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Proverbs 16:9 — Verse of the Day for 01/10/2017

Intro: Currently, in the Daily Lectionary the Old Testament readings are from Proverbs. Proverbs are encouragement to live the life the Lord has given us by His grace as we walk in the living way, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Selected Verses from Proverbs 16:

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the Lord weighs the spirit.

The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
    even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
    be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Better is a little with righteousness
    than great revenues with injustice.

13 Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
    and he loves him who speaks what is right.

18 Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
    than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
    and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
21 The wise of heart is called discerning,
    and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

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Jason Mccool's review of God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and ...

In 1957, C. S. Lewis published an essay, “Delinquents in the Snow” and it is included in the tome pictured above. I think this essay has a pointed meaning for us today.

Mr. Lewis begins by telling about young people caroling at his house but he is concerned they are some of same, “… who trespass in my garden, rob my orchard, hack down my trees and scream outside my windows, though everyone in the neighbourhood knows that there is serious illness in my family.” Well, he knows, that this is not murder and he does not want to be resentful. Mr. Lewis then relates  a more serious incident:

“Not long ago some of my young neighbours broke into a little pavilion or bungalow which stands in my garden and stole several objects — curious weapons and an optical instrument. This time the police discovered who they were. As more than one of them had been convicted of similar crimes before, we had high hopes that some adequately deterrent sentence would be given. But I was warned: ‘It’ll all be no good if the old woman’s on the bench.’ I had, of course, to attend the juvenile court and all fell out pat as the warning had said. The — let us call her — Elderly Lady presided. It was abundantly proved that the crime had been planned and that it was done for gain: some of the swag had already been sold. The Elderly Lady inflicted a small fine. That is, she punished not the culprits but their parents. But what alarmed me more was her concluding speech to the prisoners. She told them that they must, they really must, give up these ‘stupid pranks’…”

The judge’s remarks sound remarkably current…though, it was 1957. It’s the parents’ fault not the robbers. We need to remember that the rot in culture and society has been more advanced in Europe than here. Yet as you will read this was no “prank”:

“But if her intention was — and I do not doubt that the road on which such justice is leading us all is paved with good ones — to prevent these boys from growing up into confirmed criminals, I question whether her method was well judged. If they listened to her (we may hope they did not) what they carried away was the conviction that planned robbery for gain would be classified as a ‘prank’ — a childishness which they might be expected to grow out of. A better way of leading them on, without any sense of frontiers crossed, from mere inconsiderate romping and plundering orchards to burglary, arson, rape and murder, would seem hard to imagine.’

Mr. Lewis draws the lessons to be learned from this incident in a court of law and in society in general:

“This little incident seems to me characteristic of our age. Criminal law increasingly protects the criminal and ceases to protect his victim. One might fear that we were moving towards a Dictatorship of the Criminals or (what is perhaps the same thing) mere anarchy. But that is not my fear; my fear is almost the opposite.”

Mr. Lewis’ is prescient in his observation about a, “Dictatorship of the Criminals”, and as I write this, mayors and governors want to abolish the police and empty jails and wink at violent protests.  Yet, something equally worse can happen:

“But the classical theory morally grounds our obligation to civil obedience; explains why it is right (as well as unavoidable) to pay taxes, why it is wrong (as well as dangerous) to stab your daughter’s murderer. At present the very uncomfortable position is this: the State protects us less because it is unwilling to protect us against criminals at home and manifestly grows less and less able to protect us against foreign enemies. At the same time it demands from us more and more. We seldom had fewer rights and liberties nor more burdens: and we get less security in return. While our obligations increase their moral ground is taken away…

It is logical that if the State does not enforce the law, then the individual should by taking the law into one’s own hands:

“Much more obviously, on these principles, when the State ceases to protect me from hooligans I might reasonably, if I could, catch and trash them myself. When the State cannot or will not protect, ‘nature’ is come again and the right of self-protection reverts to the individual. But of course if I could and did I should be prosecuted.

But it would be worse, obviously not in the courts of law which can be lenient and subject to the spirit of the age(!), but in the court of public opinion:

“The Elderly Lady and her kind who are so merciful to theft would have no mercy on me; and I should be pilloried in the gutter Press as a ‘sadist’ by journalists who neither know nor care what that word, or any word, means.”

This is a generation before Twitter and Facebook and the dearth of actual journalism! Now Mr. Lewis comes to the opposite of the Dictatorship of the Criminals:

“What I fear, however, is not, or not chiefly, sporadic out-breaks of individual vengeance. I am more afraid, our conditions being so like that of the South after the American Civil War, that some sort of Ku Klux Klan may appear and that this might eventually develop into something like a Right or Central revolution.

For Mr. Lewis, this is wrong but understandable as to who is shortchanged in courts that don’t protect victims:

“For those who suffer are chiefly the provident, the resolute, the men who want to work, who have built up, in the face of implacable discouragement, some sort of life worth preserving and wish to preserve it. That most (by no means all) of them are ‘middle class’ is not very relevant. They do not get their qualities from a class: they belong to that class because they have those qualities. For in a society like ours no stock which has diligence, forethought or talent, and is prepared to practise self-denial, is likely to remain proletarian for more than a generation. They are, in fact, the bearers of what little moral, intellectual, or economic vitality remains. They are not nonentities.”

Remember that in our time our elected elites decry the same people as “deplorables”, “clinging to their God and guns” and the like, that is: “nonentities”.

There is a breaking point:

There is a point at which their patience will snap..The Elderly Lady, if she read this article, would say I was ‘threatening’ — linguistic nicety not being much in her line. If by a threat you mean (but then you don’t know much English) the conjectural prediction of a highly undesirable event, then I threaten. But if by the word threat you imply that I wish for such a result or would willingly contribute to it, then you are wrong.

Here’s the tragedy of the opposite reaction, and revolution itself, any revolution:

Revolutions seldom cure the evil against which they are directed; they always beget a hundred others. Often they perpetuate the old evil under a new name. We may be sure that, if a Ku Klux Klan arose, its ranks would soon be chiefly filled by the same sort of hooligans who provoked it. A Right or Central revolution would be as hypocritical, filthy and ferocious as any other. My fear is lest we should be making it more probable. This may be judged an article unfit for the season of peace and goodwill. Yet there is a connection. Not all kinds of peace are compatible with all kinds of goodwill, nor do all those who say ‘Peace, peace’ inherit the blessing promised to the peacemakers. The real (peacemaking) is he who promotes peace, not he who gasses about it. Peace, peace … we won’t be hard on you … it was only a boyish prank . . . you had a neurosis . . . promise not to do it again . . . out of this in the long run I do not think either goodwill or peace will come. Planting new primroses on the primrose path is no long-term benevolence. There!”

Both sides end up wrong Then Mr. Lewis hears the carolers again:

“They’re at it again. ‘Hark, the herald angel sings.’ They’re knocking louder. Well, they come but fifty times a year. Boxing Day is only two and a half weeks ahead; then perhaps we shall have a little quiet in which to remember the birth of Christ.”

C. S. Lewis seems to intimate that it’s only that Birth do we have hope in this schismatic and violent days.

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Into the Void

My last call as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was here in Lexington, VA and I began in the summer of 2001.  A few months later, the horrific events of 9/11 savaged our nation and the world. A week or two later, some group at Washington and Lee University held some sort of prayer vigil in front of Lee Chapel.  I attended.  We sat on the steps facing the front door of Lee Chapel.  Some university official said something.  We were all given candles and we sat there, with lit candles, saying nothing, staring at our candles.  All of a sudden Quakerism became the public state religion of the day.  Finally, a student started the Lord’s Prayer. I and several others joined in, but not everyone. It was a tepid response. Politically incorrect to publicly pray. After a while, we left.

I found the vain silence void and empty. Stultifying.  But it is not my feeling that is central.  Factually, it was empty and yet with the cauldron of individual thoughts and feelings simmering in a hundred or so souls with no leadership to express those thoughts and feelings…and at a university. 

