Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29 - religious artifacts


The stones of remembrance in Joshua 4 has me thinking about religious artwork and other things that serve to remind us of the works of the Lord. First off, I've already shown you one of our home's decorations - a picture of Luther. I bought it at an antique store across from the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. (I found it only because it was hanging right next to the bathrooms!)

On my way home from Doxology last week, there was a brilliant, beautiful rainbow (actually, a double rainbow and it was visually close too, with all the water in the air. Unfortunately it was gone by the time I got home.)

Speaking of Doxology, it met at the Chiara Center in Springfield, IL. If you ever have the chance to go, do so!

Here is a picture of a portion of the Canticle of the Creatures Window in the Canticle Prayer Room. Note the Holy Spirit, the Tree of Life, and the promise of Genesis 3:15 in the lower right corner. (You can see the rest of this - which is only the top portion - here. The artist's description and bottom are here.)

Then there is their St. Francis of Assissi Church, pictured at the top of this post. Wow. (Though I note that if I had been more recently in Europe, I might not be so impressed. Even when I was at Yorkminster, I couldn't shake the thought, "Yeah, but this is nothing compared to St. Peter's in Rome.") The Chiara Center provide booklets so you don't miss anything. I'm hoping to get more pictures from one of my Doxology mates, but for now, the pictures on the website will have to do. Note in the picture that the altar has the Crucifix hanging over the Ark of the Covenant. Now hear the words I heard while looking at it one chapel service, from Hebrews 1:1-2).
In the transcept to the right of the congregation is an almost life sized crucifix at eye level. Beneath the feet of our Lord is a skull with a serpent crawling through the eyes. That's about as powerful an image as Mel Gibson put into the Passion movie with the crushing of the serpent's head. I commented to a friend that I was coveting that crucifix.
Nearby was a section devoted to St. Joseph, the guardian of our Lord. (The other transcept was devoted to the Virgin Mary.) It included a relic of the Cross - not much bigger than a toothpick. Dr. Martin Noland pointed out to me that the thing about relics is that it points to the physicallity and historicity of our faith. Relics may be abused, misused, mislabeled, forged, etc. But relics also serve to remind us that there was an actual piece of wood that our Lord was really hung upon, Peter and Andrew were real people with real bones, and Jacob really did have a stone for a pillow one night (just to mention the relics that I've been in the presence of.)

it's a pity...

that the Acts 9 reading is off by one day from the festival of Sts. Peter and Paul. Speaking of that conversion, talk about being united to Christ's death and resurrection (Romans 6) - 3 days in the dark, not eating nor drinking (Acts 9:9)! hmmmm... Paul resembles Christ right from the start of his new life.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27 - from Weedon

Go check out his thoughts on today's readings (I had wondered about the survival of Rahab's portion of the wall too) - and while you're there, take a look at what he had to say about yesterday's.

June 27

A few thoughts from today's readings:
  1. I've just learned the Kleinig principle - ask "What is surprising about this text?" There's a surprise concerning the Joshua text, though it actually appears in Matthew 1:5. The confirmation kids are surprised to learn that Rahab was an ancestor of Jesus. I think it has something to do with the way she earned money....
  2. Rev. Erik Rottmann a few years back wrote a sermon on the Baptism of our Lord referencing Rahab. "Common and ordinary thread or common and ordinary water, it does not matter: your Lord has attached to your water the same great promise and assurance as was attached to Rahab's red thread. The Israelite spies assured this Christian that her red cord would spare her from the coming judgment, so also does God give you the same assurance with regard to your Baptism. It is as if He says to you, 'Do not take this baptismal string down. Do not take My Word and promise lightly. Do not underestimate the seriousness of the sign I now give you. This Baptism string is my promise to you that when the walls come tumbling down, you shall yet live. You will be saved, spared, delivered, and preserved and this red string now hangs for you as proof and assurance that every promise I now make to you will indeed come true.'"
  3. I've started noticing that Sihon and Og are mentioned all over the place in the OT - the story is told in Numbers, but then it is referenced again in Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 Kings, Nehemiah, Psalms, and Jeremiah (click here to see all the references). Rahab knows both of the parting of the Red Sea (which happened about 40 years earlier) and the defeat of Sihon and Og. What does it say about us that our modern minds are only impressed with one of those two events, and cannot recall the other?
  4. Cyril of Alexandria is a favorite of mine. (Weedon likes him a lot too - just see how many times he quotes Cyril for his Patristic Quote of the Day - and this page is only the last two months of results!) When working through Lukan texts 2 years ago, I noted that one of my books kept referencing him, so I found a used copy online of his commentary on Luke. Wow! In today's TDP writing, you get a small taste of the way he weaves other Scriptures into the text at hand. You can find his Commentary on John here, scroll up a little for his commentary on Luke, and see some of his other writings. You can also hear Rev. Richard Stuckwisch talk about Cyril on Issues, etc here.

now to write a sermon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25 Commemoration - The Augsburg Confession

Pastor Weedon writes this about the Treasury's writing for this day. And Pastor Alms writes this about the historical events of the day.

John 21 - 153 fish

you know why John says there were 153 fish (21:11), don't you? It's because there was one more fish than 152, and one less than 154.

I've been thinking a lot lately about little seemingly unimportant phrases. I know I include them all the time. When telling a story, later on I might look back at how I told it and wonder why I included a detail that wasn't important and maybe bored my listeners. Mostly it's just because I'm a disorganized thinker.

But the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit. So what's up with the recent 3 year lectionary texts where Mark says the disciples took Jesus in the boat "just as He was" (Mark 4:36)? How else would they take Him? Or why mention the woman had had the flow of blood for 12 years (Mark 5:25)? Why is the amount of years important enough to spend ink on?

One explanation I've heard about the 153 fish is that such a specific number testifies to an eyewitness account. That's good enough for me.

June 25 - Proverbs 31

"a Proverbs 31 woman" seems to be a term I've heard from those outside Lutheran circles. The only Lutheran sermon I've heard on this text was for the funeral of my grandmother almost two years ago now. I had the privilege of doing the graveside committal (which, due to logistics, came right before the memorial service in the church), and of reading the Scriptures and churchly obituary. My grandmother resembled our brother Joseph, the guardian of our Lord. God called them both to care for one who already had a child - or, I should say, children, since my dad was one of nine. Dad's mom died while he was in college. Only his youngest brother was still at home yet when Grandpa Leistico remarried. But like righteous Joseph, Grandma Leistico cared for us as if we were her own. She was a lovely, loving woman, and I'm glad that my wife had the chance to meet her before grandma lost her mental faculties. The last time I saw her alive, to her I was only some guy with a wife and two kids. That was very difficult. Now the Lord has freed her mind from that. But I am not yet freed from mourning. I miss her.
Along with Grandma Virginia Leistico, I've been blessed with many other women who fear the Lord (31:30) - most importantly my wife, mother, and Grandma Rapp. I look forward to the Heavenly reunion, seeing my grandmas again, and meeting my biological Grandma Sophia Leistico, whom my wife and I honored by naming our youngest after.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for blessing me with such women whom I have neither merited nor deserved. Bless them with Your loving care to the day of the Resurrection.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 24 - John 20

so much that could be said - has been said - about this passage. I'll keep it to two today:
  1. "Blessed are those who have not seen [Me] and yet have believed” (John 20:29). I used to think that Jesus meant we would receive all sorts of blessings after believing in Him even though we haven't yet seen Him face to face. Eventually I was taught to see that as too narrow a view, for in order for us to believe, we must first be blessed by God. Without His blessing, we were His enemies, dead, opposed to His things, could not accept them, etc. See Matthew 16:17, Romans 5:6-11, Ephesians 2:1-10, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Corinthians 12:3.
  2. "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (v. 30-31). This verse has helped to calm my curiousity about what happened with Jesus between birth and adulthood. I only need to know that during those years He was tempted like I am in every way, yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15) - I don't need to know any specifics beyond that, for those details aren't important for me to know salvation.

Lord, open up the Scriptures to us, even as your Spirit opens up our hearts to that same Word through Your Son. Amen.

June 24 - Proverbs

If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.

For pressing milk produces curds,
pressing the nose produces blood,
and pressing anger produces strife. (Proverbs 30:32-33)

I've been increasingly noticing how prevalent - and how toxic - anger is. Not that anger is always wrong. Jesus was filled with a righteous anger when zeal for the Lord's house consumed Him (John 2). Paul counsels that in our anger we must not sin (Ephesians 4:26). Proverbs 30, however speaks of the toxic, destructive, sinful form.

Anger doesn't always look like anger - sometimes it looks like depression, when anger is focussed in on yourself.

Denying and ignoring anger is not the right response. That often results in other a hotter fire, or a slower burn, but either way the destructive flames are still there.

I know I could use some training in responding to anger - both my own and the anger of others. What tips and tools do you have for responding in a godly way to anger?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prayer flowing from the Proverbs reading

Better is open rebukethan hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:5-6)


Lord,
help me to receive correction in a way that pleases You.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Back, back, back...

... it's gone! That's what I like to hear when my Dodgers are up to bat. Anyway, I'm back. But since I was gone on Saturday, let's go back for a moment to that day's reading from John 18. Do not only see Peter's denial (which broke the 8th and 2nd Commandment), but see also how John holds that in close connection to Christ's giving the good confession, thus keeping both 8th and 2nd Commandments. This active obedience was credited to Peter as if he had done it, and to you as if you had done it too (Romans 4).

I probably would not have seen this connection if not for Issues, etc recently stressing this theme in the Ten Commandments series. You can hear Dr. Carl Fickenscher give a brief description of Christ's Active and Passive Obedience here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gone Fishin'




not really. In fact, I'm taking a break from fishing for men this weekend to retreat with my Savior and be fed spiritually and intellectually, even as He withdrew from the crowds during His earthly ministry to nurture His 12. Looking forward to it, even if I will miss my family and flock.

Hope to post on Monday some of what I learn.

If you're a pastor, you really should consider going to Doxology. If you are a lay person, you really should consider sending your pastor to this. (The next round starts in Schuyler, Nebraska this August.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 17 - Proverbs 17

"He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished" - Proverbs 17:5.

I used to like watching "Married with Children." That show was on because schadenfreude is real. "America's Funniest Home Videos" is still on because of schadenfreude - the joy in other people's sufferings. This is the opposite of love. Jesus echoes Proverbs 17:5 in Luke 13:1-5, warning us that we should not think we are lesser sinners than others who suffer calamities, but what happens to them should trigger our own repentence.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 16 - John 16

Pastor Weedon has this good sermon from a few years back on today's Gospel text.

(Sorry I'm not doing much more than pointing you to what others say about these texts. This week's work is devoted to the joy (and insanity) that is VBS.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 15 - John 15

two quotes from my recent sermon on this text (and then back to prepping for tomorrow's VBS):

  1. What if you think your life has not amounted to much, especially when you see all sorts of other people doing all sorts of things that make a difference in this world? Listen to Jesus say, "I have chosen you to bear fruit. And what I say will happen happens." You who are afraid that you have done nothing for Christ have actually done more good than you know (cf Matthew 25:37-40). Your works of love have made a difference in the world to come.
  2. Jesus saying, "Whatever you ask in My name." prompted Martin Luther to preach, "For since we continually encounter trials, opposition, and obstacles, both from the devil and the world and also from our own flesh; since much weakness and frailty still inheres both in us and in others; since everything is imperfect - for all these reasons it is necessary for us to plead for strength, help, and salvation in every distressing situation. And we have the comfort that our prayer will not be in vain but is acceptable to God, and that whatever we need will surely be granted and given to us if we only pray in faith and in the name of Christ. We have been ordained through Him to the priestly office. Hence we can and must step before God joyfully, as we bring both our own need and that of others before Him, assured by His promise that our prayers will be heard and that He will say yea and amen to them" (AE 24.263-4).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Elisha - make sure to read...

...page 1304 in TDP. As if the comparison Chrysostom makes between Elijah and Jesus (and our status being better than Elisha's) wasn't enough, he then adds the kicker - Chrysostom beautifully borrows Romans 8:32 language, but puts it in terms of the Son giving His flesh and blood! So go read it.

Oh, and GO LAKERS! Woo hoo! Now to start working toward Championship #16!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 13 - Proverbs

I'm far too busy with my vocations to write anything here, so go check out what Weedon wrote about today's Proverbs readings.

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 12 - Gospel

I've appreciated (and often borrowed for my own funeral sermons) how Pastor David Petersen preaches John 14:6 in this sermon:

So Herman is not dead. He lives. He has passed through. He has gone the way
that Jesus went. And the Way you know. It is Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth,
and the Life.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

St. Barnabas, Apostle

Because June 11 sometimes happens in the Easter Season, you can read in TDP about St. Barnabas both on pg. 421-2 and 1302-3. Also an old Aardvark Alley post has this.

And you can (sort of) join in the corporate worship of God in thanksgiving for this Apostle by listening to the chapel service at the Ft. Wayne seminary. (Under the "Online Giving" paragraph, click on "Thursday 06/11/2009" in the tool.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why is the keeping up with Word and Prayer so hard?

When I first started as a pastor, it seems like it was much easier to follow the discipline of daily devotions. Now it seems like it is so much easier to just dive into the day, and so often forget to get to the Word and Prayer. One thing I figured out - I'm much more likely to get to it when I'm at church. So, on days like Friday and Saturday when I don't go there, I almost always failed. Solution: I bought two TDPs, one for church and one for home. But still I'm slow to get to it. The discipline that my desire to post thoughts to this blog often has gotten me to at least scan the Scriptures more often.

Why is it so difficult to keep up with daily devotions? Pr. Weedon today has an answer from John Kleinig.

+ Erwin Krause +

As I, in thanksgiving to God, fulfill my ordination vows (Psalm 116:17-19) and begin today's work towards the funeral of a dear member who died yesterday (only a few hours after his 106 year old aunt), it was good to read Psalm 116:15. This verse is always printed on the churchly obituary here. May the Holy Spirit bless Erwin's widow, children, grandchildren, sister, and all others to trust in its truth.

For with the precious blood of Christ, our Eternal and wise (see today's OT reading, Proverbs 8:22-36) Master has made us clean (John 13:1-20), and loosed our bonds to death (Psalm 116:17). Now our deaths are no longer an eternal tragedy, but precious to Him through His own death.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 9 - New Testament Text

"...for they loved the glory that comes from man
more than the glory that comes from God"
(John 12:43).

Words written about those who did not want to be excommunicated from their synagogue because they believed in Jesus.

Words that also describe what keeps you and me from doing the right thing so very often.

Lord,
send Your Son in the flesh
to free us from our bondage to sin indeed.
Amen.

going back to yesterday

Pr. Stuckwisch's response to a previous post inspired me to wonder how many times our hymnody refers to Christ in terms of OT characters who serve in their lives as types of Christ. So, for instance the two hymns I've come up with (but I've only started looking):
  1. Christopher Wordsworth puts a bunch in "See, the Lord Ascends in Triumph" (LSB 494 - slightly different version here) - Enoch, Aaron, Joshua, Elijah. Rev. James Douthwaite has a nice Ascension sermon based on the hymn.
  2. Then, no sooner had I wondered this than I found, while doing devotions yesterday, the assigned hymnody referred to Christ as our "second Adam" ("In the Shattered Bliss of Eden" - LSB 572).
so, dear Fathers Weedon and Stuckwisch, I know you are reading this. What other hymns am I not thinking about?

Monday, June 8, 2009

going back to the Saturday after Pentecost

Luke 24's road to Emmaus and later appearance of Christ makes me wonder what passages He opened up for the disciples in Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Recently I heard it suggested that at the very least we should consider the passages that the Apostles apply to Christ - for instance the ones quoted on Pentecost in Acts 2.

This may be a stretch, but how about TDP's reading for Saturday - Reuben and Gad settling in Gilead. Could those tribes be a type of Christ? For He has come to His homeland of Heaven, but does not rest. He goes in front of us (Numbers 32:17) to fight for our promised inheritance.

post festival jump to June 8

as Weedon reminded yesterday, today we turn to page 412 for June 8 - and we are headed to Calvary AGAIN. Interesting the cycle we are on.
  1. The Church lectionary took us during Lent to Good Friday and Easter.
  2. But then for the tail end of Festival season, TDP brought us to Luke's account of the crucifixion and resurrection last Friday and Saturday.
  3. Then yesterday in Church (at least for those of us in LSB 3 Year series) we heard from Peter's Pentecost sermon in Acts 2 about Jesus being crucified and raised
  4. (and "lifted up" in Jesus' sermon to Nicodemus from John 3 - One Year and LSB 3 Year B).
  5. We no sooner get done with that and today in TDP we hear Jesus talking about being lifted up at His death again in John 12:20-36.
  6. Two weeks from today in TDP, Nicodemus will be helping Joseph of Arimathea to bury the body of Jesus. And then Resurrection again in the days following.
That should serve as a good reminder to us. We never get done with the death and resurrection of Christ as long as we live.

(TDP in the coming two weeks will also bring us all those John 14-17 texts we heard in Church at the end of the Easter season from the night that our Lord was betrayed.)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

OT and NT connection from the Friday after Pentecost

Moses can only take us so far. He could not lead Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan, and Moses cannot take us into the Promised Land. The Law of God’s Commands come through Moses, promising that if we never break them, we can enter Heaven. But through the Law we become knowledgeable about our sin – sin that stops Moses and us from entering the Promised Land.
Another one, the One chosen by God, must lead God’s people through the waters of the Jordan and into the Promised Land. It is no accident or coincidence that his name was Joshua, for that is the Hebrew rendering of the Greek name Jesus, who by His death, resurrection, and ascension takes us to our promised land of rest in Heaven, leading us through water – the waters of the Jordan, through which Joshua crossed and in which Jesus was baptized, and the waters of baptism that join us to our Joshua.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Today's Commemoration - St. Boniface


I wouldn't be aware of this saint, except for the fact that the local Roman Catholic parish is named after him. Which makes sense. A bunch of Irish RC's settled in Ruma, and their parish is named for St. Patrick. A bunch of German RC's settled in this town, and they chose the "Patrick" to the Germans (though Boniface wasn't German by birth).
At any rate, if you don't like reading, you can listen to my good friends, Rev. Richard Stuckwisch (who wasn't even half way done when he got to my number of kids) and Rev. Martin Noland (I get to see him again for Doxology in two weeks) on the previous incarnation of Issues, etc. (I was going to put this paragraph at the end of my post, but if you don't like reading, you would not have gotten there.)
Rev. Paul McCain reproduces this (from a Wiki, which explains the uneven writing style that sounded nothing like his polished writing. He is an editor after all.) If you want a brief summary, Aardvark Alley has this from a few years ago. He includes Scripture readings for this day, a collect, and a picture of a Boniface statue.
Pastor Weedon a few years back included this writing by Boniface, which is a must read if you are (or have been) discouraged to the point of giving up - whether Pastor or layperson. A good reminder, not only that you and I are not the first to face the evil we face, but also that no Scripture passage gives us the authority to give up. "Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful and he tells us: My yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

On the Radio...

KFUO AM has a slot on Wednesday afternoons at 5 central where the hosts talk to ScotK (general editor of TDP) about that day's TDP readings - which I listened to yesterday while driving home from shutin visits. In the past Scot has posted on his blog mp3s of the show (and here's another and another.) He's understandably busy with other stuff right now, but I do hope he gets to post yesterday's. There was a discussion of the humor in the Balaam/Balak interchange. But more important for me was to hear Psalm 22:19-26 again. It was a rough day. Lots of bad news and heartache, both among the members and things at other times on the radio about our nation's condition. But my weary heart heard these promises and was strengthened. May the Lord use them to strengthen you as well:

24 For He has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and He has not hidden His face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to Him.
25 From You comes my praise in the great ocongregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear Him.
26 The afflicted shall seat and be satisfied;
those who seek Him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!

Only a few minutes earlier, I caught the last minutes of yesterday's Issues, etc - which is running a series on the Ten Commandments this week and next. (Susan, Dr. Steinmann will talk about the 3rd Commandment today.) Make sure to click here to listen to Rev. William Cwirla talk about the 2nd Commandment. He mentioned something I never thought of in connection to the cleansing of the Temple. Not only did Jesus do that back then so that His contemporaries could rightly practice the 2nd Commandment, and not only did He do it as a warning to our day not to turn the House of the Lord into a marketplace, but Jesus did it for all of us as His own perfect fulfillment of the 2nd Commandment. Now the Father does not look at our imperfect keeping of that Commandment, but looks at Christ's active obedience (including the cleansing of the Temple), and credits that obedience to us.

Speaking of Cwirla, this morning I read his excellent blog post on Faith and Doubt. He touches on an awful lot of thoughts that I've been thinking about - especially with last Sunday's Pentecost Feast bringing the Holy Spirit to mind, but also with the recent struggles of faith that the heartache mentioned above has brought. I see that Weedon appreciates it as well.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

still one more thing from Tuesday

from the Old Testament reading. Pastor Tim Pauls wrote in this sermon that weary pastors can find comfort in the story of Balaam - "If God can speak through Balaam’s donkey, then He can speak through me, too.”

whether you are a pastor or not, that applies well to you, don't you think?

More from Tuesday - the Two Swords?

Jesus saying to purchase the sword in Luke 22:36 - and the disciples bringing out two in Luke 22:38 - confused me. I'm not alone in that. Ambrose in his Exposition on the Gospel of Luke wrote, "Why do you who forbid me to wield a sword now command me to buy one? Why do you command me to have what you forbid me to draw?"

Art Just seems to suggest not taking this literally, but to make provisions in general for long life as a minister. He also references those who say that - after Jesus has preached peace so much - the disciples show themselves not yet understanding Him because they have swords in their possession. This proves they are transgressors, which then ties in to Luke 22:47. Thus the prayer of the day included in TDP.

Ambrose gives a few options. Have the sword, to show that you could fight back when struck, but willingly turn the other cheek even as our Lord could have taken revenge, could have called down legions of angels, but willingly went to lay down His life. Ambrose also notes the spiritual sword, that is, the Word of God, the two swords being the New and Old Testaments - "Then the Lord says, 'It is enough,' as if nothing is lacking to him whom the teaching of each Testament has strengthened" against the deceits of the devil.

Cyril of Alexandria suggests the sword reference goes back to the Fall of Jerusalem prediction of Luke 21:20-24. He writes:

For this reason they say, "Lord, behold, here are two swords." And what is the Saviour's reply? "It is enough." Observe how, so to say, He even ridicules their speech, well knowing that the disciples not having understood the force of what was said, thought that swords were required, because of the attack about to be made upon Himself. Fixing His look therefore upon those things which happened to the Jews because of their wicked conduct towards Him, the Saviour, as I said, ridicules their speech, and says, "It is enough:" yes, forsooth, two swords are enough to bear the brunt of the war about to come upon them, to meet which many thousand swords were of no avail. For a mighty resistance was made by the pride of the Jews against the forces of Augustus Caesar: but they availed nothing; for they were besieged with overpowering might, and suffered all misery. For as the prophet Isaiah says, "That which the holy God purposes, who shall bring to nought? and His hand, when lifted up, who shall turn aside?" Let us beware therefore of provoking God to anger: for it is a fearful thing to fall into His hands. But to those who believe in Christ He is merciful; even to those who praise Him; who call Him their Redeemer and Deliverer; who minister to Him with spiritual service, and by all virtuous conduct: for if so we act and speak, Christ will make us His own; by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuesday after Pentecost - The Bible is true to life

One argument for the reliability of the Scriptures is that it does not sugar-coat the lives of its main characters. These are real people, with real failings (except Jesus, of course.) Look at the "holy" books for all the false religions of the world, and their main characters do not have such failings.
The first section of today's Gospel reading (Luke 22:24-27) used to strike me as an event that could never happen. The disciples have just been fed with the body and blood of our Lord for the first time. They've received the forgiveness of sins. He's headed to the cross. A very serious time focused on Jesus. And the disciples decide it's the right time to argue about who is the greatest? How ridiculous! That would never happen that way.
Except that it does. I've seen it happen. Not too many minutes after the Divine Service with communion, people fill church halls with gossip - which makes the teller greater and the victim of the gossip lesser. And I've seen it in my own life, that already by Monday (especially yesterday) - if not Sunday afternoon - I'm tired of this serving business.
But our Lord never tires. The one who is greatest becomes the least, serving us by being numbered with the transgressors, obediently receiving the cup of suffering.
Oh, and also notice that it was His custom to go to the Mount of Olives to pray. Prayer should be our custom too. Off in a secluded spot when possible.

Monday, June 1, 2009

nothing profound

just a note that I like the way the NT reading schedule brings us back to Maundy Thursday/Good Friday/Easter during Pentecost week just before we leave the Festival Season and enter the Time of the Church with Trinity Sunday.