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“You are witnesses to the sovereignty of Christ, a sovereignty now disputed but one day to be acknowledged by all.”

Concordia and Koinonia

The following homily was delivered by Fr. Neuhaus at the annual Memorial Mass of the Military Vicariate at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on the Feast of the Ascension, 2007.  I came across this sermon at First Things and it can be foundhere. I have taken the liberty of dividing the sermon into paragraphs. Fr. Neuhaus was a Lutheran Pastor before he joined the  Roman Catholic Church. This sermon is for military chaplains, and yet for all pastors and congregations.  Fr. Neuhaus was well read and you will find a wealth of quotes in it.  Ad Maiorum Dei Gloriam.  A blessed Ascension Day to all! 

The Scripture texts just read are for this day, the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord. And they could hardly be more fitting also for this Memorial Mass of the Archdiocese for Military Services. The Ascension of God incarnate…

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Scripture Readings:
Acts 1:1–11
Psalm 47
Ephesians 1:15–23
St. Luke 24:44–53

Collect of the Day: Almighty God, as Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Christ Ascended Is with You Always
In His resurrection, the Lord Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles, “appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Then He ascended to the right hand of the Father, not orphaning His Church, but filling all things in heaven and on earth, and giving gifts to His disciples. So today, He continues to preach “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 24:47) through “the apostles whom he had chosen” (Acts 1:2), even “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Jesus comes among us today by His Word and Spirit, whom He pours out upon “the church, which is his body” (Eph. 1:22–23). In His Church, He blesses us with forgiveness, lifts us up in His hands and seats us with Himself “in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:20)

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“…to debate Western clerics who insisted on the tradition of using only Hebrew, Greek, and Latin for worship, which the Slavonic sources deride as the “trilingual heresy” or “Pilatian heresy” (after Pilate’s use of those three languages for the sign on Christ’s cross (John 19:20) ). (Cyril) is said to have responded with St. Paul’s words: “that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord” (Phil. 2: 11)

Concordia and Koinonia

“…we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” Acts 2: 10b

Cyril (826-69) and Methodius (c. 815-85) were brothers who came from a Greek family in Thessalonica.The younger brother took the name “Cyril” when he became a monk in 868. After ordination, Cyrilbecame librarian at the church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) in Constantinople. In 862 the brotherswere sent by the emperor as missionaries to what is now the Czech republic, where they taught in thenative Slavic tongue. Cyril invented the alphabet today know today as “Cyrillic,” which provided awritten language for the liturgy and Scriptures for the Slavic peoples. This use of the vernacularestablished an important principle for evangelical missions. (Bio source: LCMS, Commemorations)

In aninformative article in the May/June 2013 edition of Touchstone,“The Thessalonian Brothers: The Legacy of the Mission of Cyril and Methodius 1,150 Years Later”, on the way to…

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Protesters recently spray painted the Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Boulder, CO in light of the leak of the Justice Alito’s opinion draft on Roe vs. Wade

Lord of all power and might, author and giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

You may have read or heard about leak of the Supreme Court Justice Alito’s preliminary draft on reversing Roe vs. Wade.  From today’s Federalist articles, these two quotes capture the spiritually sick angst of those who are pro-abortion and their reaction to this draft:

“…the liberal writer Thomas Chatterton Williams recently tweeted that it is “Hard to imagine anything more dystopian than being forced to give birth.””.

And this one:

“Here’s my feeling about the leaker. I would like to find out who the leaker is, so I could make sweet love to that person, because that person is a hero to me. Okay?” she said on MSNBC’s “Ayman,” hosted by Ayman Mohyeldin.

“And if the leaker — a lot of people are saying it could be a conservative — if the leaker is a Republican, and if I get pregnant during our lovemaking, I will joyfully abort our fetus, and let them know,” she continued.

The quotes are just the tip of the iceberg as to the pro-death response to this preliminary draft, as many have taken to protest in front of some of the justice’s homes…and as we saw in the “summer of love”, 2021, those protests turned destructive and violent, violence looms with  all these new wave of reactions.

