31 May 2015

Joyous Feast of the Holy Trinity

It's the capstone of the semester Domini and the entrance to the semester Ecclesia, the Feast of the. Holy Trinity. We celebrated together at St. Paul's and then I got to play for the feast at Trinity in Worden.   There is something about the hymns, readings and prayers on this day. The entire liturgy's Trinitarian focus, which is always there, comes into sharp relief. Invocation, absolution, Gloria Patri, Kyrie, Gloria in Exclesis, termination to collects,  triple alleluia, Athanasian, triple Sanctus and Benedictus, triple form of Agnus, Gloria Patri again at the Nunc, and then triple form in Aaronic benediction answered with three Amens. Trinity from start to finish! Indeed, we cry out every Sunday but today explicitly so: Blessed be the holy Trinity and the undivided Unity! Let us give glory to Him because He has shown His mercy to us! (Introit).

29 May 2015

Like Christmas!!

New toy.  Blow money well spent, thank you Dave Ramsey. Can't wait to go for a long ride!

Love coming into the weekend

With lawn work DONE. I did our yard and trimmed the roses. Cindi's doing her dad's and has weed whacked.  We both enjoy doing it, but she usually finishes up everything while I'm at work. Today we got to share! Now for a nice pot of Irish Breakfast tea.  

27 May 2015

New bike...

...well, almost. In consultation with Dean (the family's acknowledged Bike-meisterr), ordered a Giant Sedona hybrid. Maybe here tomorrow or Friday. Can't wait to hit the trails with Cindi again! I wish I could commute with it, but three hours on bike on either end may be a TAD too much. Still, have been thinking through all the stuff we could do without the cars (even shopping in Edwardsville isn't out of the question). Cindi picked up a nifty new basket today. I might pick one up too one of these days.

Aside from bike shopping, we went for another long walk in the sun (and it was all sun today). 

Then a couple hours in the pool, dinner, and some projects around the house. The sun is beginning to set while Pandora is cranking out stunningly gorgeous celtic harp music. Another great day, thanks be to God!

26 May 2015

A restorative day

Slept in a bit, and then made breakfast for Cindi and me before she headed out to work. We finished praying Matins together as a storm rolled in. Cindi left, and I enjoyed some french press coffee. Then began work out. By the time all was done 333 push ups, 130 squats, 100 sit ups, and 50 pull ups, and about two hours of walking (yes, I'm obsesive about counting every little bit). The final hour and half or so was with Cindi when she came home. We walked up to the farm and back. The wind was howling on the prairie, and the sky was alternately cloudy or brightly sunny. Absolutely beautiful. We grabbed some left overs, put on Angelo's latest podcast (outstanding as usual!), and floated in the pool for a while. It was finally so cloudy and chilly, we ended up finishing the podcast sitting on the deck. Table is set and Cindi's fixing up a chicken dish for dinner. Hopefully some Liverpool this evening to cap out the day.

24 May 2015


That's what Carlo did with choir this year. When I think back on what he's pulled off, I'm amazed. The Rutter "What Sweeter Music," the Mozart Organ Solo Mass Kyrie and Gloria in Exclesis; K. Lee Scott's "Holy, Holy, Holy;" Franck's "Veni Creator;" and Mozart's "Panis Angelicus." All this with a little country church out in the cornfields of Southern Illinois. And it was fun beyond words! Still, I'm ready for a summer beak. If you're a member of St. Paul who can carry a tune in a bucket, you really do need to join us this fall. You'll be blown away by how much fun it is!

The Feast of Pentecost

What a joyous feast day! For preservice, Carlo gave us Durufle's Veni Creator. Choir sang a Gounod "Spirit of God" and then also the Franck Veni Creator in Latin. The congregation belted out "O Holy Spirit" (17th century), "Come, Holy Ghost" (16th century), "Holy Spirit, Light Divine" (19th century), "Creator Spirit by Whose Aid" (9th century), "Come Down, O Love Divine" (14th century) and the closing hymn was "O Day Full of Grace" (15th century).  A span of over a thousand years in the hymns!

