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Month: November 2015

In Remembrance of His Mercy

It occurred to me yesterday that I met my Father for the first time when he was 32 years old. By the time I could interact with him and learn from him in ways that I can remember he was a few years older. By the time I was able to appreciate the time we had together he was 10 years from dying. That is our blessing and our curse as human beings living in a fallen world. We never appreciate as we should the gifts that we have until it is too late. Even when we know that we should be appreciating what we have there s something in us that doesn’t allow that to happen as it should. Luther’s constant call for Christians to be thankful and the belief that so much of the trials and tribulations that they experienced were “rods and scourges” of God for their unthankfullness, is certainly a call for more attention to be paid to God’s gifts. One of the things that happens in times like these is that there is a lot of reminiscing that goes on. A reminiscence is something from the past that is recalled to the present and made active. The Bible word that means the same thing is more than just thinking happy thoughts. When Jesus says to remember Him when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, it...

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The Theology of Planning.

  A few weeks ago John Vieker, assistant to President Harrison wrote a sermon for chapel at the International Center and he mentioned my favorite subject – planning.  It was well done and here is a portion – you can find it at the Witness, Mercy and Life Together Blog. Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (James 4:13–17). It is all too easy to map out a path in which God has been relegated to a secondary, “ride along” position… but you are to remember that everything you do is utterly bound by the limits of His time and His will. To forget this is to fall back into the sin of boastful pride, which can only lead to your destruction. To forget this is to falter and give up the...

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Meditation on Mercy; Detractors, and the Poetry of Mayhem and Disease

“Ring around the rosies / A pocketful of posies / Ashes, ashes / We all fall down!” There are places in the world that breed disease.  I have been excited that Lutheran World Relief and Human Care along with our partners have been able to help AIDS education and the malaria initiative.  Not long ago the Kenyan church was able to announce that the number of new AIDS and HIV cases was declining.  The problem is that AIDS among adolescents is climbing because the amount of medicine available is small and the cost is large. There is something about dread diseases that lend themselves to poetry. The rhyme still recited by children today dates back to the London Plague of 1665. The “ring of roses” describes the red buboes around the neck of and groin of an infected person (swollen lymph nodes);  ”posies” refers to the herbs or flowers that people carried in their pockets to sniff hoping it would protect them from the disease; “ashes” refers to the funeral rite, “ashes to ashes” and all fall down” describes the suddenness of death from what is Bubonic Plague. Diseases lend themselves to poetry. Psalm 91 talks of a noisy pestilence and one that walks in darkness.”He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the...

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The Pope in Kenya – Tribalism and Corruption.

As a Lutheran I always look at what Popes do with a certain amount of suspicion.  As a human being I cannot help but be impressed.  As a Christian I get frustrated that in all the  footage I watch and all the speeches I listen to, I never hear the word “Jesus”.  Popes having been going on about the poor for a long time (kind of like Democrats) and yet as Jesus said the “poor we will always have with us”.  That quote is from John 12 who gives us some background.  Judas, the disciple who would betray Jesus, was mad because pricey perfume had been poured on Jesus head and Judas said the money spent on the perfume should have been spent on the poor.  Then John tells us he said that because he kept the disciple’s money box and pilfered from it. The pope was on about pilfering and corruption as well.  He called out the government of Uhuru Kenyatta. He went on about “tribalism” and asked everyone to hold hands and remember that they were all Kenyans. He called on folks to respect the young and he spoke against abortion. From what I saw it was a wonderful trip and he touched many issues of import.  It would be well for us all to pay attention to a lot of what he said. We have been...

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Happy Thanksgiving

“To God the Anthem Raising” by Paul Eber, 1511-1569 Translated by Carl Doving, 1867-1937 Text From: The Lutheran Hymnal (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941 1. To God the anthem raising, Sing, Christians, great and small; Sing out, His goodness praising, Oh, thank Him one and all! Behold how God this year, Which now is safely ended, Hath in His love befriended His children far and near. 2. Let us consider rightly His mercies manifold And let us not think lightly Of all His gifts untold. Let thankfulness recall How God this year hath led us, How He hath clothed and fed us, The great ones and the small. 3. To Church and State He granted His peace in every place, His vineyard He hath planted Among us by His grace. His ever bounteous hand Prosperity hath given And want and famine driven From this our native land. 4. His Father heart is yearning To take us for His own When, our transgressions mourning, We trust in Christ alone; When in His name we pray  And humbly make confession, He pardons our transgression  And is our faithful Stay. 5. O Father dear in heaven,  For all Thy gifts of love Which Thou to us hast given We lift our thanks above. In Jesus’ name we here, To Thee our prayers addressing, Still ask Thee for Thy blessing: Grant us a joyful year. Share this...

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