Father in this prayer, it is our duty always to act and behave ourselves as godly children, that He may not receive shame, but honor and praise from us.—LC III:39

In this petition we pray for exactly what God demands in the Second Commandment.—LC III:45

To hallow means the same as to praise, magnify, and honor both in word and deed.—LC III:46

13 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

How could Christ have shown His love towards us more clearly than that He feeds us with His body and blood in the holy Supper? Where else is there a Shepherd who feeds His little lambs with His own flesh and blood? What is more noble in heaven and on earth than Christ’s body and blood which He assumed by His personal union?—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:105.

According to the testimony of the holy apostles, all believing Christians are priests and the whole Christian Church is the temple, the house of God, in which they serve under the only High Priest, Jesus Christ, who by His own blood once entered into the holy of holies, that is, heaven, and established an eternal redemption.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 122.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He foretells a spiritual summer, a calm for the righteous that would come on that day, after the storm.—St. John Chrysostom on the Lesson of the Fig Tree, Homily 77 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Our Father

Therefore, God also requires that you weep and ask for such needs and wants, not because He does not know about them, but so that you may kindle your heart to stronger and greater desires and make wide and open your cloak wide to receive much. Everyone of us should form the daily habit from his youth of praying for all he needs.—LC III:27, 28

12 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

So then, in the holy Supper, not only is bread and wine distributed, on the strength of the Word of Christ, the almighty Son of God and true Witness, but also His true body by means of the consecrated bread, and His true blood by means of the consecrated chalice.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:101.

If a young man dedicates his youth to the service of the Savior, he will be truly happy. Joy enters his heart and divine grace makes him sure. He looks happily to a future that is full of hope. God’s blessing rests upon all his works, and the love of Christians is a rich replacement for the friendship of the world that he has forsaken.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 120.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Because the Old Testament normally calls the abomination an idol, the word desolation is added here to indicate that the idol shall be placed there resulting in the temple’s abandonment and destruction.—St. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 24:15

Catechesis: The Our Father

There is no nobler prayer to be found on earth than the Lord’s Prayer. We pray it daily, because it has this excellent testimony, that God loves to hear it. We ought not to surrender this for all the riches of the world.—LC III:23

For whoever would pray must have something to present, state, and name, which he desires. If he does not, it cannot be called a prayer.—LC III:24

11 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

A huge portion of true godliness consists of Christian love. For as bread is prepared from many kernels [of grain], and a drink from many grapes, so also in the holy Supper we are all fed and given to drink to become one body, so that as members of one body we busy ourselves with peace and unity; and, that we should live toward each other in heartfelt love.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:101.

The Son of God could have entered the world as an adult, but He did not want to do this. Instead, He wanted to be a child, and by His holy childhood, He wanted to redeem us from the sins of our childhood and to provide all boys and girls with a model of godly childhood they should follow.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 117.

Patristic Quote of the Day

From the anonymous fifth century Opus Imperfectum on St. Matthew: For previously he was showing in many ways what the Church of Christ is and what heathenism is, but now [in the time of great apostasy when heresy has overtaken the churches] those who want to know what the true church of Christ is can know it in no other way than only through the Scriptures. (Tran. James Kellermann, Opus Imperfectum vol II:383.)

Catechesis: Our Father

For we are in a situation where no person can perfectly keep the Ten Commandments, even though he has begun to believe. The devil with all his power, together with the world and our own flesh, resists our efforts. Therefore, nothing is more necessary than that we should continually turn towards God’s ear, call upon Him, and pray to Him. We must pray that He would give, preserve, and increase faith in us and the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments.—LC III:2

08 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Is faith created in the heart through Holy Baptism? Aha! Well then, we must also show our faith by works if really want to be certain that we received faith through Holy Baptism. For through faith the heart is cleansed, Acts 15:9, so that also pure fine works flow forth from such a pure font. Where such works do not manifest themselves, there a person boasts about his Baptism in vain.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:95.

God does not tire of doing good to us, and we must not tire of doing good to our brothers.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 104. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

This man of iniquity can be interpreted either as the antichrist, or as the image of Caesar which Pilate put in the temple, or as the statue of Hadrian the equestrian which still today stands in the holy of holies.—St. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 24:15.

Catechesis: Creed

So, until the Last Day, the Holy Spirit abides with the holy congregation or Christendom. Through this congregation He brings us to Christ and preaches to us the Word. By the Word He works and promotes sanctification, causing this congregation daily to grow and to become strong in the faith and its fruit, which He produces.—LC II:53

07 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Fourthly, something like this also appears to point to the fact that with the Baptism of Christ heaven has opened itself (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10; Lk 3:21); for by this is shown that also in our Baptism, by which we are embodied with Christ, heaven is opened to us; and we are received as heirs of eternal life.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:91

Even if Christ had never spoken these word [the Great Commission], the Church would still be obligated to spread the Gospel throughout the world. Doesn’t each Christian have an eternal debt of love toward God? How, then, can he say that he loves God if he is able to look on peacefully as the enemy of God, Satan, holds in his snares millions of people who were created for fellowship with God?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 101.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Note that the war is coming from three sources simultaneously: from the deceivers, from the enemies, from the false brothers.—St. John Chrysostom Homily 75 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: The Creed

[The Holy Spirit] leads us first into His holy congregation and places us in the bosom of the Church. Through the Church He preaches to us and brings us to Christ. LC II:37

For, in the first place, the Spirit has His own congregation in the world, which is the mother that conceives and bears every Christian through God’s Word. Through the Word He reveals and preaches, He illumines and enkindles hearts, so that they understand, accept, cling to, and persevere in the Word. LC II:42

06 January 2021

The Epiphany Day Mass: Evening Divine Service

What an absolute joy tonight’s Divine Service was! I served in the Morning liturgy today, but was able to sit with Cindi at tonight’s. From the first moments when the incense wafts in at the front of the procession accompanied by joyous song, to Pastor Daenzer’s solemn and beautiful chanting of the Gregorian Introit for the day; from the amazing Scripture readings from Isaiah 60, Ephesians 3 and Matthew 2, to the gladsome announcement of the dates of the moveable feasts; from hearing Pastor’s proclamation of the saving Gospel (the glory of our Savior being His humility!) to joining in intercession for our country at this sad and frightening time; from being blessed to sing the Communion liturgy, with the Agnus in harmony and unaccompanied, to receiving the Light of the World in His true body and blood; in short, from start to finish, a day of joy and a peace that no distress of the world in her usual turmoil (and yes, we have had shocking turmoil today) can ever shake. Why? Because, as the Introit confessed, the Lord, the Ruler has come and the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory are in His hand. 

Gerhard and Walther

Along with the Word, God the Lord has given us the holy Sacraments. They are visible signs of grace through which the promises of the Gospel are empowered. Also, they are blessed means through which God the Lord imparts the heavenly treasures and blessings to us in no less measure than through the Word.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:83.

Unfortunately, in our day, far too many people, including those who are undeniably Christians, think that the mission to the Gentiles, while laudable, is something they can do or not do. With so much distress in the world, they believe the burden of missions should not be imposed on the Church as a potential hindrance to other important work. Such Christians are in error. The Christian Church is a debtor to the whole world that remains outside Christ.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 100.

Catechesis

We see [from the Incarnation] how He has completely poured forth Himself and withheld nothing from us.—LC II:26

Patristic Quote of the Day

In reality, the people were subject to another curse, which says, Cursed is every one that continues not in the things that are written in the book of the Law. As then both he who hanged on a tree, and he who transgresses the Law, is cursed, and as it was necessary for him who is about to relieve from a curse himself to be free from it, but to receive another instead of it, therefore Christ took upon Him such another, and thereby relieved us from the curse. It was like an innocent man’s undertaking to die for another sentenced to death, and so rescuing him from punishment. For Christ took upon Him not the curse of transgression, but the other curse, in order to remove that of others. For, He had done no violence neither was any deceit in His mouth. And as by dying He rescued from death those who were dying, so by taking upon Himself the curse, He delivered them from it.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Gal. 3