29 August 2013

Veritable Summer Feast

Cindi grilled up some shrimp with Matt Bower's amazing marinade; we ate some baked sweet potato; devoured some of Deb Dillon's sliced brussel sprouts; downed some of Shirley's farm fresh eggs, nicely deviled; and topped the whole dinner off with fresh peach slices. Wow. I love summer. Just. Love. It.

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The Saints Days

Treasury of Daily Prayer is such a great help in observing the Church's calendar. Today at our morning prayers, we were immediately reminded that this is the Festival of St. John the Baptist's Beheading. The writing from Luther pondered the Lord's odd way of seeming to be of little use to his people in this age, but how in the age to come He will show Himself great indeed. The beautiful collect for the festival thanked God for giving us St. John as forerunner to our Savior in both his preaching of repentance and his innocent death, and asked that we who have died and risen with Christ in baptism may daily repent of our sins, suffer for the sake of the truth, and fearlessly bear witness to our Savior's victory over death.   And tonight we cap the day off with a trip up to St. Paul's where we will receive into our very mouths and souls that same Lord to whom John bore witness so long ago and we'll still sing John's words: Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world! John's voice is anything but silenced just because Herod wickedly cut off his head. The voice of John rings on every week in the Church's liturgy, and of course, he still preaches to us come each Advent-tide. I love these saints days and am so thankful for a parish and a pastor who delights to celebrate them.

Homily upon the Beheading of the Baptist

Two, maybe two and a half years.  That’s it.  That’s how long the ministry of St. John the Baptist was.  Have you ever thought of that?  A man who had been prepared by the Holy Spirit to get Israel ready to receive her Savior.  The great Fore-runner, who would go before the Lord in the spirit of Elijah.  The man whom Jesus called “the greatest born of woman.”  He worked no miracles (that we know of).  He lived an ascetical life, eating locusts and wild honey.  He did not seek the company of others, but lived alone in the desert, until the time of his revealing to Israel.  He never drank wine or strong drink.  The Holy Spirit was upon him from before his birth.  He never married, had no children.  His whole life before his ministry was but a preparation for those two, two and a half years.  And then they were over.  He was jailed for speaking the truth, the truth of God’s Law that Herod did not want to hear, and he was martyred, as the Church celebrates on this day.  Beheaded at the request of a conniving dancing girl and with the permission of a besotted king.  His head shamefully paraded around on a platter.  Thus did the greatest of those born of women meet his end.

Here was a life devoid of everything that we tend to think makes life worth living.  Would any of you have wished to trade places with the “greatest born of woman”?  Me either.  St. Theresa once said:  “O God, if this is how you treat you friends, I can see why you have so few of them.” And yet we would be totally mistaken to think of St. John’s life as a failure.

St. John was sent to be the fore-runner.  He went ahead of the Lord.  So he was born six months before our Lord was born.  He began preaching and calling Israel to repentance and to a new life in Baptism before our Lord began His ministry, doing the same.  In fact, our Lord began to preach and teach only after St. John had baptized him.  And so are we surprised when the end of John’s life is unjust imprisonment and then shameful death?  How could it be otherwise?  He is, after all, the fore-runner.  It was his unique calling to go ahead of where the Lord Himself would come.  For our Lord too would be arrested unjustly for speaking the truth and He also would shamefully be put to death.

So St. John’s earthly pilgrimage ended and he was gathered together with the faithful of the Old Testament era.  Did his task as Fore-runner then continue?  Did he announce:  “He’s here!  He’s alive in our flesh and blood!  The One promised to You, Father Adam and Mother Eve.  The Seed promised to crush the Serpents’ head.  The One promised to you, Father Abraham.  Your Off-spring come to bring blessing to all the families of the earth.  Your descendent, King David, born to sit upon the throne of a kingdom that never ends with a life that never ends.  I’ve seen Him!  I’ve baptized Him!  He is working his miracles now.   And soon, oh, soon, He too will suffer and die and He will come to us and His coming will be the destruction of this death we share now and He will bring us out into LIFE!  I’m the fore-runner.  I’m telling you, He’s almost here.”

Our Lord met the same fate as St. John, His faithful fore-runner.  But unlike St. John, death wasn’t imposed upon our Lord.  No.  He purposefully and willingly gave Himself into it. He freely chose to die in order that He might forever destroy the power of death itself.  You see, death had a claim on St. John – greatest though he was.  He was still a sinner, born of sinful parents, and had to do battle every day against his sinful flesh.  Oh, he conquered by God’s grace in a mighty way!  But he knew the truth.  Do you remember what happened the day our Lord came to him to be baptized with a sinner’s baptism?  How St. John protested and cried out:  “No, but I need to be baptized by you!” John knew well that he needed the forgiveness and the life that only Jesus could give.  So when death came, John knew that in a very real sense it was just his due, as it is your due and mine.  “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” says the Lord.

But then there is our Lord Jesus.  And in Him there is no stain of sin, no blemish of impure desire.  In Him there is only complete holiness and unbroken obedience to His heavenly Father.  And so when He chooses to die, when He gives Himself into death, death has no claim upon him.  “It was not possible that death should hold Him” is how St. Peter preached it.  So on the third day the tomb is broken open and He is raised in a body incorruptible, never again to be touched by death.

And this victory over death He wins not for Himself. He didn’t need it.  He wins it for us!  He wins it for all and He delivers it to those who are baptized into Him!  He delivers it to all who trust in His promises and receive His gifts!  He seals it to us in His body and blood!  And that is an immense comfort when one is struggling under the burdens of this life – burdens St. John was only too familiar with:  injustice, sorrow, impending death.

Two and a half years is not a very long time for a man’s ministry.  But, of course, St. John’s ministry did not come to an end merely because he died.  Oh, no.  His ministry has gone on for thousands of years now.  His call of repentance continues to sound out in the Church, warning us to flee from the wrath to be revealed when Christ comes in glory.  Advent each year the great Fore-runner steps before us and his voice trumpets a call to lives of radical repentance. And constantly in the Church, St. John’s finger ceaselessly points to the Lamb of God. Why, each time you come to the Lord’s table and your Crucified and Risen Lord places into your mouth the Body that destroyed your death and the Blood that answered for all your sin, you join St. John in his song:  “O Christ, thou Lamb of God that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us, grant us peace.”

Death, you see, could not end the witness of St. John the Baptist because he witnesses forever to Him whom death could not destroy:  Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whose Kingdom may God grant us all to attain through His grace and love toward mankind.  Amen.

The St. John's Martyrdom Sequence

translated by our good friend, Matthew Carver:  Sequence.

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Today our Synod commemorates the beheading of St. John the Baptist. From the Treasury:

"From the perspective of the world, it was an ignominious end to John the Baptist's life. Yet it was in fact a noble participation in the Cross of Christ, which was John's greatest glory of all... He was the last of the Old Testament prophets and also the herald of the New Testament... And in the footsteps of the prophets who had gone before him - in anticipation of Christ whose way he prepared - this servant of the Lord manifested the cross by the witness of his death." (p. 670)

The writing for the day was from Dr. Luther: "He allows his prophets and apostles to be expelled and murdered... He allows HIs Christians to suffer want, trouble, and misfortune in the world. He acts as He did in the days of His flesh, when John the Baptist had to lose his head for the sake of a desperate harlot, while He, the Savior and Helper, said nothing about it, departed thence in a ship and withdrew into the solitude of the wilderness... Hence the prophet Isaiah correctly says of God: 'Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself...' For in the kingdom of faith God wants to be small, but in the future kingdom of sight He will not be small but great. Then He will show that He saw the misery of His people and heard their crying and had a will that inclined to help them..."

In today's collect we pray: "You gave Your servant John the Baptist to be the forerunner of Your Son, Jesus Christ, both in his preaching of repentance and in his innocent death. Grant that we...may daily repent of our sins, patiently suffer for the sake of the truth, and fearlessly bear witness to His victory over death..."

Divine Service at St. Paul's this evening at 6 p.m. in honor of the festival.

21 August 2013

Today's Catechesis on the Fifth Petition of the Our Father

Text: Matthew 18:21ff.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
What does this mean?  We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them.  We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment.  So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let’s face the hard bit first: the “as” scares you. And well it might. There are those who would imply to you that Jesus did not mean what He said when He concluded today’s parable with the words: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” But there simply IS no way around those words. He meant what He said and He said what He meant. If there is one thing that the Scriptures are clear on it is that those who hold onto their grudges, their anger, their hatred and refuse to forgive WILL NOT be forgiven; they have forfeited the gift that was given to them.

And yet you want to rationalize. You want to say: “Oh, but you don’t know how much I’ve suffered.” I do not dispute for one second the very real evils that may have endured from the hands of those from whom you had every right to expect better. But here’s a truth, people loved by God, if you hang onto that bitterness and let it grow, it shall take over your entire life. You will find yourself not only being bitter about the big things you’ve suffered, but your life full of resentment over all kinds of absolutely petty and ridiculous circumstances. And similarly, when you are able to forgive the biggies in your life, then the small things become no fodder for brooding or anger.

The hard but shining truth is this: as hard as you might find it to forgive, it is actually harder and requires vastly more energy to hang on to a wrong, real or perceived, intended of unintended. The Lord’s way IS the natural way, that is the way that you were meant to go, and so the Lord’s path of forgiveness, though it is indeed steep and narrow and few bother to tread it, is the path that you were intended to travel all along, and the further you tread and the higher you climb the more you will rejoice in the bracing air of divine forgiveness flowing into you and out of you.

And I don’t suppose that you are different from me. I struggle not so much in the initial act of forgiving. But then later, when you replay the whole scene again, maybe at night in the dark in bed, and the anger and bitterness they rise up afresh. And you wonder and fear: Have I really forgiven them? Such is the reality of our sinful nature. It will continually seek to sow these seeds of bitterness and resentment in our lives.

But here we come to what was the most amazing “aha” that Luther had about this petition of the Our Father. He sees it the exact opposite way that we are tempted to see it by nature. He sees it as a sacrament! A seal of forgiveness! You see, when your brother wrongs you and you forgive him, OR when you remember the wrong your brother has done you, and you immediately turn in prayer to your Father in heaven and pray: “O Lord, please forgive him for that, and bless him and bestow on him every good and perfect gift through Christ my Lord” – Luther says that praying that prayer is just like receiving the Eucharist. For you know that when you forgive, you have the assurance that you have been forgiven by God. NOT that your forgiveness CAUSED God’s forgiveness, but that as sure as the Lord Jesus has suffered and died to blot out the world’s sin and yours, so His forgiveness of you is the cause of you forgiving others.

And it’s no surprise that he teaches us all of this in the context of prayer. Because you do not have the strength to do this on your own. As we’re about to sing: “But you alone can grant us grace to mean the words we say.” So here is your challenge for today, people loved by God: watch for the opportunities to forgive that God will shower on you day by day. Each is a gift, a little Eucharist, a renewal of Baptism, in which you can receive and rejoice daily in the forgiveness of your sins! Pray for God’s richest blessings on those who offend you and especially when you remember the offenses done you, and you will rejoice in the overflowing forgiveness of Him whose death atoned for all of those sins and also for all of your own, and then you will not fear the “as” in the Lord’s Prayer. It will become your great joy. Amen.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

All Christian love emanates from God's love. Without Christ, we wouldn't know what love is. Christ has not only shown us how to live in love, He instituted love itself into the world. He became one with us when He took our sins upon Himself. His love drowned our sins. As members of His body, He lets this love flow in us.—Bishop Bo Giertz, To Live With Christ, p. 547.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This example of our Lord Christ we must learn and mark well because the suffering of a Christian begins in loneliness, for the time is sure to come when you are left alone, and if it does not occur in this life it occurs at the hour of death. Therefore every Christian should arm himself with the strength which is Christ and be united to Him who is our only help and comfort, according to His promise.—Blessed Martin Luther, Day by Day, p. 319.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For it is usual with divine Scripture to speak and signify in the way of man what is above man. —St. Athanasius, Discourse IV Against the Arians (par. 27)

15 August 2013

Praying the Catechism

I have a bit of a commute to work (about fifty minutes one way on a good day), and that allows some extra time for prayer. Here is a form of praying the Catechism I've been using lately (I've shared different but similar forms in the past). I thought others might find it useful too:

In the name...