Back in 2001, Christianity had already been removed from that public square in front of Lee Chapel, not by law (we do still have the 1st Amendment) but by the practice of those who now practice little or no public religion.  The public square was factually void in the faces of the murder of 3,000 fellow Americans, black, white, Asian, American, foreigners, gay, straight, Christian, Jewish and probably some Muslims. Nothing was said and maybe that was the correct response, but emptiness cries out to be filled.  Nineteen years later we are witnessing what the public square devoid of the Church is being filled with:  a religious fanaticism with no God except a cause. Racism is a sin but now its more:  sin is racism and the skin color white is sin.  Penitence is forced on people in the streets.  There is no offer of forgiveness.  Only more breast beating which is never enough:  penance without stopping. This new religion has filled the void with violence against bodies, property and souls. It won’t stop.

The Lord in His Church sends His Church into the void with the Gospel of the Kingdom.  The Lord judges us justly by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin.  The Lord wills to free  the oppressed and the oppressor.  We are called to kneel to pray and rise to serve.  We are called to kneel to serve and yet serve no man or cause as we would God.  We are freed by Jesus Christ to pray…even in places filled with dread silence or dread violence. We need to point in public to Jesus Christ. Help us, good Lord.

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Almighty God, who called Your faithful servant Boniface to be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland, and by his labor and suffering raised up a people for Your own possession, pour forth Your Holy Spirit upon your Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many Your holy Name may be glorified and Your kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Biography:  Boniface was born in the late seventh century in England. Though he was educated, became a monk, and was ordained as a presbyter in England, he was inspired by the example of others to become a missionary.  The 8th century the Church was international: Rome, England, Germany, Frisia (Holland) were all part of the Boniface’s bio and mission.   The Word created the uncommon common culture of the Church. Upon receiving a papal commission in 719 to work in Germany, Boniface devoted himself to planting, organizing, and reforming churches and monasteries in Hesse, Thuringia, and Bavaria. After becoming an archbishop, Boniface was assigned to the See of Mainz in 743. Ten years later he resigned his position to engage in mission work in the Netherlands. On June 5, 754,  Pentecost that year, and at sunrise, while reading the Gospel to a group of the newly Baptized, a band of pagan Frisians attacked Boniface and the neophytes.  Boniface and the neophytes were massacred. According to reports, Boniface was carrying a Bible and it was stabbed. So his emblem is the one you see above. In Fulda, Germany, are the remains of Boniface along with the purported Gospel book he was holding with slash marks. Boniface died while catechizing. He was around 80 years old.

Reflection:  The movie clip is from “The Avengers”.  In this scene the Norse God Thor and Loki are battling and Captain America goes to fight them, but before he does he delivers one of my favorite lines of any from this movie genre:

Yes, this is a strange clip for a saint’s commemoration but the false god Thor has a connection with Boniface!  

The greatest, most noted and spectacular event in Boniface’s mission work occurred in 723, when he returned to the mission fields in Hesse.  There was an oak that was considered to be “sacred” to the Thor.  The people thought that if anything happened to it, the people would be punished.  This is superstitious but it really is the thinking of the Old Adam’s works righteousness that I better appease God or a god, so I don’t get it. When Boniface returned, one of his first acts, 

“…was to fell the sacred oak tree of Thor (a Norse god), at Geisman in the region of Hesse.  When Boniface was not struck down by the ‘god’, many people were converted and Boniface built a chapel in honor of St. Peter with wood from the tree.” (Festivals and Commemorations by Rev. Phillip Pfatteicher)

Nowadays progressive Protestants and Roman Catholics would probably want to form a dialogue with Norse ‘theologians’, but Boniface and company preached the Gospel, the Bible, Christian morals and catechized and educated the people…without compromising to the pagan worldview nor the corrupt priests Boniface disciplined (1). Only Christ saves, not our religious works. 

