31 August 2023

Patristic Quote of the Day

Notice how in every case idolatry arises from money.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 42 on Acts

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

If a person has come to a vivid knowledge of sin and then asks, “What should I do to blot out my immense sin and become pure?” the preachers should answer, “The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, makes you clean from all your sin.”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 679.


A cultured person, however, is almost compelled to be aware that reality if very odd and that the ultimate truth, whatever it may be, must have the characteristics of strangeness—must be something that would seem remote and fantastic to the uncultured… On these grounds I conclude that culture has a distinct role in bringing certain souls to Christ. Not all souls—there is a shorter, and safer, way which has always been followed by thousands of simple affectional natures who begin, where we hope to end, with devotion to the person of Christ.—Business of Heaven, p. 222.


So prayer relies on God’s mercy, when we believe that we are heard for Christ’s sake. He is our High Priest, as He Himself says, “Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). Without this High Priest we cannot approach the Father.—Ap V:212 [IV:333]

29 August 2023

The Decollation of St. John the Baptist

A beautiful Divine Service at St. Paul’s this morning for the feast. The red of martyrdom shone from paraments and vestments. A select choir from the school chanted the Introit: “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation…” The voices of man of the children singing the tenor up an octave on the Gloria, soaring above the melody. The collect with its: “forerunner of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in both his preaching of repentance and his innocent death.” Powerful readings from Revelation 6, Romans 6, and the account of the martyrdom from Mark 6. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all” in the Gradual and the verse, my mother’s favorite Bible passage, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” And if precious to Him, so also precious to us. So 2,000 years later we still gather to remember and recount the events of that day. The hymn was “If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee” which was perfect, as was Pastor Gleason’s homily. The Advent preface with its “whose way John the Baptist prepared, proclaiming Him the Messiah, the very Lamb of God, and calling sinners to repentance.” The gift of the Savior’s precious body and blood, giving us the forgiveness of sins and a guarantee of a blessed resurrection with John and all the saints. We are so very blessed in our Church and school. This year, with four grandchildren in the school, I’m more thankful than ever for them being catechized in liturgy and song so richly, so abundantly. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this place!

Patristic Quote of the Day

God does not wait for time to elapse from repentance. You spoke your sin, you were justified; you repented, you were shown mercy.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 8 on Repentance

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Although many institutions of more recent founding have fallen over the years, the holy preaching office has never ceased to exist. God has proved that the preaching office is His work, in that He has mightily protected it so that it might never be lacking in His Church. For the works of God must remain, even when the works of man must perish.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 674.


Provided, then, that there was a demand for culture, and that culture was not actually deleterious, I concluded I was justified in making my living by supplying that demand—and that all others in my position (dons, schoolmasters, professional authors, critics, and reviewers) were similarly justified; especially if, like me, they had few or no talents for any other career—if their ‘vocation’ to a cultural profession consisted in the brute fact of not being fit for anything else.—Business of Heaven, p. 220.


We overcome the terrors of sin and death not through love, but through faith. For we cannot set up our love and fulfilling of the Law against God’s wrath, because Paul says, “Through [Christ] we have also obtained access [to God] by faith.”—Ap V: 193 [IV:314]

28 August 2023

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Justification happens in a blink of an eye. As soon as a sinner, in despair, recognizes his sin and desires grace and redemption, God speaks a word in heaven, and justification takes place. Sanctification, on the contrary, does not happen suddenly. It occurs gradually, and it continues until the end of our life…. Sanctification, which follows justification, begins weakly and grows until death, but it never comes to perfection.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 670, 671.


As St. Augustine says somewhere ‘God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full—there’s nowhere to put it.’—Business of Heaven, p. 219 [Day of St. Augustine of Hippo]


So the worship and the divine service of the Gospel is to receive gifts from God.—Ap V:189 [IV:310]

Patristic Quote of the Day

Are you a sinner? Do not despair; rather, enter, presenting repentance. Have you sinned? Tell God, “I have sinned.” What is the labor, what the period of time, what the expense? What kind of hardship is it to say, “I have sinned”? You have an advocate with the Father who said, “Be the first to confess your sins so you may be justified.” Say the sin to obliterate it. For this, there is no toil, no expense, no need of deep arguments, no need of philosophical reasoning, say, “I have sinned.” —St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Repentance

27 August 2023

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Justification occurs in heaven. A poor person, mourning over his sins, often does not know that he has already been justified. He may continue to cry tears of repentance on earth while in heaven all the angels are already rejoicing over him. However, justification does not remain without effect on a person.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 668.


Thus St. Augustine and Rousseau both write Confessions; but to the one his own temperament is a kind of absolution (au moins je suis autre), to the other it is ‘a narrow house too narrow for Thee to enter—oh make it wide. It is in ruins—oh rebuild it’…—Business of Heaven, p. 218.


When the heart is cheered and quickened through faith in this way, it receives the Holy Spirit. He renews us, so that we are able to keep the Law, to love God and God’s Word, to be submissive to God in afflictions, to be chaste, to love our neighbor, and so on. Even though these works are far from the perfection of the Law, on account of faith they please God.—Ap V:173 [IV:294]

Patristic Quote of the Day

In the same way, Christ also acted: He first removes the source of the evils. For the source, root, and mother of all evils is our nature of sin. (Πηγὴ γὰρ κακῶν καὶ ῥίζα καὶ μήτηρ πάντων ἐστὶ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἡ φύσις.) This nature paralyzes our bodies; it causes diseases.—St John Chrysostom, Homily on the Paralytic, par. 5

26 August 2023

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Wherever there is true faith, there will also be the proof of a new life. If you were once arrogant, you will now be humble before God and man.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 666.


I am saying only that the highest good of a creature must be creaturely—that is, derivative or reflective—good. In other words, as St. Augustine makes plain [De Civ. Dei, xii, cap. I], pride does not only go before a fall but is a fall—a fall of the creature’s attention from what is better, God, to what is worse, itself.—Business of Heaven, pp. 217, 218.


For the Gospel shows another way. The Gospel compels us to make use of Christ in justification. The Gospel teaches that through Christ we have access to God through faith. It teaches that we ought to set Him as Mediator and Atoning Sacrifice against God’s anger. The Gospel teaches that through faith in Christ the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation are received, and the terrors of sin and of death are overcome.—Ap V:170 (IV:291)

Patristic Quote of the Day

For it is not a man who is then baptizing, but the only-begotten Son of God Himself. And what was done upon the flesh of the Lord is happening now on us; for just as John seemed to hold back the flesh, the Word of God led to the Jordan's washbasin, baptized and from above the paternal voice was saying, 'This is my beloved Son.' So now, the Holy Spirit through His epiphany. This too happens to us, upon our flesh; for the baptism occurs in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, even John said, instructing us, 'It is not a man that baptizes us, but God. 'He who is coming after me, the mightier one, of whom I am not worthy to loose the strap of His sandal. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.' For this reason, the one baptizing does not say, 'I baptize this one,' but 'This one is being baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,'* indicating that it is not he who baptizes, but the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whose name is invoked.—St. John Chrysostom, Final Catechesis of the Baptizands 

*St. John reflects here the custom of the Eastern Church to baptize in the passive, so as to stress the divine activity. In the west, the baptismal “I” is understood to be one who is standing in for the Blessed Trinity, in whose name the Baptism is administered.

Saturday mornings…

…tend to start out nice and slow. We roll out of bed about a half hour before the sun rises and aim to see it each day. Alas, this morning, was stormy, so we enjoyed the lightning and rain instead. We brewed up some Crio-brew (brewed cacao; our replacement for coffee; no caffeine and all the flavor of hot chocolate with zero sugar) and then blended it with a bit of butter, and enjoyed a cuppa. Then I headed down to McDonald’s to pick up our usual Saturday morning fare (six sausage egg and cheese McMuffins—without the muffin and without the cheese). It’s a cheaper way to ring it up than ordering six sausage patties and six round eggs! Afterwards, we put up the garage door and sat in our lawn chairs, just inside the garage, and said our morning prayers, still getting whatever sunlight escaped the clouds. Then I worked my puzzles (currently doing each day Wordle; Worldle; Nerdle; Blossom; and Connections). After that, off to the Essenbach’s farm to pick up our milk and eggs for the week. Like so many, as a child I could not really digest pasteurized milk. I was always having stomach issues and they basically stopped when the milk stopped. In fact, I HATED milk, but still drank it because “it’s good for you.” Most folks would eat the cookie and wash it down with the milk; I did the exact opposite. I used the cookie to get rid of the nasty taste of the milk. Go figure. But I have zero problem whatsoever digesting the raw milk (and yoghurt) from the Essenbach’s. In fact, I LOVE it. After picking it up, we headed back to Hamel. Did a little stop at DK’s market (and ran into Mark) and post office and now the rain is pouring down again and I’m sitting here sipping yet another cup of Crio-brew. A perfect Saturday morning, in my book. Just perfect.

25 August 2023

Something from a few years back…

…that I wrote for the Lutheran Witness: Jesus Prayer

Patristic Quote of the Day

It must be noted that we must believe that women passed on the faith: see how completely desirous of salvation Apollos was, for even though he was an educated man and was well versed in the Scripture’s secrets, he did not consider it worthless to learn the fullness of the faith from a woman. He did not become conceited as if he were receiving a rebuke from a woman that “you should learn more fully the things concerning God the Word’s ordaining.” Therefore Priscilla explained to him in her teaching the things of faith, and Apollos listened and received them.—Ammonius, Cantena on the Acts of the Apostles.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

God is not satisfied when we accept only some of His holy Word, no matter how acceptable it appears to our reason and our feelings. Whoever thinks he is unable to accept some small part of Holy Scripture rejects all of it. Whoever does not want to recognize the Old Testament as God’s Word thereby rejects the New Testament, for the latter is grounded in the former… Where there is true faith, there one is filled with the deepest reverence toward Scripture.—God Grant It!, p. 664, 665.


Now the New Testament has nothing at all to tell us of literature.—Business of Heaven, p. 217 [so much for all those “Bible as literature” courses!]


Nevertheless, scarcely a weak and feeble fulfilling of the Law happens even in saints.—Ap V:169 [Ap IV:290]

Need a bit of comfort from God’s Word?

Give a listen right here to my dear friend, Pr. Jerry Gernander

24 August 2023

From this morning’s service

Upon the Festival of St. Bartholomew. We not only remember today this holy apostle of Christ, but also the numerous French protestants surprised and killed by their Roman Catholic fellow countrymen on the Eve and day and week following St. Bartholomew in 1572. The numbers of those killed has not be ascertained with certainty but runs from 5,000 up to 30,000. 

“And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife. Let all these all be gone! They yet have nothing won. The kingdom ours remaineth.” 

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Ps cxvi

Patristic Quote of the Day

After his resurrection, the Savior said to his disciples: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” They to whom the command had been given knew that “God wants all people to be saved and to attain knowledge of the truth.” Since the human race had been divided into two religious groups, Jews and pagans, a division of the heralds of the gospel was also made so that some were assigned to the Jews, while others to be apostles of the nations. But since all the teachers had the single aim of leading all to the knowledge of the one God and to the teaching of the Gospel, Paul, though an apostle to the nations, if he happened to be able to benefit the Jews would, without a doubt, becomes a Jew to the Jews so that they might not become estranged from him as if he had departed from the law, although he had already crossed over and beyond the Jewish shadow.—Didymus the Blind, Catena on the Acts of the Apostles 18:18. 

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The birth of faith in the soul of a sinner cannot leave him unmoved. Indeed, it is a work that transforms the whole person—from darkness to light, from spiritual death to spiritual life—and brings him out of powerlessness into a divine strength.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 662, 3. 


Surely God saves different souls in different ways? To preach instantaneous conversion and eternal security as if they must be the experiences of all who are saved seems to me very dangerous: the very way to drive some into presumption and others into despair.—Business of Heaven, p. 216


Last, readers are to be reminded of this: the adversaries give the worst advice to godly consciences when they teach that forgiveness of sins is earned by works. Conscience, in seeking forgiveness through works, cannot be confident that the work will satisfy God. It is always tormented, and continually invents other works and other acts of worship, until it completely despairs. This course is described by Paul in Romans 4:5. There he proves that the promise of righteousness is not obtained by our works. We could never affirm that we had a reconciled God, for the Law always accuses. So the promise would be in vain and uncertain. He concludes that this promise of the forgiveness of sins and righteousness is received through faith, not because of works. This is Paul’s true, simple, and genuine meaning.—Ap V:164 (IV:285)

23 August 2023

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Conversely, there is no one more fortunate than the one who knows he stands in grace before God. With joy he can lie down at night, for he knows he is placing himself in the arms of his God who appoints his angels to watch over him. With joy he can awaken in the morning, for he knows God has preserved him and given him a new day of grace. With joy he goes to his calling, for he knows God is with him.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 660. 


In fact, however, the value of the individual does not lie in him. He is capable of receiving value. He receives it by union with Christ.—Business of Heaven, p. 214.


We grant also this, that alms merit many favors from God, lessen punishments, and merit our defense in the dangers of sin and death, as we have said a little before about the entire repentance.—Ap V:157 (Ap IV:278)

Patristic Quote of the Day

Paul, after countless journeys, despite such great wonders, stayed with a tentmaker and sewed skins. Angels honored him and demons trembled at him, and still he was not ashamed to say, “These same hands served my needs and those who were with me.”—St. John Chrysostom, Catena on the Acts of the Apostles 18:4,5

22 August 2023

Go figure….

So, eating an overwhelmingly carnivore (meat based) diet for more than five years, feasting royally on eggs and real butter and cooking in bacon fat, how wrecked are my lipid numbers? Funny you should ask, because this morning the doc drew blood again and the results showed up in my inbox this afternoon:

My cholesterol came in high: 215 total. BUT of that, the HDL was 111; the LDL-C was 94; and the triglycerides were all of 48. So all of the ratios were in “normal” range, and even on the lower side. The most astounding ratio to me was the Trig/HDL, which came to .4. Optimal range there is .5-1.9. Some insulin resistance shows as 2.0-3.0. Significant insulin resistance is above 3. I’m sitting just slightly better than the perfect range!

It gets even more interesting if I share that this lipid profile was run just six months ago. The doc wanted them rechecked because she didn’t like what she saw at all: You see, in February, my total cholesterol was 390. My HDL was 83. My triglycerides were 155. My LDL was 275. Six months later the triglycerides were down by 100 and the LDL by 181. How did that happen? Statins, right? WRONG. I refused to take them.

Still eating overwhelmingly meat, cheese, eggs, and so on, and no cholesterol lowering medicines, the numbers came into perfect ratios. One thing did change, and I suspect it’s huge (suspect, because after all,  post hoc ergo propter hoc is a logical fallacy). Back the first week in June I gave up coffee (regular or decaf.) . For a number of years we made our coffee without a paper filter, using a pour over. I loved the rich taste, but it was causing me some other health issues. So I just dropped it entirely. We already knew about pour over coffee elevating triglycerides, but the total effect on dropping it has been nothing short of astounding. And with the coffee, I’ve stopped alcohol except for when I receive the Sacrament. Crazy, isn’t it? I can’t wait to hear what the doc says about THESE results. 

About the coffee, it was sad to give it up as I’ve drunk it since I was a kid. But my body was giving me signs (which I won’t go into) that it needed to go. So go it went. But thanks to my sister-in-law, we’ve discovered brewed cocoa and enjoy that now and again. It’s 99.9% caffeine free, and doesn’t seem to have any of the negative impact the coffee did (but it’s only now and again because it is way more expensive). 

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Thus, it is certain: the justification of a poor sinner before God stands rock-solid, for it rests as much on God’s righteousness, holiness, and faithfulness as on His goodness and grace. Its foundation is that God’s Son has already reconciled all people, already paid the debt of sin, and already acquired and offered them forgiveness and righteousness.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 658.


A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life. Nothing that has not died will be resurrected.—Business of Heaven, p. 214.


When Christ is apprehended as Mediator through this faith, the heart finds rest and begins to love God and to keep the Law. It knows that now, because of Christ as Mediator, it is pleasing to God, even though the incomplete fulfilling of the Law is far from perfection and is very impure.—AC V:149 [IV:271]

Patristic Quote of the Day

He says that “the world and everything in it” is the work of God. Do you notice the conciseness and, in the conciseness, the clearness? And what was strange to them? The fact that God made the world. These things, now known to anyone, the Athenians did not know, not even the wise among them. For if he made them, it is clear that he is Lord. Notice what Paul affirms as the mark of divinity: creation, which the Son also has.—Homily 38 on Acts

21 August 2023

O my…

…Cindi’s been digitizing and organizing some old pictures…

My new Monday routine

This year, I get to lead Matins in the school on Mondays, preaching generally the Old Testament reading from the day prior. What a joy it was to sing with the children this morning and the handful of adults that gathered as well. We chanted our Matins with Psalm and Te Deum, hymn and prayers. When that’s over, the children get a bit of exercise as I prepare for instruction of the 3rd through 8th grade. This year, we’ll be walking through St. Mark’s Gospel. I introduced that briefly and we concluded our time together by singing a couple Baptismal hymns. So I head up to Church around 8 and get home around 9:30. And this year I have TWO granddaughters in my class on Mark!

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

The debt of all people’s sin has already been paid by Christ, God is reconciled to them, the prison of God’s wrath and hell have been opened, the pardon of everyone has been accomplished, and through the Gospel it has been proclaimed and offered to all. What must a person do to receive all of this with joy? Nothing, absolutely nothing, but receive it gratefully. Even this is nothing but believing it.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 655.


I believe that if we had not fallen Filmer would be right, and patriarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government. But since we have learned sin, we have found, as Lord Acton says, that ‘all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ The only remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of equality…-Business of Heaven, p. 213.


Besides, if the adversaries understand Daniel [4:24-27] to be speaking only about the forgiveness of punishment, this passage will prove nothing against us. It will then become necessary for them also to confess that the forgiveness of sin and free justification come before good works. Afterward, even we concede that the punishments by which we are chastised are soothed. This happens by our prayers, by our good works, and finally by our entire repentance, according to 1 Cor. 11:31, “But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged.”—Ap V:147 [IV:268]

Patristic Quote of the Day

Courtesy if Chatbot translating St. John Chrysostom from the Greek for me in mere seconds:

But it is time now to approach this dreadful table. Let us all, therefore, come forward with the appropriate sobriety and alertness. And let no one be a Judas any longer, let no one be wicked, let no one have an infection, carrying different things on the lips and in the mind. Christ is present, and the same one who adorned that table is adorning this one now. For it is not a man who performs the transformation of the things set before us into the body and blood of Christ, but Christ Himself, who was crucified for us.

The priest stands fulfilling the outward form, uttering those words, but the power and grace of God are at work. "This is my body," he says. This word accomplishes the things set before us, just as that voice saying, "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth," was spoken once, but continually, throughout all time, empowers our nature for procreation. In the same way, this voice spoken once at every table in the churches, from that time until now, and until His own coming, accomplishes the sacrifice. Therefore, let no one be deceitful, let no one be wicked.—St. John Chrysostom, Prod. Judas 1:6 (PG 49,380)

This is an important passage from an Eastern father that attributes the consecration of the elements to the Words of Christ rather to the epiclesis (which is certainly taught in St. Cyril of Jerusalem). John’s approach rather aligns with that of St. Ambrose.

20 August 2023

Homily and Prayers for Trinity 11, 2023

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

Is there anyone so lonely as a Pharisee?  Is there anyone so lonely as the man who stands apart from others when he prays?  Is there anyone so lonely as the man who must put up the big façade, pretending that all the good deeds he does makes him acceptable to God, when he knows in his heart of hearts that he’d far rather be doing quite different things than what he boasts about?  To be such a Pharisee is to be very alone, even when standing in the crowded temple, even when standing in a church.

The Pharisee HAS to keep a distance from other people, because if they got too close, if they came to know him too well, then they’d see behind the façade, and the entire pretense would crumble.  Then others would find out the real truth about the Pharisee, that he really wasn’t set apart from others at all.  That he shared the exact same temptations and trials, and that inside him lived the same rebellious and stubborn soul that lived in all the rest. Far from marching from one victory to another, he too stumbles from one failure to the next. 

The Pharisee, then, behind the pretense to holiness and the looking down on others, is intensely alone.  Most of all, lonely because separated from the God who dwells only with sinners. 

Are you a Pharisee, then?  I think when we first hear this parable that we know so well, we immediately place ourselves into the person of the tax-collector, and we shake our heads at those silly folks who think they can curry God’s favor with their good works.  How dumb can you be, we think.  But dig a little deeper in the text, and I think we all start to squirm.  Do you try to keep others at a distance so they don’t really get to know you in your sin and in your struggles?  Do you stand apart when we gather in this room for prayer – not asking intercessions for the things you really struggle with for fear of what others would think of you?  Do you want others to know all about the good things you do so that they can look up to you and praise you?  Do you try to hide from others the very real sin that lives inside your heart and rebels against God’s commands, wanting to do your own thing? Do you even at times give into that, but try to keep your giving in “hush-hush” so that others continue to think of you in a way that does not match the truth about you?  

Sadly, I find myself far too often in the place of that Pharisee.  And so far too often, alone.  All alone, praying with myself, maybe even just to myself.  

But if the Pharisee is alone, the tax-collector is not.  True, he stands afar off.  True, he won’t even lift up his eyes.  True, he beats his breast.  But listen to what he prays:  “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”  He is not alone because he stands before God with empty hands.  He knows the evil that lives in heart.  He knows the evil that he has done in his life.  He knows the words he’s spoken that have cut other people and hurt them.  He knows the times real burning hatred has been a guest in his breast.  He knows how often he has burned with desire for what God has not given him and how he has grumbled about what God has seen fit to bestow on him. He can plead only for mercy; he’s deserved nothing but wrath, and he knows it.

And he doesn’t just know it in his heart.  He says it with his mouth.  He confesses before everyone there that he is a poor, miserable sinner who has deserved nothing but God’s temporal and eternal punishment.  And yet he asks for mercy.

Interesting word there in the Greek.  His prayer is not the word we expect: eleison.  As in, Kyrie eleison.  Lord, have mercy. Instead, he prays:  O God, be propitious to me!  O God, provide a sacrifice of atonement for me! O God, don’t give me what I deserve! 

Think who is telling this parable.  He is the answer to the tax-collector’s prayer.  He is the One sent to serve us sinners by exchanging places with us.  He is our Propitiation, our Atonement, the Sacrifice that secures and delivers to us the forgiveness of all sins.

This tax-collector, says Jesus, went down to his house justified, declared not guilty.  And so, no longer alone.  Because he was nothing but a sinner before God, he made the wondrous discovery that Jesus came to be the friend of sinners, that He came to take our sin upon Himself, that He came to bear on His cross what we could never bear, in order that we might become even as He is.  No longer separated and cut off from God, but exalted to be the very children of God and heirs of His eternal kingdom.

To stand with the tax-collector means to be known as a sinner, as one who stands by nature under the dreadful wrath of God, as one who needs a propitiation.  But oh the freedom of being done with the facades!  Oh, the freedom of no longer having to pretend!  Oh, the joy of speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about yourself:  “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”  Humbling, indeed.  But the very humiliation is exalting!  

And then the joy of discovering that not only do you have the Lord Jesus, the friend of sinners, but you have sisters and brothers.  They stand around you, beating their breasts, not lifting their eyes, pleading for the same mercy, and like you, they are given that mercy for which they plead.  

A family of sinners through and through.  Coming together to this table where the One who is your propitiation, your sacrifice of atonement on the cross, now gives Himself to you, to impart to you His forgiveness by the very Body and Blood that won that forgiveness for you.  All around you, sisters and brothers who kneel with you and confess the same thing as you:  that they are but a family of sinners who know what it is live from the free grace of God in Christ, and who have no need then to pretend to be anything other than what they are:  forgiven.  And so a family where there is no looking down on another, as though some were worse than others.  A family where each says with the humility of Paul:  “Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  

That is what the Church is all about, or it is not the Church that Jesus founded.  Not people who have their act together, but poor sinners, pleading for mercy, and then living together from the mercy they receive from the hand of God.  Together with Christ.  Together with one another.  Not alone anymore.  Amen

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

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs. Brief Silence

Holy Father, Your Son died upon the cross that He might be our righteousness and was raised as the guarantee of our forgiveness. By Your Spirit free Your own from pride and grant grant the grace of humility, that we may be free from contempt of others, and that each regard himself as chief of sinners. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Lord of glory, remember all pastors sent to proclaim peace and reconciliation through Your Son’s blood, especially Matthew our Synod President, Timothy our District President, John our Circuit visitor, the pastors of this parish and of our Synod. Keep them faithful to Your Word and through their proclamation fill Your people with everlasting joy. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

King of kings, remember all who have been entrusted with authority in our land and throughout the world. Make them a blessing of Yours. Hinder everything in our common life that opposes Your will, and strengthen our civil authorities in everything just and true. Lord, in Your mercy, R. 

O Lord, You are our rock! Hear us now when we cry for Your help  on behalf of all who are in prison, the hungry and ill-clad, the poor and the lonely, those who travel, the sick, the sorrowing, and all who have asked for our prayers, especially Your servants: Ken, Chloe, Melony, Dave, JW, Pat, Bob, Sonya, Lynn, Candy, Austin, Charlie, Carly and her twins, Keith, Phil, Art, Shirley, Jessica, Kathy, Otto, Sarah, Connie, Dean, Jed, Steve, Linda, Mara, Linda, Paul, Matthew, Molly, Tomiko, Thomas and Tina. Grant, O Father, that Christ ever be their Joy in sorrow, their Health in sickness and their Life in death. Lord, in Your mercy, R. 

Father of our heavenly Bridegroom, receive our praise for Pastor and Cindy as they give You thanks for 42 years of holy marriage. We praise You for them, their children, and grandchildren. Sustain them all in Your love and in the holy faith. Lord, in Your mercy, R. 

God of all mercy, we praise you for Baby Gerth (10 ONLY Margaret Norma) who will be brought to  (10 only: who has received) the washing of rebirth this weekend. Grant that clothed in Christ, she may grow to lead a godly life to the glory and praise of Your holy name. Lord, in Your mercy, R. 

God of our salvation, remember all who approach Your holy altar today. Grant that in worthy manner, we may feast on Your Son’s true body and blood, receiving  the remission of of all our sins and rejoicing in the sure and certain proof of Your unfailing love for us. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Giver of  life everlasting, we praise and thank You for all Your servants who have fallen asleep in the saving faith, and even now in heaven await the glorious day of the Resurrection of all flesh. Grant us to share their joy when our pilgrimage ends, and bring us all at last to the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which has no end. Lord, in Your mercy, R. 

Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

19 August 2023

Patristic Quote of the Day

Why didn’t they stay? Why didn’t they perform miracles? For it he stayed a long time where he was stoned (i.e., at Lystra), all the more could he have stayed here. What was the reason then? Because God did not always want them to perform miracles. For it is no less a miracle for them, persecuted as they are, to prevail without performing miracles. Therefore, just as now he is prevailing without miracles, often then he wished to prevail in the same way.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 37 on Acts

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

A Christian should therefore not think that he has done everything he is obligated to do if he himself is on the right path to salvation and serves his God privately. Instead, he should remember that bringing others onto the path to salvation and service is a holy duty. Morever, he should not think that converting souls and caring for them are matters only for the preaching and not for the laity. Rather, he should recongize that he himself is a spiritual priest who should proclaim the virtues of the One who has called him from the darkness into His marvelous light.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 650.


That is why the modern notion that children should call their parents by their Christian names is so perverse. For this is an effort to ignore the difference in kind which makes for real organic unity. They are trying to inoculate the child with the preposterous view that one’s mother is simply a fellow citizen like anyone else, to make it ignorant of what all men know and insensible to what all men feel. They are trying to drag the featureless repetitions of the collective into the fuller and more concrete world of the family.—Business of Heaven, p. 211. 


For the following is sure and none of the gates of hell can overthrow it: the preaching of the Law is not enough in the preaching of repentance. This is true because the Law works wrath and always accuses. But the preaching of the Gospel should be added so that forgiveness of sins is granted us. Our sins are forgiven if we believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake.—Ap V:139 [IV:260]

18 August 2023

Patristic Quote of the Day

The reason why there is harmony in the bodyis because nothing is puffed up, and there is nothing puffed up because the limbs are by necessity in a state of mutual need. The head needs the feet, and the feet the head.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 37 on Acts

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

But as ungifted as a Christian may appear to be, he still has some beautiful gift, as St. Paul reminds us at the end of today’s text: “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit who apportions to each one as he wills.”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 648.


How true membership in a body differs from inclusion in a collective may be seen in the structure of a family. The grandfather, the parents, the grown-up son, the child, the dog and the cat are true members (in the organic sense) precisely because they are not members or units of a homogeneous class. They are not interchangeable.—Business of Heaven, p. 210.


So, in the preaching of repentance, it is not enough to preach the Law, or the Word that convicts of sin. The Law works wrath and only accuses. The Law terrifies consciences, because consciences are never at rest unless they hear God’s voice clearly promising the forgiveness of sins. So the Gospel must be added, that for Christ’s sake sins are forgiven and that we obtain the forgiveness of sins by faith in Christ.—Ap V:136 [IV:257]

17 August 2023

Patristic Quote of the Day

What can equal this? He [St. Paul] is put in chains and he loosens, though in chains, a twofold bond. He who put him in chains [the jailor in Philippi] he releases by being in chains. Truly these are works of grace!—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 36 on Acts.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

All of these miraculous gifts [that characterized the apostles and the apostolic church] had a purpose: to confirm and seal the new revelation before the world in a divine way… These miraculous gifts were to be an outward testimony that the Gospel preached by the apostles really was a message from God and that the Christian Church founded by the apostles is really the Church of God, the elect, and the saved. —C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 646.


The Christian is called not to individualism but to membership in the mystical body.—Business of Heaven, pp. 209, 210.


Second, the subject matter itself shows that the works spoken of here follow faith and that such faith is not dead, but living and effective in the heart. James did not believe that we earn forgiveness of sins and grace by good works. After all, he is talking about the works of those who have been justified, who have already been reconciled and accepted, and who have received forgiveness of sins.—Ap V:125 [IV:246] commenting on James 2:24, and quite in harmony with what we sing: “For faith alone doth justify; works serve the neighbor and supply the proof that faith is living.”

16 August 2023

Correspondence from a Listener

 I love it when I get feedback from listeners to The Word of the Lord Endures Forever. This letter was waiting for me today. What a blessing!

Dear Pastor Weedon,

Some time has passed since meeting you at Emmanuel Lutheran at Lancaster, Ohio. We were thrilled to meet the man behind the voice that brought us the Word of the Lord to us daily for those sixteen days in the hospital with COVID. My husband stayed with me throughout and we made certain to listen at that time to the Book of Ephesians and also Mark.

Our youngest daughter Anne was in constant contact with a doctor outside the hospital who was helping so many with COVID. He told her to tell me to sit in a chair with my feet on the floor and sing. And we did, singing hymns. My singing voice was so terrible and I apologized to my main caregiver for disturbing the floor. He said not to worry and go ahead and sing. By the way, Anne has a beautiful voice. 

So many blessings. Ron stayed with me and our two daughters were allowed to visit on opposite days, and Pastor Raddatz was not considered a visitor so he could come whenever. We were able to comfort several nurses and listen to their stories. One of my doctors was an Orthodox Christian from Syria, and the other was a Sikh who saw the open Bible and asked what I was reading. I said: healing words (at the time Mark 1:29-34). 

My sister was also in the hospital at the same time back home where my family lived in northwest Ohgio and her family was told to prepare for a funeral, but she bounced back two days later. Also, a close friend had her husband die from COVID on Christmas Day. Having COVID we couldn’t go to the funeral that was held. 

So you see how much your voice carrying healing words calmed a major storm in our lives. We thank and praise the Lord for working through you to bestow blessings on so many.

Our oldest daughter Maggie had told us about your Bible Study and we have all been blessed. The study brings us all together to discuss the text even though we live far apart. The trip home from church was always chatter on the lesson taught in Sunday School. Such a blessing to continue that tradition, although in a different mode.

Blessings upon blessings!!

Thanks be to God, 

Ron and Rebecka C.

Thank you all for the very kind words. It was wonderful to meet you!

P.S. The above arrived in a wonderful CHRISTMAS card: “In the Christmas season that lasts throughout the year, may His love fill your heart with everlasting joy.” And then “He has risen indeed!” As one who delights to listen to Christmas music pretty much year round, I said a hearty AMEN!!!

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Therefore, no person can be saved in his natural condition. Everyone must first experience a thorough chance in. His heart, receive a thoroughly different mind, and obtain a completely different direction for his spirit. God must become his highest good. He must cease to live for this world, focusing instead on the world to come, where he will seek his happiness and rest for his soul. —God Grant It!, p. 643.


As personal and private life is lower than participation in the Body of Christ, so the collective life is lower than the person and private life and has no value save in its service…. As long as we are thinking only of natural values we must say that the sun looks down on nothing half so good as a houehold laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him, and that all economics, politics, laws, armies, and institutions, save in so far as they prolong and multiply such scenes, are a mere ploughing the sand and sowing the ocean, a meaningless vanity and vexation of spirit.—Business of Heaven, p. 208. 


Harmony in the Church cannot last unless pastors and churches mutually overlook and pardon many things. —Ap V:122 (IV:243)

15 August 2023

Patristic Quote of the Day

This is what amazed the jailor, that Paul, held in such constraints, was able, through prayer alone, to shake the foundations, open the doors of the prison, and free all who were in chains.—St. John Chrysostom, Concerning the Statues 1.16.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Here is a terrible truth that is clearly taught in God’s Word: There is a hardening from which deliverance is no longer possible.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 640.


…[W]hen the modern world says to us aloud, ‘You may be religious when you are alone,’ it adds under its breath, ‘and I will see to it that you are never alone.’ To make Christianity a private affair while banishing all privacy is to relegate it to the rainbow’s end or the Greek Calends. That is one of the enemy’s strategems. —Business of Heaven, pp. 207, 208.


Unity cannot last whenever the bishops impose heavier burdens upon the people, or when they have no respect for the weakness of the people. Dissensions arise when the people judge too severely the conduct of teachers and despise the teachers because of certain less serious faults.—Ap V:111 (IV:232)

14 August 2023

And today…

…Emmett was officially adopted! He looks quite pleased with himself, don’t you think?

Patristic Quote of the Day

The wisdom of Paul is indeed amazing. He, who fought so many battles against circumcision, who moved everything for this, who did not give up until he had carried his point, once the decision was confirmed, he circumcised his disicple. Not only did he not forbid others, but he himself did this…. Nothing could be wiser. So in all things he looked to what was advantageous. He did not at all according to his own preference. And what was the result. Look at his success. He circumcised to take away circumcision. For he preached the decision of the apostles.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 34 on Acts

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

No one becomes hardened who did not first experience a time of gracious visitation.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 639.


And even where the planners fail and someone is left physically by himself, the wireless* has seen to it that he will be—in a sense not intended by Scipio—never less alone than when alone. We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy; and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.—Business of Heaven, p. 207. 

*If he thought that about the radio, I wonder what on earth he’d say to us today about social media on the internet and texting and such!


God wants us to believe in Him and to receive from Him blessings. He declares this to be true divine service.—Ap. V:107 [IV:228]

13 August 2023

A wonderful week…

…LCMS Missions invited Cindi and I down to Punta Cana this past week for the Latin American Missionaries and Mission Partners retreat. We had a wonderful time, met lots of great folks, and got to catch up with Pr. Sharp and Angie (Pr. Sharp gave the coolest hat ever: an Urugayan Gaucho hat!), Pr. Ned and Mary Moerbe (my fellow presenter), and to pick the brain of Pr. James Neuendorf and so many others! We had a rip-roaring good time feasting on the Word of God together: the main course was First and Second Thessalonians. It was so neat being surrounded by the variety of languages all around us: English, Spanish, Porteguese and even German (and we met Pr. Paul who also does Zulu and Afrikans!). Folks were from Dominican Republic, Belize, Uruguay, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Argentina and a whole bunch more. The worship from the new Spanish hymnal was truly awesome. This is inculturation done right. Purely Lutheran, but in a genuinely Latin idiom, particularly for the liturgy (I think much of that the work of Dr. Pritzler). The new Spanish hymnal, I’m told, features MORE Luther hymns than even Lutheran Service Book. We were super blessed by the back and forths during the week, but above all by the Divine Service and the joy of the consecration of two new deaconesses. Thanks again to Pr. Krey and Pr. Naumann for the invitation and the wonderful experience, and to Deaconesses Tirzah and Jamielynn for all their help (and great leadership). Here is a video and some photos from the week: