28 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

We have a male clergy. Church bodies that preserve the most ancient practice restrict the office of the ministry to the male sex. Families that preserve the most ancient practice do the same. The head of the house is the husband and father. Church and home both follow the principle and order.—Dr. Fred Baue, "The Maleness of Christ" in  Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 305.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The perfect righteousness of Christ is the glorious robe of His saints; let not him therefore who is clothed in this robe fear the least spot of sin.—Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations, XVII.

Patristic Quote of the Day

If He was not flesh, who was crucified on the cross? And if He is not God, who shook the foundations of the earth?—St. Ephraim the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter #23.

27 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

In each of his offices Jesus, like the last Adam that he is, shares his divine authority with his bride and honors her as his helpmeet in every respect.... Christ communicates his salvation to the world through his bride.—Fred Baue, "The Maleness of Christ" in Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 304.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is passing strange that we should so set our hearts upon these earthly possessions, when our hold on them is so frail and short-lived.—Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations, XVI.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Grant me, O Good One, forgiveness of my wicked deeds, for Thou art a kindhearted and man-befriending God.—St. Ephraim the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter #73.

On the Retirement

from my good friend, Dr. John Stephenson:  Thoughts on the Retirement of the Professor Pope.

Today's Chapel Homily on the 8th Commandment

[Text: Ephesians 4:29–5:2]

In today’s NT reading in the Treasury, our Lord speaks devastating words: “What goes into the mouth does not make a man unclean; it is what comes out of the mouth that makes him unclean. What comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a person. For from the heart comes evil intentions: murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, slander. These are the things that make a man unclean.”

From the sewer of your heart, your mouth speaks. You tell lies. You shade stories that you relate to make yourself appear better than you know the actual facts support. You run down your neighbor, your wife, your husband, your co-workers, and worst of all, you enjoy doing it. And when someone else is running them down and you know that you could explain their actions a bit more kindly, you keep silent and go along.

And the hypocrisy of it! You most certainly do NOT want your neighbor to treat you in the way you treat them. You WANT them to defend you, speak well of you, and explain your actions in the kindest way. But you don’t do it for them. Repent.

What a comfort that St. Paul had to write the words of today’s epistle to the Christians in Ephesus! You realize why he had to tell them not to let corrupting talk come out of their mouths, but only what is good, what builds up as the occasion demands, what gives grace to those who hear? You realize why he had to tell them to be done with the bitterness and temper, the loud shouting at each other and the malice that delights in others’ misery? He had to remind them because they were like you and me. They broke the 8th with abandon and yet he would teach them and us that there is a better way, the way of Christ.

Think of it! He is not your accuser. He is your defender. “The Son of man did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” He is your advocate, the one who speaks on your behalf before His Father. The one who pleads for your forgiveness and constantly points to the blood that He shed to blot out your every sin, even your sins of speech. He speaks of you in the kindest way: “You are my beloved, You are my fellow-heir. All that is mine is Yours for I have died and shed my blood to win it for you and now I live forevermore to deliver it to you. Fear not!”

Behold, how your Lord speaks of you! And when you are brought into communion with Him, then the old way, the devil’s way, the accusing of the brethren way, must die. Your Jesus gives you the gift of dying to the lying, drowning the bitterness, and taking the breath away from the nasty words. He gives you the gift of learning His way, the new way, the way of explaining actions in the kindest way, for that flows from HIS heart, a heart in which there is only compassion, tenderness, love.

“Be imitators of God, as children much loved,” St. Paul exhorts. “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” Therefore let us pray with the Psalmist: Set a watch before my mouth, O Lord, and guard the door of my lips. Amen.

26 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

There is no hiatus between the Word and Spirit.—Dr. Timothy Quill, "Theodosius Harnack and Liturgical Preaching" in Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 270

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Those who trust in their own righteousness and holiness seek salvation in themselves, but I, who find in me nothing worthy of eternal life, flee to Thee as my Savior. Save me, for I am condemned; have mercy on me, for I am unrighteous; acquit me, for I am under accusation of sin.—Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations #4.

Patristic Quote of the Day

To Thee, O Victor pierced by nails on the cross Who calleth out to sinners saying: come, receive forgiveness freely—To Thee I unrelentingly pray, O my Savior: turn Thine eyes away from my lawlessness, and by Thy sufferings heal my sores that I may glorify Thy kindness.—St. Ephraim the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter #8

25 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Viewed from its position in the evangelical divine service, the sermon is clearly sacramental.—Timothy C. J. Quill, "Theodosius Harnack and Liturgical Preaching," Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 270.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, O Thou only God of mercy, and turn our stony hearts to Thee!—Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations, II.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Be the guardian of the lips, that slander, judgment, criticism, and idle words may not come forth from them.—St. Ephraim the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter, #5.

Treasure the Years

I have a co-worker and friend whose father has just passed away. My coworker is about 9 years older than I am - early 60's. His mom still lives. I cannot help but think of what a massive blessing it is when families are given so many years together. Treasure your family, people loved by God. Treasure them, because for so many the long years together are not granted.

I think of the triplets losing their mom so young; I think of my internet friend, Terry, whose wife died so many years ago now and left him with two young boys; I think of my own life.

Granddaddy Mastin died when I was six. Granddaddy Chance when I was 10. Grandma Bess when I was 11. My daddy when I was 19. My brother, Joe, when I was 24. My mom when I was 34. My mom did at least get to see my three children, but because of the alzheimer's I'm not sure that Rebekah ever registered.

I think of it so much now that I am a grandfather. I hope and pray that I am able to see my grandchildren grow up and really know them and they me. But whether that future is granted or not is something I have no say over. But to treasure each and every day, to savor the moments that we are granted on this wondrous pilgrimage, that I can do.

I haven't done it very well, I don't think. I intend by God's grace to do it better. Each death affecting those I love reminds me of this: our days are in His hand, written in His book, each one of them before any of them came to be. And since we know not when they will end, how wise to spend the time we we are granted in ways that will bring smiles to faces many years down the road, long after the man who writes these words has returned to the dust.

20 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The quantitative suum cuique iustitia and its iudiciu, which dealt with in a piecemeal way, were replaced by a judgment and righteousness as total as Calvary's entire and alone answering for all sin, whose forgiveness is then delivered in total.—Dr. Norman Nagel, "When Caesar Smiles and Christ Judges" in Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 218

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The Saviour clothes Himself in our flesh, that the divine glory being communicated to our flesh, He might make an atonement for sinful flesh, and that the healing power of perfect righteousness being communicated to our flesh, He might thus purge out the poison of sin inhering in our flesh.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation II.

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.—St. Ephraim the Syrian, Spiritual Psalter #10

18 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Now the rainbow goes with a Christ who shows us God who is surely our friend. All God's lightning, thunder, storm and hail, wrath and unmercifulness give way and disappear for it is his gracious will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him will be saved. Against such a one he does not proceed in the say of law, or courts, or judgment and punishment.—Dr. Norman Nagel, "When Caeser Smiles and Christ Judges" Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 217.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Great indeed were thy wounds of sin, which could be healed only by the wounds of the living and life-giving flesh of the Son of God; desperate indeed was that disease which could be cured only by the death of the Physician Himself.—Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations, #2.

