31 December 2020

Happy sixty-ninth, Maupin!

I have thought about you so very often in the last little bit. You were a great brother and words fail to say how very much I miss you. Rest in peace!



28 December 2020

And NOW

...vacation truly begins. All services done. Weather permitting, we may join the Herberts for church next Sunday. For the first time in living memory, no New Year’s liturgies (Circumcision and Name of Jesus).
 
Work begins again on January 4, and I get to serve at the Epiphany liturgy at 8:20 on January 6th. But till then, I’m off and planning to read, relax, and rejuvenate. 

St Paul’s

And I just figured out how to use the wide angle lens on my iPhone’s camera. Sigh. I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack sometimes. 

I keep looking at my email...

...waiting for some interesting post or rant or joy from Paul McCain to show up. Sigh. I miss that fellow tremendously. As my friend Gary would put it, yes, he knew how to stir the pot, but more than that, he just loved the luminous beauty of our Confession of the faith, and he was ten paces ahead of the rest of us to realize when something was obscuring that. I might just have to go back and read old emails for a while to get my Paul quota. I mean, come on folks, a Gaudete without his usual rant on the “pink”? I miss the man, I just do.

27 December 2020

Whew...

....the three masses for Christmas I done; one more to go tomorrow. Pr. Daenzer gave us the most amazing prelude before he assisted as the deacon at the second mass. Yours truly was preacher and celebrant; I’m definitely a tad slower than our beloved Pr. Ball. But then again, I’m older!

25 December 2020

AND all set up

For the not so smallish Christmas dinner...



Today was our smallish Christmas Dinner...

...just the six of us: Andy and Bekah; Opa and Lois; Cindi and myself. Cornish hens, potatoes, broccoli, sausages and cheeses, jello salad, and an assortment of cookies, sparkling wine, and regular wines and coffee.



When your son-in-law

Has the same smashing fashion sense that you have:   



Here’s a link to and some pics from our St. Paul’s Aurora Divine Service

At which I was blest to preach and to serve as Celebrant. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Dearly beloved brethren: Unto us is born this day a Savior. Let us rejoice. It would be unlawful to be sad today, for today is Life’s birthday, the birthday of that life which, for us mortal creatures, takes away the sting of death and brings the bright promise of an eternal hereafter. It would be unlawful for any man to refuse to share our rejoicing. All men have an equal part in the great reason why we are joyful, for our Lord, who is the destroyer of sin and death, finding that all around bound under condemnation is come to make all free. Rejoice, if you are a saint, for you are drawing nearer to your crown! Rejoice, if you are a sinner, for your Savior offers you pardon! And if you are pagan, rejoice, for God calls you to life! For when the fulness of time was come, the Son of God took upon Himself the nature of man so that He might reconcile that nature to Him who made it; hence the devil, the inventor of death, is met and conquered in that very flesh which had been the field of his victory. Let us give thanks to the Father through His Son in the Holy Spirit, who for His great love wherewith He loves us has had mercy on us and quickened us together with Christ even when we were dead in sins, that in Him, we might be a new creature and a new handiwork. Let us then put off the old man with his deeds, and having obtained a share in the sonship of Christ, let us renounce the deeds of the flesh. Be conscious, O Christian, of your dignity! You have been made partaker of the divine nature; do not fall again by a corrupt manner of life into the beggarly elements above which you are lifted. Remember whose body it is of which you are a member, and who is its Head. Remember that it is He who has delivered you from the power of darkness and has transferred you into God’s light and God’s kingdom.—from a Christmas Homily of Pope St. Leo the Great

Merry Christmas!

A Christmas Eve wrap up of our family... May the joys of the Feast fill all your hearts with the peace of Emmanuel!

Herberts:

Weedon:


Ibisch

















Old Weedons





David’s O Holy Night

O Holy Night 2020

24 December 2020

Just a pic

Of this beautiful woman I am blessed to call my wife. 



If you don’t have

Lutheran Public Radio on today for the joyous music of the holy feast, why on earth not? Cindi and I have been enjoying it beside the fire this morning.



Patristic Quote of the Day

Nature here rested, while the Will of God labored. O ineffable grace! The Only Begotten, Who is before all ages, Who cannot be touched or be perceived, Who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, that is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that men cannot see. For since men believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, they doubt of that which they do not see, and so He has deigned to show Himself in bodily presence, that He may remove all doubt.

Christ, finding the holy body and soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a living temple, and as He had willed, formed there a man from the Virgin; and, putting Him on, this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature.

For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made. Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator. For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker. —St. John Chrysostom, Christmas Homily

23 December 2020

A rare joy...

...this morning I returned a call to an old family friend, Tommy Antonelli. It was sheer delight to share our joy in the Lord and to recall with fondness many who now have long since gone from this earth (but are not forgotten by God). 

I told him he had an outsized impact on my life, for when I was about to start college, and shared that I wanted to be a history teacher, he was like: “History teachers are a dime a dozen; find something else!” And I did! My service to the Church, in which my love of history could be combined with my love of theology and the Sacred Scriptures. Thank you, Tommy!

My mom and daddy thought the world of this man, and it was quite surprising to receive a phone message from him yesterday; and a joy beyond words to reconnect with him today. Though on very different ends of the theological spectrum, our joy in the Lord Jesus was a true connecting point (he’s a retired deacon in the Baptist communion), and I thank the good Lord for his friendship with our family throughout these many years. And we both agreed: my sister absolutely rocks!

You can read Tommy’s remembrance of my father and grandparents right here: https://weedon.blogspot.com/2007/10/another-trip-down-memory-lane.html

For Jamie

Who always wants to know what’s being served at the Weedon house. Well, hopefully we’ll still be having our Weedon family Christmas, God willing (all healthy at the moment) and on the menu: 

Appetizers of Assorted Cheeses, Caviar, and Shrimp Cocktail

Main Meal of Beef Tenderloin with Hollandaise; Scallops bacon-wrapped; Shrimp Scampi; Eggplant Parmesan; Roasted Broccoli; Mashed Potatoes; Sweet Potato SoufflĂ©  in the usual two varieties; Yorkshire puddings; Egg puffs (a kind of carnivorish egg muffin); assorted wines.

Dessert: Carmel cheesecake; Chocolate Marvel Pie; Candies and Cookies of various sorts; Whiskey, Liqueurs, and fresh Coffee. 

I think that’s about the sum of it!  

Patristic Quote of the Day

Since this heavenly birth cannot be described, neither does His coming amongst us in these days permit of too curious scrutiny. Though I know that a Virgin this day gave birth, and I believe that God was begotten before all time, yet the manner of this generation I have learned to venerate in silence and I accept that this is not to be probed too curiously with wordy speech. For with God we look not for the order of nature, but rest our faith in the power of Him who works.—St. John Chrysostom, Christmas Homily

22 December 2020

This looked so cheering in the sun this morning...

...thanks again, Pr. Gleason!




Patristic Quote of the Day

And wonder not that the whole world was ransomed; for it was no mere man, but the only-begotten Son of God, who died on its behalf. Moreover one man's sin, even Adam's, had power to bring death to the world; but if by the trespass of the one death reigned over the world, how shall not life much rather reign by the righteousness of the One Romans 5:17-18? And if because of the tree of food they were then cast out of paradise, shall not believers now more easily enter into paradise because of the Tree of Jesus? If the first man formed out of the earth brought in universal death, shall not He who formed him out of the earth bring in eternal life, being Himself the Life? If Phinees, when he waxed zealous and slew the evil-doer, staved the wrath of God, shall not Jesus, who slew not another, but gave up Himself for a ransom 1 Timothy 2:6, put away the wrath which is against mankind?—St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 13:2

21 December 2020

The Conjunction

And it occurred to me how the old myths are the inversion of a truth. Not that the Son kills the cruel and unloving Father, but that the infinitely loving Father gives His Son even to killed that His life and His reign might spill into the creation itself and renew it from within. 


Fun day hiking

With the grandchildren. By the way, you’re looking at two old Lutherans there with nine little Lutherans! 



20 December 2020

More iPad Reflections...

...I think it was back when I was still using the Mini that I realized that I didn’t honestly need any other computer. Oh, there was the odd time or two, but my administrative assistant at the time (Deaconess Bowers) always came through for me. I got so used to the iPad being my only computer that I’ve all but forgotten HOW to operate a laptop. I’m always reaching up to the screen to do something whenever I have to deal with a laptop.

With the iPad Pro, I really was done with conventional computers. Wrote a couple books on it, numerous articles and so on. It’s a great writing machine. It’s only disadvantage was its humungo size. Using it on an airplane, for example, was always a bit of a compromise. And then there were the smart keyboards. I don’t know why, but I seem to carry excess body acid and give me a few years with a standard keyboard and I just erase the letters. I did this with numerous keyboards over the years. My son, by the way, has the same issue. I finally got tired of it, and got a Zagg keyboard case. It worked well. It charged from the iPad Pro. It was backlighted. All nice features. But it INCREASED the clunkiness of the devise. A bit of a nagging irritant, it made the thing less of a joy to write on and work with. And it’s “kickstand” was always cutting into my leg if I were wearing shorts. 

But now with this iPad Air 2020 and the Magic Keyboard...all those issues have simply vanished. Well, the letters may still disappear over time, I suppose. But the iPad is an absolute delight to write on; holds its charge all day; and the magic keyboard is simply the best typing experience I’ve had yet on an iPad. It rocks. 

And it all confirms me once again in my choice so many years ago to be done with laptops or desktops. I have my iPad and my iPhone (well, and I suppose my watch). With these I really can do my entire workflow. And Apple’s free apps are the bomb for getting it all done. I track the podcasts in Numbers (which exports just fine to Excel); I write in Pages (and export to Word for Deaconess and for Craig); I manage my workload in the little Notes app that comes built in to the iPad and syncs instantly with the iPhone. The screen on the iPad Air is gorgeous and very easy on the eyes. I can easily have two apps open side by side and work between them (I usually do when writing a podcast; the Blue Letter Bible App and Pages). 

To me the appeal of the whole Apple ecosystem is the utter simplicity and, yes, because “it just works.” For instance, transferring data was as simple as bringing the new iPad near to my old iPad Pro and clicking a few permission questions. It was so painless I still can’t believe it. I had everything on the Air and off the old Pro and the Pro to the store to ship by like two hours after I received the Air. Yes, I am a huge Apple fanboy. Yes, they’ve made a mint off me from my old Apple ][ GS. But it’s only gotten better and better with time. And I love a wireless device that I’m free to use wherever I wish all day long, and only need to plug in for recharge when I’m heading to bed. 

18 December 2020

AND a nice vacation...

...hopefully begins today. Finished up my podcast through January the 7th. I’ll be back to writing on January 4th. 

I’ve decided to try to try a new workflow with the new year. My standard goal has been six shows written and recorded per week. But I’ve spread them out a bit, and so often was writing on days that I also had to go in to record. And some weeks we didn’t get that many either recorded or written.

Come January the plan is to write only on the days I am staying home (Mondays and Thursdays), save for any Issues’ show which will be written the day I record them (we don’t usually record till 11, which gives me plenty of time in the morning before I head in, and then the data is fresh in the mind!). I’ll have two recording days for the podcast but will ONLY be recording on those days (not writing). 

We’ll have to see if it actually works the way I plan. I hope it does, because if we’re able to maintain this schedule and pace, I should be able to actually build up a decent store of extra shows (one extra per week; every five weeks, one extra week done) so that by the time Christmas vacation rolls around, for instance, it will not be preceded by too hectic a writing and recording schedule for the two months prior: the usual schedule should basically do the job (at least for the podcast). 


17 December 2020

Well, it’s been a while

...since I updated my trusty iPad Pro. It’s been an absolute workhorse. I’ve preached from it; done a convention or two and a worship conference on it and did Thy Strong Word (KFUO) on it for many a year; and it’s been my chief tool for my new job with Lutheran Public Radio. 

I decided it was time for an upgrade, though, and ordered an iPad Air 2020. I have only had it for a few hours and already I absolutely LOVE this thing! Its form factor is much better than the big and clunky 12.9 inch, yet it doesn’t feel cramped at all. The screen is truly a joy to work with and the magic keyboard is downright magical! I’m even getting used to a trackpad again.

I’ve written the last podcast before I start back to work on January 4th, and finished the sermons I need to deliver on the old device, but I can tell you already it will be an absolute joy to write on this new one. I erased and shipped the old one off as a trade in this afternoon. And since I’m off for two weeks, I look forward to learning the new device thoroughly through PLAY rather than through work! :)

Blessed Advent and merry Christmas folks! Not sure how much I’ll be posting in the next two weeks. I imagine it will be some, but not regularly. 

Gerhard and Walther

He called us by grace. Just as we did not, and could not, ever earn with our works that Christ chose us, so also we did not ever earn, nor could ever earn, with our worked that He deigned for us to be called into the kingdom of grace of His dear Son.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I, pp. 73, 74.

Oh, blessed Advent time, when a person has such experiences! By preparing a way for the Lord, he has become a poor sinner and the gates of his heart stand open for the Lord to enter in grace. He embraces the Gospel, which is rich in comfort for sinners, and then, with inner longing, he welcomes the joyful Christmas celebration.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 50.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He mentions here a twofold wickedness. First they require great and extreme strictness of life, without any indulgence, from those over whom they rule. Yet they are much less strict with themselves. This is opposite from what a truly good pastor ought to hold. He ought to be a rigorous and severe judge in things that concern himself. But in the matters of those whom he rules, he ought to be gentle and ready to make allowances. What these men do is just the opposite.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 72 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Fourth Commandment

Out of the authority of parents all other authority is derived and developed.—LC I:141

16 December 2020

Gerhard and Walther

Is it not a great and incomprehensible grace and blessing that God the Lord chose us for eternal life in Christ, that He did not ordain us for wrath, instead for the possession of salvation? 1 Thes. 5:9.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, p. 68.

Not the one who is full, but only the one who is tormented by hunger and thirst can rejoice from his heart when food and drink are offered to him. Not the one who is well, but only the one who painfully feels his sickness can rejoice from his heart when he is assured that he will soon be well. Not the one who is free, but only the one who knows he is a prisoner can rejoice from his heart when his freedom is announced. Not the one who is rich, but only one who is oppressed and frightened by his debts can rejoice from his heart when he hears that those debts have been paid. In the same way, only one who vividly recognizes that he is a poor, lost sinner can rejoice from his heart when he hears that the Savior of sinners is here.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 48, 49.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Therefore the first commandment teaches every kind of godliness. For to love God with the whole heart is the cause of every good.—St. Cyril of Alexandria, Fragment 251

Catechesis: Fourth Commandment

Learn well, then, how important God considers obedience, since he so highly exalts it, so greatly delights in it, so richly rewards it, and besides is so strict about punishing those who transgress it.—LC I:139

This Morning’s Walk...

...beautiful and brrr.





15 December 2020

What a frosty morning walk!

 


100 Years Ago

Hard for me to believe it, but it was a hundred years ago today that my father, Stuart Maupin Weedon, was born: Dec. 15, 1920. I believe he was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, though his family lived in Richardsville, where both my parents grew up.

In this picture he is seen on the right with his younger brother, Edgar Jackson on the left. 

As I’ve said so many times before on the blog, he was such a quiet man and he died so young (back in 1980) that I think I can say quite truthfully: I never really got to know him, not the way adult children come to know their parents, if God gives them the grace to live that long.

He and my mom courted each other as WWII was just breaking out. He ended up enlisting and so was a WWII vet, and in fact one of my favorite pictures of him is this one in uniform, for the smile upon his face. Honestly, I never saw him that happy in all the years I knew him (and my sister said she thought the exact same thing). I have no idea who his friend was, but there’s nothing like wartime to make folks truly value each other.

He’s on the left there, in case you couldn’t tell. Lots of folks tell me that I look like him. I certainly inherited his eye color, his temper, his smallish stature. 

This man, through out all the years of my earliest memories, right up until he was struck by cancer, lived a quite routinized existence: Up every weekday morning by 5:30, to have his breakfast (which my mom faithfully fixed for him every day) and done by 6 or so. Usually it was the same meal: buckwheat pancakes, a fried egg (well done), and a side of sausage or bacon, and his coffee, which he drank sweet and with cream. (I learned to drink coffee by sipping the bit that fell onto the saucer in which his cup sat). He’d head off to work and then come home somewhere between 4 and 5 p.m. Invariably: he’d walk through the door and shout downstairs to mom, who was already busy with supper, “I’m home, Sister.” To which she invariably responded: “And what the h** do you expect me to do about it?” He’d get a silly grin on his face and go take a short nap in his recliner. Then to dinner, and either a little bit of TV, or sometimes (and I loved these occasions) we’d play some Rook, an old fashioned card game that was “allowed.” His and mom’s parents didn’t approve of face cards, because they thought it led to gambling! Only later I realized that daddy loved poker and played it in the military a bit. We watched lots of TV in the evenings, though. He enjoyed absolutely anything about WWII and especially anything on his beloved Patton; but also crime shows in general. We watched a lot of Hawaii 5-0, and the FBI show. He also enjoyed on the weekends HeeHaw and Lawrence Welk. “Wunnerful.”

He did sleep in most Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes staying abed till 9 or 10. He then loved to car shop (window shopping for cars is something I will NEVER understand). He went to Church whenever we went back home to Richardsville, where both he and mom were from. But in the Maryland suburbs, neither he nor mom ever found a church, nor ever had me nor Maupin baptized. 

I learned early (and painfully) not to sass him. He only spanked me once, but it was absolutely enough forever. He never said: “I love you” or ever hugged us or kissed me or any of my brothers or my sister (at least in my memory). Mom always said he hadn’t been shown much love as a little one and so didn’t know how to show it himself. There was certainly quite a bit of tension between him and his mom and I still remember a huge explosion when she came to stay with us for a while after his dad had died.

I remember, though, when I was a relatively young and (I know you will find this hard to believe) an exceedingly odd teen, I asked about getting a piano. And HE DID IT. He went out and bought me a piano! We selected it one Saturday afternoon and it was delivered the next week, and my mom, I think, was more than a little astounded. And then he paid for lessons for me, and took me to them, and sat outside in the car and waited for me, at least until I was old enough to drive myself (about three years). I had no idea, but at his funeral, one of his friends from work told me how he bragged on my piano playing. I was shocked. He never said a word to me about it. So that piano will always remain for me the most tangible memory of his  unspoken love. 

I remember attending with my sister a special event at his work where he was honored for his years of service (he was a refrigeration engineer for Marriott). Mom couldn’t generally go to such things because she couldn’t walk very well because of her bout of polio when she was little. But they did praise him up one side and down the other that day, which was wonderful to hear. We were very proud of him, and he was embarrassed by the attention. Below’s a pic from the article they wrote about him. I remember Mom being so aggravated that they did it late in the day when he’d wrinkled his pants! She was a stickler on his clothes being ironed and starched. She had special hangers she used with his green work uniforms to stretch the legs taut.

It was in August of 1979 that we realized something was wrong. I remember bugging and bugging him to help me rewire an old torchere lamp they had kept in their bedroom (it’s now in my daughter’s house in Effingham IL!). He tried to get out of it, pleading a massive headache. But I was the youngest and knew how to wheedle him to get my way. And so he gave in and we got it done. I felt horrible after he went to the Dr. for his headache and one Dr. led to another, only to find out it was an inoperable brain tumor. I wonder now if it were a glioblastoma. It proceeded rather along those lines. He was done with work; radiation and chemo filled our days. I am so thankful my brothers and sister were local, and all together we helped mom. But I still remember one very awful day when Sis and I were sitting with him after he had gone way down hill. We had to change his diaper and neither of us were very good with dealing with that sort of thing. I felt for him, and for us; it was dreadfully embarrassing, but we got it done. 

The day of his death was January 5, 1980. We were all home, we knew it was close. The others gathered downstairs for some breakfast and I sat with him. He held out his hand to me, and I didn’t take it. I’ll never forget that. I read to him from the Scriptures, but I wouldn’t take his hand. He finally drew it back. Why not take it? A refusal to say goodbye? Anger at him dying and leaving us? Anger at him never having touched us when we were little? Or just fear of what it meant? I’ll not know till God discloses the secrets of the heart. But I didn’t take it and I regret it to this day.

When the others came back, I went to the piano in the living room and began working on two of Bach’s two part inventions. And finally my brother Joe poked his head around the corner and said: “If you want to say goodbye, Billy, you better come now.” And so with his wife and all his children around him, he left this world, barely 59 years after he entered it. The snow was falling. He had wanted to see snow again and he got to. He died a scarce 10 years after his father, and six years after his mother, and his middle son, the Joe I just mentioned, would follow in five years. 

It may sound silly but every single Christmas I imagine would it would be like to welcome him and mom (she died a long time ago too) to our home. Daddy did get to meet Cindi (we were dating already when he died), but obviously he never got to meet my children. My son is named both for Cindi’s dad, Dave, and for him: David Stuart Weedon. Years after daddy died, my son happened to be attending a Weedon family reunion with a bunch of folks he had NEVER met. He literally walked in, and my father’s cousin Larkin Weedon, looking at him as he walked up the stairs, said: “And THAT’s a Weedon.” Daddy and Larkin had always looked a little bit alike. 

Rest in peace, daddy! Forgive me for not being a better son! And I look forward to the opportunity to actually get to really know you! May the Lord grant it, in His infinite mercy and love for mankind. 




14 December 2020

This month’s Readers Digest

Asks “when did you have your first black teacher?” They assumed many had never. Had to chuckle because I had Mrs Green in first grade at Glenmont Elementary School in the fall of 1966 and certainly one of the most popular teachers in Junior High was P. T. Waddleton. Two beloved black teachers that I happily recall. 

And now for a totally non-Carnivore moment...

...Nannie just being a Nannie: Christmas Candy with three of the grandchildren. Marianne Roarick’s famous Chocolate Crunch Bars, but called these days Christmas Crack.



From a Christmas Homily of St. John Chrysostom

For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit, that He may save me. 


Memory Eternal!

My dear, sweet Marianne, we will never forget you, or your kindness and love to us and to our kids, and the gifts of music God gave you to share with His Church. We miss you so much!!! Happy birthday! Rest eternal grant her, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her!



Gerhard and Walther

By His descent into hell, Christ demonstrated that He has destroyed the devil’s kingdom so that it also would be destroyed in us. However, anyone who from now on still wants to live by sinning against conscience, in such a person the kingdom of the devil is once again re-established. Is it not to be pitied that we would want to again rebuilt and restore that which Christ has broken down and destroyed?—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:63.

If Jesus had only spoken God’s Word and failed to perform God’s works, a person could excuse himself by saying that in spiritual matters he is like a blind man and unable to examine and appraise the excellence of His doctrine. But anyone, even a child, can and must recognize the divinity of His works.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 43. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

He did not say “I was” but “I am.” I am the God of those that are, those who live. Adam lived on the day he ate of the tree, then died in the sentence. Even though the progeny of Adam died, they live in the promise of resurrection.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 70 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: The Fourth Commandment

If God’s Word and will are placed first and are observed, nothing ought to be considered more important than the will and word of our parents, provided that these, too, are subordinated to obedience toward God and are not set in opposition to the preceding commandments.—LC I:116

13 December 2020

Gaudete!

 

Gaudete! Sunday of the Rose Candle, Sunday of joy. The Introit announces it from the get go: 

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!” And reminds us of the why: “You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin.” 

Our faith came into the world as the Advent of Great Joy. That is the very name that the Angels gave Him on the night of His birth: “Good news of a Great Joy for all people.” That’s Jesus. And so the upcoming Feast of His holy Nativity with its overflowing joy floods back into the solemn Advent fast with a reminder that it is all about joy. So we pray in the Collect for this Sunday that the darkness of our hearts would be lightened by our God’s gracious visitation.

Think of the readings for today: “Comfort, comfort, my people, says your God.... The Word of our God stands forever.” “Judge nothing before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each will receive his commendation from God.” “Go and tell John what you hear and see.” (And as a bonus: even my personal Matins this morning, using the old KJV reading schedule, the second reading from Acts 13 ended with these words: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.” “The Spirit turns to joy whatever He touches” said St. Seraphim of Sarov.)

Or consider the great hymn of the day from the medieval Church: Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Crying with that incomparable stanza four: So when next He comes in glory And the world is wrapt in fear He will shield us with His mercy And with words of love draw near.” What a vision! What a joyous hope!

 So pastor preached the comfort of this great joy that none of the darkness around us can quench. What good is a Savior that doesn’t get His forerunner out of prison? What good is a Savior that doesn’t rescue you from earthly trials and heartache? He delivered John IN prison. He delivers us IN the trials. He does so by the Word He sends us to sustain us, carrying with it all that is His and giving it to us, promising that it all ends in Resurrection and Forgiveness. And thus He lifts us through His word into the joy that is His and that He came to impart to us that it might be ours forever, no matter what sorrow or grief comes our way. 

Yes, people loved by God, you have an Unquenchable Joy in Him, who is Forgiveness of all sin, who is the Destruction of death and who is the Gift of Life Eternal! How can life be anything other than a time for rejoicing?!

 Gaudete!!!




These pastors are agreed: We love Gaudete!


12 December 2020

A tremendous Kelly Hogan Video

On Youtube. These two ladies simply rock. Yes, it’s about carnivory (Kelly’s stuff always is!), but wow, what a story right here. 

Cindi modeling her new hoodie

Love this pic of her! 


We got to enjoy...

...a bit of the magic of the Thoelke’s tree with real candles last evening...and some much needed rounds of pinochle with old friends.




11 December 2020

The heavens declare the glory of God

...and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. Ps 19:1, 2*























*Also, Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. Now it’s raining....

10 December 2020

Just loving the beauty of this time of the year...


 

Gerhard and Walther

The reason Christ wanted to be born of the Virgin was so that through Him we might be born of God; so that He might be born in us and so that we might obtain His form or likeness.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:59.

[The spiritually asleep] do not sense how great is the grace that caused Jesus Christ to enter the world to save sinners. For them, Jesus remains a stranger, and the world remains their highest good. They do not come to hate sin or to understand that everything the world offers and everything man strives after avails nothing. They never understand, as Solomon did, that “all is vanity.”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 32.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Father made a marriage feast for His Son by joining the church to Him through the mystery of His incarnation. The womb of the Virgin who bore Him was the bridal chamber of this bridegroom... He truly came forth like a bridegroom from His bridal chamber who, as God incarnate, left the inviolate womb of the Virgin to unite the church to Himself.—Pope St. Gregory the Great, Homily 38 on the Holy Gospels

Catechesis: Third Commandment

Actually, there should be worship daily; however, since this is more than the common people can do, at least one day in the week must be set apart for it. Since from ancient times Sunday has been appointed for this purpose, we should not change it. In this way a common order will prevail and no one will create disorder by unnecessary innovation.—LC I:85

09 December 2020

Gerhard and Walther

The reason the Son of God became man is so that we through Him could become partakers of the divine nature and become God’s children.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:59

By letting Himself be slaughtered and sacrificed, Christ received the punishment for mankind’s sin, satisfying fully the righteousness of God. All of Satan’s accusations against fallen man thus came to an end. Christ destroyed Satan’s kingdom and severed the bands of death and damnation.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 39, 40

Patristic Quote of the Day

Christ is called a stone for two reasons. First, because his foundation is solid and no one who stands upon him will fall victim to deceit charms or be moved by storms of persecution. Second, Christ is called a stone because in Him is the ultimate destruction of the wicked, for just as everything which collides with a stone is shattered while the stone itself remains intact, so also everyone who opposes the Christian faith will himself be ruined, but Christianity will remain untouched. This is the sense in which Christ is the great stone.—Anonymous, Opus Imperfectum on St. Matthew (Homily 40)

Catechesis: Second Commandment

For true honor to God’s name consists in looking to it for all consolation and therefore calling upon it.—LC I:70

To defy the devil, I say, we should always keep the holy name on our lips so that he may not be able to injure us as he is eager to do.—LC I:72

08 December 2020

Gerhard and Walther

Christ died so that He might kill off sin in us.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, p. 58

This terrible scene (of the final judgment) can happen today, even this very hour, and it should prompt us to rise immediately and to flee into the wounds of Jesus Christ. Let us remain there.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 28, 29.

Patristic Quote of the Day

If death came by a woman [Eve], then death was shut out by Him who, by means of the woman [Mary], became our Life.—St. Epiphanius of Salamis, Against Heresies 78:18

Catechesis: Second Commandment

Now you understand what it means to take God’s name in vain. To repeat very briefly, it is either simply to lie and assert under His name something that is not so, or to curse, swear, conjure, and, in short, to practice wickedness of any kind. In addition you must also know how to use the name of God aright... for example, when we swear properly, where it is necessary and required. So, also when we teach properly; again, when we call on His name in time of need, or praise and thank Him in time of prosperity, etc.—LC I:62-64

*As an abuse of the divine name, consider these words of Pope Pius IX in promulgating the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary upon this very day in 1854: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.

07 December 2020

Gerhard and Luther

(An outline of Gerhard’s preceding points with the quote at the end):
The gracious work of redemption has two parts:
A. The removal of the evil into which we had fallen
B. The restoration of the good we lost through the fall (elsewhere he notes that we are raised higher than we fell!)

A.1 The cleansing from sin.
A.2 The extinguishing of God’s wrath (cf. Is 63:3; 1 Thes. 1:16)
A.3 The redemption from the curse of the Law
A.4 The deletion of the handwriting that was against us.
A.5 The destruction of the devil’s kingdom and power. 
A.6 The liberation from death and damnation.

B.1 The restoration of perfect righteousness which avails before God. 
B.2 The reconciliation with God.
B.3 The restoration of life under God’s blessing.
B.4 The tranquility of conscience (Romans 5: justified by faith, we have peace with God)
B.5 The inheritance of the great gift of grace of the Holy Spirit
B.6 The restoration of eternal salvation. 

“What the devil had corrupted through sin, [God] once more made restored by Christ taking away sins, so that everything might be made right again, and that mankind might attend the end result of his creation.”—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:50

“The world now seems to operate according to the motto, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ All sinners proceed on the assumption that there is no God whom men must fear and no judgment in which men must give an account. People make no secret of their sins; they even boast about them.”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 25.


Patristic Quote of the Day

They should have learned from the first cleansing (cf. Jn 2) to honor His Father and His own power. They could see His works agreeing with His words, and they could behold His miracles. They could hear the prophet pointing to Him. They could see the children attesting Him in a manner beyond their age. But this did not persuade them. Instead, “they were indignant.” So He brings in Isaiah as their accuser.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 67 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Second Commandment

The greatest abuse [of God’s holy name], however, occurs in spiritual matters, which pertain to the conscience, when false preachers arise and peddle their lying nonsense as the Word of God.—LC I:54

Let us take to heart how important this commandment is and diligently shun and avoid every misuse of the  holy name as the greatest sin that can be committed outwardly.—LC I:56

06 December 2020

Two beautiful homilies I was blessed to encounter today...

And I promise you, you’ll be mega blessed if you enjoy this rich and joyous repast.

First, from my dear fellow-pastor at St. Paul’s, Pr. Gleason:

Sermon for Advent 2, 2020
Luke 21:25-36; Romans 15:4-13

"Behold, the day is coming..." Malachi echoes the cry of Jeremiah from last week. Last Sunday, Jeremiah declared, “Behold, the days are coming,” and then foretold of the righteous King who comes to rule wisely and justly, delivering His people from their enemies. Today Malachi describes that day in its fulfillment when the “arrogant and all evildoers” burn like stubble in a fire, while God’s people dance over the ashes of their enemies.

Both prophets preached hope to people mired in spiritual gloom. But it was a despair of their own making, and rightly suffered. It grew from their indifference to God and His word. The people of Jeremiah’s time, “treacherous Judah,” he called them, were shamelessly following in the idolatrous footsteps of Israel. And like Israel, they would be judged and sent into exile. The people of Malachi’s time, 200 years later, although chastened in Babylon and returned to their own land and having rebuilt the Temple, still “turned aside from [the Lord’s] statutes and had not kept them.” God called them to confess their sins and turn back to Him in renewed faith and hope.

Ever since Eden, the sinner tries to run and hide from God. But God always finds him wherever he hides. Calling him by name, He bids him to confess his sin and to turn from his wicked ways.

And to each repentant sinner, God speaks His word of saving hope so that he may hear and believe and live. This is God’s way. As we prayed, He “prepares the heart of the sinner to make ready the way of His only-begotten Son.” He fills the sinner’s heart—He fills your heart—with the joy and peace of believing so that the redeemed may abound in hope.

In the eyes of the world, hope is a fleeting and fickle emotion. The philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer called it “the folly of the heart.” That’s because men usually set their hopes on things doomed to failure.

It is hard to refute such pessimistic thinking when one looks at the sorry world that we live in. Any unbiased look at all the weak and futile things that people stake their hopes, even their lives, upon could depress even Pollyanna. I would not be surprised if future historians looked back at 2020 and labeled it the “year of vain hopes.”

But there is the “moral of the story.” Hope always depends on its object. If you place your hope in transient things, your hope will be just as fleeting. Hope that prevails, even in the face of hopelessness, is always grounded on something sure. That is what the Spirit says to us today.

In our Old Testament and Gospel lessons, we hear of horrifying events. Malachi said, “The day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts.” Jesus told His disciples, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity… people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.” The warnings of the world’s doomsday prophets pale next to the threatening word of the Lord. And there is no place to hide. “For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth,” meaning Moses, “much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven,” meaning Christ. (Hebrews 12:25) No one escapes from the wrath of God. So He warns all people, “Behold, the day is coming.”

Yet, God does not leave us without hope. Before that terrible day of the Lord comes, He sends His messenger to change the hearts of people. “The Lord will make His majestic voice to be heard, and you will have gladness of heart,” said the prophet. The majestic voice of the Lord is His Gospel proclaiming salvation to the world. His majestic voice came, not only in the words of the prophets, but in Him who is the voice of God in the flesh, Christ Jesus. Jesus spoke of God’s enduring voice when He said, “My words will not pass away.”

His disciples needed to hear those words of promise, because in short time Jesus’s voice would be silenced. Within a couple of days, Jesus would be nailed to the cross. And as He hung from the cross, Jesus would speak once more, words of forgiveness and grace, as well as suffering and agony. But when He spoke His final word, He would breath out His last and fall silent.

For the disciples, the silence would be foreboding. That coming Sabbath, when usually they would hear Jesus preach, would be strangely quiet. No doubt they would recall His words to them, as well as other Scripture, to bolster their hopes and find encouragement. “Did He not just tell us, ‘My words will not pass away’?” And in the face of doubt and despair, they would cling in hope to His undying word.

Their hope was not disappointed; they heard their Lord speak His peace to them again when He stepped from the grave to be silenced never more. And as Christ now lives and reigns forever, so is His word is ever alive and active to give life and salvation to all who cling to His word in faith.

The same encouragement the disciples found when their days seemed bleak is ours. “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The same majestic voice that called all things into creation breathed into the prophets and apostles His Spirit so that by their inspired witness, preserved in Holy Scripture, we may have hope.

And that same majestic voice that called you by name in your baptism and made you a new creation, breathes into you His Spirit, filling you with joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope.

Advent is a season of hope. But “watch yourselves,” for the world would draw you away from the hope we have in God’s word. Right now, especially, the world and its evil prince would lure you into many vain hopes. Hope in a man sitting in the White House promising benefits he cannot or may not deliver. Hope in a vaccine that may or may not cure this pandemic. Hope in a “new normal” that is anything but normal, but warped and perverse. Hope in a false unity based not on concord among people, but on fear of exclusion and persecution. That’s on top of all the usual hollow dreams of money, gifts, and gadgets all decorated in glitter and lights this time of year. “Watch yourselves,” do not let your hearts be weighed down with the cares of this life.

Our true hope is in none of these things. Certainly, God may use any or all of them to execute His will in this world; and for those who fear Him, He will work all things for your good, come health or virus, unity or conflict, prosperity or poverty, life or death. But our sure hope is always in His word. In His promises. In the proclamation of true joy and gladness in His Son. It is a gladness without end for you who “live in harmony in Jesus Christ,” even if the world should be set ablaze. In fact, Jesus tells us, “when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

So then, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Amen.


Second, from my longtime internet friend and fellow Hymn-lover, Pr. Jerry Gernander of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod:


Lord Jesus, You come to us in lowliness to bring us to glory. Lead us through the wilderness, for You are the life of the world, and make this desert a spring of water for us. May our eyes see You, and our ears hear Your voice. Precious Savior, say to our soul: Be strong and do not fear! Keep us close to You, keep us close, strong and faithful God. Amen. (Laache p. 44)

Dear fellow redeemed in Christ:

You hear that with every sermon: your name, or really your status: “redeemed.” This word, and all it means, is part of our learn-by-heart knowledge as Lutherans. What we learn of Jesus is boiled down to this: “He has redeemed me.” What has He redeemed? “A lost and condemned creature” - we say creature not to demean who I am, but to emphasize that I’m created by God! -- However, through the Fall into sin, being conceived and born sinful, I am “lost and condemned.” God’s compassion for me in this state is why “He redeemed me.” Then we learn to say what “redeemed” means: “purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil.”

This is the truth -- not a feeling, but the truth -- that you are not a slave to sin, even when it feels like it and you’re swallowed up by guilt and shame; that you can’t be held by death, although it’s all around you, you may have terrible fear of death, and the death of others grips you in deep sadness and grief; and that the devil can’t have you, even if he’s whispering in your ear, you do his bidding, and you listen to his accusations and so struggle to believe God.

“He has redeemed me” is so powerful to rescue you from all that, and to keep you safe in God’s arms. So it’s a great thing for you to be called “the redeemed.” We hear it at the end of Isaiah 35: “The redeemed of the LORD shall walk there,” is speak-ing of you. This is a promise, a beautiful Gospel promise spoken to you.

We have to back up, though, and survey the landscape. In Isaiah 35, the prophet pictures it for us as a desert, a wilderness, a wasteland. He goes on to further picture it as a dry, waterless, parched ground, a harsh landscape. It’s the place of deprivation and death.

There are many such descriptions in the prophets. Normally I’ve had to work to reveal how this is the world we live in. But as 2020 goes out, I don’t have to work to show you the bleakness of our landscape, how this is a wilderness. You see and feel it all the time, don’t you, especially all the things you have to say you can’t count on. 

Besides that, the way the world is going brings discouragement and distress. I want to acknowledge that this is hard. And the “sorrow and sighing” we’re going through constantly, it’s relentless. I tell you: God sees it, He puts your tears into His bottle, He has compassion for you. It says in verse 4, He’s saying His “Fear not” to “the anxious of heart” [ESV]. At the same time, we have to be careful. We’re not here to develop “woe-is-me” Christianity. Or to find someone to blame for our problems, or see ourselves as victims. 

We have to ask, What’s changed, that it was harder before to see this world we live in as a wilderness, but easier now to see it that way? What’s happened is that our idols are being cast down. The things we put our trust in, the things we’ve come to rely on for our happiness and peace, we’ve twisted God’s gifts into our demands -- this is what’s changed! It reveals our 1st Command-ment sins, which commands us not to rely on such things for happiness and peace. 

So this time that we’re in is revealing something embarrassing. It shows the idols we make. But also, how have we responded? We get angry. We’re like pouty children who refuse to let it go. Instead of getting on our offended high horse as Christians, we need to be humbled. It’s good that Advent comes in the midst of this. This is a season to repent. Repent of putting your hopes in useless things, repent of wanting the world to be what it used to, and see what God does! Listen to Isaiah! He is speaking to your pessimism:

“The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and sing-ing. … Waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.” Here God has Isaiah picture the desert, the wasteland, being made beautiful. This is what God does. This is what He does for you. This is a picture of God making for Himself a Church, the Christian Church. Isaiah shows the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the mute speaking again, the lame walking, what’s dead coming to life. These were the miracles Jesus did. He shows water flowing into the dead dryness and bringing it to life. This is Baptism and the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s like, everywhere you look there’s life flowing and fruit blossoming. 

God is taking something ugly and making it beautiful. He’s taking something dead and giving it life. That’s you. If you have eternal life it’s because you have no sins counting against you. How’d that happen? “He redeemed me.” He redeemed you with His holy precious blood, and His innocent suffering and death. How precious you are to Him! He wants you! He purchased you! He gave the very best for you, that you would belong to Him and that you’d flourish. 

Now we come to the best part of this picture. Isaiah pictures it this way: as you walk through this world, there’s a lit-up road, a highway, that’ll light you safely through all the darkness of the world about you. Anyone on the road is safe. It’s certain, as you walk that road you’ll end in His heavenly city, Zion. So how can you be on it? “The redeemed shall walk there,” it says. “The ransomed of the LORD,” it says. The ones He paid a ransom for. Whew. That’s you. “He has redeemed me.” These are the ones who have faith in Him and cling to Him, cling to His Word, live from inside it.

This isn’t just to be a relief that you’re on it. You take strength from it and it affects and empowers your thinking. He says: “Be strong, do not fear.” You know without a doubt that you belong on the “Highway of Holiness,” since it’s not your own holiness but what He gives you. When you hear “fellow redeemed,” you hear Jesus in that word. He redeemed you. You say: “That’s me! I am redeemed by His blood.” That’s your status. Hold on to that.

But not everyone is on that road. You know: everyone should be. You know He redeemed everyone. You know where the road leads. So how do the redeemed walk? “They shall return with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads.” This confident joy, certainty in walking the Lord’s path, matters. Not anger and defensiveness, but joy and singing show the world what we have.

Isaiah pictures us going there singing all the way, simply because what He fills us with can’t stay inside but comes bursting out of us. This was so important to Martin Luther and all the church fathers. It's been hard during this shutdown, where in many places singing was banned. I've heard of Christians who couldn't sing in church in one state, being in attendance at a wedding in another state, and when the singing began they just wept. The hymn we just sang (Savior of the Nations, Come) was written during a time when the Christians were ordered by the emperor to desist from their worship; and they barricaded themselves in the church, and when the soldiers came they sang this hymn over and over, this hymn confessing Christ, declaring who their true Lord is and demonstrating what they were willing to suffer in His name. 

It's not just the outward saying of the words though; one of our hymns says that "the church with psalms must shout, no door can keep them out, but ABOVE ALL THE HEART must bear the greatest part" (ELH 22:2). So as you sing the truth of God, whether you're downcast or whatever, it lifts you up above all that the devil can do, above the dangers, and tells your heart how to feel and what to think. As we sing these hymns, to our mind we hear the voices coming out of the halls of the heavenly Zion, where the saints and angels are, and we join with them in singing praises to the Lord who redeemed us.

We’re homesick children who know we’re on the way home, so to us nothing is bleak, nothing dark and gloomy, for we are on the safe, lit-up road that goes to Zion. Sorrow and grief, sighing and anxiety turn tail and run from us. They must. Our Redeemer is with us on this road giving us joy all the way until we arrive where there’s fullness of joy at His right hand. Amen!

(Told you so, didn’t I?!)

04 December 2020

Lo, He Comes

Hymn study right here. 

Gerhard and Walther

For God gives us natural life so that we through it should contemplate the spiritual and eternal life. And without such spiritual life, natural life is to be regarded merely as a death more than a life.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:45. 

The faithful Christian knows what sin is. When he was converted to Christ, he recognized that sin is a horrible offense to God. He experienced the torment of conscience on account of his sin and he understood that sin separated him from God, stirring up his wrath. No man can atone for his own sins, and for that reason God’s Son had to die on the cross. The faithful Christian has also learned that the whole world, with all its glory, cannot make anyone happy, cannot provide peace and rest, and cannot offer comfort in a time of trouble. God alone, with His grace and His communion, is the highest good of man.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 19.

Patristic Quote of the Day

But Jesus did these things in their presence not to display pomp but as I have said, to fulfill prophecy; teach self-denial and to comfort His disciples, who were grieving for His death. He was showing them that He would suffer all these things willingly.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 66 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: LC First Commandment

So we receive our blessings not from them, but from God through them. Creatures are only the hands, channels, and means through which God bestows all blessings.—LC I:26

03 December 2020

Amen!

Beautiful pic of St. Paul’s, Dieterich church yard (as the Brits would say) that my son-in-law captured this morning, and that Deborah (his dad’s wife) added a memorable Scripture verse to.


Gerhard and Walther

In the same way that a bridegroom gives his betrothed many treasures and expensive jewelry so that her heart may be moved to love him and thereby be won over to him, that’s how God conducts Himself. He calls Himself our Bridegroom and beloved Paramour. He heaps lovely spiritual gifts upon us. He woos our soul. With such kindness He eagerly desires to move us to once again love Him because He first loved us, and out of love has shown us so many benefits.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:39.

The sleep out of which Saint Paul seeks to awaken us here (Romans 13:11) is the spiritual sleep of sin. It is a sleep from which man must awaken daily until he dies so, in the end, he does not sink into eternal death.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 17.

Patristic Quote of the Day

“He called them to him...” He drew them near to him at the very moment when they were disturbed and troubled, and he calms them by his invitation to come near. Picture the two as standing near him. They had already separated themselves from the company of the ten, pleading their own interests. Therefore Jesus brings all of them near him. By this unifying act he calms the passions of the two and the ten.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 65 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: First Commandment

To cling to Him with all our heart is nothing else than entrust ourselves to Him completely. He wishes to turn us away from everything else, and to draw us to Himself, because He is the one, eternal good.—LC I:15

Everyone made into a god that to which his heart was inclined. Even in the mind of all the heathen, therefore, to have a good means to trust and believe. The trouble is that their trust is false and wrong, for it is not founded upon the one God, part from whom there is truly no god in heaven or on earth.—LC I:18, 19

02 December 2020

Gerhard and Walther

He who does good praises God much more than he who praises God’s goodness with his mouth.—Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, p. 36.

The fountains of divine mercy, however, flow continually and even the basest ingratitude and the most wanton misuse cannot stop them. This is a bottomless sea of love, and it can never be exhausted.... It is not as if each person has a certain amount of mercy allotted to him and God subtracts a bit of that mercy each day until the account is emptied. Each day, God treats it as if He were extending mercy for the first time. He seeks us, and shows Himself to us as a God who earnestly desires our salvation. —C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It, p. 35, 36.

Patristic Quote of the Day

All the glory of God and all the salvation of humanity have been placed in Christ’s death. For there is no thing which pertains more to humanity’s salvation than Christ’s death. Nor is there anything for which we should thank God more than for His death.—Anonymous, Opus Imperfectum on Matthew, Homily 35.

Catechesis: LC I First Commandment

The trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true God. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you have not the true God. The these two belong together, faith and God. That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God.—LC I:2, 3. 

01 December 2020

Gerhard and Walther

That, then, is why the greatest sadness and heart-anguish among the damned will ultimately consist of this: By their evil deeds they with such crassness had kindled God’s anger and offended God the Lord, the highest Good, from whom they in this life received nothing but good.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:35.

Oh, may our whole life be such a constant “Hosanna” and a spreading of palm branches on the path before Christ. If we remain in this mind until we die, it will be well with us! On the terrible Judgment Day, when the books are opened, we will discover to our amazement, that He entered into our account everything good—even our humblest works—that we did in faith for His kingdom.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 14.


Patristic Quote of the Day

It is always foolish to question the goodness of God. There might have been reason for loud complaint if He did not give what was owed but not if He gives what He does not owe. And so He adds: “Or is your evil because I am good?”—Pope St. Gregory the Great, Homily 19

Catechesis: Large Catechism, Shorter Preface

When these parts have been well learned, you may assign them also some Psalms or some hymns based on these subjects, to supplement and confirm their knowledge. Thus our youth will be led into the Scriptures so that they make progress daily.—LC Pref. 25

However, it is not enough for them simply to learn and repeat these parts verbatim. The young people should also attend preaching, especially at the time designated for the Catechism*, so that they may hear it explained and may learn the meaning of every part.—LC Pref. 26

*In Wittenberg, the Catechism was preached through four times a year, associated with the ancient Ember Days.