31 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

A good work, even though well performed, is a venial sin according to God’s merciful judgment, and a mortal sin according to his strict judgment.—Martin Luther, A Defense of All Articles, Article 32

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let us not therefore remain craving after the things of this life, neither after the luxury of the table, or costliness of raiment. For you have the most excellent of raiment, you have a spiritual table, you have the glory from on high, and Christ has become to you all things, your table, your raiment, your home, your head, your stem.—St. John Chrysostom, Instruction to Catechumens (Inst. 2, par. 2)

30 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This captain gave a good witness: he had built a school [synagogue] and loved his servant. However, as he came to Christ, he forgot all this. So also we, when we deal with God, all trust in our own worthiness has to fall by the wayside. We must never think about our prior good works. Instead, purely and simply, we must cling to the goodness of God.—Johann Gerhard, Homily on the Third Sunday after Epiphany (Postilla I:174)

Patristic Quote of the Day

The presbyter accordingly is the same as a bishop... Therefore as the presbyters know that they are subject to the one who has been placed over them by an ecclesiastical custom, so the bishops should know that they are greater than presbyters more through custom than through the verity of an ordinance of the Lord and that they all ought to rule the church in common.—St. Jerome, Commentary on Titus 1:5

29 January 2014

Redeemer Free Conference Video

I heard today that Redeemer has posted the presentation I gave to their free conference titled: Why Remain Lutheran? It's All About Conscience.

I confess that it was one of the most emotionally difficult presentations I've ever delivered and was very personal. I offer the links below for those who would like to see it:

Presentation Part One

Presentation Part Two

This is not offered here to open up old wounds, to stir some debate between fellow Christians. It is offered to explain why I remain a Lutheran Christian and find that of value. I'd kindly ask that there simply be no debate in any comments that are made. Any comment attempting such will simply be deleted.

28 January 2014

Apostolic Succession and Lutherans

Just read a rather delightful paper on the topic by Fr. Heath Curtis located here: Apostolic Succession

Do read Eric Phillips insightful comments following it as well. Fr. Curtis' paper reminded me of story told by Fr. Mark Buetow. He was attending some clergy gathering on a campus and wore his pectoral cross. An Episcopal or Roman priest (can't remember which) said: "In my tradition, that is worn only by a bishop." Without missing a beat, Mark responded: "In my tradition, I AM a bishop." Bingo.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The deeper we plunge Christ into the flesh of mankind, the better for us. For he subjected himself under the meanest purification Law, in order to show that he was an ordinary human being, yet a pure, holy person who places himself under the Law for our sake.—Martin Luther, Homily on the Purification, House Postils III:277.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The doctrine of the incarnation was very hard to receive. For the exceeding measure of His lovingkindness and the magnitude of His condescension were full of awe, and needed much preparation to be accepted. For consider what a great thing it was to hear and to learn that God the ineffable, the incorruptible, the unintelligible, the invisible, the incomprehensible, in whose hand are the ends of the earth, who looks upon the earth, and causes it to tremble, who touches the mountains, and makes them smoke, the weight of whose condescension not even the Cherubim were able to bear but veiled their faces by the shelter of their wings, that this God who surpasses all understanding, and baffles all calculation, having passed by angels, archangels, and all the spiritual powers above, deigned to become man, and to take flesh formed of earth and clay, and enter the womb of a virgin, and be borne there the space of nine months, and be nourished with milk, and suffer all things to which man is liable.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on "Father, if it is possible..." par. 3

27 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is the intention of Paul that we should be rich in the Word of God, because our adversary, the devil, prowls around. Therefore it is not only pleasing to God, but also necessary for us that we abide in the Word of God, and we have no other weapons.—Martin Luther, Lecture on 1 Timothy 1:1.

Patristic Quote of the Day

And yet He is the only true physician both of souls and bodies. On this account He often seizes this nature of ours wantoning in prosperity, and travailing with a fever of sins, and by want, and hunger, and death and other calamities and the rest of the medicines of which He knows, frees us from diseases. But the poor alone feel hunger, says one. But He does not chasten with hunger alone, but with countless other things. Him who is in poverty He has often corrected with hunger, but the rich and him who enjoys prosperity, with dangers, diseases, untimely deaths. For He is full of resources, and the medicines which He has for our salvation are manifold.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1 Against Those Who Say the Demons Govern Human Affairs, par. 5

Commemoration of St. John Chrysostom



He's got to be my all time favorite among the holy fathers. From our Synod's website and the Treasury:

Given the added name of Chrysostom, which means "golden-mouthed" in Greek, Saint John was a dominant force in the fourth-century Christian church. Born in Antioch around the year 347, John was instructed in the Christian faith by his pious mother, Anthusa. After serving in a number of Christian offices, including acolyte and lector, John was ordained a presbyter and given preaching responsibilities. His simple but direct messages found an audience well beyond his home town. In 398, John Chrysostom was made Patriarch of Constantinople. His determination to reform the church, court, and city there brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually, he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until the time of his death in 407. It is reported that his final words were: "Glory be to God for all things. Amen."

A snippet of the writing assigned to today by St. John:

And what does "ransom" mean? God was about to punish them, but He did not do it. They were about to perish, but in their stead He gave His own Son and sent us as heralds to proclaim the cross. These things are sufficient to attract all and to demonstrate the love of Christ. [Treasury, p. 1157]

Collect: O God, You gave Your servant John Chrysostom grace to proclaim the Gospel with eloquence and power. As bishop of the great congregations of Antioch and Constantinople, he fearlessly bore reproach for the honor of Your name. Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and fidelity in ministering Your Word that Your people shall be partakers of the divine nature... [Treasury, p. 1158]

25 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The important thing is that we have a tranquil and quiet heart and a mind filled with joy, that is, that we be content with the Word and work of God. —Martin Luther, On Ecclesiastes

Patristic Quote of the Day

If any man be effeminate, or a fornicator, or an idolator, or a doer of whatever ill you please, or if he be full of all the wickedness there is among men: should he fall into this pool of waters, he comes up again from the divine fountain purer than the sun's rays.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily to the Catechumens, par. 3.

24 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Therefore sin requires nothing else than God’s law. Where that enters the heart, sin is already alive and able to kill man if it wants to, unless he lays hold of this victory, which is Christ, our Lord.—Martin Luther on 1 Corinthians 15.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Neither is faith, he means, of ourselves. Because had He not come, had He not called us, how had we been able to believe? For how, says he, shall they believe, unless they hear? Romans 10:14 So that the work of faith itself is not our own.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Ephesians 2

23 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

It is true and necessary and right that the Law reveals your sin and accuses you; and sin, in turn, has the right to kill you and death to devour you. That is beyond dispute and argument. For both your own testimony and God’s Word are against you there. However, there is help in the fact that the Man Jesus Christ has come and has assumed and borne our sin and death, which we had justly deserved, and that He now steps forth in our behalf, confronts the Law, sin, and death, and says: “I am of the same flesh and blood; these are My brothers and sisters. What they did I did; and I paid for it. Law, if you want to condemn them, condemn Me. Sin, if you want to bite and kill them, bite Me. Death, if you want to consume and devour, devour Me.”—Martin Luther on 1 Corinthians 15

Patristic Quote of the Day

For as he who is a child of man is by nature man, so also were we children of wrath even as others; i.e., no one was free, but we all did things worthy of wrath.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Ephesians 2.

22 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

And now St. Paul appropriately concludes with a song which he sings: “Thanks and praise be to God, who gave us such a victory!” We can join in that song and in that way always celebrate Easter, praising and extolling God for a victory that was not won or achieved in battle by us—it is far too sublime and great for that—but was presented and given to us by the mercy of God. He had compassion with our misery, from which no one could rescue us, and He sent His Son and let Him enter the battle. He laid these enemies, sin, death, and hell, low and retained the victory. He transferred this victory to us, so that we may say it is our victory. It is just as if it had been gained by us.—Martin Luther, on 1 Corinthians 15.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Even so did Christ act: He represses first of all the source of the evil. For the source and root and mother of all evil is the nature of sin. This it is which enervates our bodies: this it is which brings on disease: therefore also on this occasion He said, "Son! Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you."—St. John Chrysostom, Sermon on the Paralytic, paragraph 5.

21 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

But now He has stepped into our place, and in our behalf He has let the Law, sin, and death pounce on Him. He has not only removed these from us, but He has also vanquished them completely and cast them at His feet. Now they are overcome for us and no longer have any right to or power over us. In that way we have a complete victory in Christ, now spiritually by faith but later also physically and visibly.—Martin Luther, On 1 Corinthians 15

Patristic Quote of the Day

For just as we ourselves desire to draw a veil over our sins even so does God much more than we: on this account He wrought the cure in the presence of all, but He gives the exhortation or the advice privately. For He never makes a public display of our sins, except at any time He sees men insensible to them.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on the Paralytic, par. 3.

20 January 2014

Crazy couple days!

Back home...crazy two days. We left for the Fort yesterday afternoon (after singing at early church, playing for Trinity, brunch with the family and one game of Liverpool, that stupid game!). Cindi went along. We got to the Fort about 9 p.m., checked into the hotel and crashed. Up early to a truly BAD breakfast at the Hilton (how on earth can you make eggs taste so awful?) and then to Redeemer's Free Conference. Beautiful Mass and Nones. We had to miss Vespers. I could listen to Pr. Ben Mayes chant all day long. Pr. Petersen had a fine homily and Pr. Frese served as celebrant. Got to reconnect with a bunch of old friends - much joy, but glad to be home again. We had Pandora on all the way, and listened to a lot of music. It makes the hours disappear.

17 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Because they do not see that the Law leads to an acknowledgment of sin and to thoughts of our own weakness, they are led away from faith into works.—Martin Luther, AE 28 on 1 Timothy 1:6

Patristic Quote of the Day

The law, if you use it aright, sends you to Christ. For since its aim is to justify man, and it fails to effect this, it remits us to Him who can do so.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on 1 Timothy

16 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This is God’s building, when people are instructed toward a sincere faith, a good conscience, and a pure heart. Once they have these, then follows the end and result of that knowledge—love.—Martin Luther, AE 38 on 1 Timothy 1:5

Patristic Quote of the Day

For faith points out the truth, and a sincere faith produces love, which he who truly believes in God cannot endure to lay aside.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily2  on 1 Timothy.

15 January 2014

Today's Catechesis

Reading from 1 Corinthians 10:

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Catechism, p. 326

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.

Meditation:

The whole mess began with eating. Eating what God had not given and what He had expressly forbad. And so are we surprised to find at the very heart of the Christian faith, at the center of our gathering to the Crucified and Risen Lord, the gift of food? And such food!

“The true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We often hide from our eyes the fact that we can only sustain our natural life by the death of other living things, but it is absolutely true. For you to live, other beings have to die. And you have to take into your body their life (usually rather quickly, before it rots and flies away). Your fridge, after all, is really a morgue, a place where the dead are stored and kept cool to hold off the inevitable rot which is the sign that all the life has fled from the food and so you dare not eat it anymore.

Our Lord looked this reality in the face when He warned us: Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life which the Son of God will give you. (John 6).

So He sacrifices Himself upon Calvary’s tree to supply you with food, the food that is His flesh and blood. And unlike the other food that you take into yourself. This is spiritual food. This food doesn’t rot. Doesn’t decay. And even more, it imparts to you an eternal life when received in faith. Luther once said: Other food that we eat, we change into ourselves, but this food changes us into itself. We become one body because we all eat of the one body! It imparts to us a life that death simply cannot take from us. And because it is the body and blood of Jesus, it gives us forgiveness. For that is why He went to the cross, offering up His body and pouring out His blood, “for the forgiveness of sins.”

So as often as you present yourself at the Table as a Christian (our Catechism is blessed ignorant of the phenomenon of Lutherans!), He gives to you the gift that He died to win for you and lives to impart to you: His very body and blood as FOOD so that you may eat it and not die, but live in Him forevermore.

