Posts from the “Theology” Category

How to Prepare for the Lord’s Supper

Posted on July 6th, 2017

The whole power of the mass consists in the words of Christ, in which he testifies that forgiveness of sins is bestowed on all those who believe that his body is given and his blood poured out for them. This is why nothing is more important for those who go to hear mass than to ponder these words diligently and in full faith.  Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 36: Word and Sacrament II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 36 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 43.

A life-giving eucharist

Posted on July 5th, 2017

Cyril of Alexandria on Christ’s body and blood being truly present in the Supper, and the power of the Word of God. “He, being the Truth, cannot lie.” Amen! It was fitting therefore for Him to be in us both divinely by the Holy Ghost, and also, so to speak, to be mingled with our bodies by His holy flesh and precious blood: which things also we possess as a life-giving eucharist, in the form of bread and wine. For lest we should be terrified by seeing (actual) flesh and blood placed upon the holy tables of our churches, God, humbling Himself to our infirmities, infuses into the things set before us the power of life, and transforms them into the efficacy of His…

Prayer Vigil for Peace in Alexandria

Posted on June 14th, 2017

  Prayer Vigil for Peace Psalm 120 June 14, A+D 2017 A service held the day when five were shot at a practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. “I cry to you for help, and you do not answer me.” These are the words of Job to God. “I cry to you for help, and you do not answer me.” They are the words we feel when terrible things happen. Whether it’s the horrible shooting today, or the unexpected tragedy, or the death of someone we love – where is God? What is His answer? Why is He silent? “I cry to you for help, and you do not answer me.” At times, it seems God Himself is the author of our troubles.…

Hurt to the core of the heart

Posted on May 31st, 2017

A true Christian knows that he is a sinner. His sin distresses him enormously and it hurts him to the core of his heart that he can still see and feel his sinfulness. A false Christian, however, neither ‘has’ nor sees any sin in himself. If you come across some one like this, then this person is an anti-christian, a fraud. -Martin Luther, Luther Brevier, p168

The flesh and blood of the incarnated Jesus

Posted on May 30th, 2017

Here are some excerpts from the first two centuries of the Christian Church on the bodily presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper: Ignatius [AD 30-107] If Jesus Christ shall graciously permit me through your prayers, and if it be His will, I shall, in a second little work which I will write to you, make further manifest to you [the nature of] the dispensation of which I have begun [to treat], with respect to the new man, Jesus Christ, in His faith and in His love, in His suffering and in His resurrection. Especially [will I do this] if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ,…

Sermo Dei: Invocabit 2017

Posted on March 6th, 2017

What would you do if you could do anything? The great basketball coach John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” It’s those moments when no one is watching when our true self emerges. When you can do what you choose, what do you do? And if you could choose anything, what would it be? Among the most common myths is that you can achieve freedom by having more resources and less responsibility. If you had more money and less work, then you’d be free. If you had more time and fewer people making demands, then you’d be free. It’s a lie. Freedom is not found in time or money. And slavery is…

Encouragement for pastors

Posted on January 4th, 2017

From St. Basil: Do not lament over a responsibility transcending your strength. If you had been destined to bear the burden unaided, it would have been not merely heavy; it would have been intolerable. But if the Lord shares the load with you, “cast all your care upon the Lord” and He will Himself act. Only be exhorted ever to give heed lest you be carried away by wicked customs. Rather change all previous evil ways into good by the help of the wisdom given you by God. For Christ has sent you not to follow others, but yourself to take the lead of all who are being saved. He will Himself act!

Little apples for simpletons

Posted on July 19th, 2016

Browsing some commentary on the recently completed LCMS Convention, I came across a thread on the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau forum. An ELCA pastor, Brian Stoffregan (whom I do not know), makes an interesting statement there about Holy Scripture: “The academy is necessary to help us understand the meaning of the texts, which can be different from what they say.” Granted that he’s talking about the importance of understanding Scripture in context, I find this notion deeply troubling, and perhaps the single greatest difference between our church bodies. One of my axioms is if you have to add words to Scripture to explain why it doesn’t mean what it clearly sounds like, you’ve got the wrong interpretation. Today’s reading in the Luther Brevier takes a different approach: the…

Harmony in the Church

Posted on July 5th, 2016

I’m blessed with a singing church. Immanuel gladly tackles any hymn in the book. They sing the hymns well, and can often be heard breaking out into four-part harmony. Singing in this way is an important metaphor for the life of the congregation beyond the liturgy. Harmony—bringing our differently ranged voices together in coordinated song—is also how we live together as Christians. Harmony is how we live together as Christians. In discussing the central article of the Christian Faith—justification—our Lutheran Confessions address the importance of harmony, a life together built by not holding sins against our brothers and sisters: In all families and communities harmony should be nurtured by mutual aid, for it is not possible to preserve tranquility unless men cover and forgive certain…