31 July 2007

Attention, PastElder!

Terry, could you email me (weedon@mac.com). Jeff Schwarz (producer of Issues, Etc.) has a project he wants to propose to you.

30 July 2007

Am I ready for this?

I suppose it doesn't matter! It's only days away:


(Liturgy on pages 275-277)
Lauren Elizabeth Weedon
Dean Zachery Herberts
4 August 2007
2:00 p.m.

Since Holy Matrimony is a service of the Church, no cameras with flashes may be used during the wedding ceremony. Please participate in the liturgy and in the singing of the hymns!

Preservice Music, including “The Wedding” – Cindi Weedon
Ringing of the Bell
The congregation stands
Processional Hymn: 869 “With the Lord Begin Your Task"
Please face the Cross as it enters
Invocation, p. 275
Address, p. 275
The congregation is seated
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:1-2, 22-33
Statements of Intent, p. 276
Consent of Parents
Vows, p. 276
Blessing of Rings, p. 276
Exchange of Rings, p. 276
Pronouncement of Marriage, p. 276
Marriage Blessing, p. 277
Unity Candle
Anthem: “Gracious Savior” – Anna Skiddis, David Weedon
The congregation stands
Prayer of Thanksgiving, p. 277
Our Father, p. 277
Benediction, p. 277
Te Deum: 941 “We Praise You”
Please face the Cross as it exits
+ + +

29 July 2007

Relaxing Day

After services today, Cindi and Lauren did some clean up in the house and outside and I vacuumed the pool. Then we relaxed a bit in the pool, and this evening Dean and his parents, Tim and Lynn, joined us for dinner, together with Dave and Jo. We wrapped up the evening with a game of liverpool. Sehr fun - especially since you know who actually won. Again. ;)

28 July 2007

Prayers requested

Yesterday we found out that our Headmaster and the associate pastor of St. Paul's in Hamel and Trinity in Worden has been ordered deployed to Kuwait for a year. He leaves us before the end of the August - that is, right as school is beginning. This comes as a shock not only to our parishes and school, but also to his family. Please remember them in your prayers.

I couldn't help but think of his family as we sang together the Hymn of the Day for this evening:

In God, my faithful God,
I trust when dark my road;
Great woes may overtake me,
Yet He will not forsake me.
My troubles He can alter;
His hand lets nothing falter.

My sins fill me with care,
Yet I will not despair.
I build on Christ, who loves me;
From this rock nothing moves me.
To Him I will surrender,
To Him, my soul's defender.

If death my portion be,
It brings great gain to me;
It speeds my life's endeavor
To live with Christ forever.
He gives me joy in sorrow,
Come death now or tomorrow.

O Jesus Christ, my Lord,
So meek in deed and work,
You suffered death to save us
Because Your love would have us
Be heirs of heav'nly gladness
When ends this life of sadness.

"So be it," then I say
With all my heart each day.
Dear Lord, we all adore You,
We sing for joy before You.
Guide us while here we wander
Until we praise You yonder.
LSB 745:1-5

If all this comes as a surprise and shock to us, it does not comes as a surprise to our Lord. We trust that He will lead and guide us and will bless the GeRues as move into the future. "Thy good and gracious will be done, O Lord!"

Patristic Quote for the Day

Altogether vain are they who deny the salvation of the flesh and despise its regeneration, saying that it is not capable of incorruption. But if it will not be saved, in truth, the Lord has not redeemed us by His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communication of His Blood, nor the bread which we break the communication of His body; for blood is not save of veins and flesh, and of the rest of human substance, in which the Word of God was truly made. -- St. Irenaues, Against Heresies, Book 4, Chapter 18

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Agreement with the Scriptures was the earnest pressing demand of the Reformers. This agreement with the Scriptures they sought to establish in two ways. On one side, everything was regarded as an evil remnant of popery which did not have the Word of Holy Scripture *for* it; with unyielding severity everything was cut away which did not find express authority for it in a word of Scripture.

On the other hand, with all earnestness of reformation, everything was left standing which did not have the Scripture *against* it. Whatever could remain, without danger to the true doctrine, for example, the Liturgy, pictures and other ornaments of Churches and holy places, was differently treated, according as the first or the second tendency ruled.

The second tendency acknowledged that the Church since the days of the Apostles, that is, for fifteen hundred years, had not lived in vain. A development and exposition of the Apostolic doctrine through history were acknowledged. It was understood that the one Word reveals an ever greater fulness of meaning in the course of time. The history of the Church was respected and regard was had for communion with antiquity; there was no desire to cut loose from former centuries and to begin a new course which would be, as far as possible, original. But on the contrary, in the thread of Holy Scripture was sought the continuation of the Apostolic Church, and the endeavor was made to put away novelties. Just as we try to restore valuable pictures and buildings which have been covered with evidences of ignorance and bad taste, so then that which was ancient was sought, but freed from fraud. They did not aim to have everything as it was at the time of the Apostles, but only to maintain the historical development of the Church without blame before the face of Apostles and Prophets. A control of history by the Holy Ghost was acknowledged, but nothing was acknowledged to be the work of the Holy Ghost in history which contradicted the Scriptures and the clear Word. Unity of the Scriptures and history, communion with the Scriptures before everything and with the true Church of all centuries and lands, true catholicity, marked the second tendency, which was the tendency of Dr. Martin Luther.
--Loehe, *Three Books*

26 July 2007

The Calm Before the Storm...

...shutins all finished. Sermon written for Sunday and Bible Class finished. But the week ahead! Wedding bulletins to finish, wedding homily to write, Sunday's sermon to write as well as Bible Class, and all the last minute preparations for family and friends from hither and yon joining us to celebrate the nuptials of one Dean Herberts (already my favorite son-in-law!) and one Lauren Weedon. Lord, give us all strength to get through this and richly bless their union and their life in You. Glory to You, Lord Jesus Christ! Glory to You alone!

Homily for Trinity 8 (2007)

[Initial draft - Jeremiah 23:16-29 / Acts 20:27-38 / Matthew 7:15-23]

If there is one thing that God condemns through Jeremiah in today’s Old Testament reading it is the notion that one can be at peace with the God of Israel and at the same time be at peace with the sin and wickedness of our lives. Now, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that there is ever a time that we are free from the struggle against the sinful passions for so long as we live in the body. The very essence of faith entails a struggle against these. But the false prophets were going around telling the people: “It shall be well with you” and they were promising this to people who “despise the Word of the Lord” and “stubbornly follow their own hearts.” No struggle against sin whatsoever! But this is most definitely a case where you CANNOT have your cake and eat it too. You cannot cozy up to sin and cozy up to God. You cannot coddle the rebellions of your heart and still retain saving faith and a living relationship with the living God.

The antidote to this foolish dreaming of the prophets by which they lulled the people into a spiritual slumber and robbed them of their spiritual inheritance is very clear: “Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my Word speak my Word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? Declares the Lord. Is not my Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”

A fire of cleansing from sin – that is the Word of God! A hammer that can smash and break to pieces human hearts as hardened as rock! Nothing can stand up to that Word when it is spoken faithfully. Oh, a person may rebel against it, may say “Phooey on you, God! I want nothing to do with you!” But that does not make the Word one bit less effective. The judgment it pronounces will still fall. The fire will still burn.

So don’t for one second imagine that it is possible to live in peace with both God and sin. If anyone suggests such a thing to you, I tell you they are a false prophet just like the ones who lied to Israel – and Israel found out the hard way that these preachers of “peace, peace” were only belly-servers and deceivers.

Nor is it the case that this is just a problem for the Old Testament people of God. The problem runs right on through the New Testament. We heard in our Gospel today the Lord Jesus say as plainly as He could that we are to beware of false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. And He tells us how to spot them: “You will recognize them by their fruits.”

Now, some people think that means you’ll realize who is a false prophet by looking at how they live. I don’t dispute that sometimes that is true. But I think our Lord is making a different point. The fruit of a prophet is what results from believing his teaching. What happens if you take the prophet at his word? What fruits result in your life? If you listen to the false prophets that Jeremiah encountered and you took to heart what they said to you, you would think: So I can do whatever my wayward heart desires and trust that God will forgive me and all will be well in the end. In other words, the fruit of their teaching was that it left people unrepentant for their sins, left their hearts in a state of rebellion against the Holy God of Israel. THAT’S how you tell if you have a false prophet!

Jesus could not be more blunt: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” He tells us flat out that some will say to Him on the day of judgment: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And to them will come the sad reply: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Lawlessness. You who thought you could serve sin and rejoice in it and still enjoy my presence. Do you not understand, I am the Destruction of sin. I came to free you from its chains, not to strengthen its hold on you. I went to my Cross bearing the full load of you sin so that it could be forgiven before the presence of my Father. I blotted out at the cost of my own blood the handwriting that was against you. I have set you free from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for you. All this I did for you to set you free from sin’s power! Indeed, I have obtained you as my own flock with my blood, the very blood of God.

In harmony with both Jeremiah and our Lord, we also heard the Apostle Paul in the second reading warning the Ephesian pastors to pay careful attention to themselves and to the flock over which the Holy Spirit had made them bishops because, after Paul leaves, he foretells that fierce wolves will come in among the flock, and even will arise from their number, speaking twisted things to draw away the disciples after them, to separate them from the Good Shepherd. And what is more twisted and certain to separate from the Shepherd than telling people: God forgives you so that you can continue in your rebellion?

Instead, Paul does what every good pastor must do. He commends them to God in prayer and he commends them to the Word of God’s grace, a Word that is able to built them up and to give them an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

If you’ve been playing with sin...if you’ve been toying with it, serving it, living in rebellion against God...if you’ve been holding a grudge, slandering, committing sexual sin, being disobedient to the authorities God has established...if you’ve a slave to food or drink..if you’ve been thinking that you can indulge your sinful passions and still somehow enjoy the forgiveness and grace of God, then hear the Word of grace spoken to you today!

You cannot have both, but the incredible good news is that God still wants you. No matter how defiled. No matter how rebellious and sinful. He calls you to Himself, the Crucified One, that He might wash you from your sins and begin to set you free. He comes to you today anew at this holy Table, the One who is the destruction of sin and the death of death. He calls you to come to Him and let Him give you His forgiveness, to speak over you an absolution that can begin breaking the chains of sin, covering you with His righteousness and uniting you to Himself, pouring out into you His good Spirit.

Beware of false prophets. Beware of anyone who suggests to you that you can cheerfully stay in your sin and yet enjoy God's grace. Beware, and flee to Your Jesus, let Him forgive you and thus begin to destroy the sin and save you, you whom He has purchased at the price of His blood to be His own. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This Christ, bodily and, if you will, bloodily present in the Sacrament of the Altar, is not merely a human being. He is the human being, the model, the standard, the blueprint, the die that determines what authentic humanity is, from the first human being to the last. We human beings - all of us - have not only our salvation but our very humanity from Christ. He stands both as the initial and the ultimate man, the exemplar of human virtue in its most eminent perfection and the one whose irrefragable integrity stands as the judgment upon all our lapses from genuine humanity. And not the least aspect of this virtue is the unselfishness that He exhibits in the act that the Eucharist primarily makes present again, His sacrificial death on the cross for our benefit that is the climax and the epitome of His total redemptive work, His unswerving obedience to His heavenly Father, and of His generous readiness to accept at His enemies' hands the consequences of His radical goodness. - Arthur Carl Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 191

Patristic Quote of the Day

"To him give all the Prophets witness," etc. (v. 43.) When by the terror he has agitated them, then he brings in the pardon, not spoken from himself but from the Prophets. And what is terrifying is from him, what is mild from the Prophets. All you that have received this forgiveness, all you to whom it has been vouchsafed to attain unto faith, learn, I beseech you, the greatness of the Gift, and study not to be insolent to your Benefactor. For we obtained forgiveness, not that we should become worse, but to make us far better and more excellent. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 23 on Acts (on Acts 10:43ff.)

25 July 2007

Hymn on St. James' Day

O Lord, for James, we praise You,
Who fell to Herod's sword;
He drank the cup of suff'ring
And thus fulfilled Your word.
Lord, curb our vain impatience
For glory and for fame,
Equip us for such suff'rings
As glorify Your name.
LSB 518:21

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Ultimately this insight must characterize all our sacrifices, our works and our gifts as well as our faith and our worship. Because God is the Creator and Redeemer and Transformer and because we are always only the recipients of His bounty, whatever we plead before Him, whatever we give Him, whatever we do for His sake is always under the signature, "All things come of Thee, O Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee." - A.C. Piepkorn, *The Church* p. 241

Patristic Quote of the Day

In honor of the day of St. James, the Apostle:

If we are sheep, we conquer; if we become wolves we are overcome. So long as we continue to behave as sheep, we are victorious. Even if ten thousand wolves surround us, we conquer and are victorious. But the moment we become wolves, we are conquered, for we lose the Shepherd. He is the Shepherd of sheep, not of wolves. If he leaves you and goes away, it is because you do not allow him to show his power. - St. John Chrysostom (FATS IV, p. 1328, Homily 33)

24 July 2007

Road Time

One thing I like about my calling as a pastor is the time that I get to spend by myself. Don't get me wrong - I love and enjoy people's company. But I also seem to need quite a bit of time all by myself just to keep on an even keel. I get lots of this when I get in the car to make my hospital and shutin runs. Today I put down the windows in Vanna White (courtesy of Jeff and Laura) and drove all over Madison and Macoupin Counties visiting. And much as I enjoyed each visit, I also treasured the time between with the wind blowing in and the music blaring from radio or iPod. The time alone seems to restore some sense of balance in my life. I can never explain or understand it, but I know I need it. [And no, the pic is not from anywhere in Illinois, obviously, but from a road trip taken by my two older brothers through Canada and into Alaska a couple years ago.]

The Amazing Wilma

I love all my shutins. Each in their own way. But then there is Wilma. Wilma is the same age as my own mother would be, had she lived. Wilma just turned 90. She's even born the same month as my mother, just three days later.

And Wilma is gifted with her tongue and doesn't hesitate to use it. When I first came to St. Paul's, I fixed some coffee one day in the basement for the pastors and then we went out to lunch. I was coming back to clean it up later. HA! Wilma caught me as I came in the door: "Pastor! We do not have MAID SERVICE in this Church. You are to clean up after yourself and not let it wait for others to do." I fell in love with the woman right then and there. I burst out laughing and said: "Yes, mother!"

We've been ribbing each other ever since. Today we laughed a lot, cried a little, and shared about life. I told her she better not even THINK about kicking the bucket anytime soon - I've got too much to do with the wedding. She promised to behave herself, and she told me it was okay to cry at the wedding, and that I was to enjoy it all.

Wilma, you are certainly a bright light in my life. I wish I could spend a lot more time just sitting and visiting with you because you always brighten my days. Much love, dear one!

One of the Most Haunting Hymns

ever composed was by St. John of Damascus (the author of the tremendous *On the Orthodox Faith,* a work that Blessed Martin Chemnitz cites with great frequency):

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?
What glory stands forever on the earth?
Frail shadows - all, delusive dreams;
Which death will one day sweep away.
But in the light of Your countenance, O Christ,
And in the enjoyment of Your beauty,
Give rest to those whom You have chosen and taken
For You are the Lover of mankind.

--St. John of Damascus, Friday Evening Aposticha Verse

Patristic Quote of the Day

His last clause runs thus: "I have kept the faith." But he who says this is the same who declares in another passage, "I have obtained mercy that I might be faithful." 1 Corinthians 7:25 He does not say, "I obtained mercy because I was faithful," but "in order that I might be faithful," thus showing that even faith itself cannot be had without God's mercy, and that it is the gift of God. This he very expressly teaches us when he says, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8 -- *On Grace and Free Will* Chapter 17, St. Augustine

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

"When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, 'Repent,' he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." (Luther, first of the 95 Theses) This repentance Luther sees as a "transmentation," the assumption of another mind and feelings, the recovery of one's true senses, the transition from an awareness merely of earthly matters to a knowledge of spiritual things, a change of heart that results in a hatred of sin. This repentance involves the totality of life and the totality of Christians; it must mark the life alike of the king in his purple robes, of the priest in his sacerdotal ornaments, of the monk in his cell, and of the beggar in his poverty. Repentance is our own response of self-displeasure to our own perennial prayer, "Forgive us our debts." - Piepkorn, *The Church* pp. 107, 108

23 July 2007

Did I happen to mention...

...that my little girl is getting MARRIED in 12 days!!!!!!!!!

(She has the nerve to say: "Isn't it wonderful?")

AND every time that wretched "I loved her first" comes on the radio, I find it difficult to drive because of the tears in my eyes. Good grief! This is not me... Or is it?

Thoughts on this Sunday's Gospel

Walther won me over a long time ago in his argument that we must interpret the Scriptures according to the Symbols if we are to be ministers of the Lutheran Church. He pointed out that it was only in this way that the Church could assure herself that her pastors were in fact teaching Lutheran doctrine.

Yet this is not an a priori. Or at least it ought not be. Krauth works what comes before it with the observation that we do not first interpret Scripture in accordance with the Symbols or the Symbols with the Scriptures, but we interpret both according to the ordinary use of language (yes, a loaded term, that) and what we discover - if we are Lutheran - is that they say the same thing! The Scriptures, which cannot err, happen to find a faithful explication in the Lutheran Symbols, which did not err (but could have!).

Thus, when the Lutheran speaks of his faith to others, he does not appeal for submission to the "mind of the Church." Instead, he invites a prayerful reading of the Word of God and then for the exercise of private judgment in deciding whether what that Word says is confessed correctly in the Lutheran Symbols. "Check it out" is our invitation to those who inquire about our Church's teaching. We invite them to read and study the Scriptures and to do so with humility and a spirit of prayer. And we invite them to read and study our Symbols (usually our Small Catechism) and see if the same message heard in the one is found in the other.

Pastor George Lobien, long-time pastor at the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, Maryland -- and my home pastor -- used to conclude each homily with telling words: "Test my witness to you this morning against these words of..." and he would reread the text.

"Test my witness." How utterly in the spirit of the Gospel for this Sunday: "Beware false teachers." And of St. Paul: "Test all things; hold fast to what is good." No wonder Paul could commend the Ephesian elders to "God and to the Word of His grace which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among those who are sanctified."

Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide,
For round us falls the eventide.
O let Your Word, that saving light,
Shine forth undimmed into the night.
LSB 585:1

Speaking of Blogging...

...let me give you my list of three people who SHOULD be blogging but aren't!

Anastasia Theodoridis - a FABULOUS writer (you can tell just from her comments on various blogs) and a very articulate Christian. I enjoy her comments wherever they show up - even when she's wrong. Put the hat pins away, dear!

Randy Asburry - Pastor Extraordinare at Hope in St. Louis, a classicist, and a good friend. He even knows how to play pinochle correctly (spades are trump, now pass me some cards!)

Lee Maxwell - Lee has the gift of understated Minnesota humor that will leave you rolling while he barely cracks a smile. He's also a classicist and a very fine theologian, especially of the liturgy. Why don't he write none?

So what about you guys? Who are the folks you wish would blog who don't?

5 Blogs that Make Me Think

My goodness! I was surprised and honored to learn that by dear friend and colleague, Dr. Rick Stuckwisch, had listed my blog as a blog that makes him think at his blog Thinking Out Loud. Then I discovered I was also mentioned by Susan over at Susan\'s Pendulum. So, I believe I am supposed to name five blogs that I would list as making me think. Well, that's not too hard except for narrowing down to just five. I read lots of blogs each day and enjoy each one a great deal. But here are five that I have learned from:

Father John Fenton\'s blog - Father John is an outstanding homilist and a great student of the Fathers. Although there will be things that I don't agree with from time to time (to be expected, since he is an Orthodox priest and I a Lutheran pastor), I find his insights refreshing.

The Unknown Lutheran - Unknown (ha!) is a favorite. A Lutheran layman who is hooked like yours truly on EWTN and has the dream of starting up such a project that would show the world about the Lutheran Church. He's promised me a job someday when he wins the lottery, but threatens to make me hang out with kids shooting hoops (what kind of a gun do you shoot them with?) and he consistently calls me a dog. Well, I love him anyway. Check it out!

David Sch├╝tz\'s Site - David is a former Lutheran pastor from Oz and he is currently a Roman Catholic layman. I enjoy his insights - always balanced and fair. He's a big Ratzinger fan (along with someone else I won't name).

Adam\'s site - Adam is a parishioner of my good friend, Fr. Heath Curtis, and Adam is a recent convert to Lutheranism. I love his theological wrestlings and "ahas."

Last but not least:

Josh\'s site - my friend Chris Jones pointed me toward Josh some time ago, I believe, and I was impressed immediately. An articulate and bright (as in very!) young man who is not afraid to engage Lutheranism in some very uncomfortable questions and to offer some stunning insights along the way. Josh is a straight-shooter. He just says what he thinks. I like that about him.

Now there were SO many others I wanted to mention, but I notice that many of them have already been named (back track through the ones I listed). Cyberbrethren ranks up there, Cyberstones, Incarntus Est, Esgetology, Necessary Roughness, BOC Blog, and a pile of others. Chris Jones, by the way, would have been at the top of the pile IF HE EVER GETS AROUND TO WRITING AGAIN!!!

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Rule of Faith is God's voice to us; faith is the hearing of that voice, and the Confession, our reply of assent to it. By our faith, we are known to the Lord as his; by our Confession we are known to each other as His children. -- Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 166

Patristic Quote of the Day

Why did John say, "in that true Son of His"? Because God has many sons, many children. A proper distinction had to be made here by John, and so he added that He was the "true Son of God." Not just by saying that "He's the Son," but by adding, as I've already said, that He's "the True Son." So much for the distinction. For we're all sons, all children, by virtue of grace; but He happens to be the Son of God by divine nature. -- St. Augustine, Sermons to the People #14

22 July 2007

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The cross of Christ is the tree of life, and He the precious fruit borne by heavenly grace upon it. The cross is the center of Paradise Regained, as the tree of life was the center of the first Paradise. Christ's body is the organ of the life purchased by His obedience and death. The Holy Supper is the sacrament of that body, and through the body, the sacrament of the life which that body brings. -- Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 586

Patristic Quote of the Day

For Mary, as we read, kept in heart all things that were said concerning her Son, Luke 2:19 and do you, when any passage is read where Christ is announced as about to come, or is shown to have come, not make a noise by talking, but attend. Is anything more unbecoming than the divine words should be so drowned by talking, as not to be heard, believed, or made known, that the sacraments should be indistinctly heard through the sound of voices, that prayer should be hindered when offered for the salvation of all? - St. Ambrose, *Concerning Virginity* Book III, Par. 11

[Reminds me of the intro to the readings in the old Saxon liturgy: "The Christian congregation may hear with due devout attention the epistle... (or the Gospel...)."'


What a gift of God was the feast of St. Mary Magdalene today. We had to sing on Easter without our organ (damaged in the ice storm back in December) but today, smack tab in the middle of summer, along comes the Easter Gospel again and we got to sing all sorts of Easter music. Sweet!

Of course, it was also a comedy of errors in today's liturgy at late service: sound wouldn't work, offering not picked up from first service and so still in plates, the candles all but burned out because they were out of oil, but despite it all we gathered in the presence of the Lord, heard His Word read and proclaimed, and received the gift of the Risen One's body and blood, which is to say that what really mattered most came through loud and clear.

20 July 2007

Ah, the Perfect Day Off

Today has been fantastic. Skies are blue, and humidity is low, temps in 80's. Did six miles of bike riding, almost two hours in the pool (vacuuming, fun...not!), and Cin and I went out for lunch to Applebees (bourbon street and shrimp with a salad) and we're getting ready to grill out tonight - Dave and Jo are headed over - and we'll wrap the day up with cards, I suspect. Just a perfectly relaxing day, and definitely received as a gift from the hand of God.

Sasse Gem

Marvelous is this presence of Christ, who is among us, not only spiritually, not only in remembrance and in hope, but in the divine mystery of the real and essential presence. It is the entire Christ who is present - true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, the crucified and risen one, who descended to hell and ascended into heaven. He is there, in the midst of his church: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men." What one day will be fulfilled in the kingdom of God is present already here. He who will one day come in glory is already present here hidden.

Outside, Inside

Outside the highway runs. An interstate. The traffic roars along it day and night. Semis shake the ground as they head north toward Chicago or to St. Louis and points further south. It's hard to hear the birds sing or even hold much of regular conversation (at least, to one whose hearing is not the best).

But inside. Inside the doors of the church, inside the doors of the nave. An eternal peace. Christ looks down upon you. Your Good Shepherd, the One who stands at the door of your life and knocks, waiting to share His Eucharist with you. Christ, the hands raised in blessing over you. Inside is peace. Many saints have offered their prayers here across the years and you feel instinctively when you cross into the room that here is not a place for idle chatter. Here is a place to off-load your burdens to the One who promises to share His yoke with you. Here is a place to hear your Shepherd speak and to receive from Him words of life and for Him to give into you the body and blood that once died for you upon Calvary's tree and can never die again - the promise of resurrection. Sanctuary refers properly only to the area around the altar under the great arch, but to pass into the nave itself is to realize that here is sanctuary - a place of refuge where the Avenger of Blood cannot touch you. A city of refuge in this world, a place of peace, inviting you to step off that highway that races along until death and find in the quiet and calm of His eternal peace the hope, the joy of a life that never ends.

We can't live in that room, but we can live from it. The more we nourish our souls with the peace that it bespeaks, the more we can move back onto the highway with that peace still alive in us. And then our hearts are changed, for through them run "the highways to Zion."

