“For just as fire is an effective, active thing and always climbs upward, so also will the fire of love and devotion be effective and active in us, lifting up our hearts towards God.”

Concordia and Koinonia

Road to Emmaus. Source: Orthodox Christian Network: http://myocn.net

Introduction: The Eastern Orthodox Churches have a great custom by calling the first week of the Paschal (Easter) Season “Bright Week”.  A great way to begin the 50 Days of Pascha leading to Pentecost, as we look at what our risen Lord taught His Church for her life and mission into the world.   Easter, like Christmas, is not only a day each, but  a season each. In the Lutheran Church, we have midweek Lenten services but I think we should also have midweek Paschal services in this bright season.

Further, as Lent is time of preparation for seekers to be Baptized, then the Paschal Season is a time for the newly baptized, and the ‘oldly’ baptized as well, to be instructed in the Way of the Lord more fully.

Today’s Gospel lesson is The Road to Emmaus and so this quote…

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“Deny not your Master even under opposition. “But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father Who is in heaven.” So long as we are hated, we are worth troubling about. The church that would give only a moral tone to secular movements can die of its own emptiness. If the pagan forces of the world left us untouched, if they did not calumniate us, seek to destroy us, set up rival claimants to the soul, it would mean that we would have lost our influence, that our touch was gone, our stars did no longer shine.”

“Do men shake fists over the tomb of Napoleon? Do armies storm and rage against the grave of Mohammed? Do forces assault the tomb of Lenin? These men are dead. But they do storm the citadel of Christ; they do rage against His Spouse; they do kill the members of His Body; they do try to stifle the young hearts that would breathe His name in school. Therefore, Christ must be alive today in His Body which is the Church.”   From Characters of the Passion (1947) by Bp. Sheen

Holy Wednesday

6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us-Romans 5

Concordia and Koinonia

COLLECT OF THE DAY:Merciful andeverlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him, that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever.

READINGS:Isaiah 62:11-63:7Psalm 70 Romans 5:6-11St. Luke 22:1-23:56 or St. John 13:16-38

Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory is set in the 1920s Mexico when the Roman Catholic Church has been suppressed.  Priests are not allowed to say Mass.  The main character is an unnamed priest, given to whiskey, who goes about the country saying clandestine Masses.  In the scene quoted below he is in a shed and a mestizo is crawling in the…

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Readings of the Day

Isaiah 49:1–7 Psalm 71:1–14 1 Corinthians 1:18–25 (26–31) Mark 14:1—15:47 or John 12:23–50

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, grant us by Your grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s passion that we may obtain the forgiveness of our sins; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Christ Comes to the Hour of His Cross in Order to Bring You to the Father in Himself

The Son of God has come in the flesh, as the Servant of His God and Father, not only “to bring Jacob back to him,” but also “as a light for the nations” (Is. 49:5–6). He is “honored in the eyes of the Lord,” and the Father is glorified in Him, because He speaks and acts as the Father has commanded (Is. 49:3, 5; John 12:28, 49). As the light of the world, He comes to the hour of His cross, that He might “draw all people” to Himself (John 12:23, 27, 32). Those who thus believe in Him do not remain in darkness but walk in the light and follow Him through death into life, in order to be with Him where He is (John 12:26, 35, 46). Crucified and risen from the dead, Christ Jesus is your life and your salvation, “who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). And by the foolish preaching of His cross, which is the power and wisdom of God, you are saved through faith (1 Cor. 1:21–24).


“What, then has Christ acquired with His suffering?  …that through Christ’s wounds we were made whole. Therefore, St. Bernard correctly states that Christ’s suffering is of the greatest consequence;  for just as the death of the saint is precious to the Lord, Psalm 116, how much more will not the death of this most holy, innocent Son of God be precious to Him.  This element must threaded through the entire passion history, for the kernel and beneficial contemplation of the passion is embodied in it.  Thus Christ’s soul was grieved unto death so that we might rejoice forever.  Christ sweated bloody sweat and struggled in the throes of death so that we need never despair in the agony of death.  Christ was led to captivity so that we would not have to eternally captive to the devil. Christ was bound so that He could rescue us from the bonds of sin and hell… ” (from An Explanation of the History of the Suffering and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ by Rev. Prof. Johann Gerhard)


