Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2012

O Lord, God of truth, Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light on our path. You gave Your servant Jerome delight in his study of Holy Scripture. May those who continue to read, mark, and inwardly digest Your Word find in it the food of salvation and the fountain of life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Jerome, Translator of Holy Scripture:  Jerome was born in a little village on the Adriatic Sea around AD 345. At a young age, he went to study in Rome, where he was baptized. After extensive travels, he chose the life of a monk and spent five years in the Syrian Desert. There he learned Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament. After ordination at Antioch and visits to Rome and Constantinople, Jerome settled in Bethlehem. from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, he used his ability with languages to translate the Bible into Latin, the common language of his time. This translation, called the Vulgate, was the authoritative version of the Bible in the Western Church for more than 1,o00 years. Considered one of the great scholars of the Early Church, Jerome died on September 30, 420. He was originally interred at Bethlehem, but his remains were eventually taken to Rome. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH)

Reflection:  We make much ado about miracles in the Bible as well we probably should, but there are some miracles that go totally unnoticed, as in:

For out of Zion shall go the law,
   and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2

and

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. Revelation 14: 6

From the least of the tribes and nations of earth comes forth the Word of God and specifically, the Word made flesh, “…to every nation and tribe and language and people.”   He has made known to all His Law and Gospel.  And there was a priest of Jesus Christ, one Jerome,  translating the Bible into a language by which all of Europe for 1,000 years could listen to the Word of God.  Vulgate Latin become the lingua franca, the common language of the Church.  It was not God’s language for God’s language, His Word, His tongue are the mighty deeds in Jesus Christ, as it clear in Acts 2:7-9, but they heard it  in  their own “native language”.  This is the Pentecost of translation begun in Jerusalem.  It has not stopped. The Bible is the perennial best seller in the world.  The Pentecost of His published Word was continued by Jerome and many others.

The Lord brought forth His Word out from Zion. This is the Lord’s great deed by which He civilized a world in, through and by  His Word as we await for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory.   Jerome facilitated the greatest publishing event in the history of the world that had already begun: The Holy Bible.

It is a high vocation to be a Translator of Scripture.  The Bible or portions thereof have been translated into some 2, 287 languages.  This is a good day to pray for all translators, missionaries, seminarians and Biblical professors.  

The King James Version renders Mark 13: 10: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations”, and Isaiah 52:7 that blessed are the feet which, publisheth salvation”. The word “publish” is from same Latin root as our word “public”.  The Lord makes public His Word.  It is not merely a private thing but for the whole world and our nation.  He calls His Church to continue this work till the consummation of all things so that many may call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved.

Read Full Post »

A blessed St. Michael’s and All Angels!

Read Full Post »

Let us pray:

everlasting God, whose wise planning has ordained and constituted the ministry of men and angels in a wonderful order, mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve you in heaven, so by your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Lessons:

Daniel 10: 10-14

Psalm 91

Revelation 12: 7-12

St. Matthew 18: 1-11 or St. Luke 10: 17-20

Intro:  “There’s more than what meets the eye” is apropos on today’s feast day of St. Michael and All Angels.  We think what we see and know and feel is all of reality. It’s not.  As we confess in The Nicene Creed, the Lord is the Creator of all things “visible and invisible” and with His angels He protects us even when we are not looking.  Below is a reflection by Rev. Professor Johann Gerhard (October 17, 1582 – August 17, 1637), the great Father of Lutheran Orthodoxy on the angels (as cited The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House):

What is the [angels’] attitude toward men? This the Lord Christ reveals with one word when He calls them “their angels,” that is, angels of the little ones, the servants of the children and all believers. . . . They render this service to every Christian in manifold ways. While we are children, God assigns our angels to us, as Christ tells us in the holy gospel. When we grow older and go our own way, that is, walk in the ways of our calling, God also assigns angels to us (Ps. 91:11,12). When we sleep, the angels watch and protect us against the devil. When we die, they carry our soul to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22). Their protection is ours through life….

Why is that the angels readily serve the believers though they are much nobler and higher than we?

  1.  Because they are confirmed in the good and therefore gladly and fully obey God’s will. God’s will and order is that they serve us (Heb. 1:14). The army of the heavens—sun, moon, and stars—maintain their order given them by God for man’s sake. All the more will the heavenly army of the holy angels maintain its order.
  2.  Because our nature is raised in Christ above all angels and archangels (Eph. 1:20, 21; Heb. 1:4). Therefore the angels do not refuse to serve us men, in honor of the human nature assumed by Christ. As an entire race is brought to honor by a marriage, so the marriage of the Son of God with humanity has restored the human race to honor (Matt. 22:2). What wonder, then, that the angels serve us, since the Son of God, the Lord of the angels, came to earth that He might serve us?
  3.  Because love is pure and perfect in them, the angels joyfully serve us, as does the Lord, who Himself is Love (1 John 4:8), in whose image the angels were created, and who declared: “I will rejoice in doing them good” (Jer. 32:41).
  4.  Finally, because we shall someday be with them in heaven and join their choir in praising God, the angels are happy to serve us here on earth.

For more on St. Michael and All Angels, search this blog.

 

Read Full Post »

Mark your calendar!

Plan to watch “The Intersection of Church & State”

this Sunday, Sept. 30.

Our friends at Lutheran Hour Ministries have produced “The Intersection of Church & State,” a one-hour documentary that will air at 5 p.m. ET Sunday as paid programming on the Fox Business Network.The documentary looks at the multi-faceted topic of church and state from a theological perspective, emphasizing how the church and state can work together for the betterment of society. “The Intersection of Church & State” traces the history of cooperation between these two groups — in bringing care to the needy, the settlement of refugees, the adoption of children, the service of military chaplains, and other ways. It also considers how these historic church and state partnerships are jeopardized.The program features the comments of respected church leaders, including LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison. It has been reviewed and approved for doctrinal integrity by the LCMS.Please check your local listings or visit www.intersectionofchurchandstate.com for show times. If you are unable to watch the program, you can download it online beginning Sunday. You also can purchase a DVD with a discussion guide that can be used for Bible studies, men’s or women’s groups, or as a tool for individual study and research.


PS: You also may be interested in accessing the LCMS’ educational resources about religious liberty. You can find articles, a timeline of the fight for religious liberty, frequently asked questions, videos, a Bible study and a sample letter you can personalize and mail to your representatives. To learn more about the LCMS effort to protect religious liberty, visit www.lcms.org/freetobefaithful.

 

Read Full Post »

From Lutheran Satire:

On the scholarly understanding on this topic du jour in the latest news cycle, please read this article from Concordia Theological Seminary’s website.  Please note that the scholar who wrote the piece that the media picked-up, does not conclude the fragment refers to Jesus’ wife!  What does this say about the media?

Read Full Post »

[We do] well to note what class of people takes comfort in the thought of God. Surely not that perverse and crooked generation to whom it was said, “Woe unto you that are rich; for you have received your consolation” (Luke 6:24). Rather, those who can say with truth, “My soul refuses comfort” (Ps. 77:2). For it is meet that those who are not satisfied by the present should be sustained by the thought of the future, and that the Contemplation of eternal happiness should solace those who scorn to drink from the river of transitory joys….

The people that in darkness sat
A glorious light have seen;
The light has shined on them who long
In shades of death have been.

From The Lutheran Hymnal                                                                                 

Read Full Post »

The Whole Armor of God:  Shod with the Gospel of Peace

“…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”  Ephesians 6: 15

The Greek word for “armor” in the Text is  ‘panoplia’  ” (Our word, “panoply” is derived from it).  “Pan-oplia” literally means:  All weapons.

“God’s Word forever shall abide, No thanks to foes, who fear it;  For God Himself fights by our side With the weapons of the Spirit.” (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, by Martin Luther)

A Roman soldier’s footwear looked like this:

The Lutheran Study Bible footnote on this verse:

“A Roman soldier wore half-boots studded with nails to help him stand firm.  The preaching of the Gospel of peace has, ironically, prepared us for battle.”

