23 October 2021

And going through old pics…

…Cin found and shared this one of Bruce Dormier. This was from the time he popped in on Christmas Eve, what? Some 30 years ago this Christmas. Rest in peace, dear friend!



The Old Ones…

…I’m the caboose. The middle cars are both gone, but the two oldest siblings are still here and Sis just sent me this picture of them. So glad they got to visit. That’s Jimmy and Sis (second oldest; or fourth youngest, depending how you’re counting!), Bonnie and Butch (and he’s definitely the oldest, but you’d never know it by his activity level!). They’re standing together on my sister’s front porch. 



What 30 Years Brings..

…Bekah tried to tell us we didn’t have many baby pictures of her. We had to show her that we did, so Cindi found a bunch. I thought it would be fun to compare 30 years later (and these pics are exactly that):



22 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Man had forsaken God, and allied himself to the devil, God’s bitter enemy; and yet He, who had been thus deserted, with tender concern seeks the deserter, and most gracious begs him to return to Him again. Man had gone away from infinite Goodness itself, and had fallen into infinite depths of evil; but that very infinite Goodness, having paid an infinite price for his redemption, rescues him from those infinite depths of devil. O does not this infinite mercy exceed the highest thought of the finite human mind?—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XV

Above all, Christians should not be vexed in this evil time. They must not lose confidence in the divine Word when they encounter the travails of this world. They should not lose heart with all the hindrances to their faith.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 814.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Jesus himself speaks of his blood. Before the consecration it is mentioned as something else; after the consecration it is called blood. And you say, “Amen,” that is, “It is true.” Let the mind within confess what the mouth speaks. Let the heart feel the words it utters.—St. Ambrose, On the Mysteries I.

Catechesis: Marriage of Priests

We cannot approve this law about celibacy that the adversaries defend, because it conflicts with divine and natural law and disagrees with the very canons of the councils. It is clearly superstitious and dangerous. It produces countless scandals, sins, and corruption of public morals.—Ap XXIII:6

21 October 2021

Scenes from around town…

…on a chilly October morning.





Gerhard and Walther

What good thing will He, who loved us while we were yet His enemies (Rom v. 8), disdaining not to take our human nature into the very closest union with His divinity, withhold from those who are partakers of with Him of the same flesh?—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XV

There are few people who want never to convert, but most of them anticipate doing so tomorrow, or perhaps next year, or after this or that upcoming event in their life has passed… Whoever knows that, in his heart, he is still not right with God cannot afford to wait even a single day to address this matter.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 810, 11.

Patristic Quote of the Day

That bread which God the Word confesses to be his own body is the Word that nourishes souls, the Word proceeding from God, the very bread that comes from the living bread which is set upon our table, of which it is written: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”—Origen, Commentary on Matthew 85.

Catechesis: Both Kinds

The Sacrament was instituted to comfort terrified minds. This happens when they believe that Christ’s flesh is given as food for the life of the world and when they believe that, being joined to Christ, they are made alive.—Ap XXII:10

20 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Let us stand in wonder at the marvelous power of our God, who was able to unite in one two natures so diverse as the divine and the human, so that one and the same Person is now both God and man.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIV

With our every step, we draw closer to eternity, but our condition in the short term of our life determines our fate in the long term of the hereafter. Our life is the path by which Christ leads us into eternal life or the world and our own flesh and blood lead us into eternal death.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 809. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Our Lord is the counterpart to the paschal lamb. Five days before he entered upon his suffering, he came to the place of his passion to teach that he was the one Isaiah had predicted.—The Venerable Bede, Exposition of the Gospel of Mark 2.3

Catechesis: Both Kinds

There is no doubt that using both parts in the Lord’s Supper is godly and in agreement with Christ’s institution and Paul’s words. For Christ instituted both parts, not for a portion of the Church, but for the whole Church. Not only presbyters, but the entire Church uses the Sacrament by Christ’s authority, and not by human authority. We suppose the adversaries recognize this.—Ap XXII:1

19 October 2021

The heavens declare the glory of God…

…and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Ps xix.1

Venus

Sunrise with Mercury on far left

Sunset

Moon rise (Witch’s Moon)



Gerhard and Walther

Let us go now with the shepherds to the manger of Christ, that is, His church, and as He lay in that manger in swaddling clothes, so in the sacred scriptures, we shall find our Saviour.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIV

Times of persecution bless Christians by preserving them from security, from love of the world, and from a lust for its goods, joys, and glory. A desire to be out of the sinful world and in their true homeland with Christ is awakened in them.They experience the powerful divine comfort of the Word of God, and a spirit of confession arises in them.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 806.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The first coming of Christ the Lord, God’s Son and our God, was in obscurity. The second will be in sight of the whole world. When he came in obscurity, no one recognized him but his own servants. When he comes openly, he will be known by both the good and the bad.—St. Augustine, Sermons 18:1-2

