Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dichotomies or Blurred Lines?

Note the complete absence of FAITH or JESUS or GOSPEL or GRACE or even SANCTIFICATION.

This is written by someone who does not want to be reminded of her sins and attends a non-liturgical church with none of that uncomfortable confessional stuff. Plus her church rocks-out every Sunday to a praise band pumping out the top 10 CCM hits. That's not being entertained by popular media?? Seriously??

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!!

Time to eat those chocolate bunnies -- nom nom.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth:  Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Cristo Crucificado by Diego Rodriguez da Silva y Velázquez  1632 (Art and the Bible)

Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. All we like sheep have gone astray and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Hear my prayer, O Lord: and let my cry come unto you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday: Blood of the Covenant

Man of Sorrows Jacob van Oostsanen 1510

Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday) is when the church commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus and His disciples. The Last Supper is where Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Some important Scripture verses that pertain to my ongoing contemplation of repentance, penance, and forgiveness.

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. -

(Matthew 26:26-28 ESV)

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. - (Luke 22:19-20 ESV)

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. - (John 6:53-56 ESV)

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. - (1 Corinthians 11:23-32 ESV)

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. - (Hebrews 10:26-31 ESV)

The point? To receive Holy Communion without first being repentant of our sins is to receive it unworthily. To receive Holy Communion without discerning the true presence of the body and blood of Christ is to receive it unworthily. To receive Holy Communion without understanding it is for the remission of sins is to receive it unworthily. May God's mercy rest upon those who receive it and teach others to receive it, in an unworthy manner.


O LORD God, Who has left unto us in a wonderful Sacrament a memorial of your Passion: Grant, we beseech you, that we may so use this Sacrament of your Body and Blood, that the fruits of your redemption may continually be manifest in us; Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday in Holy Week


GRANT, we beseech you, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds are continually afflicted, may mercifully be relieved by the Passion of your Only-begotten Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.

Lutheran Prayers for Holy Week

Continually afflicted by evil deeds. Can I get that tattooed on me? Maybe across my forehead.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday of Holy Week


Almighty and Everlasting God, grant us grace so to contemplate the Passion of our Lord, that we may find therein forgiveness for our sins; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.

Passion means suffering.

I do not understand how some can look upon Christ on cross as something they earned by their good behavior (choosing to believe) rather than their bad condition - being born a sinner. Did He redeem you because you let Him? Or did He redeem you because He chose to? When you believe redemption is entirely the work of Christ Jesus it is much more humbling and you are more likely to see an ongoing need for forgiveness because there is an ongoing need for the Savior.

Deep thoughts on a Tuesday afternoon.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday in Holy Week

The Collect

Grant, we beseech you, Almighty God, that we, who amid so many adversities do fail through our own infirmities, may be restored through the Passion and Intercession of your Only-begotten Son, Who lives and reigns, with you and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday of the Passion

Jesus, I will ponder now
On Thy holy Passion;
With Thy Spirit me endow
For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of Thy suffering, pain, and death,
That I may not perish.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Judica Sunday

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 43 ESV)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Laetare Sunday

Laetare is the ancient name for the fourth Sunday in Lent. It means rejoice.

The introit for Laetare Sunday:

Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. Psalm: I rejoiced when they said to me: "we shall go into God's House!"  The texts of the antiphon come from Isaiah 66:10-11 and Psalm 122:1.

I could listen to that all day....and maybe I will. ;-)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Luther on Romans 6

In chapter 6, St. Paul takes up the special work of faith, the struggle which the spirit wages against the flesh to kill off those sins and desires that remain after a person has been made just. He teaches us that faith doesn't so free us from sin that we can be idle, lazy and self-assured, as though there were no more sin in us. Sin is there, but, because of faith that struggles against it, God does not reckon sin as deserving damnation. Therefore we have in our own selves a lifetime of work cut out for us; we have to tame our body, kill its lusts, force its members to obey the spirit and not the lusts. We must do this so that we may conform to the death and resurrection of Christ and complete our Baptism, which signifies a death to sin and a new life of grace. Our aim is to be completely clean from sin and then to rise bodily with Christ and live forever. 

St. Paul says that we can accomplish all this because we are in grace and not in the law. He explains that to be "outside the law." is not the same as having no law and being able to do what you please. No, being "under the law" means living without grace, surrounded by the works of the law. Then surely sin reigns by means of the law, since no one is naturally well-disposed toward the law. That very condition, however, is the greatest sin. But grace makes the law lovable to us, so there is then no sin any more, and the law is no longer against us but one with us. 

This is true freedom from sin and from the law; St. Paul writes about this for the rest of the chapter. He says it is a freedom only to do good with eagerness and to live a good life without the coercion of the law. This freedom is, therefore, a spiritual freedom which does not suspend the law but which supplies what the law demands, namely eagerness and love. These silence the law so that it has no further cause to drive people on and make demands of them. It's as though you owed something to a moneylender and couldn't pay him. You could be rid of him in one of two ways: either he would take nothing from you and would tear up his account book, or a pious man would pay for you and give you what you needed to satisfy your debt. That's exactly how Christ freed us from the law. Therefore our freedom is not a wild, fleshy freedom that has no obligation to do anything. On the contrary, it is a freedom that does a great deal, indeed everything, yet is free of the law's demands and debts. 
"Vorrede auff die Epistel S. Paul: an die Romer." in D. Martin Luther: Die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch 1545 aufs new zurericht, ed. Hans Volz and Heinz Blanke. Munich: Roger & Bernhard. 1972, vol. 2, pp. 2254-2268. This translation was made by Bro. Andrew Thornton, OSB, for the Saint Anselm College Humanities Program. ©1983 by Saint Anselm Abbey. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Beauty in Sadness

The Penitent Mary Magdalene - Caravaggio c1595

Based on Luke 8:2 "and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,"