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.