Patristic Quote of the Day

In Thee is wealth for the needy, heartfelt joy for the sorrowing, restoration for all the wounded, consolation for all who mourn.—St. Ephraim the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter #4

14 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is his [the Lord's] will to do this work of his through his church. Where the church is, there are the keys for the forgiveness of sins. Where there is no sin, there is no need of this. But sinners have need of them. They are given for sinners for their good and salvation, and they may seek and find them with the bishops and churches as often as is their need.—Dr. Norman Nagel, "When Caesar Smiles and Christ Judges" in Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 216.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

My dreadfully wicked life clamors for my condemnation; but Thy holy and righteous life pleads more powerfully still for my salvation.—Blessed Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations, I

Patristic Quote of the Day

Glory to Thee, Who didst descend to save our souls! Glory to Thee, Who didst take flesh in the womb of the Virgin! Glory to Thee, Who didst suffer bondage! Glory to Thee, Who didst accept scourging! Glory to Thee, Who wast made an object of humiliation! Glory to Thee, Who wast crucified! Glory to Thee, Who wast buried! Glory to Thee, who didst rise from the dead! Glory to Thee, of whom the prophets spoke! Glory to Thee who didst ascend to heaven! Glory to Thee, Who didst sit with glory at the right hand of the Father and Who art coming again with hosts of angels to judge every soul that has scorned Thy holy passion.—St. Ephraim the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter, #2.

13 February 2013


Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

11 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

But what we can learn from the Reformation is that the solution to our family problems will not be a matter of more laws, more rules to live by, or more principals for successful living. The major contribution of the Reformation was to place the gospel of Jesus Christ—justification by grace through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ—at the center of every facet of the Christian life, including the family. And the key to making that application and renewing contemporary families is the doctrine of vocation.—Gene Veith and Dcns. Mary Moerbe, Family Vocation, p. 20.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Here my Lord has given me his body and blood in the bread and wine, in order that I should eat and drink. And they are to be my very own, so that I may be certain that my sins are forgiven, that I am to be free of death and hell, have eternal life, and be a child of God and an heir of heaven.—Blessed Martin Luther, The Sacrament Against the Fanatics, AE 36:350.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What we hope for is nothing other than what was at first.—St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection, p. 119.

10 February 2013

Commended reading...

...from Fr. Heath Curtis. And commended watching of our beloved Synodical President, Dr. Matthew Harrison.

Joyous Lord's Day

Up early and to St. Paul's for choir practice. Bells also played. We sang in addition to Introit, Gradual and Tract, a Händel piece "Glory to God." Carlo has also been urging us to sing the liturgy in parts, and I've just about got the tenor part down to Divine Service III. Pr. Ball preached a powerful and comforting sermon to us, mostly on the Epistle for Quinquagesima: 1 Cor. 13.

After service, grabbed a cup of coffee and dashed off in the pouring rain to get to Trinity to play for their Divine Service (which meant I had to miss Savanah's baptism...grr!). Am definitely becoming more comfortable on the organ there. Pr. Curtis likewise had a fine homily and used the epistle as the basis.

Came home and then Meaghan and David, Bekah and Shawn joined Cindi and I for a late breakfast (blueberry pancakes, carrot cake, fresh bacon, fried eggs, blue berries, back berries, apples and lot of fresh coffee). Then we cleared the table and had a HORRIBLE game of liverpool, which Cindi won. I suppose she deserved it after last night.  One hand I got stuck with more than 300 points. How is that even possible???

David asked me to get a fire going, and so we've been listening to the crackle of the wood and the wind in the chimney. We face-timed a bit with Lauren and Sawyer - and Sawyer did a great one today. Unlike us who are wrapping up pre-Lent, Dean uses the three-year series. Today was Transfiguration. Apparently right as he was reading the Gospel, almost as if on cue to the words "This is my beloved Son," Sawyer got loud. They all chuckled. When Dean got himself together again, he went on: "Listen to him" at which Sawyer got even louder. That was it. The church was in stitches.

After Shawn, David and Meaghan headed out, I snoozed by the fire, huddled under the quilt the dear ladies of St. Paul had given us. I think that a movie might be in our future this afternoon. Just a wondrously relaxing sort of day.

09 February 2013

A quite thoughtful piece

by Pr. Mark Surburg on the natural of civic religion's grief ritual.  I commend reading this, whether you agree or not with participation in such events. It provides a very cogent explanation of why those who object to participation do so. Click here.

08 February 2013

The Amazing Mollie

does it yet again.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Because God is the Creator, Redeemer, and Transformer and because we are always only the recipients of His bounty, whatever we plead before Him, whatever we give Him, whatever we do for His sake is always under the signature, "All things come of Thee, O Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee."—A. C. Piepkorn, The Church, p. 241.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Likewise, God's servants stand by the healing well of the Holy Gospel and the most worthy Sacraments, preaching, baptizing, and distributing the Holy Supper. There they meet the bride of their Lord Jesus and present her with the treasures and jewels of heaven, that they may be adorned and pleasing to the Lord Jesus.—Blessed Valerius Herberger meditating upon Genesis 24:16–17, 24, The Great Works of God, III/IV, p. 138.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Meet their animosity with mildness; their high words with humility, and their abuse with prayers. But stand firm against their errors, and if they grow violent, be gentle instead of wanting to pay them back in their own coin.—St. Ignatius of Antioch, To the Ephesians, par. 10

07 February 2013

Sad to think...

...the Liturgy series on Issues, Etc. is wrapping up. Joy to think that more good things may yet be coming down the pike. How rich the Church's public prayer, her prayed confession!

Thy Kingdom Come

It arrived on my desk weeks ago and I've only begun to plumb its depths. Thy Kingdom Come: Lent and Easter Sermons is written by Fr. David Petersen, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Almost no one I know of has the ability that Fr. Petersen has to simply speak God's truth to us - both in its devastating exposure of the darkest secrets of our hearts and in its intense comfort to the troubled conscience. You can tell the man likes and reads poetry. You can tell the man likes, reads, and knows his Luther. Some teasing tastes:

On the Saturday before Palm Sunday:

He is lifted up from the earth, of course, on Good Friday. He becomes not just sin and a curse for our sake, but also a worm. He is a worm, a snake, a dragon and no man. His effigy was lifted up in the desert, and the people who looked upon it were saved. Now He who knew no sin, who obeyed His Father in all ways, who loves His neighbor as Himself without caveat or limit, is lifted up from the earth, away from creation, away from the goodness of God, and forsaken, despised, stricken, smitten, and afflicted. Would you see Jesus, O Greek? See Him there. There is your Lord. There is love. There is hope. There, on the cross, is God and salvation. There is sadness in this, to be sure. But there is also Easter. The grain of wheat falls to the earth and is buried, but it does not stay there. It rises and bears fruit, much fruit. The sacrifice is terrible but not outside of time. It comes to an end. It is finished, and Jesus rises from the dead. May God give us the strength and courage not to look away this week but to rejoice in the vision of that which saved us. p. 126.

On Maundy Thursday:

We belong to God. We bear His watery name. We eat at His table. We are His people and more. We are not merely guests, sojourners in His house for but an hour, but we are members of the royal family raised up from stones. We are not Gentile dogs hoping for crumbs, worshipping what we do not know. We, by grace, are the Lord's own beloved and immaculate bride. We belong to God. We are baptized. We eat at His table. We are gathered under the protecting shadow of the cross. p. 140

On Jubilate:

They will fail Him; He will not fail them. They will be unfaithful and abandon Him, but He will return for them in perfect love and faithfulness, without anger, after He rises from the dead. This is why the confirmands qualify their pledges with "by the grace of God." By grace, they intend to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord's Supper faithfully. That is, they intend to come to church every single week to hear the preaching and for the Holy Communion.... They have this intention by grace. They will fufill this intention by grace or not at all. If and when they fail, they will repent and throw themselves again upon Christ's mercy because He will not fail them.  p. 173

Oh, so much more. I'm half tempted to type out one entire sermon because the snippets fail to give the full effect, but here's a better idea:  YOU go and purchase a copy for yourself. You can order one here. It's a great daily devotion book for the 40 days and their Sundays and for the Sundays of Easter. And if you're a preacher yourself, nothing so improves preaching as reading a master of the craft, and Petersen is that, though he'd be too humble to admit to anything like that at all. It's still true.

05 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Only from this deep understanding can the spiritual office be revitalized. How unimportant then becomes all that has grown onto this over through the modern overorganization of the church; one has only to think of the church politics with which modern bishops kill their own time and that of others. Each sermon then becomes more important than all those session which spend their time discussing big church resolutions regarding the Bonn constitution, the atom bomb, or Goethe's 200th birthday.—Hermann Sasse, We Confess: the Church, p. 82.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Therefore let go your own thoughts and feelings and esteem this book [the Sacred Scriptures] as the best and purest treasure, as a mine full of great wealth, which can never be exhausted or sufficiently excavated. Thus you will find the divine wisdom which God presents in the Bible in a manner so simple that it damps the pride of clever people and brings it to nought. In this book you will find the swaddling clothes and the manger in which Christ lies, and to which the angel directs the shepherds. Those swaddling clothes are shabby and poor, yet precious is the treasure wrapped in them, for it is Christ.—Blessed Martin Luther, Table Talk 6.16

Patristic Quote of the Day

There is a sin which is always 'unto death' (1 John 5:16): the sin for which we do not repent. For this sin, even a saint's prayers will not be heard.—St. Mark the Ascetic, No Righteousness by Works, par. 41.

02 February 2013

Today's Projects

included doing some finishing touches on the office and family room. They were almost the way we wanted them, but not quite. I like the final results quite a bit, though the office is still a mess as far as organizing books go! They're here, there and everywhere (and half my books being at work and half at home makes for some frustrating times...the book I am looking for is invariably in the other place!).



Cindi did a lot of moving things around in the open area of the basement too, and now her scrapbooking area is much more usable.

01 February 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The performance of the doxology is a unique feature of Christian worship. In the early church it served to distinguish Christians from Jews as well as the orthodox from the heterodox. It was therefore rightly regarded as the epitome of orthodoxy, for orthodoxy is right praise, the correct performance of doxology to the Triune God. The glory of God was therefore never understood in the early church as an abstract principle for the motivation of a right attitude to life and for submission to the sovereignty of
God, as it has become in many western churches under the influence of Calvin, but was
acknowledged and celebrated ritually in the eucharistic liturgy.—Dr. John Kleinig, The Mystery of Doxology.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

After all, the gift of language combined with the gift of song was given only to man to let him know that he should praise God with both words and music, namely, by proclaiming through music and providing sweet melodies with words.—Blessed Martin Luther, AE 53:320

Patristic Quote of the Day

From A Hymn for the Baptized:

The Angels rejoice, men here below exult:—in your feast, my brethren, wherein is no foulness.
The good things of Heaven, my brethren, ye have received:—beware of the Evil One, lest he despoil you.
The day when He dawned, the Heavenly King:—opens for you His door, and bids you enter Eden.
Crowns that fade not away, are set on your heads:—hymns of praise hourly, let your mouths sing.
Adam by means of the fruit, God cast forth in sorrow:—but you He makes glad, in the bride-chamber of joy.
Who would not rejoice, in your bridechamber, my brethren?—for the Father with His Son, and the Spirit rejoice in you.
Unto you shall the Father, be a wall of strength:—and the Son a Redeemer, and the Spirit a guard.

—St. Ephraim, the Syrian

What a gem!

Kelly Klages is the author and illustrator of this wonderful children's hymnal: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna: A treasury of hymns for children. She very kindly gave me a copy at the Hymnwriters Conference. Besides the beautifully illustrated hymn section, there is a parent's guide in the back that helps with notes on each of the hymns. Included you will find such treasures as Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now; Let the Earth Now Praise the Lord; Silent Night; Glory be to Jesus; Hosanna, Loud Hosanna; Let All Mortal Flesh; We All Believe in One True God. If you're looking for a great gift for a little one that will delight and bless, this is it! I think I know JUST WHO needs one of these... You can order a copy here. You will NOT be disappointed!