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Month: August 2014

Congratulations to Marlene Brandenburg

The Jamestown Newspaper, the Sun has a big headline that says that Marlene Brandenburg is celebrating her 90th birthday and then we get this article – “Marlene Brandenburg, Edgeley, will celebrate her 80th birthday with an open house from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at Zion Lutheran Church, Edgeley. A program is at 3 p.m. Marlene and her husband, Don, have four sons, Mike (Lovice), Dana (Joni), Kurt (Cathy) and Jeff (Jane), all Edgeley; a daughter, Marin (Michael) Swofford, Tolley, N.D.; 12 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. No gifts requested; if people wish, they may donate to a charity of their choice.” Whatever!  Either way works for me.  If she is 80 she has packed into those years 90 years worth of living.  If she is 90 she acts like an 80 year old. Marlene is what you might call a force of nature. She would disagree and say she is a child of God.  Both of those can be true. She worked tirelessly with her husband as a part of the Orphan Grain Train Group, is involved in her church and deeply invested in the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.  She served as the president for several years from 1992 -1996.  Using the Jamestown Sun method that means she was the LWML President for 14 years. Or one.  Whatever, it was she served the Lord with gladness and still does. ...

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Prayers for Lucia Jording

  I wrote this about Howard Jording back in 2012 after I found out he had died.  Now I have heard that Lucia is hospitalized and getting ready to meet her Lord One of the first people I met when I moved to Grafton North Dakota was Rev. Howard Jording. Pastor Jording was serving the vacancy at Trinity Lutheran Church in Drayton, while Pastor Victor Tegtmeier served the vacancy at Zion in Grafton. Pastor Jording was the preacher at my installation at Trinity and  he took the time to drive me around to different places to meet different people who lived out in the countryside. I don’t think it’s too much to say that the preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to him as Lord and Savior literally was Howard’s life. I know he loved his family and I know he loved his wife, but his life was the proclamation of Christ. I was doing a presentation in Ortonville Minnesota and who came shambling in the door of the church basement but Dr. Jording and his wife Lucia: long since retired. Why was he there? He had taken the vacancy and was serving that congregation until they got a full-time pastor. This was well into his retirement years and has always served as an example to me that “old preachers never die they just change venues”. I remember that...

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Trotz – It Is Probably Not What You Think It Is!

Despite how it sounds, “trotz” is a German genitive preposition that searches for an object in the genitive showing possession.  Or so I am told.  It means “despite” or “in spite of”.  I am told that Luther’s writings are full of the word. Look at the Knight I mentioned in the last blog.  Here is a close up of his face.  Death is trying to flash the hour glass before him to show him the grim march of time and the approach of his own death.  Behind him the devil seems to be depressed because the Knight pays him no attention.  He seems to hold them in contempt. Luther’s writings are full of the word “trotz” because the Reformation is a monumental shift in a world view.  “In spite of” a world view that never wanted to abolish the fear of death and hell because it “kept the rabble in line” and paid the bills Luther reveled in the fact that “in Christ” he was free.  In spite of the popular opinion that salvation was mediated through the church, Luther’s joyous pen broke the barrier between the individual and God and at the same time made sure that the individualism that leads to another kind of separation from God was defeated by explaining that the Christians new found freedom could only be expressed in service to God and the neighbor.  In spite of the terrors of...

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Knight, Death and the Devil

‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil’ (Psalm 23), could be a caption for this engraving. The horseman is the ‘knight of Christ’, a phrase that Dürer was to use of his contemporary Erasmus of Rotterdam, who had written a Handbook of the Christian Soldier in 1501. Death is at the horse’s feet in the form of a skull, beside the plaque with Dürer’s monogram. Death is also the ghastly corpse without nose or lips, who holds a hourglass up to the knight as a reminder that his time on earth is limited. The knight rides on, looking neither to the right, left, nor backwards, where the Devil, with an ingratiating grin, seems powerless while ignored. High above this dark forest rises a safe stronghold, apparently the destination of the knight’s journey. E. Panofsky, The life and art of Albrecht D (Princeton University Press, 1945, 1971) I love the look on the dog’s face.  He is nervous but the Knight is not.  This was considered by many to be the classic expression of the spirit of the Lutheran Reformation.  In spite of fear, in spite of death and the devil, the Christian can be courageous and self confident precisely because they are not self confidant.  We’ll get to that in following blogs. Share this on:...

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