Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gifts from Home

As long as God has been good to His people, they have given thanks to Him.  In the days when the earth was young and harvest was done,  Cain and Abel brought their offerings of thanks to god.  god had been good to them and blessed their work in the field and with the flock.  From God's hand they had thankfully received many good things;  therefore, they chose the best, and with sacrificial use of fire gave it back  to God.  It was all from Him;  it all belonged to Him.  Abel's sacrifice was with glad and faithful gratitude and God was pleased.

So on down through the patriarchs, God's men made their sacrifices of thanksgiving.  The response of God's people to His gifts is thankfulness.  Each day for each person has its gifts, and from each person, therefore, thanks are owed to god each day.  Now thankfulness to God is something we cannot do well by ourselves in isolation.  Right thanking means right using, and right using means sharing.

In boarding school, when a lad receives a parcel of cakes and good things from his mother, he is surely a contemptible fellow if he hides the parcel in his locker and only sneaks to it secretly to eat all the good things by himself.  We take it as natural that he will yell for roommates and they will devour the parcel with exclamations such as "What a lucky fellow you are!" and "What a colossal cook your other must be."  Happy times those parcels from home with the hearty sharing and the fun and thanks of one's starving friends.  That is the sort of fun God wants us to have with all the parcels He sens us from home.  Only He sends so many and sends them so regularly that we get so used to them that we we do not recognize them as from Him, share them, and so do not have full joy in them and do not truly thank Him.  

--Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 318.  Harvest Festival.  Deuteronomy 16:13-15

I like the image of the parcel from home--the joy of it, the reminder of home, the sharing of the goodies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When gathering preach.

One of my favorite Luther quotes:

Now in order to correct these abuses, know first of all that a Christian congregation should never gather together without the preaching of God’s Word and prayer, no matter how briefly, as Psalm 102 says, “When the kings and the people assemble to serve the Lord, they shall declare the name and the praise of God.”  And Paul in 1. Corinthians  14 [:26-31] says that when they come together, there should be prophesying, teaching, and admonition.  Therefore, when God’s Word is not preached, one had better neither sing nor read, or even come together.  
 (Luther’s Works, American Edition, Vol. 53. Liturgy and Hymns, p. 11.)

Luther wrote this because there were so many abuses, the worst among them the saying of masses without even anyone present to receive the supper, etc.  

The most important always is the word, the hearing of the gospel and the praise of God.  We cannot do without it.  Just reading and reciting prayers is not sufficient either.  When we gather there must be a word, a living word.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's 30 below.

Alright. We finished looking over the last chapters of Just's "Heaven on Earth", which moved me to sit by the window and sing a hymn.

Most likely the text is copyrighted because it is newer song, so I won't tell you.  Under the left side it has a beautiful psalm verse, 85: 11 and 12  (...that goodness and faithfulness meet each other, and justice and peace kiss each other, that righteousness grow upon the earth and justice look down from heaven.)  On the other side on the bottom, we have a saying by Martin Buber:  "Wir koennen nur mit Gott reden, wenn wir unsere Arme um die Wet legen." -- "We can only speak with God, when we put our arms around the world."  The sayings complement the song which is a prayer for freedom, peace and joy, even in the little things and every day.  "Gib' uns Frieden jeden Tag."

But now we are headed out of doors.

"Fasten everything!"  say the ladies in my town choir.  No loose jackets, gloves or boots.  Every button closed and every snap attached.  You walk 15 seconds without your gloves, your hands are frozen, so it seems or is.  One isn't too sure how frozen is frozen when something is frozen.

God's gifts are for real.

I'm rereading parts of Arthur Just's "Heaven on Earth. The Gifts of Christ in the Divine Service."

