Sunday, April 17, 2011
It's Palm Sunday, not only here but around the world, this year the Orthodox are celebrating on the same day as the Western Church. Here at the epicenter of the Rudisillian Empire, Redeemer Lutheran Church, we received our palms in the narthex, listened to the readings, and then, following a phalanx of acolytes, crucifirs, and officiants processed into the sanctuary. We were remembering our Lord's entry into Jerusalem the Sunday of Passover Week. He came gently, riding the colt of a donkey, a symbol of peace, yet the crowds were hoping for a great hero to deliver them from the yoke of Imperial Rome. Their cries were "Hosanna", "save me", not from sin, but oppression. All too often, I am at that very same place. I want a hero to save me, to make everything in my life wonderful, to somehow cause me to sin no more. What I get instead through no effort on my part is His promise that I am redeemed, that my sins are forgiven, that I will join Him in eternal life in Heaven. In spite of myself, He has saved me.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
This mornning we celebrated Judica Sunday, all the crucifixes and crosses were vieled, but with a sheer material, so you could get a shadowy sense of the covered. In Corinthians 13:12, St. Paul wrote, "For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Judica reminds me that, in truth, I can hardly bear to look at the crucifix, to be reminded of my Lord's suffereing for me. I don't deserve it, but yet it has been freely given. From the very beginnings in the garden when God fashioned a covering for Adam and Eve's nakedness, we learn there is no redemption without scrifice, but this is such a sacrifice. It makes no sense to my sinful mind. I must constantly remind myself to heed Luther's advice and take God at his word. This is very hard sometimes and, once again, I am more than blessed to have been placed in a congregation where I can receive the Lord's Body and Blood seven days a week. Soli Deo Gloria.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Back home from our celebration of Laetare and I realized I have never said a word about our wonderful Kantor, The Reverend Dr. Daniel Reuning. He is a wonderful musician, Bach scholar, leader of The Bach Collegium, and guardian of the faith. In that later role this morning, he changed a word in the hymn "Jesus, Priceless Treasure" to express proper Lutheran theology. The line in the fourth stanza read "Jesus is my pleasure/Jesus is my choice". Lutherans will be among the first to tell you that God does the choosing, so he simply changed the line to "Jesus is my joy". And so He is, as is this church, which nurtures me in so many ways. Additionally, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" was our prelude this morning. I am a happy man.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Tomorrow is Laetare Sunday, the last Sunday in Lent. "Rejoice, oh Jerusalem...rejoice with joy!" The purple vestments and paraments have been replaced with rose as we look ahead to glorious Easter. I will welcome it. I battle with depression and have been going through a rough patch. It actually began when I had my kidney removed and subsequently retired. I don't deal with idleness and tend to become agoraphobic, not even getting to church. Ouch! The last few days though, God has blessed me more than usual and I have been able to make the morning Eucharist services and Thursday evening's Mass. All wonderful. God has blessed me richly by bringing me to Redeemer, it is my new family. Father Petersen and the rest of the Rudisillians have adopted and accepted me, warts and all. We are a rag tag bunch: gun toting conservatives, radical homeschoolers, Bach scholars, seminarians, converted Jews, all coming together in our love for the Lord and of worship. And worship we do, seven days a week! Our services are reverant, glorious, and historically Lutheran, I am thrilled. It is what I have been looking for a long, long time. I so tired of having to explain myself and defend my beliefs in the Theology of the Cross. So, take a short break from Lent and REJOICE JERUSALEM!