Catechesis: Invocation of the Saints

The adversaries teach us to place confidence in the invocation of saints, although they have neither God’s Word nor the example of Scripture. They apply the saints’ merits on behalf of others in the same way they apply Christ’s merits, and they transfer to the saints the honor belonging only to Christ. Therefore, we cannot accept their opinions about the worship of the saints, nor the practice of invocation.—Ap XXI:31

18 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

He is the first and only-begotten of His mother here on earth, who according to His divine nature is the first and only-begotten of His Father in heaven.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIV

Let us not be content with the mere appearance of Christianity, but present ourselves to the Lord as we are. Let us, as poor sinners, daily fall at His feet, seek salvation with earnestness, follow Christ from our hearts, and serve Him. Thus He will one day recognize us as His own.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 802, 3.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When His disciples asked Him about the end, He said with precision: Of that day or that hour no one knows, not even himself—that is, when viewed according to the flesh, because he too, as human, lives within the limits of the human condition. He said this to show that viewed as an ordinary man, he does not know the future, for ignorance of the future is characteristic of the human condition. Insofar as he is viewed according to his divinity as the Word who is to come, to judge, to be bridegroom, however, he knows when and in what hour he will come.—St. Athanasius, Four Discourses Against the Arians 3.46

Catechesis: Invocation of the Saints

Since the invocation of saints does not have a testimony from God’s Word, it cannot be affirmed that the saints understand our invocation or, even if they understand it, that God approves it.—Ap XXI:12

16 October 2021

This ‘n’ That Chores

For a couple years my covered window wells have looked like terraria. So today I unscrewed the covers and cleaned them out. Good thing my wife or daughters weren’t doing the job; they’d have had heart attacks over the spiders! And several years ago the kids had given me a purple martin house (because they eat so many mosquitoes). Unfortunately, the SPARROWS and WRENS moved in and refused to even allow the purple martins anywhere near (we saw them try one day when we were in the pool). Hosting a hotel for those little guys is a messy venture, so I took that down too. Only thing I didn’t deal with yet is the post at the bottom which David set in cement. It’s not budging. Also checked the gutters, and they were clean as a whistle. Good to get that kinda stuff done on a crisp fall day. Our thermometer says that it was still not 60 yet!

Oh, speaking of the Apocrypha…

…reading this morning was from Wisdom 5 and included these beautiful words:

But the righteous live for evermore; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High, Therefore they shall receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand: for with his right hand he shall cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them.—Wisdom 5:15,16. 

Ha! Starting a movement!

Well, at least Cindi and I are on board. She just got her new Bible: KJV with Apocrypha and all the original King James textual notes. It’s a really lovely edition. She saw how much I loved mine and decided to get one for herself. 

It’s a pricey little volume, but I’m planning on it being the last Bible I’ll ever use. It’s the perfect size. And quite easy to read. I love the old familiar words, the careful attention to Greek and Hebrew (evidenced in the notes) and the use of italics to show when they’ve added words to make sense in English. 

I’ve had mine now for over a year and I read it according to the schedule that was published in the original KJV, sadly not included in this volume. I’ve got a spreadsheet of it, though, if anyone wants a copy, give me your email.

Anyone else want to go back to the Authorized Version? 

Here’s where we get them:

Catechesis: Invocation of the Saints

Granted, the blessed Mary prays for the Church. 

Does she receive souls in death? 
Does she conquer death? 
Does she make alive? 

What does Christ do if the blessed Mary does these things? 

Although she is  most worthy of the most plentiful honors, yet she does not want to be made equal to Christ. 

Instead, she wants us to consider and follow her example.—Ap XXI:27

From the House Postils…

The sermon for this coming Sunday, Trinity 20, from 1532 and it sounds like was written today:

“Of course, apart from that, there is a great deal about us that is contrary to our Lord God and justly displeases him—things like anger, impatience, greed, belly-serving, sexual voyeurism, evil lusts, fornication, hatred, and other vices which are nothing other than abominable mortal sins—rampant everywhere in the world. But such sins are nothing compared to the terrible disdain of the divine Word, disdain that is so deep and so pervasive, that in truth, greed, stealing, adultery, whoremongering, and so forth, cannot even compare; yes, these sins would be as nothing if people would only love and esteem God’s Word… But worse still is the fact that this disregard for God’s Word is now so commonplace that this truly terrible, hellish, devilish sin is not even regarded as being sin at all, like other sins. Everyone simply dismisses it as a trifling matter that people fail to listen diligently to preaching; yes, the majority hold that opinion, believing that wine and beer taste as good when listening to the preaching of the Word as at any other time. Nobody is bothered by this, much less does anyone make it a matter of conscience for having such little regard for the beloved Word. This does not happen in connection with other sins, like murder, adultery, and robbery; for with them there is remorse, if not sooner then later, because the heart is horrified and wished it had never happened. For no one can regard these things as right. But for inattention to God’s Word, yes, for despising and ridiculing it, for this no one has conscience scruples.—HP III:93, 94.

15 October 2021

Catechesis: Invocation of Saints

Everyone should imitate the saints according to his calling.—Ap XXI:6

Patristic Quote of the Day

The more the Adversary rages, the more error deceives. Senselessness makes its pretenses, envy inflames, covetousness makes blind, impiety depraves, pride puffs up, discord exasperates, anger hurries headlong… Let the brethren beware of these things, for “I have told you all things beforehand.”—Cyprian of Carthage, On the Unity of the Church 16.

Gerhard and Walther

It is by faith alone that we are made partakers of this blessed spiritual union, as it is written, “I will betroth thee unto me in faithfulness.” By faith we are engrafted as branches into Christ, the spiritual Vine, so that we derive all our life and strength from Him; and as those united in marriage are longer twain, but one flesh, so “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” because Christ dwells in our hearts by faith.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIII

In justification, sin is forgiven, but it retains its roots in our heart. Therefore, if a Christian does not daily renew himself, his heart will again become wild, like tree that is not pruned or a garden in which weeds are not removed.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 796.

14 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Consider, O faithful soul, His immeasurable love towards thee! A love that brought Him from heaven to earth; a love that bound Him to the post to be scourged; a love that nailed Him to the cross; a love that enclosed Him in the sepulchre; a love that dragged Him down to hell! What led Him to suffer all this, but a tender love for His spouse? And our hearts must be harder than stone and lead if such mighty love as this does not draw them upwards to God, from whom it first drew God Himself down to men.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIII

If we want to use forgiveness rightly, we must depart from the prison of our sins. We do this by heartily accepting our absolution, by comforting our self in it. In other words, it is by maintaining a firm and certain faith. If we hear the preaching of the forgiveness of sins, let us believe that this preaching is God’s forgiveness for us.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 793. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

By the holy place is to be understood every saying of divine Scripture spoken by the prophets from Moses onwards, and by the Evangelists and apostles. In this holy place of all the Scriptures, Antichrist, the false Word, has often stood. This is the abomination of desolation.—Origen, Commentary on Matthew 42. 

Catechesis: Good Works

Faith does not remain in those who lose the Holy Spirit and reject repentance. As we have said before, faith exists in repentance.—Ap XX.90

13 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

By faith Sarah in her old age received strength to bear Isaac, her son; so by faith, though spiritually dead, we receive strength to bring forth Christ. For as Christ was once conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, so is He daily born in the faithful soul that keeps itself pure and free from worldly defilement.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XII

Instruction for a pious and virtuous life is the central teaching of every religion except Christianity. But in the kingdom established by Christ, the main thing is the forgiveness of sins. In order for all people to obtain this forgiveness, the Son of God became man and died on the cross. This was the real purpose of His entire great work on earth.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 789.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When alms are given, we attend to nothing else except the disposition required. And if you say that money is needed, and houses and clothes and shoes, read those words of Christ, which he spoke concerning the widow, and stop being anxious. For even if you are extremely poor, and among those that beg, if you cast in your two small coins, you have done all in your power. Though you offer only a barley cake, having only this, you will have arrived at the heart of the matter.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 52 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Good Works

The consciences of the pious will not have sure enough comfort against the terrors of sin and of death, and against the devil tempting with despair, if they do not know that their confidence lies in the forgiveness of sins freely for Christ’s sake. This faith sustains and enlivens hearts in that most violent conflict with despair.—Ap XX:85.

12 October 2021

Deus deorum Dominus

The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.—Psalm 50:1



Gerhard and Walther

Consider, O my beloved soul, the excellency of faith, and then give thanks to God from whom alone it comes. Faith alone unites us to our Saviour, so that we derive our spiritual life, our justification, and our salvation, from Him, as the branches draw all their sustenance from the vine.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XII

So many fail to recognize the special comfort that lies in the private absolution is [due to the fact] that they do not vividly recognize their sins. They may say: “I have no need of this. I can sufficiently comfort myself from the general absolution.” However, is it not possible that a true Christian would not at times be so weighed down by his sins that from his heart he would gladly hear the voice, “your sins are forgive you?” Or are there today Christians with the kind of strong faith that people sought in vain at the time of the Reformation?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 787-8. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Sadducees do not have our hope for the resurrection, since they “know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God,” who is able to restore what is lost, to raise the dead to life, to revive what has rotted away, to gather together what is corruptible and finite. The Lord promised to do this, and he gives as a guarantee the promises he has already fulfilled. So let your faith speak of this to you, since your hope will not be disappointed even though your love may be put to the test.—St. Augustine, Letter 263.

Catechesis: Free Will

But those who dream that people can obey God’s Law without the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit is given so that obeying the Law may be considered meritorious, have wickedly hindered the distinction [between human and spiritual righteousness].—Ap XVIII:76

11 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Let Thy most sacred divinity, which sustained Thy human nature in Thy passion, which refrained from the exercise of its glorious power while the adorable mystery of my redemption was being wrought out, and which gave infinite value and merit to Thy suffering for sin, so that God might ransom me—me, a miserable sinner—with His own blood (Acts xx, 28), come to my assistance in my distress!—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XI.

When a Christian receives and rests upon private absolution, is he not raised above all doubt? Must he not say when forgiveness is spoken to him in Christ’s name, it is just as if Christ Himself had come down from heaven and spoken it to him with His own mouth?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 786.

Patristic Quote of the Day

All the more shall we bound to them [who were our spouses in this life], because we are destined to rise to a spiritual partnership. We will recognize both ourselves and those to whom we belong. Else how shall we sing thanks to God to eternity, if there shall remain in us no sense and memory of this relationship?—Tertullian, On Monogamy 10.

Catechesis: Human Traditions

Nothing in customary rites should be changed without a reasonable cause. So to nurture unity, old customs that can be kept without sin or great inconvenience should be kept.—Ap XV:52*

*Oh, what heartache and trouble our Synod would have saved itself across the years had it simply remembered and practiced this faithfully!

10 October 2021

What a wonderful visit!

Got to run up to Victor, Iowa and preach at St. John’s Lutheran Church for our dear friend, Jenn Rethwisch’s, installation as teacher at the local interparish school. Jenn taught for many years at Trinity-St. Paul Lutheran School (and she taught our youngest, Rebekah). Jenn’s hubby, Pr. Stuart Rethwisch was first a field worker at St. Paul’s and then our first vicar. AND our daughter Lauren and hubby Pr. Dean Herberts are godparents to the Rethwisch’s youngest lad: Eli. Great, great joy to see them again, and to worship in the breathtaking St. John’s!






09 October 2021

A Fall Evening

What is it about a fall evening, as the light is rapidly fading outside and the lamps glow warm inside, that is so inviting? 


08 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Shall we charge the Lord with a lie, or try to render His mercy of no effect by the weight of our sins? To charge God with a lie and to deny His mercy is one of the greatest sins we can commit; from which it appears that Judas committed a greater sin in despairing of God’s mercy, than did the Jews in crucifying Christ.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation X.

In addition, God has given the Christians prayer, through which they can obtain anything they think needful. God has also supplied them with the holy angels and all creatures as their servants, for He has ordered that everything—even the world with its temptations and troubles, even the devil with his trials and fiery darts, and even their own sins with their humiliations—must serve them for their best.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 781. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

That means render the image of Caesar, which is on the coin, to Caesar, and the image of God, which is imprinted on the person, to God. You give to Caesar only money. But to God, give yourself.—Tertullian, On Idolatry 15.

Catechesis: Human Traditions

We cheerfully maintain the old traditions made in the Church for the sake of usefulness and peace. We interpret them in a more moderate way and reject the opinion that they justify…. We can truly declare that the public form of the churches is more fitting with us than with the adversaries… Among us many use the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day. They do after they have been first instructed, examined, and absolved. The children sing psalms in order that they may learn. The people also sing so that they may either learn or pray… Among us the pastors and ministers of the churches are encouraged publicly to instruct and hear the youth. This ceremony produces the best fruit… In our churches all the sermons are filled with topics such as these: repentance; the fear of God; faith in Christ, the righteousness of faith, the comfort of consciences by faith; the exercises of faith; prayer, what its nature should be, and that we should be fully confident that it is powerful, that it is heard; the cross; the authority of officials and all civil ordinances; the distinction between the kingdom of Christ, or the spiritual kingdom, and political affairs; marriage; the education and instruction of children; chastity; all the offices of love. From this condition of the churches it may be determined that we earnestly keep Church discipline, godly ceremonies, and good Church customs.—Ap XV:38-44

07 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Take courage, O my soul, and forget thy sins, because thy Lord hath forgotten them.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation X

When a person comes to faith, there is always the danger that he could lose both soul and salvation. Next to God’s preserving grace, a thorough knowledge of the truth is the only certain means of avoiding the danger of deception by false teachers.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 778.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let no day pass without reading some portion of the sacred Scriptures, whenever you have time, and giving some space to meditation. Never cast off the habit of reading the holy Scriptures. Nothing feeds the soul and enriches the mind so much as those sacred studies.—Epistle to Lucian, 9 (attributed to Theonas of Alexandria)

Catechesis: Human Traditions

Against this look of wisdom and righteousness in human rites, which tricks people, let us strengthen ourselves by God’s Word. Let us know, first of all, that these rites neither merit the forgiveness of sins nor justification before God, nor are they necessary for justification. We have mentioned some testimonies above. Paul is full of them. To the Colossians he clearly says: Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Col. 2:16-17)—Ap XV:29, 30.

06 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

A benefit is not recognized for which thanks are not rendered; we are not truly thankful to Him whom we do not love. If thy faith is genuine, it will recognize the great benefits conferred by Christ, thy Redeemer; aye, it will recognize and render thanks; it will render thanks and it will love Him.— Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IX

As long as the Gospel’s sun of grace does not shine in a person’s heart, his doctrine cannot make him certain of his state of grace. Until he can triumphantly call out, “I have now found the ground which eternally holds my anchor,” he can have only a timid and wavering heart in doctrine. But as soon as his doctrine has become for him a rock when he is terrified before God and hell, a rock to which he can cling and be rescued from the shipwreck of his sin, and a rock of righteousness upon which he can find security and peace for his soul, then his heart will be firm and certain.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 776, 7. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Remember at the time of the sin of Adam and Eve they clothed themselves—with what? Fig leaves! That was their first act after the fall. Son now Jesus is making the same figure of the fig tree the very last of his wondrous signs. Just as he headed toward the cross, he cursed the fig tree—not every fig tree, but that one alone for its symbolic significance—saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” In this way the curse laid upon Adam and Eve was being reversed. For they had clothed themselves with fig leaves.—St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 13.18

Catechesis: Human Traditions

Finally, where are we made certain that rites instituted by men justify without God’s command since nothing can be affirmed of God’s will without His Word?—Ap XV:17

05 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Love unites and transforms… If thou lovest God and divine things, thou shalt become divine.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IX

But even this does not confuse the one who has an established heart. He looks alone upon the certain, never-changing Word. This is the precious thing of which our text speaks: an established heart is not carried about by various strange doctrines. Blessed, blessed is the person who has attained this treasure!—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 774,5.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He began with a manger and finished with a donkey, in Bethlehem with a manger, in Jerusalem with a donkey.—St. Ephrem the Syrian, Commentary on the Diatessaron.

Catechesis: Human Traditions

We should not add to God’s covenant, for God promises that He will be merciful to us for Christ’s sake. Nor should we add that we must first get such merit in order to be regarded as accepted and righteous through these observances.—Ap XV:12

04 October 2021

61. How can that be?

Well, today I am 61. AND my sweet wife royally spoiled me all day. I usually get the coffee going while she’s finishing up in the bathroom, but today, she was up and had it all ready for me to pour by the time I got out to the kitchen. She blessed me with two cool sweaters and some awesome gift wrap (see pic!). And while I had started work, she snuck out and filled up my gas tank (we came home last night near to empty). Then she made me my favorite breakfast (egg porridge and also sausage patties topped with cheese and fried egg). Then for lunch today she made me my favorite carnivore pepperoni pizza. And I still have a zerocarb cheesecake to look forward to for dessert. Yes, there is no two ways about it: she spoils me rotten. Thank you, my love!


Gerhard and Walther

Every manifestation of good in the creature is but an image of the perfect goodness which is in God, nay, which is God Himself. Why then should we desire to leave the reality to grasp the image?—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IX

The most glorious thing about all of this is that whoever seeks from his heart the salvation of the Gospel receives another heart that begins to glow in love of God and neighbor.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 772.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When the sons of Zebedee were seeking from Jesus seats in his kingdom, he at once called them to drink of his chalice, that is, to pattern themselves after the struggle of his suffering.—Venerable Bede, Exposition of the Gospel of Mark 2.21. 

Catechesis: Number and Use of the Sacraments

But if ordination is understood as carrying out the ministry of the Word, we are willing to call ordination a Sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God’s command and glorious promises, “The gospel…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Likewise, “So shall My word be that goes out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose.”—Ap XIII:11

03 October 2021

Trinity 18

You can’t really see it, but Cindi observed how fun that the kids were all jumbled up downstairs; a Schnare sitting with the Askins; an Askins sitting with Vicar’s family; and also an Askins sitting with the Schnares. Beautiful! That’s what the Church is all about.


02 October 2021

Luther gem from 1539

See that you exercise and confirm your faith, so that when you are troubled or when sin is besetting you, you go to the Sacrament and heartily desire it, and what it signifies, and do not doubt that it will be done unto you as the Sacrament declares, that Christ and all His saints will draw near to you with all their virtues, sufferings, and graces, to live, work, rest, suffer and die with you, and be so fully yours that they have all things in common with you. If you are willing to practice this belief and confirm it, you will experience what a rich and joyful wedding-meal your God has prepared for you on the altar.—from On the Councils and Churches, 1539

01 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

What if my sins accuse me; in this Intercessor do I trust; greater is He who is for me than my sins that are against me.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VIII

Woe to the free church* [*that is, not under the control of the state] that does not want to risk everything so it remains a church that is pure in doctrine.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 765.

Patristic Quote of the Day

It is hard to be saved if we have them [riches]; and impossible if we love them; and scarcely can we have them, but we shall love them inordinately. Teach us, O Lord, this difficult lesson: to manage conscientiously the goods we possess, and not covetously desire more than you give to us.—St. Augustine, Letter 203.

Catechesis: Confession and Satisfaction

We have already frequently testified that repentance should produce good fruit. These good fruit are what the commandments teach: prayer, thanksgiving, the confession of the Gospel, teaching the Gospel, obeying parents and rulers, and being faithful to one’s calling. We should not kill, not hold on to hatred, but we should be forgiving and give to the needy, so far as we can according to our means. We should not commit sexual sins or adultery, but should hold in check, bridle, and chastise the flesh, not for repayment of eternal punishment, but so as not to obey the devil or offend the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we should speak the truth. These fruits have God’s command and should be produced for the sake of God’s glory and command. They have their rewards also—AC XIIB:77

30 September 2021

Autumnal Flora

 





Gerhard and Walther

He who created me without sin, can now remove from me all the sin which has entered into me and has permeated my whole being, either through the temptation of the devil, through Adam’s fault, or through my own actual transgression.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VIII

Thus we see that according to God’s Word, Church and state are indeed separated by a great distance. Therefore, no Bible believer can yield the point that, according to Christ’s intent, Church and state should be intermingled. The Church exists in the state, for it is still the kingdom of heaven on earth. But the state is not in the Church, for it is certainly on earth but not in the kingdom of heaven, which is the exclusive territory of the Church.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 763. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

It is only be participation in the divine goodness that a rational creature is capable of becoming good.—The Venerable Bede, Exposition of St. Mark 11.4.

Catechesis: Confession and Satisfaction

It is beneficial to teach the following: common evils are reduced by our repentance and by the true fruit of repentance, by good works completed from faith… Here belongs the example of the Ninevites (Jonah 3:10), who by their repentance (all of repentance) were reconciled to God and received the favor that their city was not destroyed.—Ap XIIB:68, 69.

29 September 2021

…egressus matutinos et vespere laudantes facies (Vulgate Ps. 64:9)







Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. (KJV 65:8)

And from the Akathist Hymn: When sunset descends over the earth and the peace of eternal sleep and the stillness of the fading day come to reign, I see Your abode in the guise of glistening palaces and clouds hovering in the evening light. Fiery red, gold and azure speak prophetically of the unutterable beauty of Your world and cry out triumphantly: "Let us go to the Father!"

​Glory to You, in the stillness of the evening,

​Glory to You, Who have bestowed great peace to the world,

​Glory to You, for the last rays of sunlight,

​Glory to You, for rest and the gift of sleep,

​Glory to You, for Your presence in darkness, when the world is so remote,

​Glory to You, for prayer from the depth of a heart touched by You,

​Glory to You, for the promise of awakening to the joy of the eternal,

​unending day,

​Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.!

A joyous Feast of St. Michael and All Angels today…

…with (yet another) wonderful homily by our dear pastor.

 





Gerhard and Walther

Whenever I meditate upon the suffering of my Lord, I cannot but venture a great deal in respect to the love of God and His forbearance toward my sins. He bends His head to kiss me; He extends His arms to embrace me; He opens His hands to bestow gifts upon me; He opens His side that I may behold His heart glowing with love for me; He is lifted from the earth that He may draw all men to Himself.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VII

According to its spiritual understanding, the Third Commandment was given not just to the Jews, but also to all people, and it remains in force until the Last Day.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p, 759.

Patristic Quote of the Day

If God had threatened that David would be humbled this way by his son because of that sin, why did He fulfill that which He had threatened against him when the sin was forgiven? The reply is that this forgiveness was made so that man might not be hindered from receiving eternal life. The example of the threatening followed, in order that the piety of humanity might be exercised, and tested even in this humility.—Pope St. Gregory the Great (cited in Ap XIIB:64)

Catechesis: Confession and Satisfaction

It has been said before that saints suffer punishments, which are God’s works. They suffer contrition or terrors; they also suffer other common troubles. So, for example, some suffer punishments of their own that have been applied by God….Although troubles still remain, Scripture interprets these as the putting to death of present sin, and not as payments of eternal death or as prices for eternal death.—Ap XIIB:59, 60.

28 September 2021

On the deck…







 

Find the Word, Find the Church

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, On the Misuse of the Mass, 1521.


Gerhard and Walther

Great is my unrighteousness, but greater far is the righteousness of my Redeemer.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VI

We see here that Christianity does not provide new laws about appointed times, places, and other outwardly things. Rather, all Christians have achieved perfect freedom through Christ, and their only commandment is to love.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 758.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The young man became arrogant through the observance of the law. He did not recognize that the consummation of the law is Christ. He assumed that he could be justified by works. He was not aware that Jesus had come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and that the law could not save except through justifying faith.—St. Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity 9.16

Catechesis: Confession and Satisfaction

But revenge is in repentance formally, that is, because rebirth itself happens by a continuous putting to death of the oldness of life.—Ap XIIB:51

27 September 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Thy body, Thy blood, and all that Thou hadst, even Thine own self, Thou didst give for my salvation, and shall death then deprive me of that which was purchased with so costly a ransom? Thou art my righteousness, O Lord Jesus; my sins shall not avail against Thee. Thou art the Resurrection and the Life, death shall not prevail against Thee; Thou art God, Satan shall not prevail against Thee.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation V.

There are many others who regard not going to church as a great sin, but they do not attend services to hear God’s Word for the salvation of their souls, but only to perform what they think is a work for God. They imagine that if they have merely gone to Church they have completely kept the Sabbath.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 753. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Apostle praised one who had known the Scripture from infancy. He also instructed that children be reared “in the discipline and correction of the Lord.” So we consider every time of life, even the very earliest, suitable for receiving persons into the community of faith.—St. Basil the Great, The Long Rules 15.

Catechesis: Confession and Satisfaction

All sane people regard it as the highest and most important matter if you heal doubting consciences.—Ap XIIB:32.

26 September 2021

From this morning’s Psalter

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Ps. CXIX:130



25 September 2021

Something we noticed…

…about our zero-carb (carnivorous) way of eating, is that we occasionally miss favorite foods that we associate with particular times of the year. An emotional tug, not really a tug of hunger, since we always enjoy our meals and eat to the full. Lauren shared a cookbook for the kids (Maria Emmrich “Sugar Free Kids”) that we found interesting. It’s actually Keto, but easily adapted. So we tried one that looked promising: porridge. This porridge (two servings) is basically 4 eggs whisked together with 2/3 cup of heavy cream, a pat of butter, and seasonings (salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract or maple extract). The original also called for a sweetener, but we have long since given up eating sweet things. Just throw it together over low heat and stir with wooden spoon until curds form throughout. It’s…AMAZING! We loved it so much that we made yesterday and again today. Its texture is indeed pure porridge; its flavor is delicious; and better than grain-based porridge, this thing really does fill you up!



Roses

 


24 September 2021

Gerhard and Walther

I have sinned, O Lord, and my sins are many and great beyond measure; and yet may I never voluntarily commit that most heinous sin of charging Thee with a lie, when Thou dost declare by words and by works and by an oath, that perfect satisfaction hath been rendered for mine iniquities.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation V

True, living faith is active through love. Therefore, as there is warmth and light in the presence of fire, there are love and good works in the person whose heart has been warmed by the sun of faith.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 748.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Even to the foulest offenders, when they afterward believe, remission of sins is granted. On this premise no one is prohibited from baptism and grace.—St. Cyprian, Letter 58.

Catechesis: Confession and Satisfaction

The word satisfaction has been left from this rite of public repentance. The Holy Fathers were unwilling to welcome back the fallen or the notorious sinners unless, as far as it was possible, their repentance had been first examined and shown publicly. There seem to have been many causes for this. To discipline those who had fallen served as an example, as the gloss upon the decrees reminds us. Also, it was improper to admit notorious people immediately to Communion. These customs have long since grown obsolete. It is not necessary to restore them, because they are not necessary for the forgiveness of sins before God.—Ap XIIB:16.

23 September 2021

Yes, it must be autumn…


Nothing can be more joyful!

“What is more blessed and joyous than to believe God’s Word and cling to it in the face of all temptations, and to shut the eyes to all temptations of the devil, to lay aside sense and understanding, reason and cunning, and unceasingly to say in one’s heart: ‘God has spoken, he cannot lie!’ Nothing can be more joyful, I say, than such faith. For whatever we ask of God in such faith we receive more abundantly than we can ever imagine, and God is nearer to us than we can realize.”—Martin Luther, Church Postils, Second Sermon for Trinity 21.

Ps. 113:3

From the rising of the sun…





















…unto the going down of the same…
















…the Lord’s name is to be praised.


Gerhard and Walther

Those who trust in their own righteousness and holiness seek salvation in themselves, but I, who find in me nothing worthy of eternal life, flee to Thee as my Saviour. Save me, for I am condemned; have mercy on me, for I am a sinner; justify me, for I am unrighteous; acquit me, for I am under accusation of sin.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IV

If a person remains weak in the faith, his faith will finally be overcome and extinguished. Therefore, if he is to remain a Christian, his faith must grow and become firmer. His faith must be built on the Word alone so that he can comfort himself with that mere written Word even when he feels no joy in his heart. Then he will believe in the forgiveness of his sins even when he senses the presence of sin still dwelling in him.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 746, 7.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What husband but our Lord ever died for his wife, and what bride ever chose a crucified man as her husband? Who ever gave his blood as a gift to his wife except the one who died on the cross and sealed the marriage bond with his wounds? Who was ever seen lying dead at his own wedding banquet with his wife at his side seeking to console herself by embracing him? At what other celebration, at what other feast is the bridegroom’s body distributed to the guests in the form of bread? Death separates wives from their husbands, but in this case it is death that unites the bride to her beloved.—Jacob of Serug, Homilies

Catechesis: Confession and Satisfaction

Absolution is God’s Word which, by divine authority, the Power of the Keys pronounces over individuals. Therefore, it would be wicked to remove private Absolution from the Church. If anyone despises private Absolution, he does not understand what the forgiveness of sins or the Power of the Keys is.—Ap XIIb (2-4)

22 September 2021

Sunset on the First Day of Fall


Gerhard and Walther

Christ died that sin might die in us; and can we willingly let it live and reign in our hearts, since the Son of God Himself gave His life to destroy its power in us?—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations III.

What is this evil life but bitter poverty in which we must daily come before God as naked beggars? And what is heaven but immense riches? What is this evil life but misery, trouble, sickness, and death? And what is heaven but constant joy, eternal health, and blessed life?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 745.

Patristic Quote of the Day

According to levitical law, every gift, unless it be seasoned with salt, is forbidden to offered as an oblation to the Lord God. Now the whole spiritual meditation of the Scriptures is given to us as salt which stings in order to benefit. Without this disinfection, it is impossible for a soul by means of reason, to be brought to the Almighty.—Bishop Methodius, The Banquet of the Ten Virgins

Catechesis: Repentance

Here we must know that faith should be confident that God freely forgives us for Christ’s sake, for the sake of His own promise, not for the sake of our works, contrition, confession, or satisfactions. For if faith relies upon these works, it immediately becomes uncertain, because the terrified conscience sees that these works are unworthy.—Ap XIIA:96.

21 September 2021

And a very happy birthday to this young man…

…Oliver James Weedon, now four (and convinced he is an adult as of this moment and can do anything anyone else can!):



Gerhard and Walther

Therefore sin is spiritual death to the soul. Through mortal sin man loses God.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations I.

There is only one way a person can die gently, confidently, and blessed. He must learn to go to God as a poor sinner and to call upon Him for grace for Christ’s, His Savior’s, sake. He must learn to seize Christ and His promises of grace in faith. He must taste and see how friendly, how good, how gracious, and how merciful the Lord is.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 739.

Patristic Quote of the Day

This is no trivial subject of inquiry that we propose, but rather it concerns things most urgent, and about which many inquire: namely, whether hell fire has any end. For that it has no end Christ indeed declared when he said, “Their fire shall not be quenched, and their worm shall not die.” Yes, I know a chill comes over you on hearing these things. But what I am to do? This is God’s own command… Ordained as we have been to the ministry of the Word, we must cause our hearers discomfort when it is necessary for them to hear. This we do not arbitrarily but under command.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 9 on 1 Corinthians.

Catechesis: Repentance

This means that all are under sin, neither can they be freed except by grasping the promise of the forgiveness of sins through faith. Therefore, we must accept the forgiveness of sins through faith before we do the works of the Law. Although, as has been said before, love follows faith, because the reborn person receives the Holy Spirit and so begins to do the works of the Law.—Ap XIIA:81, 82.

20 September 2021

And breakfast at our house this morning…

…a tableful of blonde Herberts grandchildren! Joys abounding!

Gerhard and Walther

God has promised grace to the penitent soul, but He does not promise a tomorrow.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations I.

Whoever can raise the dead by His own strength must be the true God and Life itself.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 735. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

There may be something catholic outside the Church catholic. The name of Christ could exist outside the congregation of Christ, as in the case of the man casting out devils in Christ’s name. There may by contrast exist pretenses within the church catholic, as is unquestionably the case of those “who renounce the world in words and not in deeds,” and yet the pretense is not catholic. So as there may be found in the church catholic something which is not catholic, so there may be found something that is catholic outside the church catholic.—St. Augustine, On Baptism, Against the Donatists, 7:39.

Catechesis: Repentance

The sum of the preaching of the Gospel is this: to convict of sin; to offer for Christ’s sake the forgiveness of sins and righteousness, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life; and that as reborn people we should do good works.—Ap XIIA:29

18 September 2021

Hamel…

…on a lovely morning in very late summer.