Isaiah 50:5–10 Palm 36: 5-10 Hebrews 9:11–15 St. Matthew 26:1—27:66 or St. John 12:1–23

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weaknesses we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Our Merciful and Great High Priest Is Anointed for Our Eternal Redemption

In raising His friend Lazarus from the dead, Jesus signified His own approaching death and resurrection. For His hour had come, and His Passion was at hand. It is thus in preparation for His burial that Mary, the sister of Lazarus, “anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair” (John 12:3, 7). For He is the Christ, a “high priest of the good things that have come,” who now offers “himself without blemish to God,” to redeem us “by means of his own blood” (Heb. 9:11–12, 14). As the true Man, He does so with confidence that He will “not be put to shame,” since His God and Father is at hand to help Him and to vindicate Him, even from death (Is. 50:7–8). He enters with His flesh and blood “into the holy places,” so that “those who are called” may enter with Him into “the promised eternal inheritance” of the new covenant (Heb. 9:12, 15). The pleasing fragrance of His sacrifice fills His Church, and all those whom He raises from the dead with His Gospel are invited to recline “with him at table” (John 12:1–3).


Lent is not about following our passions, but the passion of the Lord.  The true story of Holy Week.  His love for us is passionate, as He suffered. His is our only passion. His whole life is His passion.  His passion is for us and for our salvation.  He felt first His passion, in the first drops of His blood in His circumcision.

  • His passion is not for material wealth, but the riches of His grace for us all. 
  • His passion is not to seek to be loved, but to love.
  • His passion is not for the kingdoms of this world, but His kingdom, His reign.
  • His passion is not to be served, but to serve. 
  • His passion is not to condemn, but to forgive.
  • His passion is not to be number 1 but to give His life as a ransom for many.
  • His passion is not for the eternal death of sinners but that sinners repent and come to Him, as He said:  His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 
  • His passion is not for sin but for sinners. 
  • His passion is not to fool people, but lead His People.
  • His passion is not to expel people and so lose them but to find the lost.

Lent is about putting to death sinful passions to see more clearly His Passion; and His  Passion makes us clean and clear. We are baptized into Christ Jesus’ baptism as He enters into Jerusalem, as He enters us, we follow His passion not to be served, but to serve; not first to be loved, but to love;  not in helping our selves to sin, but helping a fellow sinner, a fellow saint to Christ;  not to be lost but to be found in Him.  Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.

St. Matthew 27: “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God

Brothers and sisters in Christ, please note that today’s sermon text is on the front cover of the bulletin.  Only St. Matthew tells us this in the Crucifixion narrative of the rocks splitting and:  52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”  Only St. Matthew has in his reporting of the Crucifixion such a close connection within his narrative of the crucifixion with the Resurrection:  that these saints came out of  the tombs after the Lord rose from the dead, they went into Jerusalem.  Martin Luther in his Easter Hymn, “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands”, has this lyric:   It was a strange and dreadful strife/when life and death contended.” I think that lyric describes these verses and the entire Crucifixion to a tee, darkness over the land, earthquakes, the sun not shining and the Man in the middle praying for His executioners. Here the great Temple curtain covering the Holy of Holies signifies in Matthew’s Gospel the destruction of the Temple some 30 years after the events on Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday that Jesus foretold:  an apocalyptic event indeed! Even greater, the blood of Jesus’ holy and innocent blood shed for them, for you and I.

Besides a reference to an earthquake in Acts, earthquakes are only reported in the Gospels…and the Book of Revelation, 5 times! Revelation in Greek is “apocalypse”.  The time sequence in Matthew is difficult to reconstruct but it is about a definite time:  the end of the world. Good Friday is apocalypse now. Jesus in the Gospels teaches that earthquake is a sign of the end…and the new heavens and earth and the resurrection of the dead. Here in Matthew’s Gospel the saints appeared, not on Good Friday but Easter Sunday, “…after His resurrection”.  The Crucifixion of the Word made flesh is the end of the world, at least a foretaste of the end of the world.  This is a strange and dreadful strife because sin and death are strange and dreadful, as is the power of the devil.   It’s The End of the World As We Know It.  And that’s a song title which continues: “And I Feel Fine”. It’s more It’s the end of the world as we know it…and we are forgiven. 

What is the world? Pastor Lou Smith preached it well:

“In this creation, life is received in faith as the sheer unmerited gift of God and then shared as freely as it is given in love for the neighbor. If you take creation, subtract faith, and love from it, the remainder is “the world.” Take away faith and love and the creation becomes clueless about God and itself and ends up looking to itself and when it “gets religion”, as the saying goes, the world makes itself into a god. “A god,” says Luther “is whatever you look to as the source of your good.” In addition, what creation, minus faith and love, looks to for its good is itself. And just so, creation becomes “the world”. The “world”, theologically is the creation bent on being its own god.”

The victory remained with life, so as you heard again last week, Jesus at His beloved friend Lazarus’ tomb says to Martha, “I am the Resurrection and the life”.  Today, right now for there is now no death in Him as He has took upon Himself sin which is death, For God so loved the world…the world bent upon itself  and the Lord brings us in, the faith given, the tomb riven, to Himself baptized and forgiven in Him alone.  In His holy body unto death was given, that we be with Him in heaven, Jesus is the end of the world and the beginning of the new creation.  I am, He said the Alpha and the Omega.

As reported in St. Mark, a man with a legion of demons, who was wild and out of control, so much so the man was kept in chains, but chains could not contain the man.  Jesus cast out the man’s demons and we are told,

And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

It was also a strange and dreadful strife when the Lord contended with the demonic. And St. Mark tells us  the man with the legion lived among, ready for this, “…among the tombs”.  The Lord when He died split the rocks, the tombs, so that many and many more may live in Him, not in themselves, for in Him, for Him, by Him. Not only in his right man, but clothed, covered, and clean, no longer naked, and shameful. And Jesus died on the Cross naked and shamed and bore the shame of our idolatries, so we are forgiven, repentant and restored. The man was now in his right mind, a mind at peace, at rest, and the man went about proclaiming Jesus.   Jesus restored his mind, the temples of his body and soul. 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…think with Christ, pray in the Spirit at all times, reason with God’s Word…this is our sanity in Christ.Paul encouraged the Philippians Christians and us as well to have this mind in a mindless world.  The Lord dies and rises, enters into the Jerusalem and the cities of this world so we have a crucified and risen mind as He died into the depths and rose to make us whole and holy. The Apostle Paul also encouraged: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  We have a new mind set in a thoughtless, mad world.  Not to escape the world, but so we can be different, salt of the earth, light of the world. The demonic:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 

sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. It’s madness, simply madness.  He has made you His own. The townspeople in the Gerasenes were afraid when the saw the restored man.  Because of the great deed of Jesus Christ? Yes but I also think he was in his right mind.  Maybe the folks go accustomed to his demons, we get too accustomed to the demonic, the madness, the insanity.  Maybe they were afraid because he was sane! And maybe didn’t like it. 

And unfortunately, the verses right before today’s Philippians epistle were not selected but they show the Lord’s selection of His mind for us:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Those verses, and so many, described the right and whole and holy mind. Adapting a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust your Lord when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise…counting others better than you, then live as His, having His mind, forming you, loving you, killing your wrong and making you strong.

 Even Jesus’ family thought at one time He was out of His mind…and we can not be better than the Lord.  So tell of the Lord as He saved the most unlikely, the unclean and so tell of Him as the mostly unlikely of men  did at the Cross, a Roman centurion and his soldiers:  Truly this is the Son of God.

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, You have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of Your servant Joseph, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at last we may with him attain to Your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Joseph was the son of the patriarch Jacob (February 5) and Rachel. The favorite son of his father, he incurred the jealousy of his older brothers, who sold him into slavery in Egypt and told their father he was dead (Genesis 37). In Egypt he became the chief servant in the home of Potiphar, a military official.  Because Joseph refused to commit adultery with his master’s wife, he was unjustly accused of attempted rape and thrown into jail (Genesis 39). Years later, he interpreted dreams for Pharoah, who then freed him from prison and placed him in charge of the entire country. When his brothers came from Canaan to Egypt in search of food, they did not recognize him. He eventually revealed his identity to them, forgave them, and invited both them and his father to live in Egypt. He is especially remembered and honored for his moral uprightness (Genesis 39) and for his willingness to forgive his brothers (Genesis 45 and 50). The Joseph narrative continues till the end of Genesis, chapter 50. Joseph is crucial in the narration of salvation history.

Joseph’s tale begins when he was 17 years of age.  Joseph is the beloved son of Jacob.  Jacob had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel and of the 12 sons Joseph is Jacob’s beloved son, his favorite.  Jacob had two wives, Rachel and Leah and two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah and they were the mothers of the 12 (cf. Genesis 35:  22b-26).  Of the 4 mothers, Jacob’s favorite wife was Rachel.

From the get-go in chapter 37, Joseph had dreams and his dreams signified that his mother and father, and pointedly, his 11 brothers would bow down to Joseph.  Joseph was already the favorite and Jacob gave him a “coat of many colors” and so Joseph’s brothers, “…hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.” (vs.4).

The brothers 11 wanted to kill Joseph but the oldest said no.  They eventually sold Joseph into slavery for 20 shekels of silver (vs. 28) and he went into a foreign land, Egypt, as a slave…a slave who would eventually free his brothers some 20 years later.  The brothers 11 told their father Jacob that Jacob was killed by a “fierce animal” and they dipped Joseph’s robe in goat’s blood to ‘prove’ Joseph’s death.  The brothers 11 also killed their Father’s heart with grief.

There are comparisons between Joseph and Jesus

Joseph began ruling Egypt under Pharoah at the age of 30. Jesus began His public ministry around the age of 30.

Joseph’s brothers hated Joseph because he said he would one day rule over them. Many of Jesus’ brothers hated Him because He is the ruler of all men.

Joseph was tempted to sin by Potiphar’s wife and was led out of temptation. Jesus was tempted every way we are, yet was without sin so that He can lead us out of temptation.

Joseph was a free man and became a slave and one day would serve his brothers in a most unexpected way. Jesus was utterly free and became a slave and would serve His brothers in a most unexpected way. Joseph did not freely do this. It was against his will and yet, it was the Lord’s will. Jesus did so freely as it was the Lord’s will.

Joseph was betrayed by his brothers into a type of death: separation from his family and his land. Jesus was betrayed by His brothers into death itself.

Joseph’s brothers put him down into a cistern and then decided not to kill him and lifted Joseph out of a possible tomb.  Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph’s dalliance with her and Potiphar sunk Joseph into prison and years later he was lifted up out of prison and became second only to Pharoah in Egypt…Jesus went into the tomb, dead, even into hell and He lifted Himself out Resurrected from the dead.

Joseph’s beautiful robe was dipped in goat’s blood by his brothers to fool their father that Joseph was dead.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, was covered in blood to cover us in His Father’s forgiveness so we put on Christ in Holy Baptism in true faith and repentance.

Joseph was spared execution by his brothers, Jesus was not. Joseph was embalmed, “…and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (the last verse of Genesis), and Jesus was put into a tomb but the tomb could not hold Him: The Word Made Flesh lives, He is risen!

As you read this Scripture, substitute Joseph with Jesus:

“And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[b] should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis chapter 50)

Jesus is not in the place of God on the Cross, He is true God on the Cross as He is true man.

Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 7:4-16 Psalm 127 Romans 4:13-18 St. Matthew 2:13-15; 2:19-23

Collect of the Day: Almighty God, from the house of Your servant David You raised up Joseph to be the guardian of Your incarnate Son and the husband of His mother, Mary. Grant us grace to follow the example of this faithful workman in heeding Your counsel and obeying Your commands; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

About St. Joseph

St. Joseph has been honored throughout the Christian centuries for his faithful devotion in helping Mary raise her Son. Matthew’s Gospel relates that Joseph was a just man, who followed the angel’s instructions and took the already-pregnant Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:24). In the Gospels according to Matthew and Mark, Jesus is referred to as “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). This suggests that Joseph had building skills with which he supported his family. Joseph was an important figure in the early life of Jesus, safely escorting Mary and the child to Egypt (Matthew 2:14) and then settling them back in Nazareth once it was safe to do so (Matthew 2:22). The final mention of Joseph is at the time the twelve-year-old Jesus visits the temple in Jerusalem for the Passover (Luke 2:41-51). Joseph, the guardian of our Lord, has long been associated with caring parenthood as well as with skilled craftsmanship.

Reflection:  The narrative of the birth of Jesus features two earthly fathers:  Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus and King Herod the Great.  The Lord told Joseph to flee because  King Herod the Great, outsmarted by the magi, set out to kill all Bethlehem’s male children under the age of two in order to kill a threat to his throne. Herod had 17 children and he had many of them executed, along with his wife.  After his death, the kingdom was divided into four regions and four of his sons became rulers of those tetrarchs. Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded.  Not one thing that Joseph ever spoke is recorded in the Scripture, yet he was silently obedient to the Lord as Jesus’ stepfather and guardian. When he found out that his betrothed Mary was pregnant, without him, he decided to quietly divorce her to save her shame. He fled to Egypt with his family, at great risk, trouble, and cost. He took care of  his family. He brought them to worship in Jerusalem and at the synagogue in Nazareth every Saturday. He did what a father is to do.  His stepson Jesus was known as, “the son of the carpenter”, thereby showing how much Jesus reflected the labor of his stepfather. He had other children, one of whom, James would become a pillar of the Church in Jerusalem.  James’ Epistle is part of the canon of the New Testament.  

Herod the Great and Joseph is certainly a contrast in two diametrically opposed types of fathers.  The difference?  One obeyed his own lusts and flesh, thus the devil, and corrupted his family.  Herod was merely a biological father. The other obeyed in true faith the Lord and His Word and guided his family by truly being a father according to the 4th Commandment. Though not Jesus’ biological father, but as many stepfathers, more than a father than Herod!  Herod, in our day, would be the stuff of the media, the internet, fame and power.  Joseph probably would be considered a narrow-minded and dogmatic redneck:   but whom would you want as your father? Herod the Great did not point his life toward the Lord, the Almighty Father.  Joseph did and still does.  I think March 19th should be  the Church’s Fathers’ Day.


Patrick, Missionary to Ireland Patrick is one of the best-known of the missionary saints. Born to a Christian family in Britain around the year AD 389 he was captured as a teenager by raiders, taken to Ireland, and forced to serve as a herdsman. After six years, he escaped and found his way to a monastery community in France. Ordained a bishop, it is believed that Patrick made his way back to Ireland in the summer of 433, and there spent the rest of his long life spreading the Gospel and organizing Christian communities. He strongly defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in a time when it was not popular to do so. His literary legacy includes his autobiography, Confession, and several prayers and hymns still used in the Church today. At least one tradition states that Patrick died in Ireland on March 17 around the year AD 466. From Treasury of Daily Prayer (Kindle Locations 39624-39626). Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

Collect of the Day

Let us pray… God of grace and might, we praise You for your servant Patrick, to whom You gave gifts to make the good news known to the people of Ireland. Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds and evangelists of Your kingdom, so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Church’s mission is Baptism.  St. Patrick, missionary Bishop, knew that. From his Confession:

In the light, therefore, of our faith in the Trinity I must make this choice, regardless of danger I must make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, without fear and frankly I must spread everywhere the name of God so that after my decease I may leave a bequest to my brethren and sons whom I have baptized in the Lord—so many thousands of people.

