Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Even more exhibits, Paul Gerhardt

The pictures are from an old book my children received from my step-mother from East Germany. They are all illustrations to Paul Gerhard hymns. I want to translate one from the burial of a child section: "You are mine and still remain mine." 12 verses. The picture for that hymn is included. When I'm back I should have it translated. Maybe a translation of the hymn is available, though I've never heard it sung before either in German or English (though it is contained in the hymnbook shown a couple of posts ago). It is sung to the tune of "Ermuntre dich mein schwacher Geist".

I'll be gone for a while, but enjoy the pictures.

Oh, here is the hymn in German, if you want to work on it, too, in the meantime.

Der betruebte Vater troestet sich ueber seinen nunmehr seligen Sohn.
(12 Verses)

Du bist zwar mein und bleibest mein,
Wer will mir anders sagen?
Doch bist du nicht nur mein allein;
Der Herr von ewgen Tagen
Der hat das meiste Recht an dir,
Der fordert und erhebt von mir
Dich, o mein Sohn, mein Wille,
Mein Herz und Wunsches Fuelle.

Ach, guelt es Wuenschens, wollt ich dich,
Du Sternlein meiner Seelen,
Vor allem Weltgut williglich
Mir wuenschen und erwaehlen;
Ich wollte sage: Blei bei mir!
Du sollst sein meines Hauses Zier;
An dir will ich mein Lieben
Bis in mein Sterben ueben.

So sagt mein Herz und meint es gut;
Gott aber meints noch besser
Gross ist die Lieb in meinem Mut,
In Gott ist sie noch groesser.
Ich bin ein Vater und nichts mehr,
Gott ist der Vaeter Haupt und Herr,
Ein Quell, da Alt und Jungen
In aller Welt ensprungen.

Ich sehne mich nach meinen Sohn;
Und der mir ihn gegeben
Will, dass er nah an seinem Thron
Im Himmel solse leben.
Ich sprech: Ach weh, mein Licht verschwindt.
Gott spricht: Willkommen, du liebes Kind,
Dich will ich bei mir haben
Und ewig reichlich laben.

O suesser Rat, or schoenes Wort
Und heilger als wir denken!
Bei Gott ist ja kein boeser Ort,,
Kein Unglueck und kein Kraenken,
Kein Angst, kein Mange, kein Versehn;
Bei Gott kann keinem Leid geschehn;
Wen Gott versorgt und liebet,
wird nimmermeht betruebet.

Wir Menschn sind ja auch bedacht,
Die Unsrigen zu zieren;
Wir gehn und sorgen Tag und Nacht,
Wie wir sie wollen fuehren
In einen feinen, seligen Stand,
Und ist doch selten so bewandt
Mit dem, wohin sie kommen,
Als wirs uns vorgenommen.

Wie manches junges, frommes Blut
Wird jaemmerlich verfuehret
Durch boes Exempel, dass es tut
Was Christen nicht gebuehret.
Da hats denn Gottes Zorn zum Lohn
Auf Erden nichts als Spott und Hohn;
Der Vater muss mit Graemen
Sich seines Kindes schaemen.

Ein solches darf ich ja nun nicht
An meinem Sonn erwarten,
Der steht vor Gottes Angesicht
Und geht in Christi Garten,
Hat Freude, die ihn recht erfreut,
Und ruht von allem Herzeleid;
Er sieht und hoert die Scharen,
Die uns allhier bewahren.

Er sieht und hoert der Engel Mund,
Sein Muendlein helft selbst singen;
Weiss alle Weisheit aus dem Grund
Und redt von solchen Dingen,
Die unser keiner noch nicht weiss,
Die auch durch unsern Fleiss und Schweiss
Wir, weil wir sind auf Erden,
Nicht ausstudieren werden.

Ach, sollt ich doch von fernen stehn
Und nur ein wenig hoeren,
Wenn dein Sinnen sich erhoehen
Und Gottes Namen ehren,
Der heilig, heilig, heilig ist,
Durch den du auch geheiligt bist;
Ich weisss, ich wuerde muessen
For Freuden Traenen giessen.

