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Archive for May, 2012

G. K. Chesterton was convert from the Church of England to the Roman Catholic Church.  He was a prolific journalist, novelist (the Father Brown mysteries) and lay theologian and all with sharp insights and writing to match those insights.  If you want to read more of his bio, the Wikipedia article is a place to start.

“This man who composed such profound and perfect lines as “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried,” stood 6’4″ and weighed about 300 pounds, usually had a cigar in his mouth, and walked around wearing a cape and a crumpled hat, tiny glasses pinched to the end of his nose, swordstick in hand, laughter blowing through his moustache. And usually had no idea where or when his next appointment was. He did much of his writing in train stations, since he usually missed the train he was supposed to catch. In one famous anecdote, he wired his wife, saying, “Am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?” (quote from  The American Chesterton Society)

I suppose his book Orthodoxy (available on-line) is  for many Christians his most theologically memorable. So much of Chesterton is eminently quotable. I think it ranks as an apologetic equal to Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.  

Below are just a couple of quotes from Mr. Chesterton:

In Orthodoxy, he asks the question:  Why does God make the same thing over again and again?  One rose will not do, He makes them again and again.  Mr. Chesterton’s answer:

The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when thy find some game or joke that they really enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want-things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again “to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

More quotes from Orthodoxy:

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.” 

“The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.” 

“I had tried to be happy by telling myself that man is an animal, like any other which sought its meat from God. But now I really was happy, for I had learnt that man is a monstrosity. I had been right in feeling all things as odd, for I myself was at once worse and better than all things. The optimist’s pleasure was prosaic, for it dwelt on the naturalness of everything; the Christian pleasure was poetic, for it dwelt on the unnaturalness of everything in the light of the supernatural. The modern philosopher had told me again and again that I was in the right place, and I had still felt depressed even in acquiescence. But I had heard that I was in thewrong place, and my soul sang for joy, like a bird in spring. The knowledge found out and illuminated forgotten chambers in the dark house of infancy. I knew now why grass had always seemed to me as queer as the green beard of a giant, and why I could feel homesick at home.” 

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This was posted on Facebook from http://danspulpit.com/,  a site under construction.  What do you think?

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The first small town my wife lived in is the one we now call home.  In the lead up to Memorial Day, the VFW were distributing “Buddy Poppies” and asking for a donation.  She had never heard of buddy poppies.  The story behind is a poem written by Dr. Major John McCrae, second in command of the 1st Brigade Canadian Field Artillery during the Second Battle of Ypres in April and May 1915.  Below is the poem’s text and a video song version of it.   A buddy poppy is a good remembrance.

As a Christian and a pastor, Dr. McCrae’s line, “If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep” resonates with a Biblical truth:  the Church is a democracy of the dead where the dead have a voice (G.K. Chesterton).  We can not break faith with the dead then we are dead.  For  the Lord is the Lord of the living, not of the dead for all are alive to Him (Matthew 22: 31-33).  Keeping faith with the dead, we keep faith with those who live:  the families and friends of those who died in defense of our Constitutional liberty.  Support the work of the VFW, the American Legion, Wounded Warriors, etc.  Pray for our soldiers and sailors, especially those in harm’s way.  

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Lessons:

Exodus 19:1-9

Psalm 113

 Romans 8:12-27

St. John 14:8-21

GRADUAL:   Acts 2:17b, Rom.10:10

I will pour out my Spirit I on all flesh,*and your sons and your daughters shall I prophesy. With the heart one believes and is I justified,* and with the mouth one confesses I and is saved.

VERSE: Alleluia. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love. Alleluia.

Intro:  Pentecost is the third, but by no means the last, of the Three Great Holy Days of the Christian Church year.  Each day, and its season, corresponds to the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

  • Christmas, originally Christ Mass, is the celebration of God the Father.  God the Father in the fullness of time sends His Son to be born of the Virgin Mary and He is the Word made flesh.
  • Easter, or Pascha, is the celebration of God the Son, Who after His earthly ministry and then sufferings, crucifixion, rises again on the Third Day.
  • Then Pentecost, 50 Days after Pascha, on , the Holy Spirit is publically pored out upon the 120 (Acts 1: 15) gathered together and they begin to speak of wonderful deeds of the Lord He accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

As the Holy Trinity is one so are the 3 great feast days of His Church.

Reflection:  The word “spirit” in Biblical Hebrew is “ruah”.  Spirit in Biblical Greek is “pneuma”.   Our English word, which is from the Latin, “spirare” translates well both Hebrew and Greek: all three words can also be translated as “breath” or “wind”.  So our Lord uses these different definitions in a word play  in John 3.  Scripture reports in Acts 2 that the descent of the Holy Spirit was like a “mighty rushing wind.”

Now our English word “spirit” and it’s Latin original “spirare” is also the second syllable of these following words and taken together form a whole Bible study of the work of the Holy Spirit.

  • expire
  • respire
  • inspire
  • conspire
  • transpire
  • perspire
  • aspire
Expire:  literally without breath .The “s” has dropped out in our pronunciation.  We were dead in our trespasses, spiritually dead, expired.  In sin we are spiritually in the tomb with Lazarus until the Lord calls out by His Word: Come out!   When we sin again we are without breath till repentance and forgiveness.
Respire:  literally, to breathe again. The Holy Spirit performs resuscitation in the work and word of Jesus Christ so we  can breathe again.
Inspire:   breathe in.  All Scripture is inspired by God, God-breathed.  He breathes in the Word and makes it alive as Jesus Christ is alive.  Scripture is also for the Holy Spirit to rebuke sin and reconcile us once again to the Lord.  Every Word of the Bible, either Law or Gospel, is inspired.
Conspire:  literally breathe together.  The Holy Spirit builds us up in Christ to the glory of God the Father, a holy conspiracy, His Church so that the Word is preached, taughted, administered, served, confessed and believed upon in the world.
Transpire:  literally breathed across, as in the whole history of Israel culminating in the 3 great feast days of the church and in the Church today till the day when forgiveness will no longer be needed: Come, Lord Jesus, come. The Spirit and the Bride say come!
Perspire:  literally breathe through, that is sweat! The Holy Spirit works and man sweats, when we know the depth of our wrong and nothing we can do to extricate our selves from it.  We sweat and panic and the Holy Spirit blows upon us the Word of Christ to soothe,cool, heal…forgive.
Aspire:  to breathe towards, to want to do better.  We can not aspire and be saved on our own, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ.  But once baptized and forgiven, we aspire to be made holy in our lives through faith, the fruit of which is love, joy, peace, etc. by walking in the Spirit, feeding on His Word and Sacrament day by day, for as branches are to the vine, we can do nothing without Him.
All of these words describe the work of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not an independent operator but works in perfect sync with the Father and the Son, who is forever to be worshiped and glorified in His Church, one God, one Lord,  both now and forever. Amen!
Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.                                   (Collect of the Day)

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These two photos are of one wooden statue depicting our Lord riding the donkey…complete with wheels! It is on display at The Cloisters in Manhattan which is a museum of nothing but Christian Medieval Art. This particular statue was used in churches on Palm Sunday.

Psalmody:  Psalm 118:19-25

Additional Psalm:  Psalm 9

Old Testament Reading: Numbers16:23-40

New Testament Reading: Luke 19:29-48

In the daily Lectionary, today’s New Testament reading is the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and the meditation below reflects this Gospel.  The meditation below is by Pr. Scott Murray in his excellent devotional A Year with the Church Fathers:  Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year. The emphasis is my own for a post-script reflection.

Meditation:  When John Goodman’s character in the movie King Ralph is suddenly catapulted from utter obscurity to become the King of England, he initially exults in the power it gives him. He has a bowling alley installed in Buckingham Palace. However, it isn’t long until he realizes that power’s crown weighs heavily on the brow that bears it. 

Jesus comes from Galilean obscurity to Jerusalem, receiving the accolades of majesty from the frenzied crowd. Although they did not surprise Him, the burdens His kingly crown brings with it weigh upon His sacred head, wounding it for our transgressions. His coronation day is not an elevation to office, as we humans might think, but a condescension to our need. Like the unfortunate baseball manager who inherits a last-place team, Jesus has nothing but woe ahead of Him. King Jesus is acclaimed to humiliation and ignominious death. He comes not to subjugate, master, and overpower, but to suffer and die. His throne is nothing other than the cross. The crowd thought their hosannas would acclaim His power, and they were right in that He came to save. However, He came to save not by employing His power but by hiding it. He came to save not by menacing His enemies but by forgiving them. He came not to drive His subjects, but to make them His sons. Such is the one whom we hail as King.

 “What mental suffering the Jewish rulers must have endured when they heard so great a multitude proclaiming Christ as their King (Luke19:38)! But what honor was it for the Lord to be King of Israel? What great thing was it to the King of eternity to become the King of men? For Christ’s kingship overIsraelwas not for exacting tribute, putting swords into His soldiers’ hands, or subduing His enemies by open warfare. He was King of Israel in exercising kingly authority over their inward natures, in consulting for their eternal interests, in bringing into His heavenly kingdom those whose faith, hope, and love were centered in Himself. Accordingly, for the Son of God, the Father’s equal, the Word by whom all things were made, in His good pleasure to be King of Israel, was an act of condescension and not of promotion; a token of compassion, and not any increase of power. For He who was called on earth the King of the Jews is in the heavens the Lord of angels” (Augustine, Tractates on John, 51).

Post-Script:  “His coronation day is not an elevation to office, as we humans might think, but a condescension to our need.”  This reflection works well for Ascension. Ascension is the Lord’s enthronement in heaven when He sits at the right hand of God the Father.  The versicle  and response for Ascensiontide’s daily prayer makes this explicit:

The King ascends to heaven. Alleluia!/O come, let us worship Him.

He ascends to heaven still to descend in “humble water, humble words, humble food”, for His Body, the Church, that is, in Holy Baptism, Preaching and Teaching of the Pure Word of God, Law and Promise and the Holy Communion.

And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1)

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
   and he gave gifts to men.”

 9( In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended intothe lower regions, the earth? 10He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4)

For 1,979 earth years He has been at the right hand of God the Father,  to be with us all and by  His scarred hand to preach and administer Word and Sacrament for His Church, for the life of the world through those whom He has called.

 Let us pray…

O King who comes in the name of the Lord, through Your birth and death, earth and heaven were joined together in peace. May Your coming as King into Jerusalem in humility on the donkey help us to see that You continue to come to us as our King hidden in humble water, humble words, humble food; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  (Prayer of the Day)


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I write  this on our desktop which is also used by our youngest son (sophomore) for homework and social networking.  He will leave homework assignments on the desk and this morning he left this instruction sheet for an English assignment:

“I Am” Poems

The first part of the assignment is “Formatting: ” and then:

“I am (two special characteristics you have)

I wonder (something you are actually curious about)…”

etc, etc, etc.

I would wonder if I  had to do this assignment why do we have to do it! My guess is below.

Then in the second part are samples of these poems:

“I am”

“I am sharp and focused

I wonder what the camera really sees

I hear a buzzing bee…”

etc. etc. etc.

Writing an “I Am” poem is to say, check me out, I’m great.  There is not a lick of humility in that.  Now we know the reason for this kind of assignment:  self-esteem.  This has been going on for a long time because I remember back in grade school (50 years ago) we had to write an essay entitled, “Me, Myself and I”.

Narcissism  is the reigning idolatry  in our day and it is force-fed in our schools.  This forces us to look into ourselves without a guide and to accept what is there apart from the Lord.  This esteeming of the ‘sacred’ self has become a religion, the televangelism of the mass media  of self-idolatry.  No wonder we are constantly clashing more and more into each in a billiards game of just bouncing into each other.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
   we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53

 Looking inside, without humility, will result in either overweening pride or the darkness of despair because I do not compare well with others.  I wonder if the increase in suicide is a result of this self-esteem ideology. And the overweening pride, the anti-God state, is quite demanding: just glance over this clip art. After all, there is supposedly no original sin, only original goodness.

This assignment to write “I Am” Poems reminded me of Someone who said “I am”, as in “I am the Good Shepherd…”, “I am the light of the world…”, “I am the Resurrection and the life…”  ad eternum:  Alleluia!  But only He could actually speak an “I Am” poem in perfect humility for He is without sin, even in His flesh, who bore our inward looking sinful selves so we may look upon Him Who died and rose for you.  In His death, we die, and in Him, we live.

4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2

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“There have been too many historical Jesuses – a liberal Jesus, a pneumatic Jesus, a Barthian Jesus, a Marxist Jesus. They are the cheap crop of each publisher’s list, like the new Napoleons and new Queen Victorias. It is not to such phantoms that I look for my faith and my salvation.” C. S. Lewis

 

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In the first centuries of the Church, after Ascension and Pentecost, when a person was reborn a Christian in the waters of Holy Baptism, she left the futile ways of her forefathers. She ceased being a pagan. She ceased being an idolater worshiping many gods and began to worship the true and living God who sent His Son into the world to save us in this world for the life of the world to come.  (1 Peter 1:17-191 Thessalonians 1:8-10;   1 Corinthians 6: 9-11) 

Worship was and is the line of demarcation between the world and the life of the world to come.  In the Orthodox Church, their liturgy begins

Blessed is the kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

Crossing the border from the world as it is into world as is shall be, the Kingdom coming into the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The foretaste of the reign of God first accomplished by Him, when the People of Israel crossed the Jordan, after bondage in Egypt, and 40 years of the journey through the desert into the land of Promise:  crossing the Jordan.

At a border, there is a border check, customs.  In many countries, as our own, a visitor, or a returning citizen cannot bring in contraband, items considered dangerous to the welfare of the nation.    We have a border check in the Lutheran Church called Confession and Absolution, which begins the Divine Service. “Absolution” is from the word “absolve” and its synonym is “forgiveness”.  But I think it is important, even crucial,  to use “absolution” because His absolution is absolute, as real as the nails piercing His sinless hands and feet for your purification.

In the Old Testament, when Isaiah saw the Lord in glory, Isaiah cried out I am a man of unclean lips.  He knew he could not so stand in the Presence with such a dangerous tongue.  The Lord purified Isaiah.  (Isaiah 6: 4-8) As it was to Israel, sin is dangerous to the welfare of His Church, which is, “…a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  (1 Peter 2: 9) We lay aside the sin that so easily entangles our selves, our families, the various countries the Church dwells at the confessional border crossing.  (Hebrews 12:1-3He disentangled us not easily in His crucifixion. He frees us in His forgiveness to live as freed citizens of the Kingdom of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

When I went in the ‘70s to Eastern Europe and the then Soviet Union, on a  trip from Concordia Senior College, as we crossed from Poland into the USSR in the dead of night, the train was stopped to change the undercarriage of the train because Poland had a different track gate.  It was a convenient time for the Soviet soldiers to come on board, with automatic weapons, to rifle through our baggage, lift up our compartments seats and look us over.

  • A pastor is no Soviet border guard!  The Lord already has found you out and does so to find you in His all-encompassing forgiveness. He found you out in His Law, from Him no secrets are hid, nothing we can hide.  We cannot bring the dearest souvenir of hell into heaven. This is why we begin with Confession and Absolution.
  • A pastor’s vocation is also to hear private confession, when the burden is great for the penitent.  A pastor’s vocation is to hear confession but not to talk at all about what he has heard.  He is not tell anyone about the confession’s content, even his wife, so that you may again live as the Lord’s freed citizen, His son or daughter.
  • When the Israelites crossed the Jordan the first thing they were commanded to do was celebrate the Passover, and we do in the once and for all Passover of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world: This is My Body, this is My Blood.  The Lord Jesus has so commanded the new Passover for the forgiveness of sins, in communion with Him and His people.

Confession and Absolution is crossing the boundary, the Jordan and it is a return to the forgiveness granted in Holy Baptism, the washing and regeneration in the Word, the Lord’s Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (St. Matthew 28:18-20).  This is why the sign of the cross is encouraged at the beginning of Confession and Absolution with the Invocation, In the Name of the Father, and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, because it is in His Name we are baptized.  Further, it is encouraged that Confession and Absolution be led from the Baptismal Font.   We see this in Dr. Luther’s ordering in The Small and Large Catechisms:  his explanation of Holy Baptism is followed immediately by the doctrine of Confession and Absolution.  From The Large Catechism:

…here you see that Baptism, both in its power and signification, comprehends also the third Sacrament, which has been called repentance, (i.e. Confession and Absolution) as it is really nothing else than Baptism. For what else is repentance but an earnest attack upon the old man [that his lusts be restrained] and entering upon a new life? Therefore, if you live in repentance, you walk in Baptism, which not only signifies such a new life, but also produces, begins, and exercises it. For therein are given grace, the Spirit, and power to suppress the old man, so that the new man may come forth and become strong.

Almighty God, by our baptism into the death and resurrection
of your Son Jesus Christ, you turn us from the old life of sin:
Grant that we, being reborn to new life in him, may live in
righteousness and holiness all our days; through Jesus Christ
our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Addendum:

The sections from Luther’s Small Catechism are reproduced below from The Book of Concord website.

IV. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

First.

What is Baptism?–Answer.

Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water comprehended in God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

Which is that word of God?–Answer.

Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: Go ye into all the world and teach all nationsbaptizing them in the name of the Fatherand of the Sonand of the Holy Ghost.

Secondly.

What does Baptism give or profit?–Answer.

It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Which are such words and promises of God? Answer.

Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Mark: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 Thirdly.

How can water do such great things?–Answer.

It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter three: By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghostwhich He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christour Saviorthatbeing justified by His gracewe should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is afaithful saying.

Fourthly.

What does such baptizing with water signify?–Answer.

It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?–Answer.

St. Paul says Romans, chapter 6We are buried with Christ by Baptism into deaththatlike as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,even so we also should walk in newness of life.


V. Confession

How Christians should be taught to confess.

What is Confession?*

Confession embraces two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe, that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those which we do not know, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. But before the confessor we should confess those sins alone which we know and feel in our hearts.

Which are these?

Here consider your station according to the Ten Commandments, whether you are a father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, a man-servant or maid-servant; whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, slothful; whether you have grieved any one by words or deeds; whether you have stolen, neglected, or wasted aught, or done other injury.

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Introduction:  The Gospel Reading for the 7th Sunday of Pascha (Easter), in Year B of the 3 year lectionary,  St. John 17:  11b-19,  can be summed up with this familiar statement:  “The Church is in the world but not of the world.”  Why?  The Church is modeled by the Holy Spirit after Jesus Christ Who is also in the world but not of the world. “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” Verse 16  There is so much in Scripture to reiterate this reality.  This Gospel Reading reminded me of The Letter to Diognetus.  The author of this letter is unknown but the recipient, Diognetus, was  a “…pagan of high social or political rank.” The letter is an apology for Christianity.  An apology is first and foremost a defense of a position.   (Only later did “apology” become  associated with sorrow over a wrong action, “Oh, I apologize that I step on your toe…”  But that is not the apology!  “…on your toe, because I did not see you.” That is the apology, the defense.)  This letter from the late 2nd Century is a powerful example of an apology and is becoming more relevant in the 21st century day by day.  Someone wrote a book on this letter entitled, Resident Aliens.  This is what Christian are.  (quote above and below from Ancient Christian Writers)

Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind by either country, speech, or customs;  the fact is, they nowhere settle in cities of their own; they use no peculiar language; they cultivate no eccentric mode of life.  Certainly, this creed of theirs is no discovery due to some fancy or speculation of inquisitive men;  nor do they, as some do, champion a doctrine of human origin. Yet while they dwell in both Greek and non-Greek cities, as each one’s lot was cast, and conform to the customs of the country in dress, food, and mode of life in general, the whole tenor of their way of living stamps it as worthy of admiration and admittedly extraordinary.  They reside in their respective countries, but only as aliens. They take part in everything as citizens and put up with everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their home, and every home a foreign land.  They marry like all others and beget children; but they do not expose their offspring.”  Their board they spread for all, but not their bed. They find themselves in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They spend their days on earth, but hold citizenship in heaven.  They obey the established laws, but in their private lives they rise above the laws. They love all men, but are persecuted by all.  They are unknown,  yet are condemned; they are put to death, but it is life that they receive.  They are poor, and enrich many;  destitute of everything, they abound in everything.  They are dishonored, and in their dishonor find their glory. They are calumniated, and are vindicated.  They are reviled, and they bless;  they are insulted and render honor.  Doing good, they are penalized as evildoers; when penalized, they rejoice because they are quickened into life. 

Father of all holiness,
guide our hearts to you.
Keep in the light of your truth
all those you have freed from the darkness of unbelief.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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