Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

st. michael and all angels

Michael is mentioned in the book of Daniel, in Jude, and in Revelation. In Daniel, Michael is the angelic helper of Israel who leads the battle against the forces of evil. In Revelation, Michael and his angels fight against Satan and defeat him and his evil angels, driving them out of heaven. Their victory is made possible by Christ's own victory over Satan through His death on the cross and resurrection. This victory over sin, death, and the devil is now ours by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

joyful beggars

We rejoice in the fact that we are living in these last days - we are so blessed to be living in these
times. For we not only have Moses and the prophets, we have the apostles and
evangelists, We have the Word of God and the Holy Gospel. We have the Means of
Grace, the Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the
communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and
the life everlasting. We know how this whole thing is going to play out -
we know how the story is going to end!

And in the mean time we are privileged to be part of the story of God's great
plan of salvation for all people, as God uses us as His ambassadors to reach the world.

We reach out to others because we know what Jesus did for us, that He died for
our sins and the sins of all the world; that He became the last and the least for us, losing His life to win us back, laying down His life in order to save us. For though He was the richest of the rich, for your sake He came down from His great heights to become poor - poor, wretched, and miserable. He was crucified and He died in order to save you. How true it is, that "The last shall be first, the first shall be last."

“We are all beggars,” Luther wrote as his dying words. Beggars - every one of us.
Hungry, wounded, sick, sore. But the good news is that Jesus has met us there,
He has joined us there, among the dogs, the outcasts, the lost and the last and the least.
A beggar to save the beggars. A slave to set the slaves free. By His wounds we are healed. Through
His suffering we have salvation. In His death we now have life.

Rejoice! Your sins are forgiven. Your debts are paid. Death has been destroyed. The devil has been
defeated. Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again. Amen.

Friday, September 24, 2010

martyria, diakonia, koinonia

witness + mercy + life together

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

autumn song

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

(Dante Rosetti)

Monday, September 20, 2010

the myth of independence (from the internet monk)

“When God blesses us, He almost always does it through other people.” Gene Edward Veith

Stop and think for a moment about what made it possible for you to read that sentence.

First of all, you had to be here, which means at some point in time, you were born. This happened, not by any act or choice you made, but through the actions of others. Your parents conceived you. Your mother carried you within her womb. Someone built a hospital where your mother could go to give birth. A doctor, who likewise had been born and raised by his or her parents, educated and trained by countless people, oversaw your prenatal care and birth. Nurses, aides, and other hospital staff did their part. Your parents’ employers provided the work that supplied the means for them to pay the bills. People working in banks and insurance companies took care of the process of payment.

Your mom and dad and other family members taught you to understand language, to speak, listen, and read. When you got a little older, you attended schools where you received a more formal education, schools provided through the tax dollars of millions of citizens. You had teachers, teacher’s aides and tutors, who were overseen by principals and administrators, whose classrooms were kept clean by custodians, whose teaching materials were provided by authors and publishers and those who marketed them and made them available.

A company of people developed, manufactured, and sold the computer upon which I typed this message. A complex infrastructure of computers, servers, and systems created, maintained, and operated by who knows how many people made it possible for you to see my post on your computer, which was likewise developed, manufactured and sold to you by a bunch of folks.

And then, somewhere, people are working in plants that produce electricity which made all of this possible. Someone designed and built those plants. Someone financed their construction. Someone hired the workers. Someone cuts their paychecks. Someone mined the oil, gas, or coal which powers those plants; someone transported it in trucks made by someone, which traveled on roads someone built, powered by fuel from wells that someone drilled, that was collected and transported by someone, refined by someone, transported to the gas station by someone, and sold by someone.

And there you sit, in your home or office, at the library, bookstore or Starbucks (places that came into existence through the work of a multitude of people), having traveled those roads that someone else built, in a vehicle someone manufactured, with money earned through a job someone provided. You are drinking a cup of coffee that was grown halfway around the world, after having eaten a supper that came to you through yet another complex conglomeration of people and pathways.

