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Friday, April 30, 2010

Matthew Harrison Preaches at CTSFW


Rev. Matthew Harrison preached today (30 April 2010) at Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne. His text was John 14:1, "Let not your hearts be troubled." This was especially fitting considering that a number of graduates at CTSFW did not receive calls on "Call Day." In the sermon, Rev. Harrison told the seminary community "Thank You" for their faithfulness, mission outreach, and other scholarly works that serve the church. He concluded the sermon with a quotation from Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration XI, 49: "... before time began God preordained what sort of crosses and sufferings he would use to conform each one of his elect to 'the image of his Son,' and that the cross of each should and must 'work together for the good' of that person ..." Listen to the sermon below and / or download it.



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CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Kramer Chapel
The Fourth Week of Easter
10:00 a.m.


Friday
30 April 2010

Stand

Matins – LSB 219
Venite – LSB 220

Sit

Hymn 829 “Christ the Eternal Lord”
Reading – John 14:1–14
Responsory for Easter – LSB 222

Homily – Reverend Matthew Harrison
Executive Director, LCMS Board for World Relief and Human Care

Stand

Canticle – LSB 940 “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”
Kyrie – LSB 227
Prayers – LSB 227
Benediction – LSB 228

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring Storm in Saint Louis

Hail Storm in Saint Louis.


We had severe storms in Saint Louis today. Tornado warnings, sirens, hail, and rain. Made for an interesting afternoon. All in our family are fine. Unlike typical Saint Louis storms, we didn't lose electricity (although the lights flickered a few times). The backyard flooded and the ducks returned for a swim.

Duck swimming in backyard river



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Third Grade Suzuki Method Violin Concert

Kit with Violin

Last night Kit had his first violin concert at Sorrento Springs. The school uses the Suzuki method to teach violin. Here is the wikipedia article on the Suzuki method. This was the first concert/school event Kit was excited about. Below are two short video clips -- a French folk song and Old Mac Donald.

French Folk Song


Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vine and Branches Conference Report and Encouragement for Pastors

Vine & Branches Postcard

This past weekend, I was at the Vine & Branches Conference hosted at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lakefield, MN. I was one of three speakers who addressed the topic: "Why Go To Church?" On the one hand the answer to the question seems self-evident. On the other hand, it is a question people ask every week, "Why Go to Church?" and it might be added why go to this particular church instead of another church. Each speaker was given a sub theme: Rev. Dr. Ken Wieting addressed, "To Be Satisfied?" Rev. Jon Sollberger addressed "To Be Uplifted." And I addressed "To Be Empowered." Not speaking about myself, the presentations were well done. Revs. Wieting and Sollberger did an excellent job. 

Rev. Dr. Ken Wieting spoke about the "Gifts in the Divine Service" based in part off his excellent book The Blessings of Weekly Communion. Dr. Wieting is the pastor of Lutheran Memorial Chapel and University Center in Shorewood, WI. If you have not seen his book or read it, I encourage you to check it out. Pastor Wieting's approaches the topic from his pastoral experience. For him, the question arose because a young couple on a home visit asked him, "Pastor, if the Lord's Supper is everything that the Scripture and the catechism say it is, why don't we have the opportunity to receive it when we come for worship each week?" (pg. 9 of Wieting's The Blessings of Weekly Communion) Wieting notes that he thought this was the wrong question and figured he would a question he could quickly answer after a week or two of study. This simple question led him on an 18 year question, culminating in a Doctorate of the Ministry from Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne and the Concordia Publishing House book The Blessings of Weekly Communion. Dr. Wieting's presentation on Vine & Branches focused on going to church To Be Satisfied, primarily being satisfied in the receiving of Christ's body and blood. 

 
abc3+, Rev Dr Ken Wieting, Barbara Wieting

I had the good fortune to have Pastor Wieting as my vicarage supervisor in 1995-1996. Who would have ever thought that 15 years later we would meet up as speakers at a conference in Lakefield, MN. Pastor Wieting has supervised more than a dozen vicars over the years, a great service to the church.

Ken Wieting spoke about weekly communion on Issues, Etc. with Todd Wilken on 28 July 2008. You can listen to it below.