If you are shocked, then that means you are alive and truly woke to life as God has made us and redeemed us. And the truly woke life in Christ, as He is the Good Shepherd and the Father,  “… wakened from death the Shepherd” of His sheep has awoken us to the meaning of life and eternal life.  The Collect of the Day for the 4th  Sunday of Easter continues, and so, “… grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads”.  We must follow His lead and His Way is a hard way.  Personally, when I read those dismal and sad quotes, I want to knock some heads in real time or in the surreal time of the internet.  This is not serving our neighbor as our God-given goal is to save life and lives.  Vengeance and anger is not the way of Christ our Good Shepherd as we must Him, and not follow our leads from our  hearts which are prone to anger. 

We are first to pray, as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount:  “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5: 44).  You see what I mean:  His Way is the hard and narrow way. Vengeance, even vengeful feelings, only leads to more vengeance and hatred.

Second,11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” (Eph. 5).  A.  We do not participate in any works of darkness and we know what those are from the Lord’s Ten Commandments. B. We are to expose them…which will expose us to ire and even retribution.  But if we are not trained by the Lord to pray and be at peace in His peace, we risk again vengeance and hatred.

Again, the Way of Christ, the way of the cross, the way of life is hard.  We may be responding to people with “seared consciences” 1 Timothy 4:2.  In such a confrontation, and their response could be vile. It may be the best we can do is invite them to Church and let the chips fall where they may! It won’t do to engage in an argument, an endless Facebook ‘discussion’ and the like.

Third, in exposing the “unfruitful works of darkness”, we must expose them so that other fellow Christians in our Congregations may know and pray.  Maybe you and I won’t be the ones to lead our brothers and sisters into or in the fray, but someone may be called by the Lord to do so in Christ with others in His paths of righteousness. And so I posted these quotes with these reflections.

Psalm 25

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
    let me not be put to shame;
    let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
    they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.

Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

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Psalm 23: 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies

 Eat and Drink His Word

Luther:  When one has the Word and in faith clings to it firmly, these enemies, who otherwise are invincible, must all yield and let themselves be taken captive. It is, however, a wonderful victory and power, also a very proud and haughty boast on the part of the  believers, that they may compel and conquer all these horrible and, as it were, almighty enemies — not by raging, biting, resisting, striking back, avenging, seeking counsel and help here and there, but by eating, drinking, rejoicing, sitting, being happy, and resting. All of this, as we have said, is accomplished through the Word. For in Scripture “eating and drinking” means believing and clinging firmly to the Word; and from this proceed peace, joy, comfort, strength, and the like.

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The Creator’s work are wonders to behold! The Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed is the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. His creation of us all, fallen into sin, is recreated in Him and we look towards the new creation, the new heavens and earth. The risen Lord preserves His old creation for our benefit so many will come to faith by His good and perfect work of the preaching of the Gospel, witnessed and powered by the Holy Spirit as He calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies His Church, and so….

It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God. And most especially are we bound to praise You on this day for the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, the very Paschal Lamb, who was sacrificed for us and bore the sins of the world. By His dying He has destroyed death, and by His rising again He has restored to us everlasting life. Therefore with Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, and with all the witnesses of the resurrection, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He, blessed is He, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest. Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might: heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

(Proper Preface for Easter, Lutheran Service Book, The Divine Service, Holy Communion)

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Quotes from On the Incarnation:

  • “The Savior is working mightily among men, every day He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world, both within and beyond the Greek-speaking world, to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching.  Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt that He has risen and lives, or rather that He is Himself the Life?  Does a dead man prick the consciences of men, so that they throw all the traditions of their fathers to the winds and bow down before the teaching of Christ?  If He is no longer active in the world, as He must needs be if He is dead, how is that He makes the living to cease from their activities, the adulterer for his adultery, the murderer from murdering, the unjust from avarice, while the profane and godless man becomes religious?  If He did not rise, but is still dead, how is it that He routs and persecutes and overthrows the false gods, whom unbelievers think to be alive, and the evil spirits whom they worship?  For where Christ is named, idolatry is destroyed and the fraud of evil spirits is exposed; indeed, no such spirit can endure that Name, but takes to flight on sound of it.  This is the work of One Who lives, not of one dead; and, more than that, it is the work of God.
  • “For of what use is existence to the creature if it cannot know its Maker?”
  • “….it was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down, our transgression that called out His love for us, so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us. It is we who were the cause of His taking human form, and for our salvation that in His great love He was both born and manifested in a human body.”
  • “How could He have called us if He had not been crucified, for it is only on the cross that a man dies with arms outstretched?”
  • “He deals with them*  as a good teacher with his pupils, coming down to their level and using simple means. St. Paul says as much: “Because in the wisdom of God the world in its wisdom knew not God, God. thought fit through the simplicity of the News proclaimed to save those who believe.” (1 Cor. 1: 23) I Men had turned from the contemplation of God above, and were looking for Him in , the opposite direction, down among created things and things of sense. The Saviour of us all, the Word of God, in His great love took to Himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, halfway.” *Please note: them”=us!  By this time in his book, Athanasius has portrayed Biblically and correctly man as an idolater, Romans 1, doomed to death on account of sin and disobedience and so the sheer wonder of the Incarnation-Pr. Schroeder
  • For biographical information on the Saint: link here.

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The appointed OT lesson for today are verses from Exodus 32 with the description of the building of the Ark of the Covenant with this important detail, the emphasis is my own:

12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 1The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 

Why were the poles to remain and not taken out? They were designed to be taken out! My guess is that in the desert pilgrimage to the Promised Land, the Ark was always ready to be moved, at a moment’s notice.  It was quite practical, always at the ready.  Surely, when the Ark of the Covenant would be one day brought into the Temple, then they would be taken out. Right?

After Solomon’s Temple was completed, the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies, We are told in 1 Kings 8: 8,

And the poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the Holy Place before the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside”.

But now, in the Temple itself, could they not have been taken out as the Ark was in its right place?  The poles were of course still there in the rings per the Lord’s command in Exodus 25.  To make matters more puzzling:  Since the poles did not fit in the Holy of Holies as they stuck out, then was this an accident in planning? Hardly, after all this was the Temple of the LORD.  It was on purpose.  Why? As if the Ark were ready to be moved again, from the Temple? But the Temple was permanent?  Guess not, as it is not there today in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount.

Generally speaking, we see temples and churches as permanent structures, but they are not permanent, that is, forever (see Hebrews 13:14) .  Maybe that was the point:  The Ark could be removed from the Temple.  

And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 1 Samuel 4:21

The glory of the Ark could depart. The  Temple would be destroyed by the Babylonians because of God’s judgment on His peoples’ idolatry and immorality. Can God’s glory depart a church because of the same idolatry and immorality?  Answer: Yes. The Lord always offers the hope of repentance but if repentance and confession of sin is consistently refused, there is the point of no return.

The Temple would be rebuilt  and destroyed again. Were the obvious poles an obvious reminder to faithful Israel alone, not those on the outside, that the Lord moved with His people and could so again?

Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling,  2 Samuel 7

The Lord had been moving about in the tent for a long time. Much later, in the time of prophets, the Lord spoke through Hosea that this time of the exodus was as betrothal of steadfast love for Israel as He moved with them. The Lord did not want a temple because the Lord had bigger plans. The Lord promised David more than a temple, He promised Him a Son, a house that would stand forever as no physical Temple ever could and it was fulfilled:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

There is another very unique Greek word in this verse for “dwelt among us”. ἐσκήνωσεν, eskanosen, the root word being “skin”, as in animal skins used for tent material, as the Tabernacle in Exodus!  Literally, the Word tabernacled in the flesh amongst us, and  as the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle and inside, the Ark of the Covenant, but now His glory is in His perfect Son Jesus Christ, who is the Temple not made with human hands (see St. John 2: 13-22; 4: 21-26), now and forever and unto the ages of ages.  For our justification, forgiveness, the poles are the feet of Jesus Christ:  Christ is risen!  He moves with His faithful Church, His Body!


We deserve but grief and shame,
Yet His words, rich grace revealing,
Pardon, peace, and life proclaim;
Here our ills have perfect healing.
Firmly in these words believe:
Jesus sinners doth receive.
—Jesus Sinners Doth Receive(LSB 609:2)

Prayer of the Day

O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our frailty we have brought upon ourselves, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) was founded on April 26, 1847, when 12 pastors representing 14 congregations from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, New York and Ohio signed the church body’s constitution at First St. Paul Lutheran Church, Chicago. Since that time, the LCMS has endured many trials and triumphs — all by the grace of God.

Originally named The German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States, the name was shortened to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in 1947 on the occasion of our 100th anniversary.

The roots of the LCMS run deep, tracing back to Saxon and other German immigrants establishing a new church body in America, seeking the freedom to practice and follow confessional Lutheranism.

The central person in the founding of the LCMS was Dr. C.F.W. Walther. This biographical sketch and the information above is from the LCMS website and for more info about the founding of the LCMS: lcms.org/175

“Preach the Law in All Its Sternness and the Gospel in All Its Sweetness”-Dr. Walther


Pastor, Professor and Synod Founder

BORN: OCTOBER 25, 1811 Langenchursdorf, Saxony, Germany

DIED: MAY 7, 1887 Saint Louis, Missouri

OF ALL THE FOUNDERS of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the best known is C.F.W. Walther — and deservedly so. Walther was the Synod’s first president; president and professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; pastor of the first four Lutheran churches in St. Louis; and the Synod’s most prominent and influential theologian. Walther’s story begins in Germany. He was born into a pastor’s family, and his formal education equipped him to follow his father’s footsteps into the ministry of the Lutheran church. And so he did. He was ordained on January 15, 1837, and installed as pastor of a small rural parish.

By that time, Walther was under the influence of Pastor Martin Stephan, who had given him comforting spiritual advice while Walther was a student.  So when Stephan sent word that it was time for everyone to leave the corrupt Lutheran church in Germany for the United States, where they could confess the faith and practice it freely according to the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions, Walther decided to go. There were several other young pastors and would-be pastors, along with members of the congregations they served, who joined the Stephanite migration in 1838–39, about 700 people in all.

By the spring of 1839, they had made it to Missouri, founded the first Lutheran church in St. Louis, and purchased land about a hundred miles south of St. Louis in order to establish communities and congregations committed to pure Lutheranism. Then disaster struck.

A handful of women in the congregation confessed to sexual immorality with Pastor Stephan. Although he denied the charges, the clergy and lay leadership, including Walther, believed the women and exiled Stephan from their midst.

But now what? Several of the clergy, including Walther, felt very guilty for following a hypocrite and for misleading people into abandoning their homeland. Walther himself fell seriously ill and had to give up his ministry.

During his convalescence, however, Walther devoted himself to studying the Scriptures, the Confessions and Luther himself, so that, about two years after Stephan’s fall, Walther began providing biblical answers about the situation of the Saxons. At just about the same time, the St. Louis congregation called him as their pastor. A few years later he began publishing a church paper, Der Lutheraner, with a motto that summarized Walther’s theology: “God’s Word and Luther’s doctrine shall never pass away.” These twin commitments summarize his preaching, teaching and writing.

By the time the Missouri Synod began in 1847, Walther was already recognized as a gifted theologian. The Synod chose him to be its first president and a few years later to lead the seminary.

Dr. and Mrs. Walther’s Gravesite, Concordia Cemetery, St. Louis, MO

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