Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Of the Reformation

Having been brought to the Faith by Holy Baptism as an infant, and having had the opportunity by the grace of God to study and practice as a pastor under the same discipline, there is one passage of Holy Scripture that is particularly poignant on observing the Reformation:

"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me, and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life." --John 5:39-40

These passages, later in John’s Gospel, state this similarly: "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me." --John 15:26

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me". --John 10:25

It is the testimony of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit you are given receive richly and daily, Dear Christian, but no more abundantly than in the liturgy of the Sabbath wherein you receive true peace and rest; a conscience free from sin, without which there is no peace.

True enough, you are unwilling to come to Him, therefore He calls you and brings you into His kingdom through tangible means of Water, Word, and Supper.

It is hidden, to be sure, this life and forgiveness you receive from Above. At the same time it is widely, concretely, and plainly published throughout the world. One Mediator. One Man born of a virgin, Whose life and being are sufficient for all who are subject to sin and death.

Do not look for Him according to your own way of thinking, but in His service to you on the Sabbath. For He has always been a ready Help in times of trouble and in times of prosperity. His help is such that He has raised you up with Himself in no other way than through His innocent sufferings and death in your body, together with His resurrection from the dead.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Food at the Proper Time

The food that is placed before you this day, and every day, did not come into being instantly, though it may seem like it.

Think about it. What food is there that does not take time to develop? Not only so, but it must have just the right conditions and be prepared for you.

In all likelihood there is not a single food on earth consumed by mankind that did not take at least a few months to grow, and then be harvested, processed, packaged, and prepared before it is consumed in a matter of moments.

This is why, when about to partake of food, it is good discipline to pause and give thanks, because without considerable time and preparation, that which sustains the body and gives enjoyment from eating, will not come about.

Christians know that all good food, like all good things, come from a caring, loving, merciful Father in heaven, Who graciously feeds even those who are His enemies.

They also know that, when it comes to the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life, it was not a matter of instant gratification, but of careful provision of Christ's own body offered up on the Cross at the proper time.

From this, it is good to observe and to learn patience. Moreover it is good to rejoice, because God the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ does all things well.
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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Declaration of Dependence

For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. --Proverbs 3:12

To be placed into the midst of a Christian congregation and under the care of a Christian pastor is explicitly to be a dependent and to admit it publicly, for it is incompatible with the Christian Faith to assert independence except an independence from all that is wrong and evil. This fact does not sit well with the rest of the world.

Christ builds His church by incorporating souls into His body through His teaching and sacraments. No one may join the church by his own independent decisions any more than one may cause himself to be born. This, too, does not sit well with the rest of the world.

The Christian church is coterminous with the body of Christ and therefore dependent upon Him alone for all things. The parts of the body are dependent. They do not seek their own way, but they live and abide in concord with the whole body.

To the extent any Christian is given to “do his own thing,” it is inimical to the essence of the Church. This may happen while under the care of the body of Christ, yet the body of Christ reacts not with rejection or revulsion, but with ongoing teaching and patience. Were the body of Christ not to care for its members and exert discipline, it would not be the body of Christ.

That is not to say it is impossible for a member to reject the body altogether, as happens with those who fall away. There are many who do, just as there are many who gleefully assert their independence while mocking those who are incorporated into the church and are dependent upon Christ for all things.

It remains for all Christians to be freer than those who claim independence for themselves. How so? They are free from the fear of death. They are free from superstition. They are free from idolizing everything the rest of the world worships. They are free from demonizing the good things of creation and may use them in service to themselves and others. They are free to suffer for doing good without despairing.

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