Rev. Jon Sollberger presented on the theme "To Be Uplifted." He took on the controversial subject of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) or "Praise Band Music." What made his presentation different than other presentations on the subject is that Rev. Sollberger, before becoming a pastor, was a worship leader in a Contemporary Christian Music group that travelled all over the country. His former vocation as a CCM leader gives him a compassionate and sympathetic approach to people who enjoy this type of music. His presentation include demonstrates with his guitar on how music affects the emotions and moods of people. He argued that in many churches that utilize Contemporary Christian Music, it is the music itself rather than the message, sermon, or Scripture that creates the "uplifted" or "Spirit filled" atmosphere that many people find attractive. Music is not neutral. This begs the question, if the music is truly manipulating the emotions of people, is the uplifted, spirit-filled worship people describe truly authentic? As a person who attended the Synod's Model Theological Conference on Worship in January 2010, I thought Rev. Sollberger's presentation, with his interactive guitar demos, would have been a welcome addition. At the Synods Model Theological Conference on Worship, one of the themes frequently repeated was "Hospitable and Authentic Worship." One of the goals, as stated by LCMS pastors who use CCM in their services" was to create an environment that was "hospitable and welcoming" to guests and vistors. Music plays a big part in this, as the music can create feelings and moods in the audience. The music can make people feel welcome. I supposes churches and pastors who utilize CCM in their services would argue this is simply one of the tools to help reach out and spread the Gospel. A phrase that Rev. Sollberger repeated frequently was "Feelings never give rise to faith, but faith does in fact give rise to feelings." It would be good for this conversation to continue in our Synod. 

Rev. Sollberger has presented on this topic in several other forums such as Higher Things and on the Issues, Etc. radio program. Below is an audio recording of Rev. Sollberger from Issues, Etc. from 26 August 2006, titled, "God Pleasing Music." Click here for the archived link or listen below. 



My presentation was titled, "To Be Empowered." I leave it to others to say how helpful it was. The basic point was that "empowered" comes from the Greek word energéō -- the root of the English word "energy." In the Scripture this word is used of God working in and through people. So to be empowered is to have God working in you because of the gifts he has given you in the service. So how does the Lord work in you? The focus of my presentation was on showing mercy to your neighbor in need. The connecting point is the dismissal from the Divine Service, "Go in Peace." From there Christians are empowered to show mercy to other people they encounter. Also touched on splachna, the word used to describe Christ's compassion, and had a section on suffering under the cross and the promise that all things work for good.


A Slide from my presentation

Vines & Branches was held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lakefield, MN. I stayed at the home of Pastor Jon Nack and his wife, Jovita,  and family, Corey and Hannah. Their hospitality and conversation made the stay very enjoyable. I cannot thank them enough for hosting the conference and for providing me with room and board. I also had the opportunity to preach at Immanuel on Saturday evening and Sunday morning and to conduct Bible Class.

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Lakefield, MN

On this conference, I met many fine pastors. For someone who lives in Saint Louis, MO, I was momentarily surprised that pastors would have to drive an hour or more to meet together. The closeness of churches and pastors in metropolitan areas makes it easy to forget that a good number of pastors and congregations are separated by 30, 50 or more miles, especially the further West travelled. In some cases, these pastors serve multiple parishes separated by 20, 30, or more miles. Driving through rural areas from Minneapolis to Lakefield, MN, I could not help but think of President Pfotenhauer as he described the lonely life of pastors and teachers on the frontier of Minnesota in the early 20th century. In 1894, Pfotenhauer, then the president of the Minnesota and Dakota District wrote an address titled, "Encouragement to Lonely Pastors and Teachers." It seemed to me that even with the advances of modern transportation, the distance between pastors and congregations in some rural areas can still result in lonely pastors and teachers, who face challenges brought about by rural life. One of the pastors told me, the problem is jobs. There are no jobs in this town and the children move away when they grow up. It seems hard to imagine that any sort of Congregation Revitalization Program could help a rural congregation facing declining demographics or grown children relocating to urban areas for employment. In fact, when driving through rural Minnesota the State government posts signs along the highway announcing or encouraging various economic development programs for these small towns. This certainly presents a challenge to pastors and teachers who endeavor to be faithful to their callings as well as dealing various demographic and economic realities of these rural areas.

Perhaps just as applicable today as it was in 1894 are Pfotenhauer's words (taken from Matthew Harrison's At Home in the House of My Fathers, pg. 702):
Thus most of our preachers and teachers must live in great loneliness, far from their brothers in the office, without the conveniences of modern life with which our contemporaries squander away their days. Also, carrying out the duties of the office is often combined with great difficulties. Because of the large land holdings of individual farmers, and the sparse populations, our congregations, as a rule, take in wide areas. Each of our preachers serves an average of three congregations. How many thousands of miles must be traveled every year before the congregations of our district have the Word of God preached to them, before children are baptized, and before the dying may be consoled? One of our preachers who is not even formally a traveling preacher [Reiseprediger] wrote to me recently that he has in the last eleven months had to travel 4,000 miles in service to his congregations. Among us, travel is so common that one cannot conceive of himself as a pastor of the Minnesota and Dakota District without a carriage and travel bag. We also have to contend with the climate of our district. The summer is very short. Planting and harvesting must occur in the span of a few months. During this time, farmers work continuously from early morning to late at night. And oh, they completely forget about diligently hearing the Word of God, perhaps confident that with the long winter, they can make up for what was missed. The preacher, however, must complain about poor church attendance and watch as a portion of his hearers fall into the concerns and riches of this life and are stuck in them. After a short summer, the northern winter descends upon us with all its fury. The rays of the sun provide not the least trace of warmth. Snow and ice cover our land. Roads disappear under the terrible snowstorms, and all life is paralyzed. Often, Sunday worship must be cancelled, or is only poorly attended.
So when one of our preachers expends all of his ability on the widespread and lonesome roads, traveling over unending fields of snow, in great danger and with great exertion, or when he sits at his desk to prepare for the next Sunday, it is easy for the tempter to suggest to him: “You work in vain, and your abilities are accomplishing nothing. In another district, under more favorable circumstances, you could make better use of your gifts. Here, your health is going to be ruined in a short time.” When such thoughts come, the prayer truly applies: “Lead us not into temptation.” “God indeed tempts no one, but we pray in this petition that God would protect and preserve us, so that the devil, the world, and our flesh may not deceive us, or mislead us into misbelief, doubt, and other great shame and vice; and though we be troubled by them, that we finally overcome them and attain the victory” [S.C. Lord’s Prayer, Sixth Petition].

May the Lord grant these faithful pastors in rural areas the strength, encouragement, and faithfulness to continue their calling and work.

Fredrick Pfotenhauer
President of Missouri Synod, 1911 - 1935.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Volcano Disrupts Trip to Kenya



The Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Iceland has disrupted all air traffic to Europe and thus disrupted the flight I was supposed to take to Kenya. The flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam was cancelled as was the flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi. 


Volcanic dust has done some bad stuff to airplanes. There is an infamous incident involving a British Air flight over Indonesia in 1982. You can read about it here. Basically all the engines quit working. At 37,000 feet, the air is too thin to breath and without engines no air in the cabin of the plane. The pilot saved the passengers, crew, and plane but serves as an example of the bad stuff volcanic dust can do to airplanes. 


The trip to Kenya was to visit some of the 1001 Orphan sites and to celebrate the opening of a new orphan center at Udom, Kenya. While disappointing to miss the opening of the orphan center and to see friends in Kenya, the cancelled trip provides more time with family. So in all things, the Lord works good.


As for Lakefield, MN, the Vines and Branches conference went well... more on that later.


Here is a video from Russia Today on the volcano:




Friday, April 16, 2010

Vine and Branches 2010 then Kenya


I'm off to the Vine and Branches Conference. More can be found out here. After Vine and Branches is over, I fly to Nairobi, Kenya. Will have an opportunity to visit with Bishop Obare and to see LCMS World Relief and Human Care's 1001 Orphans Project. Will try to blog as able from Kenya.

Bishop Walter Obare and abc3+ in South Africa August 2009

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Building Homes and Hope in Haiti

Rev. Glenn Merritt Narrates the building of a Home in Haiti

On Friday, I received this video from Rev. Glenn Merritt who is in Jacmel, Haiti with a team from LCMS World Relief and Human Care. On his team, Rev. Carlos Hernandez, Al Dowbnia, and Hans Springer. LCMS World Relief and Human Care, under the direction of Rev. Matthew Harrison, has partnered with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Haiti (ELCH) and volunteers in the United States for the project, "Building Homes and Hope in Haiti." In the video above, Glenn describes the project.


To give to Haiti Earthquake Relief, LCMS World Relief and Human Care:




Saturday, April 10, 2010

Piri Reis Map and Pre Ice-Age Travel

Last evening, I was having some mutual conversation when the topic of ancient maps came up (how these topics arise is a mystery in and of itself) and what the world might have looked like in times past. The book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings by Charles Hapgood came up. He argues that a pre ice-age civilization circumnavigated the globe and even found Antartica. More shocking was that part of Antartica was ice free about 11,000 years ago. Naturally this claim is the subject of much debate. Sections of Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings can be seen on Google Books


The map itself was compiled by the Piri Reis, an Ottoman-Turkish admiral and cartographer in 1513. Piri Reis stated that he used 20 charts and maps to produce his map. Some have thought that perhaps he had access to maps and charts from the lost library in Alexandria. The map is of historical importance because it accurately presents the pre-Modern world.

Piri Reis Map (Click Image to Enlarge)

Monday, April 5, 2010

1944 Overture for Saint Louis Seminary Chapel


Saint Louis Seminary Chapel Built 1992

Sts. Timothy and Titus Concordia Seminary Chapel

As I continue to read the reports and memorials from the 1944 Synod Convention in Saginaw, MI, I cam across one about building a chapel at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis. This reminded me of my early days at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, just after the new chapel of Sts. Timothy and Titus was completed.

The Saint Louis Seminar Chapel of Sts. Timothy and Titus was completed in 1992 for several million dollars. Little did I know then that the Concordia Seminary Chapel was requested of the Synod back in 1944. The memorial to Synod requested that the chapel be built in the style of the other buildings on campus and have the capacity for 800 people. Forty-eight years later, Concordia Seminary Saint Louis received the chapel it requested in the 1944 Convention. Of course, by 1992, it is quite likely that the majority of funding for this chapel came not from the Synod proper but from fund raising by the seminary itself. Nonetheless, the seminary did get a chapel. The 1944 Convention Memorial is given below.

abc3+
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Chapel at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
WHEREAS, The need for a chapel at Concordia Seminary for private prayer, worship, devotions, academic services, installations, Baccalaureate services, and training in leading in worship and liturgy is evident; and
WHEREAS, According to Synod's official publication a "Thankoffering for Peace" is being contemplated; and
WHEREAS, The purpose of such an offering may be manifold, such as missions, education, church extension; and
WHEREAS, Among such memorials a chapel at Concordia Semi-



nary would be something tangible and abiding for generations to come; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Board of Control petition Synod to include a chapel fund in the proposed "Thankoffering for Peace"; and be it further
Resolved, That this chapel structure be erected in keeping the present design of buildings and that it have a seating capacity of eight hundred people.

THE BOARD OF CONTROL OF CONCORDIA
ST. LOUIS, Mo,
GEORGE W. WITTMER, Secretary


Sunday, April 4, 2010

NPR: Haitians Faith Unshaken -- Mentions Pastor Louis

Inside 1st Lutheran Port-au-Prince Taken by Me in February 2010

This morning before church I came across this story from National Public Radio. To my surprise, this story mentions, the damage to 1st Lutheran Church in Port-au-Prince, Wilnande Monpremier, who was injured in the earthquake at 1st Lutheran Church, and Jeanne Louis, the widow of Pastor Doris Louis, who was brutally murdered a few weeks ago. I was surprised that NPR discovered the Lutherans in Haiti.


The Lutheran school where Wilnande Monpremier was injured


The story also interviews Roman Catholics and the chief voodoo priest in Haiti. The Roman Catholic Priest struggled with the theodicy question. He mentioned that the Lord was testing the Haitians' faith and that this was not divine retribution -- good. Then he goes on to say that the spiritual and the natural should not be mixed, seeming to imply that the earthquake is a purely nature phenomena. Max Beauvoir, a prominent voodoo priest, states that voodoo practitioners believe in God but that he doesn't control earthquakes. He said, "God has never pretended to be able to manage the Earth. Only Christians believe that — that God manage the Earth." He then goes on to say that accidents like earthquakes are outside of God's control -- the answer of a good Pantheist. 


Today, on the celebration of Christ's resurrection, we take comfort in the Lord who has conquered death, hell, and Satan, knowing that he also has control over the earth, for nothing is outside of his authority or dominion. 


Read the NPR Story below and click on the headline for the original story.


abc3+
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Haitians' Faith Unshaken By Earthquake

He is Risen!