St. Paul warns that there’s no room then for feasting at the demon’s table, when our true life is given at the Lord’s table. Flee them! You belong to another. He made you His in Baptism. He keeps you His in the Supper. In Baptism you go into Christ. In to the Eucharist, Christ goes into you. All so that Christ may be all in all, and so that you might have a share in Him, in His life, in His blessedness and glory.

Indeed, the cup of blessing (the blessing promised to Abraham) which we bless (with the words of Jesus) is koinonia – common participation – in His blood. The bread which we bread is koinonia—common participation—in His body. And thus you share His life: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me will also live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven…whoever feeds on this bread will live…FOREVER.”

Unlike the rest of your food, THIS food isn’t rotting and decaying; it gives you a life in Christ forever. Amen.

Hymn: "What Is This Bread?" LSB 629

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day


When a heart in sin has been purified of all the things we have already mentioned, then there is immediately a conscience which says: “I trust only in God’s mercy, which sin does not sting.” If sin does sting it, yet it does not lose faith. It is a conscience which trusts in and clings to the mercy of God.—Martin Luther, AE 28, 1 Timothy 1:5

Patristic Quote of the Day

Nothing is so injurious to mankind as to undervalue friendship ; and not to cultivate it with the greatest care; as nothing, on the other hand, is so beneficial, as to pursue it to the utmost of our power.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on 1 Timothy

14 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The pure heart, then, is one that knows that it is saved solely by the mercy of God and that it is special for that same reason. —Martin Luther, AE 28, First Timothy 1:5

Patristic Quote of the Day

For great are the blessings which God is willing to dispense; but the greatness of them is not conceived by reasoning. This must then be the work of faith, which is the best medicine of our souls.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on 1 Timothy 1.

13 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Wherever I look and see Christian children, I see Christ, if only I could believe it.—Martin Luther, Day by Day, p. 58

Patristic Quote of the Day

God is able whenever He wills to forgive us our sins, even those which we think cannot be forgiven.—St. Ambrose, Concerning Repentance, Book II, par. 12.

12 January 2014

Weekend Wrap

Friday night - 2 games of Liverpool. Cindi won one, I won one, Dave and Bekah...not so much.

Saturday afternoon - 2 games of Liverpool. Cindi won and Dave won.

Saturday night - 7 games of 4-handed pinochle. Scott and I trounced Cindi and Crystal 7 games to 5. Trounced, I said, and meant it. I'm sticking with it.

Sunday afternoon - 1 game of Liverpool (David, Meaghan, Dave, Bekah, Cindi and I played, and Lydia just looked cute). Bekah won.

Sunday evening - 2 games of six-handed Pinchole (I hope!) with Klingers and Van Ulfts. We'll SEE who wins this. Surely, it is the men's turn again.

Making up for lost time on the cards, but it sure was LOTS of fun.

Attended early Divine Service at St. Paul's and then played the Divine Service for Trinity. Two outstanding homilies, and beautiful liturgies. Trinity seems to have developed the tradition of the choir singing this version of "Brightest and Best" - and I confess I like it better than the version in LSB with its chromaticism. Enjoy!

10 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

For we do not disapprove of what Jerome writes to Lucinius, namely, that the churchly traditions, especially such as do not harm the faith, are to be observed as they were handed down by the elders. Also what Augustine says: “Whatever is commanded that does not hinder faith or good morals is to be considered an indifferent thing and observed for the benefit of those among whom one lives.” —Martin Chemnitz, Examen I:271.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For what has more power than the confession of the Trinity which is daily celebrated by the mouth of the whole people? All eagerly vie one with the other in confessing the faith, and know how to praise in verse the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.—St. Ambrose, On the Giving Up of the Basilicas, par. 34.

09 January 2014

Do you know...

...that if you pull out all the citations from the Lutheran Symbols dealing with the matter of the conscience, you end up with almost 40 pages worth of notes. Conscience. It was what the Reformation was all about.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

For those who really desire to be true Christians, to be rid of their sins, and to have a cheerful conscience already possess the true hunger and thirst.—Martin Luther, Admonition to Confession

Patristic Quote of the Day

The law did not gather the Church together, but the faith of Christ. For the law is not by faith, but the just man lives by faith. Galatians 3:11 Therefore, faith, not the law, makes a man just, for justice is not through the law, but through the faith of Christ. But he who casts aside his faith and pleads for that the claims of the law, bears witness that he is himself unjust; for the just man lives by faith.—St. Ambrose, On the Giving Up of the Basilicas, par. 24

08 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Therefore, it is entirely correct to say, if one points to the bread, “This is Christ’s body,” and whoever sees the bread sees Christ’s body, as John says that he saw the Holy Spirit when he saw the dove, as we have heard. Thus also it is correct to say, “He who takes hold of this bread, takes hold of Christ’s body; and he who eats this bread, eats Christ’s body; he who crushes this bread with teeth or tongue, crushes with teeth or tongue the body of Christ.” And yet it remains absolutely true that no one sees or grasps or eats or chews Christ’s body in the way he visibly sees and chews any other flesh. What one does to the bread is rightly and properly attributed to the body of Christ by virtue of the sacramental union.—Martin Luther, [Great] Confession concerning Christ’s Supper, AE 37:299-300.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Have they read also today, that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us? Galatians 3:13 Was Christ a curse in His Godhead? But why He is called a curse the Apostle tells us, saying that it is written: Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree, Galatians 3:13 that is, He Who in his flesh bore our flesh, in His body bore our infirmities and our curses, that He might crucify them; for He was not cursed Himself, but was cursed in you. So it is written elsewhere: Who knew no sin, but was made sin for us, for He bore our sins, 2 Corinthians 5:21 that he might destroy them by the Sacrament of His Passion.—St. Ambrose, On the Giving Up of the Basilicas, par. 25.

06 January 2014

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

And it is better not to believe that which is outside of the Scriptures, than to depart from that which is in the Scriptures.—Martin Luther, Sermon for Epiphany, par. 58 (Church Postils)

Patristic Quote of the Day

After celebrating but lately the day on which immaculate virginity brought forth the Saviour of mankind, the venerable feast of the Epiphany, dearly beloved, gives us continuance of joy, that the force of our exultation and the fervour of our faith may not grow cool, in the midst of neighbouring and kindred mysteries. For it concerns all men's salvation, that the infancy of the Mediator between God and men was already manifested to the whole world, while He was still detained in the tiny town. For although He had chosen the Israelitish nation, and one family out of that nation, from whom to assume the nature of all mankind, yet He was unwilling that the early days of His birth should be concealed within the narrow limits of His mother's home: but desired to be soon recognized by all, seeing that He deigned to be born for all. —St. Leo the Great, Homily 31

Blessed Feast of Our Lord's Epiphany!

"Behold, the Lord, the Ruler has come, and the kingdom and the power and the glory are in His hand."

Such a tiny hand to hold all that, but the Magi confess it as they bow before the holy Child upon the Blessed Virgin's lap and offer to Him their gifts.

With joy we sing with them on this day:

O Morning Star, how fair and bright!
You shine with God's own truth and light,
Aglow with grace and mercy!
Of Jacob's race, King David's Son,
Our Lord and Master You have won
Our hearts to serve You only.
Lowly, holy!
Great and glorious
All victorious
Rich in blessing!
Rule and might o'er all possessing! (LSB 395:1)

05 January 2014

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

...my true love gave to me: a stew featuring a beef heart. I'm trying to be grateful. And think primally. You can do this, Bill. You know you can. Just close you eyes and swallow.

It was such a snowy day as this...

...only on a January 5th some 34 years ago that my father breathed his last, in his own bed, at our beloved 2719 Munson Street in Wheaton, MD., surrounded by his wife and all his children.

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant, with your saints where sorrow and pain are no more, but life everlasting.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The term Church is used by Paul, just as it is with us, in various ways. Sometimes he applies it to an assembly of Christians in a given place; sometimes to a single congregation, sometimes to the whole body of believing Christians in a definite city; and sometimes to the Church as a whole as constituting a single organism characterized by real, living fellowship with Christ. In this latter sense he addresses all Christians as saints, holy, consecrated to God and belonging to Him alone (I Cor. 1:2; 12:28; Rom. 16:1; II Cor. 1:1).—C. H. Little, New Testament Handbook, pp. 156-57.

Patristic Quote of the Day

(from Treasury):  Never is Christ without water: He who is Himself baptized in water; inaugurates in water the first display of His power when invited to the wedding in Cana; in His preaching He invites the thirsty to His own eternal water; He approves, among the works of charity, the cup of water offered to a poor child; He gathered His strength at a well; walks over the water; clams the waves; and serves His disciples with washing by water. Even His Passion bears witness to the power of Baptism's water, for which He was being handed over to the cross, water intervened and was a witness against Pilate's hands. And when He is wounded, after His death, water bursts forth from His side that had been pierced with the soldier's lance.—Tertullian

04 January 2014

Christmas II

What a comforting message Pr. Ball brought to us tonight, yet again! Christmas decorations put away, and yet our Christmas joy cannot be destroyed by murderous Herod or any (including our sinful flesh) that would oppose the advent of the King who comes only to serve, to bear sin, to be God in our flesh.

The Weedons from Hamel and from Glen Carbon were in attendance and we had the joy of "What Child Is This," "From East to West," "Let All Together," "O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is"and "Lo, How a Rose." The Divine Service (III) was celebrated in all its beauty and a larger than usual congregation gathered on Saturday night in anticipation of the impending storm (though St. Paul's regularly scheduled services will be held tomorrow morning). I love the feast days when the Our Father is sung by the pastor and the congregation responds with the doxology. After liturgy we gathered for a game of Liverpool (that Meaghan rudely won!) and took turns loving on Lydia. Now we'll see what tomorrow brings our way. I've laid the wood in the fireplace ready to light.

In Anticipation of Epiphany...

...a little T.S. Elliot:

The Journey of the Magi

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Never think that you are kneeling or standing alone, rather think that the whole of Christendom, all devout Christians, are standing there beside you and you are standing among them in a common, united petition which God cannot disdain.—Martin Luther, A Simple Way to Pray, AE 43:198.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The praises of Christ are ever the scourges of the unfaithful.—St. Ambrose, On the Giving Up of the Basilicas, 19.

03 January 2014

The calm...

...before the storm. I'm thinking we'll be attending the Mass on Saturday night this week!

Joy at the Return of the Light

Okay, so it was bitter cold last night and even more bitter weather is on the horizon. And yet...wow. The sun has been shining so beautifully today. I love it. Absolutely love the return of the light. It seems to lift the spirit like nothing else does.

And if the natural light does this for us, how much more the light that is Christ? I think of that lovely Advent hymn (which comes to us from the Russian tradition and has been one of my favorites since I learned it first from the 1969 Worship Supplement):

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light triumphant breaks,
When beauty gilds the eastern hills
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child,
To bear and fight and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

O brighter than that rising morn
When Christ victorious rose
And left the lonesome place of death
Despite the rage of foes;

O brighter than that glorious morn
Shall dawn upon our race;
The day when Christ in splendor comes
And we shall see His face.

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light and beauty brings.
"Hail, Christ the King!" Your people pray;
"Come quickly, King of kings!" LSB 348

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Thus we also say here, that the bread is the body of Christ because Christ said, “This is my body.” We leave it to others, namely to those who quarrel over words, to fight about the moment and syllables. For we are commanded to believe that the Word of God is true; but we are not to investigate as to which moment or how they are true or fulfilled.—Martin Luther, Letter to Andreas Carlstadt [1528], quoted in Gaylin Schmeling, “The Theology of the Lord’s Supper,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly 28:4, pp. 27-28 [WA Br. IV, 366-388])

Patristic Quote of the Day

You see, then, that Christ wills to suffer in His servants.—St. Ambrose, Sermon on the Giving up of the Basilicas, par. 14

02 January 2014

I wonder...

