30 September 2010

Said most simply

the certainty is not in our possession, but in God's gracious giving.  Faith doesn't cling to what has been; it clings to Him who promises and delivers exactly as He promises.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

He bears our punishment for our sin, the forsakenness of God.  Anyone bearing his or her own sin is finally lost, but not Jesus.  He is bearing not His own sin, but ours; He is not opposite God, but doing the will of the Father.  He won't let go of us and He won't let go of God.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 315.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Cherish thou the love of Him, who for love of thee entered the virgin's womb. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIII

Patristic Quote of the Day

If love leave us, the whole body is rent in pieces. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 23 on Romans

29 September 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

This we have to face, yet death is a fact that, for all its finality, is not the final fact.  You have not faced death fully until you have faced the death on Calvary. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 314.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

But faith is not a mere opinion or empty profession; it is a lively apprehension of Christ as He is set forth in the Gospel. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XII

Patristic Quote of the Day

Do not then suppose that you are lowered by needing another man. For this exalts you the more, this makes you the stronger, and the brighter too, and the more secure. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 22 on Romans

28 September 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

He calls with a call that fetches men out of their cells into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.  He calls with a call that many reject, for He takes no prisoners in His company.  God came to set the captives free.  There can be pain as we hold back, clinging to the chains, but the chains are broken and He would have us free.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, pp. 131.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Consider, O my beloved soul, the excellency of Faith, and then give thanks to God, from whom alone it comes.  Faith alone unites us to our Savior, so that we derive our spiritual life, our justification, and our salvation from Him, as the branches draw all their sustenance from the vine.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XII

Patristic Quote of the Day

For it is not enough to show mercy, but it behooves us to do it with a largeness and an ungrudging spirit, or rather not with an ungrudging, but even with a cheerful and rejoicing one, for not grudging does not amount to rejoicing. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 21 on Romans

27 September 2010


When cheddar has been aged at least 5 years, it has an unbeatable sharp taste.  Major yum.

Little Joys

Had a very early hospital call this a.m.  Got to DesPeres Hospital just after 5.  And there above the hospital, the stars were shining.  They were positively shimmering in the crisp air.  I wanted to stop right there and break out into "Creator of the Stars of Night!" but I was already a few minutes later than I had intended.  On the way home, though, another joy:  to watch the sun leap up.  We have trees in the way here at the house, so it peaks through them first.  But out on the open highway there was nothing to block it.  It shone with vigor - not a cloud in the sky.  "The day from on high shall dawn upon us to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death."  Such matchless beauty in each one.  God made them for signs.  Signs point to something beyond themselves, and so do the stars and the sun.  They point us to Him who is Uncreated Light of Light and who shone among us the light of His love to call us to an eternal home with Him!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Then Luther learned to know God as the one cast on the arms of Mary and the cross.  The Greek cages for God and humans were broken.  Augustine's heavenly and  earthly letter and spirit were replaced by the Law and the Gospel, God's two ways of dealing with His people.  This liberated Luther from attempting to cage God.  He was exposed to all of God:  the inexplicable and wrathful God, the God of the manger and the cross.  When the blows of God fell on him, Luther crept to the cross and clung to God, his Savior and brother, clinging to God against God.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, pp. 308, 309

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If the Savior by His death paid such a precious ransom for us, what He accomplish for us by His life and active intercession? -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XI

Patristic Quote of the Day

After discoursing at large upon the love of God toward man, and pointing out His unspeakable concern for us, and unutterable goodness, which cannot even be searched into, he next puts it forward with a view of persuading those who have received the benefit to exhibit a conversation worthy of the gift. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 20 on Romans

26 September 2010

From Starck's upon St. Michael's

O gracious God, grant Your Holy Spirit that I may not grieve these creatures of Yours by my sins, nor drive them from me by reckless living, forcing them to stand far off and to forsake me because of my wickedness.  Grant that even in this life I may become like the angels by serving, praising, obeying, and glorifying You, so that at last I may be like the angels also in the joys and bliss of the life that never ends.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven - let this prayer resound in my ears and in my heart from now and forevermore.  My God, let Your holy angels remain with me in death that they may carry my soul to Abraham's bosom and accompany me to glory.  There let me forever be in their fellowship and company, rejoice with them over Your glory and majesty, and chant with them:  Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts!  And so I will praise You for this and for all Your blessings forever and ever.  (p. 115)

Made My Day

A parishioner told me today that he didn't use to appreciate the music in church so much.  "But," he said "with the new hymnal, I look forward to it.  I just love to sing and hear the harmonies around me.  It's great."  Sigh.  Now THAT is music to this pastor's heart.  Is there any joy on this earth that compares to standing in the midst of God's people and singing together a joyous hymn of praise to the Blessed Trinity?  I sure can't think of one!

Michaelmas Anticipated

Today we anticipated Michaelmas (actually falls on Wednesday).  The children of Trinity-St. Paul sang the first three stanzas of Melanchthon's hymn on the angels:  "Lord God to Thee We Give All Praise" and it was like listening to angels sing!  Their little voices floated down over the congregation with the joy of heaven ringing in them.  We also had the unspeakable joy of seeing Carter and Callie Cunningham baptized into Christ, adopted into God's forever family, and receive forgiveness of all sins.  Pastor Gleason gave us much joy in the holy angels:  "let Your holy angel be with me that the evil foe may have no power over me."  What with Baptism and extra music, the liturgy ran long - I think it was close to a full 1 and 1/2 hours.  At the end, though, Carlo gave us a stunning Bach postlude (well, actually prelude, but you get the idea).  After the liturgy, the TSP parents threw a surprise baby shower for our beloved Mrs. Schkade - due soon!  I came home and grabbed a bite to eat, prepared next Sunday's bulletins, and then had a counseling appointment.  Then it was time to teach Catechism:  today we covered commandments 9, 10 and the close of the commandments.  Came home for dinner and have absolutely nothing to do this evening, save for savoring and remembering the joys of the day.  Glory to God who sends His holy angels to tend His children and keep them safe!

And Another Year...

...with no fieldworker assigned to St. Paul's.  We were so blessed last year when returning student and now Pr. Samuel Powell, managed to get transferred to this parish for fieldwork, but as of right now, we have no students assigned at all.  Such a pity, for the parish loves having them here so very much (as do I).