Resurrection
Albrecht Dürer, 1510

"In him there is eternal righteousness and eternal life; his resurrection from the dead is mightier than my sin, death, and hell, greater than heaven and earth. My death and sin are minute drops, but my Lord Jesus' death and resurrection is a vast ocean."

-- Martin Luther, "Holy Easter Sermon,"1533. 


Alleluia, alleluia. In die resurrectionis meae, dicit Dominus, praecedam vos in Galilaeam. 

On the day of My Resurrection, saith the Lord, I will go before you into Galilee.



Saturday, April 3, 2010

Free Professors' Garages -- Memorial to Synod 1944


Lately to help me go to sleep at night, I have been reading the Reports and Memorials for the Twenty-Fourth Delegate Synod (Thirty-Ninth Regular Convention) Assembled at Saginaw, Michigan June 21-30, 1944. A number of fascinating and potentially relevant reports and memorials can be found there. Look for more to come in the near future. Imagine if overtures about Professors' Garages appeared in 1944, what other overtures might appear, such as "Supreme Authority of General Conventions," "Enlarging Electoral Circuits," "Reduction of Number of Delegates to Convention." As the Preacher (Qoheleth) said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

One report and memorial that particularly caught my eye was titled, "Free Professors' Garages."The PDF of it can be viewed/downloaded Here. I sure am glad I don't need a Synod in Convention to have a garage.

Images and text of the overture are below.


 Free Professors' Garages

The Synodical Handbook, edition 1937, pp. 69 ff., regarding the salaries of the professors at our seminaries and at our seminaries and colleges, adds the statement: "Salaries herein mentioned are understood to include a place of abode."

In the proposed Handbook revision now before Synod for approval we find the same regulation expressed in section 436 D as "In addition to the above (salaries), Synod shall provide a suitable residence for each professor."

Twenty to fifty years ago the "place of abode," the "suitable residence," under the then prevailing conditions included also the of outbuildings, such as coal or woodshed, buggy shed, etc., by Synod. But times and conditions have changed. Residences in our time have not such outbuildings as in former times. Only one attachment is generally connected with the "suitable residence" of the present time, perhaps built under the same with residence or erected as a special building as the only outbuilding. It is the shelter for the automobile, the garage. Synod als0 recognized this change in the regulation recorded in Synod's Handbook, p. 65, reading: "Boards of Control and Synod's Board of Directors shall build garages for professors at our institutions whenever it seems necessary or expedient."

The Boards do that at present, as the Boards in by-gone days built outbuildings as needed under the prevailing conditions of former times. But in one respect there is a difference, namely, in respect to the use of the outbuilding. Synod’s regulation says, p.69, 5: "However, the professors are held to pay a reasonable amount of rent for the use of such garages." The former outbuildings could be used by the professors without paying rent for them.

When this ruling demanding rent for the use of the garages made, there may have been a plausible reason for it, because automobile was something new' and not in use as a common which is no longer the case.



Therefore, as the. change of time and conditions has the common use of the formerly needed· outbuildings, the which was given to the professors without rent, this conditions has made the automobile a thing of general use the communities of our country and makes the demand from our professors for the use of the garage to appear outdated, causing difficult situations for the Board of bringing about just and fair settlements.
It is for this reason that the undersigned petition eliminate the demand for rent for the use of the garage professors and to furnish the use of the garage free with use of the suitable residence to all the professors of our and colleges.
THE BOARD OF CONTROL OF CONCORDIA TEACHERS SEWARD, NEBR.
L C. HEINECKE, Chairman F. WORTHMANN, Secretary

[128]
Free Professors' Garages
In the annual meeting on January 7, 1944, the congregation adopted the following resolution:
WHEREAS, We should expect the professors at our to be situated so that they may enjoy the ordinary conveniences of the average American family; and
WHEREAS, The average American family enjoys the convenience of an automobile; and WHEREAS, Most ministers own automobiles; and
WHEREAS, It is the custom that congregations furnish a for the pastor's automobile; therefore
Emanuel Ev. Lutheran Church at Hamburg, Minn., petitions the Delegate Synod of 1944 to adopt a resolution to garages for those of our professors who desire to own and
automobiles.

EMANUEL Ev. LUTHERAN

L. F. WOHLFEIL, Pastor
ERNST ZUMHOFE, Elder
 HENRY A. BOHLMANN, Elder
MARTIN JAUS, Elder

Updated: Unidentified Creature -- Camel Cricket (Rhaphidophoridae)


Does anyone know what this creature is?

This insect can be found all over my house. It appears to be some-sort of a cricket, and if I am not delusional might actually chirp periodically. It doesn't seem to do any harm (at least that I am aware of). However, this particular guy was crawling on my wall, so I thought I'd take a picture of him.

If you know what it is, let me know.
Posted by Picasa

UPDATED

Someone wrote in and informed me that that insect is a camel cricket. More can be read below or at Wikipedia.


Camel cricket


Most species of camel crickets belong to the genus Ceuthophilus. This name describes their hump-backed appearance when viewed from the side. They have jumping hind legs and long antennae like other crickets but they are wingless and so are unable to chirp. Color varies by species, ranging from light tan to brown, often having dark brown bands on some segments. Adults range from 0.5 to 1.5 inches in length.
Camel crickets are usually associated with cool, damp, dark habitats. Since they are often found in caves, they are also commonly called cave crickets. Outdoors, they may be found under stones and logs and in other cool, damp habitats with suitable amounts of organic matter, which they use for food.
Like other crickets, camel crickets will invade buildings in the fall seeking suitable places to pass the winter. In these cases, they often remain in basements or crawl spaces and seldom damage items in the home. They are usually considered a nuisance only by virtue of their presence.

Descent Into Hell

"Christ's Descent Into Hell"
Albrecht Dürer, 1510

Excerpts from Martin Luther's Torgau Sermon on Christ's Descent into Hell, 1532, from Sources and Contexts of The Book of Concord, edited by Robert Kolb and James A. Nestingen (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001)

"For before he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven -- while  he still in the grave -- he descended into hell so that he might redeem us who lay imprisoned there, just as he came into death and was laid in the grave that he might bring us out of it. I do not want to preach this article with sublime or precise language, describing exactly how it happened or what it means to descend into hell. Instead, I want to stick to the simple meaning of the words as they must be presented to children and simple people... The customary way of depicting how Christ descended into hell on church walls represents him with a cape and with banners in his hand as he makes his descent and stalks and assaults the devil, as he storms hell and rescues his own people from it. The children's play presented at Easter depicts it in a similar way. It seems better to me that you depict, act out, sing, and recite the story in a very simple way and let it remain at that and not concern yourself with sublime and precise ideas about how it actually took place." (pg. 246)

"Without doubt, such a description has come to us from the ancient fathers who spoke and sang in the language of the old hymns as we still read and sing on Easter Day, 'He broke hell and bound the accursed devil' and so forth. When children or simple people hear something like this, they think of nothing else than that Christ has conquered the devil and taken all his power from him. That is the proper, Christian way to think and express the correct truth and meaning of this article..." (pg. 248)

Luther briefly mentions questions that arise regarding Christ's descent into hell, such as 'What did he do in hell, how did he interact with the devil, and so forth.' Luther continues:

"'I believe in the Lord Christ, God's Son, dead, buried, he descended into hell.' That means I believe in the entire person, God and human creature with body and soul inseparable, born of the virgin, suffered, dead and buried. Therefore I am not supposed to divide up his person but instead simply to believe and to say that this very Christ, God and human creature in one person, descended to hell." (pg. 248)

"Therefore, I believe also in this case that Christ personally destroyed hell and bound the devil whether banners, portals, doors, and chains were made of wood or iron or did not exist at all. It doesn't depend on whether I hand on to what is depicted with the image but rather that I believe these things of Christ. Believing in him is the chief thing. It is useful and gives the power that we have from this: that neither hell nor the devil can take us and all others who believe on him captive nor can they do us harm." (pg. 249)

Hymn: Christ Jesus Lay In Death's Strong Bands (YouTube)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Clear Words

Da Vinci's Last Supper

"Therefore, we should hold steadfastly to these clear words of our Lord, The bread he proffers is his Body, and the cup or wine is his Blood, or the New Testament in his Blood. In childlike faith we should partake, without doubting, and believe it to be so. We should give thanks to Christ for such grace, rejoice over it, and strengthen our hearts by it, considering why Christ has done what he did, not disputing whether he is abel to do it. Impertinent are the hearts which question why Christ did it this way and doubt that he is abel to do it."

Maundy Thursday Sermon, Martin Luther, 2 April 1534. Sermons of Martin Luther, House Postils, vol. 1, 456.