For the abolitionists [of the historic liturgy], that gospel is tinged with a strong sense of works-righteousness, and it infects much of Protestantism today, particularly with the individual focus on "me and Jesus"  and the decision theology that runs rampant through its songs and sermon.  Among the Rationalists, there are restorationist tendencies in which the liturgy becomes an object of devotion, turning this rite that bears the salutatory means of grace into an idol to be worshiped.  The liturgy becomes a good work, the platform for presenting the propositional truths of the faith.  This ultimately undermines the incarnation and destroys the Church's sacramental life."  p. 262

We need to always stress that in Divine Service actual gifts are delivered to us.  It is proclamation but it is also "pro-me", for me and handed over to me right then and there.  Actual fact.  Not metaphor.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Each one unique

Norman Nagel:

The Lord loves a banquet.  He is happiest when His people are gathered at the table with Him.  The Lord delights in giving out good things--ordinary, everyday things, and things far beyond the ordinary.  It has always been that way.  When He created the world, God was so pleased with it that He couldn't keep it for Himself and simply had to share it with some who would delight in it with Him.  And there is always more--more than we could ever imagine.  The solar system is quite a lot, more than enough, we would likely say.  Then the Lord flings out the galaxies and nebulae and more beyond that.  No two of anything the same, and on one tiny particular speck He puts water.  "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven"  (Genesis 1:20).

Half a dozen different birds would surely be enough, perhaps a dozen kinds of fish.  But no, we have some of the craziest looking fish.  Some from deep down in the darkest depths of the sea we have only recently got pictures of.  Only the Lord knew they were there all this time, but now we have cameras that can take pictures of them and we can wonder at them.  "Why on earth did God make something like that?"

Why on earth did the Lord make something like you?  There is only on like you--ever has been, ever will be.  the Lord multiplies His delight.  He doesn't have the same delight in any hundred of the same.  He has a different delight in each unique one of us, and He invites us into delighting with Him in each one.

The Foolishness of God / final installment

Becker, pp. 215-222

Quote (all the bolding is mine):

Antirationalism in the Lutheran Doctrine of Law and Gospel.

As the last exhibit in the catalog of Lutheran antirationalisms, we turn now to an apparent contradiction which is both one of the most difficult and one of the simplest of all.  It is the distinction between law and gospel.  All the previous discussion is but a concrete demonstration of this fundamental distinction.  Luther held that a theologian worthy of the name must know how to divide the word of truth, that is, he must understand the basic difference between these two doctrines.  The chief founder of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, C.F.W. Walther, in 1884 and 1885 delivered a series of thirty-nine evening lectures to his students at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, on this subject.

...The doctrine of law and gospel is, to Lutheran theology, one of the greatest and most basic paradoxes of Christianity.  Lutheranism stresses the paradoxical nature of the Christian faith, particularly as it is exemplified by the distinction between law and gospel.  Because of this some have tried to draw a parallel between the doctrines of orthodox Lutheranism and Kierkegaardian neo-orthodoxy.  The similarity between them is more apparent than real.  And it is just here, in the matter of law and gospel, that conservative Lutheranism finds the greatest void in the Danish pessimist.  It is strange, in a way, that Kierkegaard, who delighted in paradox, never discovered or understood very clearly the basic paradox of the Christian religion.  J.T. Mueller has well said that Kierkegaard " never came to a clear knowledge of the basic difference between Law and Gospel, but consistently mingled Law and Gospel.  Ultimately, Kierkegaard's entire teaching was law.  Christianity to him was not essentially trust in Christ and the blessed rejoicing which flows from reliance on Christ, but asceticism, self-imposed suffering, work righteousness.

Dr. Walther, at the very beginning of his Law and Gospel, told his students:

"Comparing Holy Scripture with other writings we observe that no book is apparently so full of contradictions as the Bible, and that not only in minor points, but in the principal matter, in the doctrine how we may come to God and be saved."

1.  The law is written in the heart of man, and is therefore known by nature (Romans 2:15).

1.  The gospel is a mystery unknown to man by nature (1 Corinthians 2:7 ff;  Romans 16:25).

2.  The law demands perfect obedience from men (Genesis 17:1; Matthew 5:48).

2.  The gospel makes no demands but only offers the grace of God to men (Ephesians 2:8,9).

3.  The law promises salvation and life to those who obey all its demands. (Luke 10:28).

3.  The gospel promises salvation to those who have broken the law (Acts 16:31).

4.  The law says that the doers of the law shall be justified (Romans 2:13).

4.  The gospel says that those who have not kept the law shall be justified without the deeds of the law (Romans 3:28).

5.  The law says that God will not forgive sin nor acquit the sinner (Joshua 24:19; Nahum 1:3).

5.  The gospel says that God has acquitted all men, that he has forgiven the sins of the world (Romans 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:19).

6.  The law says that every sinner is to be cursed (Galatians 3:10).

6.  The gospel says that all the families of the earth are blessed in Christ (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16).

7.  Law
The law says that God hates sinners (Psalm 5:5;  11:5; Hosea 9:15).

7.  Gospel
The gospel says that God loves all men (John 3:16).

... [several more examples are cited].

It must be borne in mind that both doctrines are solidly based on the inspired Word of God.  Both are therefore true, and we must say that they are eternally true.  If either of these doctrines were to become untrue, God would be a liar.  Even Jesus said that he had not come to destroy the law.  And St. Paul said that we establish the law by the preaching of grace, although it would appear that the law somehow becomes void in the gospel.

... The most common resolution of the difficulty is one which destroys both law and gospel, so that neither any longer says what it originally said.   There are those, for example, who say that since Christ came God no longer demands complete obedience from men, but that he is satisfied if we do the best that we can.  This is a watering down of the demands of God until they fall midway between his demands in the law, which call for perfection, and his demands in the gospel, which call for nothing.  But this is no longer the word of God.

There are others who make the promises of the gospel conditional.  They will say that God is only willing to forgive us provided we have the proper attitude, that God will be gracious to us if we repent, or if we believe, or if we are contrite, or if we are willing to amend our sinful lives. Bainton says, "That if bothered Luther," and it bothers an orthodox Lutheran to this day because it is so easily understood as indicating a cause on account of which God forgives us or a condition that man must fulfill before he can be forgiven.  There are "if's" in the law, but no in the gospel.  This sort of methodology in preaching and teaching is called, in Lutheran theology, a mixing of law an gospel.

... Both law and gospel must be allowed to stand without modification, in spite of all their apparent contradictions.  Yet, Dr. Walther is perfectly correct when he says in his Law and Gospel  "There are no contradictions in Scripture."  What looks like a contradiction to reason the believer accepts in childlike faith as perfectly harmonious divine truth.

Take a few of the seemingly contradictory statements of law and gospel to the foot of the cross in faith, and there see how perfectly they are joined.  God threatens to punish every sinner.  This he did through the vicarious atonement which his son made on the cross.  When Christ died as a sinner, he bore our sins.  We died with him.  Therefore God now forgives us in him.  The law also demands perfect obedience from man.
But this perfect obedience has been rendered vicariously through him who said that he had come to fulfill the law, to fulfill all righteousness.  Christ's obedience is the obedience of all men, as Adam's sin is the sin of all men.  Thus he met the demands of the law, and we are justified as doers of the law through what he has done.  Likewise, God threatens to curse the sinners, but Jesus was made a curse for us.  Therefore we are blessed in him.

Without the doctrine of vicarious atonement there can be no reconciliation of law and gospel, and without faith in the vicarious atonement men will never arrive at a solution to the paradox of law and gospel.  This, however, is not a rational solution devised to satisfy reason.  The vicarious atonement itself is an offense to reason.  To the natural reason of man, which even the believer will carry with him to the grave, the biblical message is foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14).  In God's great revelation of his name to Moses at Mount Sinai he revealed himself as the God who forgives all sin and the God who punishes all sin (Exodus 34:6,7).  He is both a God of infinite justice and revenge and a God of infinite love and mercy.  To human reason this will always be an insoluble conundrum--one that can only be solved by making either God's love and grace or his justice and righteousness less than infinite. [Bolding mine]

But for the Christian believer God has at the cross of Christ found a way to demonstrate both his perfect avenging justice and his perfect forgiving grace.  The "Foolishness of God" thus shows itself to be "wiser than men"  (1 Corinthians 1:21-25).  And once a man has accepted that "foolishness" as divine wisdom because a new way of thinking has been created in him by the creative working of the Holy Ghost, that which looked like gross nonsense now appears to be the greatest wisdom, and what appeared to be an impossible contradiction is accepted as divine truth.

There is yet another perspective from which to view this matter.  Man was created for heaven, and by his sin he damned himself to hell.  Now he needs the law to show him his wretched state, and he needs the gospel to show him the way out of his impossible situation.  He needs the law to destroy his pride in his own character, achievements, and works.  He needs the gospel to overcome the despair which follows when he finds that he stands naked and alone before God.  He needs the law to destroy his faith in himself.  He needs the gospel to build his faith in God.  What appears impossible to fit together on paper fits perfectly in the human heart.

We see, then, how this paradox is resolved in utmost simplicity for the believer.  And we have the certain hope that the light of glory will finally illuminate and resolve many of the other paradoxes of the Christian faith.  Whatever still remains a mystery, we shall happily contemplate with the holy angels (1 Peter 1:12). 

End of Quote

From The Foolishness of God by Siegbert Becker (c) 1982 Northwestern Publishing House ( All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


My own comments:

Regarding Kierkegaard and neo-orthodoxy, I must admit pretty much complete ignorance.  I am curious as to how he and others handle "paradox" differently.

C.F.W Walther's landmark "The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel" has been reissued very recently.  It is some of the most valuable reading someone could invest time and money in.  It can be purchased from CPH here.  There are other resources on the subject.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Single cell

One of my favorite clips on the "evolution" of the first single cell.  Only a minute and a half long.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Missions: Africa in Crisis

A magazine fell into my hands the other day, which I found very honest and compelling.  It is issued by Mission Frontiers, , and this was the November-December issue titled:
Africa in Crisis:  Finding Hope in the Midst of Tragedy.

Six different hard-hitting articles articulate many deeply troubling problems and also highlight different ideas and potential solutions.

This is the introduction to the first article:

Somewhere in the world, in the last week of October, a baby was born who tipped the human population over the 7 billion mark.  Statistically there is a high probability this baby is an African.  Statistics also tell us this African baby will need to fight for survival, facing the highest child-mortality rates in the world.  Such is the irony of Africa:  the most likely place, and at the same time the most dangerous place, for a young person to grow up.
     By the end of the century, Africa will climb from its current population of 1 billion people to over 3.6 billion, an increase from 15% of the world's population to 30%.  while the rest of the world's population is slowing down, Africa's is accelerating.  this rapid growth combined with Africa's current development state ha produced a human tragedy on the scale almost impossible to comprehend.
      In the last thirty years, over 100 million Africans have died from wars, famine, malnutrition and preventable diseases.  this ongoing tragedy is compounded by the reality that most of those dying are people who bear the name of Christ.  Even more unthinkable is the fact that such tragedy has occurred at the height of christian power, wealth and influence in the world.  But here also is another part of the irony that is Africa.  Though billions in aid has been sent from the West, the aid itself is now seen as part of the systemic problem that keeps Africa from moving forward.

In relation to how aid is administered,  an article explores "Orphan Care".  For example, the approach to helping orphans must shift from the idea of establishing orphanages to helping elderly relatives to look after the orphans, as they desire to do.  Grandmothers need decent housing and other support.  This way families are kept intact, which is essential for the future well-being of the affected individuals, and also their own future skills in raising a family.

There exists a resource which explores the way aid to Africa undermines its own peoples' well-being.  It is called:  "When Charity Destroys Dignity:  Overcoming Unhealthy Dependency in the Christian Movement."   It can be obtained in book, audio or video format.  I have not read it, but judging by the author's article in the magazine I'm holding, I expect it to be quite important.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Salvation by Alice Cooper

I am often happy about what God can do with the most outlandish ones of us.  Every talent can be used in its own unique and natural setting.  We also need to accept this in each other.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Foolishness of God / cont.

Becker pp. 208-214.

Antirationalism in the Lutheran Doctrine of Preservation. 
The doctrine of preservation in the faith, as it is taught in the Lutheran church, confronts us with another apparent contradiction.  This doctrine too illustrates very clearly how Lutheran theology differs from that of Rome, on the one hand, and that of Geneva, on the other, in the matter of dealing with seeming contradictions.  The very terminology employed is significant.  What Calvinism calls the perseverance of the saints, a term which lays stress on the activity of the believer, Lutheranism calls preservation of faith, a term which lays emphasis on the work of God.
       The Scriptures present us with two sets of passages in this doctrine, which reason finds difficult to harmonize.  In the following columns we have arranged them in juxtaposition to show how they stand in sharp contrast to each other. 

Column 1:  Statements of Scripture in which God promises to preserve us in the faith:
      "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." (I Corinthians 10:13)
Column 2:  Statements of Scripture which warn us against falling from the faith. 
      "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (I Corinthians 10:12)
[Similarly, Becker now lines up  John 10:28 against Luke 8:13, John 10:29 against I Timothy 1:19, 2 Tim 1:12 against 1 Corinthians 9:27, Philippians 1:6 against Hebrews 6:4-6, Philippians 2:13 against Philippians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 1:8 against Romans 11:20-22]

The promises in the first column are promises of God.  All the promises of God are to be believed.  Not to believe them would be to call God a liar.  The believing child of God reading these promises, should be convinced that he will never fall away, that God will not suffer him to be tempted above that he is able, that no man shall ever pluck him out of his Savior's hand, that no creature shall be able to separate him from the Father's love, that the Spirit of God will complete the work which he has begun in him.
      But on the other hand, the warnings in the second column are warnings of God.  All the warnings of God are to be observed with care, God does not jest.  His words should be taken at their face value.  And the believing child of God who takes these warning seriously will be sure that he is in constant danger of falling away from the faith, that he may be a cast-away, that he may make shipwreck of the faith, for he is not one whit better than Hymenaeus and Alexander, he is not stronger than Peter, he is no less subject to temptation than David, he is now wiser than Solomon, he is no less attracted by the world than Demas.  So he lives in fear and trembling.
      It is clear we are here dealing with a rational difficulty.  Calvinism looks at the first column and draws from it the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.  "Once a believer, always a believer," says the Calvinist.  The passages in the second column are either ignored or else they are interpreted in such a way that they are made to agree with the axiom, "Once converted, always converted."  A Lutheran finds difficulty in seeing how one can thus interpret the words of Jesus regarding those who "for a while believe and in time of temptation fall away."  But in pursuing its course, it must be said,  Calvinism remains true to the law of contradiction.  It holds that as long as there is a real possibility of falling away, there can be no complete and perfect assurance of perseverance.
     The Roman Church, on the other hand, characterizes all certainty of salvation as proud presumption.  When the passages in the first column are held before them, they respond that some men may have a special revelation from God.  Only they can be sure of their salvation.  But the ordinary Christian has no such assurance, and he can have no such assurance.  "Let him that thinketh he standeth," they say, "take heed lest he fall."  We must live in fear and trembling all our lives and hope that we may be able to overcome.  Only if we look at the warnings of God, will we be inclined to avoid carelessness and indifference in our Christian living.  Romanism holds that if men are not kept in fear, they will be led into carnal security and will fall away.
... One answer that Lutheranism gives is that the contradictory heart of man needs a contradictory doctrine.  The heart of man, desperately wicked still even in the converted Christian, is inclined to become proud.  Like Peter, it is inclined to say, "Though all should be offended because of you, yet I will never be offended."  (Mat. 26:33).  Like an immature teenager, it response to the expressed concern over its salvation with "Don't worry, mother, I can take care of myself."  To convince man that he cannot take care of himself, to make him realize that by himself he is lost, that he should never become careless and indifferent in his faith and life, the Lord has given us these serious and earnest warnings which mean exactly what they say and are not to be changed or modified in any way.
     But the heart of man is also a timid, quaking heart, which so often needs reassurance.  When its feet have slipped into the slough of despond, there is only one way that it can be helped.  Man's extremity is God's opportunity.  When I am weak, then am I strong.  For when I know that I cannot remain faithful, that I cannot persevere, for I am frail and helpless, then the Lord comes with the blessed assurance that no man shall pluck me out of his hand.  And so, every day, the Christian, as long as he remembers and believes the promises, will be sure that he will never fall away.
There is no logic that avails here.  We must simply hear and believe--believe it when God tells us that we are in danger, believe it when God tells us that we are in no danger.
... Thus the Christian must learn to live in constant tension between these two.  When he begins to lean over to the left, toward pride and presumption and confidence in the strength of his faith, and to trust in his own character, then the warnings against apostasy, the Savior's, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation," pushes him upright once more.  But usually man, even the Christian man, whose heart is never fully what it ought to be, begins then to lean over to the right--he becomes afraid and begins to doubt that he will ever make it to the gates of the heavenly city.  Once again the Savior comes and stands on the other side to support him and to push him upright once more with his promise, "Do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God"  (Isaiah 41:10).  And he knows that when his pilgrimage comes to an end, "all the trumpets" will be blowing "for him on the other side." 

 From The Foolishness of God by Siegbert Becker (c) 1982 Northwestern Publishing House ( All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Two posts on women serving in the church

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Discussion on Intelligent Design

Commented here on Intelligent Design:

The Foolishness of God cont.

Quite some time ago, we were reading through Becker's "The Foolishness of God". Today, I am looking at what we did not finish.  Over Christmas questions have arisen about what "incarnation" means and whether Jesus blood shed on his circumcision day, Jan. 1, also has something to do with our redemption.  In this conversation it seems to be unacceptable to someone that this physical way of talking is appropriate. 

This brought me back to Becker pp. 198, 199.

     When Lutheranism says that God is man and man is God, that God died, that the blood of Jesus is the blood of God, that man, in Christ, is almighty, and that his body partakes of the divine attribute of omnipresence, it goes out of its way to point out that this is not a mere figure of speech, not a mere rhetorical expression, not an epistemological device, but a metaphysical reality.  When Lutherans defend the real presence in the sacrament, they are intent upon defending the reality of the communion of the two natures in the person of Christ.  It is no accident that the article on the "Lord's Supper" and the article on the "person of Christ"  were placed side by side in the Formula of Concord.  When Lutheran theology defends the statement that Mary is the mother of God, it is not intent, as Rome is, on heaping honor upon Mary--and it deliberately rejects all the illogical and unwarranted conclusions that
Rome draws from this statement.  Lutheran theology defends this truth because of its significance for the doctrine of the person union of the two natures in Christ.
      An interesting illustration of the contrast between the Lutheran and the Reformed position is to be found in the hymnody of the church.  When Isaac Watts, a Reformed poet, wrote "Alas!  And did My Savior bleed,"  in his Hymns and Spiritual songs in 1707, one of the stanzas read,
"Well might the sun in darkness hide
      And shut his glories in
      When God, the mighty Maker, died,
      For man the creature's sin."

The Lutheran Church has generally permitted this stanza to stand unchanged, but in Protestant hymnals the third line of the stanza often reads,  "When Christ, the mighty Maker, died."  Although all the Lutheran hymnals I consulted contained this hymn, only two were found which have this revised reading.  These two were the hymnals of the former Augustana synod and of the former United Lutheran Church, which since have merged to from the Lutheran Church in America, now generally recognized as the most liberal Lutheran body in America.  Most Reformed hymnals do not contain the hymn at all, but out of more than a score that do, only the hymnals of the former German Reformed church and of the former Evangelical church, both of which were strongly influenced by Lutheranism, contain the original wording.  The revised wording, in itself, teaches nothing different from the original, but in the light of the Reformed position on the doctrine of the personal union, the change is significant.
     Lutheranism itself, and even the most conservative Lutheranism, has not always been able to resist the pressures of reason on this doctrine.  When the Synodical conference revised its hymnal in the 1930s, it changed the lines,
      O sorrow dread!
      Our God is dead!

to read,
      O sorrow dread!
      God's Son is dead!

in spite of the fact that the original German says,
       O grosse Not!
       Gott selbst ist tot.

But generally it must be said that Lutheranism has withstood the pressures of reason in this doctrine with at least a measure of success, by the grace of God.

From The Foolishness of God by Siegbert Becker (c) 1982 Northwestern Publishing House ( All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Three Years

I used to not understand how people do not get over this. It must mean that there is an eternal life, because memories don't work and this present "extinction" does not work either. 

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." 
― C.S. Lewis

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day of Circumcision and Name of Jesus, Jan. 1st.

The Collect for the Day of Circumcision and Name of Jesus, Jan. is/was:

Lord God,You made Your beloved Son, our Savior, subject to the Law   and caused Him to shed His blood on our behalf.Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit   that our hearts may be made pure from all sins;through Jesus Christ, our Lord,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,   one God, now and forever.

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel  after those days, declares the Lord:I will put my laws into their minds,  and write them on their hearts.I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more. 

I posted these because somewhere else we are having a discussion about whether Jesus blood  was shed for us also on the day of his circumcision.  I stressed that everything Jesus did from the incarnation to the ascension was done on our behalf. We are saved by his life and death, his perfect life also under the law and his shedding of blood, and also that on the day of circumcision.

The Collects for the day are always very beautiful prayers.  For those churches who have abandoned them, I think it is a real loss.  They might look at bringing them back in.