31 December 2017

On the seventh day of Christmas...

...the folks at St. Paul were treated to another outstanding sermon by one of our outstanding pastors. Thanks to Pr. Gleason for letting me post this!

Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas Luke 2:25-40

There is a certain cartoon printed each year at this time. It depicts the present year as a tired, old man trudging to the end of his course where he greets the new year pictured as an impish baby, usually with a top hat. It’s a somber moment as well as a light one. It’s an end and a beginning, a consummation as well as hope for tomorrow. That image is not unlike today’s Gospel—the meeting of the very old and very young, an end and a beginning, the fulfillment of a long-awaited hope. The Gospel lesson reminds us that our life in Christ is a journey from a new birth to a good death.
Certainly that was how Simeon and Anna looked upon the Christ Child. The scene is the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was only 40 days old. Joseph and Mary had come to perform two Old Testament rites—purification (which was for women after giving birth), and the sacrifice required for all firstborn sons. To this family, the old man named Simeon walked, asking to hold the baby. What a touching scene that followed—the aged man cradling the newborn in his frail arms.
But there’s more to the picture. To the parents amazement, the old fellow broke forth in a song. It was a heartfelt hymn of thanks for this Child. Simeon was overcome with joy because his eyes beheld God’s “salvation,” that is, the Christ Child cradled in his arms.
Then there was the other old figure, an 84 year old widow named Anna. Like most widows of that day, Anna was quite poor. She depended on the alms and generosity of the temple for her livelihood. She came by at that moment and heard Simeon’s song. She, too, hurried to see the child. Why all the fuss? What excited these two aged saints? It’s really quite simple.
The hope and prospect of meeting this babe had been the focus of their entire lives. Simeon is described simply as a pious, God-fearing man. He was one of the few left who had read, understood, and believed the Old Testament promises concerning the Messiah. That day marked the zenith of his aged life. In some wondrous way, the Holy Spirit told him he would see the Messiah before his death. And then the Spirit moved him that day to go to the temple at the right moment. There he saw the glorious fulfillment of his hopes. Likewise, the elderly prophetess, Anna, was numbered with those still looking for “the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Now it had all come true. Simeon and Anna were old, yes, but their future beamed brightly. God had kept His holy Word; now this aged pair stood on death’s door fearless and confident. Simeon and Anna had as much joy as anyone could hope for—and more. I wonder how many people today, at the end of the year, only a few days after Christmas, can say that. 
The mood of these post-Christmas days is usually a bit depressing for many people. Many are blue simply because Christmas is over. Vacation is brief and soon will end. Christmas toys may be found already broken. Some gifts came as disappointments and were promptly returned. A lot of folks are already taking down their decorations. Another Christmas has come and gone, and for most people that means farewell to the joy of the season.
The reason for all this is because so many people celebrate Christmas only like a birthday party. Birthdays come once a year, a time for brief happiness—tempered by the fact we are another year older. There’s no real lasting significance, though, to the average birthday celebration. And year after year people treat Christmas like a once-a-year festival where, for a while, the past is forgotten and the future ignored. The big attractions are the presents to be opened and the feast to be devoured. Oh, many are touched by the quaint, old “legend” about a cuddly baby laid in a manger, but less than a week later the thrill is gone and the baby forgotten. The only interest and prospect now is the bottle of champagne to be opened at the New Year’s Eve bash. Let’s face it, many people treat God and His Son with little more than sweet affection and passing interest at Christmas. Afterwards they pack them away just like the figures in a nativity scene.
But, Christmas is not the story of innocent sweetness that has no bearing on “real life.” When you get right down to it, Christmas is a matter of life and death. Even in the midst of all his joy, Simeon realized this all too keenly. He prophesied that that baby would split the world, separating the people of God from all the rest, including the pretenders. Surely when King Herod sent his troops to slaughter the babes of Bethlehem, Simeon’s words were painfully evident. He also said Mary’s own heart would be pierced with sorrow over her Son and His mission. One wonders as she watched Jesus die on Good Friday, if Simeon’s words came painfully back to Mary’s mind.
It is joyful to sing a song of Christmas, to hold a candle in church on Christmas Eve, to exchange gifts, and to eat the feast. But, if that’s the only place Christmas has in your year, you’ve missed the point! We who are gathered here today apparently understand that; we are here to keep celebrating Christmas. What remains for us is to learn anew the lesson of Simeon and Anna.
The Nativity of our Lord is a matter of life and death—of new life in Him and a good death in Him. Simeon teaches us how vital it is to build life on Christ, the Rock of our Salvation. When our life’s foundation is built on Him, no storm or sorrow can rob us of our true joy. The Bible speaks of Christ as a Rock that will either save or destroy us. His death on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday will either cause life for all who trust in Him and His promises, or they will cause the death of those who reject Him and His Word of life. To keep Him as a tiny babe with no real claim on life is a sure way to get crushed—a sure way of making every Christmas a disappointment. How sad! For Jesus was born in Bethelehem and died on Calvary to save us from our sins, paying the enormous debt of sin we all owed God. He came, not to condemn us, not to disappoint us; He came that we might have life in all its abundance.
With Simeon, we must learn that having Christ brings true peace. His words are a fitting confession for us, too: “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace.” It’s not that we’re planning on dying soon—God willing. Rather, we mean “Here, O Lord, is my whole life. You gave it. You saved it. Now free me to be Your servant—free me from spiritual shallowness and guilt, and from past and future fears.”
And, from Anna, we learn the lasting joy of rendering service to God, of living in God’s temple and worshiping regularly. Here we feast on the Bread of Life—His Word and Sacrament. From them we receive the grace to join Anna in living the devout life, of telling and showing others, perhaps especially our children, that Jesus is for every day of the year. With her, we daily look for the redemption that is ours in Christ.
Well, soon that top-hatted, sashed baby boy named “2018” will crawl into our lives. Once again, it will be the passing away of the old and the beginning of the new, the consummation of one year and the hope of another. My prayer for all of us is that we, like Simeon and Anna, greet the future with the joy and hope of Christmas fixed firmly in our hearts. And, with that joy, to love and live with abandon for God, for surely our new birth in Christ will carry us to a good death in Christ!
Amen.