Somehow, some way, it all came together and made it possible for you to read the sentence at the beginning of the post this evening.

“By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1Cor 15:10). Yes, and how marvelously labyrinthine the path is by which that grace comes to us each moment! How dare any human being claim independence, self-sufficiency, autonomy, self-reliance!

With just a moment of thought, it becomes obvious that we take an extraordinary number of things for granted with each breath we take, with each simple act we perform. We fail to appreciate how dependent we are every moment of every day on billions of things beyond our control. We also fail to grasp what amazing complexity lies behind the simple statement, “God blessed me.”

If we would realize for one instant how vast and intricate the web is that leads to us enjoying the blessings of life, we would never hear the words, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life” in the same way again

"rain" by george winston

thought of this song with all the rain we have had here in the last few weeks

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ethereal effect

an ethereal effect occurs when thousands of birds fly through the twin tower lights in new york city

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

what if this is how they saw us?

A timely reminder of how we can show Christ’s love to our Muslim neighbors and how that might make a difference.
(from the internet monk -  author’s name has been withheld because of the sensitive nature of their ministry.)

“Can I walk with you?” she asked.

This Afghan lady had received a gift basket from us last Christmas, but never warmed to the gospel.
She never returned our calls. Never wanted to visit. Seemed like a dead end. What could she want now?

As we strolled to school she unexpectedly poured out her heart.
Her family struggles. Her confusion. Her pain.
And at the end of the stroll she turned and said “Thank you. I knew you would pray for me”

What if this was what Muslims thought of Christians?
What if they didn’t think of Quran burnings or troops invading.
What if this was the message we sent to the Muslim world -
That we are praying for them. That we love them.
That Jesus loves them and will answer them if they cry out to him to save them.

Today we are experiencing a crescendo of religious furor.
Threats of Quran burnings. Mosque building plans.

What will the church's response be?
Join with us and cry out to God for this lady who believes that we are people of prayer.

Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Take time to pray.

Monday, September 13, 2010

installation weekend

look out, here come the pastors!

yours truly marches in the pastoral procession toward the chapel
my good friend and mentor Martin Hoyer looks on

1000 plus gather in the Chapel of Timothy and Titus

Pastor Matthew Harrison is installed as new the LCMS President

Bishop Obare from the Lutheran Church of Kenya served as preacher
Blessings to President Harrison as he helps the LCMS to "Lift High the Cross"

Friday, September 10, 2010

new lcms emphasis

martyria, diakonia, koinonia  -  mission, mercy, fellowship.
sounds good to me! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I love choir. It's a great time. It's fun, inspirational, and educational - It's good for your heart, and good for your soul.
It's good to just stop what you're doing once a week, get together with your fellow brothers and sisters, and lose yourself in song. It's very therapeutic. And the best thing of all? It's free!

Monday, September 6, 2010

labor day

"God give me work, till my life shall end - and life, till my work is done."
-Winifred Holt

Friday, September 3, 2010

liberation theology

It's interesting to me how much talk there is today of liberation theology, and how some people are only hearing about it now for the first time. I learned about liberation theology while studying in Mexico in the late 80's. It was quite disturbing then - and still is today.

"Liberation Theology is a socialist version of Christianity, the general idea being that Jesus Christ was a revolutionary whose death inspires people to free themselves from social, political, or economic problems. It tends to flourish in socialist countries and in countries where there is a large amount of poverty and economic oppression. While it often takes the form of a socialist society, some forms are aggresively revolutionary with the goal being the violent overthrow of governments.
Essentially it is not about the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation in Christ, but about achieving social and economic justice and equality here on earth. Jesus isn't God in liberation theology - His death is just another injustice in a long line of injustices done to innocent men. It is not necessarily a version of Christianity that we would recognize."  
- Dr. Lane Burgland