25 September 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

That membership [in the catholic church] is powerfully expressed as you worship your way through the liturgy, which is the pattern of worship in which you join your fellow members in the catholic church of many centuries and many places.  This reaches its climax in the Holy Communion when we acknowledge ourselves to be together with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 307.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In Thy bleeding wounds is my only remedy.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XI

Patristic Quote of the Day

Jesus came to them [the Jews]; they did not receive Him, though He did countless miracles, but crucified Him. Hence He drew the Gentiles to Him, that the honor they had, by cutting them to the heart for their insensibility might at least out of a moroseness against others persuade them to come over. For they ought to have been first admitted, and then we. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 19 on Romans

Back to Hamel

The Concordia University-Chicago Board of Regents wraps up this morning and then Cindi and I will head back to Hamel.  We came up a day early because I had orientation starting at 9:30 yesterday morning.  So we've had two evenings here in Oak Park, and we enjoyed them immensely.  First night we ate here at the Carleton, and last night we enjoyed some Thai cuisine.  The waitress asked:  "normal or hot?"  I said:  "Hot."  She said: "Hot or Thai hot?"  I said:  "Thai hot."  It was absolutely delicious.  And totally low-carb.  Just chicken and veggies in a red curry and I skipped the rice.  Cindi had a garlicly chicken that was also very good.  This morning we headed back up the street and ate breakfast in a little cafe - where the coffee was served in something the size of a soup bowl!  I think the fun of an overnight get-away will be a nice augmentation to my thrice annual trip up to River Forest.  Pity the next one is in January...

24 September 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We cannot be members of the catholic church in our homes and not members at work. We cannot be members of the catholic church on Sunday but not on Monday nor hope to be much in the way of Christian on Monday if not on Sunday. That is flat contradiction of catholic. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 306

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Almighty Lord Jesus Christ, as often as I shall come to Your holy table to refresh my spirit, I pray You to make me, unworthy as I am, worthy through Your grace; impure as I am, to make me clean; naked as I am to clothe me, so that Your Body, so full of divine power, and Your most precious Blood may not become for me, Your servant, the occasion for judgment or punishment, but a memorial of the death You underwent for me, a strengthening of my faith, a proof of the taking away of my sins, a bond of closer union with You, an increase of holiness, the basis of a glad resurrection, and a pledge of everlasting life.  Amen.  -- Blessed David Hollaz

Patristic Quote of the Day

You see how by the kind of preaching he points out the preachers. For there was nothing else that these men went about telling everywhere, but those unspeakable good things, and the peace made by God with men. And so by disbelieving, it is not we, he implies, whom you disbelieve, but Isaiah the prophet, who spoke many years ago, that we were to be sent, and to preach, and to say what we do say. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 18 on Romans

23 September 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Even if the flow of the means of grace, the Word and the sacraments, may be only a trickle, there is yet the catholic church. This does not mean that impeding the flow of the means of grace, the Word and sacraments with human factors is not a fearfully dangerous thing. Luther was not exhorting people to affiliate with Sodom and Gomorrah [note:  he had just quoted Luther's judgment that though Rome was a true Sodom and Gomorrah, nevertheless because it still had the Word and Sacraments, there also was the catholic church]. And if we love people, we will want to help them loosen their hold on the impeding human factors.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 306

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Wonderful, indeed, is the exchange Thou dost make; our sins Thou takest upon Thyself, and Thy righteousness Thou dost impute to us; the death due us for our transgressions Thou dost Thyself suffer, and in turn dost bestow eternal life upon us.  Therefore I can no longer doubt Thy grace or despair on account of my sins. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation X

Patristic Quote of the Day

But he calls it their own righteousness, either because the Law was no longer of force, or because it was one of trouble and toil. But this he calls God's righteousness, that from faith, because it comes entirely from the grace from above, and because men are justified in this case, not by labors, but by the gift of God. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 17 on Romans

Must read: Pastor Peters on Liturgical Antinomianism

Check it out here!

22 September 2010


we discussed chapter 13 of Pastor Harrison's marvelous work A Little Book on Joy.  The creation proclaims God's praises and invites us to join in.  It was a great conversation.  I've mentioned before that our maple in front of the parsonage almost always turns yellow.  This year, it turned red.  The wonder of the dragon flies flitting about.  The bright and shining Harvest moon.  The stars and the moon glistening on snow.  The first promise of spring with the burst of crocus.  The marvel of the smell of lilacs in spring and "when lilacs last..."  The unmatchable and delectable perfume of hyacinths or the feast of standing beneath an apple tree in bloom.  The majesty of clouds at sunset, summoning us:  "Let us go to the house of the Father!" (Akathist of Thanksgiving)  The blue, blue sky in October and the sound of whippoorwills.  The swift flight of the deer.  Birds playing "you can't get me" with the cat, and sometimes losing.  The sight of the first robin in spring.  The shining of the stars upon the night of the Nativity.  Carols in the frosty air.  Cookies baking in a kitchen.  Family gathered and thanking the Lord. The creation, yes, the creation itself coaxes us into thanksgiving and praise and helps us grasp that this amazing world has been given to us in love for us to enjoy, to celebrate, to thank God for, and to sing His praises over.  Joy in the creation indeed.

You WOWers MUST Read This!

Pr. Fisk's 15 minutes of fame.

HT:  Brothers of John the Steadfast

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The catholic church is not shown to be catholic by having or not having candles, crucifixes, vestments, etc.  It is catholic by having Jesus Christ, and He is there for us in His Word and Sacraments. Where they are, He is, there is the catholic church. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 306.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The love of God is life and rest to our souls. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IX

Patristic Quote of the Day

As then by punishing this man [Pharaoh], who continued incorrigible, He showed His power, so by having pitied those who had done many sins but repented, He manifested His love toward man. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 16 on Romans

21 September 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Whatever we say about the catholic church must have Jesus at its center.  Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no catholic church, and there is only one catholic church, for there is only one Jesus Christ.  Although we may muddle and contradict this fact, Jesus has His one church.  The particular job the word catholic has is to affirm that no kind of distance divides us.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 303

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Every manifestation of good in the creature is but an image of the perfect goodness which is in God, nay, which is God Himself.  Why then should we desire to leave the reality to grasp the image? -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IX

Patristic Quote of the Day

He does not say, it is God that forgave our sins, but what is much greater, It is God that justifies. For when the Judge's sentence declares us just, and a Judge such as that too, what signifies the accuser? Hence neither is it right to fear temptations, for God is for us, and has shown it by what He has done; nor again Jewish triflings, for He has both elected and justified us, and the wondrous thing is that it was also by the death of His Son that He did so. Who then is to condemn us, since God crowns us, and Christ was put to death for us, and not only was put to death, but also after this intercedes for us? -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 15 on Romans

20 September 2010

Here's a link

for the interview I did today on Issues, Etc. on that great hymn by Pr. Stephen Starke:  We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God - the paraphrase of the Te Deum.

90 and Sunny

So a perfect day for a run.  Ran down to Hamel and back.  Didn't bring any music to listen to, so I just thought about what I was doing.  Todd Wilken once said to me:  "the old adam hates cardio."  I laughed because it was so perfectly true.  My body, if I listened to it, wouldn't want me to push off the couch or away from the table.  It would gladly eat too much, sleep too much, and in general laze around.  No, our bodies are NOT evil, but they are broken, damaged by the Fall.  They tend downward, if you will.

St. Paul speaks of how he disciplines his body to keep it under control.  The body isn't for pampering.  Save that for your soul and spirit - pamper them with the goodness of God's holy Word and the joy and privilege of prayer - especially praying the Psalms.  But your body, it is for training.  It for making obey.  The weird thing is that even though your body doesn't LIKE the training and never will, it obviously responds by showing you that it appreciates the training.  Just like with little ones - how they long for discipline, though they'd never really think so.  But you can see how happy and content they are when they have it!  Yeah, when I don't stuff myself and when I finish up the exercise, it's not too long before the body is giving me feedback:  "I'm feeling pretty good right now."

My old Adam is never going to jump for joy when it's time to push back from the table, not go get another drink, or head out for a run.  But that's okay.  My old Adam doesn't need to like it; that old boy just needs to do it.  And you know what?  In the end, it's fun to make him a bit of slave.  "Ha!  You did what you were told after all.  And you didn't die.  So quit the griping and rest a bit."

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Simon and Jude.  If only we had some good stories about them, though they might be a bit cooked-up, as stories of the saints sometimes tend to be.  That could at least supply us with some moral example material.  "Now you go and be like St. Simon and/or St. Jude."  Sorry, it is pretty much a blank.  So what are we to make of St. Simon and St. Jude?

We can't get it much more backward than by asking that question.  Wrong question.  The only good question is the one the Lord has, in fact, given us answers to.  What did He make of Simon and Jude?  Here we are on solid ground.  The Lord made them apostles.  Simon and Jude are named in the list.  They were there when He instituted the Holy Ministry, Holy Baptism, Holy Communion, and Holy Absolution.  Not only where they there, they were instituted themselves as apostles into the office of the holy ministry.  No uncertainty - they are unmistakably identified:  Simon the Zealous - not Simon Peter - and Jude, which is better than Judas.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, pp. 300, 301.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

He who could create me at first can now restore me.  He who created me without sin, can now remove from me all the sin which has entered into me and has permeated my whole being, either through the temptation of the devil, through Adam's fault, or through my own actual transgressions.  My Creator can restore my soul, if only He is willing so to do; and certainly He is willing, for who can hate the work of his own hands?  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VIII

Patristic Quote of the Day

Now this is again a much greater honor than the first. And this is why he does not say merely, As many as live by the Spirit of God, but, as many as are led by the Spirit of God, to show that he would have Him use such power over our life as a pilot does over a ship, or a charioteer over a pair of horses. And it is not the body only, but the soul itself too, that he is for setting under reins of this sort. For he would not have even that independent, but place its authority also under the power of the Spirit. For lest through a confidence in the Gift of the Font they should turn negligent of their conversation after it, he would say, that even supposing you receive baptism, yet if you are not minded to be led by the Spirit afterwards, you lose the dignity bestowed upon you, and the pre-eminence of your adoption. This is why he does not say, As many as have received the Spirit, but, as many as are led by the Spirit, that is, as many as live up to this all their life long, they are the sons of God. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 14 on Romans

19 September 2010

Reminder: St. Matthew's Day

Will be celebrated at St. Paul's this coming Tuesday.  Divine Service will be at 6 p.m.  Join us if you can!

Praise, Lord, for him whose Gospel
Your human life declared,
Who, worldly gain forsaking,
Your path of suff'ring shared.
From all unrighteous mammon,
O raise our eyes anew,
That we in our vocation
May rise and follow You! - LSB 518.25

Sunday Joys

After the joyous Divine Services (and the choir NAILING the joy of the day in the anthems) and Bible Class, home for a quick lunch and then finished up next week's bulletins.  Lauren, Dean, Dudley (their coon hound puppy), Dave and Jo came over for Liverpool.  Dudley and Lucy sang back and forth at each other.  It's funny and cute - but it wears thin after, oh, 10 seconds.  I headed off to lead Catechism service at 4, back home for dinner with the crew at five, and then over to Youth Group at 5:30.  We had a GREAT first meeting for the year - 8 kids total - and laid out plans for the coming months including paint ball, a dinner for the seniors of the church, a Lenten Lock-in, a float trip in the summer and several other goodies.  Whew.  Long day, but lots of joys along the way!

P.S.  Who won at Liverpool, you ask?  Such an irrelevant question, don't you think?  Truth is, I had to bow out before the game was over to get to Catechism, so I suppose you could say I LET Jo win, because surely if I'd have hung in there, she'd have been toast.  Again.

18 September 2010

Saturday's This-'n'-That

After Matins, this morning I took a leisurely start to the day - made some delicious low-carb pancakes (2 eggs, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup protein powder, 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp salt, and stirred in some blueberries for good measure) and enjoyed coffee.  Totally forgot the Alhambra Hamel Ministerial Alliance, which I'd have had to miss even if I remembered it because I hadn't figured out yet Sunday's sermon; drew up prayers for this weekend; readied the nave and set up the Sacrament; lunch with Cindi and David (Cin made burgers with spinach, dill, feta and tomato, topped with cheese and a slice of fresh tomato - outstanding); over to Greenville for a hospital visit; communion to homebound; dinner; Vespers; Divine Service; total rewrite of sermon - hey, that's what Saturday service is for! - run off new copies and put in church; ready for Sunday.  Whew!

Intercessions for Trinity 16

Let us call together upon the Lord, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  Brief Silence

God of mercy, God of life, hear our prayers for Your Church and strengthen Your baptized people to be joyful witnesses to Christ’s power over death and the grave.  Lord, in Your mercy, R.

God of mercy, God of life, remember our Synodical President, Matthew, our District President, Timothy, and all the pastors and servants of the Church.  Protect them from the assaults of the evil one and fill them with zeal to proclaim Your Word.  Lord, in Your mercy, R.

God of mercy, God of life, remember in kindness all who hold offices of public trust in our land.  Fill them with Your wisdom, and help them to serve in integrity and honor.  Lord, in Your mercy, R.

God of mercy, God of life, to Your loving care we commend all who grieve, the lonely and forsaken, the sick and the hospitalized and all who are taking treatments:  especially commending to Your hands.... that each may be comforted by Christ and filled with the hope of His endless life.  Lord, in Your mercy, R.

God of mercy, God of life, remember all who come to the Altar today that receiving the undying body and blood of the Savior, they may rejoice in repentance, receive forgiveness, and celebrate the praises of Him who has visited us in His compassion.  Lord, in Your mercy, R.

God of mercy, God of life:  Join our prayers and praises with those Your faithful people of every time and place, and unite them in the ceaseless petitions of our Great High Priest until He comes again in power and great glory as victorious Lord of all.  Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, almighty Father, forever and ever.  Amen.

Homily for Trinity 16 (2010)

[1 Kings 17:17-24 / Ephesians 3:13-21 / Luke 7:11-17]

My dear friend, racquetball buddy, and former parishioner, Charlie Grinstead always loved this Sunday.  He used to call it “a little Easter in the fall” – what with all the resurrection running around in it. 