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The principal fruits [of the Eucharist] are: the showing of the Lord's death, the forgiveness of sins, the sealing of faith, spiritual union with Christ. The secondary are: renewal of the baptismal covenant, the arousing of love to God and our neighbor, the confirmation of patience and hope, the attestation of our resurrection, the serious amendment of life, public confession of Christ. -- Johann Gerhard, Loci Theologici XXII, chapter XX

Patristic Quote of the Day

The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself: for the Lord has said,"This is My body," not, this is a figure of My body: and "My blood," not, a figure of My blood. And on a previous occasion He had said to the Jews, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. For My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed. And again, He that eats Me, shall live John 6:51-55. -- St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith IV:13

19 July 2007

Private Confession and Absolution

With all the doom and gloom and griping already arising from the Synodical Convention, it was joy to read that this resolution passed overwhelmingly (96%):

To Encourage Individual Confession and Absolution


Overture 2- 12 (CW, p. 142)

WHEREAS, Our Lord has granted to all Christians the joy and privilege of speaking the forgiveness of sins to one another; and

WHEREAS, Our Lord has also given to His church the gift of individual confession and absolution where the pastor's word of absolution is spoken to the penitent as by Christ Himself (John 20:19–23); and

WHEREAS, Individual confession and absolution is clearly set forth in our Lutheran Confessions as well as the Synod's explanation to the Small Catechism; and

WHEREAS, The opportunity to use individual confession and absolution was a practice cherished strongly by Luther, Walther, Loehe, and other prominent Lutheran fathers; and

WHEREAS, Lutheran Service Book offers rites and resources for the use of individual confession and absolution for pastoral care; and

WHEREAS, Individual confess ion and absolution is an important means of pastoral care; therefore be it

Resolved, That pastors and congregations be encouraged to study the scriptural, confessional, and historical witness to individual confession and absolution with a view toward recovering the regular availability of its practice in our congregations; and be it further

Resolved, That the seminaries be encouraged to provide additional guidance through articles in the seminary journals and in presentations to pastors' conferences; and be it further

Resolved, That both laity and pastors be encouraged to make greater use of individual confession and absolution; and be it finally

Resolved, That all Christians be bold in speaking Christ's word of forgiveness to one another.

Action: Adopted

Patristic Quote for the Day

Wherefore with full assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to you His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that you by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, may be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are distributed through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we become partakers of the divine nature 2 Peter 1:4 .- St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Mystagogical Catechesis 4

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

And which body and which blood He means He Himself explains by repeated statement, saying: This is My body (namely, that one), which is given for you, and This is my blood (namely that) which is shed for you. Now, Christ gave not a sign, or power and efficacy of His absent body for us, but the same true and substantial body that was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. -- Martin Chemnitz, *Enchiridion* 261

18 July 2007


Again. Yes, I know that some people are disturbed that on this coming Sunday, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the LSB does not provide the historic propers for the feast. Instead of the traditional gospel, it goes with the Vatican II selection of John 20. What to do in such a situation?

Some will doubtlessly argue that the old assigned readings for the day be used. That's fine, in a way. But I'd suggest that the better approach is to use the LSB readings. This is the liturgy our Synod has agreed to use, for better or for worse. Many of us who love the liturgy object to folks just going off and doing their own thing. I'd suggest the same applies to those of us who have studied long and hard and love the old services.

I'd encourage us all to set an example of submitting to the liturgical norms that our Synod has established and leading the way by our commitment to following our liturgy in all evangelical freedom and good will.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Whatever Christ has in the one nature by essence, He partakes of in the other nature by grace - and this is the doctrine of our Church. -- Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 503

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Word and the Voice were there in two wombs; in Elizabeth there was the Voice and in Mary, the Word. - Jacob of Serug, Homily III

Jesus Lives!

[What a comforting hymn this is! I remember the sainted Dr. Wayne Schmidt telling us how he had long since memorized it and sang it to himself as he drove around town. Great text to store in one's heart.]

Jesus lives! The vict’ry’s won!
Death no longer can appall me;
Jesus lives! Death’s reign is done!
From the grave will Christ recall me.
Brighter scenes will then commence;
This shall be my confidence.

Jesus lives! To Him the throne
High above all things is given.
I shall go where He is gone,
Live and reign with Him in heaven.
God is faithful; doubtings hence!
This shall be my confidence.

Jesus lives! For me He died,
Hence will I, to Jesus living,
Pure in heart and act abide,
Praise to Him and glory giving.
All I need God will dispense;
This shall be my confidence.

Jesus lives! I know full well
Nothing me from Him shall sever.
Neither death nor pow’rs of hell
Part me now from Christ forever.
God will be my sure defense;
This shall be my confidence.

Jesus lives! And now is death
But the gate of life immortal.
This shall calm my trembling breath
When I pass death’s gloomy portal.
Faith shall cry, as fails each sense:
Jesus is my confidence!
LSB 490:1-5

17 July 2007

Jacob of Serug

My good friend, Sister Sandy Bowers (deaconess), lent me her copy of Jacob of Serug's (born about 451 A.D.) *On the Mother of God* - it really is a beautiful work - I would highly recommend it. What struck me is how, though the Blessed Virgin is apostrophized in it, she is never invoked. The nearest we come is that Christ would hear her prayers for the peace of the world. Ever and again, Jacob turns the attention back to the mystery of WHO came to dwell in her womb and WHY He did so.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Christ is beyond the heavens, He is beyond the earth, He is wherever He wills to be; wheresoever He is, He is entire; wheresoever He is and wheresoever you are who seek Him, you are in Him whom you seek. - St. John Chrysostom, *Homily on John the Baptist* (cited in Krauth, p. 509)

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Calvinism is forced to admit that its view [of the Supper] does not solve the mystery after all, but leaves it in its fathomless depth. It requires Christ's person, the Holy Spirit, and the faith of the believer, --three factors, confusing each other. The first factor is sufficient, and if justice is done it, the other two are not needed for the objective substance of the Sacrament; they come in at their proper place, not to help Christ make what He has perfectly made already, but to enable the recipient to receive savingly what he is receiving sacramentally. The Calvinistic view puts too much upon man, who is nothing, because it concedes too little to Christ, who is everything. - Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 500

16 July 2007


I have decided that Anne Proulx is a fantastic writer - even though I end up quite saddened by the tales she tells. She definitely evokes the memories of what we saw on our trip out west to Montana back in 2000 to see my brother and his family. She has a way of showing the horrible effects of loneliness on people - how it destroys them from the inside out.

Have I ever told you...

...how thankful I am to have an associate pastor? Today Pr. GeRue asked me if I wanted him to take next Sunday's sermon. Now, I hate to give up St. Mary Magdalene, but it will REALLY help with wedding preparations and various stuff trying to get done around here. God bless him! So this week I'll be working a week ahead - on the challenging texts for Trinity 8. They force me to come to some sort of resolution over Krauth's treatment of private judgment and its importance for all Christians.

Thoughts on the Synodical Convention

Sparse thoughts, for I have not been able to follow much of it. Still, I've talked to some folks who were down at the way the elections turned out. Me? I'm not down. We prayed that God's good and gracious will be done. We must trust that it was done, for God does not despise His children's prayers. And the importance of continuing in prayer for the Synod and her leadership remains an ongoing task for all of us who live our lives within her.

The Rule of St. Polycarp notes that what afflicts our Church is not solved by political solutions. Never has been or will be. My dear brother, Latif Gaba, noted the apparent paucity of worship services at the Convention and noted that it spoke volumes about who we have become. It does indeed. We need to repent and return to the confidence of a Luther, who could say: "While Nicholas [Amsdorf] and I drank Wittenberg beer, the Word of God went out and did this thing."

The Word of God is still more than capable of "doing this thing" - this renewing of the Church. Let us pray that it may be so among us, and in all humility learn to accept God's will and not sinfully grumble. Last time I checked, He was still on the throne of the universe - and still governing all things for the wellbeing of His holy Church. Glory to Him forever!

Couple Pics

First, David, on his birthday.

Second, Scott Weedon (my nephew) holding my newest grand-niece, Natalie Weedon.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Even the gates of hell will be unable to destroy the Church, which is built upon the eternal, unshakable ground of Holy Scripture. -- C.F. W. Walther, *God Grant It* p. 581

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 favors 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. -- Clement of Rome, First Epistle, Paragraph 38

15 July 2007

Happy birthday, Davids!

Today is not only the 1019th anniversary of the baptism of St. Vladimir of Kiev; it is also the 19th birthday of my son, David, and the 70th birthday of my father (in-law) Dave. We celebrated tonight with dinner at Red Lobster, and a game of Liverpool, which MOI happened to win.