Glory be to the Father (sung, of course!)

You shall have no other gods.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear, love and trust in You above all things; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I do not use Your name to curse, swear, lie or deceive, but rather call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise and give You thanks; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Remember the sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I do not despise preaching and Your Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Honor your father and your mother.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I may not despise or anger my father or other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

You shall not murder.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I may not hurt or harm my neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

You shall not commit adultery.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I lead a chaste and decent life in word and deed, and so love and honor my wife; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

You shall not steal.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I do not take my neighbor's money or possessions or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I do not tell lies about my neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him and explain everything in the kindest way; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I do not scheme to get my neighbor's inheritance and house or get it in a way that only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear and love You so that I do not seek to entice or force away my neighbor's wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

He says: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lord God, since You threaten to punish all who break Your commandments, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to fear Your wrath that I may not do anything against them; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Lord God, since You promise grace and every blessing to all who keep Your commandments, grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit to love and trust in You and gladly do all that command; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

I pray through the commandments like this four times. Then I pray the Our Father and sing the Gloria in Excelsis. By then, I'm sitting in traffic on the Poplar Street Bridge, waiting to enter St. Louis.

Chapel Homily for St. Mary's Day, 2013

Reading: Galatians 4:1–7

Oh, if ever there were a day when we Lutherans need to beware of throwing the babe out with the bath water, it is today. In the Churches of the Roman communion throughout the length and breadth of the whole world, this day is celebrated as a high, holy feast. It is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the day when without experiencing death, Christ took His mother from this earth and set her at His side upon the throne of heaven, being the Queen Mother, if you will. The Orthodox speak of this as the day of her Dormition, her falling asleep in her Son, really dying, but they too have a fairly strong tradition of Mary being then granted the grace of resurrection before the general resurrection, taken by her Son into His glorious presence body and soul. And for both Rome and our Eastern sisters and brothers, Mary rather early on became the one to whom you could go in prayer and receive certain help and aid. Moms are softies, you know.

It was with good cause that the Reformers of the 16th century, no matter what their other differences, all agreed that the practice of calling upon the Virgin, despite its huge popularity among the people, and despite it having established itself in the Church many centuries before, simply led down a path contrary to the Scriptures. In fact, the extent to which the Virgin was turned to rather than the Blessed Trinity led them to raise the charge of idolatry against the practice, turning to the creature for what really only can be found in the Creator.

Some of the Reformers, therefore, thought the best route was to pitch overboard the whole blasted thing, the entire cult of Mary and the saints. But of interest and importance to us today as Lutheran Christians is that the Lutheran Reformers and their churches did nothing of the kind. They put an end to any public prayers that called upon the Virgin or any of the other saints and repeatedly reminded the people that even if the saints could hear and grant such prayers, we have all things better in Christ. And He is no harsh judge, aloof and unconcerned about you. He WANTS you to come to Him and to pray to Him for each and every need you have. He promises that His Father is now your Father and that he loves you. He sends His Spirit to you to help when you do not know how to pray as you should.

But if the Lutherans put a dead stop to all invocation of the saints, the commemoration of the feasts of the Virgin and other saints continued. The Annunciation, the Visitation, this day in some places, and even Mary’s nativity in September continued to be celebrated. But Mary, instead of being the great exception, was lifted up as the Scriptures portray her, to be the great example. She is the one who hears the promises of God, believes them, treasures and ponders them in heart even when she can’t understand them, and she is the one whose last recorded words in Scripture direct us away from her and towards her Son: “Whatever He tells you, do it.”

