28 August 2014


has a powerful odor. Just sayin'.

How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place, O Lord of Hosts!

A few more pics as things pull together at St. Paul's anticipating the rededication services on September 7th:

We preach Christ crucified! On the arch above the pulpit.

And in the midst of the golden candlestick was One like the Son of Man!

Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved!

Compass rose from the balcony

Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.

27 August 2014

You know...

...you really shouldn't drink coffee at your work station. Not when you talk with your hands. And your coffee ends up spilling on your computer.

Not that this is the first time this has happened. I usually just clean it off and truck on. So I did the same today. Only...

About half an hour later, the e stopped working. Kind of difficult to type in English without an e. Then the number 2 went out. Then the letter d decided to type itself. Yeah. So. I had called IT when the e went out, not even thinking about the spill. But by the time we figured out that it was a bit of serious problem, I was panicking.

Work to get finished today and tomorrow. Heading out to conference in MD on Friday. It CAN'T die. Fortunately, the IT whizzes at work swapped out my hard drive into a smaller MacBook Pro and so by 1 p.m. I was back in business. But with the morning hour's lost! Grr. All because of coffee. And moving hands. And talking.

I heated up my cup of coffee this afternoon and put it safely ACROSS THE ROOM on the credenza. I think I MAY have learned something. Maybe.

14 August 2014

Patristic Selection (too long to call a quote!) of the Day

Just came across this one again:

And by letter here he means the Law which punishes them that transgress; but by spirit the grace which through Baptism gives life to them who by sins were made dead.


And what does this mean? In the Law, he that has sin is punished; here, he that has sins comes and is baptized and is made righteous, and being made righteous, he lives, being delivered from the death of sin.

The Law, if it lay hold on a murderer, puts him to death; the Gospel, if it lay hold on a murderer, enlightens, and gives him life.

And why do I instance a murderer? The Law laid hold on one that gathered sticks on a sabbath day, and stoned him. Numbers 15:32-36 This is the meaning of, the letter kills. The Gospel takes hold on thousands of homicides and robbers, and baptizing delivers them from their former vices. This is the meaning of, the Spirit gives life.

The former makes its captive dead from being alive, the latter renders the man it has convicted alive from being dead.

For, come unto me, you that labor and are heavy laden, Matthew 11:28 and, He said not, 'I will punish you,' but, I will give you rest. For in Baptism the sins are buried, the former things are blotted out, the man is made alive, the entire grace written upon his heart as it were a table.

St. John Chrysostom, unpacking 2 Corinthians 3:6 The letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.

12 August 2014

Thy Strong Word - John 2

Pastor Lukomski and I had a romp through this chapter. You can listen here.

10 August 2014

St. Lawrence Day

Here's a fine homily for this day from Pr. Curtis:

St. Lawrence, 2014
Trinity & Zion – Worden & Carpenter, IL
Rev. H. R. Curtis
John 12, 2 Cor 9
The Cheerfullest Giver

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Lawrence of Rome, a deacon of the 3rd century. St. Lawrence is known primarily for two features, which are reflected in our readings today: his care for the poor and his martyrdom. And in all of it, St. Lawrence shines forth with joy – truly a cheerful giver.

The year was 258, dark days for the Roman Empire. The government was broke and Christianity was illegal – a nice combination if you are the mayor of Rome, called the prefect. The emperor had ordered all of the clergy of the Church to be killed and that dark work was already well under way by August 7th, 258. But the prefect of Rome had got to thinking – what about all the riches of the Church? Before we kill all these guys we ought to find out where they have it stashed. 

And so the prefect of the city of Rome orders the head deacon, Lawrence, to come in for a chat. As a deacon, Lawrence’s job was not only to help out in the Sunday service but was especially to care for the property of the Church, to see to it that the gifts of the people were used properly and wisely: to see to it that the church buildings were kept up; that the ministers received their sustenance; that the articles of worship like the chalice for communion, or the paintings, or the stained glass, or the vestments were purchased and cared for; that all was kept in good order; and that those people in the Church’s family who truly could not care for themselves and were in need were cared for. That was St. Lawrence's job.

But to the Roman prefect he was just the guy with the key to the vault. “Give us all the Church’s riches!” 

Now put yourself in Lawrence’s place. For days you have witnessed your friends being dragged off by the government and executed for their faith. You have been busy hiding whatever people you can, getting people out of town, etc. The meanest, foulest sort of men are chasing down all the people you love, seeking to destroy God’s holy Church.

And now on top of that they are demanding you to hand over all the beautiful things in the church – all the gold chalices, the paintings, the works of art, that were paid for with the people’s gifts. These wicked men are demanding that the Church hand over to them the money that the people of God gave to support the ministers of the Church – the very ministers they had just killed with the sword!
How would you respond? Would you already be too depressed to get out of bed? Would you fly off the handle in an angry tirade? Would you break down in tears?

Not Lawrence. He has a plan. A crazy, funny, joyous plan. In these dark days St. Lawrence, or Larry –I don’t think he’ll mind if we can call him Larry and it seems to fit better – even in these dark days Larry could see the absurdity. 

“Give me three days, o Prefect, and I shall deliver to you all the treasures of the Church.” 

The Prefect was delighted – that was easy! For since he was a cowardly, greedy, faithless man he thought that all men were like him. He supposed that Larry just wanted three more days to live and would be happy to sell out his Church for the chance to live for 72 more hours.

But no, Larry had a plan: a plan to fulfill his duties as deacon, and a plan to play the most outlandish practical joke on this Roman prefect. So for three days Larry went on a wild reverse shopping spree. Every golden chalice, every piece of art, every chair, every lamp, everything! – he sold it all. He emptied the bank accounts and closed them down, and then he filled the pockets of every lame, blind, palsied, and leprous man in all of Rome. 

And then, on August 10th, he marched the whole parade of the poor to the prefect’s front door and said, “There you go! Here are the treasures of the Church. As you can see, we are even richer than your emperor!”

Infuriated, the prefect ordered that Larry was not to be beheaded, quick and clean, like the rest of the clergy of the city – no, he would be beaten and then roasted alive on a grill. 

Now again: put yourself in Larry’s shoes. Do you beg for your life? Turn pale and throw up? Faint? Not Larry. He’s a man of faith. He knows where he’s going. He knows the Jesus who speaks to us today in the Gospel lesson, the Bread of Life, the Seed that was sown so He could bear much fruit, the Jesus who died and rose again. The Jesus who shed His blood so that we could be cleansed of our sins – the Jesus who got up from the dead, glorious and eternally living, and who promises us a likewise glorious resurrection. 

So Larry didn’t beg. He didn’t faint. He took his beating without a word. And then when they threw him on the red hot grill he gritted his teeth and bore up under the suffering, but after a while he couldn’t control himself: he opened his mouth and said to the soldiers, “Boys, I’m done on this side, you’d better flip me over before you eat.”

Ha! The Lord loves a cheerful giver – and Larry was certainly that. 

Now, I hope that you will not share the martyrs' fate – but you certainly share their faith. So how can we not be cheerful? Don’t we know the same Jesus that St. Larry of the Grill knew? Don’t we know where we are headed? Don’t we know that death is not the end of our story? Don’t we know that the things of this world are nothing but tools to be used for God’s purposes? Don’t we know that the only thing that matters is clinging to Jesus and following His commandments of love? 

Lord willing your life will not be anywhere near as dramatic as that of St. Lawrence. But I do hope it is filled with as much joy: the joy comes from knowing Jesus. The joy that makes it possible to be a cheerful giver. 

What can we learn from the wry comedy of St. Lawrence? In the face of a world that is so deadly serious about its sins and about its greed and about its cruelty, we can learn from St. Lawrence to laugh, to see how ridiculous the world is. People live and die for such foolish things: for money, for power, for lust, and for fame. But we live and die for Jesus Christ. The contrast is so enormous that we do not know whether to laugh or to cry. St. Lawrence did both. And now his tears are dried and he is very happy in heaven. Where that prefect or those soldiers are depends on whether or not they learned anything from St. Lawrence – whether they clung to the Word and learned to laugh at this world, too. For humility and humor and generosity and courage all come from the same place: faith in Jesus.

In the Name...

09 August 2014


Well, that's its number in Lutheran Service Book at any rate. Its words have been much in mind of late. I am more convinced than ever we need to teach them to our children for enduring what they will face and we need to hold them tight to our own hearts as well:

O little flock, fear not the foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow;
Dread not his rage and pow'r.
And though your courage sometimes faints,
His seeming triumph o'er God's saints
Lasts but a little hour.

Be of good cheer; your cause belongs
To Him who can avenge your wrongs;
Leave it to Him, our Lord.
Tho' hidden still from mortal eyes,
His Gideon shall for you arise,
Uphold you and His Word.

As true as God's own Word is true,
Not earth nor hell's satanic crew
Against us shall prevail.
Their might? A joke, a mere facade!
God is with us and we with God—
Our vict'ry cannot fail.

Amen, Lord Jesus, grant our prayer;
Great Captain now Thine arm make bare,
Fight for us once again!
So shall Thy saints and martyrs raise
A mighty chorus to Thy praise 
Forevermore. Amen.

08 August 2014

How sweet is that?

My daughter-in-law wrote me that her mom, Karen, always listens to the Bible Study on KFUO. And since I came on air this week with the new Thy Strong Word, when she's keeping Lydia (David and Meaghan's daughter), Lydia looks this way and that while the show is on. She thought it might be fluke but she's kept doing it and she never did it before. Poor love doen't understand why she can hear her grandpa and yet not see him!

06 August 2014

Beautiful Setting of "Jerusalem the Golden"

borrowed from our friends in WELS:

Litany from Tuesday's Evening Prayer

at the liturgical institute, that I was privileged to lead:

05 August 2014

Check out

THY STRONG WORD on KFUO: click here.

03 August 2014

Worship Institute

It certainly did not go off without a hitch; yet none of the hitches ended up getting in the way of what was a wonderful (and exhausting) week at Concordia, Seward as we soaked in the comfort of the Word, sang His praises, and received His gifts. If you are a musician, lay person interested in worship, or a pastor of the LCMS, I wish you had been with us to experience it. The music was off the charts. The preaching was outstanding (from President Harrison to Chaplain Ball, from Chaplain Esget to Pastor Wolfmueller). The comfort in Christ was abundant. 2017 is next Institute. BE THERE! You'll be blessed!


Today Carlo played a little bit for us before Bible Class. It sounded like a different instrument. His comment: "This is the instrument designed for this room!" Night and day difference. Getting mega-excited for the rededication!

02 August 2014

St. Paul's!


Now all the heav’nly splendor
Breaks forth in starlight tender
From myriad worlds unknown;
And we, this marvel seeing,
Forget our selfish being
For joy of beauty not our own.

We need more power outages so that we can again see what Gerhardt saw, what Abraham saw when God told him to go outside the tent and look up. We need more exposure to this beauty that we did not create, so that we can understand what beauty is.

When our technology and advancement cut us off from being able to perceive and see the beauty of our God that shines forth from His world, they do us a huge disservice.

01 August 2014

Now Rest Beneath

Nun Ruhen at hymn festival during Institute: Now Rest Beneath

Well, WOW. Just WOW.

The musicians of the LCMS are simply beyond good. They MADE the institute's worship. Thank you to them all, and I won't try to list you all, because I'll leave someone out! But wow.

Above all the service pictured here, the opening Divine Service. This was beyond shadow of doubt the most beautiful, reverent and joyful Divine Service I have ever attended anywhere. Wow. From President Harrison's homily (Joseph's pants!) to Pastor Esget's reverent and gracious presiding, from Jeff Blersch's sensitivity in organ leadership (disappearing at times so the four part chant could take over, and at other times using the organ to give full voice to our joy in the Lord) to the musicianship of the assembly itself. ALL of it worked together to the full glory of God and the overwhelming comfort of poor sinners. Thank you, one and all who participated.

Here's a taste of the heaven we enjoyed:

Agnus Dei

and from the Hymn festival:

All My Heart

I am particularly appreciative of Deaconess Sandra Bowers who is the one who is primarily responsible for making this dream come true! And to Pr. Ball and Pr. Esget for serving as our chaplains.