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Archive for March, 2014

Fulton-Sheen-Meme

Restating the quote: people are never to be used as means but as ends.  All this is the second Table of the Law:  love your neighbor as yourself.   When I read such law statements, I go, Ommmm, or Amen or whatever, absolutely agreeing. I assuage my conscience as I agree.  Agreeing is not doing. The Law shows me that  I do love things, yes more than God and my neighbor.  The bishop’s quote is a good law statement I don’t keep.  When it gets down to it, there has only ever been one person who only loved people and used things, perfectly, absolutely: Jesus Christ. In Him there is a daily repentance to Him who gave up all things and took up all our sin. His love is our only hope to so love as He first loved us.

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Concordia and Koinonia

The following quote is by John Bunyan (author of The Pilgrim’s Progress) and it is cited in Treasury of Daily Prayer (CPH):

I find to this day seven abominations in my heart:

(1) An inclination to unbelief.

(2) Suddenly forgetting the love and mercy that Christ shows us.

(3) A leaning to the works of the Law.

(4) Wanderings and coldness in prayer.

(5) Forgetting to watch for that which I have prayed for.

(6) A tendency to murmur because I have no more, and yet a willingness to abuse what I have.

(7) I can do none of those things which God commands me, but my corruptions will thrust themselves upon me so that “When I would do good, evil is present with me.”  (see Romans 7: 13-25) These things I continually see and feel and am afflicted and oppressed with; yet the wisdom of God orders them for…

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“(The Church) is the mother that begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God”

(The Large Catechism, from Luther’s teaching on the 3rd Article of The Creed)

I was reminded in my studies today that this Sunday, 4th Sunday in Lent, Laetare,  (“Rejoice with Jerusalem!”, from the Introit, Isaiah 10a and 11a, for this Sunday)  is in the United Kingdom, “Mothering Sunday”. It was on this Sunday when everyone  in the UK would return to the church in which they were baptized, their “mother church” and it eventually became the UK’s Mother’s Day, but unlike our Mother’s Day, I like the direct connection of their Mothering Day with the Church, Baptism and Lent, and the family. I came across this article by Pr. Ristau, (he has a different theme  than this article: worth reading!) in which he extensively quotes Meditation XXIII, “The Dignity of the Church”, from  Sacred Meditations, by Johann Gerhardt in which Pr. and Prof. Gerhardt uses the Biblical imagery of the Church as our mother:

The holy Church of God sustains the relations of mother, virgin, bride. She is as a mother because she daily bears spiritual sons to God. She is as a chaste virgin, because she keeps herself pure from all unholy alliances with the devil and the world. She is a bride, because Christ hath betrothed her to Himself by an eternal covenant, and hath given to her the pledge of the Spirit.

Our mothers and fathers are of such importance that the Lord sanctified such by the 4th Commandment and being born of His Mother, with Joseph as His faithful stepfather. Luther in his explanation of the 4th Commandment, tellingly wrote this of the crucial nature of mothers and fathers, so much so that,

“…even if we had no father and mother, we ought to wish that God would set up wood and stone before us, whom we might call father and mother. How much more, since He has given us living parents, should we rejoice to show them honor and obedience, because we know it is so highly pleasing to the Divine Majesty and to all angels, and vexes all devils…”

I would suppose those who are orphans, either by death or divorce of their parents might achingly  know this.  Likewise, without God as our Father, and the Church as the Lord’s Bride, our mother, we DO set up “wood and stone before us”, as idols, false gods and are lost. “No man will have God for his Father who refuses to have the Church for his mother upon earth” (Gerhardt).  And this mother does not abort her children nor despise her womb. Just the opposite:  The Lord makes us His own through the waters of rebirth (!), as we are baptized into His Body, His Church (cf. 1 Corinthians 11: 1ff).

Indeed, Laetare! And the rejoicing will be consummated when He comes again.  I close with another portion of Pr. and Professor Gerhardt’s Meditation:

Meditate, O devout soul, upon the worthiness of the Church, and take heed lest thou do anything unworthy of her.  The Church is thy spiritual mother; take care that thou despise not her voice as she speaks to thee. She is thy mother, and through word and sacraments thou oughtest draw all thy spiritual nourishment from her. The church is as a chaste virgin ; if thou then wouldst be true to her, abstain from the embraces of the world ; thou belongest to her, see then that thou dishonor not thyself nor her by any unholy alliances with the devil. The Church is the bride of Christ, and so is every godly soul ; let it take heed then not to cling to Satan in an unholy union. Thou, 0 my soul, art the bride of Christ; see to it that thou lose not the earnest of the Holy Spirit which Math been given unto thee; thou art the bride of Christ, pray unceasingly, that thy heavenly Bridegroom may hasten to lead thee unto the marriage feast above. Thy Bridegroom may come in the quiet and security of the midnight hour (Matt. xxv. 6); watch therefore, that when He cometh He may not find thee sleeping, and shut the door of eternal salvation upon thee. Let thy lamp be filled with the oil of faith and be brightly burning, lest at the coming, of thy heavenly Spouse thou sbouldst seek in vain for oil for thy lamp (Matt. xxv.).

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Aramaic was the language spoken at the time of Christ.

Intro:  On Wednesday March 12, we began at the Mission a 6 week Bible Class, The 6 Building Blocks, a review of each of the 6 Chief Parts of The Small Catechism by Dr. Martin Luther.  Below is the outline  of the third session.-Pr. Schroeder

The Lord’s Prayer

or the Pater Noster or the “Our Father”

Let us pray…

 O God,  the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever. Amen.

 Transition:

“We have heard what we are to do (10 Commandments) and believe (The Apostles’ Creed). The best and most  blessed life consists of these things. Now follows the third part, how we are to pray. Mankind is in such a situation that no one can keep the Ten Commandments perfectly, even though he has begun to believe. Besides, the devil, along with the world and our flesh, resists our efforts with all his power. Consequently nothing is so necessary as to call upon God incessantly and drum into his ears our prayer that he may give, preserve, and increase in us faith and obedience to the Ten Commandments and remove all that stands in our way and hinders us from fulfilling them. That we may know what and how to pray,  our Lord Christ himself has taught us both the way and the words, as we shall see.” (The Large Catechism, introduction to The Lord’s Prayer)

 1)      General Introduction:  Lord’s Prayer recorded twice, one longer, the other shorter:

  1. St. Matthew 6: 9-13
  2. St. Luke 11: 1-4
  3. Only KJV translation still in constant use
  4. Key:  both times Jesus teaches prayer

 2)      Two Reasons for Prayer,

            First Reason: The Lord commands, teaches and inspires prayer

  1. Commands:  see 2nd Commandment and it’s meaning: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks. 
  2. Teaches: i.e. the Lord’s Prayer
  1. The Psalter: the first Prayer book, the one most needed
  2. All the Prayers in the Bible
  3. Church’s prayers which are in accord with the Bible and the Confessions

           c. Inspires:  see Romans 8: 26-27, also verse 34

            Second Reason:  Human need and weakness, The Large Catechism,            Luther’s  Introduction to The Lord’s Prayer: 

“But where there is to be a true prayer, there must be earnestness. Men must feel their distress, and such distress as presses them and compels them to call and cry out; then prayer will be made spontaneously, as it ought to be, and men will require no teaching how to prepare for it and to attain to the proper devotion. But the distress which ought to concern us most, both as regards ourselves and every one, you will find abundantly set forth in the Lord’s Prayer. Therefore it is to serve also to remind us of the same, that we contemplate it and lay it to heart, lest we become remiss in prayer. For we all have enough that we lack, but the great want is that we do not feel nor see it. Therefore God also requires that you lament and plead such necessities and wants, not because He does not know them, but that you may kindle your heart to stronger and greater desires, and make wide and open your cloak to receive much.” (The Law of God will show us our need!)

 3)      Lord’s Prayer in Detail: Petitions’ Verbs in the Imperative

  1. Introduction:  The Creed, the Name to be Prayed, Praying in God’s Name;  Our Father because of the Son in the Holy Spirit
  1. Pray and read explanation
  2. “We do not know what prayers God will answer”:  Respond;  See John 16: 23;  Luke 11: 1-13; Romans 8: 14-17, Psalm 51: 15; Galatians 3: 26-19; Ephesians 3: 12
    1. 1st Petition:  see Luke 18: 9-14

                  1.  Pray and read explanation

                  2.  contrast Pharisee and tax collector

  1. 2nd Petition: see  Mark 1: 14-15;  Psalm 103: 19;  John 3: 5;  2 Timothy 4: 18;  John 18: 36 J(contra millennialism/in the world not of the world); Luke 12: 32

                  1.  Pray and read explanation

                  2.  God’s Kingdom comes in two ways:  here and eternity

                  3.   Across borders:  See John 4: Samaritan woman

  1. 3rd Petition:  See Ephesians 1: 9-10

                                                            1.  Pray and read explanation

                                                            2.  Flows out 2nd Petition, faithless don’t know                                                               God’s will,    by His grace we do:  see 1                                                                              Timothy 2: 4

                                                            3.  Praying against our will/bearing the cross

                                          e. 4th Petition:  See Exodus 16: 17-21;  Matthew 6: 24-                                                        34

                                                            1.  Pray and read explanation

                                                            2.  Praying for our daily bread and all that                                                                                 entails

                                           f. 5th Petition:  See  Psalm 19: 12;  Ephesians 4: 32;                                                         Matthew 18: 21- 35

                                                            1.  Pray and read explanation

                                                            2.  Next week:  Confession and Absolution

                                          g. 6th Petition:  See Genesis 3: 1-7; James 1: 12-16;                                                             Matthew 4: 1-11;   1 Corinthians 10: 12-13

                                                            1.  Pray and read explanation

                  2.  “Temptation’s target is always the First                                                                             Commandment”, directing us away from God’s Word to                                            our selves

h. 7th Petition:  See Psalm 50: 15;  Colossians 1: 11-14

                  1.  Pray and read explanation

                  2.  “evil” or “evil one”:  “let me hide myself in Thee”

  1. Conclusion:  See 2 Corinthians 1: 10

                  1.  Pray and read explanation

                  2. “Amen” means “truth.” To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray with the assurance that God hears our prayers and answers them. “Amen” is the great word of faith, for with this word we commend our prayers to God, not on the basis of our own righteousness but solely on the basis of the righteousness of Him who is the “yes” and “amen” to all of the Father’s promises.” (John T.Pless, The Didache

 

Pray the Lord’s Prayer

 

 

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The Old Adam knows he has demons. He knows he should struggle against them. And he knows that he can “snuggle” up to them and yes, enjoy them, but they come back to bite us again. Demons do not snuggle,  and if they seem to do that, then it’s a lie, literally a damn lie.   This saying above reminds me of this quote from Martin Luther’s explanation, in The Large Catechism, the 7th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation”, as a word of encouragement in the Lenten struggle (emphasis below my own):

Even if at present I am chaste, patient, kind, and firm in faith, the devil is likely in this very hour to send such a shaft into my heart that I can scarcely stand, for he is an enemy who never stops or becomes weary; when one attack ceases, new ones always arise.

At such times your only help or comfort is to take refuge in  the Lord’s Prayer and to appeal to God from your heart, “Dear Father, Thou hast commanded me to pray; let me not fall because of temptation.” Then you will see the temptation cease and eventually  I admit defeat. Otherwise, if you attempt to help yourself by your own thoughts and counsels, you will only make the matter worse and give the devil a better opening. For he has a serpent’s head; if it finds an opening into which it can slip, the whole body will irresistibly follow. But prayer can resist him and drive him back.

And in a similar vein, from “Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer”, C. S. Lewis wrote:

In all of us God “still” holds only a part. D-Day is only a week ago. The bite so far taken out of Normandy shows small on the map of Europe. The resistance is strong, the casualties heavy, and the event uncertain. There is, we have to admit, a line of demarcation between God’s part in us and the enemy’s region. But it is, we hope, a fighting line; not a frontier fixed by agreement.

There is no snuggling with demons, the enemy, on the front lines!   The Lord, “…fights by our side with the weapons of the Spirit” (“A Mighty Fortress) and the chief is prayer: see Ephesians 6:16-18.

 

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I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. Leviticus 20: 3

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139

For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.-Luke 1:44

This is a distressing report, to say the very least:

UK hospitals burn aborted babies for ‘green’ fuel

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Intro:  The following is a rare promotional video by Sting of this song  “Gabriel’s Message”, the first “A Very Special Christmas” album, released in 1987 as a benefit for the Special Olympics. The song itself is based on a 13th-Century Basque carol, translated in the 1800s.  The lyrics follow.  Even though Gabriel spoke the Word from the Lord to Mary, yet it must have been music.  It is true that the Gospel,  “Tis’ music in the sinner’s ears” (“Oh, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”).

“Gabriel’s Message”

The Angel Gabriel from heaven came 
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame 
“All hail” said he thou Holy Maiden Mary 
(to holy Mary) 
Most highly favoured lady Gloria 
(Most highly favoured lady Gloria) For know a blessed mother thou shalt be 
All generations laud and honor thee 
Thy son shall be Emmanuel as seers foretold 
Most highly favoured lady Gloria 
(Most highly favoured lady Gloria) 

The gentle Mary meekly bowed her head 
“To me, be as it pleaseth God” she said 
“My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name” 
Most highly favoured lady Gloria 
(Most highly favoured lady Gloria) 

Of her Emmanuel, the Christ was born 
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn 
And everyone through out the world will ever say 
Most highly favoured lady Gloria 
(Most highly favoured lady Gloria)

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