Reading the Psalms with Luther, pg. 274
Official Christianity, of late years, has been having what is known as “a bad press.” We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine – “dull dogma,” as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama.Dorothy Sayers, “The Greatest Drama Ever Staged,” Creed or Chaos? (Harcourt, Brace:1949/ 1974 ed. Sophia Institute Press), pp. 1-9
…Possibly we might prefer not to take this tale too seriously—there are disquieting points about it. Here we had a man of Divine character walking and talking among us—and what did we find to do with Him? The common people, indeed, “heard Him gladly,” but our leading authorities in Church and State considered that He talked too much and uttered too many disconcerting truths. So we bribed one of His friends to hand Him over quietly to the police, and we tried Him on a rather vague charge of creating a disturbance, and had Him publicly flogged and hanged on the common gallows, “thanking God we were rid of a knave.” (Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing)
…So that is the outline of the official story—the talk of the time when God was the underdog and got beaten, when He submitted to the conditions He had laid down and became a man like the men He had made, and the men He had made broke Him and killed Him. This is the dogma we find so dull—this terrifying drama of which God the victim and hero.
If this is dull, then what, in heaven’s name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore; on the contrary, they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him “meek and mild,” and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.
…He was emphatically not a dull man in His human lifetime, and if He was God, there can be nothing dull about God either. But He had a “daily beauty in His life that made us ugly,” (Shakespeare, Othello) and officialdom felt that the established order of things would be more secure without Him. So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness.
“And the third day He rose again”; what are we to make of that? One thing is certain: if He was God and nothing else, His immortality means nothing to us; if He was man and no more, His death is no more important than yours or mine. But if He really was both God and man, then when the man Jesus died, God died too, and when the God Jesus rose from the dead, man rose too, because they were one and the same person.
…Now, we may call that doctrine exhilarating or we may call it devastating, we may call it Revelation or we may call it rubbish; but if we call it dull, then words have no meaning at all. That God should play the tyrant over man is a dismal story of unrelieved oppression; that man should play the tyrant over man is the usual dreary record of human futility; but that man should play the tyrant over God and Him a better man that himself is an astonishing drama indeed. Any journalist, hearing of it for the firs time, would recognize it as News; those who did hear it for the first time actually called it News, and good news at that; though we are apt to forget that the word Gospel ever meant anything so sensational.
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).In a previous post, I mentioned Manute Bol, a former NBA player who suffered a terrible disease after serving his country with love. May Christ use Manute's good confession (even in the face of great loss - see the story attached to the previous post) to comfort those who mourn his death, and to bring peace to Sudan.
The passive Pual (Dp) verb יְכֻפַּ֣ר , "is atoned for," grammatically hides the agent of the action, who is the source of "mercy" and "faithfulness," namely, Yahweh (see Exodus 34:6). The NT applies this language specifically to Jesus Christ, who is the source of "grace" and "truth" (John 1:14-17).
By the mystery of Your holy incarnation, by Your holy nativity;If you want to be depressed, read this article about the Claremont School of Theology hiring Muslim and Jewish faculty to teach the respective religions "of Abraham" (BAH!) - and if that goes "well", they'll be looking to add Hindu and Buddhist faculty as well! The Devil must howl with delight over how easy it is to take people away from Christianity not by force, but by "kindness."
By Your agony and bloody sweat;
By Your cross and Passion;
By Your precious death and burial;
By Your glorious resurrection and ascension;
And by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter:
Help them, good Lord.
The dreariness of old age in chapter 12 describes that life which is only focused on what is under the sun and separate from God. The man and woman of faith, however, though they will certainly have trials, may grow old with God on their side and with God's grace constantly helping them. Read what happens for the Christian despite physical aging: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. (from a Bible Study by Rev. Al Espinosa.)
We express this sentiment in German this way, "He who is afraid of the bushes will never get into the woods." To the person who is giving, it seems that he will have nothing left at home but will lose everything. This is the reason why we are so reluctant to give things away. Therefore he says, "if you want to be afraid of poverty and ingratitude, you will never do good to anyone." He who looks not to the Word of Him who has promised but at the property given does not believe that he will eventually be fed or will have plenty. Therefore you must look at the Word of God and at the promises (Matthew 4:4): "Man shall not live by bread alone." If you listen to His Word, I say, He will bless you in the field and at home... But he who does not believe the Lord does not do anything good. He who overlooks the Word, overlooks the work as well. (Luther's Works, Vol. 15, pg. 173)