...what the neighbors thought. I was in my shorts, and put on Cindi's boots, to battle the snow drifts and go and gather in wood from the wood pile. Coats and long pants are for wimps. Or for people who are not complete and utter idiots. Brr. Took a while to warm up, but I got a load of wood into the garage.

And what idiot was it that decided that we needed to move the freezer to block the back door of the garage (you know, the one that directly accesses the wood pile for the fireplace)???

Oh, well. Never mind.

This-n-that on Latest Weedon fads

So, it's been a long, long time since I posted anything about low-carbing or paleo, so you can skip this or only blame yourself for reading on...

Cindi and I have faithfully continued with Paleo or Primal, but enjoy pushing boundaries on various things. Beginning a couple months ago, we began adding in some resistant starch every day. You can read about that here. Richard is a bit foul mouthed at times (you have been warned!), but I love his honest explorations and reflections on a variety of things. This one has been pretty amazing. Feeding your bugs, not feeding you—that's the heart of resistant starch—and it seems to be almost a miracle for diabetics (both types!). It's super for deep sleeping at night and for generally elevating the mood (Cindi's experienced some drastic improvements on that, and she's a terrible sufferer of SAD).

A couple years back, again following a post of Richard's, I decided to embark on a truly crazy experiment: dropping soap and shampoo! Yup, been over two years and no one notices. "What? You don't bathe?" That's not what I said. I said I don't use soap. I bathe every day. I just use the water. And twice a week, I throw some vinegar on the scalp in the shower and voila, no dandruff. Yes, I still use deodorant, so relax.

I've adopted a fitness routine that I'm really loving. Called SimpleFit. I can actually fit this one into my life. Doesn't replace the walking (which I've found a harder time doing of late), but it does replace Mark Sisson's "Lift Heavy Things." It's so amazingly simple, but you're racing against yourself so it's also lots of fun. I have really loved upping pull ups - never one of my strongest moves!

Still big Dave Ramsey fans. If you haven't taken Financial Peace University, give it a whirl! Great, great stuff.

Still working at limiting digital time. I look around me everywhere and see how we've become slaves to these little NSA spying devises we carry everywhere. So in this New Year, I really want to stick to my earlier plan of basically turning the stuff off (physically off) come supper time and let the evening be for the old fashioned kind of stuff like real books, games, visiting, and of course, back scratches.  I also intend to work on limiting it at work. The tyranny of the immediate destroys so much. Mark Sisson suggested this a while back, and I tried it, but then slipped back into old habits. You allow yourself a window of time in morning and in afternoon to do nothing but deal with email. Then you shut the danged program and don't allow it to constantly interrupt you throughout the day, so you can creatively work on stuff that finally matters.

Sleep has shifted with work. Now I regularly start heading to bed about 8:30 p.m. and hopefully am asleep (after some reading) by nine. Christmas Midnight about killed me! I usually roll out of bed around 5:20 or so. Still am totally loving this for an "alarm." Simply amazing how refreshing to let LIGHT wake you up in the morning. I definitely love the "bouncing off the wall" way I feel when waking up from a full and restful night of sleep. Good sleep is some of the best medicine of all, and the resistant starch has really strengthened that.

And that's enough crazy info for the day, but figured any blog readers who have hung around here for a long time needed to be brought up on the wild and wacky world of Weedon's latest lunacies...

January 2, Commemoration of Wilhelm Loehe, Pastor

From Synod's website and our Treasury:

J. K. Wilhelm Loehe, Pastor

Although he never left Germany, Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, born in Fuerth in 1808, had a profound impact on the development of Lutheranism in North America. Serving as pastor in the Bavarian village of Neuendettelsau, he recognized the need for workers in developing lands and assisted in training emergency helpers to be sent as missionary pastors to North America, Brazil, and Australia. A number of the men he sent to the United States became founders of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. Through his financial support, a theological school was established in Fort Wayne, Ind., and a teachers' institute in Saginaw, Mich. Loehe was known for his confessional integrity and his interest in liturgy and catechetics. His devotion to works of Christian charity led to the establishment of a deaconess training house and homes for the aged.