We also had the joy today of celebrating Gary and Marilyn Mangum's 50th anniversary. Their granddaughter, Angel Mangum, sang during the services. Pay attention to the name - she's going to be a star one of these days. She just kept soaring higher and higher, crystal clear. I told her when she's famous, she'd better not forget us, but still come and sing for us.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In our churches, however, the ministers of the Word and the sacraments are not only called and placed into office by the people and the secular government, as the Tridentine chapter imagines, but there comes to these the very weighty judgment, examination, and approval of the true presbytery. -- Martin Chemnitz, Examen II:714

Patristic Quote of the Day

You must choose for yourselves bishops and deacons who are worthy of the Lord: men who are humble and not eager for money, but sincere and approved. -- Didache 15

[Choose for yourselves, not receive from another...hmm! Wonder what Benedict makes of that?]

14 July 2007


was a busy day! Early this a.m. got the pool filter and saltwater system going. Then off for catechesis and to the hospital. Got home and went for a bike ride (I am loving the new bike and rode it three miles each day this week). Cindi and I grabbed a bite for lunch and then spent time in the pool and sun. David and Bekah joined us. I came in and worked on Starck and the prayers for Sunday. Talked to a friend, confession and absolution, and then tuned in for a bit to Synod's opening service in Houston (surprisingly sound!), and then it was time for our Saturday Service. Cindi and I made a little dinner, off to the grocery, and then time for reading (Cin and Bekah are watching a movie). A full day, but a joyous one. And my thoughts are in Houston. What will happen this week? May God grant the Synod His grace in convention!

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

How, then, can a poor, weak, sinful person attain the righteousness that God accepts? The only path is the one the Gospel shows: the way of faith in Jesus Christ. Whoever despairs of his own righteousness - his works, wants, abilities, and deeds - and instead turns to Christ, who perfectly fulfilled the Law for all people, bearing and atoning for their sins by His innocent suffering and death, will be declared righteous by God in His grace and absolved from all his sins. -- Walther, *God Grant It* pp. 570-571.

Patristic Quote of the Day

If you want your sins covered by the Lord do not display your virtues to others. For whatever we do with our virtues, God will do with our sins. - St. Mark the Ascetic, *Philokalia* I:136

Country Music

I've always said that I didn't care for it very much. ALL my family listens to it ALL the time. (I mean my brothers and sister). Well, this morning I listened to country music all the way down to Granite City and back. And, yes, I liked it.

I heard about a father loving his daughter, about a daughter who never heard from her father, about a homeless man who was person - dang it all - and had a life and treasured memories, about how women rule the world (hey, I understand that one. There's a wedding going down in this family!). And I heard about how in the worst times you keep on going, and that the Lord's set angels around you to help you out in ways you can't even guess. In short, the words were a lot more than just a man losing his dog, his wife and his best friend as the old joke runs. I confess, I liked it.

Our former choir director from long ago, Andy Mueller, always said: "It's amazing to me you don't like country music, because that's how you sing." Maybe it is, and maybe that's not all that bad. I LIKE to slide. ;)

13 July 2007

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Our fathers clearly saw and sharply drew the distinction between God's foundation and man's superstructure, between the essential and the accidental, between faith and opinion, between religion and speculative theology, and, with all these distinctions before them, declared that consent in the doctrine of the Gospel and the right administration of the Sacraments is the only basis of the unity of the Church. --Krauth, *The Conservative Reformation* p. 182

Patristic Quote of the Day

He, God, wanted to be like a son of man; by the Spirit, He purified one virgin and made her his Mother, so that He might become a second Adam from God for the world, to give assistance to that first one whom the serpent had brought low; that when He entered to make judgment with the prince of the world, in man He might not find sin, which opens the door to death. - Jacob of Serug, Homily 1 on the Mother of God

And now the praying begins...

...seeing that Jimbo had succumbed to the poison ivy after his sinus deal, I figured I should at least give it a try. Cin and Lauren had pulled a BUNCH of the nasty stuff from the edge of our patio, and left it in a pile. They both ended up with small spots - nothing too drastic. But I've never tested myself against it. So I went out this morning, boots, jeans, long sleeved shirt, and gloves and carted it off to the dumpster. I thought it would be a ten minute job. Um, not so much. Ended up working on for over 1/2 hour. Came right in, peeled off the clothes and gloves and jumped into the shower. Am REALLY hoping and praying that I don't get any nasties with the wedding closing on three weeks away.

With the pool in the yard and the backyard in shape, I think I've spent more time outside this summer than for a long time. And I've discovered something I had almost forgotten about. The pleasure of walking on grass barefoot. Something else I had forgotten about: the pain of hopping around on gravel barefoot! Ouch.

Cin and I are headed to Edwardsville in a bit for lunch, and then we'll pick up a few things at the store (she ALWAYS has to pick up "a few things" when we go out). I'm planning on getting my watch fixed at Walmart. Best watch I have ever owned. Bought it from them something like four or five years ago - maybe more - and it just keeps going except for needing a battery replaced now and again. I'm hoping that's all it needs now. It was less than $20, I remember that.

Borders looks almost done. Can't wait for it to open. I've got some books I intend to buy the first day.

Well, enough rambling for one morning.

11 July 2007

Patristic Quote for the Day

Next, the Father's utterance, This is My Son, had revealed to Peter that he must confess You are the Son of God, for in the words This is, God the Revealer points Him out, and the response, You are, is the believer's welcome to the truth. And this is the rock of confession whereon the Church is built. But the perceptive faculties of flesh and blood cannot attain to the recognition and confession of this truth. It is a mystery, Divinely revealed, that Christ must be not only named, but believed, the Son of God. Was it only the Divine name; was it not rather the Divine nature that was revealed to Peter? If it were the name, he had heard it often from the Lord, proclaiming Himself the Son of God. What honour, then, did he deserve for announcing the name? No; it was not the name; it was the nature, for the name had been repeatedly proclaimed.

This faith it is which is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. This is the faith which has the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever this faith shall have loosed or bound on earth shall be loosed or bound in heaven. This faith is the Father's gift by revelation; even the knowledge that we must not imagine a false Christ, a creature made out of nothing, but must confess Him the Son of God, truly possessed of the Divine nature. - St. Hilary, *The Trinity*, VI, 36,37

Funeral Homily for Doris Meyer

[Texts: Job 19:23-27 / Romans 8:31-37 / John 14:1-6]

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5 Karla you brought me that verse with the recognition that you and Terry had received from your parents and have striven to pass on to your children and grandchildren “a godly heritage” – a heritage that celebrates the faithfulness of the Lord God from one generation to the next.

Doris was not born into the Church. That’s a good reminder to all of us that none of us are or can be. Every last one of us must be reborn into the family of God through faith and the gift of Holy Baptism. Such a gift Doris rejoiced in on the 14th of June in 1940. Baptized into the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, she was a marked woman. She belonged to the Triune God.

She embraced her faith with zeal, and you know how much her relationship to her Church meant to her. But it is good to remember why it meant so much.

Was it just the company of the family and friends who gathered here with her every week? No. It was deeper. Family and friends worshipping together is icing on the cake, but the cake is what really matters. And what she had found in her faith was this, that she, a lost and condemned person on her own, a sinner who deserved (as she confessed countless times) both temporal and eternal punishment, that such as she had been loved by God.

The God who named her as His own sheep was her joy and her delight. She listened attentively to His word. You know that whenever you mother and father could be here, they never missed a chance to hear the Word or to receive Christ’s body and blood in the Holy Eucharist. Your mother listened. And even as her memories began to fade and her confusion mounted (John, I can just hear her telling you: “Well, you may be in Florida but I’m in Illinois.”), even as she became fuzzy on so many things, her love for her Lord and for her Church remained clear to her. And that is a special grace of God.

It was not, of course, your mother’s hold on Jesus that ultimately counted, but His hold on her. And that is what strengthened her through all the ups and downs of her life.

Like old Job, in our first reading, she could say: “I know that my Redeemer lives and that at the last He will stand upon the earth and after my body has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see with my own eyes and no other. How my heart yearns within me!”

She knew like Paul in our second reading that there was absolutely nothing in this world that would ever be able to separate her from the love that God had given her in her Jesus. In Him she found forgiveness for all sin, joy in all sadness, hope in the face of despair and most of all in Him was life in death. To belong to Jesus, as she knew she did, was to live already now the certainty of a life that death had no power to destroy.

She knew also and clung to our Lord’s rich promise in today’s Gospel, that her Lord Jesus by His suffering upon Calvary’s cross, bearing the load of her sin and the sin of the whole world, and by His descent to hell and His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the Father, had gone ahead to prepare for her and for all baptized believers the home that can never be lost.

