28 April 2011

At and After Exhibit...

A bit from David's Exhibit

It is truly good...

...right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God.  And most especially are we bound to praise You for the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, the very Paschal Lamb, who was sacrificed for us and bore the sins of the world.  By His dying He has destroyed death, and by His rising again He has restored to us everlasting life.  Therefore with Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, and all the witnesses of the resurrection, with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You...

27 April 2011

If you are in the area...

....David's senior BFA Exhibition will be April 28 from 5-7 p.m. on the second floor of the Morris University Center at SIUE.  He's done more with animations and we're eager to see the final result.

26 April 2011

"I Know That My Redeemer Liveth"

Risen Today - Entrance Hymn for Divine Service this Easter

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

For the Crucified One becomes a figure of the past if His true body and His true blood, what He sacrificed for our sins on Golgotha, are not present in the Sacrament of the Altar and given to us.  And the One who is coming again becomes a figure of a distant, unforeseeable future that lies beyond the scope of our life unless the Church's prayer, "Maranatha," "Come, Lord Jesus," is already fulfilled now in every celebration of the Lord's Supper.  -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 121.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We do not think Him into the Supper, but He is verily and indeed there.  Faith does not put Him there, faith finds Him there.  -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 343.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Foolish is he or she who does not worship the ever-existing Word of God, the Lord, as equally God with the supernal Father.  Foolish is he or she who does not worship the Word, the Lord, a human here appearing, as equally God with the heavenly Word.  -- St. Gregory of Nazianzus, On God and Man, p. 84.

25 April 2011

I must confess...

...President Harrison's invitation to pray the litany every day during Lent has fostered a habit I'm not willing to give up, now that it is Easter.  The litany daily is part of my life, I think, from now on.  Anyone else drawn the same way?

Easter Joys Continue...today Emmaus

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Our first task must be to celebrate the Sacrament of the Altar again and again quite seriously, but also with the blessed joy of the first Christians.  Moreover, we Lutherans have the great freedom that exists as was already mentioned, in the celebration of the Roman Mass.  It can take place in utter simplicity but also with the full splendor of the ancient liturgy of the Lord's Supper, which Luther preserved and the Lutheran Church kept for two centuries with such great love as a priceless treasure. -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 109.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Fidelity to the Rule of Faith, therefore, fidelity to the faith it teaches, demands that there shall be a Confession of the faith.  The firmest friend of the Word is the firmest friend of the Creed. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 167.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For He didn't shave off any bit of Godhead, and still He saved me, stooping as a doctor over my foul-smelling passions.  He was a man, but God.  David's offspring, but Adam's Maker.  A bearer of flesh, but even so, beyond all body. -- St. Gregory of Nazianzus, *On God and Man* p. 41.

Revamped Synodical Website...

...and I really like this page:  Liturgy

24 April 2011

One of the Peculiarities

of Holy Week and Vigil is how the services change quite a bit actually from their wont.  The result is the liturgist has to be constantly thinking and rethinking what he's supposed to be doing as he leads them.  For a control freak like me, this definitely adds great stress, and LSB increased the stress by some rubrical changes that I had to learn from scratch.  It's been a good experience, though, over all and this year finally I think I'm settling into remembering what changes and when.  I did have a few hiccups.  We were halfway through the Hymn of Praise at Vigil before I realized that the altar candles had not been lighted (John read my mind and quickly attended to that); and then I remembered a conversation I had with Kenny before the start of the liturgy.  He remembered that there was something peculiar about the bell, but for the life of me my mind went blank.  We normally ring it at the start of the Hymn of Praise until it's conclusion.  Oops.  I also found out in previewing the Vigil in the bulletin right before the service was to begin, that Builder had done an odd substitution at the start of the Baptismal Remembrance and that what was in the bulletin was more like the introduction to an ordinary Baptism than to the Baptismal Remembrance of the Vigil - oh well, too late to do anything about that then!   The result was that Romans 6 was not read and that felt decidedly odd.  Builder also won't print the music for the Preface in the Service of Light, with the result that Pr. Gleason had to hold that heavy Altar Book for me at the font. Hopefully that will be fixed by next year.  The only peculiarities for Easter season is that the gradual is dropped and the Alleluia is doubled, and since that happens for weeks on end, that is rather easy to remember.

President Harrison's Easter Greetings

What a Joyous and Glorious Pascha!

From Vigil through Matins to the Divine Service today, a feast of grace indeed.  And thanks so much to all who work so hard to make these services the crown jewel of the Church's year:  the organist, bell-ringers, trumpeter, singers, all who work on the breakfast, the ushers and elders, the acolytes and crucifers, Joanie who puts together the massive amount of bulletins and Shirley who helps fold them, our seminarian, John Klinger, and last but not least Pr. Gleason.  A bright and joyous feast indeed! (And thanks be to God that it did not rain for Easter morning and the sun even peeped out a bit!).

23 April 2011



Something Strange

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrows the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: "My Lord be with you all." Christ answered him: "And with your spirit." He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying, "Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."

I am your God, who for your sake has become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on a cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by the cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

--An Ancient Homily, read at Matins of Holy Saturday

22 April 2011

A Crazy Evening

God added his own Strepitus to our Good Friday Tenebrae - the storms hit as Tenebrae concluded.  So far, sounds like all our folks got home safely.  Carlo and Meaghan took refuge in the parsonage for a while as it roared over.  See from the news that Lambert sustained damage that may keep the airport closed even tomorrow.  Wild and crazy weather.  Still hoping somehow that Easter ends up not being a morning for pouring rain!

Sacred Head

Hymn study on Issues, Etc:  Click here.

The Royal Banners

The royal banners forward go;
The cross shows forth redemption's flow,
Where He, by whom our flesh was made,
Our ransom in His flesh has paid:

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life's torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in the precious flood
Where flowed the water and the blood.

Fulfilled is all that David told
In sure prophetic song of old,
That God the nation's king should be
And reign in triumph from the tree,

On whose hard arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world's ransom hung,
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O tree of beauty, tree most fair,
Ordained those holy limbs to bear:
Gone is thy shame, each crimsoned bough
Proclaims the King of Glory now.

To Thee, eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
As by the cross Thou dost restore,
So guide and keep us evermore.  Amen.

21 April 2011

Intercessions through Pax - Palm Sunday

Eat This Bread

Choir Anthem During Distribution on Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Entrance Rite

No, we can't begin this outside because we are right on Interstate 55 which roars by nonstop...

Prayer for Maundy Thursday - A. C. Piepkorn

No offering that we could bring could possibly reconcile us to Thee, our God.  All that we can plead is the work of Thy Son, His perfect obedience in all that He did and all that He suffered, His Body nailed to the Cross for us, His Blood poured out for the forgiveness of our sins. As by the mystery of the sacramental union Thou hast made His true Body and Blood present for us in this Bread and in this Cup, for us Christians to eat and to drink, so, we beseech Thee, let it be present in Thy sight also as the price of our redemption.  Let it remind Thee that Thou hast forgiven mankind in the reconciliation which Thou hast wrought in Thy Son.  Before Thee we appeal to no virtue, no righteousness of our own, but only to the alien righteousness of Thy Suffering Servant and Son, our true Paschal Lamb, which was offered for us and has taken away the sins of the world, Who by His death has destroyed death, and by His rising to life again has restored to us everlasting life.

20 April 2011

Silent Wednesday - an OP Gem and Blog Tradition

Holy week... The most important seven days in the history of man... Although the exact sequence of events is not always clear to us, we can discern, even now, the straight lines of divine order... Sunday: The garments in the dust - the Hosannahs as the prelude to the "Crucify."... Monday: Sermons with the urgent note of finality - the withered fig tree - Caesar's coin... Tuesday: The terrifying wrath of the Lamb over institutionalized and personal sin among the Scribes and Pharisees - the fire and color of His last sermon to the city and the world - the sureness of justice and the coming of judgment... Night and prayer in the light of the Easter moon on the Mount of Olives...

Wednesday is silent... If anything happened, the holy writers have drawn the veil... Everything that God could say before the Upper Room had been said... It was man's turn now... Perhaps there were quiet words in a corner of the Garden, both to His children who would flee and to His Father who would stay... Wednesday was His... The heart of that mad, crowded Holy Week was quiet... Tomorrow the soliders would come, and Friday there would be God's great signature in the sky... Thursday and Friday would belong to time and eternity, but Wednesday was of heaven alone...

Silent Wednesday... If our Lord needed it, how much more we whose life is the story of the Hosannah and the Crucify... Time for prayer, for adoration... Time to call the soul into the inner court and the Garden... In our crowded world we are lonely because we are never alone... No time to go where prayer is the only sound and God is the only light... We need more silent Wednesdays... In the glory of the Cross above our dust our silence can become purging and peace... God speaks most clearly to the heart that is silent before Him... [The Pilgrim, pp. 27, 28]

Kyrie eleison!

A plea for help from the incredible University Lutheran Chapel.  When on earth are we going to stop shooting ourselves in the foot???

One of the fun things...

...pastors get to do:

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

How can one who is Reformed say Amen to the Lutheran distribution formula?  He must take offense at it.  Who gives us the right to mislead someone into an unworthy reception of the Lord's Supper in that he does not discern the body of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:29), and to whom would we want to be accountable for it?  Is that Christian love? -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 111.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

After the sacrifice was made, two things were essential to securing its end:  first, that God should receive it; and second, that man should participate in it.  The burning of the sacrifice by fire from heaven was the means of God's accepting it on the one side; and eating of it, the means of man's participating on the other.  The truth is, that the sacrifice of the Old Testament resolves itself into the very elements we find in the Lord's Supper. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 591

Patristic Quote of the Day

How pitiful I am; and how pitiful is my daily repentance, for it has no firm foundation.  Every day I lay a foundation for the building, and again with my own hands I demolish it.  My repentance has not even made a good beginning as yet; yet there is no end to my wicked negligence.  -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #10

Brief Homily on Matthew 26:57-27:26

- delivered this a.m. at the International Center -

2Cor. 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Peter and Judas.  In the end of your life you will be one of these two men.  You will be either Peter or Judas.  You will look back on your life and in that hour you will see with clarity your sin, your failure, how your choices have brought hurt and pain and grief to people you were supposed to love.  You will see your life as a whole.  And in that moment you will grieve like you’ve never grieved before.  But will it be Peter’s grief or Judas’?

Make no mistake about this:  the Lord Jesus loved them both.  But Judas couldn’t believe that at the end – couldn’t believe that the forgiveness of Jesus could possibly be big enough to hold for him and forgive him for such a sin and so he despaired and died.  Peter, Peter we are told “remembered the saying of Jesus.”  And I think that’s the key.  In his pride and foolishness he had argued with the Lord when the Lord told him what would happen that night.  Surely by then he should have learned that what the Lord Jesus says is always and simply the truth.

But if he remembered that saying of Jesus, he no doubt remembered the others too:  “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.  The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for the many.”

Peter and Judas both wept.   They both saw the unspeakable hurt they had brought on Jesus.  At the end of your life, you will see it too.  But Peter was able to look it square in the face as:  He is doing this for me, for my denials, for my totally inadequate and failing love.  He bears for me what I cannot bear; He endures for me what I cannot endure.  Even for me.  Judas didn’t believe that, and so all he saw was the suffering and death, not the atonement, not the love of God pouring out Himself for every child of the lost race of man.

In the end you will be one or the other.  Remember the sayings of Jesus, the words of Jesus and you will weep tears of sorrow with Peter and like Peter your story will be the final joy of seeing the risen One, marveling at the scars, and knowing that this is He whose blood has blotted out your every sin.

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You for by the wood of Your cross joy has come into all the world.  Amen.

19 April 2011

REMINDER: Holy Week, Easter Schedule

Holy Tuesday:  Divine Service, 6 p.m.
Holy Wednesday:  Divine Service, 6 p.m.

Maundy Thursday:  Divine Service, 7:15 p.m.
Good Friday Chief Service:  Noon
Good Friday Tenebrae Vespers:  7:15 p.m.
Great Vigil of Easter (Holy Saturday): 8 p.m.

Easter Matins: 6:30 a.m.
Easter Breakfast - proceeds to benefit Ryton Miller's medical expenses, matched by Thrivent: 7:30
Easter Egg Hunt (sorry, children only!):  8 a.m.
Easter Preservice Music: 8:30 a.m.
Easter Divine Service: 9:00 a.m.

Easter Monday:  Divine Service: 6 p.m.
Easter Tuesday:  Divine Service: 6 p.m.
Easter Wednesday:  Divine Service:  6 p.m.

What is it about

an early morning thunderstorm that is so wonderful?  I could sit at the window and do nothing but watch on Goldberry's washing day.

18 April 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

What totally new substance our confirmation instruction would receive if it became again sacramental instruction and the Fourth and Sixth Chief Parts didn't make up a more or less unrelated appendage.  -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  The Sacraments* p. 110.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We affirm, that the efficacy of Christ's body and blood is not separable from them, but is wrought by them truly present; that this efficacy is direct and person, not mediated by the Holy Ghost, but by Christ Himself, substantially present; that this presence does not depend for its reality (but alone for its salutary results) upon the faith of the receive, and that its sole cause are the divine personality and beneficent will of the Institutor of the Supper. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 601.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Come, O sinner who have sinned before the Lord, come to Him repenting in your soul, and He will forgive you your debts and your sins.  -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #83

Slowly but surely...

...dragged into the 21st century.  Spent part of the evening chatting with Lauren on the iPad and part of the evening chatting with Deb over G-mail's video function.  It was GREAT to see both their faces, as well as to hear their voices!

17 April 2011

Just in from the Confirmation parties...

...an exhausting weekend, but ever so joyous!  The young people did an outstanding job this morning in the examination at Matins, and I think they took to heart the nature of making their confession of Christ at the late service.  Now for a nap!  Then some cards - at which I fully intend to whip some butt.

With Confirmation, a 500+ weekend...

...I like!  Nothing like singing Palm Sunday hymns in a full church!!!

16 April 2011

So Katie and Sandy

were disturbed tonight that the chronology seems all wrong.  Why did we read about BOTH the triumphal entry and the Passion and death of our Lord in the Palm Sunday liturgy.  First, remember that the observance of "this happening" on "the same day" is a rather late convention in the Church's liturgical life.  The foundational mystery is celebrated each and every Lord's Day:  Christ crucified is raised from the dead.  Even on Palm Sunday that remains the focus.  And come Holy Week the Church delights to hear the Passion story told from each Evangelist's perspective.  Palm Sunday belongs to Matthew; Monday we begin some of John's story (actually continued from the processional Gospel on Palm Sunday); Tuesday is Mark's and Wednesday is Luke's.  Come Thursday we go back to John and hear of some events on Maundy Thursday.  Friday is given over wholly to John's Passion.  So rather than thinking of it as a progression from this to that, in the Western liturgy we hear the whole story as it is told all four times during Holy Week, so that nothing of what Scripture gives us about our Lord's passion, death, and burial is lost.

Ah, the summer

must not be far away.  Cindi just bowled her last game (roll off for championship, but they'll not know if they won till sometime in May - the other team were weenies and didn't bowl tonight); Confirmation tomorrow and then no Catechism Services till second Sunday in September.

Confirmation Sermon - Late

Every time we come to a day like this, you confirmands, there are lots of us in the room remembering when we stood where you stand today.  I remember when I was confirmed, but that was on Pentecost – maybe the most common day for confirmations out on the East Coast.  When I first came to the Midwest it was a bit jarring to see Confirmation show up on Palm Sunday.  What gives?  But then I began attending to the readings and it all clicked.

They’re about CONFESSION.  That is, saying back to God what He has said to you.  And that is exactly what you all are preparing to do.  You’ll stand before His altar and open your lips and say back to Him the very things He has said to you.  The promises your parents and sponsors made when you were wee things, now will be on your lips, owned as your own.  So let’s chase down confession and see what we find.

In our Processional Gospel we heard the crowds making confession.  They were welcoming Jesus as He came into His city as the One who came in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel.  They were all hyped up because they’d seen that He’d raised Lazarus from the dead.  A great King indeed!

Then in our Old Testament reading we heard the same event described by the prophet Zechariah.  He confesses that the One who comes riding in on the donkey is the King, righteous and having salvation.  Coming to be the sacrifice whose blood would set free the prisoners (that would be you) from the waterless pit (and that would be hell).  

Then more joy of confession in today’s Epistle where St. Paul reveals what will happen at the end of time.  When the Lord Jesus comes again in His glory and reveals Himself on this earth as the true King and Lord of all, then every knee will bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth – that is from heaven to earth to hell – and every mouth will confess that Jesus Christ really is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

For some, that confession will be overwhelming joy – it’s a confession they’ve made throughout their lives and now rejoice to make with all creation.  For others, that confession will be wrung out of them in terror and fear, for what they most dreaded turned out to be true.  There really was a God after all, who had loved them and provided a way of salvation for them, but whom they despised and scorned and turned from.  Our prayer for each of you here is that on that Day, you will be found solidly among the joyful ones who welcome your King who comes in glory to bring you from death and all the sorrows of this age into the shining brightness and light of His everlasting kingdom.

And from the Epistle to the Gospel.  A long reading.  Jesus on trial, confessed to be innocent by Pilate three times, and yet finally delivered over to his innocent suffering and death.  But what a death.  He dies and the temple veil that separated the holy place from the most holy place rips in two from top to bottom, God rending it to pieces as forgiveness comes pouring down over the world.  He dies and just as Jesus had said on Palm Sunday – the rocks cry out because there is no praise for Him elsewhere, and so the earth groans and reels.  And the dead then woken up and showing themselves alive after the resurrection in the holy city.  And did catch how the Passion story ended.  The centurion, the Roman solider, who maybe had been curious about this Jesus who dies like no man ever died before, he makes a grand confession:  “Truly this was the Son of God!”  The title above His cross was true:  He was the King of the Jews, but bigger than any other King, He was also the veritable Son of the Eternal Father.  So His death wipes out sin and destroys the power of death itself.  By His innocent death death works backwards, as C. S. Lewis put it so well.

Confession!  Jesus teaches it can only be revealed to You by His Father from heaven.  Only by the Holy Spirit can anyone say that Jesus is Lord.  And that is exactly what the Centurion does as he watches what happens when our Lord dies.  And it is what you will do today, my young friends.

You will join the vast crowd that have stood in front of others and confessed the rock bottom reality of this world gone wrong:  Jesus Christ is Lord.  St. Paul promises that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

So it is with great anticipation that we await hearing from your own lips what we have confessed ourselves:  that you turn from the devil, his works, his ways, his deceits and lies; that you confess God the Father, the creator of all things and God the Son, the blessed Redeemer, and God the Holy Spirit who gives you faith.  Yet we remember Peter.  We remember that he got it all right when it was a bright and sunny day and he was surrounded by friends; but when the time came for him to confess before hostile witnesses, he chickened out and even went so far as to deny that He knew the Lord with an oath and called down a curse on himself if it weren’t so.  So, young friends, I don’t put too much stock in your promises today – beautiful as they are, right as they are.  You add to them a very important rider:  “by the grace of God.”  Which is a way of saying that you don’t have the strength in yourself to keep yourself faithful to the Trinity to death.  That must come from Him as a gift.  For you, just like Peter and every one of us, are weak and prone to blow it at the moment when confession would be most glorious.  

But with God’s grace, there is strength for confession and so the most important promise you make today is to make faithful use of the Lord’s words and sacraments.  You come and let Him fill you with His Spirit, His forgiveness and His divine life and you will suddenly find courage and strength to confess that you never knew you had – because it comes from Him, not from you.

So yes, the readings make today a marvelous day for us to hear and rejoice in YOUR confession of Jesus whose cross and blood have atoned for all your sin, His Father whose love never will fail you, and His life-giving Spirit who gives you faith and keeps You His, to whom be glory now and to the ages of ages.  Amen.

Confirmation 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

If one asks for the secret of the vitality of the Catholic Church even in our time, one would have to admit that it is not is hierarchical organization, not its cult of saints and relics, not even, as many suppose, its traditional political astuteness that gives it its inner strength and predominance, but the fact that it celebrates the Sacrament of the Altar uninterruptedly throughout the world.  This determines its whole life, even its whole theology. -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  The Sacraments* p. 99.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Thus the human nature in Christ (although it does not subsist by itself or alone) in a sense possesses personal attributes, because this unit or this individual unit of human nature which subsists in the person of the Logos differs from all other persons possessing a human nature in that it does not subsist in itself but in the person of the Logos and does not possess a personality of its own, since it has the person of the Logos for its hypostasis. -- Martin Chemnitz, *Two Natures in Christ* p. 35.

Patristic Quote of the Day

O sinless Lamb, slaughtered for the salvation of the world and Creator of heaven and earth, Thy slave whom Thou hast saved and given cause to rejoice shall ever praise Thy grace. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #78

15 April 2011


Just found out via Facebook that my dear and old friend, Bruce Dormier, entered into eternal rest back in December.  I am so shocked.  Bruce was always the most alive person I've ever known - so full of energy and with such a quick mind and tongue.  We became unlikely friends back when I was all of 16 or so, and he was 28.  He was crazy!  I mean, he'd drop by on an evening and say:  "Let's go get some ice-cream."  Then when we were on our way, I'd ask:  "Where on earth are you going?"  "Oh, it's just north of Philly.  Great place.  You'll love it."  Or the time he decided:  "We need to visit New York."  "But," I said, "it's already 7 p.m.!"  "No problem.  The city doesn't sleep.  It's amazing."  And off we went.  Or when I went to visit Bronxville for the first time - not too long after Daddy had died.  It was Bruce who took me - and his car broke down!  I remember thinking:  "If Daddy were alive, he'd come and get us."  But there was no one to rescue, and Bruce taught me to trust that God will take care of even things like this.  We ended up having a grand old time, even waiting for his car to be repaired.  Or the time he stopped by when I was a student at Bronxville, and said:  "Let's go up to New England."  "But it's snowing!"  "It'll be beautiful."  And it was.  I remember that one in particular because I forgot to tell anyone I was leaving and my friends were near to panic when I finally showed back up.  But it was a great trip.  I remember we arrived at Keane, New Hampshire just as the sun was setting and the snow was all around the city square.  It was right out of Courier and Ives.  He came to our concert at Alice Tully Hall and then we rode the Staten Island Ferry for a bit - Krauser, Bruce, and I don't remember who all else.  Or the time he bopped in for a few minutes down in North Carolina on Christmas Eve of all things.  Wouldn't hear of staying - he was on the move and was never a big observer of the Church Year - but he did join us for a meal.  Funny things I remember about Bruce:  "Don't put your head on the window.  It will leave a smudge."  And his great, great love for the teachings of Malcolm Smith, with the wonderful accent on grace.  And his absolutely unique and delightful style at the piano - wild, energetic, crazy just like Bruce.  So many, many memories.  Alas, friend.  To think I never even realized you were gone.  I should have felt it in my heart.  Well, for all the joys you brought over the years, and the laughter and the trips and the lectures on smoking (I did give up that pipe years ago!) - thank you!

P.S.  And Bruce was the first to introduce me to the Atkins diet!

Nice Evening

Cindi and Crys share birthdays within the same week, so it's become expected that Scott and I take both ladies out to a place of their choosing to celebrate.  We ended up at Shenanigans this time.  Cindi and I feasted on their Fish and Chips and I enjoyed a Guinness while she sipped on a White Russian.  Then back to Scott and Crys's for pinochle.  I'm very happy to report that the men trounced the women (well, we won by one game), and that the REASON the women lost was because a certain ding-dong overlooked a run in her hand (hint:  not the ding dong I'm married to - the other one).  Beating them on their birthday celebration just sort of made the day complete, if you know what I mean!  :)

A Berry Patch of Goodies

Check out the replacement to Rasburry's Res:  Here.

The Joys of Holy Week

There is no other week of the year like this special week.  From the joyous acclamations of Palmarum and the waving of palms, through the love our Lord shows in washing his disciples feet and in giving us the Holy Eucharist and then the stripping of the altar, from the immolation of the Lamb on the cross, through His sanctifying of our graves by sharing a grave himself, all the way through to the joys of the Easter Vigil and Easter Eucharist where the Lamb reveals Himself victorious over death and the grave for us - well, nothing compares to it.

No little part of the joys of this week are the hymns.  Think of them, old and new, and all brimming with divine love:

All glory, laud, and honor
No tramp of solider's marching feet
Ride on, ride on
When you woke that Thursday morning
O Lord, We Praise Thee
When I behold Jesus Christ
A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth
The Royal Banners
O Sacred Head
All You Works of God
Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Jesus Christ is Risen Today
Awake, My Heart, with Gladness
I Know that My Redeemer Lives
Christ has Arisen, Alleluia!
Now All the Vault of Heaven

They bring us right into the events that Scripture unfolds before us, and the liturgy allows us to be witnesses to these saving acts and to enter into them and receive them as our own by faith.  O Christian, do not deprive yourself of the great joys of these days!  It is a fabulous feast that is set before you!  Come, and behold the marvel of all marvels, and join in singing that Love that no death could destroy!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We baptize children as if they were adults, just as we baptize adults as if they were children.  Whatever the difference between adults and children may mean for us humans and our judgment of a person, it means nothing for God. -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 46.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Sacramental Presence is the necessary sequel, the crowning glory of the Incarnation and Atonement; and the illumination of the Holy Spirit in the word which enables the eye of faith to see God in the body, and redemption in the blood, enables it to see the body in the bread and the blood in the cup, not after the manner of the first man, who is of the earth, earthy, but after the manner of the second Man, who is the Lord from heaven. -- C. P. Krauth, *Conservative Reformation* p. 650.

Patristic Quote of the Day

No one can heal my disease except He Who knows the depths of the heart. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #11

Holy Week Greetings from the President of our Synod

14 April 2011

A run, run day

But a joyous one, nonetheless.  Breakfast, Matins, review of bulletins for Sunday, two homebound calls, dinner, four home bound calls, phone call and emails, a catechumen examined, supper, a last visit before an Easter Eve Adult Confirmation, final touches on the Vigil Bulletin, and I THINK we're ready to put this work week to rest.  Tomorrow is day off - Dank sei Gott!

13 April 2011


Bekah comes home for a few minutes.  And Lucy proceeds to make this mournful WHINE for HOURS afterwards.  Says clear as can be:  "I miss my Bekah.........WAAAAAAA!"


Last Passion Vespers for this Lent.


All of my children were present!  Lauren (but not Dean), David and Meaghan, Bekah and Shawn.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Here too Luther goes his lonely way between the hierarchical safeguards of Rome and the psychological safeguards of the Enthusiasts.  It is the lonely way of the Reformer, who heeds only the Word of God and counts on this Word for everything, even for what is humanly impossible.  Only in this way can he and the Lutheran Church hold together the objectivity of the sacrament [of Baptism] and the sola fide, whereby we do not forget that justifying faith is not the matter of a single moment, but the substance of our whole lives.  Such faith is not some act of our commitment to God that is particularly perceived and experienced in some isolated moments of our life.  Rather, it is the constant, though always clouded, reliance on the Gospel's promise of grace. -- Herman Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 45.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

A sign in philosophy is the mark of a thing that is absent, but a sign in theology is the mark of a thing that is present. - Blessed Martin Luther, TR 4:666 (from 1540) - HT:  Yakimow

Patristic Quote of the Day

Where will I find a remedy for the diseases of my soul, if not with Thee, O fountain of healing!  Thou Who didst cure the ailing woman, cure also my soul from the ruin of sin. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #74

12 April 2011

Schedule for Holy Week through Easter

April 16 - Palm Sunday Divine Service (6 p.m.)
April 17 - Palm Sunday Matins with Examination of Catechumens (7:45 a.m.); Palm Sunday Divine Service with Confirmation (10 a.m.)
April 18 - Holy Monday Divine Service (6 p.m.)
April 19 - Holy Tuesday Divine Service (6 p.m.)
April 20 - Holy Wednesday Divine Service (6 p.m.)
April 21 - Maundy Thursday Divine Service (7:15 p.m.)
April 22 - Good Friday Chief Service (noon); Good Friday Tenebrae (7:15)
April 23 - Vigil of Easter (8 p.m.)
April 24 - Easter Matins (6:30 a.m.); Easter Divine Service (9 a.m.)
April 25 - Easter Monday Divine Service (6 p.m.)
April 26 - Easter Tuesday Divine Service (6 p.m.)
April 27 - Easter Wednesday Divine Service (6 p.m.)

Join us for as many as you are able!!!

Yup, it's that time of the year again...

...and the lilacs are blooming and sending their sweet smells wafting across the lawn.  Whitman invariably comes to mind:  "When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd..."  We even got a new bush this year (thanks to Jean and Mark Luchtefeld, and planted by Scotty Miller), but it's not blooming yet.  The old ones are, though:

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

How the marvel of the rebirth that is worked through Baptism relates to the fact that baptized people also are lost is hidden in divine predestination, about which the Gospel has revealed nothing to us.  -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  The Sacraments* p. 43.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The love of God is our true conversion. -- Blessed Martin Luther, *Bondage of the Will*

Patristic Quote of the Day

Praise God in the morning, ye children of the Church.  Every morning let us exalt the Good One and worship Him, Who arranged the luminaries in the day and night skies. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #95.

11 April 2011

Yet Even More Neglected Rubrics

Ye historic series purists will have veiled your crosses and icons this past Sunday.

But I do note for the rest of us, that LSB Altar Book, page 501, rubric 4, notes for Passion (Palm) Sunday:

"During the silence before the Collect of the Day, the crosses may be veiled."

At St. Paul's, that is when we will cover the crosses - both the processional cross and the altar crucifix - after the procession with palms and before the praying of the collect.


In taking up President Harrison's invitation to join in praying the Litany each day of Lent, I noticed something that never registered before in the sweep of that great intercession:  all.

Our deliverance from ALL sin, ALL error, ALL evil, from ALL calamity by fire and water....Help in ALL time of our tribulation, ALL time of our prosperity...Preserving ALL pastors and minister in the true knowledge of the Word and holy living...An end to ALL schisms and causes of offense...Bringing into the way of truth ALL who have erred and are deceived...Giving to ALL peoples peace and concord... For God's blessing on ALL our people... His help for ALL in danger, necessity, tribulation... Protection and guidance for ALL who travel... Increasing happiness to ALL women with child and mothers of young children... Defense for ALL orphans and widows... Strength for ALL sick persons and young children... Mercy for ALL...

This classic prayer teaches us to ask God-sized gifts indeed.  Who but the living and blessed Trinity could answer ALL those prayers for ALL?

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

There can be no renewal of the Lord's Supper without renewed preaching, preaching that is not just the pious talk of a man but disciplined exposition of Holy Scripture that strikes the heart.  Such preaching grows out of serious study of the Scripture, plumbing the depths of the divine Word. It should not be that the hearer of the text will always know exactly what is coming next because he's heard it a hundred times before. -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 34.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is the mark of a discerning reader of Scripture to notice what are words of law and what are words of grace, so as not have them all jumbled up. -- Luther, *Bondage of the Will*

Patristic Quote of the Day

Vouchsafe us Thine all-searching wisdom, that we may know the transience of all things.  Heal our sores with repentance. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #13

The Oak Tree

beside our house is definitely at the "Nature's first green is gold" stage.  Gorgeous.

Beautiful Birthday Girl

holding the flowers Bekah gave her...of course, she reminds me, she's not 51 YET.  That won't happen till tomorrow... (P.S. You can tell the smile is not quite genuine - she'd already heard about Jamie)

Saddened and shocked

to learn this morning of the death of Cindi's cousin's youngest daughter, Jamie.  Once again, "media vita in morte sumus." Lord, have mercy upon her and may light perpetual shine on her, and may the healing presence of the Blessed Trinity sustain Cheryl and Mike, Kim and Elizabeth, through the darkness.  Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.

A morning like this calls to mind...

WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote...

10 April 2011

Whew...it worked!

That is, it all came together and was relatively warm as it was served, and it sure did disappear!  The hash brown casserole was a serious hit - and I was told by several that that needs to appear again.  It was actually the simplest part of the whole meal!  Only serious oops was I forgot that I had already mixed up a dozen eggs and stuck them in the fridge, so I mixed up another batch and cooked those.  I suppose we'll be eating scrambled eggs for a bit.  I don't guess they go bad after they've been stirred up but not cooked?  We'll see...

What joy it was, though, to have ten of us sit down to Cindi's birthday dinner (yeah, she'll be 51 on Tuesday.  How on earth did I get hitched up with SUCH an older woman?).  Bekah had bought her some lovely flowers to grace the table.  I absolutely treasure those days when the whole family is here, and wish we had them more often.  David and Meaghan helped with getting stuff underway, and Bekah and Lauren took care of the clean up, bless their hearts! ("Daddy, you made a MESS" - Bekah accurately observed).

09 April 2011

Judica Joys

Well, tomorrow at early service we'll recognize the Baptism of Claire Sievers and then immediately after late service, celebrate the Baptism of Bryce Henry.  (As an aside, I believe that he is the THIRD Henry baptized in the last couple years!).  Right after that, I'm headed home to cook Cindi's birthday meal (her birthday actually falls on Tuesday, but this is when we could get the family together).  She has chosen breakfast.  A hash brown casserole is already mixed up and sitting in the fridge; we'll add to that some sour cream pancakes, bacon, sausage and some scrabbled eggs.  Hopefully I'll be able to pull it all together at roughly the same time!  Lauren and Dean, Bekah and Shawn, David and Meaghan, Jo and Dave will join Cindi and me for the feast.  Later in the day, I have some confirmands stopping by for their individual examination and confession.  Four are already finished, and I'll finish up three more tomorrow.  That will leave but six more to go!  Also, a huge thanks to everyone who showed up today to clean the church -- it was looking beautiful and smelling mighty clean tonight at the Divine Service.  Can't believe that our last Passion Vespers is this week, and then we're launching into Holy Week.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Both the Gospel that is preached and the Gospel that occurs in the Sacrament contain one and the same gift, though in different forms:  the forgiveness of sins.  This is not some doctrine about the possibility of a forgiveness of sins, not an illustration of such a possibility, but it is the actual forgiveness itself, this unfathomable miracle of God's mercy, that blots out our guilt and gives us everything that comes with forgiveness:  life and salvation, redemption of the whole person, both soul and body.  Both the Gospel and the Sacrament bring this forgiveness, for in both the Lamb of God who died for the sin of the world is present. -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 26.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

But now, since God has taken my salvation out of my hands into his, making it depend on his choice and not mine, and has promised to save me, not by my own work or exertion but by his grace and mercy, I am assured and certain both that he is faithful and that he will not lie to me, and also that he is too great and powerful for any demons or any adversities to be able to break him or snatch me from him.  -- Blessed Martin Luther, *Bondage of the Will*

Patristic Quote of the Day

My will refuses to follow Thy will.  Do Thou Thyself subdue me to Thy will, that I might thereby receive salvation and glorify Thy will, for it is kind to the penitent. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #42.

07 April 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Why is the Sacrament of the Altar the Gospel for Luther?  First of all simply because the Words of Institution contain the whole Gospel.  To attack them is to attack the Gospel itself. -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  The Sacraments* p. 23.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

With God there is nothing intermediate between righteousness and sin, no neutral ground, so to speak, which is neither righteousness nor sin.  -- Blessed Martin Luther, *Bondage of the Will*

Patristic Quote of the Day

So let us glorify the holy unity in the Trinity and the Holy Trinity in unity.  This is the confession of the holy ecumenical Church of God! -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #37


Pr. Petersen challenged us to read through *Bondage of the Will* (praised in our Symbols:  "We also appeal to this book and refer others to it."), and I just finished up reading through it.  It was shorter than I had thought, and it is absolutely devastating in its very sound Scriptural critique of the notion of "free will" when it comes to matters coram Deo. I can't even begin to reckon up the helpful insights along the way as I read, but I certainly did appreciate Luther's distinction between coercion (which he rejects) and immutability (which he accepts); that omnipotence is NOT about potential ability to do all things, but about in fact working all things - Pantocrator, anyone?; about the way he does not attempt to solve the problem of "why some and not others" and says only that just as that which is obscure in the light of nature, is made clear in the light of grace; so what is obscure to us in the light of grace, will be made clear in the light of glory.  In the meantime, we believe against the false conclusions of reason that God is unjust in condemning those who cannot do otherwise than sin, that He is in fact just, good, and loving, and that the light of glory will reveal Him so.  His expose of condign merit, his extolling of the complete joy and peace that come from realizing that salvation remains wholly His doing and giving and rests not on us in the least bit, his mastery of the Scriptures, allowing their light to dispel the darkness of our minds again and again - well, folks, words fail.  I cannot recommend the work highly enough - it's worth persisting in it to reach the end.  As my friend, Fr. Juhl, is wont to say:  satis est.

06 April 2011

Yeah! Welcome, Ethan Joseph!

My niece, Lisa Delisle, just gave birth to Ethan Joseph.  That would be the youngest grandchild to my brother, Joseph. How I wish he were here to celebrate the day!

Second to Last

Passion Vespers tonight.  Cindi gave us a beautiful setting of "Behold, the Man" and Carlo worked his usual magic on the keys and pedals of the organ.  There is something so peaceful about Evening Prayer.  It sinks down deep.  Especially when we start singing the Litany:  "In peace, let us pray to the Lord..."

But Lent is fast drawing to its conclusion.  This Sunday is Judica and the Gloria Patri disappears.  One more Passion Vespers (Calvary/David and Bathsheba) and then Holy Week begins and the services don't stop!  Divine Service will be offered each day from Saturday before Palm Sunday until Easter Wednesday, and in addition Matins on Palm Sunday and on Easter, and Tenebrae Vespers on Good Friday.

It's a marathon of Scripture reading and song (p. 120 to 227 in the Lectionary!), but what ineffable joy it brings us!  I snuck over tonight to hear the quartet finishing up their practice of Stainer's "God so Loved the World" and then "The Angel Cried to the Lady."  Pascha, here we come!

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Where Baptism is rightly taught, there the Gospel is rightly proclaimed, for the whole Gospel is contained in this sacrament:  Christ's death and resurrection, our dying and rising with Him in repentance and faith, the bestowal already now of future heavenly treasures, eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.  -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  The Sacraments* p. 23.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

He is God, and for his will there is no cause or reason that can be laid down as a rule and measure for it, since there is nothing equal or superior to it, but it is itself the rule of all things.  For it there were any rule or standard for it, either as cause or reason, it could not longer be the will of God.  -- Blessed Martin Luther, *Bondage of the Will*

Patristic Quote of the Day

I am unworthy to ask forgiveness for myself, O Lord, for many times have I promised to repent and proved myself a liar by not fulfilling my promise.  Thou hast picked me up many times already, but every time I freely choose to fall again. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #120

05 April 2011

As you have no doubt noticed...

from the Old Lutheran Quotes of the day, I've taken up Pastor Petersen's challenge to read *Bondage of the Will* by Luther (and a joy it is to read on the iPad).  I've attempted to read it several times, but never got all that far into it.  This time I have pressed on and must confess that I could kick myself for not having slogged on before now.  True, I am itching to edit it - it cries out for it! - and I'd love to see the work boiled down to its essence: the demolition (sans insults) of Erasmus' position and the fortification of the Scriptural position that is at the heart of this masterpiece, where Luther dares to let God be God.  It is odd how much of Nagel's instruction came ringing back:  "everything that is believed must be hidden," "sub contrarii" and "if God wants to be a God of the law, you can't stop Him."  Luther hits head on the fact that to human reason and judgment, God's "justice" is appalling (and he's honest enough to note we don't have the same problem when He is being gracious - that is, if it is to our advantage, we think that seems natural and right - old man still in the driver seat there).  Anywho, just wanted to encourage one and all to take up Pr. Petersen's challenge on this.  It honestly does go right to the heart of the "functional Arminianism" (HT: Pr. Curtis) that plagues us and it, well, rather ruthlessly cuts its heart out.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Baptism and the Lord's Supper are not "types," not prefigurements or parables.  They do indeed point to the future, but it is a future already present with its gifts of grace. -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 17.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The commandments are not either inappropriate or purposeless, but are given in order that blind, self-confident man may through them come to know his own diseased state of impotence if he attempts to do what is commanded.  -- Blessed Martin Luther, *Bondage of the Will*

Patristic Quote of the Day

Lo, I have gathered up all of my thoughts and cannot recall anything good before Thee, except the fact that I know no other God than Thee. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #68

04 April 2011

One of Sunday's Joys

"I baptize you in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"

The anointing - "Almighty God...strengthen you with His grace"
"Receive this white garment to show you have been clothed in Christ's righteousness that covers all your sin..."

"Receive this burning light to show you have received Christ who is the Light..."

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Christ did not institute some abstract sacramentum.  He instituted the office of the ministry, Baptism, Holy Communion, and the office of the keys.  Only if we regain this freedom of the Lutheran Reformation will we be able to go all the way to the heart of what is uniquely referred to by the term "sacrament," whose essence is not to be found in any phenomena from the history of religions or in any human speculation about what God must do to redeem us.  It is in the institution of the Lord that eludes every human why and in the incomprehensible wonder of the Incarnation.  If we take that seriously, then the problem of Word and Sacrament takes on a completely different appearance. -- Hermann Sasse, *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 15.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

For it ought above all to be settled and established among Christians that the Holy Scriptures are a spiritual light far brighter than the sun itself, especially in things that are necessary to salvation. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will

Patristic Quote of the Day

Grant me, O my Savior, to contemplate the life to come, that I might perform Thy will. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #136

03 April 2011

Quite the hectic

weekend.  A wedding on Saturday and then Divine Service as usual.  This morning, Baptisms at both Divine Services (for Lindsay Ray, early; and Henry Charles, late), with reception for Henry Charles afterwards.  This afternoon, the very last Catechism Service in this series, and time for the youth to sign up for private examination and absolution.  They will be publicly examined at Matins on Palm Sunday, and then confirmed at the 10 o'clock Divine Service.  Next weekend we will have the public recognition of Clair's Baptism at early and after late the Baptism of Bryce Henry.  What joy to have the baptismal floodgates opened wide, drowning us in divine mercy and love!

02 April 2011

A Baker's Dozen

of Confirmands to be confirmed in the holy faith upon Palm Sunday at the late service.  Our LWML ladies with some parent's help made the banners:

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

It was one of the mistakes of our fathers in the age of orthodoxy that they all too often identified the thought form with the Biblical content of a doctrinal statement. -- Hermann Sasse:  *We Confess:  the Sacraments* p. 14.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

No man can be thoroughly humbled until he knows that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, devises, endeavors, will, and works, and depends entirely on the choice, will, and work of another, namely, of God alone.  For as long as he is persuaded that he himself can do even the least thing toward his salvation, he retains some self-confidence and does not altogether despair of himself, and therefore he is not humbled before God, but presumes that there is - or at least hopes or desires that there may be - some place, time, and work for him, by which he may at length attain to salvation. -- Blessed Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Make me worthy to exclaim together with the righteous ones this song of benediction:  Praise to Him Who had mercy on me!  Glory to Him Who has forgiven me! -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #49