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)