Homes in this world are very precious, but they are always vanishing. What was home to Doris? Hamel? Her life before in Worden? I think of those rather as places where she pitched her tent for a while, for she was a great traveler. But her home, it was where she was headed. Home would be where Jesus is, where the Father is, where the Holy Spirit is, where the angels join in singing the unending hymns of praise, and the saints fall down in worship before the One who loved them so much as to take on flesh and blood for their sakes from the womb of the holy Virgin and in that flesh and blood to trounce on death, sin and the devil, and fling wide the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

Your mother looked for that home, and she longed for it. Came that special moment on the fifth of July when her eyes closed to this world, but opened to that. And she saw her Jesus and her joy overflowed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she was glad to see your father too, and all who are part of the family of God, but if she said anything to Lester I’ll bet it was: “Would you look there, honey! There He is! Glory, glory to Him!”

The saints rejoicing in heaven do not focus on each other, but on that Redeemer, whose love was so strong that not even death could take them away from him.

Does it mean she no longer thinks of you? Perish the thought. In heaven, love is not diminished, but grows ever stronger. I believe that she’s been praying for you, for all you whom she loved, and her prayer is simply that God would bring you to share in the joy that is now hers forever; that the gifts of God, so faithfully handed on from generation to generation, may not fail, but may accomplish their purpose also in your case. Her prayer for you is that the day may come when you will slip in there next to her and take her hand and listen to her say: “Isn’t He a glorious Savior! Didn’t I always tell you so! Look at what He has done for us! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations!”


Doris L. Meyer, 87, of Indian Harbour Beach, FL, formerly of Hamel, IL, died Thursday, July 5, 2007, surrounded by her family. She was born August 6, l9l9, in Worden, Illinois, the daughter of William and Alta Hagemeier. She married Lester G. Meyer July 15, 1940, and celebrated 65 years of marriage before his death, November 15, 2005. She lived most of her life in Hamel, Illinois, where she was a member of Saint Paul Lutheran Church. She enjoyed quilting, needle work, baking and cooking. She travelled extensively with her husband throughout the United States and Europe. Mrs. Meyer moved to Indian Harbour Beach, FL, approximately two years ago and was welcomed by the Faith Viera Lutheran Church and community. She was an active member at Joes Club in Melbourne. Survivors include son, Terry L. Meyer of Menifee, CA and wife Sharon; daughter, Karla J. Caban of Indian Harbour Beach, FL and husband John; five grandchildren, Kathlene M. Willock of Long Beach, CA, Matthew J. Meyer of Las Vegas, NV, John B. Caban of Melbourne, FL, Sascha C. Thein of West Melbourne, FL, Brett B. Caban of St. Louis, MO; and two great-grandchildren, McKenna and John Meyer Caban of Melbourne, FL. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, half brother, Walter L. Tweed, and half sister, Audrey Thompson.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In light of the Bishop of Rome's latest (which should come as no surprise to a soul), the following from Piepkorn:

"The Lutheran Church does not equate any ecclesial community - its own, the Roman Catholic, or any other large or small - with the one holy catholic and apostolic church. It respects the right of the Roman Catholic Church to determine the canonical licitness of the ordinations performed within that communion and does not seek to impose Lutheran standards of canonical licitness upon the Roman Catholic community. By the same token it reserves to itself the right to establish its own standards of canonical licitness in the case of ordinations on those points where the divine law (jus divinum) makes no prescriptions and to reject those of other denominations as binding in matters that cannot be established as being of divine right." *The Church* p. 85

[The kicker in the quote is calling ROME an ecclesial community!]

10 July 2007

Never ceases to amaze me

how after a bout of sickness, the body responds with new energy - like springtime after winter. Had a sinus job that lasted for two days and felt downright lethargic. And then this morning came. And what joy to be out and about and enjoy the sunshine. Went for a 3 mile bike ride, swam a little, and did some much needed catch-up.


God gives me my days of gladness,
And I will
Trust Him still
When He sends me sadness.
God is good;
His love attends me
Day by day,
Come what may,
Guides me and defends me. (LSB 756:3

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

A certain wise man said that chastity of body and purity of spirit are the two keys of religion and happiness. If the body is not kept pure and chaste, it will scarcely be possible for the soul to glow with a holy fervor in prayer. - Johann Gerhard, *Sacred Meditations* XXXVII

Patristic Quote for the Day

Myself and time, like birds,
or ships at sea, slip past each other,
with nothing that stays put;
but what I've done amiss does not skip by,
but stays: this is life's cruelest pain.
Nor can I tell what to pray for, to live on, or be done:
it's fearful either way. Come, think with me.
Through sins my life's become an aching mess. But if I die,
ai ai! there's no cure then for your old passions!
If this is what life appoints for you, its anguish is so great
that even when ended it holds no end of troubles,
but on both sides a precipice. What's there to say?
This then is what's best,
to look toward You alone, and Your kindheartedness.
--St. Gregory of Nazianzus, *On the Precariousness of Human Nature* On God and Man, p. 131

Today a Good Friend Buries His Father

Pastor Paul McCain, who has written about his father so beautifully on his Cyberbrethren blog, buries his father today. This last good bye in this age of the world is heart-wrenching. But we know we lay the body to rest in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. I know of no hymn that captures the whole sadness and joy better than "This body in the grave we lay" - I offer the text here today in honor of my friend and his father:

This body in the grave we lay
There to await that solemn day
When God Himself shall bid it rise
To mount triumphant to the skies.

And so to earth we now entrust
What came from dust and turns to dust
And from the dust shall rise that day
In glorious triumph o'er decay.

The soul forever lives with God,
Who freely hath His grace bestowed
And through His Son redeemed it here
From every sin, from every fear.

All trials and all griefs are past,
A blessed end has come at last.
Christ's yoke was borne with ready will;
Who dieth thus is living still.

We have no cause to mourn or weep;
Securely shall this body sleep
Till Christ Himself shall death destroy
And raise the blessed dead to joy.

Then let us leave this place of rest
And homeward turn, for they are blest
Who heed God's warning and prepare
Lest death should take them unaware.

So help us, Jesus, ground of faith;
Thou hast redeemed us by Thy death
From endless death and set us free.
We laud and praise and worship Thee.
LSB 759

Just love it...

...when someone writes and says: I enjoyed hearing you on KFUO yesterday. HUH? Turns out Jeff hijacked the DVD of the service yesterday and Todd did a review of the sermon. Of course, it is the sermon where I got the numbers mixed up. 3,000 left in Israel? No, um, 7,000. They were kind enough to ignore that. But if you want to hear Todd's review, here it is:


09 July 2007

Sadness of Sin

I've been thinking a lot today about the sadness of sin. About the way it hurts others and ourselves, and how we can be so utterly blind to that damage and explain it away when we are in the grips of sin's passion. I remember reading in Madeline L'Engel once that the older we live, the more we see that our greatest need is for forgiveness. I think she was dead on right.

The woman taken in adultery - when Jesus confronted the crowd with the words: "He who is without sin among you casts the first stone," they dropped their stones and left, beginning with the oldest. Of course, the sad thing is that they left. If they'd really taken to heart what our Lord was saying, they'd have marched to the woman and stood next to her. Then they'd have been left with a word of Gospel, not of law: "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If a person becomes a true Christian, he does more than lay aside vices and take on virtues. He becomes a totally new person in his heart and in his mind. A true Christian is a child of God, born anew by the Holy Ghost. -- C. F. W. Walther, *God Grant It* p. 556

Patristic Quote for the Day

Just as He made the woman from the man's side, as we said above, just so He borrows flesh from Adam's daughter, Mary the Theotokos and ever-Virgin, and, having adopted it, is born without seed like the first man. So that, as Adam was through his transgression the source of birth into corruption and death, just so may Christ God become through the fulfilling of all righteousness the first-fruits of our re-fashioning in incorruption and of immortality. -- St. Symeon, the New Theologian, *First Ethical Discourse* p. 32

08 July 2007

Something The Male of the Species Will Never Understand...

...Bridal showers.

I mean, the pies looked nice, but I don't even WANT to know the explanations for the rest of the pictures...

So why is it

that when one is feeling down and waves of sadness sweep over for no apparent reason, there is no companionship like that of a dog?

Patristic Quote for the Day

None of us is born because he will, and none of us dies when he will: He, when He would, was born; when He would, He died: how He would, He was born of a Virgin: how He would, He died; on the cross. Whatever He would, He did: because He was in such wise Man that, unseen, He was God; God assuming, Man assumed; One Christ, God and Man. --St. Augustine, *Sermon to the Catechumens on the Creed* par. 8

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is not the doctrine of our Confession that any human creature has ever been, or ever will be, lost purely on account of original sin. For while it supposes that original sin, if UNARRESTED, would bring death, it supposes it to be arrested, certainly and ordinarily, by the Holy Spirit, through the divine means rightly received, and throws no obstacle in the way of our hearty faith that, in the case of infants dying without the means, the Holy Ghost, in His own blessed way, directly and extraordinarily, may make the change that delivers the child from the power of the indwelling sin. -- Krauth, *The Conservative Reformation* p. 429

07 July 2007

Homily for Trinity 5

[1 Kings 19:11-21 / 1 Cor. 1:18-25 / Luke 5:1-11]

Elijah thought he’d done enough and was ready to retire from his prophetic calling when the Lord gave him three new commissions to carry out – and told him to stop fretting about the Church. It was the Lord’s Church and he’d take care of it. Elijah just needed to get on with what God had given him to do.

But if Elijah was seeking to retire, Peter was trying to evade the calling altogether. “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.” True words, of course, but how utterly beside the point. As far beside the point as Elijah’s grandiose thinking that he was the only faithful person left in all Israel! The point is not that Peter is sinful. The point is that Jesus is gracious – a Lord of gifts overflowing for all. He’d shown that with the boatful of flopping fish and the torn nets that had been so carefully mended and stowed away earlier in the day. And so He wasn’t about to “go away” as Peter demanded. Instead, He wanted to take Peter and the others away with Him. To take Him on a grand fishing trip. Not for fish, though. “From now on you will catch people,” our Lord told Peter.

That word heartened them and up they got, Peter and Andrew, James and John, and they walked away from their past, from their income, from their families. They followed Jesus. Literally put one foot in front of the other and walked behind Him. And Jesus began their three year intensive, teaching them all about the net they would cast into sea of humanity to bring up a catch for the Kingdom of God – the net of the Gospel.

In today’s Epistle St. Paul does some pondering on this net. Folks have always looked at it a tad skeptically and wondered: You really think that you can do anything with THAT? “For the Word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

The Word of the Cross. That’s the net that the Lord Jesus put into Peter’s hands and Andrew’s and James’ and John’s – and it is what He has gone on putting into the hands of all His disciples in all the years since. A net of words, cast into a world drowning in words. But these words are different from all the rest. These words have divine power in them to grab hold of the hearts of men and haul them out of the sea of words in which they live and bring them into the boat of the Church where they learn to live from those words and from them alone.

This net is an affront to those who consider themselves “wise” in this world. That God would choose to save people through “the folly of what we preach.” Folly here refers not so much to men making fools of themselves in pulpits – we do that aplenty – but rather to the content that we are given to proclaim. The content of the Church’s message is the net cast into the world.

“Jews demands signs. Greeks seek wisdom. And we? We preach Christ crucified.” The message of the cross is not about any empty cross, no matter what some well-intentioned but misguided preacher told you in your youth. Empty crosses catch no one for the kingdom of God. Empty crosses can mean nothing more than the One who was nailed to them has been taken away. We do not preach an empty cross. We preach a cross on which hangs Christ Crucified. He makes the cross full of power and salvation, and not the cross itself. WHO is hanging on the cross and WHY He is hanging there forms the net, the story, we cast out into the world to haul in people for the Kingdom of God. So we’d best be clear about both.

Who is upon the Cross is “the Lord of glory.” If our second reading had not been so rudely cut off then in a few more verses, we’d have heard Paul say it: that if the Rulers of this world (meaning the demons) had understood this – what the Cross was set to effect – they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. The Lord of glory confesses that He who is on the Cross is the One who created us at the beginning, the One through whom all things were made. “He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross. He who is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.” So sings the Church in an ancient hymn for Good Friday.

That it is God in the flesh, the Eternal Son, who is hanging on the tree, our Maker -- that should lead us all to wonder indeed. But the message of the Cross goes deeper: from Who to Why. Why are You hanging there? Why do You permit this outrage? Why did You come into our flesh in the first place? Why, O Lord?”

Comes the answer: I came to be the Lamb of God who would carry away your sin and the sin of the world. I, who had no sin, came to bear your sins in My body on the tree so that you might die to sin and live for righteousness. I, who had no sin, came that I might be made sin for you, that in Me you might become the righteousness of God. I came to pour out my blood to blot out the handwriting of the Law that was against you. I came to be wounded for your transgressions, crushed for your iniquities, that upon me would rest the chastisement that brings you peace and that by My stripes you might be healed. I came because you – every one of you like sheep have gone astray, turning to your own way, and so the Lord has laid on Me the iniquity of you all. Since you were under the curse of the law – for cursed the man who does not continue in all the things written therein to do them – I came to become a curse for you, for cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree. Thus I would free you from your curse by means of My own.

O Lord, we cry out: But why? Why would you do this for us? Why would you embrace this suffering and death, this terror and darkness, to free us from what was only our due? Comes the answer, sweet and unfathomable: Because I love you, because I want you to share with me the joys of a life that never ends, because I didn’t make you to live for a few measly years and then suffer and die; I made you to live in the joy of my Father’s house forever, and I am utterly committed to doing whatever it takes to bring you there. You matter to me, and I hold you precious. The proof of it is in the Body and Blood I give you so that you be forgiven and live forever in me.

That’s the net! That’s the story, which is no fiction though it is a narrative, that He gives us to cast into the world. And it is one powerful net, one powerful story. We know its power first hand, for it has plucked us up and landed us in the boat of the Church and we have come to believe and are being saved by the power of that story. But once in the boat, he bids us join in casting, to bring yet more and more to know this story, to love this Savior, and to find through faith in Him the life that never ends. “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Armed with our holy net, we go forth from this place to cast it with joy, knowing that it is the power of God for salvation! Amen.

06 July 2007

Patristic Quote for the Day

If the Lord belong to another Father, how was it just, that, taking bread of this our creation, He confessed that it was His own body, and He affirmed that the mingled drink of the cup was His own blood? - St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 4, Chapter 18, Par. 45.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

A regenerate man is always justified, a justified man is always regenerated; and unless a man be both, he is neither. - Krauth, *The Conservation Reformation* p. 419

Marriage Homily for Heather and Jon

[Readings: Genesis 2:7, 18-22; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13]

Well, you two, the Lord paraded Mr. and Mrs. Kangaroo in front of Adam, Mr. and Mrs. Rhinoceros, and Mr and Mrs. Bear. He gave them all names and that was how he received each for the gift that it was. But as he noticed the couples passing in front of him, it surely dawned: “Say! I don’t have one like that!” And so the gracious sleep and the forming of woman from the side of the man. And then God brought her to him. And his joy overflowed. “At last! This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Woman will be her name, for she came out from man.” Gift received, named, and so rejoiced in. And with that gift a change – for a man with a woman is different from a man alone: and so a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two become one flesh.

Today God brings Heather and gives her to you, Jon. And you name her “my wife.” She is a gift from Him to be received with joy and thanksgiving. And likewise, Heather, today He gives you the gift of a husband, Jon. You name him “my husband.” Joy overflowing.

But the Church never forgets amid that overflowing joy the reality and sadness of sin and death. Knowing that the sin inside you and in the world around you can destroy your marriage, you pray for God’s protection. And today you make your vows together until God dissolves your union by the death of one or the other of you. Sin and death on a wedding day. It almost seems rude to bring them up, but the Church’s liturgy is adamant that they must be brought up.

Because of sin death, because of death, sin. You have both going on inside of you. And so your marriage, for it to be the joy or paradise that Adam found in His bride, Eve, and Eve in Adam, needs more than either of you can bring to it of yourselves. You need the further gifts that come to you from the Savior, who by His death has destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. His life IS love.

You heard a beautiful description of that love: patient, kind, not boastful or arrogant or rude. Not insisting on its own way or irritable or resentful or keeping a record of wrongs. Bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things. Never failing, never ending. This love of His is what can transform your marriage – and it comes not from some inner resource of yours, but from your Lord Jesus who pours it into you constantly from Himself. That love is His Holy Spirit’s life inside of you – that love He delights to dump down on you, giving you each more love than you can fill a life-time with. Love for an eternity. It is true that death will dissolve your marriage, but it is also true that in the glorious resurrection, you who have lived together as husband and wife under God’s blessing will be closer to another than you have ever been in this age. Your love will not be less, but more. The very reality to which your marriage points here is fulfilled for all believers in the age that is to come.

But you’ve got a ways to go to get to that age to come, God willing, and so the Lord Jesus has gifts not only of immortal life for you, but gifts of love to transfigure your marriage right here and now. To pour that gift out on you, your Savior brought that love into our flesh as He was incarnate of the most holy Virgin. To pour out that gift on you, He went to Calvary where He shouldered all of your sins – including the sin of your past and the sin that you might commit against each other yet in the selfishness of your hearts – a selfishness He works to cure within you. But all of it has been blotted out forever by Your Savior’s blood. To pour that gift out on you, your Savior rose on the third day in a body incorruptible and made the source of eternal salvation for all who will believe in Him. To pour that gift out on you, your Savior first took hold of you in the font and just as Adam named the creatures and they were then what he called them, so Christ named you in the font: His sister, His brother, His co-heirs. The same Lord continues to pour His life into you now through His Word, through His Sacraments, through His holy Church. His Spirit would thus fill you with His love, guide you into holiness, and transform your life together so that it becomes a living icon of the love of Christ for His bride the Church and the Church’s love for Him.

Trust me, you’ll get lots of opportunity to work on letting that love change you each day of your married life. Opportunities will abound to practice forgiving each other, sacrificing for one another, and, as God wills, for your children, building together a home that mirrors already in this fallen and sad world the joys of what await all the children of God in the age that is to come. A glimpse of Eden, but even more a glimpse of Heaven where Love in our flesh, Jesus Christ, reigns in all.

It is the prayer of all of us gathered here today who love you and rejoice with you that your home ever shine with such love and joy to the glory of Jesus Christ and His unoriginate Father and His all holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen!

05 July 2007

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We shall go to Christ, the great Physician, to be healed of it [original sin], and to the Holy Spirit, who, by His own means, Baptism and the Word, applies for Christ the remedy we need; taking of the things that are Christ's, and making them ours. We shall be led to maintain a continual struggle against it; we shall watch, pray, and strive, knowing that through grace we are already redeemed from its curse; that by the same grace shall be more and more redeemed here from its power, and at last be wholly purged from it, and shall form a part of that Church, loved and glorious, which shall show no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but shall stand before her Lord holy and without blemish. - Krauth, *The Conservative Reformation* pp. 454, 455

Patristic Quote for the Day

Let us fix our thoughts on the Blood of Christ; and reflect how precious that Blood is in God's eyes, inasmuch as its outpouring for our salvation opened the grace of repentance to all mankind. 1 Clement 1:7

04 July 2007

Happy birthday, Bro!

Today my brother Butch (Seldon Stuart) is 62 years old. Hard to believe! He neither looks nor acts like what I used to think someone in their 60's would look and act like. Happy birthday, my oldest brother!

Today was a relatively quiet day. We slept in a bit, then Bekah and I got the pool set up to vaccuum, and she took care of that (remember, SHE wanted the pool!). Bekah, Cindi and Lauren ran off to attend to wedding stuff, David betook himself back to bed, and so I enjoyed almost 2 solid hours of pool solitude. How sweet it that? The sun was playing peek-a-boo behind the clouds, so it was quite pleasant. Then the ladies returned and we had a light lunch. I read more Krauth, dug another three wheel-barrel's of sand from the old fish pond (with some help from David), and then enjoyed a bit more sun, some more Krauth, and came in to work on Starck. After finishing that up, it was almost time for dinner.

Cindi made us steak and hotdogs (yes, Lauren and I prefer hotdogs over steak - we're just weird), salad, watermelon, and home-made icecream (both regular and lo-carb!), and then we enjoyed coffee (well, Dean and I did) and we all sat down to a game of liverpool - David stomped us.

This evening we had a beautiful storm, lots of rain, and I listened some to Bach's B-minor mass as I read more Krauth. Finished up original sin and begun the Person of Christ. Excellent, excellent! The man is phenomenal. Lauren and Dean headed to Troy for the fireworks and Bekah and Nathan went to Litchfield. Lauren just walked in, but Bekah is still stuck in traffic trying to get home.

Tomorrow is back to work nice and early. Much to do and a wedding rehearsal and dinner tomorrow evening.

03 July 2007

Patristic Quote for the Day

Receive, my children, the Rule of Faith, which is called the Symbol (or Creed). And when you have received it, write it in your heart, and be daily saying it to yourselves; before ye sleep, before ye go forth, arm you with your Creed. The Creed no man writes so as it may be able to be read: but for rehearsal of it, lest haply forgetfulness obliterate what care has delivered, let your memory be your record-roll: what you are about to hear, that are you to believe; and what you shall have believed, that are about to give back with your tongue. For the Apostle says, "With the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." For this is the Creed which you are to rehearse and to repeat in answer. These words which you have heard are in the Divine Scriptures scattered up and down: but thence gathered and reduced into one, that the memory of slow persons might not be distressed; that every person may be able to say, able to hold, what he believes. - St. Augustine, Sermon to the Catechumens on the Creed, par. 1

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This image of God in man is something which is not absolutely lost, but is fearfully marred. -- Krauth, *The Conservative Reformation* p. 371

02 July 2007

Wieder Krauth

Up to 355 now. Got a ways to go yet, obviously.

Not everything we learn from Rome is Romish. Not only so, but, as earnest Evangelical Protestants, we may admit, that deep and vital as are the points in which we differ from the Romanists, they are not so vital as those in which we agree with them, and that Evangelical Protestants are not so remote from Romanists as they are from false and heretical Protestants. p. 341,342

Our church in common with both the Roman and the Greek Churches, does hold to a true presence of the whole Christ, the factor of which is not our mind, but his own divine person. We do not think him into the Supper, but he is verily and indeed there. Faith does not put him there, but finds him there. p. 343

Patristic Quote for the Day

These words are often for all God's creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen and she burned with spiritual love for the Son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her Savior, for she knew that He who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her Son and her Lord. - St. Bede, the Venerable, Homily on the Magnificat

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Mary's heart remains the same at all times: she let's God have His will with her and draws from it all only a good comfort, joy, and trust in God. Thus we should too; that would be to sing a right Magnificat. - Blessed Martin Luther, *The Magnificat*


LSB provides a choice of three prefaces that may be used on any Lord's day where the preface is designated "common." The first of these is the one that appeared in *Lutheran Worship* (...who on this day overcame death and the grave...), but it is the second of these that I find myself using most often for the beauty of what it confesses.

It proclaims our Lord Jesus Christ as he "who, having created all things, took on human flesh and was born of the virgin Mary." Thus both our Lord as the Eternal Word through whom all things were made and as the Word made Flesh is confessed upfront. Echoes of Hippolytus' anaphora ("who is Your inseparable Word, through whom You made all things...You sent him from heaven into the Virgin's womb") and it only gets stronger.

"For our sake He died on the cross and rose from the dead to put an end to death" - Hippolytus: "and when He was betrayed to voluntary suffering that He might destroy death..."

"thus fulfilling Your will and gaining for You a holy people" - Hippolytus: "fulfilling Your will and gaining for You a holy people."

There's much of Hippolytus that is left out, to be sure, but Common II (as LSB designates it) anchors all our thanksgiving to the Father in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who made us, who took on human flesh from the womb of the Blessed God-bearer, and who entered death and rose again to destroy death's power thus gaining for His Father "a holy people." How could we not, then, join with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven in singing their endless praise: "Holy, holy, holy!"

The Visitation and the Calendar

Today is the traditional date for the Visitation in the Western Church, commemorating the visit of the Holy Virgin to Elizabeth, and thus the occasion for Magnificat, the Blessed Virgin's hymn of praise, which we sing at Vespers: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!" Our prayer this day is that receiving God's Word in humility and faith, we may "be made one with Jesus Christ." (Collect)

One of the things that folks will either decry our celebrate about LSB is that it does not proclaim a unified calendar for our Synod but offers, in the use of two lectionary systems, two calendars. True, for all the major days the calendars are completely in sync. But there are variations: Transfiguration falls three weeks later if you use the three-year lectionary and calendar and epiphany is extended, swallowing up what the one-year celebrates as Pre-Lent. And then there is the variation on Visitation. If you follow the three-year, you will observe this feast on May 31. If you follow the one-year, it is observed today.

As I've said elsewhere, it is a choice of pre-Vatican or post-Vatican II. Odd as it may be, that is clearly the origin. Pre-Vatican II had both Pre-Lent and a celebration of the Visitiation on July 2. After the council, Pre-Lent disappeared and Visitation migrated to a date before the celebration of St. John's Nativity. Yes, that makes sense (how could the Blessed Virgin visit a pregnant Elizabeth AFTER John was born? We celebrated his Nativity last week!), but the Church's calendar has never made sense that way. It doesn't seek over all to match things up historically, but to celebrate on different days the mysteries of our faith. [Note that both pre and post Council the celebration of Transfiguration in Rome - as also in Swedish Lutheranism and Orthodoxy - is August 6th].

In putting forward such an approach, we see in LSB the refusal to take either the pre or the post council forms as normative; recognizing value in both, both are set on entirely equal footing (something that the previous *Lutheran Worship* did not do). I suspect it's a wise approach for the present. The day may possibly come when it's all unified once again. And probably whatever Rome does in regard to the restoration of the old Latin Mass and its lectionary and calendar will have more effect than most Lutherans (or Romans) would be willing to recognize. "When Rome catches a cold..."