The sermon began with pastor reminding us that if we think we need a little peace and quiet, we need to think with our God, who indeed wants to give us peace, but not through quiet; through speaking instead, through His Words!  

I confess, I still miss the whereat in the Preface. Whereat the whole world rejoiceth with exceeding joy! Still the whole day reminded me of the St. Seraphim of Sarov line: "The Holy Spirit turns to joy whatever He touches." He touched this day and gave it to us as a way of entering into His joy!

23 May 2015


Sofa arrived and Bekah is checking it out...

Despite the sad funeral (still having difficulty wrapping my mind around it), a wonderful day. Cindi and I grabbed a bite to eat. I used Tim's family's power washer to clean the siding and the fence. Cindi and I went for a long walk (up to Ray and Arline's and then all the way to where bike trail ends in Hamel and then on around home). We enjoyed a Nor Cal margarita on the deck and then spent some time in the pool (technically, on TOP of the pool!). Bird feeders filled (and humming bird feeders replenished). Burgers on the grill with tater salad and brussel sprouts for dinner. 


So, my son persuaded me to give it a shot. I took some of my clericals (which hang like bags around me!), a couple shirts, and a pair of pants I like but could no longer wear because they were way too big. Cost $124. And wow, was David ever right! They look a thousand times better. The tailor said that if you've never had clothes fitting to your body, you just grow used to that look. But once you SEE what the clothes look like that actually fit you, there's no going back. I'm already planning on another trip in a month or two to get some more fixed. Who'd a thunk?

22 May 2015


...a glorious week of staycation beginning. We have a funeral for a dear friend tomorrow that we're singing for (truly, "in the midst of life, death has us surrounded"); new couch and table are supposed to arrive in the afternoon (kids have been after us for a long time about those...); choir sings Veni Creator for Pentecost and then later in the day we have a wedding (Melissa, Meaghan's sister); Monday we're visiting with friends for cards. And after that??? Absolutely nothing till next Monday.

That is, unless Lauren decides to go early. Grandbaby #4's birth is definitely impending.

Primal Progress...

...been almost six months since a return to strictly primal eating and exercising. (You might recall that it became really difficult to figure out how to do this when I took the job at Synod!) Am soooo glad to be back on track!

Beginning back in February, I started using the gizmo in the gym at work that lets you know your body fat. Started out at over 17 percent (and I'd have loved to know what it was back in November when I was weighing some twenty-five pounds more than I do now). Today was excited to note that I'm at 10.2 percent body fat, with BMI of 21. Not too shabby for a man who will turn 55 this fall!

Lately, I've been mostly just doing body weight exercises for strength. Today was the first time I was able to do 300 push ups, 120 squats, 36 pull ups and 60 sit ups. The body weight exercises I do only twice a week. I walk most days a minimum of 30 minutes, and I run the days I don't walk. Have faithfully kept up with sprints (on stationary bike) once a week. Also, I NEVER take the elevators at work, and run up and down the stairs a bit (iPhone says 20 floors today). I've pretty much given up lunch to have the time to do these workouts, and don't miss the chow (or the expense) one little bit.

I feel as though I've fought my way back to where I was when working on the goal of fabulously fit by fifty. But fought isn't the right word, really. It's been ridiculously simple. Not easy, but simple. I'd recommend anyone at all to give it a try!

21 May 2015

And again

Earth, I think, will not be found by anyone to be in the end a very distinct place. I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself. —Lewis, The Business of Heaven, p. 134.

20 May 2015

A reminder to go with the catechesis...

...a century out from the Reformation, Johann Gerhard taught seven distinct duties of the Office of the Holy Ministry. Preaching the Word, administering the Sacraments, diligent prayer for the flock, leading an honorable life, administering church discipline, preservation of church rites, and care of the poor and afflicted.

About that number six, he says:

In the exercise of divine worship, certain solemn, public rites should be preserved that aim at good order and decorum and were introduced by the pious consensus of the whole church. Therefore the protection of ecclesiastical rites, which were approved by serious consideration and which give useful instruction concerning many topics in public assemblies, also pertains to the ecclesiastical ministry. Nor should a minister change them, leading to scandal in the church, because of some private desire of his mind. Consequently, the sixth duty of ministers is the preservation of ecclesiastical rites.—Johann Gerhard, On the Ministry II, p. 101.

Chapel Homily

Catechesis: Summary of AC, Part 1

1 This then is nearly a complete summary of our teaching. As can be seen, there is nothing that varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church universal, or from the Church of Rome, as known from its writers. Since this is the case, those who insist that our teachers are to be regarded as heretics are judging harshly. 2 There is, however, disagreement on certain abuses that have crept into the Church without rightful authority. Even here, if there are some differences, the bishops should bear with us patiently because of the Confession we have just reviewed. Even the Church’s canon law is not so severe that it demands the same rites everywhere. 3 Nor, for that matter, have the rites of all churches ever been the same. 4 Although, in large part, the ancient rites are diligently observed among us. It is a false and hate-filled charge that our churches have abolished all the ceremonies instituted in ancient times. 5 But the abuses connected with the ordinary rites have been a common source of complaint. They have been corrected to some extent since they could not be approved with a good conscience.

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

Years ago, a friend of mine contemplated taking a summer class at Concordia Bronxville taught by Dr. Nagel. Now, he'd read much of Dr. Nagel's writings over the years, so he wrote him to ask if there's be anything new in this class. Neither he nor I ever forgot the good Dr.'s response: "No, nothing new. Same old catholic and apostolic faith." 

That is the very spirit in which the Augsburg Confession wraps up its basic layout of the doctrine taught in the Churches that had embraced the Reformation. Nothing new here. Same old catholic and apostolic faith. Check it out they say. It's what the Scriptures teach. It's what the Church catholic has always taught. It's even what the Church of Rome teaches if you bother to read the great fathers who served there. Nothing new! 

Yet they were charged by their opponents with teaching all sorts of novelties and not holding to the traditions of the Church. They own up that they've changed some things, but they characterize those items as abuses that crept into the Church's life without lawful authority. When we cover part two of the Confession, you'll hear a list of them: withholding the cup from the laity, forbidding priests to get married, buying and selling masses, and so on. Our churches fixed these things. And the Confessors note that part of the tradition of the Church is the exercise of freedom regarding humanly instituted ceremonies. They've never been the same everywhere, and they never will be. Nevertheless, say the Confessors, check out our churches and see if it's true or not. We diligently observe most of the ancient rites. That is, ceremonies that didn't conflict with the Word of God, that didn't obscure the Gospel, we cheerfully keep and diligently observe. Check out our Mass, our Divine Service. Check out the sermons and the topics of our preaching. Check out how we don't give the sacrament to anyone who hasn't been examined and absolved in private confession. Check out the kids being catechized and examined. Check out prayers in our homes and daily reading of the Word of God together. Check out how we baptize and teach its use. Check out how we ordain pastors and how only those who have been called and ordained publicly preach, teach or administer the sacraments in our churches. Check us out and you'll see, the Confessors told the emperor, that you've been fed a bunch of hooey about us!

Are we able to make such a claim today in honesty and truth? Is the doctrine taught in our parishes and schools nothing but the same old catholic and apostolic faith that the Church has ever lived from and that we've heard summarized in these weeks from the first 21 articles of the Augsburg Confession? Is it true that we reform anything that ends up obscuring the Gospel, but diligently retain for the most part the ancient rites? 

It seems to me that to be a confessional Church, we must allow our Confessions to challenge us, correct us, and point us in the direction we need to return. If that's not a description of who we are, why can it not be a description of who we mean to be and become again? Surely to be a catholic Christian standing in evangelical freedom and rejoicing in the good order of the Church across the ages is a blessed, blessed calling. I am convinced everyone wants to be such a Lutheran; they just don't know it yet! The Augsburg Confession points the way. Nothing new. Same old catholic and apostolic faith. Shall we not return? In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A bit of Lewis for the day

The attempt is based on the belief that reality never presents us with an absolutely, unavoidable 'either-or'' that, granted skill and patience and (above all) time enough, some way of embracing both alternatives can always be found; that mere development or adjustment or refinement will somehow turn evil into good without our being called on for a final and total rejection of anything we should like to retain. This belief I take to be a disastrous error.—The Business of Heaven, p. 133.

14 May 2015

My standard for Ascension day...

O. P. Kretzmann Joy on Ascension

Now He was going home... In seven words the years of labor and sorrow end: "While they beheld, He was taken up."... There were no bells and banners on earth, but surely all the trumpets on the other side sounded as they never sounded before... Surely the chiming golden bells of heaven sang their welcome, and angel choirs intoned the song of the throne: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdomand strength."... On the anvils of God the nails had been forged into the scepter of a king... "He was taken up"... The angel hosts sweep to either side, leaving the way clear to the Eternal Light that no longer blinds the eyes of us who stand gazing after Him... He leads a procession which comes from the ends of time and space, all the harvest of all the white fields the world has ever known, the pilgrims of the night who come at last to the dawn of an everlasting day... "He was taken up." The Child of the manger, the praying heart on the starlit lanes of Galilee, the hunger in the wilderness, the weariness of the Sychar Well, the tears of the Garden and the Hill, the thirst of the Cross - all over now... The robes of the Transfiguration once momentary, now clothe Him forever, and angels and archangels sound the great doxology of the Waiting Church: "Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever."...

An old story - perhaps too old for us to do more than glimpse its glory... And yet - we ought to remember it more clearly... It was the solemn moment in the story of God and man when the visible Christ became the invisible Christ... From that hour everything concerning Him became visible only to the eyes of faith... The final line of demarcation in the world - between those who believe and those who refuse to believe - was now clear... Men can say that all this is not true and use the mind of man to reject the mind of God, or they can know that God once walked among them and that they now have a Friend in heaven who knows all that earth and time and pain can do to man...

The Ascension did not take Jesus away... It brought heaven near... In the realm in which He now reigns time and space have no meaning... There is no up and down, no near and far, no darkness, and no distance in the world of faith... He is as near as yesterday's prayer, today's joy, tomorrow's sorrow... His homecoming has made heaven a home for us who still walk far from home... Wherefore stand we gazing into heaven?... Our momentary task is here, but through the slow dimming of the years we see the evening lamps of home tended by the pierced hands of Him who has gone to prepare a place for us... Is there a better way to live - or die? ... All that we have to do now is believe and follow:

The lapping of the sea of death before his feet
Crept near; the wind was wild;
But he, who knew the One he came to meet,
Saw it and smiled.

Stepping without a hesitating word
Into the icy tide,
As if he saw the footprints of his Lord
Gleam at his side,

Borne up by Love that gave as he had given,
He crossed the midnight foam
And laid his hand upon the door of heaven
Like one returning home.

What joy today on Thy Strong Word!

Dr. Scott Yakimow from Concordia, Portland unpacks Genesis 41:


My question for you: who stammers more, the Yak or me?

13 May 2015

And yet more Lewis...

"A car is made to run on petrol, and it won't run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There isn't any other. That's why it's just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God can't give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it isn't there. There's no such thing." Broadcast Talks, p. 49.

12 May 2015

Lutheran Service Book in your pocket

Yup. CPH came out with this gem. You can have your Synod's Hymnal in your phone either as part of a Kindle app, or if you have an Apple product, as an iBooks download. I've worked a bit with both. In my opinion, iBooks wins.

All the contents of the pew edition are there plus all the Psalms. A little hard to see the notes on your iPhone 6 (haven't checked it out on a Plus), but clear enough on an iPad or even iPad mini.

Bookmarks are a breeze to set, and then you can quickly flip through your order of service and your hymns.

Yes, I confess. I have used it for leading Chapel at the IC. I did it to see if it could be done, but I confess I much prefer the physical books for that. And similarly, if I'm in the congregation. I want the physical book in my hand. But having the hymnal in my pocket for the radio show, for Bible classes, for my own devotions...well, wow!

The cost is just under $20 and it's worth every dime. What on earth will CPH come out with next?

More Lewis joy

Enemy-occupied territory—that's what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say, landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church, you're really listening in to the secret wireless from our friends: that's why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us going.—Broadcast Talks, p. 46.

11 May 2015

Couple of Meaghan's Great Pics

from Confirmation this year at St. Paul's. First communion for these young folks!

08 May 2015

Lewis the Lutheran

at least in this passage from Broadcast Talks (pp. 32, 33):

"My reason was that Christianity simply doesn't make sense until you've faced the sort of facts I've been describing. Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who don't know they've done anything to repent of and who don't feel that they need any forgiveness. It's after you've realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind that law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power—it's after all that that Christianity begins to talk. When you know you're sick, you'll listen to the doctor. When you have received that our position is nearly desperate you'll begin to understand what Christians are talking about. They offer an explanation of how we got into our present state of both hating goodness and loving it. They offer an explanation of how God can be this impersonal mind at the back of the Moral Law and yet also a Person. They tell you how the demands of this law, which you and I can't meet, have been met on our behalf, how God Himself becomes man to save man from the disapproval of God. It's an old story and if you want to go into it you will no doubt consult people who have more authority to talk about it than I have. All I'm doing is getting people to face the facts—to understand the questions which Christianity claims to answer. And they are very terrifying facts. I wish it was possible, speaking in war-time, to say something more agreeable. But I've got to say what I think is true. Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it doesn't begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I've been describing, and it's just no good trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay. In religion, as in war and in everything else, comfort is the one thing you can't get by looking for it. If you're looking for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you're looking for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair. Most of us have got over the pre-war wishful thinking about international politics. It is time we did the same about religion."



On the commute, decided to spend some time listening to audio books. Naturally, downloaded the Scriptures (among other things). Today, something stood out that I'd not noticed before. The daily offering of the lamb, morning and evening, was always accompanied with the offering of bread and wine. Lamb, bread, wine. Hmm. Where have I encountered that before? Oh, yeah!

07 May 2015

This morning's Treasury...

...contained the definition of repentance in the strict sense from the Solid Declaration. It embraces three things:

1. Acknowledging our sins
2. Being heartily sorry for them (same language is picked up in the Confession of Sins in DS III - sorry, Dr. Korby, but that's the language of our Symbols!)
3. Stopping them

That last bit reminds me very much of the discussion in, I think, the second story in Hammer of God, where the question is put to the pastor about how one knows one is truly repentant for sin, and the pastor answers without hesitation: when you're willing to quit them. If you're not, stop pretending you're sorry.

Hard law, indeed. And it remains true that until we die, this determination to "stop them" is always weak, fragile, fickle. But it is most certainly of the very essence of repentance and without it, there simply is no repentance.

Trinity Lutheran, Jefferson City, sing at the conclusion of IC Chapel

03 May 2015

A Cantate Confirmation

It was a packed church today as twelve young people made their confirmation vows and received their first communion. It was not your typical confirmation class, I don't think. It was a group of young people who have borne already a significantly heavy load of sorrow and suffering. A set of triplets had lost their dear mom to breast cancer a couple years ago.  The image of the holy family, given in her loving remembrance, looked down upon them.  A young lad confirmed today has fought a tremendous battle against leukemia, bid farewell to numerous friends, and still soldiers on, with his twin brother beside him who has always shared the struggle as if it were his own. A young lady has also fought the cancer battle and came out the winner. And that young lady's mom has battled it twice. She also saw her uncle buried not two months ago.  The uncle of another young lady is battling brain cancer. These folks are all friends and suffering is no stranger to their company. 

Pastor dwelt upon the promise they would make by the grace of God to face death itself rather than deny the One who washed away their sin in Baptism. He reminded them that in 50 years our beautiful church may be bulldozed by evil men who will try to force them to deny their Savior. Images of the recent martyrdoms filled our minds. 

The great bell tolled once as each one's name was read and each stepped forward and knelt to receive the blessing. No question, this confirmation was different. The Savior has already seen them through so much. He will surely see them all the way home. And so despite the pain and the ominous clouds on the horizon, it was a bright day of overflowing joy.