Ich wuerde sprechen: Bleib allhier!
Nun will ich nicht mehr klagen:
Ach mein Sohn, waerst du noch bei mir!
Nein; sondern: Komm, du Wagen Elia,
hole mich geschwind
Und bring mich dahin, da mein Kind
Und so viel liebe Seelen
So schoene Ding erzaehlen.

Nun, es sei Ja und bleib also,
Ich will dich nicht mehr weinen.
Du lebst und bist von Herzen froh,
Siehst lauter Sonnen scheinen,
Die Sonnen ewger Freud und Ruh;
Hier leb und bleib nun immerzu!
Ich will, wills Gott, mit andern
Auch bald hernacher wandern.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Christ Church, Aschaffenburg

Found some pictures of the church in Aschaffenburg.
It looks like the narthex of the church was renovated.
The old big crucifix is still there but not at the front. Maybe it wasn't as big as I remember it either. Or maybe it's a different one.
My mother used to sing in the Kantorei in this church, and our schools had their school year opening and closing services there. Also, I remember going there for Buss und Bettag (repentance day). The Catholics did not have that holiday, I think, so the others had a service in the middle of the school day there. We walked from school to church and back.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More exhibits

While I am at it, I just also want to show off what I received for my confirmation, apparently on May 2, 1976. I think a crucifix like that makes a excellent present and memento. You actually put in on the wall and look at it, instead of receiving little booklets that end up who knows where.

This little crucifix hangs in our dining room now and I have never seen a confirmand here receive anything like it. Also precious is that you have your verse on the back and you can't forget it. Mine was, as you can see, Romans 1:16. Well, there are many wonderful verses, each more wonderful than the other, but this one is especially wonderful! :)

Paul writes: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (the Greek)."

I think it has been a good verse for me. It has made me bolder and happier.

The point is, I wish our confirmands here could have something like that.

Complaint about North American Hymnbooks

Above, please see exhibited my and my mother's hymnals from the Bavarian state church. Also, please note that the dimensions are about 5 cm by 10 cm. I weighed them, also: 150 grams (5 oz.). --Sorry 5x10 cm was wrong. They are 8x13 cm (3.25x5 inches).

These books are softly bound in Leather and nicely fit into your hands. People have their own and carry them to church. North American hymnbook are huge and heavy by comparison. And it seems like people don't own them.

I was talking to Gary about this yesterday, who was the first person I met who understood my complaint properly. He says: "Yes, you can take it to the hospital with you or anywhere". Exactly.

The other issue is that the large hymnal has all the piano accompaniment with every single hymn. Who needs that? It takes up so much space and beaks up the words. People complain that they can't follow and concentrate on the hymns they sing, they'd rather have a happy-clappy ditty. Well, I think this is part of why. It is difficult to follow the text the way it is split up across the page.

See how the verses are kept together in the little hymnal above. To me, it makes more sense.

("Befiehl dem Herrn deine Wege" means "Commit your way to the Lord"; and "Lobet den Herren" means "Praise (pl.) the Lord".)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Young males

Ok, I'm going to be stereotyping. What is it with young males? What on earth do they think?

Two of Andrea's boyfriend's friends just nearly killed themselves racing a Mustang. One broke his back. The other was unconscious. And the vehicle burst into flames. The one with the broken back pulled out the unconscious one. The one with the broken back will be immobile for 8 months.

On a somewhat lighter note, I disclosed the teeth of two young men (boys, 12 and 14)) for plaque today. It was much, much worse than the picture above. 1/2 mm of plaque on most parts of the teeth on all teeth. How can you possibly have teeth this dirty? I sent them to brush and floss it all off before I'd touch them. (They take forever when I do this and they come back very clean). One said he just can't get into the habit of brushing his teeth. Oh, ya. When was the last time he brushed his teeth? Oh, a week or two ago. What! The mother is sitting right there. They are old enough to worry about it themselves, says she. Yes, indeed. One just finished getting a whole mouth worth of cavities filled.

There are so many reasons for mothers to nag, to guilt, to be hysterical; it is no joke.

100 words or less

Hey, I'm still waiting for the 100 words or less! ... if you can.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Tof DP in 100 words or less

The arrival of the Treasury of Daily Prayer at our house practically coincided with the accidental death of our 18-year-old son. During this time, the Treasury has been our refuge of being together and being in the word. During February we lamented with Job. On Easter we heard a great sermon by Chrysostom.

We like to read all the daily readings before we go to bed and we often tack on an Evening Prayer or a Compline. The book is so easy to use, that there remain no excuses or awkwardness in sharing this time, which now has become a precious habit.

that's from me.

How about it Mary and Teresa, and oh, Andrea!?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Treasury of Daily Prayer

Paul McCain of Concordia Publishing House and Cyberbretheren blog (see sidebar) writes this:

I'll see if we can come up with 100 words or less in this house.

The Treasury of Daily Prayer has been a big hit and just this morning I was telling a group of people, “People who have it and use it, love it. But when I say ‘love it’ that is an understatement.” Here is my request. Would you please send me, in a 100 words or less, your personal reaction to the Treasury of Daily Prayer? And would you have your friends who are using it, or members of your congregation, also send me those comments? Would you also share this request with your various groups, web sites, blogs, Facebook groups and pages? Please invite them to send their reply/response to me at my Concordia Publishing House e-mail address, which is: Please ask the person making the comment to provide their name and location. Many thanks. Submission of comments is done with the understanding that we may quote them for marketing and promotional purposes. I’m looking specifically for comments about how the Treasury of Daily Prayer has helped, changed, improved, enhanced, revolutionized (?), your life of prayer and meditation on God’s Word and the same for anyone else willing to share a thought/comment. Would you please share this post on your blog sites, Facebook page, Twitter feeds, etc. etc. etc. Many thanks!



This picture is of Stefan's two little siblings. We spent the afternoon with his birthmother's family in their new house.

We brought them Stefan's guitar (one of them) in his nice case, yesterday. Andrea and I had a very sad cry when it went out the door, not because of the loss of the guitar but because of everything. It was just too symbolic. Then we had a bit of a cry when it went in the door of their house. It was a satisfying day, however. We shared Stefan all of his 18 years and now we share the grief. We are big proponents of the open-adoption process.

I proposed, as well, that we do this on an annual basis, that is, get together the Sunday after Easter.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

lazy Saturday

I should be cleaning or something. But instead, I listened to i-monks podcast #135, this morning. It was so good (Luther, law and gospel, soul care). Highly recommending it.

Interspersed with that I have my daughter coming up for coffee and food repeatedly, stalling a little on her studying for final exams. I need to make something of those times, while she still lives at home.

There are three hours left before we need to be ready go out to a fancy dinner Charles B. is putting on for us in the honor of Martin's and my 26th wedding anniversary. Charles is a Messianic Jew and he is starting up a blog called Yeshua Saves. Charles is also celebrating today: it is his 33rd baptism birthday! I think I will give him one of Bror's Bo Giertz translations, since I am currently stocked up on that. I hope he does not read this blog before we have dinner. :)

Oh, ya, and we printed out the entire set of documents for LCC convention in May, but realized we missed the registration deadline. Martin has let himself be nominated for delegate. He really is a glutton. So we'll be off to Vancouver again. This time by car.

OK, now we'll get some housework done. Honestly.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Grieving with Hope: 1 Thes. 4:13-14

This is from Bror's writings on Utah Lutheran. I don't think he'd mind. I'm not sure that I can define what grieving differently is, aside from the belief in the resurrection and leaning on the Christian community and the word--which is of course night and day difference.

The only thing I have found helpful from generic, secular, grief counseling is that grieving is a highly individual process in terms of how it expresses itself and changes. This knowledge has helped me be less hard on others and on myself.

Still, I am at the same time touched and disturbed by the "memorial celebrations" that the non-christian youthful friends of Stefan and Matt have come up with. I don't want to describe them. But it makes me feel sorry for them. I'm still figuring out what makes them do this. This item helps.

Grieving with Hope.
1 Thes. 4:13-14 (ESV)
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. [14] For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Here are a couple verses in line with the Easter Season. We tend to forget Easter after the first Sunday in Easter. Well it is hard to follow on the heals of that glorious celebration. In reality, though, every Sunday is a celebration of Easter. Easter is the reason we celebrate on Sunday at all. But we don’t grieve as others do who have no hope. It should be noted that Christians grieve, as do all humans. Christians are I think able to grieve even more. Today, people hate grieving. They try to short circuit it. I hear about people wanting to have the memorial “celebrations” at Chucky Cheese. People want the funerals to be light hearted affairs. They are afraid of the reality before them. They grieve with a pretense of celebration. They are afraid of death. But it is precisely because we have no fear of death that we are able to grieve. We have hope we have Christ. He rose from the dead. We know that this is not the last say, death has no hold on us. But it is still painful, saying goodbye to a loved one like that. We grieve. But we have hope we have a resurrection. We don’t need to cower in fear hiding behind fake smiles and sponge cake. We can say goodbye, we can curse death. And we can know that it has been swallowed up forever in the death of Christ. So those who fall asleep in him, will rise with him.
Posted by Bror Erickson

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"life after the death of my son, what I'm learning", by Rev. D. Apple

Reviews here.

This is a book that we received at Stefan's funeral and just got around to reading. The picture on the cover almost says it all.

It makes me weep just to type that.

I notice about the cover, too, that "life after the death of my son" as a title implies that there is indeed life after--extremely and permanently altered, a different, but indeed--A life. This life is counted now in terms of how long since the death, as in the way we count our years since Christ's coming. Yes, really it will be both at the same time: how long since my son died and still it is Anno Domini. It is life, still.

Dennis Apple lost a son, who was in first year of university, to "complications due to mono", having found him dead on the family room couch. He journaled his experience for 15 years before someone encouraged him to write this book. The back cover features a quote from the journal, which summarizes much of what is in the book: "I'm not sure of anything anymore. I want to say to God, 'You let our precious son die and here we are, empty-handed and broken' " (April 1, 1991)

He describes candidly the brokenness and his wife's depression. He also describes candidly the not-being-sure-of-anything (crisis of faith) which accompanied him for a long time, even while working as a minister. He finishes the book by saying that he changed his theology because of it all. In other parlance, one might say he moved from a theology of glory to a theology of the cross. He learned about God's grace for himself, though he was in such deep doubts for a long time.

Another feature of the book is its emphasis on ideas on how to help people who are grieving, especially in the church.

I would recommend the book as a quick, though gut-wrenching, very personal read for anyone, to gain a number of insights as well as a companion through a dark valley. Theologically, there could be more there, however, one of his main points is that he experienced this spiritual emptiness, which was perhaps the most excruciating part for him.

For me, it has not been like this entirely. I found it a rich time in many ways, thanks to all the people around me and the books around me and the shared Bible readings in the home. I have to be very grateful for that. I cry some every day, but mostly I feel well. However, I can tell, time will be measured from here on, as to how long since Stefan died.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Materialistic explanations don't work

This is a link from cyberbrethern blog. I thought it was a beautiful piece. A N Wilson, a novelist and biographer, explains his conversions from faith to atheism to faith.

Monday, April 13, 2009


From Mark Steyn's blog.

"Beware 'desert of godlessness' Pope Benedict warns West"

Our newspaper carried a story this weekend that I thought was important. Pope Benedict said a few things that people felt worth reporting.

"Pope Benedict XVI used this year's Good Friday meditations at the Stations of the Cross to compare attempts to purge religion from public life to the mockery Jesus faced from the mob."

"We are shocked to see to what levels of brutality human beings can sink. Jesus is humiliated in new ways even today. When things that are most holy and profound in the faith are being trivialized, the sense of the sacred is allowed to erode. Everything in public life risks being desacralized: persons, places, pledges, prayers, practices, words, sacred writings, religious formulas, symbols, ceremonies. Our life together is being increasingly secularized. Religious life grows diffident. Thus we see the most momentous matters placed among trifles, and trivialities glorified." ... "May we never question or mock serious things in life like a cynic" he prayed. "Allow us not to drift into the desert of godlessness."

The Pope's Good Friday message follows several high-profile British cases in which Christians have been reprimanded by their public-sector employers for talking about their faith at work.

New National Health Service guidelines stated that doctors and nurses faced harassment charges if they were accused of "preaching" to staff or patients, while a draft code of practice for teachers could be used by schools to discipline those who discussed their beliefs with pupils.

Such developments led John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, to proclaim in February that many Christians now "have the daily challenge of living by a set of values that the world thinks are mad."

What do you think of this as part of a Good Friday message?

I don't think the fact that the program of the church is forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ should stop the church from speaking out publicly about matters of the the public sphere. This warning to the world about its cynicism, desacralizing, godlessness, restrictions on freedom of speech needs to be made. Or does it?

Dr. John Patrick, at our Love Life Conference last year, hit a few of the same ideas. He finishes his talks to audiences (friendly and hostile) with: "What kind of world do you want to hand down to your children?"

Individuals who work in public sectors really are impacted by these trends. How can you live your faith at work when you can't say anything? Being muzzled is dehumanizing.

I talked about this article with my brother, Peter, over Sunday dinner and he says some people call Benedict the "Panzer Pope." I had not heard that one. Let him stand for the right things. He even says Catholics should read some Luther. Lord help him.

Easter weekend

We had a wonderful Easter weekend and I won't write about all the details.

I did walk up to Matt's family's house. They were very gracious. Matt's Mom and I went for a walk together. Thanks Tracy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It would have been...

It would have been Matt's 19th birthday today. I had thought about phoning his family for Easter, but when I heard about the birthday, I decided against it. Maybe later next week. My heart is with them. I hope they are comforted that Jesus lives.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bach choral for this week

This is the last verse of the Easter hymn "Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands"
(Christ lag in Todesbanden).

Wir essen und wir leben wohl im rechten Osterfladen.
Der alte Saureteig nicht soll sein bei dem Wort der Ganden.
Christus will die Koste sein und speisen die Seel allein.
Der Glaub will keins andern leben.

We now eat and live in the right Easter bread.
The old sour dough will not remain together with the word of grace.
Christ himself will be the food and he alone will feed the soul.
Faith wants to live upon no other.

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Child of God", the song

A song in memory of Stefan Mueller, 1990-2009, my son, celebrating our hope in Christ. As we celebrate Easter in just a few days, we are reminded that we live in the expectation of that day of resurrection.

Our pastor's daughter Kristin is traveling with Crew Ministries, a musical group sponsored by Lutheran Church Canada. She wrote, composed and performs this song below in memory of Stefan, who was her friend. Yesterday, we heard about it and received a CD of the song. Find the group and their CD here.

Thank you very much, Kristin. It is very comforting. The Lord be with you in your travels.

Here are the words:

Child of God

A child of God
created by the Father
and washed clean by the Son.

He holds you now
in his arms he loves and keeps you.
And someday there will come,
and someday there will come--the day:
when there will be no more death nor mourning
no more crying nor pain
for you will wipe every tear from my eyes.

A child of God,
loved by those around him.
and now he is gone.

The Lord holds you now
and his arms he loves and keeps you.
And some day there will come the day
when there will be no more death nor mourning
no more crying no pain
for you will wipe every tear from my eyes.

Child of God

This is a picture of the day of Stefan's baptism in 1990.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Consider the price of this ransom

I'm back from my trip--safe and sound with good visits had and more tears shed. (Tired. Busy week ahead for everyone.)

We did manage to read the Treasury of Daily Prayer tonight. For today it finishes with this profound quote:

Consider the price of this ransom, look carefully at this captive. He is the Son of God who is greater than all creation. How will you respond when you hear that such a priceless ransom was paid for your sins? Will you still want to offer your works done under the Law? What is the works of all men, the suffering of the martyrs, and the obedience of the holy angels compared with what the Son of God has given in His death, even death on a cross? (Luther)