30 December 2017

A bit of a whirlwind trip...

...up to Sheldon, Wisconsin to spend a couple days with the Herberts, as Lauren was having a bit of minor surgery. I tried an expirament and left my iPad Pro at home and found out that the iPhone 8 Plus worked just super all by itself.

Cindi, of course, tried the inverse experiment. She brought her iPad mini AND LEFT IT UP THERE. Ugh. She’s debating leaving it until Lauren makes the trek down this way for Bekah’s shower. I’m skeptical, but she pointed out that none of our children use their iPads much at all anymore; they all rely on their phones almost exclusively. We’ll see.

It was, of course, bitter cold. The temperature this morning was -16 with a windchill of -34. But whenever I was tempted to complain, I thought of those poor Amish (they live in the midst of many of them!), driving with their horses and buggies! Brrrrrr.

Some pics...






28 December 2017

25 December 2017

A Few Advent / Christmas Reflections from a Fellow Pew Sitter

The relative oddity of Rorate Coeli in the morning and Christmas Eve at sunset... 

The collect for that fourth Sunday struck a chord: “that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy.” What lifts the weight of your sin from you when you think it is so heavy that you want to stop even trying to keep moving? The grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus. They lift the burden and not gradually and slowly, but surprisingly and suddenly. When you see them all on Him and that He is carrying them and you are free. Free to dance for joy on the way into the Kingdom. What we could not bear, He came among us to bear for us. So unfathomably great is His love... 

An early Christmas dinner for the family as the snow fell. It is true that “no warmth that in a family dwells” can compare with the shocking truth that “God was man in Palestine / And lives today in bread and wine;” still there was abundant warmth!... 

The most wondrous Christmas service for the children ever. For the children or by the children? Despite pastor in his beautiful cope leading the Lessons and Carols, the children were the lectors. They had learned the prophesies and passages by heart and recited them so beautifully. They sang and in parts. They played chimes. They played strings. Amazing joy. A solemn litany closed out the service that left your heart swelling in joy... 

Some time back at the house and carols with the family and friends... 

Back to the Church to sing for the first Divine Service or Mass of Christmas. Verbum caro factum est. David’s lovely job on “O Holy Night.” All the stanzas of Von Himmel Hoch during distribution with a great variety of vocal and instrumental accompaniment. A solemn and beautiful liturgy with the usual incense. Pastor used one of the old prayers from Lutheran Liturgy for Christmas Eve. Awe at all that Kantor Muth was able to pull together for this year... 

A short night’s sleep and back to church to run through the music for choir for the final Divine Service of Christmas (the traditional “third Mass” but we never do the dawn service, so the visit of the shepherds gets shortchanged!). Reading of the Kalends (our little bit of Matins appended to the start of the Divine Service); “O Come, All Ye Faithful” to “We Praise You Jesus at Your Birth” to a wonderful homily by Pr. Ball on the Word Made Flesh to Praetorius’ “To Us a Child” (choir) to “Of the Father’s Love” to “Hark! The Herald Angels” to “Now Sing We Now Rejoice” to “Joy to the World.” All of that laced around Divine Service 3, richly sung in parts. I confess that I do not approve of any Lutheran Christmas Service for the final service ending in anything but “Now Sing We” (Praetorius just kind of ruins any other ending, you know?), but at least we got to sing it ALMOST at the end... 

I did wonder during the collect of the day for Christmas (hits me every year) what on earth the committee was thinking to OMIT the “new” in the collect and just render it “the birth.” TLH: “...that the new birth of Thine only begotten Son in the flesh may set us free, who are held in the old bondage under the yoke of sin.” This is utterly faithful to the original: “Concéde quæsumus omnípotens Deus: ut nos Unigéniti tui nova per carnem natívitas líberet, quos sub peccáti jugo vetústa sérvitus tenet.” I THINK people thought it sounded like Christ was born anew each year; but of course, that’s not what it said or what it meant. There was something utterly NEW about Christ’s birth in the flesh, for it was sinless. And we desperately need to be joined to this new birth, and that is the gift of Baptism. The loss of the “new” in reference to the birth loses the tight tie into the Baptismal epistle from Titus 3, and Luther’s sermon that we must exchange our old birth for His new one! When folks set out to improve the liturgy, I find almost invariably they end up doing something that the next generation will need hopefully carefully set back in place... 

Then home to feast a bit more: Praetorius’ Mass for Christmas Day and then the Christmas Oratorio by Bach... Thanks to the pastors and musicians at St. Paul’s who gave us such a joyous, rich, and dignified celebration of the nativity. 

A few pics:








20 December 2017

Best part of vacation?

Exercising to your heart's content. Today after a leisurely and tasty breakfast, I started to work:

10K steps done
Sprints run (using the stairs at home!)
200 pushups
107 chest presses
100 kettlebell swings

Currently feeling? FABULOUS. I love how when you're done sprints, you're always feeling great (after you stop feeling dead). 

17 December 2017

Such a joyous Gaudete!



"...and lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation..." Collect, Gaudete

Joys abounding. Bach's Was Frag Ich nach der Welt with John Thoelke on trumpet... "On Jordan's Bank"... Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice!... Comfort, comfort my people, says Your God... Stir up Your might and come to save us!... E'en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come... Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light... And the dead are raised up and the poor have good news preached to them... "Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding"... Peace. He will speak peace to His people for the beautiful homily by Pr. Gleason... Gerhardt's "Love caused Your incarnation..." in Bach's setting, strings and organ and choir... "Comfort, Comfort Ye," "When All the World Was Cursed," "Arise, O Christian People"... The precious body and blood of Christ, our very peace with our Father... "O Savior, Rend the Heavens"... Walther's Freu dich sehr.

13 December 2017

A beautiful homily for St. Lucia’s day

By director of Campus Ministry and LCMS U, Marcus Zill:

IC CHAPEL (13 December 2017)

Commemoration of Lucia, Martyr


Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD's hand
    double for all her sins.

~ Isaiah 40:1-2

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

These days are the darkest times of the year. It is not an accident that St. Lucia, whose name derives from lux, light, is commemorated when the days are the shortest. Festivals of light became very popular in northern Europe during this time of the year, especially since today was once considered the shortest day of the year. Lucia, a 4th century saint of Christian light, became a natural choice for commemoration as popular art often depicts her with a crown of flickering candles adorning her head. (Pastor Weedon actually asked me to dress her part today, but I declined).

What is true according to the normal pattern of the seasons is also true when one considers the spiritual condition of these dark and latter days in which we live. It is certainly significant that the Christ was born when light is the least, when darkness is palpable.
There is not much that is known for certain about Lucia except that she was from Sicily (and not Scandinaia), that she devoted herself to the nurture and care of the poor, and she died in 304 A.D. as a Christian martyr under the persecution of the Roman Emperor Diocletion.

Several legends have grown up around Lucia, enough that we don’t have time to go into all of them, but when given the opportunity to renounce her Christian faith, Lucia is reported to have simply smiled and said, “I wish to please Christ.”

Two separate legends, though not verified, do state that Lucia’s eyes were gouged out. With or without her earthly eyes, Lucia, the young maiden of light, certainly fixed her eyes upon Jesus. The Lord Himself taught “the eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22)

The Light of the world Himself has taught us also that “the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field.” (Matthew 13:44) Lucia’s lifeless murdered body was placed in a grave, hidden in a field as it were, hardly the stuff of treasure in the eyes of the world – just one more dead girl, one more executed Christian, one more candle snuffed out, one more person who would not obey the state, one more speed bump in a cruel Caesar’s quest to become like God.

And yet it is St. Lucia who now “in glory shines” while “we feebly struggle” and while the unbelieving Caesars of every time and place wail and gnash their teeth in the darkness. Evil may have claimed Lucia’s eyes, Satan may have spilled her lifeblood, but today she, who was sanctified by the very blood of Christ, sees God face to face!  And what’s more, the light of Christ shone in her good works and good confession, reflecting this holy light upon those of us who yet “dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”

Darkness cannot diminish even one flickering candle even as a mighty Caesar cannot extinguish the witness of a young girl who confesses a king greater than he. Lucia’s eternal testimony, like that of many of the martyrs of her age, proclaimed to the world that we Christians have overcome death – by the death of Christ – and that through Christ, in Christ, by Christ, and yes even with Christ – we have eternal life.  We share in His light and we stand defiant against the darkness of the grave.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, the light of life, the uncreated light who created light by means of His uncreated Word – shines among us, through us, and in us, dear friends.  Even when – and especially when – all we see around us with our failing eyes is the darkness of our sins, the inevitability of death, and the cruelty of this world’s Satanic tyranny – His Word remains a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path.”

Dear children of light, we do not cower in fear at these dark times. Rather, Holy Scripture which Isaiah reminds us remains forever, calls us to sobriety, that God-given ability to remain in complete control of our passions and thoughts without excess or confusion. The virtues of faith and love, those mighty breastplates of the Lord have not lost their strength and vitality. That virtue of hope grounded in the salvation promised to us in Christ Jesus remains as sturdy and sure a helmet as it did for Lucia and all the martyred saints who have gone before us.

The Light that illumined the heart and soul of a Sicilian maiden also shines within each of you, not by virtue of anything that is because of You, but by virtue of everything that is in Him. The powers of darkness thought they had blown out that light at Golgotha but they were wrong about Christ, and they can’t snuff out those who confess and bear witness to His light either.

Will you be called to speak your testimony before kings, magistrates, or those in high positions of authority? That is not for us to say. But like Lucia, if so, you shall not be put to shame either. On this St. Lucia’s day, be reminded, enlightened, and encouraged by “the God of peace who himself sanctifies you completely. And may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thess. 5:23)

Lucia is now comforted. Her warfare is ended, her inquity is pardoned and she has received from the Lord’s hand, double for all her sins.
As have each of you….
In the name of Jesus, the Light which darkness cannot overcome. Amen.

12 December 2017

A most kind review...

...by T. R. Halvorson:

Wonder at Christmas

10 December 2017

Populus Sion

It struck me as an excess of caution, but my son advised dear wife and me to stay home today from church just to make sure that we were not carrying any remnant of that nasty flu. We did so. Cindi’s still a bit weak, but doing much, much better. So we were exiled from our church family on the day of “Lo, He Comes.” Most sad. Still, we sat with our coffee and prayed Matins. That PrayNow app really is amazing for such an occasion. But then Cindi asked if those were the readings for Sunday and I explained that the daily lectionary goes its own unterrupted way. So, we also prayed the collect of the day, sang “The King Shall Come,” read the three readings from the Divine Service, sang “Lo, He Comes,” and then joined in the old general prayer from The Order of Morning Service (mostly known as p. 5). It wasn’t nearly as good as BEING in church, but we knew ourselves not to be alone, and that was quite a comfort. And a little bit of Lutheran Public Radio nicely rounded off the morning.

07 December 2017

Some delightful poetry


Thanks to dear friend Henry Gerike for this one:


Thanks to dear friend Rachel Bomberger for these:


04 December 2017

An Old Lutheran Quote

From Luther's Easter homily, 1540, in the Church Postils (VII:188, 189):
These passages, as is also stated elsewhere, teach that a Christian by faith lays hold upon the purity of Christ, for which reason he is also regarded pure and begins to make progress in purity; for faith brings the Holy Spirit, who works in man, enabling him to withstand and to subdue sin... Such, we must know, is the nature of Christ's office and dominion in his Church that though he really does instantaneously, through faith, confer upon us his purity, and by the Spirit transforms our hearts, yet the work of transformation and purification is not at once completed. Daily Christ works in us and purges us, to the end that we grow in purity daily. This work He carries on through the agency of the Word, admonishing, reproving, correcting and strengthening... Christ also uses crosses and afflictions in effecting this end.... The sins remaining in the saints after conversion are various evil inclinations, lusts, and desires natural to man and contrary to the law of God. The saints, as well as others, are conscious of these sins, but with this difference: they do not permit themselves to be overcome thereby so as to obey the sins, allowing them free reign; they do not yield to, but resist such sins, and, as Paul expresses it here, incessantly purge themselves therefrom. The sins of the saints, according to him, are the very ones which they purge out. Those who obey their lusts, however, do not do this, but give free reign to the flesh and sin against the protest of their own conscience...If you persist in that which is evil regardless of the voice of conscience, you cannot say, nor believe, that you have God's favor.

02 December 2017

Weedon Family News 2017




Here a maid was found with child,
Yet remained a virgin mild.
In her womb this truth was shown
God was there upon His throne. 
LSB 332:3


Here's wishing you all a blessed Advent-tide and Christmas! 

 2017 was a year full of blessings from heaven, some tears, and some overflowing joys.

Some of the joys...

Birth of Felicity Lynn Herberts, grandchild six, granddaughter three... Birth of Oliver James Weedon, grandchild seven, grandson four... Rebekah and Andy's engagement... Lauren and Dean's move to Sheldon/Gilman WI, bringing them only 8 hours away... Reformation in Honolulu and a week on Oahu with Van Ulfts and Klingers and visiting with friend, Karl Bachman... Watching the eclipse in good company and enjoying the traffic jam of the century in good company... Welcoming Kantor Jan Muth to St. Paul's as organist, choir director and bell choir director, and all things music for school... Institute on Liturgy, Preaching, and Church Music (a truly crazy and fun week with Sandy Bowers, Wagners, Thoelkes and Sharon Braasch)... Deb and Dee joining us for a joyous celebration of Dave’s 80th birthday... Bill's second book written and published (Thank, Praise, Serve and Obey, published by Concordia Publishing House)... Bill's trip to Idaho for congregational anniversary and to enjoy a wonderful visit with his oldest brother, Butch... Music, music, music: Cindi in Collinsville Chorale and St. Paul's Bells and loving her time with John Behnke at the Institute; and Cindi, Bill, and David in adult choir at St. Paul... Opa (Dave DeVries) fully retired and both shoulders DONE... Goddaughter's Lindsey's confirmation... Delightful week with Jim Krauser in town in August... Grandkids and kids all together for a wild and crazy visit... 

Some of the tears...

Lauren's battle with some chronic kidney stones... The farewell to the good folks at St. Paul's Norlina who have become very dear to our hearts and are like family to the Herberts... Beloved friend, Stephanie Van Ulft, diagnosed with aggressive thyroid cancer... Cindi breaking a toe and tearing meniscus while helping with the Herberts' move... 

Grandparents' obsession... 

Sawyer, our loud but shy introvert with an astounding imagination and sensitivity... Annabelle, our little mommy always looking out for her brothers and little sister and a gymnast with a flexibility that just doesn't seem possible... Lydia, our ever singing ballerina who throws out "whys" as fast as she whirls about, never misses a visual detail, and issues the near constant invitation: "play with me!"... Flynn, our wild and crazy daredevil and with a temper to match the reddish tint in his hair and a smile so sweet you can't really get angry with the imp... Henry, the most laid back, calm and self-entertained child ever, except when he spots food that he isn't being fed, because then he's insta-beast... Felicity, she likes apples and hugs and she smiles a heart-melting smile nearly nonstop... Oliver James awful young yet, but he has a bit of that red—like Flynn—and he's a child #3 too, so we'll see; right now he just coos his way into your heart.

We love and miss you all! Please remember our door is open and our guest room ready! 

Much love!

Bill and Cindi









Holy Advent


With the setting of the sun tonight, Advent will be upon us. It is a very short season for Western Christians this year. Just a smidge over three weeks, the shortest possible. What joy to welcome its arrival, though, with the wreath and the growing light and warmth, the many beautiful Advent carols, the extra services where we lighten the long and dark evenings with the Word and prayer, psalms and songs! 

The color of Advent is either blue (more modern, though based on older Swedish and Sarum precedents) or violet. Either way, it is good to remember that it is a season of penitence. John the Baptist figures large, with his constant warning and challenge to us not to settle down into the ways of this world, thus failing to be prepared to welcome God's surprise inbreaking, the joyous arrival of His Kingdom in the flesh of His Son and our Bridegroom. The collect we pray this week reminds us why we need Advent so very much: “rescue us from the threatening perils of our sins.” We have a hard time believing that our sins ARE threatening perils. Advent and St. John the Baptist remind us that they are. They always damage us and unchecked would utterly destroy us. Advent is a time of gracious intervention: God’s intervention. God’s breaking into our hell-bent, death-bent, self-bent lives and world with unfathomable mercy and grace.

Maybe this year in addition to lighting your Advent wreath and saying the prophecy table devotions (see below: Advent Table Devotions), consider adding the Advent litany to your prayers, at least on Wednesday and Friday (the two standing penitential days each week). We'll be using it daily in Chapel at the International Center:

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Jesus, name called Wonderful; Jesus, our great Counselor; Jesus, true and mighty God; Jesus, Father of the age to come; Jesus, Prince of Peace:
We praise and bless Your holy name.

Jesus, Son of David; Jesus, Branch of Jesse; Jesus, Rose of Sharon; Jesus, Lily of the Valleys; Jesus, Bright and Morning Star.
Deliver us from our sins, we pray You.

Jesus, Scepter of Israel; Jesus, Light of the Gentiles; Jesus, Desire of all nations; Jesus, Sun of Righteousness; Jesus, Lawgiver, Priest, Judge and King:
Help us and bless us.

O Jesus hear us,
And prepare us for Your coming.

Gather Your ancient people, the Jews, to Yourself; Cause all the Gentiles to come to Your light and truth; Convert all leaders and rulers of nations to fall down before You and to desire Your beauty:
Hear our prayer, O Lord, and let our cry come unto You.

Help Your messengers to prepare the way before You in every land; Let all the nations fear You as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations; Endue Your ministers with righteousness and knowledge; Preserve all who put their trust in You; remember all who are afflicted or suffering in any way (especially…); and give peace to all Your people:
Hear our prayer, O Lord, and let our cry come unto You.

Prepare us for Your coming.
and save us from our sins.

Lord, remember us in Your kingdom and teach us to pray.
Our Father...