quod pro nobis traditum est

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

by the word of an angel

"So the Lord now manifestly came to his own. Born by his own
created order that he himself bears, he by his obedience on
the tree renewed and reversed what was done by disobedience
in connection with a tree. The power of that seduction by
which the virgin Eve, already betrothed to a man, had been
wickedly seduced was broken when the angel in truth brought
good tidings to the Virgin Mary, who already by her betrothal
belonged to a man. For as Eve was seduced by the word of an
angel to flee from God, having rebelled against his Word,
so Mary by the word of an angel received the glad tidings
that she would bear God by obeying his Word. The former
was seduced to disobey God and so fell, but the latter was
persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary might become
the advocate of Eve. As the human race was subjected to
death through the act of a virgin, so was it saved by a
virgin was precisely balanced by the obedience of another.
Then indeed the sin of the first formed man was amended by
the chastisement of the First Begotten, the wisdom of the
serpent was conquered by the simplicity of the dove, and
the chains were broken by which we were in bondage to death."
(Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5:19-20, cited in "Ancient
Christian Commentary on Scripture III: Luke", 19-20)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

St Nicholas

Commemoration: Nicholas of Myra, Pastor

Of the many saints commemorated by the Christian Church, Nicholas (d. A.D. 342) is one of the best known. Very little is known historically of him, although there was a church of Saint Nicholas in Constantinople as early as the sixth century. Research has affirmed that there was a bishop by the name of Nicholas in the city of Myra in Lycia (part of Turkey today) in the fourth century. From that coastal location, legends about Nicholas have traveled throughout time and space. He is associated with charitable giving in many countries around the world and is portrayed as the rescuer of sailors, the protector of children and the friend of people in distress or need. In commemoration of "Sinte Klaas" (Dutch for Saint Nicholas, in English "Santa Claus"), December 6 is a day for giving and receiving gifts in many parts of Europe. [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Hymnal Project, LCMS Commission on Worship, ]

Sunday, December 04, 2005

John of Damascus

Commemoration: John of Damascus, Theologian and Hymn Writer
John (ca. 675-749) is known as the great compiler and summarizer of the orthodox faith and the last great Greek theologian. Born in Damascus, John gave up an influential position in the Islamic court to devote himself to the Christian faith. Around 716 he entered a monastery outside of Jerusalem and was ordained a priest. When the Byzantine emperor Leo the Isaurian in 726 issued a decree forbidding images (icons), John forcefully resisted. In his Apostolic Discourses he argued for the legitimacy of the veneration of images, which earned him the condemnation of the Iconoclast Council in 754. John also wrote defenses of the orthodox faith against contemporary heresies. In addition, he was a gifted hymn writer ("Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain") and contributed to the liturgy of the Byzantine churches. His greatest work was the Fount of Wisdom, which was a massive compendium of truth from previous Christian theologians covering practically every conceivable doctrinal topic. John’s summary of the orthodox faith left a lasting stamp on both the Eastern and Western churches. [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Hymnal Project, LCMS Commission on Worship, ]

Hymns: “The Day of Resurrection”
(LW 133, TLH 205, ELH 356, LBW 141, CW 166)
“Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain”
(LW 141, TLH 204, ELH 347, LBW 132, CW 142)

The saying goes . . .

“The saying goes, ‘Abusus non tollit, sed confirmat substantiam,’ that is, ‘Misuse does not destroy the substance, but confirms its existence.’”  - Martin Luther (on the validity of Baptism, Large Catechism, 444:59)

Monday, October 31, 2005

taking the medicine

"Consequently the Mass is to be used to this end, that the sacrament is administered to those who have need of consolation. So Ambrose said, 'Because I always sin, I ought always take the medicine.'" - Augsburg Confession XXIV, 33 (Latin)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

dominus et magister noster

Dominus et magister noster Iesus Christus dicendo `Penitentiam agite &c.' omnem vitam fidelium penitentiam esse voluit.

Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Penitentiam agite [“Repent’], willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

- Martin Luther (Thesis 1, 1517)

a thought for reformation

“The great truths of the faith to whose recognition the Holy Spirit led Christ’s church in the heavy doctrinal struggles of the early centuries and which have been recognized by the orthodox church of all times as the true interpretation of Holy Scripture do not cease to be truths because they have been misused, mutilated, or even falsified. If there is one thing especially that Evangelical theology in our day has to learn from Luther and the Confessions of the Reformation, it is that the ancient church again be taken altogether seriously. The history of the church did not stand still, as many a young theologian these days seems to think, from the death of the last apostle until Luther came on the scene. The decline of the knowledge and study of patristics in the present generation of theologians threatens to become catastrophic for our theology unless it is somehow checked. A church without patristics becomes a sect.” – Hermann Sasse (We Confess Jesus Christ, 95)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

on the future of the church

"Nations pass away, but the church continues. And where there
is a people which no longer has a future, there the church still has a
future, because the future of the church is the future of Jesus Christ."
- Hermann Sasse (A sermon for Trinity I on Acts 2:42-47, 1943,
We Confess the Church, 136)

a church father on the apostolic tradition

"May this tradition restrain you: Thus the Lord taught, the apostles preached,
the fathers preserved, the martyrs confirmed; be content to speak as you have
been taught." - St. Basil

(Chemnitz, Examination, I:258)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

the "gift" of pastors - Ephesians 4:11-16

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
(Ephesians 4:11-16)    

How do you look at your pastor?  Should he be a good motivator, administrator and leader like we find in the business and political worlds?  Should he be a good salesman for the church and her activities?  Should he avoid theological matters and instead focus on numbers, revenue and success?  Should he avoid the church's liturgy and instead focus on entertaining the people?  Should he "get out of the way" so we can "do the ministry?"  These are questions raised by people both inside and outside the church who, for whatever reason, see the church primarily as an institution or business that deals in or sells spiritural themes and slogans to inspire us or motivate us for the week ahead.  These are sincere people who want to see the church succeed.      
See how the Apostle teaches that pastors and the church are something quite distinct from these popular notions that we hear about today.  The church and her pastors are of a different tradition.  They are of the apostolic tradition, that of the Holy Scriptures, which speaks of them as "gifts" of God Himself.  Why are they called "gifts"?  Because they are sent by the Lord for the benefit of His Church on earth to equip the saints for the work of ministry and to edify the body of Christ.  Why?  So that people will no longer be tossed here and there by any and all kinds of doctrine that are everywhere in the world but that come from outside of the apostolic tradition of the Scriptures.  Also, that they will not be fooled by "new" teachings about who the pastor and church are or ought to be.  Instead, God gives the gifts of pastors that people who hear and keep His word will "all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" and " may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ."

The difference then is not in seeing the pastor and the church as merely a voluntary association of like-minded people who love to do good but rather as "gifts" from God Himself.  God gave and gives pastors to the church, as He did the apostles, prophets and evangelists, so that people may be drawn out of the popular thinking of this world and come into communion with God Himself in Christ Jesus.  Jesus was sent by the Father and gave Himself over to death for the world that we may in and through Him receive forgiveness of sins and life in God.  This tradition in the catholic church of communion with God in Christ lives on in the holy liturgy of the Word and Sacraments, rightly preached and administered by pastors for the blessing of God's holy people.  So as God is love He gives to His Church on earth the gift of pastors in love and in Christ "the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."  

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"on the Lutheran Church and her liturgy"

Welcome to on the Lutheran Church and her liturgy

This blog title replaces the previous Latin title ecclesia-liturgia-augustana
("church-liturgy-Augsburg Confession") though the thrust remains the same.

Technically speaking, this blog does not compete since the author is not
savy and, until he has time to learn, is content to communicate with bare
bones blogging.

There are many websites and blogsites out there that address what this
blogsite hopes to address. At least, this site hopes to help the author
gather together his thoughts and resources on church and liturgy.
At most, this blogsite hopes to help the reader learn more about and
come to a deeper appreciation of the church and the historic liturgy
as well as put up with some of the author's own reflections on the
subject at hand. Finally, this blogsite hopes to add to the ongoing
conversation on the Lutheran Church and her liturgy.

Again, welcome.

Rev. Tim May