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Concordia and Koinonia

Sonderausstellungen

Johann von Staupitz (ca. 1469–1524), was vicar-general of the Augustinian Order in Germany and friend of Martin Luther, was born in Saxony. He studied at the universities in Leipzig and Cologne and served on the faculty at Cologne. In 1503 he was called by Frederick the Wise to serve as dean of the theological faculty at the newly founded University of Wittenberg. There he encouraged Luther to attain a doctorate in theology and appointed Luther as his successor to professor of Bible. During Luther’s early struggles to understand God’s grace, it was Staupitz who counseled Luther to focus on Christ and not on himself. (The Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH)

Reflection: When the publication of the 95 Theses spread throughout Europe, then Luther was in middle of a raging storm. He corresponded with his father confessor. On the twenty-fifth of November he sent word to Staupitz:

I am expecting the…

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You Are a Member of the Communion of Saints - The Bishop's Bulletin

Prayer of the Day: Almighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

All Saints’ Day: This feast is the most comprehensive of the days of commemoration, encompassing the entire scope of that great cloud of witnesses with which we are surrounded (Hebrews 12:1). It holds before the eyes of faith that great multitude which no man can number: all the saints of God in Christ—from every nation, race, culture, and language—who have come “out of the great tribulation … who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9, 14). As such, it sets before us the full height and depth and breadth and length of our dear Lord’s gracious salvation (Ephesians 3:17–19). It shares with Easter a celebration of the resurrection, since all those who have died with Christ Jesus have also been raised with Him (Romans 6:3–8). It shares with Pentecost a celebration of the ingathering of the entire Church catholic—in heaven and on earth, in all times and places—in the one Body of Christ, in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Just as we have all been called to the one hope that belongs to our call, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4–6). And the Feast of All Saints shares with the final Sundays of the Church Year an eschatological focus on the life everlasting and a confession that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). In all of these emphases, the purpose of this feast is to fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, that we might not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:2–3).

Patriarchs of sacred story
And the prophets there are found;
The apostles, too, in glory
On twelve seats are there enthroned
All the saints that have ascended
Age on age, through time extended,
There in blissful concert sing
Hallelujahs to their King.

Thus the old funeral hymn … speaks of the church of all the perfected in heaven (cf. Heb 12:22–23). And this thought of the fathers of the church who have preceded us into heaven rings through the centuries down to Wilhelm Löhe’s hymn on the Sacrament, where it says of heaven: “There the angel host stands inflamed in your [God’s] light, and my fathers gaze upon your sight.” All the saints, from the beginning of the world who have died believing in the Redeemer, whether he was yet to come or had come in the flesh, all members of the people of God of all times to the present day—in this sense, all are fathers of the church. Whether Christians have found themselves in the loneliness of a Siberian prison camp or the isolation of the diaspora or suffering inner alienation within the great secularized “churches” of our century, it has become ever more the consolation of those who have suffered for the sake of the church and whom God has led on a “lonely path” to know that they are not alone in the one church of God. They who have been removed from every error and sin of the earthly church stand with us in the seamless fellowship of the body of Christ.
               —Hermann Sasse

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Concordia and Koinonia

St. Jude Thaddeus And St. Simon The Zealot, Apostles
Alleluia. You did not choose Me, But I chose you. Alleluia.

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, You chose Your servants Simon and Jude to be numbered among the glorious company of the apostles. As they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so may we with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Scripture Lessons: Jeremiah 26: 1-16; Psalm 43; 1 Peter 1: 3-9; St. John 15: 12-21

About Saints Simon and Jude:  In the lists of the twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6: 14—16); Acts1:13), the tenth and eleventh places are occupied by Simon the Zealot (or ‘Cannanaean”) and by Jude (or “Judas,” not Iscariot but “of James”), who was apparently known also as Thaddaeus. According to early Christian tradition, Simon and Jude…

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Lessons:  Acts 15: 12-22a, Psalm 133, James 1: 1-12, St. Matthew 13: 54-58

Prayer of the Day:

Heavenly Father, shepherd of Your people, You raised up James the Just, brother of our Lord, to lead and guide Your Church. Grant that we may follow his example of prayer and reconciliation and be strengthened by the witness of his death; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Biography: St. James of Jerusalem (or “James the Just”) is referred to by St. Paul as “the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19). Some modern theologians believe that James was a son of Joseph and Mary and, therefore, a biological brother of Jesus. But throughout most of the Church (historically, and even today), Paul’s term “brother” is understood as “cousin” or “kinsman,” and James is thought to be the son of a sister of Joseph or Mary who was widowed and had come to live with them. Along with other relatives of our Lord (except His mother), James did not believe in Jesus until after His resurrection (John 7:3-5; 1 Corinthians 15:7). After becoming a Christian, James was elevated to a position of leadership within the earliest Christian community. Especially following St. Peter’s departure from Jerusalem, James was recognized as the bishop of the Church in that holy city (Acts 12:17; 15:12ff.). According to the historian Josephus, James was martyred in AD 62 by being stoned to death by the Sadducees. James authored the Epistle in the New Testament that bears his name. In it, he exhorts his readers to remain steadfast in the one true faith, even in the face of suffering and temptation, and to live by faith the life that is in Christ Jesus. Such a faith, he makes clear, is a busy and active thing, which never ceases to do good, to confess the Gospel by words and actions, and to stake its life, both now and forever, in the cross. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in the ‘30s in Nazi Germany, preached on Peter’s confession of the Christ as the Lord building his Church and the pastor proclaimed to the Church, “Don’t always be on the lookout for another refuge!”  James, the brother of Jesus, found his refuge in his own brother who is also His Lord.  James built up the Church in faith working in love toward the neighbor with the wisdom of our Lord from on high. We have so many refuges today that are at times benign and frightening like hunkering down in our homes afraid of the shadow of sickness or vain philosophies and notions of men. James found the true refuge as the true Refuge found James and from that mighty fortress proclaimed the Word and witnessed to it finally with his blood. 

We sing of James, Christ’s brother/Who at Jerusalem/Told how God loved the Gentiles/And, in Christ, welcomed them./Rejoicing in salvation/May we too, by God’s grace, Extend Christ’s invitation/To all the human race.

(“By All Your Saints in Warfare”, Lutheran Service Book, #518, stanza 27)

From Luther’s Letter to his Father (February 15, 1530) who was ill.  Martin wanted his parents to move to Wittenberg to be with him and his family.  His Father died three months after this letter:

“I commend you to Him who loves you more that you love yourself.  He has proved his love in taking your sins upon himself and paying for them with his blood as he tells you by the gospel.  He has given you grace to believe by his Spirit, and has prepared and accomplished everything most surely, so that you need not care or fear any more, but only keep your hearts strong and reliant on his Word and faith.  I you do that, let him care for the rest. He will see to it that everything turns out well. Indeed, he has already done this better than we can conceive.”

The War of the Nuts Commences - Garden Weasel

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119: 11

As we are in autumn, the squirrels are storing up acorns and nuts for the winter, so they have food when there is none.  According to this Psalm verse, it sounds as if we are to be spiritual squirrels storing up God’s Word in our hearts. I think so.  Sinning is starving to death the soul in the winter of the world. 

Squirrels forage for food in the autumn.  They are all over our foraging.  We do not have to forage high and low for soul food:  looking in this book or that, listening to that guru or sage, looking into our hearts and minds. The Lord’s soul food is in the Bible, in plain sight:  every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God which is faithfully and carefully preach and taught, read and prayed.  The Lord’s food is on the Communion Table, the Sacrament of the Altar:  The Word made flesh, This is my Body and This is the new testament in my blood.

God’s Word alone, written and Incarnate, can keep us safe from sin.  Further, we may be living in a time which the word of the Lord is rare (see 1 Samuel 3:  1):  rarely preached and taught, rarely obeyed, and routinely derided and this occurs not only in the worldly culture but even in the churches. During the times of famine of the Word of God, we need His Word stored up and  “hid” so we may have sustenance in faith in the Lord and love for one another. The winters may get real bad.  

Storing up the Word of the Lord means memorizing the Word:  verses and passages of both Law and Promise so the Lord guide us by the light of His Word in these dark days. “We should daily be engaged with God’s Word and carry in our hearts and upon our lips.” (Luther’s Large Catechism); for, Thy Word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119: 105). Be a spiritual squirrel!  Now I don’t know if squirrels share the bounty they have hid with each other, in lean times, but we do.  You have just the right nut of Lord’s Word to share with someone else.

Hiding His Word in our hearts does not mean being spiritual survivalists.   Survival food is only for myself and my family in a terrible time and so we wouldn’t share our bread with someone dying of starvation?  Hiding His Word in our hearts is so in Christ’s forgiveness one may not sin and yet sing His praises and speak His Word for others who are dying to hear.  And in the junk food of vain philosophies, many think they are being fed, but are starving to death.

 O holy and most merciful God, You have taught us the way of Your commandments. We implore You to pour out Your grace into our hearts. Cause it to bear fruit in us that, being ever mindful of Your mercies and Your laws, we may always be directed to Your will and daily increase in love toward You and one another. Enable us to resist all evil and to live a godly life. Help us to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Words of God hid in our hearts and to walk in His steps until we shall possess the kingdom that has been prepared for us in heaven; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Lessons for the Day: Psalm 147:1-7 Isaiah 35:5-8 2 Timothy 4:5-15 St. Luke 10:1-9

Almighty God, our Father, Your blessed Son called Luke the physician to be an evangelist and physician of the soul. Grant that the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments may put to flight the diseases of our souls that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

St. Luke, the beloved physician referred to by St. Paul (Colossians4:14), presents us with Jesus, whose blood provides the medicine of immortality. As his traveling companion, Paul claimed Luke’s Gospel as his own for its healing of souls (Eusebius). Luke traveled with Paul during the second missionary journey, joining him after Paul received his Macedonian call to bring the Gospel to Europe (Acts16:10-17).  Luke most likely stayed behind in Philippi for seven years, rejoining Paul at the end of the third missionary journey in Macedonia. He traveled with Paul to Troas, Jerusalem, and Caesarea, where Paul was imprisoned for two years (Acts 20:5-21:18). While in Caesarea, Luke may have researched material that he used in his Gospel. Afterward, Luke accompanied Paul on his journey to Rome (Acts 27:1-28:16). Especially beloved in Luke’s Gospel are:

the stories of the Good Samaritan ( Luke 16:29-37),the prodigal son (Luke15:11-32), the rich man and Lazarus  (Luke16:19-31), and the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). Only Luke provides a detailed account of Christ’s birth (Luke 2:1-20) and the canticles of Mary (Luke1:46-55), of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79),and, Simeon (Luke2:29-32).

To show how Christ continued His work in the Early Church through the apostles, Luke also penned the Acts of the Apostles. More than one-third of the New Testament comes from the hand of the evangelist Luke.  (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

Four takeaways about Luke, the Gospel and the early Church history he wrote:

One:     Composed in flawless Greek, St. Luke’s introduction in  Chapter 1 gives Theophilus an accurate account of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ.  Luke knew the people who were eyewitnesses and he interviewed them.  We were not there from the beginning, but Luke was. He probably knew Mary, Mother of our Lord.  He knew the apostles, including Paul.   Luke tells us he did this carefully. He is also a brother in Christ.  A brother in Christ is honest and trustworthy.  It is clear Luke did not write his Gospel for personal financial gain at all.  What did he stand to gain from writing a dishonest narrative?  Nothing. He wanted Theophilus to know the certainty of the Way in which he had been “catechized”, taught the Way, because Jesus Christ is our Savior. Luke’s gain is only Christ’s gain:  a baptized and saved Theophilus and you as well.

“The ‘us’ among whom these ‘things which have been accomplished’ (1:1-4) would be all the Christians whose testimony is borne in the narrative.” (Dr. Just’s Commentary)

“For us and our salvation He came down from heaven”.

 Two:    Luke uses the word “catechized”.  The Gospels are history and as the history of our lives in Christ, there is meaning.  Theophilus was catechized, taught in the Way, as a “follower of the Way”, the meaning of the Word and Work of Jesus Christ.  Theophilus was taught God’s Word. The fruit of faith is shown in works of love.  “Theophilus” means “love of God”.  Many have asked, Who was Theophilus?  One answer:  all of us, the love of God.  We are all Theophilus. “Excellent” was term of respect for a high, noble official.  God’s Word is for the education of the poorest of the poor and the most elite of the elite!  God’s love in Christ had taught Theophilus and now Luke connects the dots for him and us. This history of Jesus is the good news, the Gospel which not only informs but forms us in His Word, sinners who are simultaneously saints by faith, given through grace.

“Paul says that in the Christian assembly, he prefers rational words, “five words of knowledge” than a thousand in tongues, so that he may “catechize” those present (1 Cor 14:19)…” (Dr. Just)

This faith comes through the gospel’s  catechesis  that assures of certainty of the facts narrated regarding Jesus. “Catecheo”  (“to catechize, instruct, inform”) occurs four times in Luke-Acts (Lk 1:4; Acts 18:25; 21:21, 24) and three times in Paul (Rom 2:18; 1 Cor 14:19; Gal 6:6). Acts 18:25 has the same meaning as here: Apollos “had been catechized in the way of the Lord.” We can know the facts of the way a bike works, which is important, but the way we learn a bike is to learn to ride it, catechized in the way of the Lord and His heart towards us, for us, with us.

Third:  We understand the truthfulness of Holy Scripture by Luke’s phrase, regarding the ministers of the Word,  “delivered these traditions to us…”  The use of the verb “delivered” is used by Paul (Luke was his companion on some of the Paul’s missionary journeys) for handing over the Words of Institution of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23) and the eyewitness accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3)  Traditions here are not man-made traditions, but rabbinic traditions precisely delivered:  verbatim. These were tools for memory but also pointing out that without all our information technologies, the mind can remember a lot.   These brothers had the highest regard for the written and spoken Word of God and were not going to mess around with it, because man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  In Dr. Luke’s second book, Acts of the Apostles, there are the “we” sections, in which Luke was with the apostle Paul.  Paul refers in his letters to “my gospel”.  Paul’s Gospel sure well have been Luke’s.  Both Paul and Luke knew the other apostles, Mary, James, brother of the Lord, the 70 Jesus had sent out.

Four: Luke wrote a travelogue, the Gospel and Acts of the Apostles.  He wrote a never-ending story, a true story.  Jesus and His Church met so many people of all walks of life, including you dear reader. Some in his two volume work we read about the following:  the first martyrs, others, unlikely born, like Paul, became an apostle but more than even that, called and baptized, along with prostitutes, tax collectors, centurions, slave and freemen, Pharisees, poor men and women, Roman officials and soldiers, tent makers, a business woman…in all walks and vocations of life, and in the Lord’s Name given new life. The sign post of our travels is the Cross and as He lives He points us ever to our citizenship in heaven.

Today’s Devotion

Deuteronomy 12:  29  “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ 31You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.

Tales From The Girl's Bathroom: Mirror Mirror On The Wall – The Authored  Ascension

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s

the fairest one of all?

I guess the reason Israel went after the false gods of the “nations” is those gods seem to be so successful.  Maybe Israel reasoned we can have it both ways: the one true God and the others.  The gods of the nations, though, committed perversions, not only sexual immorality, but with such immorality, idolatry as, “…they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods”.  You may say, Oh, not us!  Yet we do burn up the next generation in abortion…after sex outside of marriage and it’s attendant birth control has failed or was not used in the heat of the moment.  In our day, children are offered up to the gods. But what god?!  One such god comes to mind:  the self. We are always inquiring after the god in the mirror: What is convenient?  What is in my best self-interest?  Even ‘enlightened’ self-interest?  How can I satisfy myself this day?  And all advertisements and commercials just stoke the fire of covetousness, teaching us to love yourself above all things. Perverted human reason thinks: ‘This pregnancy won’t fit into my ‘lifestyle’ now, it’s too bad, but it’s better for all’.  Even using love of neighbor as self-justification for murder compounds the breaking of the commandments.  We are directed inward and when the inward falls apart then the gnawing maw of Godless despair opens up with hell beneath.  The Lord seeks this lost generation, you and I.  “Still seeking not Himself but us.”  Return home to the Lord if you are in the distant country.  His grace precedes and leads us to guide us out of our selves to Him.  We have the guide Book:  the Bible which faithfully and without error points us to Jesus Christ.

Let us pray:   Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

For us He prayed; for us He taught;/ For us His daily works He wrought,/ By words and signs and actions thus/ Still seeking not Himself but us

—O Love, How Deep (LSB 544:4)

(Except for the reflection, the above is cited in The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House, for this day}

Quote of the Day

The Imitation of Christ

So long as we live in this world we cannot escape suffering and temptation. Whence it is written in Job: “The life of man upon earth is a warfare.” Everyone, therefore, must guard against temptation and must watch in prayer lest the devil, who never sleeps but goes about seeking whom he may devour, find occasion to deceive him. No one is so perfect or so holy but he is sometimes tempted; man cannot be altogether free from temptation.

Yet temptations, though troublesome and severe, are often useful to a man, for in them he is humbled, purified, and instructed. The saints all passed through many temptations and trials to profit by them, while those who could not resist became reprobate and fell away. There is no state so holy, no place so secret that temptations and trials will not come. Man is never safe from them as long as he lives, for they come from within us—in sin we were born. When one temptation or trial passes, another comes; we shall always have something to suffer because because we have lost the state of original blessedness.…

The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are.…

We should not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but pray to God the more fervently that He may see fit to help us, for according to the word of Paul, He will make issue with temptation that we may be able to bear it.

              —Thomas Kempis (as quoted in The Treasury of Daily Prayer, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)

Let us pray…

Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of Your people, we give You thanks for Your servant Henry Melchior  Muhlenberg, who was faithful in the care and nurture of the flock entrusted to his care.  So, they may follow his example and teaching of his holy life, give strength to pastors today who shepherd Your flock that, by Your grace may grow into the fullness of life intended for them in paradise;  for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit one God now and forever. Amen.

Biography:  Pastor Muhlenberg was born in Einbeck, Germany in 1711, the seventh of nine children.  He graduated from Gottingen University and studied also at Halle, serving as schoolmaster.  Halle was the center for Pietism under August Hermann Francke who sent Muhlenberg to the new world. First he went to London for study and there had a gown made which became the pattern for English Lutheran clergy in America.

Pastor Muhlenberg came to the colonies  in 1742.  A tireless traveler, Muhlenberg helped to found many Lutheran congregations and was the guiding force behind the first American Lutheran synod, the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, founded Sunday, August 14, 1748 in Philadelphia.  At this synod Muhlenberg submitted a liturgy which was ratified and remained the only authorized American Lutheran liturgy for 40 years(1). He valued the role of music in Lutheran worship (often serving as his own organist)  The transition from the state church of Germany to the free churches of America brought challenges and Pastor Muhlenberg wrote a model congregational constitution in 1762 which became the basis for local church government.  He preached in German, Dutch and English and it was reported with a powerful voice.  And during his pastoral ministry, Muhlenberg kept a journal of his travels and service, remembering that Pennsylvania was practically the frontier in those days. 

Muhlenberg and his sons were also leaders in American public life. His son John Peter Gabriel left his pastorate in Woodstock, Virginia and became a general under Washington and later in life served as congressman and senator from Pennsylvania.  He announced his intention to serve in the Continental Army and the cause of political freedom from the pulpit when he took off his preaching robe to reveal his uniform saying there is a time to pray and a time to fight.  One of Pennsylvania’s statues in Statuary Hall in the U. S. Capitol depicts this moment .  It might be legend, but it illustrates that we are called to serve as citizens in the two kingdoms, the temporal, that is, our nation and the eternal, the reign of God in Jesus Christ. John’s brother, Frederick Augustus Conrad,  also a Lutheran pastor became a member of the Continental Congress and became the first speaker of the House of Representatives in the new nation under the new Constitution.

Muhlenberg established the shape of Lutheran parishes for America during a 45-year ministry in Pennsylvania. Muhlenberg is remembered as a church leader, a journalist, a liturgist, and—above all—a pastor to the congregation in his charge.  He and has family also reflect the beginnings of our nation and service to the Constitution.  If your son or daughter needs to do a paper on the beginnings of our nation, the Muhlenbergs would make fine subject matter!   Pastor Muhlenberg died in 1787, in Trappe, Pennsylvania, leaving behind a large extended family and a lasting heritage: American Lutheranism. (Sources:  Festivals and Commemorations by Rev. Philip Pfatteicher and The Treasury of Daily Prayer)

Reflection:

Pastor Muhlenberg was sent to these shores to be a Gospel missionary in the wilderness of what would become the United States of America in 1774.  When Thomas Jefferson started to build Monticello, nor far from where I am, in Charlottesville, western Virginia was a wilderness, likewise Pennsylvania.  Further, as the Pastor’s ministry in Christ continued, so did the winds of revolution increase to eventually a hurricane.  It was a clash of pollical ideologies:  monarch or representative democracy, colonialism or freedom.  The print above shows Pr. Muhlenberg preaching in a barn.  As a pastor, in these days, I and others think we are in a tough time, rough times…even the threat of harder persecution of the Church. Pr. Muhlenberg also had his days, from his journal:

1748. November 5.I am worn out from much reading; I am incapacitated for study; I cannot even manage my own household because I must be away most of the time. The Reverend Fathers called me for only three years on trial, but the dear God has doubled the three years and upheld me all this time with forbearance. I write this not out of any discontent of slothfulness, but out of the feeling of spiritual and physical incapacity and a yearning desire to achieve a little more quietude where I could gather my thoughts better, spend more time with my wife and children, and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

He had a rough time, as did most of the saints in Christ, over the centuries.  As a Lutheran commentator said in a podcast, let’s face it, we are living in Babylon.  As much as we want to be transported to some idyllic Christian past, it won’t happen because such has never existed.  Like Henry Melchior Muhlenberg we too are in the wilderness.  The Church is more and more St. John the Baptist:  the voice of one crying in the wilderness.  We must cry out the Word of God and cry for our sins as individuals and a nation. We are called to faithful not wistful.  Many heard the Gospel in this foreign land in the 18th century and will today. And like Pr. Muhlenberg, “…the dear God has …upheld me all this time with forbearance.”  We thank the Lord for this pastor…during pastor appreciation month! 

Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more. -Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer (LSB 918: 1)

If thou but trust in God to guide thee/And hope in Him through all thy ways,/He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,/And bear thee through the evil days./Who trusts in God’s unchanging love/Builds on the rock that naught can move.—If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee (LSB 750:1)

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