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Posts Tagged ‘Scriptures’

From Jerome’s Letter to Heliodorus:

“The day will come when this corrupt and mortal body shall put on incorruptibility and become immortal. Happy the servant whom the Lord then shall find on the watch. Then at the voice of the trumpet the earth with its peoples shall quake, and you will rejoice. When the Lord comes to give judgment the universe will utter a mournful groan; the tribes of men will beat their breasts; kings once most mighty will shiver with naked flanks; Jupiter with all his offspring will then be shown amid real fires; Plato with his disciples will be revealed as but a fool; Aristotle’s arguments will not help him. Then you the poor rustic will exult, and say with a smile:

“Behold my crucified God, behold the judge. This is he who once was wrapped in swaddling clothes and uttered baby cries in a manger. This is the son of a working man and a woman who served for wages. This is he who, carried in his mother’s arms, fled into Egypt, a God from a man. This is he who was clad in a scarlet robe and crowned with thorns. This is he who was called a magician, a man with a devil, a Samaritan. Behold the hands, ye Jews, that you nailed to the cross. Behold the side, ye Romans, that you pierced. See whether this is the same body that you said the disciples carried off secretly in the night.”

O my brother, that it may be yours to say these words and to be present on that day, what labor now can seem hard?

(From Festivals and Commemorations by Rev.Philip Pfatteicher:  Published 1980 by Augsburg Publishing House)

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 One of my favorite TV shows was and still is, Star Trek.  Every episode began with this:

 Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

 Except I  do think that space is not the final frontier.  The final frontier is the heart, soul, mind and body of everyone of us. We can not traverse that frontier so well and following our devices and advices we get lost. “I did it my way” we sing and pay the piper, again and again. “with no direction home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone”.  That’s how man is without the Lord. Like a rolling stone, not built upon the cornerstone of His life.  We live in an age which has lost it’s direction and we seek directions with every talk show, expert, professional, guru and teleevangelist.    Only God can go where no mere man has gone before, that is Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfector of our faith.  “I am the way , the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me”.  Indeed, Believe in God, believe also in Me because, “I am the Word made flesh.  I have come to take you home to be with now and in the life of the world to come.  I will lay down My life, in order to take it up again.  I am the way, the road.  Follow me. You have gone down cul de sacs and dead ends, tried shortcuts, other ways which lead nowhere, on a road to nowhere, highways to hell.  Thieves and robbers along the way trying to take your life, your faith, your hope and My love and forgiveness from you. The devil like a prowling lion seeking someone to devour, stand fast in the Way, I am the way. Follow Me, not your thoughts and feelings”.   We are called by the Lord Jesus to Himself, who as sheep go astray, everyone to his own way, and the chastisement that made us whole was laid upon Him. 

 “He’s the spittin’ image of his father.”  One of the first queries after a birth of a child is who does he look like?  He’s the spittin’ image of his father…that usually comes later.  But of Jesus Christ, it is true from the womb.  He is the spittin’ image of His Father. When the Magi saw the Infant lowly, they fell down and worshiped Him. What the eye saw, the Holy Spirit revealed.   Phillip, if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.  In Christ the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell. Was it because the Lord looked like a movie star or model that He said what He did to Phillip?  One of my profs said that in answer to what did Jesus look like, we do not know from the Bible as there is no description of His looks.  This itself is important in our image obsessed image that declares image is everything, that is looks .  My prof said the go-to verse as to maybe what Jesus looked like is Isaiah 53:2

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him
.

So image is more than looks.  As Jesus said to Phillip that believe on account of My words and My works.  Phillip had heard and seen them all. Image is not looks but who one is. Every word from His mouth, every work of His hand is to warn and guide, to heal and uplift, to afflict the comforted, and comfort the afflicted. Phillip, this is what the Father looks like, you have seen the Father, but you want more.  Wanting more than Jesus and faith is the perennial problem. Some spiritual experience, some seeing of God sitting on His lap in heaven maybe, some emotional high contrived by my kind of music, some sign, give me a sign.  Here’s your sign: My Cross. The spittin’ image of the Father was spat upon.  Here is what God looks like for us all:  bleeding, dying, for you.  It is finished He said upon the Cross, that is, salvation free and clear.

 Why was Stephen stoned to death?  He was falsely accused of blaspheming the Temple by stating that Jesus is the Temple of the Lord not made with human hands, for now the kingdom of God is open to all believers. The temple in Jerusalem was never meant to be a hitching post but a guide post. He was saying what Jesus said that no one can come to the Father except by Me.  This does not fly in the corridors of theological correctness back then or in these days.  Of course, no Christian would say that because the exclusivity of the love of God in Christ Jesus that we Christians are superior beings.  That’s putting the cart before the horse.  Jesus is saying that His love is exclusively for sinners to repent receiving the Lord’s free remission.   His mission is the world’s remission of sin.   His exclusive love, bled upon the Cross, is for us all exclusively, that is, people who don’t live up to God’s standards, His Law. 

 Dr. Robert George, professor at PrincetonUniversity and he is a devout Roman Catholic, a rarity in many a university.  Dr. George said recently in a speech at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, that we are now in a time of social persecution of the Church which actually stands for something..  He said that it is still possible to be “safe” or a “comfortable Catholic” today “if one in fact does not believe what the Church teaches, or, for now at least, even if one does believe those teachings but is prepared to be completely silent about them.”  The type of capitalism that was the warp and woof of our nation was laissez-faire capitalism, which means economics with little or no governmental interference, but when it comes to the Church “laissez-faire” is deadly;  that is, Christianity without any direction from the actual Bible, God’s actual and literal Word.   Dr. George’s pointed comments about  comfortable Catholics, seems to go for laissez-faire Lutherans, especially those are completely silent about saving truth in Jesus Christ in the Bible.   When asked to give a defense of the hope that is in them, demur. For in the literal Bible the Lord tells us His Word of Law, don’t and His Gospel, I have.  And both Law and Gospel are exclusive, excluding sin and including the sinner, forgiven, to love what the Lord has set His heart upon:   life from conception, marriage between man and woman, serving the neighbor in his need, not for my greed, speaking the truth in love, but not loving the neighbor without the truth. You can’t tell me how to live is the cry at the Church.  We’re not, really.  God is.  Your complaint is as old as Adam. But when someone asks for directions because they are lost, and I know the way, to say I don’t know the way, is wrong.   

 The Church is not mortar and brick, but the Lord’s creation redeemed from the depths, as, “… you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter).  The Church is mobile as she follows her Lord in a world that has lost direction home to tell people of the home, the Church on the frontier of the kingdom come. The library here, as many do, has a bookmobile.  This is a picture of the Lord’s Church:  The Book mobile, His Scriptures pointing us ever to Jesus.  And the signpost home is Jesus’ Cross, the signpost of freed travelers on the living way of His dying and rising, His home with us, in His vast House, day by day in prayer, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

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Prayer of the Day

Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Bio:  St. Timothy had Christian believers in his family. His mother, Eunice, was a Christian woman and was the daughter of a Christian woman named Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). Acts records that St. Paul met Timothy on his second missionary journey and wanted Timothy to continue on with him (16:1-3). Over time, Timothy became a dear friend and close associate of Paul to whom Paul entrusted mission work inGreeceandAsia Minor. Timothy was also with Paul inRome. According to tradition, after Paul’s death, Timothy went to Ephesus, where he served as bishop and was martyred around AD 97. Timothy is best remembered as a faithful companion of Paul, one who rendered great service among the Gentile churches.

Reflection by  Fr. Valerius Herberger (21 April 1562-18 May 1627,  German Lutheran preacher and theologian)

Dearly beloved, today we celebrate the commemoration of St. Timothy. He was born in Lystra (Acts 16:2); his father was a pagan, but his mother, Eunice, born an Israelite, had accepted the Christian faith and had committed her son, Timothy, to be raised by her mother, Lois, who was also a Christian. So Timothy learned the catechism from his grandmother. See, dear parents, what the diligent training of children can do! Now since he was a good, excellent thinker,St. Paulaccepted him as his colleague or chaplain, and since he improved himself daily, Paul eventually ordained him as bishop ofEphesus, where he was also killed by the raging pagans.S t. Pau lloved him dearly, which we can see from both epistles that he wrote to him. In 1 Timothy 1:2, he calls him his true son in the faith. From these two epistles, many passages shine forth like the stars of heaven:

  • 1 Timothy 1:5: “The aim of the commandment is love from a pure heart and from a good conscience and from a faith unfeigned.”
  • 1 Timothy 1:15: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:12: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

Since St. Paul and St. Timothy were dear friends, they were put beside each other in the calendar, and also on the day of St. Timothy, the Gospel of John 15:9-16 is read, which speaks of pure love and friendship.

(Source for the above: The Treasury of Daily Prayer)

Further Reflection:  

I look at Paul’s two letters to Timothy as pastoral correspondence, that is, from Apostle to fellow pastor.  The two letters are about pastoral formation in these areas:

  • Preaching Law and Promise and rightly distinguishing the two:  1 Timothy 1: 8-12, 2 Timothy 2: 15
  • Prayers of God’s people:  1 Timothy 2
  • Servants of Jesus Christ in His Church: overseers, deacons:  1 Timothy 3
  • Description of the called and ordained Servant of the Word:                          1 Timothy 4
  • Servants of Jesus Christ:  widows, 1 Timothy 5
  • Pastors’ salaries:  1 Timothy 5: 17-18;  6: 6-10
  • Sound Doctrine and false teaching and teachers:  1 Timothy 6: 2b-21
  • Homeschooling in the Scriptures:  2 Timothy 1:  3-5
  • Unity of Purpose for the soldier of Christ Jesus in His militia Christi: 2 Timothy 2
  • The Centrality of the Lord’s Last Word in the last days:  the Scriptures:  1 Timothy 3
  • The Office of Preacher:  1 Timothy 4

As the old saying: what’s good the goose is good for the gander.  In other words, Paul’s counsel and exhortation to his dear brother and fellow pastor, is also for every brother and sister in Christ being formed in His school of the Holy Spirit.  Read the Apostle’s letters to Timothy as addressed to you personally and finally it is not Paul who is writing you!

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Part I is  from the blog  Aardvark Alley

Part II is my reflection on the day.

Today we commemorate Saint Timothy, Pastor and Confessor. The festival days for Pastors Timothy and Titus are set on either side of the day marking Saint Paul’s conversion. This proximity reminds us of their connection with the apostle, including his establishing them in office and the letters he wrote to them.

Timothy grew up in the faith as taught by his mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois. He was a companion of Paul for many of the apostle’s travels and spent much of his own pastorate in Ephesus.

Timothy is mentioned in Acts 16-20, and appears in 9 epistles either as joining in Paul’s greetings or as a messenger. Additionally, two of Paul’s three “pastoral epistles” — 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy — were addressed to him and his congregation.

The letters Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus are collectively known as the Pastoral Epistles. Much of Christianity’s understanding and practice of the pastorate comes from these three relatively brief letters.

Lection:

Psalm 71:15-24
Acts 16:1-5
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Matthew 24:42-47

Part II:

 Paul wrote epistles (letters) to Pastor Timothy twice and both epistles are in the Bible.  In those letters there is a lot about the importance and centrality  of the Bible, the written Word of God, in preaching, teaching and liturgy.   When Paul wrote of the “Scripture”, he probably meant the Old Testament, but now the Old Testament is revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Here are the passages: 1 Timothy 4:12-141 Timothy 5:17-19,   2 Timothy 1:4-6  and 2 Timothy 3:15-17 read together;   2 Timothy 4:1-3.  The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit ( Ephesians 6:17) and is the indispensable weapon and tool in the pastors’ arsenal and with him the congregation’s (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6).  The Lord commands us to be fed the Word of the Lord (cf. John 21:16-18).  Timothy was taught out of the Bible from the beginning of his life and to it’s end.  Bible classes are so important for any congregation or mission.  We need every Word from God (see Matthew 4:3-5).  The Word alone is our food, our guide and our companion in this world into the Kingdom come.  A strong witness to the Scripture  was given in  the most recent edition of the secular news magazine,  The Week (The Week) January 28, 2011: 

It Wasn’t All Bad

Sixth-grade teacher Debra Court of the St. Paul Lutheran School in Bonduel, Wis., was searching an old safe for baptism records to show her students when she came across an aged Bible.  No one at the church realized just how old it was until the church pastor sent pictures of it to the Concordia Seminary Library in St. Louis, where a cataloger concluded it had been printed 340 years ago. ‘To hold something that tells us, in 1670, the same message of God’s grace and Christ that we tell each other today, ‘ said Pastor Timothy Shoup, ‘that helps me to be even more thankful.’

Amen!

Let us pray…Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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