31 May 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Because a particular answer was in harmony with Scripture and tradition and therefore orthodox, Rome  [i.e., in the days of the early church] supported it. Invert this and you have the foundation of papal infallibility. Because Rome supported an answer, it was in harmony with Scripture and tradition and therefore orthodox. —Jaroslav Pelikan, The Riddle of Roman Catholicism, p. 40.

[Before you protest, Pelikan was a Lutheran when he wrote this work.]

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

"When there is no vision" or prophesy, that is, when the public, ecclesiastical ministry ceases, "the people will rebel."... When the preaching of the Word is taken away, the people are stripped of the true and saving knowledge of God; they become rebellious and disobedient to God their Creator; they are idle and cease to be eager for good works; and they "are scattered like sheep not having a shepherd."—Blessed Johann Gerhard, On the Ministry I:6.

Patristic Quote of the Day

There are differences in regard to many of the divine sacraments; nor are all things observed there [i.e., at Rome] as at Jerusalem; indeed, in the other provinces many things are different according to the diversity of men and places, yet there is no division from the peace and unity of the universal Church because of this.—St. Firmilian to St. Cyprian, 75, 6.

30 May 2013

The Intercessions from Luther's Latin Litany

That thou wouldst deign to rule and govern thy holy catholic church: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to preserve all bishops, pastors, and ministers of the church in sound word and holy life: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to remove all sects and all offenses: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to lead back the erring and deceived into the way of truth: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to trample Satan under our feet: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst design to send faithful laborers into thy harvest: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou woulds deign to grant to all hearers increase in the word and in the fruit of the Spirit: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to lift up the lapsed and to strengthen those who stand: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to encourage and assist the timid and the tempted: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to give peace and concord to all kings and princes: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to give our emperor perpetual victory over his enemies: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to direct and protect our ruler and his counselors: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to bless and protect our magistrates and people: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to regard and deliver the afflicted and those in danger: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to grant a safe delivery to pregnant mothers and healthy babies to those who give suck: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to cherish and guard the infants and the sick: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to liberate the captives: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to protect and provide for the orphans and widows: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to take pity on all men: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to forgive our enemies, persecutors and slanderers and to convert them: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to give and preserve the fruits of the earth: we entreat thee to hear us.

That thou wouldst deign to hear us: we entreat thee to hear us.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The life of the church, precisely of the local church, is shaped by the nature of Gospel preaching and Gospel sacraments, and by their inner connections. There is no rivalry whatsoever among these holy instruments of salvation, but only the closest possible integration.—Prof. Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 198.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

After people have thus been taught and exhorted to confess their sin and amend their ways they should then be most diligently exhorted to prayer and shown that such prayer pleases God, that he has commanded it and promised to hear it, and that no one ought to think lightly of his own praying or have doubts about it, but with firm faith be sure that it will be heard.—Blessed Martin Luther, AE 46:172

Patristic Quote of the Day

For to this end He entered when the doors were closed upon the disciples, and gave them the Holy Spirit by breathing on them, and after giving them the light of understanding opened the secrets of the Holy Scriptures, and again Himself showed them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails, and all the marks of His most recent Passion, whereby it might be acknowledged that in Him the properties of the Divine and Human Nature remained undivided, and we might in such sort know that the Word was not what the flesh is, as to confess God's only Son to be both Word and Flesh.—St. Leo the Great, Sermon 71

23 May 2013

Such joy...

...looking forward to a nice long holiday weekend (and get-together with Pr. Pearson and his wife on Sunday and the St. Paul's Choir on Monday), followed by a rather short week at IC, and THEN and THEN!!!!! Beginning in June, Deaconess Sandra J. Bowers will join the Worship staff at IC and I will no longer be carrying this puppy alone.  DEO GRATIAS! Sandy has had years of experience as a deaconess in prison ministry, is a devoted friend of the liturgy and lover of Lutheran hymnody, and is very excited to begin work at the IC helping Worship to continue and expand its offerings to Synod and helping the Chaplain in the care of the workers at the IC. CAN'T WAIT!!!

22 May 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

These two sides of our church, its toleration and its narrowness, are an absolute mystery to the Reformed. That the pope should be called the Antichrist, and yet, at the same time, every effort made to preserve the canonical organization of the church; that the Mass should be criticized, as Luther criticized it in his Babylonian Captivity of the Church and Smalcald Articles, and yet that it should not be replaced by an entirely-new evangelical service instead keeping it in a purified form; that the invocation of the saints should be abolished, and yet that the most important saints' days continue to be observed for several generations—all these, in the eyes of a Reformed Christian, are insufferable contradictions.—Hermann Sasse, Here We Stand, p. 105

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Consider the manner of God's giving. You will find that God, the greatest and best giver, gives with a bounty that cannot be measured. For what he gives is not reckoned as something merited, or because he is under obligation, but, as the words read, out of love. Thus he is a giver, who gives from the heart, out of boundless, divine love, as Christ says, "For God so loved the world."—Blessed Martin Luther, House Postils 2:196 (Sermon for Monday after Pentecost)

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let us think nothing our own, seeing even faith itself is not our own, but more God's (than ours). For by grace are you saved through faith; and this, says he, not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. Then let us not think great things of ourselves, nor be puffed up, being as we are, men, dust and ashes, smoke and shadow.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 30 on Acts

Apocrypha Gem

The compassion of a person is for his neighbor, but the compassion of the Lord is for all living beings. He rebukes and trains and teaches them and turns them back, as a shepherd his flock. Ecclesiasticus 18:13

21 May 2013

There are times...

...when I cannot get over the silliness inherent in the chopping up of our great spiritual treasures and offering only bits and pieces.

TLH 598 is a case in point. Only three stanzas survive in LSB (also 598, of all things!). But the WHOLE is needed, I think. Most especially in trying times such as these. Read them and see if you agree:

        1. Who knows when death may overtake me!
Time passes on, my end draws near.
How swiftly can my breath forsake me!
How soon can life's last hour appear!
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

2. The world that smiled when morn was breaking
May change for me ere close of day;
For while on earth my home I'm making,
Death's threat is never far away.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

3. My end to ponder teach me ever
And, ere the hour of death appears,
To cast my soul on Christ, my Savior,
Nor spare repentant sighs and tears.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

4. Help me now set my house in order
That always ready I may be
To say in meekness on death's border:
Lord, as Thou wilt, deal Thou with me.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

5. Reveal the sweetness of Thy heaven,
Earth's galling bitterness unfold;
May I, amid this turmoil riven,
Thy blest eternity behold.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

6. My many sins blot out forever
Since Jesus has my pardon won;
In mercy robed I then shall never
Fear death, but trust in Thee alone.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

7. Naught shall my soul from Jesus sever;
In faith I touch His wounded side
And hail Him as my Lord forever.
Nor life nor death shall us divide.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

8. Once in the blest baptismal waters
I put on Christ and made Him mine;
Now numbered with God's sons and daughters,
I share His peace and love divine.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

9. His body and His blood I've taken
In His blest Supper, feast divine;
Now I shall never be forsaken,
For I am His, and He is mine.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

10. Then may death come today, tomorrow,
I know in Christ I perish not;
He grants the peace that stills all sorrow,
Gives me a robe without a spot.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

11. And thus I live in God contented
And die without a thought of fear;
My soul has to God's plans consented,
For through His Son my faith is clear.
My God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day.

19 May 2013

Joy and Pentecost

Pentecost is the feast of joy, for "the Holy Spirit turns to joy whatever He touches" (Seraphim of Sarov). This is so because the Spirit anchors our joy solidly in the hope of the Age to come which will attend our Lord Jesus' appearing. To give into pessimism, discouragement or despair is to fixate upon the horrors and troubles of this fallen age where death is always the seeming victor. But the Holy Spirit comes to lift our eyes beyond the rock bottom reality of a fallen world and proclaim to us that in our beloved Lord Jesus there is a deeper, truer and more certain reality: for Love Himself will be the end, and in the certainty of His triumph lies the courage to face all the despair and darkness that would devour us with a joy they cannot conquer. Rather, weeping with those who weep, our one prayer, our constant Pentecost inspired prayer, is Marantha!

18 May 2013

Homily at Evening Prayer (last night)

Text: Romans 8:12–17

The Holy Spirit is no spirit of bondage, no spirit of fear. That’s another spirit and he’s anything but holy. The unclean spirit, the evil spirit, Satan and his minions, they thrive on you being bound to sin and filled with fear. You know, what I mean. You can’t sleep at night and suddenly, there he is, plopping the old DVD into the player and making you see your sin. Showing you the lies, the hurt look on the faces of the people you’ve treated shamefully (most of all those who might be sleeping under the same roof at the moment), the words that you’ve used to leave other cut and bleeding, the times you’ve failed to confess Christ and slunk away in silence, shamed like Peter. He’s got them all recorded and he loves to watch them with you. All the while saying: “So you are bound. Bound to me. Bound to be with me forever in the fires. You can’t even pretend that you belong to HIM. He wouldn’t have the likes of you, and you know it. You feel it in your bones.”

Ah, you know what I speak of, don’t you? There’s a reason our Lord revealed him as the accuser. For that’s what the devil loves to do. To accuse. And he doesn’t even need to use lies. He can devastate you with the truth.

But against this one God sends a helper for you, an advocate for you, one who pleads for you, but in you. The gift of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead you to fear. He leads you to peace. He does this because He doesn’t come to accuse, but to proclaim, to testify, to announce that you are not a slave, but a child. A beloved child. That you have a Father who loves you. A Father who gave His Son to spill His blood to blot out your every offense. All those true things that Satan shows you in the middle of the night when you lie awake?  The Spirit shows you that every last one of them has been lifted. Has been carried. Has been taken by the Son of God to His cross and answered for.

Pastor Wolfmueller brought me this joy some months ago: what your Lord does right now in the presence of the Father, to plead for you as your advocate, your paraclete, your defense attorney, never ceasing to plead His own atoning sacrifice on your behalf (1 John 2 stuff!); what Jesus does for you before the Father, this Jesus sends His Spirit to do within you. To testify, to bear withness with your spirit, that you are a child of God, and if a child then an heir. An heir of God and so co-heir with Jesus. Suffering with Him that you also may be glorified with Him. All that’s His by virtue of His being the Beloved Son of the Father, the Spirit proclaims within you, is forked over to you as yours. Everything. You even get to join Him in His “Abba.”

And so the Spirit of Holiness, the Spirit of God, leads you away from slavery to sin, away from the constant fretting and fear that fill anyone if they fixate upon themselves and see the truth about themselves unvarnished. He puts his finger (for He is the finger of God) beneath your chin and lifts your head up from yourself to see your Savior. He leads you to your Jesus, to look upon Him, to see in Him your perfect righteousness as the very gift of divine love poured out on you, proclaimed to you as yours. The Spirit discloses to you the gifts that God freely gives you and says: “Listen not to the evil one. For there is a truth deeper than anything he would ever be able to show you. It is the truth that you have been loved with a love immeasureable, deep and divine. Be at peace. You have a Father, you have a Savior, and you have Me to constantly remind you of the fact.”

As you, people loved by God, begin your work tonight, ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit that you may renounce the way of being accusers of our brothers – the way of the evil spirit – and join in the joy of the Holy Spirit, proclaiming in every resolution you craft: “Rejoice, children of God! You are loved in Jesus! Fear not!” For all this we send up glory and praise to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and to the ages of ages! Amen.

14 May 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

It would have been better to understand the sacraments in this way as anticipation of the redemption of the end time instead of forcing them into the scheme of the sign theory.—Hermann Sasse, We Confess: The Sacraments, p. 146.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Each sin, a transgression of the divine Law, is an offense to the high majesty of the eternal, holy, and just God and thus merits eternal rejection by God. Nevertheless, there are degrees of offense. A person who is continually plagued by certain sins can still receive forgiveness and stand in God's grace, while other sins necessarily exclude a person from God's kingdom and holy fellowship.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 440.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Therefore be the more earnest always to be followers first of God and then of the Saints; that after death they also may receive you as well-known friends into the eternal habitations.—St. Anthony as cited by St. Athanasius in the Life of St. Anthony, par. 91.

13 May 2013

A good read...

...on the Gosnell case here from LCMS Life Ministries.

11 May 2013

Patristic Quote of the Day

But assuredly that which the sacred Psalm sings in our ears, is true; “Because my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord has taken me up.” Then if our parents have forsaken us, how take they part in our cares and affairs? But if parents do not, who else are there of the dead who should know what we are doing, or what we suffer? Isaiah the Prophet says, “For You are our Father: because Abraham has not known us, and Israel is not cognizant of us.” If so great Patriarchs were ignorant what was doing towards the People of them begotten, they to whom, believing God, the People itself to spring from their stock was promised; how are the dead mixed up with affairs and doings of the living, either for cognizance or help? How say we that those were favored who deceased ere the evils came which followed hard upon the decease, if also after death they feel whatever things befall in the calamitousness of human life? Or haply do we err in saying this, and in accounting them to be quietly at rest whom the unquiet life of the living makes solicitous? What then is that which to the most godly king Josias God promised as a great benefit, that he should first die, that he might not see the evils which He threatened should come to that place and People? Which words of God are these: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: concerning My words which you have heard, and feared before My face when you heard what I have spoken concerning this place and them which dwell therein, that it should be forsaken and under a curse; and hast rent your garments, and wept before Me, and I have heard you, says the Lord of Sabaoth: not so; behold, I will add you unto your fathers, and you shall be added unto them in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the evils which I am bringing upon this place and upon them that dwell therein.” He, frightened by God's comminations, had wept, and rent his garments, and is made, by hastening on of his death, to be without care of all future evils, because he should so rest in peace, that all those things he should not see. There then are the spirits of the departed, where they see not whatever things are doing, or events happening, in this life to men. Then how do they see their own graves, or their own bodies, whether they lie cast away, or buried? How do they take part in the misery of the living, when they are either suffering their own evils, if they have contracted such merits; or do rest in peace, as was promised to this Josiah, where they undergo no evils, either by suffering themselves, or by compassionate suffering with others, freed from all evils which by suffering themselves or with others while they lived here they did undergo?—St. Augustine, Care of the Dead, par. 16

Issues Etc. Interview

on the great hymn "Christians to the Paschal Victim." You can listen here.

09 May 2013

Ascension Day Divine Service

I honestly never could understand WHY folks didn't want to come church after a day at work...BEFORE. I can definitely understand it now. I come home in the evening and want to crash. To sit in my chair, to read or surf the net, or do anything but go out again.

Yet I'm so glad that I did go out tonight. Went to the Mass at St. Paul's. A beautiful service.

Though a midweek, it was treated as the feast it is. Crucifer and candle bearers. Incense. Full order of Divine Service. Tonight, though, instead of our usual Divine Service 3, we had Divine Service 4. The congregation numbered about 40 or so, I think, but the singing was loud and joyful.

Bede headed off the day (A Hymn of Glory) and the Vajda/Gerike piece was the Hymn of the Day (Up Through Endless Ranks of Angels). Distribution was the Reformation piece On Christ's Ascension. The close of the service was the Anglican hymn, See the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph. Great joy indeed.

Pr. Anderson and Staci were in attendance with their children. It was good to meet them in the flesh (I don't think I'd had the privilege before). Pr. Gleason read with his usual grace. Pr. Ball preached the joy of Ascension into our hearts: the cloud that hid our Lord then was likened unto the elements that hide Him now, but still with us, still giving to us all that is His. And the ever-refreshing gift of the Savior's Body and Blood: our forgiveness, life, and resurrection!

Thank you, Lord, for a faithful pastor who never tires of dishing out to Your sinful and weary people the gifts Your Son won for us, doing so with joy at His behest and by His Spirit's power!

Catching up...

...whew! Whirlwind. Drove down to Falls Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee for Midsouth Pastoral Conference (Wilken did apologetics; I did Liturgy and Mission: Enemies or Allies?). It was an eight hour drive there. The moral of the story is: never trust your Apple GPS when out in the wilds! It directed me to a farm lane and instructed me to walk the rest of the way!!! Drove 7 + hours home yesterday and was very proud of myself: ONE potty break, mind you, at the 3.5 hour point. Coffee finally insists on going somewhere else; can't keep it, only borrow it. But I tried my darndest to keep it for as long as I possibly could! Home to find Bekah working on the lawn (what a gem of a child!) and with dinner on and ready (did I mention she was a gem?). This morning had chapel at LCEF and chapel here at IC in about 25 minutes, then to study up for my presentation on Compline on Issues, Etc. this afternoon. Church tonight for the joys of our Lord's Ascension!