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!



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


…on a lovely morning in very late summer.

I’d just like to report…

…that the men TROUNCED the women last evening at pinochle, and so a very good time was had by all.

17 September 2021

Coming soon…

…by yours truly:

Gerhard and Walther

The very foundation and principle of a holy life is godly sorrow for sin. For where there is true penitence there is forgiveness of sin; where there is forgiveness of sin there is the grace of God; where the grace of God is there is Christ; where Christ is there is Christ’s merit; where Christ’s merit is there is satisfaction for sin; where there is satisfaction there is justification; where there is justification there is a glad and quiet conscience; where there is peace of conscience there is the Holy Spirit; where the Holy Spirit is present, there is the ever blessed Trinity; and where the Holy Trinity is there is life eternal.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations I.

How miserable are the people who have no Word of God! Wealth, honor, and earthly joys cannot make them really happy for they are lacking the best and most necessary thing: the peace of God, the rest of the heart and the conscience.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 730.

Patristic Quote of the Day

So let the catholic remember that no one is born into this world free from the taint of the first transgression.—The Venerable Bede, Exposition of St. Mark 3.9.22

Catechesis: Repentance

Then, just as they redeem purgatory by means of satisfactions, so a scheme was created for redeeming satisfactions, which was most abundant in revenue. They sell indulgences, which they interpret as the pardon of satisfactions. This revenue is not only from the living, but is much more plentiful from the dead. Nor do they redeem the satisfactions of the dead only by indulgences, but also by the sacrifice of the Mass.—Ap XIIA 16

16 September 2021

Gerhard and Walther

The office of the ministry is the office of the Spirit whereby the Holy Spirit wants to deal with us for our conversion and salvation. That’s why the hearers should rightly regard it as being of the highest worth.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:430.

We see here that, in order for the preachers of the Gospel to rightly attend to their office, God has commanded that they are not to live off the work of their hands. Indeed, woe to them if they desire a quiet, comfortable life, even gold and silver for their enrichment! Such are not servants of Christ, but servants of the belly. Instead, they should receive their necessary sustenance and clothing from those to whom they preach. Since this is the clear commandment of God, can a person be a Christian if he does not want to sacrifice any of his temporal goods so God’s Word would be preached to him?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 729.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Christ called John Elijah, not because he was Elijah, but because he was fulfilling the ministry of that prophet.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 57 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Repentance

Let our adversaries come forth and tell us when the forgiveness of sins takes place. O God, there is such darkness!—Ap XIIA 6

For if the Power of the Keys does not comfort us before God, what will quiet the conscience.—Ap XIIA 7

For faith shows the distinction between the contrition of Judas and of Peter.—Ap XIIA 8

15 September 2021

This old hymn came to mind this morning as I walked under a beautiful sky:

Like the golden sun ascending,
Breaking through the gloom of night,
On the earth his glory spending
So that darkness takes to flight,
Thus my Jesus from the grave
And death's dismal, dreadful cave
Rose triumphant Easter morning
At the early purple dawning. (TLH 207:1)

Gerhard and Walther

A faithful servant of the Church should not have such a desire for change to the point where he wants to change according to his own desires the usual church practice and ceremonies that have been accepted by a holy consensus of the Church. By such changes, all sorts of offenses and divisions can easily arise. Instead, he should above all else, keep the traditional salutary church practices.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:427.

No person can recognize himself outwardly without a mirror and this is also the case inwardly. The mirror for our soul is the Word of God. Most people look into the mirror of the world; that is, they judge themselves according to the thoughts and prejudices of thoughtless mankind. Whoever does this will not come to a right knowledge of himself.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 727.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What He commands is not difficult, since He helps to effect what He commands… Just as we are lost through loving ourselves, so we are found by denying ourselves. Love of self was the ruin of the first man. If he had not loved himself in the wrong order, he would have been willing to be subject to God, preferring God to self.—Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 159.

Catechesis: Confession

Many troubled consciences have derived comfort from our teaching. They have been comforted after they heard that it is God’s command, no, rather, the very voice of the Gospel, that we should believe the Absolution and regard it as certain that the forgiveness of sins is freely granted to us for Christ’s sake. We should believe that through this faith we are truly reconciled to God. This belief has encouraged many godly minds and, in the beginning, brought Luther the highest praise from all good people. This belief shows conscience sure and firm comfort.—Ap XI.58

14 September 2021

Was very blessed…

…to attend the Mass for Holy Cross Day at St. Paul’s this morning. Pastor reminded us that better the scraps of wood from the true cross is the fruit that hung upon that cross, which is surely given to us at the altar, at Jesus’ own command and anchored in His promise. A few images:

Catechesis: The Holy Supper

We defend the doctrine received in the entire Church. In the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s body and blood are truly and actually present. They are truly administered with those things that are seen, bread and wine. And we speak of the presence of the living Christ, for we know that “death no longer has dominion over Him.”—Ap X:57.

Patristic Quote of the Day

O Cross, chosen and prepared for such ineffable good, the work that was accomplished on you exalts you more than all the praises of human or angelic thought and tongue. In you and through you is my life and my salvation; in you and through you is the whole and all my good; “forbid that I should glory save in you.” For why was I conceived and born, and given life, if afterwards I am to descend to hell? If that is to be my fate it were better for me if I had never been conceived. And it is certain that it would have been so, if I had not been redeemed by you.—St. Anselm, Prayers and Meditations (Prayers to the Holy Cross)

Gerhard and Walther

Indeed, God the Lord has especially established the holy pastoral ministry for the primary purpose that through the means of the same people may be directed to eternal salvation. Consequently, the holy Apostle requires of each teacher that he should be a capable instructor.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:422.

Oh, may each of us be frightened out of the shameful service of mammon! Sad is the time of service, and terrible is the wage. Here on earth, it deceives man out of rest and peace of heart, and there in heaven, he will lose God, his soul, and his salvation.—C. F. W Walther, God Grant It!, p. 725.

13 September 2021

To quote the Carol: “Tidings of Comfort and Joy” indeed…

…this latest from master hymn-writer and Lutheran pastor Kurt Reinhardt. Is not this the most comforting hymn for those who are facing down the death of their dear ones?

Forever Bound by Endless Love

Forever bound by endless love,
That flows eternally above
And binds the Father to the Son
With God’s own Spirit three in one.

The Saints shall not be torn apart;
They’re joined together heart to heart
By love that sent God’s own Son down
To wear the cross’s thorny crown.

Death’s dark divide love did defeat
When nails did pierce Christ’s hands and feet;
He filled it’s chasm with God’s life
And ended sin’s dividing strife.

When on this world we close our eyes,
And rise with Christ to heaven’s skies,
We leave behind no loved ones dear;
In Christ we are forever near.

As one Church gathers ‘round the Lamb
In worship of the Lord, I AM,
The love of God in cup and bread
Unite the Living with the dead.

Ah, Mondays…

Cin and I were up by 5:30 and getting coffee going. Had a cup and then prayed Treasury together, and then off to our individual prayers (I pray a version of Matins with some assist from Lutheran Prayer Companion). We went outside and watched a very red sunrise. Then I did my workout (24 pullups, 24 45 lb. KB swings, 200 pushups) as I listened to more of 1 Chronicles and then grabbed a quick shower. One more cup of java enjoyed out on our front porch with the sun well up and no longer reddish. Then set to work: a reading from Luther; the assigned portion for the day of The Book of Concord; blogged for tomorrow and then wrote a podcast (today I wrote for Sept. 29th). I walked for five miles around town and out into the country (see pic). Then off to the studio (with a stop at Starbucks for more coffee) to record an Issues show on the hymn “Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us” with Todd. Todd and I have had such joy over the years talking theology, hymnody, liturgy, and such! Jeff also gave me my assignment for next week: a show on the upcoming feast of St. Michael’s and All Angels. SWEET! Came home for a bite of lunch (ribeye and two eggs! YUM!), and thank you Cindi for having it ready to go! Then up to St. Paul’s school for my new favorite part of the day: teaching the kids my class, The Words of Jesus: Writ in Red. We sang “Baptized into Your Name Most Holy” and then reviewed last week with St. Peter’s confession that the disciples aren’t about to leave Jesus, because HE has “the words of eternal life.” We blitzed our way through Matthew 1 and 2, to get to the actual words of Jesus in chapters 3 and 4. We closed with a hymn the students picked out: “Thine the Amen!” Then back home to pray Vespers. Need to finish up an article for the Issues Etc. Journal too. A full and yet decidedly delightful day. I am so unspeakably blessed in that such is the course of a day, focused on the most important thing in all the world: the Word of God! Thank you, Lord, for such a calling and for all Your good gifts!

Gerhard and Walther

However, not everyone in the Christian Church is a prophet or teacher (1 Cor. 1:29). But rather God has designated only certain ones as shepherds and teachers (Eph 4:11, 12), in order that the saints receive the work of the ministry by which the body of Christ may be built up.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:420.

In short, the end of the true battle of the flesh and spirit is an advance in sanctification.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 717.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Christ laid his hands upon his eyes that he might see all things clearly, so that through visible things he might understand things invisible, which the eye has not seen, that after the film of sin is removed, he might clearly behold the state of his soul with the eyes of a clean heart.—St. Jerome, Tractate on Mark, Homily 5.

Catechesis: The Church

For Christ enlivens His true kingdom by His Spirit, whether it is revealed or is covered by the cross, just as the glorified Christ is the same as the Christ who was afflicted.—Ap. VII/VIII.18

12 September 2021

165 Years of God’s Grace Celebrated at St. Paul’s Today

Well, that was simply amazing! I told Kantor I thought she was crazy when she announced what we were doing for this, but she simply made everything work and work very well. Instrumentalists, aside from Kantor on organ, included two flutes, two violins, cello, viola, three trumpets, and the Bells of St. Paul. Preservice was J.S. Bach’s Sinfonia BWV 29; a delightful John Behnke “Built on the Rock” by the bells; and then choir and orchestra with J. S. Bach’s “Praise the Lord Most Holy.” The processional hymn was “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.” The Liturgy, of course, was Divine Service 3, The Common Service. After chanting the gradual, the Choir sang Bruckner’s Locus Iste in Latin and it was breathtaking! The Hymn of the Day was “Built on the Rock” with the choir singing stanza 3 in four parts. President Harrison proclaimed the sweet Gospel to us in his own inimitable style. Pastor used a prayer crafted from the old The Lutheran Liturgy (Altar Book for TLH) for the anniversary of a congregation. During the extended Lavabo, the choir sang J.S. Bach’s “O God, Eternal Source.” Distribution hymns were “O Lord, We Praise Thee,” “Let All Mortal Flesh,” and “The Church’s One Foundation.” President Harrison did the salutation, benedicamus, and benediction, and then we processed out to “Lord Jesus Christ, the Church’s Head.” After which, Kantor went to town on the organ with Karg-Elert’s “Nun Danket alle Gott.” From start to finish, more joys abounding than a soul could take in. God is so good to us and we have been blessed here from generation to generation. The only downer for the day was Pr. Gleason (who was supposed to be subdeacon) ending up in the hospital. Keep him in your prayers, my friends. Nevertheless, though we missed his presence on this joyous day, still glory to God for all things!

A friend from Canada

Shared this with me. I could hardly agree more:

11 September 2021

Twenty Years

Like all you older folk, I remember that horrid day like it were yesterday, and the days following. I remember the strange silence, and the sight of a sky with no planes or contrails for days. The attacks were on a Tuesday. The congregations of Trinity and St. Paul's gathered at St. Paul's on Wednesday evening for a brief service of prayer. Pr. Gross spoke and reminded us who it is who comes to steal, to kill and to destroy and that it was to destroy the devil's works that the Son of God appeared among us. Then I spoke briefly and led some prayers. Here are my words:

We’re gathered tonight, people loved by God, in the spirit of Job. Our minds shrink from the staggering numbers of those who are dead; as well as from the horrible way so many of them died. Our hearts go out to the families who are now as torn apart and devastated as any of the buildings we saw in New York or Washington—families where a mother’s voice will never be heard again or a father’s face never seen or a child’s hand never touched again. In the face of such terrible wreckage of human lives and the unimaginable tidal wave of human sorrow, we can only ask Job to move over for a bit so that we might sit with him for a while in the dust and ashes, and learn from him to turn to God in worship, because there really is nowhere else to turn.

Today is not the time to theologize about good and evil in the world. It is too soon for such. Today is the time for us to get on our knees and pray. And to do so knowing that the One to whom we pray is no stranger to the terrible things that humans do to each other, to know that He to whom we pray became One with us in our tears and in our sorrows. He knows what it is to weep at death. He has felt in His own body the irrational hatred of those who think they serve God by dishing out violence and destruction. What a comfort that in our prayers tonight, we pray to the Crucified One. And above all to the Risen One.

For Job would go on to confess “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand upon the earth and that after my skin has been destroyed nevertheless in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself and not another. How my heart yearns within me.”

Our prayers rise tonight to Him who walked among us as the man of sorrows, who is acquainted with our grief, and who died to conquer and destroy death's power over his people forever. We pray tonight before the God who will make the ashes live again.

Prayer -

Hear us, dear heavenly Father, as we join our prayers to those of your children throughout the world in the face of the terrible events of yesterday.

For all the children who have lost parents, let us pray to the Lord. R.
For all the parents who have lost children, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all the husbands who have lost their wives, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all the wives who have lost their husbands, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all whose lives have been shattered and whose hopes and dreams have been destroyed, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For the families of those brave souls who responded to others' needs only to lose their own lives, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For the firefighters and policemen, the doctors, nurses and EMTs and all those who participate in the relief effort, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For any who are still alive in the rubble, that aid may be brought to them speedily and that they not lose heart, let us pray to the Lord, R.

#9-11, #NeverForget

10 September 2021

An Interview

I did this week with Franklin Crawford, an atheist, who interviews people of various faiths in an effort to understand his fellow human beings. Note that Franklin buys into the higher critical scholarship of the Bible (and that shows, for instance, where he disputes that Matthew’s Gospel is written by the disciple Matthew). Hopefully the conversation, though, will get folks curious about the Word and have them read and study it, so that the Holy Spirit may do His faith-bestowing job!

Gerhard and Walther

Our life upon earth is nothing more than a constant traveling about and pilgrimage. So then, just as a traveler heartily longs for the destination where he thinks he will once more hope to get some rest, so also we, as spiritually traveling people, should long for our heavenly Fatherland where we shall rest from all our labors.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:418.

Whoever walks in the Spirit still has fleshly desires within him, but he is also empowered to hate sin and fight against it so that it does not gain dominion over him. If someone sins because he wants to, he walks according to the flesh. If someone walks in the Spirit, he, too, commits sin, but this is not what he wants to do and he abhors what he has done.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 711.

Patristic Quote of the Day

[Since they wanted to make Him King]: In order to avoid all suspicion of usurping civil authority, he made a speedy exist after this wonderful work.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 53 St. Matthew

Catechesis: The Church

It [the Creed] says Church catholic in order that we may not understand the Church to be an outward government of certain nations. Rather, the Church is people scattered throughout the whole world. They agree about the Gospel and have the same Christ, the same Holy Spirit, and the same Sacraments, whether they have the same or different human traditions.—Ap VII/VIII:10

09 September 2021

There are times

I think God looks at the messes we make in our world and simply refuses to give up. “No,” He seems to say, “I made this world beautiful. And beautiful it shall be, even if it is has to be in painful contrast to your mess.”

Gerhard and Walther

Those who regard it [God’s Word and preaching] as an insignificant treasure, very seldom attend [the Divine Service].—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:410.

When man was still in the state in which God had created him in Eden, his greatest blessedness consisted in God Himself dwelling in his soul. God was the light of his reason and the moving power of his will. Since all people fell into sin with the first father, Adam, man’s greatest misery is that by nature he wanders around without God’s Word.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 708.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The one who is greater in faith eats more, and because he does, there is less left over! I wish that we, too, might eat more of the hardy bread of holy writ, so that there would be less left over for us to learn.—St. Jerome, Tractate on Mark, Homily 78.

Catechesis: Justification

Even though the adversaries claim the name of the Church for themselves, we know that Christ’s Church is with those who teach Christ’s Gospel, not with those who defend wicked opinions contrary to the Gospel. As the Lord says, “My sheep hear my voice.” And Augustine says: “The question is, ‘Where is the Church’ What therefore are we to do? Are we to seek it in our own words or in the words of our Head, our Lord Jesus Christ? I think that we ought to seek it in the words of Him who is Truth, and who knows His own body best.”—Ap V:279

08 September 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Consequently, if we wish to properly celebrate and sanctify the Sabbath, we must not only hear God’s Word but also thank God the Lord for these great treasures of the soul, and ask that He through the hearing of His Word would give us grace so that we thereby be enlightened, converted, sanctified, strengthened and eternally saved.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:409.

The Christian Church, which is the kingdom of Christ on earth, is essentially all people who have received Christ as their King and are ruled by Him, who believe in Him from their heart, who are thus Christians.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 706. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

In expounding holy Scriptures, I am, so to speak, now breaking the bread for you. If you hunger to receive it, your heart will sing out with the fullness of praise. And if you are thus made rich in your banquet, why would you then be niggardly in good works and deeds of mercy? What I am distributing to you is not my own. What you feast upon, I also feast upon.—St. Augustine, Sermons on the NT 4.5.1

Catechesis: Justification

So other good works please because of faith, just as the prayers of the Church ask that all things may be accepted for Christ’s sake. For it is clear that this clause is always added at the close of prayers: “Through Christ, our Lord.”—Ap V:264

07 September 2021

On this morning’s walk…

…watching the miracle of ruminants turning grass into wool and protein! Glory to God for all things!

Gerhard and Walther

Consequently, hold to the fact that only those works and labors are forbidden on the Sabbath which are undertaken out of greed or carelessness, or out of disregard for the office of the ministry. These hinder the conducting of the worship service or keep others away from it.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:405.

It is impossible to be a Christian and not be thankful to God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 703. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

So open your ears and enjoy the good odor of eternal life which has been breathed upon you by the grace of the sacraments.—St. Ambrose, On the Mysteries 1.3

Catechesis: Justification

When fearful consciences are comforted by faith, and are convinced that sins have been blotted out by Christ’s death, and that God has been reconciled to us because of Christ’s sufferings, then, indeed, Christ’s suffering profits us. If the teaching about faith is left out, saying that works are useful by virtue of Christ’s passion is of no use at all.—Ap. V:261.

06 September 2021

Eating out

Eating out as committed zero-carbers is a breeze. Today, after a wee bit of shopping at Fresh Thyme and Hobby Lobby, we were planning on heading down to Outback, only to discover the one we thought was nearest to us must have closed. So we ended up at Longhorn. ¡No problema! Cindi ordered herself a 22 oz Porterhouse (bone in); I ordered the 12 oz ribeye, but also had a very tasty 1/2 lb cheeseburger as a side. That’s it, except for some soda water and a cup of coffee; and the restaurant totally got the order right. No veg on our plates! And the meat was cooked to perfection (still red in the center with a nice char on the outside). Was it ever delicious. And my wife, of course, never lets a silly little thing like etiquette get in the way of her enjoying every last bit of meat (and marrow) off that bone. We didn’t leave till our plates were completely empty and that bone was picked clean!

Gerhard and Walther

Because God the Lord commands that we should sanctify the Sabbath day, thereby he wants to teach that a person should not observe it on certain hours, but for the entire day. And one should not do as is the common practice, that a person perhaps fulfills it with an hour or two of hearing God’s Word, but then later corrupts the remaining time with idleness, non-beneficial gossip, strolling around, visiting around, and similar matters.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:403 (Weedon: OUCH!)

Each person is surrounded and covered by God’s blessing even more than he is by the air. Body and soul are the basic blessings each individual has received from God. However, reason and every power of the soul, all understanding and every member of the body, every ray of light that falls into his eye, every sound that penetrates his ear, every breath of air that fills his lungs, every  bit of bread he eats, every drop of water he drinks, every slumber that comfortingly shuts his eye, every joy that refreshes his soul, every step he takes without misfortune, every moment he spends—in short, everything a person has—is a special blessing of God. In Him we live and move and have our being.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 701.

Patristic Quote of the Day

That power which may not be handled came down and clothed itself in members that may be touched, that the desperate may draw near to him, that in touching his humanity they may discern his divinity. For that speechless man the Lord healed with the fingers of his body. He put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue. At that moment with fingers that may be touched, he touched the Godhead that may not be touched. Immediately this loosed the string of his tongue and opened the clooged doors of his ears. For the very architect of the body itself and artificer of all flesh had come personally to him, and with his gentle voice tenderly opened up his obstructed ears.—St. Ephrem the Syrian, Homily on Our Lord 10

Catechesis: Justification

We do not argue about the term reward. We argue whether good works are of themselves worthy of grace and of eternal life, or whether they please only on account of faith, which takes of Christ as Mediator. Our adversaries not only attribute this to works, namely, that they are worthy of grace and of eternal life, but they also state falsely that works have surplus merits. The adversaries maintain that these merits can be granted to other people to justify them, as when the monks sell to others the merits of their orders.—Ap V:238, 239.