And from the wonderful reading from Loehe in today's Treasury:

The worshipping congregation experiences itself as the Bride of the Lord, rich not only in and through Him but also in and through one another. The congregation, in its fullness, thinks of the special needs and miseries upon earth, delights in all good things, and goes before the altar of the Lord with intercessions, petitions, and prayers. 

For Your servant, Wilhelm Loehe, all glory and praise to You, most blessed Trinity!

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Members of the congregation in calling a minister to perform these public functions do not abdicate their rights, gifts, or privileges as kings and priests to whom the Lord has committed the means of grace. They still retain all their rights and privileges as spiritual priests and still administer them in their private capacity. They simply appoint someone as a minister to discharge the public functions which they cannot discharge directly in their own persons.—C.H. Little, Lutheran Confessional Theology. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

He therefore, He says, that is of God will receive most readily and gladly the Divine words (for that which is of kin and own is always dear) but he that is not of God, i. e., he who in no wise prizes relationship with Him, will not most gladly hear the Divine words.—St. Cyril of Alexandria on John 8

01 January 2014

P.S.

Anyone else ever feel like you are arriving at Edoras from Dun Harrow, as the valley winds lower after Beckley, following first Paint Creek, and then joining with the Kanawha River, and finally opening out at Charleston with THIS "thatched with gold" and "the light of it shines far over the land"?





Happy 2014!

The Weedons enjoyed a relatively quiet Christmas at home. Midnight Divine Service and then the Mass for Christmas Day. After services, David, Meaghan, Lydia and Dave joined Cindi, Bekah and me for a scrumptious Christmas repast: beef tenderloin, studded with whole garlic cloves and sprigs of fresh rosemary, then the whole wrapped in bacon; asparagus; paleo rolls and regular popovers; homemade cranberry sauce; chocolate and pecan pies and various chocolate treats. A game or two of liverpool, and then Cindi, Bekah and I began to pack.

St. Stephen's found us heading out before dawn for a week's stay in North Carolina with Dean and Lauren, Sawyer and Annabelle. Lots of fun - and another Christmas feast: turkey, gravy, baked taters, baked sweet taters, turnips in butter, Miss Hazel's rolls, chocolate pie and a paleo chocolate torte with a coconut crust.

Lots of fun...and lots of laughter. Went for a walk at Kerr Dam one beautiful day. I was supposed to carry Sawyer in Dean's backpack. So I put it on. But wasn't sure how to get him in it. I asked Lauren for help. She burst out laughing. Turns out I had it on upside down (Dean: "How is that even possible?"), and looking back at the car, I had dumped the contents of one of the pockets without even realizing it! Sigh. Handy, I am not. Silly, I may be.

Sawyer and I played the piano and sang together and that was lots of fun. Holding Annabelle was simply amazing. The child is the most passive, gentle little one I've ever held in my arm (quite the opposite of her lively cousin, Lydia or her lively brother Sawyer!).

Hearing Dean preach was a great treat - he's quite a good homilist and each time I hear him, he's even better than the last time!

Seeing my dear Lauren in all her glory as mom and pastor's wife and still as childlike and fun-loving as ever makes my day, but boy do I miss having them around here. Like lots.

Bekah shines as an auntie. She dotes on the little ones no end. And they love her too!

Lots of Liverpool in NC. One game DID get a wee bit out of hand. SOMEONE might have been so aggravated that Lauren ended up with a pile of cards in her lap...

We had an amazingly quick trip home - no traffic, no construction. We'd have made it in about 13 hours, but we did stop for dinner in Mount Vernon. And...well... we pulled up, and began unloading stuff. Cindi brought the garage door opener, but when we went to enter the house we realized the door was LOCKED and not a single one of us had thought to bring keys. Good gravy.

Off to Edwardsville to pick up the spare from Erin (who had graciously been house-sitting for us), and that allowed Cindi to pick up a few groceries and all of us to drop in on the Glen Carbon Weedons and give Lydia lots and lots of kisses and hugs.

That's about a wrap - and here are some pictures of the fun times: