27 June 2013

What to do about Chapel at your school this year?

Wonder no more! Check out this stunning little volume by Jonathan Schkade, children's author, friend, and neighbor:

Learn the Faith, Live the Faith

I wish I'd had such a critter when I was still doing school chapels! It walks through the entire catechism with an engaging talk each day on something from the chief parts.

24 June 2013

Blessed Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist!

[From Synod's Facebook Page]

Today we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist. The Lutheran Service Book includes the Nativity of St. John the Baptist among the "principal feasts of Christ." Since it was "in the sixth month" of Elizabeth's pregnancy that the Angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would become the God-bearer, and since we celebrate our Lord's birth on December 24-25, the birth of the Baptist falls exactly six months prior. St. Bede the Venerable noted that this fulfilled (at least for us in the Northern Hemisphere) the saying of the Baptist himself: "He must increase but I must decrease." So after our Lord's birth we observe the amount of daylight growing and after St. John's birth we note the daylight beginning to diminish.

From the liturgy for this day: "Behold, I will send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. Through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations. Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. ...whose way John the Baptist prepared, proclaiming Him the promised Messiah, the very Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and calling sinners to repentance that they might escape the wrath to be revealed when He comes again in glory."

19 June 2013

Gotta confess...

...we are LOVING the pool. Not quite finished - we've still got to order the steps and connect the deck to the pool itself. Hopefully will be done in short order. It's been amazingly relaxing to get home from work and spend some time floating, soaking up the rays. I just need to figure out how to sip my wine while soaking in the sun.

18 June 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Today as always people ask, What does the church actually do? It prays. The praying church is one of the constantly recurring themes of early Christian art. The church prays.—Hermann Sasse, We Confess: the Sacraments, p. 151.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In order that He might not destroy those whom He had made, He donned the body of a servant that His flesh might free our flesh. This is the surest argument as to His will for our redemption.—Blessed Martin Chemnitz, Two Natures, p. 45.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, prays not for the twelve Apostles alone, but rather for all who were destined in every age to yield to and obey the words that exhort those who hear to receive that sanctification that is through faith, and to that purification which is accomplished in them through partaking of the Spirit. —St. Cyril of Alexandria on John 17

17 June 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

But if anyone wonders why we should receive forgiveness twice, what it means that one should be absolved of sins and then still receive the Sacrament for the forgiveness of sins, to such a one we may answer—Luther caught the spirit of it—"You have not yet pondered how great is the weight of sin."—Hermann Sasse, We Confess: the Sacraments, p. 131.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This dispute concerning the two wills and the two natural operations in Christ is no idle thing, for in addition to the points we have mentioned, it also has this use that the Son of God assumed our nature in such a way that first in and through Himself He restored our nature to its pristine beauty which had been despoiled and corrupted in Adam, as Cyril says, In Johannem Book 11, ch. 25. Therefore, He did not assume a part of human nature without a mind, without a will, without human activity, but He assumed all the things which were planted in our nature by God, as Damascenus says, that is, He assumed a complete human nature possessing all the powers and faculties which belong to and were arranged for human nature, so that He restored even the powers which our nature had lost because of sin, and in Himself He first repaired and renewed the powers which had been corrupted through sin. And through Himself He bestowed upon the human race this renewal and restoration, which begins in this life and finds its completion in the future life. For that part of human nature which was not assumed by the Son of God has not been healed, as Nazianzus says. Damascenus, Book 4, chapter 14 cites this ancient statement: "Christ in Himself sketched out or reformed our will," as it had been in our perfect nature before sin. This restoration begins in this life and will be perfected in the life to come.—Blessed Martin Chemnitz, Two Natures in Christ, p. 238, 239.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For He that was truly God, and had no sin in Him, was yet Man; and just as the sentence of condemnation for transgression went forth over all mankind, through one man, the first Adam, so likewise, also, the blessing of justification by Christ is extended to all through One Man, the Second Adam. Paul is our witness, who says: As through one the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through One the free gift came unto all men to justification of life. We therefore are diseased through the disobedience of the first Adam and its curse, but are enriched through the obedience of the Second and its blessing. —St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John 19:4.

12 June 2013

A Little Luther on Private Confession

As to the current practice of private confession, I am heartily in favor of it, even though it cannot be proved from the Scriptures. It is useful, even necessary, and I would not have it abolished. Indeed, I rejoice that it exists in the church of Christ, for it is a cure without equal for distressed consciences. For when we have laid bare our conscience to our brother and privately made known to him the evil that lurked within, we receive from our brother’s lips the word of comfort spoken by God himself. And, if we accept this in faith, we find peace in the mercy of God speaking to us through our brother. AE 36:86

07 June 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Sins are just the symptom; our real dilemma is death.—Pr. Hal Senkbeil, Sanctification, p. 132.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Faith without love for God is an empty product of our imagining, a hull without fruit, a shell without a kernel, a painted picture without life. Wherever there is true faith, love comes forth like the shining of the sun. Wherever love is absent from the heart, God, the eternal love, cannot be found there. And where there is no God, there is also not faith.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 495.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For truly, He has not only delivered from sins, but has also placed among the approved. For, not that He might deliver us from evils only, did He suffer so great things, but that also we might obtain the first rewards; as if one should not only free a condemned criminal from his punishment, but also advance him to honor. And he has ranked you with those who have not sinned, yea rather not with those who have done no sin only, but even with those who have wrought the greatest righteousness; and, what is truly a great thing, has given the holiness which is before Him, and the being unreprovable. Now an advance upon unblamable is unreprovable, when we have done nothing either to be condemned for, or charged with. But, since he ascribed the whole to Him, because through His death He achieved these things; what then, says one, is it to us? We need nothing. Therefore he added,

Ver. 23. If so be that you continue in the faith grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Gospel.

Here he strikes a blow at their listlessness. And he said not simply continue, for it is possible to continue wavering, and vacillating; it is possible to stand, and continue, though turned this way and that. If so be that you continue, he says, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away. Wonderful! What a forcible metaphor he uses; he says not only not tossed to and fro, but not even moved. And observe, he lays down so far nothing burdensome, nor toilsome, but faith and hope; that is, if you continue believing, that the hope of the things to come is true. For this indeed is possible; but, as regards virtuous living, it is not possible to avoid being shaken about, though it be but a little; so (what he enjoins) is not grievous.

—St. John Chrysostom on Colossians 1:22, 23

05 June 2013

Commemoration of St. Boniface, Missionary to the Germans

An Englishman who brought the Good News to Germany and to the Netherlands. Martyred upon this day in 754.

From The Treasury:

Almighty God, You called Boniface to be a witness and martyr in Germany, and by his labor and suffering You raised up a people for Your own possession. Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon Your Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many Your holy name may be glorified and Your kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

This summer

I'm working through Casimir Kucharek's The Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. His chapters on the early centuries are quite interesting, and particularly the chapter on Pre-Nicene Uniformity-Diversity. This starts out with the statement: "Despite the great variations of detail, expected of the more-or-less extemporary character of all pre-Nicene prayer, the celebration of the Eucharist in the second century can still be considered uniform. This uniformity consisted not only in the general ideas (identity of meaning) contained in those extemporary prayers, but also in the order or arrangement of their component parts." (p. 54) He points out that Pope Anicetus inviting Polycarp of Smyrna to celebrate the Eucharist in Rome as an example of a shared sense of uniform order in the Eucharist, but still freedom to formulate the actual prayers according to varying local custom. Anyway, some very good reading.

03 June 2013

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

We must remember that the closer we come to the Last Day, the more cunningly our evil enemy will attempt to deceive us into thinking that the treasure of the Word is uncertain and suspect. Let us, then, be on our guard! Our adherence to the Word is crucial for our salvation.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 489.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Therefore not in mere hearing is the word of salvation, nor in only learning is life, but in keeping what was heard, and as a certain rule and guide of life was He setting before [them] the Divine word. He says that the sure keeper of His words shall not see death for ever, not surely as taking away death in the flesh, but as God not accounting that death is death, for to Him nought is dead, in that His it is both to bring to the birth that which is not and easily to quicken that which when so wrought has decayed. —St. Cyril of Alexandria, Sermons on John 8