31 October 2020

And what fun! The Cousins get to Trick-or-treat together this year:


And the Lord of the manor (Meaghan was off picking up pizza for the kiddos):




 

Celebrating their birthdays

 


October heads out in a blaze of glory

 ...a tree at the end of our block:



30 October 2020

AND Happy Birthday to the Mistress of a Thousand Funny Faces...

...second oldest grand-daughter Lydia. She was upstaged by her cousin, Annabelle, who came a month earlier than expected. I can’t believe she’s seven!





Luther and Lewis

If a man preaches in the right manner, he gives praise to our Lord God.—Martin Luther, Short Writing on the Psalms, 1530-32

If anything whatever is common to all believers, and even to many unbelievers, it is the sense that in the gospel they have met a personality.... When we look into the Apocryphal gospels, we find ourselves constantly saying of this or that logion, ‘No. It’s a fine saying, but not His. That wasn’t how He talked.’—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 271.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Even as when he [the priest] baptizes, not he does baptize you, but it is God that possesses your head with invisible power, and neither angel nor archangel nor any other dare draw near and touch you; even so now also. For when God begets, the gift is His only.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 50 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Ap XXIV THE MASS

A sacrament is a ceremony or act in which God offers us the content of the promised joined to the ceremony; thus Baptism is not an act which we offer God but one in which God baptizes us through a minister functioning in His place.—Ap. XXIV:18

There are two, and only two, types of sacrifice. One is the propitiatory sacrifice; this is a work of satisfaction for guilt and punishment that reconciles God or places His wrath and merits the forgiveness of sins for others. The other type is the eucharistic sacrifice: this does not merit forgiveness of sins or reconciliation, but by it those who have been reconciled give thanks or show their gratitude for the forgiveness of sins and other blessings received.—Ap XXIV:29

29 October 2020

Luther and Lewis

Wherewith shall you awaken your faith? Wherewith shall you stir yourself to give thanks? Will you wait until prayer breaks in upon you or till the devil makes a place for it? That will never happen. You must stir yourself by this Sacrament [of the Altar] and hold fast to it. Here is the fire that can kindle the heart. You must remember your need and thirst, and hear and believe the good that your Saviour has wrought for you! And your heart will be renewed and your thoughts changed.—Martin Luther, Exhortation to the Sacrament, 1530

When Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral... They mean that Christ is actually operating through them; that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 270.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let us hear therefore, both priests and subjects, what we have had vouchsafed to us; let us hear and tremble. Of His own holy flesh He has granted us our fill; He has set before us Himself sacrificed.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 50 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Ap XXIV THE MASS

In our [Augsburg] Confession, we have stated our position that the Lord’s Supper does not grant grace ex opere operato, and does not merit for others, whether living or dead, forgiveness of sins or of guilt or of punishment ex opere operato. This position is established and proved by the impossibility of our obtaining the forgiveness of sins ex opere operato through our works and by the necessity of faith to conquer the terrors os sin and death and to comfort hearts with the knowledge of Christ.—Ap XXIV:11, 12

Ha!

The reading at Matins today was Sirach 8. I LOVE verse 3: Strive not with a man that is full of tongue, and heap not wood upon his fire. Implications for so many pointless internet “discussions” with interminably loquacious folk.

28 October 2020

Matt 11 Video

How Pete makes these, I’ll never understand, but here you go: Come Unto Me

David and Meaghan’s new living furniture

finally arrived, sans the coffee table (still on back order). The way I like to describe it: they are Poirot; we are Miss Marple.




Happy birthday, oldest granddaughter!

Today our sweet peanut Annabelle turns seven. Hard to believe. She’s unbelievably sweet and unfailingly kind to her brothers and sisters. A true “little momma.” (In the second pic, she’s on the left; though two days older than her cousin, Lydia, she’s a bit more compact!).




Luther and Lewis

My advice is that people should not dispute about secret and hidden things, but that they should stay simply by the Word of God and especially the Catechism, for therein is contained a good and true summary of the whole Christian religion and the most important articles put together in brief. For God Himself gave the Ten Commandments, Christ composed and taught the Lord’s Prayer, and the Holy Spirit set down the articles of the Creed in the shortest and most appropriate words.—Martin Luther, Table Talk

If you take the sacrificial idea out of Christianity, you deprive both Judaism and Paganism of all significance.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 270.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Believe, therefore, that even now it is that supper, at which He Himself sat down. For this is in no respect different from that. For neither does man make this and Himself the other; but both this and that is His own work. When therefore you see the priest delivering it unto you, account not that it is the priest that does so, but that it is Christ's hand that is stretched out.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 50 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Ap XXIV THE MASS

In our churches Mass is celebrated every Sunday and on other festivals, when the Sacrament is offered to those who wish for it after they have been examined and absolved. We keep traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of the lessons, prayers, vestments, etc.—Ap. XXIV:1

Epiphanius writes that in Asia Minor there were no daily Masses but Communion was celebrated three times a week, and that this practice comes from the apostles.—Ap. XXIV:8

27 October 2020

It’s the Nostalgia Time Again

Happens to me every single year about this time. The darkness grows, the evenings lengthen, the cold descends, and my mind (which is always rather preoccupied with memories) becomes rather than merely preoccupied, but obsessed with them. 

The vanished faces and homes: the smells of the wood fires in my grandparents’ homes... the frosty air on the back porch at Aunt Fanny’s that you needed to step out into sometimes just to catch your breath from the heat in the kitchen... the taste of country butter spread over hot cornbread baked in a wood stove, and the scrapple and sausage that Uncle Archie shared with us after butchering his hogs... the ride one glorious October Sunday afternoon with the leaves at their peak to visit cousin Rachel (my father’s cousin, who still lived on one of our family’s old home places) and her huge cat and the ducks down the road from the Richardsville store (I made my children make a similar trek one summer to visit Rachel’s loquacious daughter and I still hear about it) ... daddy stapling heavy plastic over the back porch windows at my grandma’s to keep some of the wind at bay... the year he dug the trench and laid pipe to get water up from the spring into the house so they wouldn’t have to go outside to fetch it in the snow and cold... also second hand memories from my mom’s accounts, her dad rising very early on Christmas morning to get all the chores done so that day could be spent with the children entirely or the Christmas daddy and Uncle Leon were served up some eggnog by Uncle Archie and came back to the house a tad TOO full of Christmas cheer for my teetotalling mother... 

It is absolutely odd to me that having grown up in Maryland, all of these memories center around Richardsville, Virginia where both my parents were from and our ancestors for many generations. With yesterday’s first fire of the season, I had to poke my head out the back door and drink in the smell of the smoke from the chimney and with it all the memories one more time. 






Luther and Lewis

The advantage of this is that when Christians gather together, prayer is more powerful than at other times. We can and should most certainly pray at all places and hours, but prayer is nowhere so strong as when, in unity of Spirit, the whole congregation is gathered together to pray.—Martin Luther, Sermon, 1544

A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 269.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let us also then touch the hem of His garment, or rather, if we be willing, we have Him entire. For indeed His body is set before us now, not His garment only, but even His body; not for us to touch it only, but also to eat, and be filled. Let us now then draw near with faith, every one that has an infirmity.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 50 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Ap XXIII Sacerdotal Marriage

We believe that priests should have this same freedom; we refuse to force anyone into celibacy or to dissolve existing marriages.—Ap XXIII:61

Finally, since marriage is pure, it is right to say that those who are not continent in celibacy should marry in order to be pure.—Ap XXIII:66

In the judgment of God no perversion of God’s Word will stand, as Isaiah says, “All flesh is grass, and its beauty is like the flower of the field.”—Ap XXIII:70

26 October 2020

First of the Season

 


Luther and Lewis

He wants my whole heart; for the outward things, as the outward virtues, are only maid servants; he wants the wife herself. He demands, that I say from the bottom of my heart: I am thine. The union and the marriage are accomplished by faith, so that I rely fully and freely upon him, that he is mine. If I only have him, what can I desire more?—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity 20 (CP V:232)

There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names—Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper. At least, those are the three ordinary methods.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 267.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Do you see how by degrees Jesus was leading them all higher and higher? For by his walking on the sea, and by his commanding another to do so and by preserving Peter in jeopardy, their faith was henceforth great. On that occasion he rebuked the sea. But now he is not rebuking the sea, but in another sense his power is still being abundantly demonstrated. For this reason the believers worship him and say: “Truly you are the Son of God.”—Homily 50 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Ap XXIII Sacerdotal Marriage

This has given us a picture of the times that will precede the end of all things. In a time like this it was appropriate to guard marriage with the strictest laws and examples and to invite men to it. This is the duty of public officials, who ought to maintain public order. (54, 55)

We know that we are laying ourselves open to the charge of schism because we seem to have separated ourselves from those who are regarded as the regular bishops. But our consciences are at ease. Despite our most earnest desire to establish harmony, we know that to satisfy our opponents we would have to reject the clear truth. (59)

25 October 2020

Reformation was observed today at St. Paul’s

And what a joy it was. From the opening strains of Kantor’s prelude (Walther’s “Ein Feste Berg”), to having our processional hymn restored (Cross, Gospel Book); From the school choir (with an assist from my wife and in which two of my grandkids sang) to the lovely Mozart “Ave Verum” that Cindi sang during the lavabo; From pastor’s fine homily weaving together the epistle and Gospel readings; to the joy of singing a hymn on our way out “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast.” As one of our members quipped to Cindi afterwards, “That was almost a real church service!” Oh, we still practiced social distancing and were scattered throughout the nave; no distribution hymns, and still administering the sacrament in lines rather than kneeling at the rail, but it seemed like maybe the crocus? Maybe sneaking an inch or two back to normality. Of course, sometimes you do wonder if the crocus got the wrong memo. Time will tell.

24 October 2020

Ah, Saturday

Save for the Saturday liturgy at 6 this evening, nothing that HAD to be done today. I love days like that. And I’ve just discovered Apple’s acoustic chill radio. I’m absolutely loving what we’re hearing there. THAT is my favorite sound. Been listening for hours. We made up some of our buttered coffee today (twice). I did some further planning for the podcast; and not much else. (Well, our usual Saturday sprints and such). 

23 October 2020

Ah, it’s been WEEKS

Since ye olde Inbox has come to zero (which is where I prefer to keep it). I’m glad to say it returned to that coveted status this afternoon. Yay! Now, I hope I can keep it that way for a while. The power of “no.”

Luther and Lewis

For our Gospel and deeds are not founded upon us, neither are they for our sakes, but everything is for the sake of this Lord Christ, from whom we have all things and for whose sake we preach, and live, and suffer. Since, then, all things are for His sake, we leave the caring to Him who says that He will bring all these things to fulfillment and give us the spirit and courage we need.—Martin Luther, Exposition, Jn xiv, xv.

The central point of the Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians agree on is that it works.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 265.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Lord reached out His hand. He chided Peter, saying, ‘O Man of little faith, why did you doubt?’—that is, why did you not, gazing straight at the Lord as you approached, pride yourself only in Him? Nevertheless, He snatched Peter from the waves and did not allow him who was declaring his weakness and asking the Lord for help to perish.—St. Augustine, Homily 75

Catechesis: Ap XXIII Sacerdotal Marriage

In the first place, our opponents must admit that for believers marriage is pure because it has been sanctified by the Word of God; that is, it is something which the Word of God permits and approves, as the Scriptures abundantly testify. (Ap XXIII:28)

In the second place, the proper contrast is between lust and purity understood as the purity of the heart and the mortification of lust; it is not marriage that the law forbids, but lust, adultery, and promiscuity. Therefore celibacy is not necessarily pure. There may be greater purity of heart in a married man like Abraham or Jacob than in many others who are truly continent. (Ap XXIII:35)

We do not put marriage on the same level as virginity. One gift surpasses another.... So also virginity is a gift that surpasses marriage. (Ap XXIII:38)

The virgin does not merit justification by virginity any more than the married person does by performing the duties of marriage. Each should serve faithfully in what he has been given to do, believe that for Christ’s sake he obtains the forgiveness of sins and that through faith is accounted righteous before God. (Ap. XXIII:39)

22 October 2020

THAT Was a First

Never seen it happen before. Opa dealt the last hand of Liverpool (and I was across from him). Lois discarded, and I drew, and was able to lay down before Cindi or Opa even had a chance to play. Three runs of four or more. Wow. He gave me four or five jokers. Unbelievable.

Luther and Lewis

Out of love, Christ, with all His saints, takes on our form and fights with us against sin, death, and all evil, so that we, being kindled with love, take His form, trust ourselves to His righteousness, His life and blessedness, and so through the fellowship of the good that belongs to Him and the wretchedness that belongs to us, we become one loaf, one bread, one body, one drink, and all is common. Oh, what a great Sacrament this is, that Christ and His Church are one flesh and one bone.—Martin Luther, Sermon on the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, 1519

His [Our Lord’s] teaching therefore cannot be grasped by the intellect alone, cannot be ‘got up’ as if it were a ‘subject’. If we try to do that with it, we shall find Him the most elusive of teachers. He hardly ever gave a straight answer to a straight question. He will not, in the way we want, be ‘pinned down’. The attempt is (again, I mean no irreverence) like trying to bottle a sunbeam.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 265.

Patristic Quote of the Day

A scribe is one who, through continual reading of the Old and New Testaments, has laid up for himself a storehouse of knowledge. Thus Christ blesses those who have gathered in themselves the education both of the law and of the gospel, so as to “bring forth from their treasure things both new and old.”—St. Cyril of Alexandria, Fragment 172 (on Matt 13:52)

Catechesis: Apology XXIII Sacerdotal Marriage

This love of one sex for the other is truly a divine ordinance. (Ap XXIII:7)

The Jurists have said wisely and correctly that the union of man and woman is by natural right. Now, since natural right is unchangeable, the right to contract marriage must always remain. (Ap XXIII:9)

Natural right is really divine right, because it is an ordinance divinely stamped on nature.... As we said, we are not talking about sinful lust but about the desire which is called “natural love,” which lust did not remove from nature but only inflamed. (Ap XXIII:12, 13)

Paul says (1 Cor. 7:2), “Because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife.” This is an express command, directed to anyone not suited to celibacy.... Paul’s command...binds all those who are not truly continent. It is up to each man’s conscience to decide this matter. (Ap XXIII: 14, 17)

21 October 2020

My new favorite verse from Wisdom...

For blessed is the wood whereby righteousness cometh. Wisdom 14:7 (Referring to the Ark of Noah, but STILL, impossible not to hear it about another Wood, no?). 

KJV again

There’s a great post up on Gottesdienst with a link to Anthony Esolen’s article on language. Outstanding. Once again, let me say that I am happy that THIS has become my preferred Bible:

Luther and Lewis

For there is one baptism, one Christ, one Sacrament, one meal, one Gospel, one faith, one Spirit, one spiritual body, and each one is a member of the other; no other brotherhood is so deep and so close.—Martin Luther, Sermon on the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, 1519

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 264.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Through the comparison of a treasure hidden in the field of our hope, Christ points to wealth that has been covered up, for God is discovered in humanity.—St. Hilary of Poitiers, on St. Matt. 13:7

Catechesis: Ap XXIII: Marriage of Priests

But they are not serious in their [the opponent’s] defense of celibacy. They know good and well how few practice chastity, but they use religion as a pretext to maintain their authority, which they think celibacy enhances... We cannot approve the law of celibacy put forth by our opponents because it clashes with divine and natural law and conflicts with the very decrees of the councils.—Ap. XXIII:5, 6

20 October 2020

Luther and Lewis

To [Christians] is given the Gospel, Baptism, and the Sacrament to convert the people, to win souls from the devil, to snatch them out of hell and death, and to take them up to heaven; and again to strengthen, comfort, and uphold the poor and instruct and advise the afflicted consciences in their sore temptation; and again to teach all people in all occupations how to do their work as good Christians.—Martin Luther, Expos. Jn xiv, xv.

One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic.... But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money?—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 263. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Lord compared his reign with a grain of mustard seed... Its inherent potency is heightened under stress and pressure. Therefore, after this grain is sown in the field—that is, when it has been seized by someone and delivered up to death as though buried in the field by the sowing of its body—it grows up to become larger than any herb and surpasses all the glory of the prophets.—St. Hilary of Poitiers on Matt 13:4.

Catechesis: Ap XXII Both Kinds

The sacrament was instituted to console and strengthen terrified hearts when they believe that Christ’s flesh, given for the life of the world, is their food and that they come to life by being joined to Christ.—Ap XXII:10

19 October 2020

Homily for Trinity 19

Here’s a youtube of this week’s homily. Audio is okay; visual is not the best, from FB’s livestream. Thanks to Pete Slayton for making it happen!

I wonder

If Wisdom 10:1 is the first reference to Adam’s sin as “his fall”? 

She [that is, Wisdom] preserved the first formed father of the world, that was created alone, and brought him out of his fall.

Luther and Lewis

The mysteries of God are those hidden things which God gives and which dwell in God.—Martin Luther, Sermon upon Gaudete, 1522.

Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 262.


Patristic Quote of the Day

The seed of the one who is dense is snatched away, the seed of the intellect ought to be taken up and covered in the ground of memory, so that it may spread forth roots and may not be naked or snatched away by the spirits of wickedness.—Origen on Matt 13:20, 21

Catechesis: Both Kinds

There can be no doubt that the use of both kinds in the Lord’s Supper is godly and in accord with the institution of Christ and the words of Paul.—Ap. XXII:1

18 October 2020

More interesting parallels

Today’s first reading in the KJV schedule was Ecclesiasticus 51, and included:

I opened my mouth, and said, Buy her [Wisdom] for yourselves without money. Put your neck under the yoke, and let your soul receive instruction: she is hard at hand to find. Behold with your eyes, how that I have had but little labour, and have gotten unto me much rest. 

I wonder if our Lord was putting Himself in the place of Wisdom, then, when in Matthew 11 He invited us under His yoke to find rest for our souls!

17 October 2020

SWEET

Since this is the first Thanksgiving we’re hosting ALL my kids and grandkids, Opa, and maybe Aunt Sandy (and...), we just set it up and figured out we could totally seat 18-20 in the dining room, plus the baby the in high chair. Count me a happy camper! This will actually work!!! Tight dancing, of course, but, hey, you expect that on Thanksgiving, right? One table of 10 or 11 or 12; one table of 8. 

Luther and Lewis

For through the power that I shall have at the right hand of the Father, being of the same divine Majesty and openly transfigured and shown forth as very God and Lord over all creatures, I shall work in you who believe in Me and who, having received My Word, Baptism, and Sacrament, steadfastly abide in them. And as I am Lord over sin, death, the world, the devil, and everything, so shall you be also, so that you will be able to glory in the selfsame power, not that you will have it because of your worthiness or strength, but solely because I go to the Father. Through the Word and through prayer, My Word will work mightily in you.—Martin Luther, Exposition Jn xiv, xv.

Christians, then, believe that an evil power has made himself for the present time the Prince of this World. And, of course, that raises problems. Is this state of affairs in accordance with God’s will or not? If it is, He is a strange God, you will say: and if it is not, how can anything contrary to the will of a being with absolute power?—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 260.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Lord also states that it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, for riches choke the word of God and weaken the force of virtue.—St. Jerome on Matt 13:22

Catechesis: Invocation of the Saints, Apology XXI

Granted that blessed Mary prays for the church, does she receive souls in death, does she overcome death, does she give life? What does Christ do if blessed Mary does all this? Even though she is worthy of the highest honors, she does not want to put on the same level as Christ but to have her example considered and followed.—Ap XXI:27

16 October 2020

New post up at Gottesdienst

On a lovely prayer that is provided in The Chief Divine Service. I do believe I read reference to this prayer AGES ago in Dr. Herl’s notes, where I believe all he said was that a long prayer followed the Sanctus...and being a musicologist, he didn’t bother to write it down. I groused about it to him back then. Anyway, Lochner (through Carver) makes up for it right here: Gottesdienst.

You know

Some people don’t believe Pete is a saint. I’d like to know how they’d miss that nimbus!!!


Interesting Parallels

Between Wisdom 6 and Romans 13:

Hear therefore, O ye Kings...For power is given you of the Lord, and sovereignity from the Highest, who shall try your works, and search out your counsels. Because, being ministers of his kingdom, ye have not judged aright, nor kept the law, nor walked after the counsel of God... (Wisdom 6:1, 3, 4)

Romans 13:1-4 (KJV) 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

For the very true beginning of her [that is, Wisdom] is the desire of discipline; and the care of discipline is love; And love is the keeping of her laws... (Wisdom 6:17, 18)

Romans 13:10 (KJV) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Advent Devotional!

Hot off the presses! Hey, folks, for any size contribution to my podcast: The Word of the Lord Endures Forever before the start of Advent, you can receive my Advent Devotions book. I wrote it in part out of frustration with other Advent devotions that were too long or that ignored the various days of the Church Year. I wrote these short daily devotions (each featuring a verse or two of Scripture, a hymn stanza, devotional thoughts, and a prayer) to be used ideally at the dinner table as you light the Advent Wreath. Want a copy? Send your donation to:

The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
P.O. Box 616
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Or go here to donate online:





I think the ESV might have missed the point here: Deut. 11:21

ESV: 
Deuteronomy 11:21 (ESV) that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.

KJV:
Deuteronomy 11:21 (KJV) That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

Here’s the LXX:
Deuteronomy 11:21 (LXX) ἵνα πολυημερεύσητε καὶ αἱ ἡμέραι τῶν υἱῶν ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἧς ὤμοσεν κύριος τοῖς πατράσιν ὑμῶν δοῦναι αὐτοῖς καθὼς αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς

And the MT:
Deuteronomy 11:21 (WLC) לְמַ֨עַן יִרְבּ֤וּ יְמֵיכֶם֙ וִימֵ֣י בְנֵיכֶ֔ם עַ֚ל הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֧ע יְהוָ֛ה לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶ֖ם לָתֵ֣ת לָהֶ֑ם כִּימֵ֥י הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ ס

I think the KJV actually gets this one right: in the obedience of Israel to God’s law, summarized of course in the twin commandments of loving God above all and the neighbor as self, the children of Israel actually get a taste of the sweet savor of heaven itself right here upon the earth! 

And not just Israel. Heaven on earth is what Jesus came to bring (as announced by the angels at His nativity). How beautifully Jaroslav Vajda put it in his great Christmas hymn: “Before the marvel of this night”: Give earth a glimpse of heavenly bliss, a teasing taste of what they miss! Sing bliss, sing bliss, sing endless bliss, sing bliss, sing endless bliss.

“The kingdom of heaven is at hand” was our Lord’s message. And very much “at hand” with Him, who lived among us as the perfect fulfillment of the Law and so as the very gift of heaven walking the earth. He gave us days of heaven upon the earth, indeed, as Heaven’s King walked among us. And He established His Church to continue to offer in the liturgy via His saving Word and the Sacraments an ongoing participation in that Kingdom from above right here in this world, albeit hidden under great weakness. For through them He offers to us without ceasing His own life, His righteousness, His trust in His Father, His love to be our very own. 

Days of heaven upon the earth. Is that not what we long for, and what we pray for when we take on our lips the prayer He taught us: “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?

Luther and Lewis

Ye shall be hated by all for my name’s sake, and again, the time cometh when whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. We must remember such sayings and fortify ourselves with them, that we may be made worthy to suffer for His Word. Remember that it has been revealed that at the time of the antichrist no man will be free to preach, and all who teach and hear the Word of God will be deemed accursed.—Martin Luther, Instruction to those Making Confession, 1521

When you are arguing against Him [God] you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 261.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He teaches the blessedness of the apostolic times to those whose eyes and ears are fortunate to look upon and hear the salvation of God. These are the prophets and the righteous who have longed to see and hear the fulfillment of the expected times. They share in the joy of that expectation reserved for the apostles.—St. Hilary of Poitiers, On Matthew 13:3

Catechesis: Apology XXI Invocation of the Saints

We know that the merits of Christ are our only propitiation. Because of them we are accounted righteous when we believe in him, as the text says, “He who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” We must not believe that we are accounted righteous by the merits of the blessed Virgin or of the other saints.—Ap XXI:31

15 October 2020

Luther and Lewis

And thus the Christian Church has held her own from the beginning until now amid innumerable false spirits which have been from the beginning and may still come. And yet she goes on standing firmly by her Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Gospel, Christ, the Ten Commandments, and true and pure prayer, and thus she judges and separates herself from all false teaching which is opposed to her—yes, even though the devil should become an angel of light and as a beautiful and radiant figure should present himself as God.—Martin Luther, on Jn xiv, xv

[Screwtape to Wormwood] If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 260.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Here it is not so much God taking something away from him as it is his own unreadiness to receive the gifts. We ourselves do this all the time. When we see someone listening carelessly and when with much effort we cannot persuade him to listen at all, then it remains for us to be silent. For if we continue, even his carelessness is aggravated. But for someone who is striving to learn, we lead on and pour in much.—St. John Chrysostom, Hom. 45 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Invocation of the Saints

Men suppose that Christ is more severe and the saints more approachable; so they trust more in the mercy of the saints than in the mercy of Christ and they flee from Christ and turn to the saints.—Ap. XXI.15

14 October 2020

Luther and Lewis

There is no argument about whether there is on earth a Church which man should obey. The battle begins when men must decide which is the true Church. As long as we judge according to human words and understanding we cannot settle this quarrel, nor can we find the true Church, but we can reach certainty in the matter if we hear how Christ our Lord Himself describes and portrays the Church. Here He christens and depicts her as the little company which loves Christ and keeps His Word (for thus is such love known and felt). ‘My Word’, He says, ‘must remain and be kept or there can be no Church.’ The Word of Christ is here the rule and test whereby one can find and know the true Church, and by which she must set her course.—Martin Luther, Sermon on Whitsunday, 1544

One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease and sin.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 258.

Patristic Quote of the Day

If someone can become the brother of the Lord by coming to faith, we must ask how one can become also his mother. We must realize that the one who is Christ’s brother and sister by believing, becomes his mother by preaching. It is as though one brings forth the Lord and infuses him into the hearts of one’s listeners.—St. Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies (on Matt. 12:50).

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

But we speak about the bread and wine that is Christ’s body and blood and has the words attached to it. That, we say, is truly the treasure—and nothing else—through which such forgiveness is gained.—LC V:28

13 October 2020

Whew

Trying to get a new freezer during Covid-tide has been insane. But thanks be to God, Cindi stopped in a Lowes a few weeks ago and was finally able to secure one. We’ve been using her dad’s since ours shot craps back in the summer. It finally was delivered today. I’m ready to be done with appliance replacement for a little bit! We also recently had to replace the oven and the microwave. 

Luther and Lewis

If it were our strength and power with which we resist our enemies, we should have the glory and not Christ. But experience teaches us that we are not such as can help themselves, but God must do it. Thus God is glorified in our infirmity.—Martin Luther, Sermons Jn vi-viii.

It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things are not simple. They look simple, but they are not.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 257. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

If Jonah then is taken as a type of Christ, he is not so take in every respect—he was sent to preach to the Ninevites, but he sought to flee from the presence of God. And he is seen to shrink from going to the east. The Son also was sent from God the Father to preach to the nations, but he was not unwilling to assume this ministry.—St. Cyril of Alexandria

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

Therefore, the Sacrament is given as a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself so that it will not fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger. The new life must be so guided that it continually increases and progresses.—LC V:24, 25

10 October 2020

Our rustic cabin

Perched on the top of a mountain. 



09 October 2020

A Few Shots

From our mini-vacation in the Great Smokies:







07 October 2020

Dr. Sander

Hey, folks! Our own Dr. David Sander (graduate of St. Paul’s!) who went on to earn his doctorate in virology from Tulane and is now mayor of Rancho Cordova in CA, gives his take on COVID 19 right here.

06 October 2020

THANKS SO MUCH!

Thanks to everyone who sent along a card for my surprise 60th card shower, arranged by my sneaky wife (who also surprised me with the flowers at church from her, the kids and grandkids...and gave me the vintage 1960 hat, to match HER vintage 1960 shirt). Wow! I was overwhelmed. Some of you were very gracious and kind; some of you were downright mean! And I loved hearing from you all. God’s blessings to you each and everyone. 

Luther and Lewis

The Word is not created by the Church, but the Church is created by the Word. And a certain sign, by which we may know where the Church be, is the Word of God.—Martin Luther, Misuse of the Mass, 1521

The rebellion of new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed they would find they had destroyed themselves. The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 251.

Patristic Quote of the Day

“The meaning is not that a bad tree, according to the nature of trees, can constitute what is good or be good in its branches if it is bad. Rather, it is that Christ must either be left behind as useless or held onto as good, because of the usefulness of good fruit.”—St. Hilary of Poitiers, On Matt. 12:18 

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

Briefly, that is like saying, “For this reason we go to the Sacrament: there we receive such a treasure by and in which we gain forgiveness of sins.” “Why so?” “Because the words stand here and give this....”—LC V:22

05 October 2020

Wow.


That was our temp when we got up this morning, and we had a hard frost, I do believe. Hopefully the grass will give up the ghost for the season. I’m ready to be done with it! We donned our winter wear and went out for our morning walk, nonetheless, but it was a colder walk than we’re used to at the start of October. A portent of a chillier winter than has been our wont in recent years? 

Luther and Lewis

For who can harm or injure a man who has this confidence, who knows that heaven and earth, and all the angels and the saints will cry to God when the smallest suffering befalls him?—Martin Luther, Sermons on Jn xvi-xx, 1528

Those who know the Tao can hold that to call children delightful or old men venerable is not simply to record a psychological fact about our own paternal or filial emotions at the moment, but to recognize a quality which demands a certain response from us whether we make it or not.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 250.  

Patristic Quote of the Day

[Christ] promises forgiveness of all sins and denies a pardon for blasphemy against the Spirit. For although other words and deeds may be treated with liberal forgiveness, there is no mercy if God is denied in Christ.—St. Hilary of Poitiers, On Matt 12:17

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

For the Sacrament is not founded upon people’s holiness but upon God’s Word. Just as no saint on earth, indeed, no angel in heaven, can make bread and wine be Christ’s body and blood, so also no one can change or alter it, even if it is misused. The Word by which it became a Sacrament and was instituted does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For Christ does not say, “If you are worthy, you receive My body and blood.”—LC V:16, 17

04 October 2020

What joy today: the Installation of Pr. Dean Herberts

At St. Paul’s and St. John’s, Dieterich IL. And at the reception afterwards, I notice this man that bore a striking resemblance to Ernie Garbe. I almost said something to him, but figured: “Nah, what are the chances?” Later though, I wrote Dean to ask if he DID have any Garbe’s in his congregation, and he said “yup.” ACK! I wish I’d have just gone with my instinct and greeted him. He’s a man whose service to the Synod I’ve been thankful for for years!






03 October 2020

Sipping my coffee

Contentedly from this rude cup that my eldest gave me, in my living room on the last day of my 50’s and reflecting. 

It seems like YESTERDAY that I turned 50. But I entered that decade with my mother-in-law and brother Maupin (two people I dearly love) still living; I was serving as pastor of St. Paul’s as I had since 1993; only daughter Lauren was married; two kids still in college; no grandchildren. 

I leave that decade sadly having lost both Jo and Maup; but joyously, having gained a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law; overwhelmingly blessed with nine grandchildren; having seen a son-law-ordained into the office of the holy ministry; having served over 7 years as LCMS Director of Worship and IC Chaplain (three conventions; two worship institutes; one hymn-writers conference and more travelling than I ever wanted to do in my whole life) and now blessedly employed by Lutheran Public Radio, writing from home most days, occupied with teaching the Bible on The Word of the Lord Endures Forever podcast, and also serving again at St. Paul’s as assistant pastor and catechist; and also (PRAISE BE TO GOD!!!) with all my children and grandchildren within an easy drive (that’s only since last week, of course). 

I remember in my late 40’s setting the goal of being “fabulously fit by 50.” I think I met that and have actually increased it. Truth to tell, I think I’m actually in better shape now than I was back then. And no, I simply don’t feel “old” at all on the eve of my 60th. My energy is unabated, but I have noticed that when I talk for any length of time these days, my voice flags rather quickly. More and more it sounds to my own ear more like my Granddaddy Chance’s voice  (my namesake). Raspy. And when tired, it definitely trends toward the tenor. Still, I entered my 50’s taking medications for distressingly regular migraines. I’m taking leave of my 50’s on ZERO medications—thanks be to God! 

For over two years and two months, Cindi and I have been eating zero carb (or carnivore) with very occasional exceptions. It’s been weird, but great. The hardest part is the emotional investment we put into certain foods at certain times. But when it comes to taste and satiation, we never get tired of eating burgers, steaks, roasts, sausage, bacon, and eggs with some seafood tossed in now and again for good measure. Yeah, we’re weird.

I entered my 50’s richly, richly blessed by close friends who are to Cindi and me just like family. I leave my 50’s enriched by several more whom we’ve come to love and cherish. 

I entered the 50’s living in a parsonage; but I bid the 50’s adieu in a home which we actually own, as in paid off the mortgage in 7.5 years. Still in a bit of shock over that. Go Dave Ramsey and Mr. Money Mustache! It’s smallish but perfectly sized for two empty-nesters; and we were even able to put our beloved pool just off the deck (and that’s where we live in the summer time). 

I entered the 50’s with a dog, two indoor cats, and one outside cat (plus her kittens!); and I think (unwelcome!) a raccoon mom and her babies and the odd skunk or two hanging about. I am happy to leave the 50’s without a single pet. I am thankful for the joy the cats and dog brought into our lives. The cats loved to curl around my laptop while I wrote and the dog was in equal doses delightful and frustrating. I’ll never forget Lucy tearing into her Christmas present on cue, just like she knew it was hers and exactly how to get the paper off. It was flying in the air!

I entered the 50’s with a goatee that I’d worn for most of the previous decade. I leave the 50’s with a beard that I’ve become fond of, though it is starting to turn grizzled and gray (as my temples have also). Why a beard? Because I’m lazy and running a comb through the beard is a lot faster than fiddling with shaving! 

I entered the 50’s with my beloved wife by my side—can you believe that she still puts up with me?—and thanks be to God I am leaving them with my beloved wife still at my side. We’re closing in on our 40th wedding anniversary; and granting me such a companion with whom to walk the path of life is something I will thank God for forever.

In the daily lectionary from KJV, we’re in Tobit at the moment. Some of my favorite words from that book: 

Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed is thy holy and glorious name forever; let the heavens bless thee, and all thy creatures. Thou madest Adam, and gavest him Eve for an helper and stay: of them came mankind: thou hast said, It is not good that man should be alone; let us make unto him an aid like unto himself. And now, O Lord, I take not this my sister for lust, but uprightly: therefore, mercifully ordain that we may become aged together. And she said with him, Amen. (Tobit 8:5-8)

Aged together. I like that. God grant it indeed!


02 October 2020

Luther and Lewis

For this promise of God does not lie; the promise was made to Abraham and to his seed, not for one year or for a thousand years, but “for the ages,” that is, from one generation to another, without end. We ought not therefore treat the Jews in so unkindly a spirit, for there are future Christians among them, and they are turning every day.—Martin Luther, Magnificat, AE 21:334, 335.

The most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who says that he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining ‘It’s not fair’ before you can say Jack Robinson.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 247.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For so great was the accuracy of the prophets that they did not omit even these little matters. But they foretold his travels, changes of place, and the intent with which he would act, that we might learn that they spoke by the Spirit. If human secrets cannot be easily discerned, how much more difficult is it to discern Christ’s purpose, except when the Spirit reveals it to us.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 40, St. Matthew

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

“Now what is the Sacrament of the Altar?” Answer, “It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine, which we Christians are commanded by Christ’s Word to eat and to drink.”

Once Upon a Time...

...up at Gottesdienst

01 October 2020

Luther and Lewis

Behold, how He combined the two. He raises up seed for Abraham, the Natural son of one of his daughters, a pure virgin, Mary, through the Holy Spirit and without her knowing a man. Here there was no natural conception with its curse, nor could it touch this seed; and yet it is the natural seed of Abraham, as truly as any of the other children of Abraham. This is the blessed Seed of Abraham, in whom all the world is set free from its curse.—Martin Luther, Magnificat AE 21:353

It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the world. Quarelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 247.

Patristic Quote of the Day

“And he made the man stand in the middle,” not because Jesus feared them but because He was eager to help them and to draw them toward His mercy.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 40 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Holy Baptism

In this way one sees what a great, excellent thing Baptism is. It delivers us from the devil’s jaws and makes us God’s own. It suppresses and takes away sin and then daily strengthens the new man. It is working and always continues working until we pass from this estate of misery to eternal glory.—LC IV:83