We could call Bishop Patrick, Patrick the Baptizer. His poem, Patrick’s Breastplate (see below) is the basis of the hymn, “I Bind Unto Myself This Day”, a baptism hymn, see Lutheran Service Book, # 604. Baptism is evangelism.  The Lord calls His Body, the Church, to baptize all nations from the Lord’s own mouth, see St. Matthew 28: 19-20. Bp. Patrick did that! Baptism into God is good news for sinners:  washed in the blood of the Lamb.  Baptism is also the return to Baptism for those who have left the Church:  Confession of sin, and Absolution.  Baptism for those in the Church to walk in the Holy Spirit as we are baptized into Christ, see Romans 6: 1, and following. The Church does not primarily need evangelism programs to quickly fill the pews and as I have seen, they do not work.  Spiritual problems cannot be solved by administrative techniques and tactics (ala, Abraham Heschel) but only by spiritual means:  the work of the Holy Spirit teaching us the Word made flesh. The Church has her Lord’s program, better yet, His promises in preaching and teaching the Word, in administering the Sacraments, in praying, singing, learning, following Jesus. He will add to those being saved.  Patrick got out into the Irish lands to preach, teach, and baptize.  We can turn beer green, but the Lord alone takes us, dead to sin, and makes us green:  alive and growing in Him.  Yet, like Kermit the Frog, It’s not easy being green. It’s not easy being a Christian and we have our brothers and sisters in Christ, all the saints, helping us. On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish, it is said.  Given Patrick, everyday on account of Christ, faith and baptism in Him, everyone can be Christian, and that is the green of eternal life.

From Patrick’s Confession: “Whence I, once rustic, exiled, unlearned, who does not know how to provide for the future, this at least I know most certainly that before I was humiliated I was like a stone Lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came and in His mercy lifted me up, and raised me aloft, and placed me on the top of the wall. And therefore I ought to cry out aloud and so also render something to the Lord for His great benefits here and in eternity—benefits which the mind of men is unable to appraise.”


I bind unto myself today The strong name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation; His baptism in Jordan River, His death on cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spicèd tomb, His riding up the heavenly way, His coming at the day of doom I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power Of the great love of cherubim; The sweet “Well done” in judgment hour, The service of the seraphim, Confessors’ faith, apostles’ word, The patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls, All good deeds done unto the Lord And purity of virgin souls.

 I bind unto myself today The virtues of the star lit heaven, The glorious sun’s life-giving ray, The whiteness of the moon at even, The flashing of the lightning free, The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks, The stable earth, the deep salt sea Around the old eternal rocks.

 I bind unto myself today The power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward; The word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin, The vice that gives temptation force, The natural lusts that war within, The hostile men that mar my course; Or few or many, far or nigh, In every place and in all hours, Against their fierce hostility I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles, Against false words of heresy, Against the knowledge that defiles, Against the heart’s idolatry, Against the wizard’s evil craft, Against the death wound and the burning, The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name, The strong name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three. By whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

—St. Patrick’s Breastplate:  From Treasury of Daily Prayer (Kindle Locations 39624-39626). Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

A Lenten Reflection

There is a series of delightful mystery stories and novels about a 12th-century Benedictine monk, Caedfael.  Brother Caedfael is the herbalist for his monastery in Shrewsbury…and he also is a detective.  There is PBS series based upon several of this series, starring Derek Jacobi. There are eighteen books in this fictional series written by Ellis Peters.  In one scene Brother Caedfael and a young brother, Mark, come upon someone who has been murdered:

“Mark stood quiet and still, staring down in undismayed compassion. “I wonder had he wife and children,” he said at last. Caedfael marked the first focus of one fledgling priest’s concern, and approved it. Christ’s first instinct might have been much the same. Not: “Unshriven, and in peril!” not even: “When did he last confess and find absolution?” but: “Who will care for his little ones?”

The speculation about the victim’s soul is interesting, sounding like care but not needed as only God knows.  I think it does show forth a hypocritical piety.  True piety is in the fledgling priest’s question, “Who will care for his little ones?”  Caedfael and Mark carry through with this concern in the story…Lent is about the Lord’s free gift of forgiveness for us sinners.  Fasting and praying are good… and this scene from this story shows us again the importance of almsgiving, caring for those in sorrow and pain in “undismayed compassion”.  The Lord calls us to be resolute in His compassion.

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