Monday, April 25, 2011
Good thing #1: Eating roast lamb on Easter.
Good thing #2: A long walk with my 5 year old this morning in the warm sun.
Good thing #3: Listening to a brother pastor's Easter sermon this morning.
Life is good. (Now if only my big research paper for school was done . . .)
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Lots of posts today! My juices are flowing again . . .
It's a funny thing. No matter how hard I try, it seems near impossible for me to write an Easter sermon early. I studied and read and had pages and pages of notes, but writing? Nothing would come. I have to first go through Holy Week with its readings and the liturgies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and then! then the thoughts and words come joyfully. It seems to happen that way every year. And though I do wish I could get things done ahead of time, I must say, I love it! I love writing this sermon on Holy Saturday morning and anticipate preaching it tomorrow, even as I anticipate the Vigil and the quiet calm and joy of this night. There's just nothing like Holy Week.
This is what the Passion of our Lord is all about:
The English subtitles say "the hero of Judah has triumphed," but better: The Lion of Judah wins the fight! (Revelation 5:5) In the midst of sadness and death is victory. Christus Victor!
The whole Passion is worth watching if you have the time. If not, at least watch this.
This morning, we read of Israel being pursued by the Egyptians to the edge of the Red Sea, and that this was no accident - the Lord had them go this way *so that* the Egyptians would come out against them. I thought of how we are being pursued by death every day of our lives. But just as God would provide a rescue from the pursuing Egyptians, so He has provided a rescue for us from pursuing death - both through water! Tonight we will remember this in the Vigil, and celebrate tomorrow with our full-throated Alleluias! This is the night of our Passover. Thanks be to God.
Well, we had another first for St. Athanasius last night - we streamed our Good Friday Tenebrae service over the internet. Don't worry! We are not becoming an "electronic church!" Rather, there were some folks who were unable to come last night for various reasons, and rather than having nothing, or having to watch something heterodox on television, we allowed them to be with us in this way. We may do more of this. It will be important as we do, to stress that this is *not* a substitute for coming to church - but if they truly cannot be with us, then at least we can be with them.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
A good writing today in the treasury . . .
"We all come together, as children of the same family, to the table of our common, heavenly Father. As great as the distinction between communicants in civic life may be, in the Holy Supper all distinctions evaporate. We are all the same, in that we each eat the same earthly and heavenly bread and drink the same earthly and heavenly drink. In this Meal, the subject and his king, the slave and his master, the beggar and the rich, the child and the old man, the wife and the husband, the simple and the learned, truly all communicants stand as the same poor sinners and beggars, hungry and thirsty for grace. Although one may appear in a rough apron while another in velvet and satin, adorned with gold and pearls, when they depart, all take with them that for which they hunger and thirst: Christ's blood and righteousness as their beauty and glorious dress. No one receives a better food and better drink than the other. All receive the same Jesus, and with Him, the same righteousness." (CFW Walther)
The Lord bless you all this night as you remember His institution and receive His Body and Blood.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Well, today I cleared a big hurdle for school - today was my day to present and lead class discussion on Luther's revision of the Roman Ordo Missae. We've been studying the development of the Mass during the medieval period, so I started with the way things were when Luther came around, and then looked at and evaluated the structure and rubrics he wrote of in his reform. I also turned in the first draft of my research paper for this. It went well. Had a good discussion and my presentation seemed to be well received. All I have left to do for this class is revise the paper and turn in a final draft, which shouldn't be too bad at all. That will wait until after Easter.
My other class - the Holy Spirit in Liturgical Celebration - I still have to work on and finish my research paper for. For this class I am looking at Luther's two revisions of the baptismal liturgy and how his changes may impact how the role of the Holy Spirit is regarded in baptism. So for this one I need to look at the rites Luther inherited, how he changed them, his theology of the Holy Spirit, and how this all goes together. I have part of it done, but put it on the back burner to finish my other class! Now its moving to the front . . . just in time for Holy Week!
That's what's making this semester so hard this year - the end of the semester and Holy Week coming at the same time. I'll get it all done, somehow. Just might lose a little sleep . . .
But I must say, the campus here looks wonderful. The tulips are all out in full bloom. Many different colors. They do a great job with their gardens here. And Starbucks makes a good, strong coffee!