The Church was built and the Lord was the builder.  Even a script writer for The Avengers got it right about Thor: “Ma’am, there is only one God and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that”.  He dressed in our flesh in the fullness of time to bear our sin and be our Savior.  Boniface was dress in Jesus Christ so that many could hear the Word and be saved.  If you want to read more about Boniface read this.  It is so clear from the Bible, Church history, as it was in the ministry of Boniface, the mission work of our forebears to this land, who built churches, hospitals, orphanages, schools, colleges, seminaries, that the work of His Church is to build and edify through mortar and in mortals, because God so loved the world He gave His only-begotten Son.  

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(1)  From a letter from Bp. Boniface to Bp. Daniel of Winchester, “…we have fightings within as well as fears, caused especially by false priests and hypocrites, enemies of God, ruining themselves, misleading the people with scandals and false doctrines, and crying to them, as the prophet says, “Peace! Peace! when there is no peace.”  They strive to cover and choke with weeds or to turn into poisonous grain the seed of the Word which we have received from the bosom of the Catholic and Apostolic Church and have tried to sow.  What we plant they do not water that it may increase but try to uproot that it may wither away, offering to the people and teaching them new divisions and errors of divers sorts…that murderers and adulterers who persist in their crimes may nevertheless be priests of God.”

St Boniface of Mainz | Saint quotes catholic, Words of wisdom love ...

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This coming Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday (7 June 2020) and in the three year lectionary the Old Testament reading is Genesis 1:1-2: 4, The Narrative of the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth. At this time of writing, we are still in the threat of corona virus and now the protests and riots because of the senseless death of George Floyd. The riots have laid siege to many American cities, now on top of three months of a quarantine of well people. This past week our government, working with a private space company launched two Americans into space, from our native land for the first time in some ten years.

These current events reminded me of a similar, and maybe worse time, in American history: 1968. I was thirteen and it happened to be the year of my Confirmation In ’68 Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were

1968 Democratic National Convention: A 'week of hate' - BBC News

assassinated. After King’s assassination protests then riots engulfed many cities. This was after previous race riots a few years prior. The Vietnam War was at it’s depths and student protests, sometimes violent, were being staged across the country. The Democrat Party Convention was held in the summer in Chicago and riots and protests encircled the convention center.

And in 1968, a significant event in the American space program happened: Apollo 8 went to the moon, not to land, but just to see if NASA could send a crew to the moon, go around it and safely return. On December 24, Christmas Eve, the three man crew broadcast live from the moon. This was the first time mankind had seen the earth from space but the astronauts did something amazing and wonderful in the end of a year of horrors:

I watched this with my Father and we were joyfully taken aback that the astronauts read from the Bible! The next day, Christmas, one of the astronauts prayed this prayer:

Give us, O God, the vision which can see thy love in the world in spite of human failure. Give us the faith to trust the goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness. Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts, and show us what each one of us can do to set forth the coming of the day of universal peace. Amen.

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Roman historian Pliny (AD 23/24–79): “(The Christians) asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so.”

Concordia and Koinonia

Biography: born at the beginning of the second
century, Justin was raised in a pagan family. He was a student
ofphilosophy who converted to the Christian faith and became a teacher in
Ephesus and Rome. Afterrefusing to make pagan sacrifices, he was
arrested, tried and executed, along with six other believers. They were
beheaded. The official Roman court proceedings of his trial before Rusticius,
a Roman prelate, document hisconfession of faith. The account of his
martyrdom became a source of great encouragement to the earlyChristian
community. Much of what we know of early liturgical practice comes from Justin.

It seems that Sunday
as the “Little Easter”, the day the Lord rose again from the dead,
has been the day of worship from the beginning for the Church and it was not
convenient. As described by Justin Martyr:

On the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same…

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Pentecost Sunday around the world in 2020 | Office Holidays

Readings: Numbers 11:24–30  Psalm 25: 1-15 Acts 2:1–21 St. John 7:37–39

The Risen Lord Jesus Pours Out the Holy Spirit:  The Lord took “some of the Spirit” that was on Moses “and put it on the seventy elders” of Israel (Num. 11:25), and they “prophesied in the camp” (Num. 11:26). In the same way, our risen Lord Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit at the Feast of Pentecost — the 50th day and the “Eighth Sunday” of Easter. When “a sound like a mighty rushing wind” and “tongues as of fire appeared” and rested on each of the 12 apostles, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” and proclaimed “the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:2–4, 11). The Lord Jesus grants this same Spirit to His Church on earth to proclaim Him glorified on the cross and risen victorious from the grave for us sinners. From His open heart, our crucified and risen Lord pours out His Holy Spirit in “rivers of living water” (John 7:38) and invites everyone who thirsts to come to Him and drink freely (John 7:37). Through this life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, we hear our pastors “telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11), and “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

Vexillology is the study of flags. What color on the flags above stand out?  

The header photo on top, and on your right is the Altar at Concordia Lutheran Mission for Pentecost.  In the Church Year, the color is red for Pentecost, symbolizing the fire of the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire that rested on the ApostlesWe put up the flags as a reminder that beginning at Pentecost, and to this day, 2,000 years later that the nations hear the Word of God in their own language (Acts 2:  6 and 11). The Lord is the Lord of all nations.

Red is also the color for the Altar (paraments)  and Pastor (vestments) for the feast days of martyrs.  Red signifies blood.  In the flags of nations, shedding of blood can mean valor and strength.  Valor and strength risking one’s life in defense of a nation: remember D-Day. Red also signifies the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s fire to burn away the dross of sin (the Law) and lightened us with warmth of the light of the world, Jesus Christ, and for the valor and strength of the martyrs who confessed Christ with their blood.

The blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit is for you!  Jesus died for the life of the world. The many flags of the world with the color of red can be a salutary reminder that God so loved the world, He gave His only-begotten Son.  His blood covers the earth. In an intimate connection, red can remind us of the Holy Spirit:  The Holy Spirit who is God before time and in the beginning,  “…was hovering over the face of the waters.”  (Genesis 1). The Holy Spirit who descended on the 120 Galileans gathered in Jerusalem and then gave the gift of language to speak the Gospel for all the nations gathered there for Pentecost (Acts 2: 6-11).  The Holy Spirit, as the Son taught concerning the Spirit, “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16: 14). 

The Holy Spirit’s book is the Bible and the core curriculum is Christ for us and for our salvation.  Many translations of the Bible have the words of Christ in the color of red. The Lord sends out the Apostles as witnesses (John 16:27), with the Spirit to forgive and retain sin (John 20: 21-23).  He sent them baptizing and teaching  “all nations”  (Matthew 28: 19-20): all races, tribes, tongues and peoples.  As we are baptized in the Name of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.  This is for all nations as even the secular flags of the world give mute witness to the Lord of all nations shedding His blood for the life of the world and sending the Holy Spirit in His Church to preach the Blood of Christ. The Holy Spirit witnesses to the Son in His blood of the New Testament beginning in Baptismal waters, as John sums it up for us:

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify:the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son.  (1 John 3)

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20)

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Lessons: Isaiah 11: 1-5 Psalm 138 Romans 12: 9-16 St. Luke 1: 39-56

Almighty God, You chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Your Son and made known through her Your gracious regard for the poor and lowly and despised. Grant that we may receive Your Word in humility and faith, and so be made one with Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities  is set in  London and Paris, powerful world capitals, during the seismic upheaval of the French Revolution.  Another familiar fiction title referencing twin power centers is from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the second book, The Two Towers.  The one tower  is in the land of Mordor and the other in Isengard:  the former  tower is in the dark abode of the dark lord, Sauron  and the latter, under the control of a ‘white’ wizard Saruman tempted and fallen into the lies of Sauron. Saruman’s is called the Black Tower.  Closer to home, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan were a conspicuous sign of corporate power and influence, no doubt the reason for them being a target for the murderers from the east.

Luke began his Gospel with the narrative of the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus and so the central figures are their Mothers: Elizabeth and Mary and the story of  their pregnancies.  Luke chapter 1 could be called, “The Tale of Two Wombs”.   

Reflect with me on the contrast between a tale of two cities and the Tale of Two Wombs.  Elizabeth bore John, the forerunner of the Christ, and Mary, the Mother of the Lord.  Both narratives have this in common: both are about power, but power of wholly/holy different kinds. Yes, power exerts influence over nations and peoples but Tolkien’s two towers  are about the power to wage war with the engines of war.    The blessed wombs of Elizabeth and Mary are about peace, the peace of God which surpasses understanding which keeps our hearts and minds in Christ (Philippians 4:7).  The cities and towers of this world offer temporal peace, the children of Elizabeth and Mary give eternal peace, not as the world gives. 

The influence of the two different twos make are considerable.  The former is terror over the hearts and minds of men and the latter comfort for sinners to repent from hatred and greed to the living God. The Gospel midst the terrors of nations is that war will one day cease and the peace of Kingdom of God will have no end.  The tale of two cities and towers are about death. The tale of the two wombs are about life, eternal life.

The figures of Saruman and Sauron fascinate us with their aura, even mysticism of the raw exercise of influence…and evil. The origin of the word “fascinate” is most interesting:

“1590s, “bewitch, enchant,” from Middle French fasciner (14c.), from Latin fascinatus, past participle of fascinare “bewitch, enchant, fascinate,” from fascinus “a charm, enchantment, spell, witchcraft,” which is of uncertain origin. Earliest used of witches and of serpents, who were said to be able to cast a spell by a look that rendered one unable to move or resist. Sense of “delight, attract and hold the attention of” is first recorded 1815.

“To fascinate is to bring under a spell, as by the power of the eye; to enchant and to charm are to bring under a spell by some more subtle and mysterious power. [Century Dictionary] (Online Etymology Dictionary)

The point is another comparison between the ‘twos of this world” and the two wombs, the true stories of Elizabeth and Mary, and it lies with us, the Old Adam and Eve wanting to be like God, controlling good and evil…or we think we can. We enjoy  and are fascinated by those who are apt at the exercise of power in this world, but the tale of two wombs is  not fascinating because this is power sadly foreign in the world of sin: the power to create life and recreate life.

“Fascinate” has to do with being bewitched, under a spell.  Man needs something to break that spell.  In the stillness of the Visitation we drawn away from spells of the evil one. In Luke chapter 1, is the Verbal icon of  the sheer beauty of these two women. It is my opinion that the thousands of painting and icons of the Visitation are mute proof of the joy of this embrace.  There is no joy in Mordor nor at a guillotine, and joy abounded when Mary visits Elizabeth. When Mary goes to see Elizabeth, her kinswoman, the encounter is celebrated with this feast day:  The Visitation.  This visitation is no “power lunch”, no high stakes conference.  The Visitation is beautiful because of the great grace of God unveiled in their wombs for the fallen sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve.  There is no beauty in Mordor nor at a guillotine because it is devoid of agape, of love.  There is power  in the Visitation: the power to save and give life not to destroy and take life. If the fascination of the Old Adam is a spell and the enchantment of evil (and I think it is), then the Visitation begins to break the spell.    This is the true story of the light shining in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1) The spell is broken finally and fully at the Cross of the Son of Mary. He breaks the power of sin and evil and gives eternal life.

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Pentecost Eve

Lessons:

Exodus 19:1-9  Psalm 113   Romans 8:12-27  St. John 14:8-21

 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, the Holy Spirit is publicly poured 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, that is, His Church so that the Word is preached, taught, 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 in the Resurrection and the new heavens and earth: 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 and so make us holy. 

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 in the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ.  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.

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Concordia and Koinonia

Lessons:

Exodus 19:1-9  Psalm 113   Romans 8:12-27  St. John 14:8-21

 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, the Holy Spirit is publicly poured 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…

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