Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday of Easter 4 - Leviticus 17

The fact that the disciples drank what Jesus told them was His blood testifies to the fact that they trusted He was the Lord - for who else could get them to behave contrary to the Lord's prohibition in Leviticus 17?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Not TDP - Prayer of the Church for the 40th Anniversary of St. Peter's Sanctuary

(revised from TLH's companion book, "The Lutheran Liturgy")

P    We thank You, Lord God, heavenly Father that Your Son has built Your Church upon His Word and Sacraments.  Through the work of the Holy Spirit, You have given us the privilege of enjoying Your Holy Gospel in this house of worship to this day.

      We humbly ask You to graciously preserve this beloved sanctuary for us, for our children, and for the strangers we do not yet know, but whom You love.  Let Your glory dwell in this place for many more generations.  Keep safe those who will work on its repairs in the coming months.  At all times give us godly preachers who will care for Your Church by feeding the pure Word to Your flock.  Open the ears of all who come here, so that they might listen to Your Son’s voice with gladness, and follow Him to eternal life.  We confess that we have turned a deaf ear to You far too often and we deserve for You to be silent.  But by the work and for the sake of Christ, we ask You to forgive our sins.  Restore and renew us daily in Your truth and faithfulness.  Do this work not only among us, but provide workers for Your harvest around the World, especially as You guide Rev. Sieveking and all the District Presidents in their decisions on where to send men to serve as Pastors.  Use them to do Your work of washing the robes of every nation, tribe, people, and language and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, bringing them safely through death to eternal life.

P    By Holy Baptism, continue in this and all places to receive little children into communion with You, and keep them in Your gracious covenant by Your mighty power.  Grant repentance and true faith to those who desire the blessing of absolution.  Comfort souls and strengthen faith at this altar with the true body and most holy blood of Christ. 

P    O Lord, when we bring to You our offerings of thanksgiving for the gifts of Your bounty, accept the sacrifice and bless us in all our labors, so that our joy may be full.  When we offer to You our prayers for the Church, for our nation’s President and all in authority, and for all sorts and conditions of people, may it please You to hear our supplications.  Pour out Your blessings upon all for whom intercession is made here – upon confirmands, husbands and wives, parents and children, the needy, the afflicted, and those who give thanks.  Especially today do we pray in thanksgiving for the pastors, teachers and members who have served St. Peter Lutheran Church.  Let Your holy angel be with them, that the evil foe may have no power over them.

P    O God, our help in ages past and our hope for years to come, we praise You that by the death and Resurrection of the Good Shepherd, You have brought our dead loved ones to dwell with You in Your House forevermore.  Grant us Your Holy Spirit, that we may together with them look forward to the joy of our resurrection; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Monday of Easter 4 - Leviticus 9

The ESV title for Leviticus 9 struck me as one of grace.  We should not take for granted that our gifts given will be well received.  Most of us have heard horror stories or been on the receiving end of bad gift giving.  That "The Lord Accepts Aaron's Offering" should astonish and amaze us, for Aaron is a sinner like us.  But the gift is offered in faith according to the Lord's mandate, and accepted by Him.  This being the Easter season, it put me in mind of one of the things the Resurrection proves to us - that God accepted Christ's sacrifice as payment for our sins.  And once I was thinking of Easter, then when I read of Moses and Aaron coming out of the tent of meeting and blessing the people (after the sin offering), "and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people," (9:23), I could not help but think of Christ coming out of the grave and blessing His people in the risen Lord's glorious body as He appeared to the Disciples.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday of Easter 3 - Gospel and Hymnody

On what has now been sown
Thy blessing, Lord, bestow;
The power is Thine alone
To make it spring and grow.
Do Thou in grace the harvest raise,
And Thou alone shalt have the praise. 
(by John Newton, who also penned "Amazing Grace")
Again, another much needed reminder of the Gospel and what is God's work.  Especially after I've been living under the self-imposed law of trying to figure out how to make fruits after the seed is planted.  But it is not in my power to make faith spring and grow.  That power is God's alone.  "Just say the Word", as my District President preached at my ordination 9 years ago, based on Luke 7.  Plant it home.
Oh, and Thrivent members, concerning today's prayer, you can partially (virtually?) embody in your life the mercy and charity of Christ by voting in the Thrivent Choice program for LCMS World Relief, LCMS Missions, or one of the others if you so choose.  Very simple, but do it before May 21.
And then there is also this from KFUO-AM, Thrivent and CPH - a drawing for $1000 upgrade for a K-8 school library.  I'd appreciate it if you voted for my kids' school, Trinity Lutheran, in Red Bud, Illinois.  But again, if you want to enter another school, I understand. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday of Easter 3 - Psalmody

Great readings all around.  all very connected to stuff going on in life right now.  Exodus 35 relates as one of my parishes is getting ready to repair roof, paint walls, and replace carpet.  And boy, does that "shameful" woman from Luke 7:36-50 put me to shame for my lack of love.  Lord, increase Your people's faith in Your forgiveness that we may show our love for You in our lives.

But Psalm 84 has been quite special.  The wall behind the altar at my aforementioned congregation, St. Peter Lutheran Church, is a little further back than the rest of the wall - if you look, you can see the reflection of the stained glass windows on the wall to the right and left of the cross.  Sometimes birds (no idea if they were sparrows, swallows, or what) built their nests on the ledges outside that stained glass.  Beautiful to see Psalm 84:3 come to life at the altar of the Lord of hosts.

The psalm also brought to my mind this quote from CFW Walther, which I needed to read again (and I especially needed to read the part that I omitted in the quote below):
My Friends: -
   When a place has been assigned to a Lutheran cadidate of theology where he is to discharge the office of a Lutheran minister, that place ought to be to him the dearest, most beautiful, and most precious spot on earth.  He should be unwilling to exchange it for a kingdom.  Whether it is in a metropolois or in a small town, on a bleak prairie or in a clearing in the forest, in a flourishing settlement or in a desert, to him it should be a miniature paradise.  Do not the blessed angels descend from heaven with great joy whenever the Father in heaven sends them to minister to those who are to be heirs of salvation?  Why, then, should we poor sinners be unwilling to hurry after them with great joy to any place where we can lead other men, our fellow-sinners, to salvation?
... But now the question arises: What is the matter of chief concern to a minister who wants to attain this glorious object?  He must approach the Lord with hearfelt prayer and earnest entreaties in behalf of his congregation and, when preaching the Word of God with great zeal publicly and privately, jointly or severally, rightly divide the Word of Truth. (Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, pg. 207-209)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More on Wednesday of Easter 2

I noticed some interesting connections between Exodus 24 and Luke 5:
  1. Both texts are useful in catechesis on the Sacraments - the Supper and Absolution, respectively.
  2. Exodus 24:11 has this line, "And He did not lay His hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank."  If you forget about the prohibition on seeing God, this makes no sense.  However, Peter with his "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" reminds us why God should have laid His hand on the chief men of Israel.
  3. God does not lay His hand on them and destroy them in Exodus.  God DOES lay His hand on the man in Luke, and his leprosy does not destroy him.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday of Easter 2 - Luke 5

Lord, you know the frustrations of work in this fallen world. Work is done that appears to be wasted effort. But You say we are not done - for there are fish for us to catch, there are fields ripe for us to harvest. As the Father sent You, You send us out to gather others into the Resurrection with the net of Your forgiveness and peace. Therefore, especially when we feel like being done, please be our strength and rest, our hope and joy, our peace and forgiveness. Free us from despair as You open our eyes, hearts, and minds to see that labor in Your kingdom is never in vain.

(This sermon by Pastor Weedon led to this prayer.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday of Easter 2 - Exodus 23

Never noticed before that God had a reason for leaving the pagan "native-ites" in Canaan. "I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land" (Exodus 23:29-30)

Warning - not completely thought through thought ahead!

Could we say something similar about the unholy Trinity? That God does not keep the sinful world from attacking us, because then we would become easy prey for that beastie, the devil? Or vice versa? God uses devil, world and sinful flesh to drive us to prayer - but perhaps he also uses each one to keep the other two occupied, and keep us safer?

UPDATE: Or maybe it is something along the lines of the Luther quote my bride posted on her facebook page:
The most dangerous trial of all is when there is no trial, when everything
is all right and running smoothly. This is when a man tends to forget God, to
become too independent and put his time of prosperity to a wrong use. (AE44:47)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday of Easter 2 - Luke 4

Somewhere along the way I read the suggestion that "Physician, heal thyself" may have been a reference to the fact that the son of Joseph looked powerless when Joseph died. Which then leads to the response that it was not time for Jesus to heal Joseph, any more than it was time that day in Nazareth to die to save us. He walks away that day, but, thanks be to God, He does not come down off His cross - because that is when it was time to set us free from the oppression of our sin.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday after Easter - today's writing's author's seal

My aunt Millie just finished this window for a church. It's 15"X15", with 160 pieces. She added green to make it a square.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Alleluia! He is Risen!

The foe in triumph shouted when Christ lay in the tomb;
But lo, he now is routed, his boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free; In glorious victory
He who is strong to save has triumphed o'er the grave.

(Paul Gerhardt, transl. by John Kelly)
Dear readers, God grant you His joy in the feast of His Son's resurrection, now and always!
"Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!" Psalm 96
btw, a friend asked what all the connections are between the Red Sea and Easter (besides Baptism). "And why did the Early Church associate the Red Sea Crossing with the Resurrection of Jesus?" Since we're at that part of Exodus in TDP, I thought I'd throw his question out to you readers.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy Saturday

If there is any day of the church year that best describes where we live as Christians in this world, it is today, Holy Saturday.

If you want to know how today describes all our life here and now in the in-between, you'll have to read Rev. Koch's excellent sermon here.

There is also this (HT: Matt Harrison)

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Others Said... errr... Drew

(Agnus Day appears with the permission of

On the Radio

If I remember correctly, KFUO-AM will be broadcasting a Tre Ore service followed by Bach's St. John's Passion this afternoon.
And according to KFUO-FM's site, they will be playing Bach's B minor Mass Sunday at 1 pm and Mahler's Symphony #2, Resurrection on Sunday at 8 pm.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Luther Says - Exodus 12

Here our true Paschal Lamb we see,
Whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursed tree-
So strong His love -to save us.
See, His blood now marks our door;
Faith points to it, Death passes o'er,
And Satan cannot harm us.
(LSB #458, stanza 5)