Put yourself for a second into the place of either widow’s only son.  There you are, dead, and suddenly your eyes flutter, your breath catches in your throat, and you’re talking.  Alive again!  And when you heard the story of how the God of Israel answered the prophet’s prayer to raise you to life, or how the Lord Jesus simply commanded the dead to hear and live again, and you did, well, wouldn’t it change forever HOW you thought about death?

The world would have us believe that by chance you appear in this world, and by chance live for some days, months, years, and then by chance your life ends.  Maybe while your young, like these two today; maybe while you’re middle aged and think yourself in the prime of life; maybe when you’re old and gray and the words of Ecclesiastes ring true to you “when the days and years come when you say ‘I have no pleasure in them.’”  But whenever it comes, the world believes that’s that.  It’s over.  You’re history and you have about as much chance of living again as a blade of grass has after it dies in the summer heat or in the winter frost.

And in our darkest moments of fear, we wonder if it is true.  We wonder if that isn’t really how things are, after all.  We live by chance, we die by chance, and then we perish for good.

Do you think for a second that either young man raised from the dead in today’s Old Testament or Gospel readings could think that way again?  The God of Israel showed Himself the God of life.  And when God took on flesh and visited His people, when the Son of the Virgin strode this earth and met death, He stopped death dead in its tracks.  And if you note the contrast between the way the prophet of the Lord dealt with death and the way our Lord did, you’ll see a big aha. 

The prophet of the Lord has no life inside himself to give.  He too is living on borrowed time.  The grave is his destiny as it is yours and mine.  The time bomb of sin is ticking away inside.  But the prophet knows who has life and so he falls on his knees before the God of the living, the God of Israel, and he begs from him the gift of life again for the little boy.  And God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, God granted his prayer.  The child lived.  His mother rejoiced and confessed.

But the Lord Jesus, the God who has visited us in His compassion and love, He doesn’t pray.  He doesn’t need to.  He is Himself LIFE, He is Himself death’s worst nightmare.  His voice alone is mightier than the grave.  So when he stops the bier He simply commands:  Young man, I say to you, arise!

Note the “to you” for His voice would have raised ALL the dead at that moment if he hadn’t specified to whom He was speaking – so mighty is the power at work in Him – but that will come later.  In the meantime, He speaks the word and the dead lad hears, obeys, lives again, speaks again. Jesus hands him down to his mother who receives him in astonishment and awe.  Can it be?  Can it really be?  Is this just a cruel dream?  Can the dead really live? 

Oh, people loved by God, it is no fairy tale, no myth, no imagined happy ending.  It really happened.  But it was only a promise, a foretaste, a teasing taste of what was to come.  For both of those lads were raised only to die again.  I don’t imagine that death frightened either of them the same way it might the first time.  They knew one stronger than death now.  Same with those they love who knew their story.   There lived a man once whose very voice could force death back and release its prey. 

But the better that was still to come, was when that One before whose voice death cowered and shook, actually gave Himself into death, silently like a lamb before its shearers, let it devour him, consume him, take away his breath, the light of his eyes, his hearing.  Let it take him wholly.  Upon a tree of wood.

Another widow held another Only-begotten Son that day beneath the long shadow of the cross.  And that day it looked as though death really had won.  The Man who alone could stop death in its tracks was devoured by the monster from whom He had set others free.  And why?

Behold why, three days later.  Behold, the Only Begotten Son of His Father in heaven and His mother on earth standing alive again upon this earth, but do you see the difference?  Raised this time, not to face death ever again.  Raised this time and changed.  Raised in incorruption, never to die again, and made the source of eternal salvation for all who believe upon Him.  Do you see it?  A great miracle by far!  He raised the dead in his earthly life to show that His voice had power to raise the dead, but He died to forgive our sins and rose to bestow on us incorruption and immortality so that when His voice calls us from the grave, it will be for us no temporary reprieve.  No extension of earthly life.  It will be a life like His – joined to Him – it will have no end, the joys will begin and grow ever greater and they will have no end. 

That you might not fear, you who have been baptized into Him, that you might remember that His voice is stronger than death, that you might recall His promise that He will raise your body in incorruption, He reaches into you today His very body and blood.  Yes, the body and blood in which He suffered, in which He died, in which He tasted our mortality, and the body and blood which His almighty power raised from the dead and transformed and made incorruptible and life-imparting.  He reaches that which is forever beyond death into you and plants it into you dying flesh, hiding within you a hidden majesty that death will never be able to digest or corrupt.  You will live forever.

Old Charlie loved this day – it was his little Easter in the fall.  And I believe that on that cold winter’s eve when he met his earthly death, he did so crying out:  “O death, where is your sting?  O grave, where is your victory!”  He knew that into his dying body had gone the promise of resurrection, of his body raised incorruptible, and so he laid his head down to sleep in peace, waiting for the wake up call from Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, even Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom with His all holy Father and life-giving Spirit be all the glory, now and ever and to the ages of ages!  Amen.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

They are to proclaim forgiveness in His name.  Sin is what ruins us, sin that takes us, cuts us off from the living.  That death must be disclosed, that death that is ours by our sin.  Repentance is called for, and the message that Christ's death has been died for us as the wounds of Christ declare.  Repentance and faith are to be preached.  Forgiveness of sins to be preached in His name to all nations. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 299.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Great are the wounds of thy sins, but precious is the balm of Christ's blood.  Moses, in the law, pronounces a curse upon thee because thou has not observed all things written in the book of the law, to do them; but Christ was made a curse for thee when He hung upon the tree.  The handwriting was written against thee in the heavenly court; but it has been erased by the blood of Christ.  Thy passion, then, O holy and gracious Christ, is my last and only refuge! -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VII

Patristic Quote of the Day

Do you notice what a great thraldom that of vice is, in that it overcomes even a mind that delighted in the Law? For no one can rejoin, he means, that I hate the Law and abhor it, and so sin overcomes me. For I delight in it, and consent to it, and flee for refuge to it, yet still it had not the power of saving one who had fled to it. But Christ saved even one that fled from Him. See what a vast advantage grace has!  -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 13 on Romans

17 September 2010

Sam's post

is worth reading.  In fact, his whole blog is worth reading!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Son of God did not become an angel but one of us.  We drew the greatest of all love from God, a mystery and magnitude of love that the Scriptures tell us surpassed the comprehension of the angels.  If it is a love the angels could not understand, we surely cannot.  Who can understand such a love that God as man should die for us rebellious and sinful people?  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 297.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

He was humbled before men that He might heal our sinful pride. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VII

Patristic Quote of the Day

After speaking of the wages of sin, in the case of the blessings, he has not kept to the same order: for he does not say, the wages of good deeds, but the gift of God; to show, that it was not of themselves that they were freed, nor was it a due they received, neither yet a return, nor a recompense of labors, but by grace all these things came about. And so there was a superiority for this cause also, in that He did not free them only, or change their condition for a better, but that He did it without any labor or trouble upon their part: and that He not only freed them, but also gave them much more than before, and that through His Son. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 12 on Romans

16 September 2010


...today's reading from 2 Chronicles 35:5,7 in Treasury.  The ESV quite inexplicably uses the term "lay people."  Huh?  Where is that in the Hebrew or LXX?  In either of them we find "sons of the people."  Why on earth would the ESV introduce an alien and tautological concept (after all, lay just means people!) into the text???

You will not want to miss

Dr. Stephenson's latest on Gottesdienst Online on the topic of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin.  Check it out here.  You won't regret it!

Enjoy Video Clips

from the joyous Service of Installation last Saturday right here.

Commemoration of St. Cyprian of Carthage

Today our Synod commemorates St. Cyprian of Carthage.  From the Treasury and Synod's website:

Cyprian of Carthage, Pastor and Martyr

Cyprian (A.D. ca. 200–258), was acclaimed bishop of the north African city in Carthage around 248. During the persecution of the roman Emperor Decius, Cyprian fled Carthage but returned two years later. He was then forced to deal with the problem of Christians who had lapsed from their faith under persecution and now wanted to return to the Church. It was decided that these lapsed Christians could be restored but that their restoration could take place only after a period of penance that demonstrated their faithfulness. During the persecution under Emperor Valerian, Cyprian at first went into hiding but later gave himself up to the authorities. He was beheaded for the faith in Carthage in the year 258.

Treasury also treated us to a wonderful passage from him:

If we are sons of God; if we are already beginning to be His temples; if, having received the Holy Spirit, we are living holy and spiritually; if we have raised our eyes from earth to heaven; if we have lifted our hearts, filled with God and Christ, to things above and divine, let us do nothing but what is worthy of God and Christ! (pp. 727, 728)

So we pray together on this day:

Almighty God, You gave Your servant Cyprian boldness to confess the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, before the rulers of this world and courage to die for the faith he proclaimed.  Give us strength always to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The cross is the central and focal point of all days, rejoiced in by all who rejoice that Christ has drawn them to be His, to be His servants, who follow Him each of their days under the sign of the holy cross. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 292.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Acknowledge, also, the wonderful love of the Eternal Father, in that He was willing to deliver up to death His only-begotten Son for us!  He loved us while we were yet enemies, will He forget us now that we are reconciled by the death of His Son? -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VII.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For consider, he says, what you were, and what you have been made. What then were ye? Dead, and ruined by a destruction which could not from any quarter be repaired. For neither was there any one who had the power to assist you. And what have you been made out of those dead ones? Alive with immortal life. And by whom? By the all-powerful God. You ought therefore to marshal yourselves under Him with as much cheerful readiness, as men would who had been made alive from being dead. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 11 on Romans

15 September 2010


it's on every page of the Synod's website:  Witness, Mercy, Life Together.

Martyria.  Diakonia.  Koinonia.

I don't think it's possible to get more at the heart of our Christian faith, hope, or love than that.  What a challenge to evaluate all we do as a congregation with how it furthers one or the other - and if doesn't, why are we doing it?  Same when we evaluate and think of our work as a Synod or as a District of the Synod.

In the primary sense:

in the holy liturgy, the Blessed Trinity bears witness to the truth, ministers mercy to the deepest need of humanity, and does so by imparting the koinonia of the inner-Trinitarian life to those gathered in the holy name for the hearing of the Word and reception of the life-imparting and immortal gifts.

In the secondary sense:

by the holy liturgy, the Church as God's people bear witness to the truth that they have come to know through the Scriptures, ministers mercy to the deepest needs of her members and remembers to take the needs of all to the throne of God to plead for mercy, and lives together in the koinonia of the shared divine life.

In the tertiary sense:

through the holy liturgy, the Church as God's people is refreshed and strengthened to bear witness in the world to God's truth, to minister mercy to the needs of the afflicted in this fallen age, and to call into the saving koinonia which is her secret inner life.

An Interesting Quote

from the good Archbishop's homily at the installation of President Harrison:

The catholicity of the church is known by these marks: 

The Holy ministry headed by the faithful ministers of the Word. 

The Holy liturgy as has come down to us through the ages. The so-called contemporary - that I only compare with the spontaneous fashions in ladies dresses that appear in the market almost every six or even four months in Kenya - deviates from it. 

The pure preaching of the Word – Law and Gospel.

You can read the whole of it here.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The cross alone is our theology.  These are the words of Doctor Luther and, too, of every Lutheran sermon.  If the cross is not in the sermon, it is not a Lutheran sermon.  Or if you can take the cross out of the sermon, and it can get along just as well without it, it is not a Lutheran sermon.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 290.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

True it is, O Lord, that my participation in sin merits condemnation, and my penitence can never satisfy Thee; but certain is it also that Thy mercy exceeds all my offense.  In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me not be confounded forever.  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VI

Patristic Quote of the Day

Now this is why Adam is a type of Christ. How a type? It will be said. Why in that, as the former became to those who were sprung from him, although they had not eaten of the tree, the cause of that death which by his eating was introduced; thus also did Christ become to those sprung from Him, even though they had not wrought righteousness, the Provider of that righteousness which through His Cross He graciously bestowed on us all. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 10 on Romans


I don't think I ever remember seeing so many since I was a little child.  Anyone else notice a bumper crop of them this year?  What does it portend?

In the Front Yard this Morning

14 September 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is risky business praying.  You will get more than you asked for.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 290.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

O merciful God, behold the body of Thy Son so sorely wounded in every part, and regard not the wounds of my sins.  Let the blood of Thy Son cleanse me from every sinful stain. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VI

Patristic Quote of the Day

For the purpose of His dying was not that He might hold us liable to punishment and in condemnation, but that He might do good unto us. For for this cause He both died and rose again, that He might make us righteous. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 9 on Romans

Holy Cross Day

Today we celebrate Holy Cross Day.  The Divine Service will be at 6 p.m.  Join us if you can!

From the Treasury:

One of the earliest annual celebrations of the Church, Holy Cross Day traditionally commemorated the discovery of the original cross of Jesus on September 14, 320, in Jerusalem.  The cross was found by Helena, mother of Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great.  In conjunction with the dedication of a basilica at the site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, the festival day was made official by order of Constantine in AD 335.  A devout Christian, Helena had helped locate and authenticate many sites related to the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus throughout biblical lands.  Holy Cross Day has remained popular in both Eastern and Western Christianity.  Many Lutheran parishes chosen to use "Holy Cross" as the name of their congregation.  (p. 721,722)

Faithful cross, true sign of triumph,
Be for all the noblest tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit your equal be.
Symbol of the world's redemption
For your Burden sets us free!

13 September 2010


Yes, God willing, tomorrow the new dishwasher will arrive at St. Paul's parsonage.  The old one has been giving fits for the last couple years - rust particles clogging the motor as the plastic covered rack deteriorated. Cindi's painted the rack a number of times and we've had it repaired often as well.   I'm hoping the new nylon-coated rack will last longer and the more quiet motor will do the job. One thing is for sure - with all the guests for lunch and dinner the old dishwasher gets a workout!!!

Pool Down

Sigh.  Nothing is ever easy.  When we put the pool up, the ground was a little wet.  The result?  The poles sank into the ground a bit on one side - the side that has the drain.  We tried to figure out how to drain the pool if we couldn't reach the drain hole to connect the hose.  David was all for just syphoning it out.  I was convinced that if we applied some kind of lever we could reach the drain, connect the hose, and voila.  Well... We applied a lever (a spade covered with a towel to blunt the edges) and I was able to unscrew the drain hole and begin to connect the hose.  But because of the angle, I wasn't able to push the hose all the way up into the drain the way it normally works.  So the water began to come out of the drain hole, and to drain through the hose.  Uh-oh.  With David's help we did add a syphon, so we had two hoses draining away from the pool, but it was leaking like crazy all around the pool itself.  What a sopping mess!  Fortunately, it all ran away from the house.

That was yesterday evening.  This afternoon I took the time to take it down.  We ended up tossing it - it had sprung a leak on the side (no, not due to my spade; I strongly suspect due to one of the outdoor cats!).  Seems like these Walmart pools are good for about two seasons.  That's what John Meinzen told me when we got the first one, and I think he's been proven right.  We're thinking maybe about getting a more permanent above ground for next year - one we can leave up over the winter.  We'll see.  I'm just glad to have it all taken down and the yard cleared up.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The horror of heresy is making Christ less and other than He is.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 286

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

How could I dare to patch the robe of Thy glorious righteousness with mine own abominable rags?  -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation V

Patristic Quote of the Day

 For he that is saved as a righteous man has a confidence accompanying his salvation. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 8 on Romans

12 September 2010

Very blessed

to serve liturgy this morning together with Pastor Karl Gregory, former vicar at St. Paul's.  Bless his heart, he came out early and stayed for both services and Bible Class.  It was GREAT to see him again.  Next time, though, he is under strict orders from She Who Must Be Obeyed to bring Nancy along with him!  We had a marvelous time when Karl and Nancy were here doing some quartet pieces together.

Catechism Service

starts in about 45 minutes.  Commandments 1-3, here we come!

The Service of Installation

Just some comments on the service.  The contrast with what we were offered up in Houston for the opening Divine Service of the convention and this could not have been more pronounced.  Yesterday there was nothing of a charismatic praise service, nothing of a rock concert, just an unquenchable joy in the receiving of the Lord's saving gifts.

The service made use of the appointed propers for  Proper 19, Series C.  The Divine Service used was Divine Service, Setting One.  It is not my favorite, but it is likely the most wide-spread liturgy in use in the Synod.  Preservice music provided was Bach's Prelude in E-Flat Major and Chorale Variations on Veni Creator by Durufle.  (I'm happy to report our organist plays both for St. Paul's - so it's not just special occasions such as this I get to hear them anymore!)

The Processional Hymn was "Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest" - the choir using the lovely plain chant setting alternating with the congregation singing the sturdy chorale version.  The confession and absolution were right out of the book, as was the Introit, Kyrie, and Hymn of Praise - Hillert's festival setting of "Worthy Is Christ."  Salutation and collect were spoken.  After the OT reading, Monique Nunes gave us Richard Smallwood's setting of Psalm 121 - offered in the full enthusiasm and joy of the Gospel music tradition.  I think it would have been even stronger if she and her choir were upstairs with the other musicians.  Some folks broke out into applause afterwards; most folks didn't, appreciating that she was singing not to entertain us but to extol the Lord.  After the epistle, the Alleluia Verse was introduced and the Gospel book carried to the center of the nave, where it was read.

Significantly, the Hymn of the Day was "Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide."  This was not the prescribed Hymn of the Day - that would be (in series C):  "Jesus Sinners Doth Receive."  But "Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide" was - as Pr. Baue pointed out to me - Dr. Sasse's signature hymn.  He constantly turned to it for solace and to offer solace to the Church in her troubles.  "That we keep pure till life is spent Your holy Word and Sacrament!"  President Harrison is, of course, a Sasse scholar - and I couldn't help but see Dr. Sasse beaming down upon the assembly as we prayed that hymn together.  The singing of all the hymns, by the way, was THUNDEROUS.  I've never heard it so loud in the chapel - the joy was palpable.

After Archbishop Obare's homily with his clear Law and Gospel spoken to us, we confessed our faith in the Nicene Creed.  The installations proper began with singing of Luther's great Holy Spirit hymn:  "Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord."  And you thought the music couldn't get louder?  Amazing!  It was beautiful to watch so many gather around our new president as he was placed into office and lay on their hands as we all prayed a mighty "Our Father" for him.  And then the installation of the other vice-presidents and boards.  At the conclusion of all the installations, the choir sang a fabulous Mark Bender setting of a Franzmann piece:  "Thee, Lord, would I serve."

After recognizing public officials (including Congressman Shimkus and a Monsignor representing the Archbishop of St. Louis and all our international Lutheran guests), the prayer of the Church was offered.  It was framed entirely toward our Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd.  I was reminded of how Dr. Nagel taught us that prayer is pulling things out of the name of God and receiving the gifts He has for us in that name.  So this prayer did.  After the prayer concluded and before the offering was received we had the greeting of peace.

Bishop Stechholtz presided with grace and reverence at the Lord's table.  The right column option was used - so after the prayer of thanksgiving, directly into Our Father (which participants were all invited to pray in their native languages) and then to the Holy Words of Christ.  I couldn't see what he did at the altar for much of this, but I do believe he genuflected in front of the altar and celebrated ad orientem.  One person online criticized that there was no fraction during the Verba - but Bishop Stechholtz certainly knows the Lutheran history on that question wisely refrained from any fraction at the consecration.

After the Pax and Agnus, distribution began.  The first hymn was another signature piece.  I'm guessing that President Harrison translated it, but the bulletin does not indicate.  It was a communion hymn by one of President Harrison's favorite theologians of yesteryear - Valentin E. Loescher - a mighty defender against pietism and teacher of Lutheran orthodoxy.  This was followed by "O Lord, We Praise Thee" - the classic and standard Lutheran communion hymn, with stanzas 2 and 3 from Luther's own pen.  "Lord Whose Love through Humble Service" was next, and this highlights President Harrison's deep concern for the Church's mission of mercy in this world.  "Thine the Amen" wrapped up the communion hymns.

The youth choir sang a peaceful and beautiful setting of Nunc Dimittis by Martin How.  The third prayer was used for post-communion ("Gracious God, heavenly Father, You have given us a foretaste...").  The benediction was given and the procession out of the Church was during the singing of "We are Called to Stand Together."  This strong text seems a perfect summary of President Harrison's challenge to us as a Church:

We are called to stand together
With the saints of ages past,
With the patriarchs and prophets
In the faith they once held fast;
Promises and hopes they treasured
Now we find fulfilled at last!

Those whom Jesus called apostles
Journeyed with Him side by side,
Heard His teaching, felt His power,
Saw the way He lived and died;
Then the news of resurrection
They delivered far and wide.

Through the intervening ages
Round the world the Gospel spread;
Faithful heralds took the message,
Guided where the Spirit led;
So the body grew in stature,
Serving Christ, the living Head.

Now in many tongues and cultures
Songs of celebration ring;
Millions who confess our Savior
Honor Him as Lord and King
And, for courage, grace, and guidance
Ev'ry day their prayers they bring.

To each coming generation
Tell the truth, persuade, explain.
Till the time when time is ended,
Till the Savior comes again --
Till the saints are all united
Under Christ's eternal reign!
LSB 828

P.S.  Thanks be to God also that instead of just using that hopelessly hideous cross that the Seminary has (and that takes a body builder to carry), another more tasteful processional cross was also used immediately in front of those to be seated in the chancel and for the reading of the Holy Gospel.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if some wealthy donor would bless the Seminary with funds to replace that monstrosity?

11 September 2010

Some Official Pics from Synod

Few More Hijacked from Eric Ekong's Facebook (biggest selection on line so far!)

More from my iPhone

Initial Reflections

Wonderful.  No two ways about it.  Wonderful.  From the music, to the packed Chapel, from the reverent and gracious presiding of Bishop Stechholtz, to the stirring homily by Archbishop Obare (miter and all!), from the joy of receiving together our Lord's body and blood to the beer and brats afterward.  From start to finish, a day to remember and give thanks for - a most churchly start for the new President, and I'd expect nothing less.  May the Lord graciously guide and protect our President and his vice-presidents as they lead our Synod's pastors and parishes and workers toward a vibrant emphasis on martyria (witness), diakonia (mercy), and koinonia (life together)!

Few More

Pics from Installation

10 September 2010

Some Pics from ETR

Just a handful of the over 30 folks who gathered at taproom tonight.  Didn't get pics of Mollie Z. or Carrie and Lance O'Donnell or a number of others!

Pr. Tim Landskroener visits with the Hemmers

The Musegates

Cindi and Pr. Karl Gregory

Kathy Landskroener and Pr. Tom Messer and Lisa blurry pic - sorry!

The Fritzches

Pr. Lawrence and Jackie, Pr. Hemmer and Laura (Dean and Marion)

Heard tonight at our Evening of Theological Reflection

that Pr. Robert Kuhn has been elected chairman of the Board of Directors and Pr. Michael Kumm as vice-chairman.  Chairman of CPH board is Elaine Graff (Pr. Warren Graff's wife).  Dr. Larry Rast will chair the CTCR.  Wow.  Looking good, Missouri, looking very good.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The "for you" is sacrificial language, which is clearly shown by Jesus speaking of His blood.  To speak of body and blood separately is to speak of a sacrifice.  So the "given" refers to the sacrifice, to Calvary.  Yet it speaks of what is happening here.  From the sacrifice, the body and the blood, they are given to eat and to drink now as He gives them.  This does not fit with what we know of time and place.  But it is the Lord Jesus who says it, so it is as He says. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 282.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

I fear not my sins, for Thou art my righteousness; I fear not my ignorance, for Thou art my wisdom; I fear not death, for Thou art my life; I fear not errors, for Thou art my truth; I fear not my corruption, for Thou art my resurrection. -- Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation V

Patristic Quote of the Day

To declare His righteousness. What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He does also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores (κατασαπέντας) of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to explain this, viz. what is declaring, that he has added, That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus. Doubt not then: for it is not of works, but of faith: and shun not the righteousness of God, for it is a blessing in two ways; because it is easy, and also open to all men. And be not abashed and shamefaced. For if He Himself openly declares (ἐ νδείκνυται) Himself to do so, and He, so to say, finds a delight and a pride therein, how do you come to be dejected and to hide your face at what your Master glories in? -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 7 on Romans.

Martyria, Diakonia, Koinonia

Can't say it much more simply than that!  Check it out.

09 September 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

God's love and love of Him are always first and largest.  For only as all our loves are tied in with God's love do they have their health, their vitality, and happiness.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 279.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Receive me, O Lord Jesus, into the number of Thy children, so that with them I may praise Thy holy and saving name. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IV.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For this is just what makes Gentiles disgusting, that they made gods of our passions; calling lust Venus, and anger Mars, and drunkenness Bacchus. If then you do not grave images as did they, yet do you with great eagerness bow under the very same passions, when you make the members of Christ members of an harlot, and plunge yourself into the other deeds of iniquity. --St. John Chrysostom, Homily 6 on Romans

08 September 2010

Just so's you know...

...in my German Bible, published by our own Concordia Publishing House in 1921, there's a list of the minor festivals and readings in the back.  Today happens to be marked:

Am Tage der Geburt Mariä.

On the day of the Birth of Mary.

The readings assigned are an epistle from Sirach 24:22-31 and the Gospel is Matthew 1:1-16.  Although the day did NOT make it into LSB's commemorations (sadly!), I do note that in Liturgies et Cantiques Lutheriens (think French LSB), the day is listed.  The propers include:

Isaiah 61:7-11; Gal. 4:4-7; Luke 1:(39-45) 46-55.

The collect appears to be the same one that LSB prescribes for the Day of St. Mary, August 15.

So there is both Lutheran precedent and current Lutheran practice observing today as the Nativity of the Blessed Mother.

You know you have been...

...reading too much Nagel when you look at a homily you've written, wrinkle your brow, and wonder how on earth you ended up being gifted with so many passives.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The prison of our mortal constructions, our ways of figuring things out, our ways of making ourselves big, defensed, and secure, our termination, our death.  He enters them all.  Jesus dies our death for us, the death that terminates the loving, giving life that flows from generous God.  He bears our separation from God.  Jesus suffers our hell, but hell and death cannot hold Him, for He never said yes to them.  He did not sin.  The sinless one takes what was coming to us by our sin.  Jesus takes sin's claim on us and suffers it through.  For on Him sin had no claim.  Because of Jesus' taking it, sin can no more make a claim on us.  We are liberated from its claim and dominion, its death that we willed with our sin. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 276.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

God does not bind up thy wounds, until thou acknowledge and deplore thy sin.  God does not cover thine iniquities until thou first uncover them in humble penitence. -- Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations, III

Patristic Quote of the Day

And observe with what propriety he uses the words! You treasure up unto yourself wrath, he says, so making it plain what is certainly laid up, and showing that it is not He that judges, but he that is condemned, who is the author of this. For he says, you store up for yourself, not God for you. For He did all, whatsoever things were fitting, and created you with a power to discern between good and what was not so, and showed long-suffering over you, and called you to repentance, and threatened a fearful day, so by every means drawing you to repentance. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 5 on Romans

A Bit More on an Unusual Vicarage

I've had two email exchanges today that explain a bit more about the nature of the vicarage to LCEF, and I thought they were definitely worth the sharing.  I am very appreciate for the openness that both showed in engaging the questions raised with kindness and directness.

First, from Karen Drier:

Dear Rev. Weedon:

I have been a member of the LCEF staff for over 30 years and on numerous occasions I have had the opportunity to witness many, many opportunities when a pastor on staff provided great comfort and reassurance. For example, the death of a co-worker who passed away unexpectedly without any connection to a church home or family. My boss and I visited with the family before they made the difficult decision to remove life support. There were very young children involved and some days I am still haunted by the experience – was there something I could have done differently to change the life of this young woman. Yes, I had my pastor who I could turn to and did but to talk about her life and sudden passing with a pastor who knew her was a wonderful comfort. Without going into all the details, Rev Jeff Miller (member of the LCEF staff at the time) officiated at the funeral so the eternal life promised to each believer upon the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was proclaimed.

Another employee faced a brain surgery not once but twice. This employee had a church home but of another denomination – one that didn’t visit or nurture the sick. It was LCEF staff who stood by her side with her family, who sent cards, made phones calls and visited with her in the hospital. This employee eventually had to go on permanent disability and when that happens the people who worked side by side with this individual also needed counseling and care to understand how such a terrible experience could happen to such a wonderful human being.

I remember very well when LCEF President Art Haake passed away after a morning jog, an employee was killed in a car accident on her way to work, and an active energetic employee woke up one morning paralyzed never to return to work again. The stories go on and on. I have been a lifelong Lutheran and can tell you from personal experience it was a tremendous comfort to be reminded of a Savior who never leaves nor forsakes at times such as these.

Not everyone at LCEF is an LCMS member of a congregation because we are governed by the laws of our great country. This means there are members of our staff in need of the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have even had the awesome opportunity to baptize a co-worker. Because of the work I do for LCEF I have also had the experience of speaking with a pastor or church worker where the call ended with a prayer.

I have been reading lately that there are people who have turned from “church” as we know it. They will never again sit in a pew or participate in Holy Communion. Their choice. My heart breaks when I hear of such stories or of such facts. The church of the Bible and when Jesus walked this earth was a church of community where we took care of each other without pause to reflect on the cost to do so or the risk to our personal well being. God has blessed LCEF at this time with an individual which great business experience and talent. He also has a heart calling him into ministry. Our Seminary is offering an opportunity for men to go through a training experience where they will be equipped to do ministry. How God will use this individual is a beautiful mystery to me outside of the opportunities I have described to you earlier. But I know in my heart that God will use this individual to further His kingdom. The new LCEF President Rich Robertson (new because he joined our staff in January this year) is a very relational person. He believes we will accomplish so much more being out in the field working face to face with the people in congregations than on the phone or through emails. I can’t help but think having a trained Institutional Chaplain on staff will lead to endless possibilities of sharing our faith to all kinds of people.

In closing, the SMP programs offers Vicar training as an Institutional Chaplain. LCEF is a ministry of the LCMS that provides expertise in stewardship and financial consultation. LCEF actively supports LCMS districts and congregations. This role will benefit the organization in terms of internal expertise (under the supervision of Revs. Gundermann and Miller) to provide theological and doctrinal consultation relative to LCEF’s core business of supporting ministry through loans and investment. Lastly, our more than 100 employees will benefit by having a focused individual to provide pastoral care for their families and themselves.

Thank you for your inquiry and giving me the opportunity to share my views and experience; please do not hesitate to contact me if you have additional questions. May our good and gracious Lord continue to bless you in all your efforts to serve Him!


Karen S. Drier
Assistant Vice President, LCEF Information Center
1-800-854-4004, extension 6327

Karen's comments were very helpful because I'd not really thought of an institutional chaplain working in the LCEF - I always thought along the line of our nursing homes or hospitals or such.

Second, Vicar DeBeir was also kind enough to contact me and provide further information for me about the nature of his vicarage.  I specifically had asked if they had chapel and what sorts of things he'd be doing.  Here's his helpful reply:


To answer your questions ...

Yes, we provide chapel twice a week at our office.  Typically if you are providing chapel on a Tuesday or Thursday you would be providing both at the IC and LCEF.  We are in a separate building from the IC (across the street).  I have been providing chapel both at the IC and LCEF since 2005.  I have my homilies reviewed by ordained ministers, always have - and have learned a lot in so doing.

As Karen indicated, the vicarage is to provide pastoral care for our more than 110 plus employees at the LCEF building, facilitate bible studies, provide hospital visits for employees and their families (all of which is under supervision) LCEF recognized the need to train an employee in this regard and nominated me ... I then went through the whole process of qualification, admission, etc.

For the organization it should benefit LCEF in terms of developing internal expertise (under the supervision Revs. Gundermann and Miller) to provide theological and doctrinal consultation relative to LCEF's core business of supporting ministry through loans and investment.  As well as specifically enhance my area of responsibility, ministry services.

Yes, my understanding is that after ordination, I will be limited to this ministry context.  LCEF is a unique ministry that is blessed to partner with many areas of the church.

There is another chaplain in my cohort, the rest of the men are from congregationally ministry contexts (urban, rural, suburban) of various age ranges.

I think my 15 minutes of fame on your blog is about up, but it has been an interesting day.  I'll do my best to introduce myself to you on the 11th, that will be a great day, indeed!

I wish you continued blessings on your ministry, and thanks, again, for regularly updating your blog ... it has served as a blessing for me, particularly your Homilies as well as the quotes provided from our church fathers.

Your brother in Christ,


07 September 2010

Can ANYONE Explain to Me

how an SMP vicar assigned to LCEF in ANYWAY fits the criterion by which the program was "sold" to the Synod???  Waiting to hear the answer...

Jay De Beir, Lutheran Church Extension Fund, St. Louis, Mo., Missouri


Coons and such...

...the wildlife guy came by today to offer his suggestion:  he says we have to keep the garage totally locked up, with even the cats not allowed in it.  The soffits open up into the house from the garage, and he says we don't want any animal up in the attic.  So, we're trying a new way of feeding and caring for the cats, and I guess preparing them for a winter without benefit of the shelter of the garage.  It will be worth it, though, not to have those foul smells in the garage and the strange noises above our heads while we're trying to sleep!

Where is it written

in the law of the Medes and the Persians that only the papa can put the new toilet paper roll in?  Good grief!  How difficult is it?