31 August 2018

Eye Noise

A couple years ago, Cindi and I jumped on the Konmari bandwagon, and it stuck. We love it! The result has been that we have very little "eye noise" in our home. Our home is rather spare, but everywhere we look is something that "sparks joy" for us. We ended up getting rid of tons and tons of stuff: clothes, etectronics, books, papers, even memorabilia that meant something to us, but won't to our children. We were thankful for the memories they brought, but know we'll have those for as long as we have our mental facility. Clothes were pared down dramatically (we share a closet and we have lots of room in it). It's been amazing to me how this really allows the home to be an anchor of calm, a haven of serenity. We got rid of records and cds and the surround sound stereo (now we use a homepod with Apple's vast library available with a command). We simplified the kitchen, and as our way of eating got ever more simple, so did the kitchen cupboards. We do have some family pictures up that the kids gave us, but mostly we just load pictures onto a digital picture frame and enjoy the slide show. 

Recently the itch was upon us again, and we went through many more things (and we're still tweaking). Cindi gathered up all the old iphones; I erased them;  Dave kindly agreed to drop them off for recycling. The perfectly good laser printer on the shelf bothered me a bit. I tried to sell it, but then Bekah and Andy came by to print something. Aha! Perfect. They took that and hopefully will enjoy it. Cindi went through old music we had and purged a lotof that. She's in process of getting rid of some cookware we don't use anymore. And I'm looking forward to just revisiting some of what sparked joy in the past to see if it still does, or if it's time to let it move on.

If you've never given it a try, the Konmari method works amazingly well; provided you stick to it and do it Marie's way. It's kind of like Financial Peace University: the folks who follow Dave's counsel to a T are the ones who have no debt; the ones who modify it because they're smarter than he, end up carrying debt still. Same with Konmari. The temptation is to "tidy" the old way by room, rather than across the board by category; the temptation is to think, "but I might need this someday" rather than to ask "does this spark joy?" 

My buddy Kevin thinks my love of order borders on the neurotic. I'll plead the fifth. But if you find order to be peaceful and reductive of stress, then literally going through your stuff and soberly evaluating each piece is the key to being able to maintain a cleaned, straight and peaceful environment at home or at work. Less, in this case, really is more. The less eye noise, the more space for calm, the more space for beauty, the more space for delight and gratitude. 

30 August 2018

Today’s Homily

Prayer and Preaching, p. 260

Reading: Galatians 3:15-22 (J. B. Phillips)

15 Let me give you an everyday illustration, my brothers. Once a contract has been properly drawn up and signed, it is honoured by both parties, and can neither be disregarded nor modified by a third party.

16-18 Now a promise was made to Abraham and to his seed. (Note in passing that the scripture says not "and to seeds" but uses the singular 'and to your seed', meaning Christ.) I say then that the Law, which came into existence four hundred and thirty years later, cannot render null and void the original "contract" which God had made, and thus rob the promise of its value. For if the receiving of the promised blessing were now made to depend on the Law, that would amount to a cancellation of the original "contract" which God made with Abraham as a promise.

19-20 Where then lies the point of the Law? It was an addition made to underline the existence and extent of sin until the arrival of the "seed" to whom the promise referred. The Law was inaugurated in the presence of angels and by the hand of a human intermediary. The very fact that there was an intermediary is enough to show that this was not the fulfilling of the promise. For the promise of God needs neither angelic witness nor human intermediary but depends on him alone.

21-22 Is the Law then to be looked upon as a contradiction of the promise? Certainly not, for if there could have been a law which gave men spiritual life then law would have produced righteousness (which would have been, of course, in full harmony with the purpose of the promise). But, as things are, the scripture has all men "imprisoned", because they are found guilty by the Law, that to men in such condition the Promise might come to release all who believe in Jesus Christ.

This is the Word of the Lord, R.


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

It's just a tossed off comment, but it illumines everything about the way a humbled Saul (turned Apostle Paul) had learned to hear anew the sacred writings of his people. He says: "Note singular seed, not plural, meaning Christ." The promise that has the priority over anything that came later with the Law was made to Abraham and to Abraham's SEED. Not seed as in all the descendants of Abraham, and in particular the Jewish people. Rather, Seed as in a singular descendant of Abraham: our Lord, Jesus Christ. Now, grammarians will argue with Paul about the way language works and that collective singular nouns are a thing, but Paul's whole horizon has been filled with the Man crucified and yet alive forevermore, ruling all things and coming agin in glory as the judge of the living and the dead, and in light of HIM and His singularity, grammar be damned.

All this in the context of Paul pointing to a well understood social construct to help us get the unalterable nature of the promise. After you shake hands, you can't start monkeying with the terms. You can't take a signed contract and scribble in some provisos or conditions and think that's okay and binding. Not how things are done with us, and we're a bunch of sinners who lie to each other constantly. But even we get the binding nature of a contract.

So how much more, a fortiori, when God makes a promise and that has no conditions, how much more can you bank on it? You can bank on it 110%, Paul is saying. There are no conditions in the original Abrahamic covenant or contract. It's just: "This is what I'm going to do for you, in you, that is, in Your Seed, that is in Jesus, all the families of the earth will be blessed."

But then the Law? I mean, Israel didn't dream up the law. It's something God gave. The same God who signed, sealed and delivered the unilateral promise to Abraham and his Seed. Paul's big aha was this: you don't fit Abraham into Moses. That's not how the story goes. You have to fit whatever God was up to with Moses and Sinai into the bigger picture of what God is up to with Abraham and His Seed who blesses all the families of the earth. The law has a jurisdiction, to be sure, but its writ ceases at the boundary of the Seed shows. Yes, it shows in uncompromising clarity "the existence and extent of sin" and that above all when the Seed, Jesus, grabs hold of it and starts helping us hear what it really demands in all its rigor. He won't let you get away with outward restraint of the hand from murder, when murder is still raging in your heart and given voice on your lips. And so with all the commandments. This is, of course, the great task of the Sermon on the Mount. When you're done with it, if you really listened, you can only say: Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner. And that Mercy is the Seed who unites the demands of the Law with the blessing promised by fulfilling the law in His own flesh and doing so for you, to bring you blessing.

Paul, had to deal with the Galatians and their flirtation with new teachers who wanted to make Moses an ongoing lawgiver for everyone. The Apostle argues that this is to misunderstand Moses and in fact to sell out everything Moses himself taught us about Abraham and faith and how God counts us righteous.

God made Abraham the promise that in his Seed, which, remember, is Christ, all the families of the earth will be blessed. And there was no one between God and Abraham when that promise was made, unlike Sinai with angels giving and Moses receiving and passing on to the people. The One God, the God who is One, He makes the promise and delivers on the promise, which mysteriously He is not only the Promiser, but the Promised One. He is the blessing-bringing Seed of Abraham releasing from condemnation those who, hearing the law, knowing themselves imprisoned with all of mankind in doing exactly what God has told us not to do and not doing exactly what He has told us to do, and especially when we're trying super hard. To men locked up in their own sinfulness and blindness and unable to find a way out by their own moral efforts and struggles, comes blessed release in a Promise for all who believe in Jesus.

Law: you do this.
Promise: I will do this for you.
Law: love and love perfectly, not with some piece of you, but the whole of you, from the inside out, through and through.
Promise: I have loved you with a perfect love, that springs from the heart of God before time began, and that appears in time with the Seed of Abraham. And this perfect love, the only real righteousness in this world, is my gift to you; believe it! It's yours!

So Abraham, long before the law, was saved simply by believing a promise, impossible though it seemed. It was a promise that reached fulfillment through his Seed, through Jesus. You, long after the law's perfect fulfillment in Christ, are saved by believing a promise, that Jesus is Abraham's Seed; that His obedience to the Law is alone without flaw; that He even became a curse to free you from the cursed condition of not having kept the law in its wholeness; and all this God promises to simply credited to you as you believe it, as you are baptized into Christ and put on Christ, and so become Abraham's heir in Him. 

Luther was right: the proper distinction between Law and Gospel really is a bright light. Not that it shines UPON the Scriptures to illuminate them, but that it shines FROM the Scriptures to illuminate our lives. And it's the light that Paul was shining in today's reading to help you and me hear and understand: the Scriptures are all about Jesus, who is Abraham's Seed, and in whom God made a unilateral promise to bless you, to give salvation to the one who believes in Him, quite apart from any works of the law. Grant us, O Holy Spirit, such faith, such joy! 

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

Hymn: 567 "Not What These Hands Have Done"


Missionaries Krista Young, Pr. Shaun and Beth Daugherty and Mr. Carl and Karen Cecil for protection and to prosper their service; Ezariah, Amy, Paula, Roger, Ruth, Allan and Jan, Nirmala, and Ana for healing, peace and comfort. 

Thanks to Tim Frank, guest musician today. 

The Personal Text Only Edition Print Edition of LSB

I am getting old. So bear that in mind. I honestly could not comfortably read the text in the new text only edition. I mean, I could make it out if I took off my glasses and held it inches from my nose. The too small text (to these eyes) made me sad, because it is a remarkably beautiful book. “Packy” is how my buddy Kal Waetzig described such books to me years ago. They feel good in the hand, they flex beautifully AND they smell nice! This little guy does all of that. The entire Psalter is a win. The lack of the services (a necessity to keep the size down and match up with a tradition where the liturgy was only given in outline) is a loss. The thing I can't get over is how much BETTER the electronic version in my iBooks is. It’s even smaller, yet I can read it with ease (probably because I can make the text as big as I need!), it has all the liturgies, and well, it eliminates another book. I already do almost all my Bible work in my iPad or iPhone; and here is the complete hymnal there as well. Bonus? It keeps poetry lines!

I still am having trouble wrapping my mind around looking at another screen in church, even the one that's usually in my pocket. I mean, I generally loathe the fact that our lives are filled with these little screens. Just driving from LCEF to IC today I noticed every single person at the bus stop had their eyes fixed on a screen. To introduce that to the Church assembly too? I'd be far more comfortable if I had the personal text edition in hand and used that (and it would work, because next to no one at our church ever looks in the book for the liturgy - that's down in our hearts). Still, this past Sunday I gave the iBooks version a whirl, and I've been giving it a whirl at the IC in our daily chapels. I can definitely get used to it.

But that wonderful and cute little book is out of the running for these old eyes like me. Has anyone had a different experience with it? 

23 August 2018

Now THIS Is Something

Any LCMS user with an iPad or iPhone should have!

Lutheran Service Book, TEXT edition. And so the ability to up the print size until you can read it comfortably. I never thought I'd see the day, but truth is that when I lead worship or preach anymore, I almost always do so exclusively from the iPad. I have the larger iPad Pro, and so just open two side-by-side windows. One has the stuff you see in the previous posting—reading, sermon, hymn, and prayer intentions for the litany. One used to have open my iBooks copy of the hymnal with the services and music.

But when I'm conducting the liturgy, I certainly do not need the music in front of me. From now on, it will be my TEXT edition that will be open. 

Kudos, CPH! Kudos yet once again!!!

Homily from Today’s Service

Service of Prayer and Preaching, p. 260


Romans 10:9–17 (ESV): if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 


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

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

I wonder, sometimes, if we get what Paul meant when he said that Jesus is Lord. I think it's quite a bit more than Jesus is the one who gets the say-so in your life. That's true, or ought to be true, of course. I think it's even more than Luther's beautiful exposition of "Lord" in the Larger Catechism, where we'd best render it as He's your hero; the one who comes to rescue you out of the mess you find yourself in and which you could never have gotten out of on your own. No. It's bigger. Jesus is Lord really runs all the way to Jesus is LORD. That is, Jesus is Yahweh. The one who formed Adam from the dust, and then formed Eve from his rib? That's Jesus. The One who told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and then provided a substitute? That's Jesus. The One who spoke to Moses in the burning bush, the One who divided the sea, the One who led them with a fiery pillar and fed them manna and provided water in the desert and divided the Jordan and caused the walls of Jericho to crash down and gave promises to David and well, you get the idea. 

Paul is arguing and insisting to Jew and Gentile that the ONE we meet in all the stories of the Old Testament and whose Spirit spoke through the prophets: THAT ONE is actually Jesus. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Yahweh. Jesus is God.

And yet also to believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. Wait a minute, I thought He was God? True, the Word is God, but He is also the Word with God. Which is to say Marcion is out to lunch with Arius. And so is anyone who tries to drive a wedge between the Testaments and the grouchy God of terrifying law and the loving sweet God of the New Testament. Lewis rightly observed that all the really frightening sayings of the New Testament actually are from the lips of Christ! He speaks as God and as the Son of God. 

But today's text isn't full of frightening news, but astounding news. Believe and be saved! Whoever believes in Him, God will never shame. There is no distinction, He's no respecter of persons, He dumps His gifts in Christ out lavishly on all who call on Him. All! He meant it when His prophet spoke: "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord (Jesus, Yahweh) will be saved!" Whoever!!!

Paul's great problem though is the same as yours. It makes it sound so easy. So wonderful. But faith, faith isn't easy. Our Catechism bluntly admits it's impossible. "I believe that I cannot believe." Truer words never written. So where does faith come from? How does it come about? 

Paul chases it back up the chain: if you haven't heard about Jesus being the Lord (the very key that unlocks the Scriptures), you can't call on Him (that is, realize that He's the God who can and will save you). And you can't hear about Jesus without someone telling you about Him. And that requires someone being SENT to tell you about Him. And sending is what God does with His Church! He sends us one and all to disclose this amazing mystery of the Old Covenant: that the One we're reading about with a creative word, and a flood of judgment and a persistent and almost crazy love for His people, this God showed up one day. Wore ancient diapers (aka swaddling clothes), grew up to walk in sandals, and showed in a hundred and one ways who He was. Just said it outright. And so we killed Him. "You a human dare to pretend that you are God! Come on, man. We know your mama, alright? We know your peeps. And we aren't impressed!" And when we killed Him for speaking the truth to us? God raises Him from the dead! And then sends Him back with this crazy message: "Ha! I love you! And you thought you were getting rid of me, but I've just saved the lot of you. Ha! How about that? My blood that you in your great sinfulness shed has now covered the whole globe! The whole deal! Every sin! You're forgiven! All of you! You're mine! And I love you! How's them's bananas, huh?"

And when you hear it, something happens. It's not really in your noggin. It's a work of the Holy Spirit way deep down. You hear it and you know: look, that's insane and crazy and, well, true. I think it's true. I know it's true in a way I can't ever prove to a soul. It has the ring of truth. I mean, I get it. Who can possibly believe this stuff? Who? Me and you, that's who. I don't know why or how. But I do and you do, and those men weren't lying to us about Him, about the wild and wooly things He did, and how everyone but especially the cross showed us what we'd never be able to reason our way to. That's faith.

The miracle of faith. Always a miracle. In the beginning the Spirit moved over the water and brought order out of chaos. In your being enfolded into this story, the Spirit moves over the chaos that is you and brings to birth this trust. And keeps birthing it. As you hear the stories of the Old Testament and you recognize again and again in them the Child born of the Virgin, nailed to the tree, raised from the dead, ruling right now in power, and coming in glory. The One who washes You and gives you new birth and who feeds You with His own body and blood and never tires of telling you that He has forgiven you and loves you and you are His. Faith is birthed when you know it's all true.

Faith comes from hearing. Hearing from the Word of Christ. 

And one more thing. Faith yaks. It can't shut up once its engendered by the Spirit and the Word. It immediately starts pouring out from the lips what's in the heart: Jesus really is Yahweh! The man hanging dead on the tree created the world. The baby in the Virgin's arms upholds the universe. And so the cycle goes on and on.

Sasse once observed the world is astounded that the Church CAN go on, just repeating as it does the same old story over and over again. The Church knows she only DOES go on, faith only does go on, because the story is told in her unceasingly, in the Scriptures we read and hear preached, in the liturgy and hymns we sing and even in the prayers we pray. In it all: faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of Christ. 

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

Hymn: 587 I Know My Faith Is Founded

Prayers: Ezariah, Amy, Paula, Roger, Ruth, Allan and Jan; Deirdre Christiansen (Germany); and all facing the hurricane bearing down on Hawaii. 

20 August 2018


This summer began with daughter Bekah's wedding to Andy; we then went to niece Jessica's wedding to Curtis, which I performed, in Virginia; then 10 days later, my brother (father of that niece) died and so BACK to Virginia for his memorial service; THEN daughter Lauren gave birth to the lovely Evangeline Grace and Cindi made the 8+ hour trek to northern Wisconsin to help out for a bit until she was relieved by Bekah; then Cindi and I drove back for Evangeline's baptism and I finally got to meet my newest granddaughter; and last but not least out for nephew Peter's wedding to Naomi back in Maryland. We just got back home this afternoon. In the midst of all that I bought a new car, which consequently is already due for an oil change, having put more than 3,000 miles on it since picking it up. WHEW. Crazy, crazy, crazy. 

Here are a few pics from Peter's wedding and our trip. The first one is mega cool: the reception happened to be at an electronics museum just outside Baltimore. And we had with us none other than the inventor of DirecPC: the father of the groom, Doug Dillon.

13 August 2018

Breathtaking words

By a defender and friend of the current Bishop of Rome:

Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants, because he is "free from disordered attachments." Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture. 


I might note that the openly is quite honest. This is not hidden, but celebrated!

Time to teach those terrified in the Roman communion to sing with us:

The haughty spirits, Lord, restrain
Who o'er Thy Church with might would reign
And always set forth something new
Devised to change Thy doctrine true. TLH 292:6

Lord, have mercy!  (HT: Dr. Tighe)

Note: Apparently the backlash led to revising what was posted originally. Do check it out on internet archive!

Celebrating the Baptism of Evangeline Grace Herberts

07 August 2018

A first

I mentioned a couple weeks ago about getting my glasses from Warby Parker over the net. This week I took it a step further and found a new (to me) car on Facebook Marketplace. I shopped the options there, located the one I wanted, confirmed it was still at the dealership, and Cindi and I went over and picked it up a couple hours later exactly at the price I was willing to pay. So my old black Honda Civic from 2004 has now been retired and replaced by a bright red (!!!) Honda Civic Ex from 2011. It looks downright sporty...for a Civic. All the info I needed was right there on the web: single owner, no accidents, etc. The dealership still took way too long once we arrived, but last evening we were home with a new to us car in the garage. And hopefully I won't have to think about cars for the foreseeable future. It's nice to be able to make the commute with my phone plugged in and playing (rather than using earphones). 

02 August 2018

Luther’s Beautiful Prayer before Communing

Lord, it is true that I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but I need and desire Your grace to make me godly. I now come to You, trusting only in the wonderful words I just heard, with which You invite me to Your table and promise me, the unworthy one, forgiveness of all my sins through Your body and blood if I eat them and drink them in this sacrament. Amen. Dear Jesus, I do not doubt the truth of Your words. Trusting them, I eat and I drink with You. Do unto me according to Your words. Amen. (AE 41:174)

Today’s Homily

Prayer and Preaching, p. 260

Reading: Luke 15:1–7

Luke 15:1–7 (ESV): 15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 

3 So he told them this parable: 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 

Responsory, p. 263


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

He was crossing a line, and they didn't like it one little bit. They were pretty sure the God of Israel had made that line and left them on one side of it, and these others, these tax collectors and sinners on the other. So what was Jesus doing over there with them?

To be fair, the sinners really were those who just didn't bother with the law of God. They lived their life as they saw fit. And the tax collectors, of course, were the sell-outs. They'd made a lucrative peace with the hated oppressors. And there sits Jesus, welcoming such to table. Eating with them. Spending time with them. Maybe even laughing and hugging them. He wasn't just crossing the line; His very actions were erasing that line.

And so they complain about Him. He wants to help them understand, to see how it really is with this God of Israel that they have so misunderstood. So He tells three stories, three parables. Today we only hear the first one, but each of the three tells the exact same story from different vantage points. And the key to getting this one is to answer the question Jesus poses us. 

"What man of you? What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open country and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?" Don't gloss over that. Think about it. Answer it. Which one of us would? Honestly, not a single one of us would be so foolish as to LEAVE 99 sheep in the open country unprotected in order to go hunting for one that missing. Why, we'd rightly suspect that when we came back, we might have that only one left if we happened to find it all! And if we saw someone behave like that, we'd say he was cracked. 

And just to prove he's totally cracked, check out Jesus' next bit: putting the animal on his shoulders, carrying it home, and then throwing a party and inviting all the neighbors in to celebrate with you that your lost has been found. Seriously? The neighbors would have to be cracked too.

It makes zero sense to us, as little sense as God in the flesh choosing to hang out with the people who didn't give two hoots about His law instead of those who were trying so hard to keep it.

And in this is the whole mystery and joy of our salvation. The thing that makes no sense is that the Shepherd placed an infinite worth upon his lost sheep. To Him it was worth everything. And if you're sitting there thinking: "Wow, He thought I was worth everything"...well, that's true, but the whole miracle is that this is how He thinks about each one. Especially including those you might be tempted to think aren't so important after all. To Him, each is of infinite value. Priceless.

Years ago I read an interesting novel couched in Iran. One of the protagonists was struggling to understand the so called "Western" mindset. He finally got it, and it is exactly the point of Jesus here: these silly people believe that each human life is of infinite worth. Each created in God's image. Each redeemed at the staggering cost of the Shepherd's own blood. That wasn't the way his culture saw things. There were those who mattered and those who didn't, and those who didn't could be disposed of without a qualm. To the extent our culture loses the insight into the wonderful worth God has attributed to each human life from conception to natural death, we've lost the thing that actually made all the great advances that took place in the West possible in the first place from hospitals and orphanages to old folks’ homes. It's sad in our days to see that failing on so many fronts. 

And yet, this infinite worth of the human life revealed on the Tree of Calvary doesn't mean that the Shepherd simply rejoices in the one sheep that was lost. No. His joy is in returning it to the others. Jesus as your private or individual Lord and Savior isn't in the cards. It's not about you. It's about how He rescues you from your singularity and isolation and brings you back and then celebrates that you have been restored to your place as a person in relation to other persons. Or, as the Father's picture it, it is really the story of how the Second Adam goes in search of the first Adam to find him and bring him back to the company of the angels and archangels. 

Salvation never stops with you being put on the Shepherd's shoulders and carried. It's fulfillment is when you're back where you belong: in the fold, and there's the great heavenly party to celebrate your reassuming the place God intended for you, and the same for each one carried home.

And when the Scribes and Pharisees grumped about whom Jesus was welcoming, they never even pondered their state. That they were on one side of the line and the God of Israel whom they imagined they were serving was sitting on the other, with folks gathered around Him to hear His Word. 

People loved by God, people made in the image of God, people sought by the Shepherd and carried home by Him, people who belong to the fold of God, don't look askance at any whom Your Jesus welcomes, but cross the line with Him and share the joy of the angels and all the company of heaven over the one sinner who repents. One is worth everything. Enter into the joy of Your Lord and join the celebration. 

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

Hymn: 569 In Adam We Have All Been One

Prayers, p. 265

Amy, Hannah, Paula, Roger, Ruth, Allan and Jan, David and Barbara Bush, Missionaries in Hong Kong

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

That is the way in which this mother serves me and us all with her own body. Really we all ought to be ashamed with all our hearts. For what are all the maids, servants, masters, mistresses, princes, kings, and monarchs on earth compared with the Virgin Mary, who was born of royal lineage, and withal became the mother of God, the noblest woman on earth? After Christ, she is the most precious jewel in all Christendom. And this noblest woman on earth is to serve me and us all by bearing this child and giving him to be our own! 
—Martin Luther, Homily for the Festival of Christ's Nativity, 1532 (HP III:216)