Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17

I was going to post a quote from today's commemorated, but alas, I can't find either of my copies of "Meditations on Divine Mercy". It goes something like this - "O Lord, if it seems best to you to leave me in the winepress of afflictions, let it produce the sweet wine of faith" or something like that. You can find other posts on Gerhard here and here and an older one from the Aardvard here. You can find Rev. Wade Johnston's translation of Sacred Meditations here.

Also, I noted how the psalm - after the business about clean hands and pure heart - says that God must give us righteousness (Psalm 24:5). It cannot be self-produced. It was nice to discover I wasn't finding stuff that was not there. Looking through the sample material for The Lutheran Study Bible, I found this note for 24:5 - "receive blessing . . . righteousness. God’s children are not righteous by their own works; God declares them righteous for the sake of Christ (Gal 3:6)."

Finally, unrelated to TDP, I've been following a thread on how pastors ought to talk with non-members wanting their children baptized. Rev. Kevin Vogts yesterday posted his practice, which sounds like an excellent one:

Because of the location and nature of congregations I've served (campus
community, mission congregations, etc.) I have always gotten a lot of these
calls. And that is what they usually are -- telephone calls from people who have
never been to worship. They would often demand an immediate answer, even before
or without being willing to meet with me, and start arguing with or berating me
if in that case the answer had to be no. (One woman screamed over the phone,
"You call yourself a Christian? I thought Christians were supposed to HELP

Twenty years ago I started a practice that has been very helpful: I
politely and enthusiastically respond that I would be very happy to meet with
them, tell them what time the Divine Service is, and that if they will introduce
themselves to me after worship we can then check our calendars and set a time to

I don't actually say it, but my firm rule is to NOT say or even hint "Yes"
or "No" without such a meeting, and to only set a meeting in this manner. It
seems to me that they should be willing to come to worship just once if they
wished to be married or have their child baptized here. That seems reasonable
from both a pastoral and common sense perspective.

In over 20 years, I have never had such a caller actually follow through and show up for worship. I have had many responses such as, "Well, I don't want to come to church there. I just want to be married/have my child baptized." The classic was a young woman who declared, "I really don't care what the church services are like. I just want to be married there because you're close to all the good restaurants for the

By doing the scheduling of meetings only in person following a worship service, those unwilling to attend even one service are self-selecting rather than me telling them "No."

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