Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Listen to it here:
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
From our Synod's Website:
Bernard of Clairvaux, Hymnwriter and Theologian
A leader in Christian Europe in the first half of the 11th century A.D., Bernard is honored in his native France and around the world. Born into a noble family in Burgundy in 1090, Bernard left the affluence of his heritage and entered the monastery of Citeaux at the age of 22. After two years he was sent to start a new monastic house at Clairvaux. His work there was blessed in many ways. The monastery at Clairvaux grew in mission and service, eventually establishing some 68 daughter houses. Bernard is remembered for his charity and political abilities, but especially for his preaching and hymn composition. The hymn texts “O Jesus, King Most Wonderful” and “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” are part of the heritage of the faith left by Saint Bernard.
And from Issues, etc. :
Monday, August 17, 2009
Pious prayer offered in faith is familiar conversation with God. It is the salutary remedy to all the difficulties of life. It is the key to heaven and the door to paradise. It shows us how much we depend on God. It is a shield for our defense and a faithful messenger of the ambassador. It is refreshment in the heat of misfortune; it is medicine during illness. It is a winch, drawing us to heaven, and a vessel that draws water from the font of divine kindness. It is a sword against the devil and a defense against misfortune. It is a wind that blows away evil and brings earthly benefits. It is a nurse that nurtures virtue and gives free access to God. It is a spiritual feast and a heavenly delicacy. It is a consolation for the dejected and a delight for the holy. It
grants knowledge of the secret things of God and acquires His gifts. It upholds
the world and rescues people. It is a joy for the heart and a jubilation for the
mind. It follows God's gift of grace, and it leads ahead into glory. It is a
garden of happiness and a tree full of delights. It calms the conscience and
increases thankfulness. It sends demons running and draws angels close. It is a
soothing remedy for the misfortunes of this life and the sweet smell of the
sacrifice of thanksgiving. It is a foretaste of the life to come and sweetens
the bitterness of death.You can imagine the beauty, poetry, depth of piety and faithfulness of the
prayers the rest of this little gem of a prayer book contains!
Johann Gerhard (1582–1637) was a great Lutheran theologian in the tradition of Martin Luther (1483–1546) and Martin Chemnitz (1522–86) and the most influential of the 17th-century dogmaticians. His monumental Loci Theologici (23 large volumes) is still considered by many to be a definitive statement of Lutheran orthodoxy. Gerhard was born in Quedlinburg, Germany. At the age of 15 he was stricken with a life-threatening illness. This experience, along with guidance from his pastor, Johann Arndt, marked a turning point in his life. He devoted the rest of his life to theology. He became a professor at the University of Jena and served many years as the Superintendent of Heldberg. Gerhard was a man of deep evangelical piety and love for Jesus. He wrote numerous books on exegesis, theology, devotional literature, history, and polemics. His sermons continue to be widely published and read.
And from Issues, etc. :
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Now let us enter the story of that most constant and courageous martyr of
Christ, St. Lawrence, whose words and works deserve to be as fresh and green in
Christian hearts, as is the flourishing laurel-tree...Let us draw near to the
fire of martyred Lawrence, that our cold hearts may be warmed thereby. The
merciless tyrant, understanding him to be not only a minister of the sacraments,
but a distributor also of the Church riches, promised to himself a double
prey,by the apprehension of one soul.... With furious face and cruel
countenance, the greedy wolf demanded where this Lawrence had bestowed the
substance of the Church: who, craving three day's respite, promised to declare
where the treasure might be had. In the meantime, he caused a good number of
poor Christians to be congregated. So, when the day of his answer was come, the
persecutor strictly charged him to stand to his promise. Then valiant Lawrence,
stretching out his arms over the poor, said: "These are the precious treasure of
the church; these are the treasure indeed, in whom the faith of Christ reigneth,
in whom Jesus Christ hath His mansion-place. What more precious jewels can
Christ have, than those in whom He hath promised to dwell? For so it is written,
'I was hungry and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty and ye gave me to drink; I
was harbourless and ye lodged me.' And again; 'Look, what ye have done to the
least of these, the same have ye done to me.' What greater riches can Christ our
Master possess, than the poor people, in whom He loveth to be seen?"
Monday, August 03, 2009
I guess I'm starting to feel like a nut again. It's been a crazy busy summer, but in a great way. I won't go through all the minutia of our summer activities, if you would like to see what our family has been doing over the summer, my wife has done a wonderful job chronicling the many adventures of the Roemke family.
I have had many wonderful opportunities this summer, including presenting at Higher Things Sola in Grand Rapids. If you are a pastor, a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or and uncle and you have youngin's who dare to be Lutheran (or you are gently and dutifully pushing them to dare to be Lutheran) Higher Things is the best thing out there. It is wonderfully encouraging to see over 900 high school kids sing out with real vitality the hymnody and liturgy of the Lutheran Church. It is also a wonderful and encouraging thing to see 900 plus Lutheran young people interested in topics that encourage Lutheran living and a deeper understanding of the Christian faith and life from a uniquely Lutheran perspective. Next year they are having two conferences, one in Logan, Utah and the other in Memphis Tennessee. The theme of these conferences is "Given" and you may read more about them here. I am hoping to take our Good Shepherd youth and maybe I will be blessed to present again!
Another wonderful thing I would like to direct you to, especially for summer vacations. If you are travelling over the weekend and are looking for a place to worship that is Lutheran and not some kind of generic methobapticostipal mix-mash of "me" religion, I strongly recommend you check out the ELLC Directory. I was talking with a dear father in the faith today about the ELLC Directory and he was lamenting the need for something like this in the LCMS (he is not convinced that this kind of thing is necessary, I disagree). When Christ commanded Peter to feed His sheep He meant all of them, not just those who are ignorant, willfully or otherwise, of the Church's rich heritage and tradition. It is a terrible shame that some churches, in the name of missions and outreach will totally neglect a whole segment of people, young and old, who desire to be fed with the Word and Sacraments in the beautiful platter of the historic liturgy of the Lutheran Confessions. This directory is a help to those who desire to experience the Church in her full historic beauty and majesty. Now, this listing is certainly not exhaustive and I have been to very good churches that are not listed on this directory, but this is a great way to take out some of the guess-work of what you will get in a Lutheran church when out of town. We had a family visit us this past weekend because of the ELLC directory and it was a blessing to them and us!
There have been a lot of other things going on this summer, some good, some bad, some indifferent. I find that my nuttiness is beginning to wear off. I do hope to be a bit more regular with my postings, but I can make no promises.
Friday, April 10, 2009
This week is very busy for faithful pastors, but a better busy I could not hope for! If you are in Western Michigan and would like to stop by to join us that would only make our joy more wonderful. For my brothers and sisters who await the joyous dawning of the Feast of the Resurrection, God's peace and comfort as we wait expectantly at the foot of the cross and the door of the tomb!
Saturday, April 04, 2009
That is how I look at funerals, as feast days of saints of God in Christ, for that is truly what those faithful departed are, full and complete saints, revelling the in the glory of the Lamb who was slain. When preaching on a saint day or commemoration, we Lutherans know that we do not preach about the individual, but rather about that golden and precious thread of faith that binds them to Christ and through Him to all the Church, militant and triumphant. Indeed, precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It is that incarnation, that putting on of our flesh, that allowed our dear Savior to bear our sins bodily on the cross. It is that same flesh that rose again on that still more glorious Feast of the Resurrection. It is that flesh, glorified and whole, that sits at the Father’s right hand making intercession for us even now. It is that Feast of the Incarnation that we celebrate every time we take the incarnate Word of God into our mouths at the Holy Supper and into our ears and hearts at the hearing of the beautiful Gospel message.
Also at this under celebrated feast we give thanks for that faith of the Virgin Mother. That faith which says in the midst of uncertainty, improbability and foolishness "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." That faith first uttered on the lips of Eve when she was given a son, that faith acted upon by Abraham with his Son. That faith that is a gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the faith that we give thanks for and the faith that, through our baptism, we share. Such amazing faith!
With wings as drifted snow, with eyes as flame;
Isn't this what we should start calling Annunciation? Those who are pro-death use words like "fetus," and "embryo" to dehumanize the babies they say it is ok to kill. But Christ makes no distinction. He came to save those whom He lived for. He lived as a fetus and and embryo in the blessed womb of the Virgin Mother. Christ died for those He lived for, and today the Church celebrates His life as a fetus and gives thanks that those whose lives are so tragically and brutally taken have a Redeemer who lives for them.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
We are in the midst of the Lenten season, as are all Western Christians. At Good Shepherd this Lent we are looking at the faithful example of the saints who have gone before us: Ash Wednesdaywas faithful Polycarp who boldly and faithfully served his Lord until his grizzly and blessed death. Next was Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, young mothers who gave up everything rather than deny their Lord and Savior, St. Patrick with his missionary zeal and faithfulness to the orthodox teaching of the Holy and Blessed Trinity, may we all bind unto ourselves Christ and Him crucified! Tonight we looked at St. Joseph, the chaste and faithful guardian of our Lord Jesus Christ. He teaches us to guard that good and godly treasure of Christ crucified, the only begotten Son of the eternal Father.
We look forward with repentant joy and contrite anticipation to the dramatic events of Holy Week. Good Shepherd will gather to pray a cappella Matins Holy Monday through Holy Wednesday at 8 am. Maundy Thursday at 7 pm we celebrate our Lord's Institution of the Holy Eucharist and His command to love one another (we also will have individual Holy Absolution the the somber Stripping of the Altar). Good Friday we celebrate the Cheif Service with the complete Passion account and the Holy Eucharist at 12 noon and Tennebrae Vespers with the seven final words of Christ from the Cross at 8 pm. Holy Saturday a cappella Matins at 9:30 am, Easer Vigil at 8:10 pm (sunset, weather permitting we will begin outside of the church and process in with candlelight). Easter sunrise Matins (again, beginning outside, weather permitting) at 6:55 am, we break our Lenten fast with Easter breakfast at 8 am. We then feast the Resurrection with the risen Body and Blood of Christ with the Divine Service at 9:30 am.
If you are in the area, join us! A blessed Lenten, may your hearts be prepared to celebrate the Paschal feast.