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Month: November 2012

O Chrismon Tree.

I used to be a real stinker about Advent/Christmas.  My issue has always been that there is a Christmas season and it starts on December 25 and goes until Epiphany, the 12 Days of Christmas”.   It doesn’t start after Halloween or Thanksgiving it starts after Christmas Eve.  I have gotten ground down over the years.  My wife loves to decorate for the season and usually starts right after Thanksgiving and so one of her ideas was instead of a Christmas tree let’s have a Chrismon tree.  She made each of the ornaments and everyone of them has a meaning.  There is a number on the back and you can go and look at the Biblical meaning or reference.  It one of my favorite trees. This is the symbol for Christ inside a stylized sun.  Christ is the “sun of righteousness”.  Malachi says “The Sun of Righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.” Sun of Righteousness is connected to the image of the day, the day of the Lord. This shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness is connected with the “day”, so Jesus is called “the dayspring from on high.” That is in the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, when John the Baptist was born. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; * he has come to his people and set them free. He...

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From all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues…………….

I was priveleged to attend the International Conference of Confessional Lutherans a few weeks ago.  Dr. Al Colver the director of church relations asked me to write an article about it that he published on the Witness, Mercy. Life Together Blog.  since he is with the Lutherans in Poland right now I thought I would repost it. From Revelation 7: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.” When All Saints Sunday comes around, I always wonder what that would sound like, every tribe and nation and tongue and people speaking praise to God.  Would it be a cacophony or is there is special, heavenly angelic language that all will speak?  Would that praise be in their language of origin?  If so, what would that sound like? I...

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Advent – the King Comes

Advent is when we think of the ways that Christ comes to us.  He comes through the word and the Sacraments.  He comes as the child in the manger.  He will come as the judge at the end of the age.  Luther said about Zechariah 9 This is what is meant by “Thy king cometh.” You do not seek him, but he seeks you. You do not find him, he finds you. For the preachers come from him, not from you; their sermons come from him, not from you; your faith comes from him, not from you; everything that faith works in you comes from him, not from you; and where he does not come, you remain outside; and where there is no Gospel there is no God, but only sin and damnation, free will may do, suffer, work and live as it may and can. Therefore you should not ask, where to begin to be godly; there is no beginning, except where the king enters and is proclaimed.  He cometh “unto thee.” Thee, thee, what does this mean? Is it not enough that he is your king? If he is yours how can he say, he comes to you? All this is stated by the prophet to present Christ in an endearing way and invite to faith. It is not enough that Christ saves us from the rule...

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Stopping by the woods on a snowy afternoon…….

  I always loved Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”.  That last lovely stanza of promises to keep is very evocative.  I was thinking of that when I took this picture.  Obviously this was at one time a lovely home and farmstead.  What happened?  Where do they go and why?  What promises did they have to keep and did they? Up here is the North country we see a lot of these beautiful old places surrounded by woods that are lovely, dark, and deep and yet there is no one there.  They get company in the deer hunting season and perhaps someone stores some machinery there for a while but nevertheless they are pretty much abandoned.  We are seeing more and more churches that look that way as well.  Once and a while we hear of churches that are trying to sell their property.  I always wonder if the sign says, “for sale by owner”?  That leads to the question who “owns” the church; whose property is it?  That leads to another question of “who is in charge here?” Once we go down these paths we miss the marks of the church and what it is.  The church is people who have been “called out”  and made holy by the suffering death and resurrection of Jesus. These Christian, holy people possess the Word of God. “This is...

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Lutheran Principals and Lutheran Principles.

Rochester Central Lutheran School in Rochester Minnesota is a partnership formed from four Lutheran churches in the area.  The principal, Ken Weinlaeder is retiring and I shared some of his thoughts on the previous blog.  I was struck by the statement that sometime “God’s will can be hard”, and “right now, what we have is what we need”.  Profound stuff. Luther said that “the cross alone is our theology”.  Herman Sasse in the middle of a war wrote these words. The theologian of glory observes the world, the works of creation. With his intellect he perceives behind these the visible things of God, His power, wisdom, and generosity. But God remains invisible to him. The theologian of the cross looks to the Crucified One. Here there is nothing great or beautiful or exalted as in the splendid works of creation. Here there is humiliation, shame, weakness, suffering, and agonizing death… [That] “God can be found only in suffering and the cross”… is a bedrock statement of Luther’s theology and that of the Lutheran Church. Theology is theology of the cross, nothing else. A theology that would be something else is a false theology… Measured by everything the world calls wisdom, as Paul already saw, the word of the cross is the greatest foolishness, the most ridiculous doctrine that can confront a philosopher. That the death of one man should...

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