It is clear that this sandal is like no footwear sold at Macy’s!  Likewise, peace in the Bible is not like what is literally sold out in the world. For instance: some peaceful feelings can be drugged-induced. Books, gurus, ministers et. al. make money over their programs and nostrums to produce peacefulness. Usually, by ‘peace’ what is meant are “peaceful feelings” as being “at peace”. Good feelings in general are desirable:  they can tell us we are okay and so are bad feelings, as in pain, they  can tell us something is wrong.  A feeling is the result of something else, good or bad. Peaceful feelings are a symptom but not the cause.  One can take away physical pain but the cause of that pain is left untreated only causing trouble for another day.  Clearly, feelings of peace are not the cause of peace.  God’s Word clearly teaches us that peace may not produce  peacefulness, instead, readiness with the Gospel of peace, prepares us for battle!    

The usual definition of peace is  the absence of conflict, war, struggle.  This definition is only a negative, a lack of something.  This kind of peace, absence of conflict, can become home to a host of things far worse. As the Lord taught:

24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” St. Luke 11: 24-26

Having no struggle, conflict,  war, is an absence, and absence is emptiness. Our sinful lust for more, even for peacefulness, to fill that swept and empty house results in doing anything to fill the void and  feel peaceful and good again:   more drugs, more pleasures, more satisfactions.  The last state can become worse than the first.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace-Ephesians 2: 13-14

The Lord shows us that peace is not mere absence but presence and more: Presence. Peace has a name: Christ Jesus. He alone cures the fever in our blood by His blood shed for warring humanity.  Mao Tse-Tung (old spelling), once dictator of communist China wrote that peace comes from the end of a gun barrel.  In one sense, he was correct, tragically correct.  It will look like peace, but only being terror and tragic emptiness. Peace does not come from the end of a gun barrel but it has come from the foot of His Cross and fullness of His life, eternal life.   Peace is reconciliation through the blood of Jesus Christ in His forgiveness of the entire world received in faith as pure gift.  This is His Presence and as Lutherans say of the Holy Communion: His Real Presence.  

Peaceful feelings are usually only about the self, the person alone.  Christ, our peace, is for us and our salvation, that the “dividing wall of hostility” is  broken down in His flesh (Ephesians 2:13-15).  All Christians who cling as lambs to the Shepherd and as children to their Father, know each other.  They know each other as sinners.   Pr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote,  “In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner.” Sinners forgiven in Jesus Christ.  They know each other forgiven.

His peace then prepares us for battle.  His peace is for the “good fight of faith” 2 Timothy 4:6-8.  Again, Pr. Bonhoeffer:  ““When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the Spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”  This is called “sanctification”, being made holy by the Holy Spirit in the work of Jesus through the Word and Sacraments.  It is the struggle against the world,the flesh and the devil.  The Apostle Paul makes this so clear in Ephesians 6 about the whole armor of God. Some 4 times, he uses the word  “stand”, to take a stand, to withstand, to fight against the powers and principalities.  It is not a struggle against someone else’s flesh and blood, only my own and yours.  But it is a struggle against the false doctrine and teachings of the world we see arrayed in commercials, say, to want and covet more and more; in the lusts resulting in an ideology that says if it feels good, do it and look what has happened to marriage and the family…we could sadly go on.  But like those Roman Soldier’s sandals, His peace is for us to take stand upright and firm in His grace and mercy for us and for others, to battle for  souls and lives.  

Triune God, be Thou our Stay;
Oh, let us perish never!
Cleanse us from our sins, we pray,
And grant us life forever.
Keep us from the evil one;
Uphold our faith most holy,
And let us trust you solely
With humble hears and lowly.
Let us put God’s armor on,
With all true Christians running
Our heavenly race and shunning
The devil’s wiles and cunning.
Amen, amen! This be done;
So sing we, “Alleluia

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: