Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ Is Risen!


Christ is risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

I pray you all had a good Holy Week and a wonderful celebration of the resurrection of our Lord today. My week was very good. As I said in a previous post, it was a week spent in God's Word, meditation, and prayer, writing many meditations and sermons. The services gave the the truth - both the truth of our sin but even more, the truth of our forgiveness in Christ's death and resurrection. And the culmination today with our Festival Divine Service. A very good week.

I usually manage to strain my voice by the end of the Easter service, but this year we have a new wireless microphone (thanks Dave!) and I love it! I can speak normally and be heard! What a great thing.  :-)

My wonderful wife made my Easter lamb for dinner tonight! I look forward to this every year.

Tomorrow I travel up to my father's house where my brother and sister and I will begin boxing and cleaning out the items still there. I usually try to play golf the Monday after Easter to take a day off and rest my head, but this will be a good break as well. And it will be good to spend a few days with my brother and sister. So a good nights sleep and then off to Philly in the morning.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Working on Good Friday?

I am torn.

In years past, Good Friday was a day of - how to say it - respect? There was not much activity on this day. There was quiet. Many did not have to work. It was a different kind of day.

But now it is quite different. Ordinary. Normal. Most people I know go to work. There is the sound of lawn mowers, construction, trucks, and much else.

Now, I know that as our nation slides farther and farther away from Christian truth, this is what will be. Still, I find myself yearning for the days of old . . .

Do I condemn those who work? No - many of my own people must. They are fulfilling their vocation in service of their neighbor. And isn't that what Jesus did on this day? For us. Laying down his life for us.

Now true, if we do it only for money, only for our own selfish gain, then we are thinking and doing wrongly - not only this day but every day. But when done in faith, everything is pleasing to God. So in our vocations, we serve others, even lay down our lives for them.

So do I wish folks had off on this day? Yes, to be a day spent in God's Word, meditation, and prayer. But if you must work on this day, don't feel guilty or ashamed. Rather, while you work, remember your Saviour who worked for you. Who in loving service stripped off His garments and washed His disciples feet. Who in loving service had His garments stripped off of Him and was hung on the cross. And thus are you doing for others. Especially if you'd rather have the day off, but can't.

God bless you. You will be in my prayers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

We Must Eliminate the Cross

"We must eliminate the cross.  . . .  The bearer of the cross is America."

While showering and listening to the news this morning that is the quote I heard, spoken by one of Al Qaeda's leaders. When the announcer asked his guest, a so-called terrorism expert, on the meaning of that phrase, he would say nothing about Christianity or Islam - only that they are threatening America.

Duh.

Why can people not speak the obvious? Why can they not acknowledge the persecution of Christians and the destruction of churches in these lands? Why can they not speak the truth? That what is going on is not just anti-Americanism, it is anti-Christianity. That is the enemy of these folks.

Perhaps some will say this is a figure of speech, that one must "bear one's cross." That it is used as a figure of speech I acknowledge. But it does come from the New Testament, and do you really think an Islamist group would use a Christian figure of speech like this? Highly improbable!

The humorous thing in all this is, they still consider America a "Christian nation." I know there are reasons for this in their theology, but honestly, really? I'll leave that debate for another day, but here's the whole story below. I could not find it on that radio station's web site, but found a similar article on the NY Post web site and copied it - because I would not be surprised at all to find this line excised from the reports later. I wanted to make sure I captured it. So below is their story with not additions or deletions (bolding emphasis mine):


This gathering in the desert is no Coachella — it looks more like a full-scale Allah-palooza.

A new video popping up on jihadi Web sites shows some of al Qaeda’s most dangerous terrorists smiling and glad-handing each other at a terrorist conclave in Yemen, CNN reported.

The video, which features al Qaeda crown prince ­Nasir al-Wuhayshi addressing more than 100 fellow terrorists in the arid hinterlands, is being analyzed by US authorities.

It was unclear if the CIA was aware of the conference, which could have been an inviting target for an anti-terror drone strike, CNN said.

Al-Wuhayshi, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, at the meeting delivers a rousing speech to jihadists, clearly aiming his rage at the United States.

“We must eliminate the cross,” al-Wuhayshi says. “The bearer of the cross is America!”

The notorious terror master walks around with a swagger that shows an apparent lack of concern about the possibility of a drone strike, CNN said.

The video popped up ­recently on the Web, and US officials and terrorism experts said they believe it’s authentic.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is considered the most dangerous al Qaeda affiliate and is a constant target of US drone strikes.

US officials would not comment to CNN about the video.

accessed 6:34 am 



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holy Week

Well, haven't felt like posting to the ol' blog of late, but thought that I'd post some Holy Week thoughts . . .

I really love Holy Week. There's so much hubbub around Christmas, so many extra activities that make it such a hectic time of the year. But Holy Week is different. For me it is very meditative, spending so much time in the Word, thinking and writing.

We had brief online Vespers services again this year for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I did this last year, reading through the Passion accounts of the various Gospels. This year we read through sections of John chapter 12 - the Gospels assigned for this time of year, and I wrote brief meditations on them. You can read them here.

Tomorrow I have to go to pick up the chairs we are renting for our regular Holy Week services and set up the house church where we will be. Yes, a house church, because we cannot use the church we rent for Sunday mornings during the week. So each Holy Week we have to set up at a different location. This year is a new location, so in addition to renting chairs, I need to go and figure out the logistics of it all. It makes it all a bit harder - both for me and for the folks - but that is what we must do. Someday, perhaps, we will have our own building . . .

Private Absolution tomorrow night as well. An hour before the main service in the evening. A very good way to begin the Holy Week observances.

I occasionally watch some of the big services that go on at the Vatican on their YouTube channel. I have them on in the background while I'm working on other things. Helping me to learn Italian! (Like I need to learn yet another language! :-) But seriously, one of the things that always strikes me is during the reading of the Passion story - St. Peter's square is packed solid with people, but right after the reading of Jesus' death, everyone drops to their knees and you can hear a pin drop! And they stay that way for some time in meditation. Now, I still disagree with Rome on some of their theology, but I gotta admire that piety.

I also like listening to the St. John Passion this week. It is - bar none - the greatest work ever written, in my humble opinion. If you want to see one of the finest performances of it, go here. You will not regret it! (Note: The close captioned translations of the German are not always the best, but they give you the gist. Also, there's a bit of a hiccup around 22:50 - not sure what that's about, but it doesn't last too long.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy 90th Birthday!

Monday was Grandpa Peasant's 90th birthday. He really didn't need many presents, so we decided to thrown him a fancy dinner party on Saturday night with some other "mature" members of our church. I am happy to report a good time was had by all. Here are some pictures:


First, here is the menu.


The birthday boy with honored guests.


Carving the Prime Rib.


The birthday boy with his cheesecake and "90" candles.


With the servers and cooks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time for the Walk-Run-Ride for Life Again!

Saint Athanasius will again have a team participating in the Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life, to raise money for the important work of saving babies and helping mothers in crisis. Help us raise money for them! Sponsor us! Click here to go to my fundraising page. Then scroll down a little and click on the "My Team" tab to see the whole Athanasian team, then sponsor either me or any or ALL of our participants. Thanks in advance for your help. The past few years our team has placed third in fund raising - let's see if we can do better this year. (Is that a theology of glory? Maybe, but it's for a good cause :-)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ash Wednesday Surprise

Imagine arriving for the Divine Service on Ash Wednesday and finding . . .

. . . part of the chancel gone

. . . new carpeting cut and lying loosely about

. . . new lighting being installed

. . . construction stuff lying around

. . . dust and dirt everywhere

. . . and a workman who upon questioning says: "Oh, didn't they call you?"

AAHHHHHHHH! NO THEY DIDN'T!

And people wonder why I have gray hair.

Yes, this is the one of the joys of not having our own building to meet in. The Adventists from whom we rent space decided to renovate their church and did not tell us.

Now, you might be asking, don't you have a contract? Yes, yes we do. It says we pay a certain amount on money for use of the building on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. And yes, last night was Wednesday evening. Our night. We pay for it. Why were they there? Why did they even think they could be there, tear the place apart, and just give us a phone call the day before and we could just up and move our service? Why?



(crickets)



Sadly, this is not even the first time they've done this to us. If we had another location we could rent for anywhere near the same price (which still isn't cheap, but everything else in this area is really expensive!) we'd move. But for now, we're kind of stuck.

So we have to suck it up.

But it would be so nice . . . so nice to just be able to go to church on a Sunday morning or a midweek service and not have to set everything up, and not have to wonder: what surprises await us today?

Sigh.

Fortunately, we arrived early enough to make do, clean up, and set up for church. It was hectic and tight for time, but we did it. And the workman was very nice and helped us as well.

But this is where God has put me, to preach to these people and give them His gifts. To labor under this burden of church-homelessness. So here I stay. And the people are wonderful! I wouldn't trade them for the world. Just wish we could afford our own place.

Someday. Maybe. Someday.