Lutherans love Mary. We love her because she is the woman spoken of in today’s reading: the woman chosen by God to give birth to His Son. Mary is Mother of God as our Confessions are not afraid to assert. But our joy this is not in Mary’s exaltation alone. Rather, we see in the Incarnation that the Eternal Word became the child of Mary for only one reason: to make us be the Children of God. He became in Mary’s womb what we are by nature so that He could deliver to us everything that is His by the grace of adoption. And what we were by nature was pretty hopeless. Think of it! Mired in sin that continues to well up from the depths of your being; and so destined to physical death, yes. But more. Headed to eternal death, to hell. And so He comes among us, as one of us! Because God became Mary’s Son, you are no longer slaves. You are heirs. Heirs of God. Joint heirs with Christ. All that is His, yours. And this because He came to make all that is yours, His. Your sin, His. Your death, His. Your hell, His. All of it. That’s the mystery of the Cross. And its converse is the mystery of Holy Baptism where all that is His, He now yours: His Father, your Father; His Kingdom, your kingdom; and yes, His mother, YOUR mother. “Behold, your son…behold, your mother.” That word from the Cross to the disciple “whom Jesus loved”  - that would include you! - shows that literally “all things are yours.” Even Mary.

Luther had the hang of it in a sermon for Christmas day: “O, this is the great joy of which the angel speaks. This is God’s comfort and His surpassing goodness, that man (if he believes) may glory in such a treasure that Mary be his very mother, Christ his brother and God his Father… See, then, that thou makest this birth thine own and dost change with Him… Thus dost thou surely sit in the Virgin Mary’s lap and art her darling child.” Day by Day, p. 33.

There is something comforting about that fierce little Hebrew lady who had more than a bit of the warrior Deborah about her, being your mother! That woman who could sing the Magnificat praising nothing but God and His grace toward her and how He lifted up his handmaiden from her low estate so that every generation would call her blessed. And every generation has.

Jesus’ mom, your mom. Because you’re one family in Him. All His brothers and sisters. And today we remember the day His mom and ours fell asleep in faith in Him. What happened to her next, much as we might want to speculate and hypothesize, is frankly none of our business. If God had wanted us to know, He’d have caused it to be written down in the Scriptures. But this we may be sure of: she commended herself into her Son’s hands and she knew that He was the forgiveness of all sin and the destruction of death itself. Her Jesus, her very flesh and blood, had conquered them forever. And not just for her. But for you.

Don’t pray to her; but do love her. Don’t picture her more kindly than you picture her Son; but join all generations in blessing her, “O Higher than the Cherubim and more Glorious than the Seraphim”, as we’re about to sing. And remember with joy her determination to hold tight to the Words spoken and never let them be taken from her. Then you too will be ready for your death, whenever it comes. Held securely by the promises of Mary’s Son, your Jesus, until you join her with all saints in the unending praise of your Lord. But why wait till then? Let’s join her and them now. Please stand and turn to hymn 670: “Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones.”

14 August 2013

A picture's worth a thousand words...

...when explaining the difference between the LCMS and the ELCA:

Presiding Bishop Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

President Matthew Harrison of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

10 August 2013


Yesterday you were picking up acorns in your bucket...tomorrow you'll be 26.

Yesterday you were getting your brother into trouble...tomorrow you'd still be getting your brother into trouble if you could (some things never change).

Yesterday you were holding your baby sister on the couch, proud as could be...tomorrow you'll hold Sawyer in Church and still be proud as could be.

Yesterday you were riding your trike and singing "Kids of the kingdom" with the unique words: "My name is Lauren. I ride my bike"...tomorrow I'll bet you won't be riding a bike, but I'll bet you'll still be singing to the Lord!

Yesterday you went off to kindergarten, to Metro, to Seward, to Norlina...tomorrow you'll still be hundreds of miles away and no I haven't gotten used to it (and neither has Mom, Bekah, David or Meaghan).

Yesterday you were marrying your soul-mate...tomorrow he'll be by your side and your mom and I are so happy that God gave you to each other and planted you in that wonderful parish.

Yesterday you were giving birth to my grandson...tomorrow my granddaughter will still be growing and stretching and getting a little cramped in her quarters, eager to show her beautiful face.

Happy birthday, Lauren Elizabeth! We love and miss you!

07 August 2013

A big part of Paleo/Primal...

...is simply listening to how your own body responds to various foods. Why, oh, why do I keep trying the potatoes? A little bit of potato tonight and literally HOURS of tummy protests. Grr. I like the taste of potatoes, but I have to face up to the fact that my stomach doesn't give a rip how they taste; it doesn't want them. Grr.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The traditional Western liturgy for the Lord's Supper quite explicitly confesses Jesus as our peace offering in the Pax and in the Agnus Dei.—John Kleinig, Leviticus, p. 96.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

And indeed, for the sake of order and decorum it should not be permitted to everyone willfully, without the decision and consent of the church, just because he desires it, either to omit or change anything, even in external and indifferent things.—Martin Chemnitz, Examen II:108.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For this is the Creed which you are to rehearse and to repeat in answer. These words which you have heard are in the Divine Scriptures scattered up and down: but thence gathered and reduced into one, that the memory of slow persons might not be distressed; that every person may be able to say, able to hold, what he believes.—St. Augustine, Sermon to the Catechumens on the Creed

05 August 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Liturgical worship feels unnatural to us because does not reflect our "natural" feelings. Rather, it teaches us what to feel when God meets us in His Word and sacrament.—Hal Senkbeil, Sanctification: Christ in Action, p. 180.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The faith of the Church now is identical to what it was in the Apostolic time, but the relation of identity does not preclude growth—it only excludes change of identity. That faith must always be its essential self... In a word, the advances are wrought, not by change in the Church's faith, but by the perpetual activity of that faith.—C. P. Krauth, Conservative Reformation, p. 270.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For if Christ be the end of the Law, he that has not Christ, even if he seem to have that righteousness, has it not. But he that has Christ, even though he have not fulfilled the Law aright, has received the whole.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Romans 10.

02 August 2013


...I confess: I've become rather addicted to the sweet things.

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Now, all men have been reconciled to the Father in the death of Jesus Christ. No one who believes in Him, even if he sleep, will ever die. Jesus has risen for our justification. He has declared us righteous and holy and welcomes us to Himself in the Holy Communion. You [,O grave,] can scowl, threaten, and attack, but you have lost. You are defeated. You have come to an end. Jesus lives!—Pr. David Petersen, Thy Kingdom Come, p. 154.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Send Your Holy Spirit down from above, from Your holy habitation, into my heart, that He may be my guide, teach me to walk in Your counsel, and enable me to do at all times what pleases You.—Starck's Prayer Book (Prayer for Friday midday), p. 39.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For since the Holy Trinity is One in respect of consubstantiality, one full surely will be also Its Power in respect to every thing. For all things are of the Father through the Son in the Spirit.—St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John 6.

01 August 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is the theological task of the Lutheran Church—a task which she can carry out only insofar as she has preserved the pure Gospel—to discover anew for herself and for the whole of Christendom what comfort it brings, to be able to sing and confess with the Church of all ages: Tu solus sanctus (You alone are holy).—Hermann Sasse, cited in Hermann Sasse: A Man for Our Times?, p. 119.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

1 Cor. 12:13 We are all given to drink of one Spirit; that is, we all drink the same Sacrament in order that we may also receive the same Spirit."—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, p. 101

Patristic Quote of the Day

All those Catholic expounders of the divine Scriptures, both Old and New, whom I have been able to read, who have written before me concerning the Trinity, Who is God, have purposed to teach, according to the Scriptures, this doctrine, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit intimate a divine unity of one and the same substance in an indivisible equality; and therefore that they are not three Gods, but one God: although the Father has begotten the Son, and so He who is the Father is not the Son; and the Son is begotten by the Father, and so He who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Himself also co-equal with the Father and the Son, and pertaining to the unity of the Trinity. —St. Augustine, On the Trinity, I, Ch. 4.