03 December 2021

Catechesis: Learning It Better

When these parts have been well learned, you may supplement and strengthen them by also setting before them some psalms or hymns, which have been composed on these parts of the catechism. Lead the young into the Scriptures this way, and make progress in them daily.—LC Shorter Preface, 25

Luther

And the fullness of time is for every man when he begins to believe in Christ as the One whose advent was promised before all times and who has now come.—Sermon for the Sunday in the Octave of Christmas, 1522

Patristic Quote of the Day

My point is that just as the first tree, though green, bore death, the wood of the cross, though dry, gave birth to life.—St. John Chrysostom, On Saint Phocas, par. 5.

02 December 2021

Catechesis: How to Teach It

These [the Ten Commandments, Apostles Creed, and Our Father] are the most necessary parts of Christian teaching that one should first learn to repeat word for word. And our children should be reciting them daily when they rise in the morning, when they sit down to their meals, and when they go to bed at night. Until they repeat them, they should not be given food or drink.—LC Shorter Preface 15, 16

Luther

Behold, herein findest thou the difference between the Law and the Gospel, to wit, that the Law commands while the Gospel gives all things freely. The Law causes anger and hate, the Gospel gives grace.—Sermon for Palmarum, 1522.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For I don’t hound in reality, but pursue verbally, not the heretic, but the heresy. I don’t reject the person, but hate the error and want it overturned. My fight is not with substance, for substance is a work of God. Rather, I want to set straight the thinking which the Devil destroyed.—St. John Chrysostom, On Saint Phocas, par. 4.

01 December 2021

Catechesis: What the Catechism Teaches

It [the Catechism] teaches what every Christian must know. So a person who does not know this catechism could not be counted as a Christian or be admitted to any Sacrament, just as a mechanic who does not understand the rules and customs of his trade is expelled and considered incapable. Therefore, we must have the young learn well and fluently the parts of the catechism or instruction for children, diligently exercise themselves in them, and keep busy with these parts.—LC Shorter Preface, 2

Luther

Therefore learn here from the Gospel what happens when God begins to build us into the likeness of Him, and what is the beginning of saintliness. There is no other beginning than that thy king comes unto thee, and begins the work in thee. Thou dost not seek Him, He seeks thee.—Sermon for Ad Te Levavi, 1522.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For today the psalm leads us out into battle array against the heretics, not so that we might fell them as they stand, but so that we might raise them up from their fallen state. I mean, that’s how our battle works. It doesn’t make corpses of the living, but fashions living people of the dead, brimming as it is with gentleness and considerable kindness. —St. John Chrysostom, On Saint Phocas, par. 4.

30 November 2021

Luther

He is thy king, the king promised to thee, whose own thou art. He and no other shall rule over thee, but in spirit and not after worldly rule. This is He for whom thou didst long from the beginning. This is He for whom thy dear forefathers were yearning and crying with heartfelt desire.—Sermon for Ad Te Levavi, 1522.

Patristic Quote of the Day

God did this so that whenever the Devil saw the matters of piety not diminishing, despite the shepherds’ removal, nor the word of the message being extinguished, but rather growing, he might learn through experience—both he himself and those who serve him in these matters—that our affairs are not human, but that the basis of our teaching has its root above in heaven, and it is God who guides the Churches in every respect, and that it isn’t possible for the individual who fights God to ever overcome Him.—St. John Chrysostom, On the Holy Martyr Ignatius, par. 12.

Catechesis: Studying the Catechism

Oh, what mad, senseless fools are we! While we must ever live and dwell among such mighty enemies as the devils, we still despise our weapons and defense, and we are too lazy to look at or think of them!—LC Longer Preface, 15

29 November 2021

Patristic Quote of the Day

These things are difficult but also rewarding. Don’t focus on the present obstacles, but on the future benefits; not on the tortures at hand, but the anticipated blessings; not the sufferings, but the prizes; not the labors, but the crowns; not the sweat expended, but the rewards; not the sorrows, but the returns; not the consuming fire, but the kingdom that lies ahead; not the executioners standing all around, but Christ crowned. This is the greatest method and easiest path to virtue, to focus on not just the labors, but also the rewards that follow the labors, but not just individually.—St. John Chrysostom, On the Holy Martyrs, par. 7

Catechesis: Studying the Catechism

For even if they know and understand the catechism perfectly (which, however, is impossible in this life), there are still many benefits and fruits to be gained, if it is daily read and practiced in thought and speech. For example, the Holy Spirit is present in such reading, repetition, and meditation. He bestows ever new and more light and devoutness. In this way the catechism is daily loved and appreciated better.—LC Longer Preface 9

Luther


He rides there so beggarly, but hearken to what is said and preached about this poor king. His wretchedness and poverty are manifest, for He comes riding on an ass like a beggar having neither saddle nor spurs. But that He will take from us sin, strangle death, endow us with eternal holiness, eternal bliss, and eternal life, this cannot be seen. Wherefore thou must hear and believe.—Sermon for Ad Te Levavi, 1533

27 November 2021

And so…

…with the setting of the sun today, holy Advent-tide arrives. I always have thought that the collect for this first Sunday of Advent captures our need for this fast (which the world around us seems quite determined to seduce us into ignoring): Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy power and come, that by Thy protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Thy mighty deliverance; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. It is because we are always forgetting that our sins, our very personal rebellions, are threatening and perilous, that we need the arrival of St. John the Baptist. The preface from TLH for this season: “whose way John the Baptist prepared, proclaiming Him the Messiah, the very Lamb of God, and calling sinners to repentance that they might escape from the wrath to be revealed when He cometh again.” O Lord, during these holy days through the preaching and meditation on Your Word awaken us all to the dangers of our disregard of You and Your will and Your commandments. Give us lives of genuine repentance, heeding the warning of St. John, and help us always to be ready for Your Son’s Advent; we ask it in His holy name. Amen!

26 November 2021

Well, it took all day…

…but we got it done. A few pics from around the place:










Gerhard and Walther

The Church is the bride of Christ, and so is every godly soul; let it take heed then not to cling to Satan in an unholy union.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XXIII

The fact that even those who believe in Holy Scripture err in articles of faith is not because God’s Word is unclear and misleading, but simply because those believers too often follow their reason, their conceit, their heart, their prejudices, or the authority of man instead of the clear Word of God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 894.

*Note this is the final post in this particular series. Next week, the first week in Advent, we return to wisdom from Dr. Luther, based mainly on the delightful Day by Day We Magnify Thee. My copy is a little the worse for wear, but wouldn’t trade it for anything. I bought it with money given on my confirmation in 1974:




Patristic Quote of the Day

Our Maker and Creator brought us out of darkness into His universe as it were out of a tomb; even before our birth He was ready with His favours for us. To Him we owe everything, and therefore on every count we are under the obligation to return thanks to Him. Glory be to Him forever and ever, Amen.—St. Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians, par. 38.

Catechesis: Church Authority

“The one who hears you hears Me” cannot be understood of traditions. Christ requires that they teach in such a way that He Himself is heard because He says “The one…hears Me.” Therefore, He wishes His own voice, His own Word to be heard, not human traditions.—Ap XXVIII:19

25 November 2021

A wonderful day

Cindi and I were up early as usual, and she got the turkey in the oven before heading up to sing Matins at St. Paul’s. The bells kicked off our joy with a setting of “Praise to the Lord.” We got to sing “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come.” Pastor Gleason was liturgist and preacher, and did he ever do an outstanding job on the homily! He nailed it. And so did Cindy Gleason as she sang her haunting Vaughn Williams solo: Blest is the Man that Trusteth in Thee, the choir coming in after her solo parts. After the homily we sang the Te Deum and the closing prayers. The final hymn was “Now Thank We All Our God.” Oh, and we were also blessed with Cole and Zach on trumpets, playing along with our amazing Kantor.

We had the Weedons and the Ibisches join us for Matins, but the Herberts didn’t arrive till a bit later. All in all, we were 19: our 10 grandchildren, our three children and spouses, Cindi and I and Opa. The meal was a feast and a half: turkey, ham, and rope sausage; green beans and mashed taters; two kinds of sweet tater casserole; salad; gravies; jello molds; bacon and mushrooms cooked in a wine and butter sauce. 

After the meal, we gathered in the living room for our traditional Advent / Christmas hymn sing. Then back to eating with dessert: carnivore pumpkin pie for Cindi and me (really tasty…you’ll just have to wonder); apple pie; pecan pie; chocolate marvel paleo pie; and some left over pumpkin cake. 

The Weedons had to leave early to celebrate up with the Zoschkes in Litchfield. But the others hung around, and the youngsters made gingerbread houses (well, that was the idea…lots just got eaten!). Now they’re all on their way home and Cindi and I are enjoying this (with the remnants of the hymn sing still visible): 





Upon Thanksgiving Day…

All the works of the Lord are good: and he will give every needful thing in due season.

So that that a man cannot say, This is worse than that: for in time they shall all be well approved.

And therefore praise ye the Lord with the whole heart and mouth, and bless the name of the Lord.

—Ecclesiasticus 39:33-35



Gerhard and Walther

Contemplate, O devout soul, the exalted dignity of the Church, and render due thanks to Almighty God. Great indeed are the benefits which God bestows upon us in and through the Church.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations XXIII.

The most frightening thing about this complete transformation of the Christian faith in our day concerns the role of the teacher. It is the total defection from the most supreme principle in all of Christianity: that Holy Scripture is the Word of the great God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 893.

Patristic Quote of the Day

We see, then, that good works have not only embellished the lives of all just men, but are an adornment with which even the Lord has delighted to deck Himself; and therefore, with such an example before us, let us spare no effort to obey His will, but put all our energies into the work of righteousness.—St. Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians par. 33.

Catechesis: Church Authority

But their [the bishops’] is not to be tyrannical, without a fixed law. Nor is it to be regal, above the law. Rather, they have a fixed command and a fixed Word of God, according to which they should teach and exercise their jurisdiction.—Ap XXVIII:14

24 November 2021

The sun when it appeareth

The pride of the height, the clear firmament, the beauty of heaven, with his glorious shew; The sun when it appeareth, declaring at his rising a marvelous instrument, the work of the most High…Great is the Lord that hath made it.—Ecclesiasticus 43:1-2, 5.




Gerhard and Walther

The holy Church of God sustains the relations of mother, virgin, bride. She is mother because she daily bears spiritual sons to God. She is as a chaste virgin, because she keeps herself pure from all unholy alliances with the devil and the world. She is bride, because Christ hath betrothed her to Himself by an eternal covenant, and hath given her the pledge of the Spirit.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XXIII

There is a great difference between being convinced of something and carrying it in the heart, and regarding something as true and practicing it in life.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 887.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Because of the love He bore us, our Lord Jesus Christ, at the will of God, gave His blood for us – His flesh for our flesh, His life for our life. —St. Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians, par. 49.

Catechesis: Church Authority

Writing to the Colossians (2:20-23), Paul says that traditions do not help with respect to eternal righteousness and eternal life, because food, drink, clothing, and the like are things that perish through use. Eternal life is worked in the heart by eternal things, that is, by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.—Ap XXVIII:10.