Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Image result for clothed in Christ

COLLECT of the DAY

Almighty God,by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ,  You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light.Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory;through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever.

READINGS: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19   Psalm 61    Colossians 3:1-7 or 1 Corinthians 11:23-26    St. John 21:1-14

When the risen Lord visits the disciples at the Sea of Galilee, just as He said He would, Simon Peter and four fellow disciples are fishing, doing what they knew how to do.  When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord from the beloved disciple, he put on his outer garment, for he was “stripped for work”, and out of the boat, he threw himself into the sea.

The Greek word for “stripped” is “gymnos”. Gymnos means naked. In ancient times, one competed in athletics naked. Peter was undressed, because he was working hard.  He was probably hot and sweaty. Once again, Jesus caused a miraculous catch of fish and because Peter is naked, he puts on “his outer garment”,  jumps into “the sea” to go to the Lord. He must have been quite soggy. 

Like Adam, like all mankind, Peter clothed himself because of his nakedness before the living God.  Peter had denied Him three times. Baptism is the reverse of this:  water is poured, or the catechumen is immersed into the water three times to wash away our sin in God’s most precious Word:  His Name.  When immersed, in the first centuries of the Church,  one went naked into the Baptismal waters  and then  a white garment was “put on”, signifying emerging clothed in Christ.  Peter putting on his outer garment to come to the Lord can remind us of the  many places Scripture we are to put on our Baptism, the new self in Christ.  The Greek verb is the same for each translation of it as “put on”: 

  1. Romans 13:12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
  2. Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
  4. 2 Corinthians 5:2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,
  5. Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
  6. Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
  7. Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
  8. Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
  9. Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
  10. Colossians 3:12  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
  11. Colossians 3:14  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

IN  the verses above we are variously told also to put on the armor of light, put on love, compassionate hearts, etc,  and in the Day of Resurrection we will be clothed in our “heavenly dwelling”.  I will go out on  limb here and say that the armor of light, the whole armor of God, putting on “love”, are all references to Baptism, and putting on Christ.  We are encouraged to put on what we have been given:  our Baptism into Christ. 

Peter and the disciples, sit on the sea shore and Jesus feeds them.  In the next scene, He charges Peter to feed His sheep.  The Lord feeds us Himself, His flesh and blood for the life of the world.  Baptism is followed by Holy Communion.  We can not go naked to the Lord and He clothed us in Himself as He clothed Adam and Eve in the Garden. We are not dressed for success, but for faithfulness. 

The verb “revealed” is used in the first and last verse of this Gospel lesson. The disciples are awed that Jesus arrives in Galilee.  Revelation, or manifestation, epiphany is the mark of the end of world  that has come upon us.  When we put on our daily Baptism, the new self, we are dressed for and in the end of the world who is Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Reread the texts above for a description of our Christening robe and how different it is from the styles of the world.   We do not go out naked into the world or showing enough to sexually entice someone else. The Lord clothes us the shame of the Adamic nakedness as the Lord once clothed Adam and Eve (Genesis 3: 21).  Adam and Eve’s garments were just for this life. Clothed in Christ is His life for the new heavens and earth. And in the meantime, the Church will be different from the world as she is clothed in Christ and His armor of  light and love.  

O Lord Jesus Christ, look upon me, a poor sinner, with Your eyes of mercy, the same eyes of mercy with which You looked upon Peter in the assembly-room, upon Mary Magdalene at the banquet, and upon the malefactor on the cross. Grant to me also, almighty God, that with Peter I bemoan my sin from the heart, with Mary Magdalene sincerely love You, and with the malefactor on the cross may live eternally with You in Your kingdom. Amen. (Johann Gerhard)

Read Full Post »


Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in tombs bestowing life.”-Orthodox Paschal Hymn

Introduction: The Eastern Orthodox Churches have a great custom by calling the first week of the Paschal (Easter) Season “Bright Week”.  A great way to begin the 50 Days of Pascha leading to Pentecost, as we look at what our risen Lord taught His Church for her life and mission into the world.   Easter, like Christmas, is not only a day each, but  a season each. In the Lutheran Church, we have midweek Lenten services but I think we should have midweek Paschal services in this bright season!

Further, as Lent is time of preparation for seekers to be Baptized, then the Paschal Season is a time for the newly baptized, and the ‘oldly’ baptized as well, to be instructed in the Way of the Lord more fully.  I forgot to post for Easter Monday, but if you would like to read Easter Monday in a previous posting, here is one such posting.

COLLECT OF THE DAY

Almighty God,through the resurrection of Your Son You have secured peace for our troubled consciences. Grant us this peace evermore that trusting in the merit of Your Son we may come at last to the perfect peace of heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

READINGS: Daniel 3:8-28 Psalm 2 Acts 13:26-33 St. Luke 24:36-49

From Today’s Gospel Reading, Luke 24: “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Continuous Distribution

Jesus sends out the disciples to bring the message of the Cross and Resurrection to “all nations” for “repentance and forgiveness of sin”. We do not go back to the Cross. We do not “take it to the Cross”. The Lord has given us the very means, as written in Scripture and taught by the Lord, to give us the very much needed fruit of the Cross today: Word and Sacraments. Martin Luther taught this Scripture truth:

“If now I seek the forgiveness of sins, I do not run to the cross, for I will not find it given there. Nor must I hold to suffering of Christ…in knowledge or remembrance, for I will not find it there either. But I will find it in the Sacrament or the Gospel the Word which distributes, presents, offers, and gives to me tat forgiveness which was son on the cross…whoever has a bad conscience from his sins should go to the Sacrament and obtain, comfort, not because of the bread and the wine, not because of the body and blood of Christ, but because of the Word which in the Sacrament offers, presents, and gives the body and blood of Christ, given and shed for me. Is that clear enough?”

When we distribute the Holy Communion, there are a couple ways of doing such, and one way is “continuous distribution“. People come forth in a line(s) to receive the Body and Blood while standing: continuous distribution. The Lord calls His Church to the continuous distribution of His Word for our repentance, strengthening and growth in faith, and service to one another. We do not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We need His Word as Israel did manna. We can not time travel back to Golgotha, as this is impossible. Instead, the risen Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit gives us His Word today as today is the day of salvation because Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Read Full Post »

FOR YOU

 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”-John 12: 32, for Holy Tuesday

Congregations, churches, pastors, priests fret over the question:  how do we attract new members?   I  have asked that question and that is more than a simple admission and more like a confession.  Is it our choir? Our youth program?  Our peppy service?  Our warm and welcoming people?  Our meals on wheels?  etc. etc. etc.  All those things can be fruit of the Gospel but they are not the Vine from whence comes the fruit.  

What is our “draw”?  There is only one “draw” in the Church, for the life of His world and you in His new creation:  Jesus Christ.   It is written that our preaching is Christ and Him Crucified (1 Corinthians 1:22-24), not was.  Holy Baptism is into His Crucifixion and Resurrection (Romans 6:2-4 ; Colossians 2:10-12 ), not “was”.  Holy Communion is the preaching of the Lord’s Death (1 Corinthians 11:26) and is His Body and Blood from the self-same Body and Blood given unto death is our life, not “was”.    The Cross stands at the center, radiating out, Christ Jesus embracing us in His forgiveness. No Cross, no Savior.  No Cross, no resurrection. No Savior, no salvation. No Savior and the good works He prepared to be our way of life. If there is no preaching of Christ and Him crucified, then the preaching of human works follows in order to ‘gain’ salvation; then there is no grace and Christ died in vain.  Our self-chosen works become a hollow spirituality.  In the national hospice organization, a chaplain is a “spiritual/slash/existential therapist”!  No law of God, then no Savior who fulfilled the Law. Evangelism is not only for those who have not heard of Christ, or those who have but have forgotten:  it is for every Christian as we tend to forget and need His forgiveness and life day by day.

I’m struck by how hollow American Christianity can be. I love that so many say that Jesus is Lord, but I wonder whether there’s a center, or whether the Easter bunny is hollow.

There was a time when Seder meals were all the rage, combining the Jewish Passover with Holy Communion.  I see Christians commenting on the tradition of it, how holy it seems to be, how it links us to the past. Really? Why do Christians find such solace in the Jewish rite? Perhaps, because they have no holiness of their own. Jesus told his disciples that he wanted to celebrate with them the Passover. The Passover. The term comes up over and over again. But what happens? The Passover meal passes into the Lord’s Supper as Jesus is the Passover Lamb:

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5)

The Lamb of God offers finally not an unblemished lamb, but his own flesh as heavenly food.

American Christianity has no holy place. And we substitute our Founding Fathers for church fathers. We have no holy place, and we idolize the land of Israel. But there is a holy place, and it is not just a place of the spirit. It is a flesh and blood place, the place where our Lord feeds us with himself, his body and blood, in a holy of holies holier than any Old Testament priest could ever hope for. Why in the world would we hope to rebuild the temple? We just heard from the Epistle reading, Christ is with us, body and blood, wherever his Supper is celebrated. Notre Dame Cathedral has been called a “monument”, a national French monument.  I don’t go to the Lincoln Memorial to worship.  Yet, at Notre Dame Mass is said, confessions heard, people are baptized and the song of the Church goes on. Maybe, the secularists are telling us that Notre Dame is a monument to a dead idea;  maybe that’s what’s being said. That’s sad. But it’s not a mere monument. From Notre Dame to this little temporary Sanctuary sanctified by the Word and the Holy Spirit in the Lord’s Baptized sons and daughters.  Jesus was clear:  He is the Temple, not made with human hands.

Now, given that fact, the fact of our Lord’s bodily presence, we should act like it. We should sing, “Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand.” Our Lord comes to us, every week, wherever the Supper is rightly celebrated. Let’s celebrate that.

This sermon, Good Friday Meditations, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday sermons will reflect on the Questions from the Passion. IN this evening of the Lord’s Supper, when he said that one of you shall betray Me. The disciples asked:  Is it I, Lord?  In Da Vince’s famous painting, the Last Supper depicts this moment.

Is it I, Lord, for whom You took frail flesh, from the womb of Your Mother, and died for us?

Is it I, Lord, for whom You preached, and taught the Word of God as the Word made flesh for us and salvation?

Is it I, Lord, for whom You said from the Cross, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

Is it I, Lord, for whom it can be said,  My sins crucified Thee.

Is it I, Lord, from whom You gave me my brothers and sisters in You, my Lord and my brother to encourage one another as we see Your Day approaching?

Is it I, Lord, that I should kneel in service to my brothers and neighbors?

Is it I, Lord, for whom You washed me in Holy Baptism and made Your own to be built as living stones into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ?

Is it I, Lord, for whom You gave the Church the Office of the Keys for forgiving and binding my sins?

Is it I, Lord, for whom You give your Body and Blood in this Holy Supper?

And as St. Paul said, whenever we do as our Lord commanded in remembrance of him, we proclaim his death until he comes again. So it is, word and flesh belong together, and in our spiritualized and gnostic world, there is so much more we need to say and even more to pray. In 43 days, there is another important Thursday in the Church Year, Ascension Day. The two Thursdays are intimately connected in Jesus Christ because the ascended Lord, bodily and spiritually, deigns to be with us in His Supper, proclaiming His death until He comes again.  The Crucified and Ascended Lord commands His Gospel be preached and He will be with us:  This is my body, this is my blood. Lo, I am with you always even until the end of the age as He commanded baptism for all. When we confess and are forgiven, then as He said, Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there I am. He draws us forth by His Body and Blood and by the same draws forth the toxins in body and soul in joyful repentance and sends us forth to proclaim the deeds of Him who called us out of darkness into His most marvelous light.  In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Read Full Post »

Meme of the Day

Read Full Post »

Panhandling for Notre Dame Cathedral, (National Review, dated 1 September, 2017

ByMICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY

“So what is the attitude to Notre Dame? Though the French state is its owner, it will not spend the money for necessary repairs.” 

Read Full Post »

Image result for Jesus washing the disciples feet icon

COLLECT OF THE DAY

O Lord, in this wondrous Sacrament You have left us a remembrance of Your passion. Grant that we may so receive the sacred mystery of Your body and blood that the fruits of Your redemption may continually be manifest in us; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

READINGS:

Exodus 24:3-11, Psalm 116:12-19, 1 Corinthians 11:  23-32, St. Matthew 26:  17-30

or

Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 116:12-19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-32, John 13:1-17, 31b-35

“Maundy” is derived from the Latin “mandatum”, or commandment (as in “mandate”).  On this 1st of the 3 days of our salvation, Triduum, the Lord Jesus gave 2 commandments:

1.  When He washed His disciples feet He said, A new commandment that you love one another.  The sense of the Greek is that the new commandment is SO THAT you love another, which would mean the new commandment is to wash each other’s feet.  IN that way we love each other and show forth His love to all.  

2. When He broke the bread and gave the Cup, He gave us His body and blood with the words, “Do this”.  The Holy Communion is not optional, but a command.  In Jewish tradition the 2 candles on the dining table represent:  Command and Remembrance.  Yes! “Do this, in remembrance of Me.”  As we are to serve one another the Lord serves us His Body and Blood till He comes again in glory.  His Church is called to serve the Dinner:  the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Mass and serve one another. In St. Luke’s reportage of this holy evening and giving of the Holy Cmmunion(chapter 23), he tells us this:
“24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” He is still with us as One Who serves as He is risen!

The two sets of readings for this holy day are about the vertical and horizontal dimension of the Holy Communion of the Church:  kneeling to receive the Sacrament of the Altar and kneeling to wash each other’s feet. In many of the icons of the Lord washing Peter’s feet, Peter has his hand to his forehead as if he saying, “Oh, my!” (see the image above!). We might say, I’ll kneel to no man! I’m too proud and yet when I am sick or down, I am so glad when a friend in Christ is there to serve me in knelt-felt Christ-like love. Here is the Lord who knelt to all men to save us from our selves lost in sin and death. This is the Lord God who knelt to wash His disciples feet, His creatures’ feet.  The Lord who knelt to feed us His Body and Blood. The Lord who knelt in prayer. Can we do any less? He calls us to Himself as His kneeling Church.

Read Full Post »

COLLECT OF THE DAY:

Merciful and everlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him, that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

READINGS:  Isaiah 62:11-63:7  Psalm 70   Romans 5:6-11  John 13:16-38

This is the eve of the Triduum, the Three Days:  Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, or the Great Sabbath. It was on this day that Judas made his arrangements with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and at the last  Passover meal on Thursday Judas left the Passover meal in order  to complete the betrayal (John 13:25-27).

Romans 5:6-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

It is clear from this appointed Epistle Lesson for this Holy Wednesday the description of  mankind’s condition before the coming of Christ:  “weak” , “ungodly”, “sinners”, “enemies”.  The Apostle Paul clearly uses the first person plural pronoun as he doesn’t just think he had been weak, ungodly and the like, but he knew it.

Such descriptors, as the enlightened say today, is not good for our self-esteem.  It seems we have self-esteemed ourselves into a fantasy world in which our unregenerate flesh shows itself again and again in lust and rage and greed. We cannot look into that mirror on the wall for too long, telling us we are the fairest of all, and not become insane or worse, evil.  We will even dare to die for a good person, cause or country, but even that’s against the grain of the Old Adam. It took God to die for us, the half-hearted, when we were “weak” , “ungodly”, “sinners”, “enemies”, God loves the unloving:

My song is love unknown,
my Savior’s love to me,
love to the loveless shown,
that they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
my Lord should take frail flesh and die?

Or as C. S. Lewis wrote: “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”

Our lives in Christ our transformed and reformed in His reconciliation…alone.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: