Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education,
and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer
+ Jacob, Patriarch +
5 February, Old Testament
Jacob was the third of the three great Hebrews given the title of patriarch, following his grandfather Abraham
and his father Isaac
. Jacob was the younger of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah.
He received his name because before birth he gripped his brother Esau's heel, seeming even then to be struggling for supremacy (Jacob
can mean "He grasps the heel" or "he cheats"). After wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, Jacob, who certainly had lived up to the name of "Deceiver," was renamed Israel
, which means "he strives with God" (Genesis 25:26
His family life was filled with trouble, much of it caused by his acts of deception toward his father and his brother Esau and his parental favoritism toward his son Joseph (commemorated on 31 March). He spent many of his later years grieving over the death of his beloved wife Rachel and the presumed death of Joseph, who had been appointed by the Egyptian Pharaoh to be in charge of food distribution during a time of famine in the land.
Late in life, as he was blessing his sons, Jacob uttered God's prophetic promise that the Messiah would come through the line of his fourth son, Judah (Genesis 49:8-12
Labels: abraham, biography, christology, commemoration, esau, hagiography, isaac, israel, jacob, joseph, judah, leah, old testament, patriarch, rachel
The Presentation of Our Lord
and the Purification of Mary
2 February, New Testament
The Presentation of Our Lord at the Temple, one of the Christological
feasts of the Christian Church, is Scripture's final infancy narrative concerning Jesus. After the Presentation, the Bible says nothing more about Him until His twelfth year.
Many liturgical calendars name this the Feast of the Purification (of the Blessed Virgin Mary
), emphasizing its Marian connection. Still another term used is Candlemas
, drawing the name from the tradition of blessing the coming year's church candles on this day.
Saint Luke is the only one of the Evangelists to describe the event (see 2:22-40
), something likely unfamiliar to most of his Gentile readers. According to the Gospel, Mary and Joseph took the Baby to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to consecrate Jesus to God and to complete the ritual purification of Mary, both of these because of the command of God's Law (Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16
; Leviticus 12
Upon entering the temple, the family encountered the devout and holy Simeon. Luke records that he was promised that "he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. (Luke 2:26
)" Simeon took Jesus into his arms, prayed the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis
, or Canticle of Simeon
, blessed the parents, and prophesied regarding Jesus and Mary.
The prophetess Anna (2:36-38
) was also in the temple. She, too, offered prayers and praise to God for sending the Savior.
In the Western liturgical calendar, the Presentation of Our Lord falls on 2 February because this is the fortieth day of Christmas. It is the last festival determined by the date of Christmas and thus shows that the Epiphany season is drawing to a close. Most churches in the East observe the occasion on 14 February since they celebrate Christ's Nativity on 6 January.
1 Samuel 1:21-28
Luke 2:22-32 (33-40)
Almighty and ever-living God, as Your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, grant that we may be presented to You with pure and clean hearts; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: anna, christology, epiphany, feasts, festivals, gospels, incarnation, joseph, mary, nativity, new testament, presentation, purification, simeon, temple
+ Claus Harms +
1 February AD 1855
German pastor and theologian Klaus Harms was born at Fahrstedt, Schleswig-Holstein on 25 May 1778 and baptized the next day in the neighboring community of Marne. Before entering university, he worked in his father's mill. He also farmed for a brief time.
His early religious and philosophical leanings tended strongly toward Rationalism but change commenced after he began studies at the University of Kiel. First, Friedrich Schleiermacher
led Harms toward a less extreme, slightly more Evangelical understanding of Christianity. Further study of Scripture and older Lutheran writers pulled him away from the liberal, inner-conscious Christianity of Schleiermacher toward traditional, orthodox Lutheranism.
By the time of his graduation, it's unlikely that Harms would have been certified for the ministry by the crass Rationalists or the disciples of Schleiermacher. Therefore, he took his oral and written examinations before J. L. Callisen, the orthodox Lutheran superintendent of Holstein.
Following his studies and a stint as tutor and guest preacher, Harms was married in Probsteierhagen in 1806. Later that year, he was called as deacon (assitant pastor) at Lunden. After serving there for ten years, he accepted a call to serve the St. Nikolai Church in Kiel as archdeacon. He became chief pastor and superintendent in 1835. All through this period he continued to distance himself from Rationalism and the feeling- and experience-based theology of Schleiermacher to increasingly espouse the pure Lutheran doctrine of the 16th Century.
Harms's personality and preaching style led to growing popularity in Kiel and beyond. He drew international attention in 1817. On the 300th anniversary of the Reformation, he published Luther's original Ninety-five Theses and ninety-five additional theses of his own composition, "directed against all sorts of false and confused knowledge within the Lutheran church." These latter attacked Rationalism and unionism and called for a return to pure Lutheran theology and practice.
Much as Luther condemned the magisterial use of reason which placed rational thought above faith in Christ, Harms wrote, "We could call reason our time's pope, our antichrist.... (Thesis 9)" He claimed the right of Lutherans to have authentic Lutheran clergy: "Reason rages in the Lutheran church: it tears Christ from the altar, throws God's word from the pulpit, casts excrements into the baptismal water, mixes all sorts of people when it comes to God-parents, erases the address of the confessional chair, hisses out the priests, and all people with them, and has been doing this for a long time. (Thesis 71)"
Furthermore, Harms lauded a proper balance in Word and Sacrament ministry. Theses 92-94 say, "The evangelical-catholic church is a glorious church. It rests on and builds itself preferably by the sacrament. The evangelical-reformed church is a glorious church. It rests on and builds itself by God's word. More glorious than both is the evangelical-Lutheran church. It rests on and builds itself by the sacrament as well as God's word."
While Harms had considerable influence throughout Germany, we must also recognize his huge, albeit indirect, contribution to American Lutheranism. His Christ-centered, confessional Lutheranism led C. F. W. Walther
and others to their awakening into true Lutheranism later during the 19th Century.
Besides his credentials as a theologian, Harms was a qualified musician. As such, his growing Lutheran identity led him to restore Lutheran hymnody to the church. Many of his textual reforms remain to present times. However, he never had the same success with the restoration of the original melodies and the bold syncopation of the traditional chorales stayed buried under the bland metrical style for many years following.
Among his writings are the aforementioned Theses, volumes of his sermons, an autobiography, and his 1830 Pastoraltheologie
. Due to blindness, Harms resigned his pastorate in 1849. He died on 1 February 1855.
Quotes from The 95 Theses of Claus Harms
at the Internet Archive's copy of LutheranWiki.
See also the articles at Christian Cyclopedia
, the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
, and Wikipedia
Labels: biography, claus harms, commemoration, hagiography, hymnody, lutheranism, pietism, rationalism, schleiermacher, theology, walther
+ Matthias Loy +
26 January AD 1915; transferred to 28 January
Matthias Loy (1828-1915) was born on 17 March to Matthias and Christina Loy, a pair of German immigrants. The family lived in near-poverty in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg. He was the fourth of seven children. Matthias, Senior was a lapsed Catholic who apparently held only nominal religious beliefs for most of his life. Christina came from pietistic Lutheran stock in Württemberg. She did what she could to give the family some semblance of a Christian education and made sure that all but the eldest child were baptized as infants. Even her first-born son eventually was confirmed into the Lutheran Church.
When Matthias was six years old, the family moved to Hogestown, Pennsylvania. He lived with his family until he was fourteen. They then apprenticed him to Baab and Hummel Printers of Harrisburg. During the next six years, he worked for them while attending school. Mr. Hummel brought Matthias to the attention of Harrisburg minister C. W. Schäffer. Pastor Schäffer urged Matthias to consider a pastoral vocation. To this end, he studied studied Greek and Latin under the Harrisburg Academy's principal. This led to enrollment as a full student at the Academy. He hoped to enter the Gettysburg Theological Seminary, perhaps the epicenter of Lutheran liberalism in America.
Illness led Loy's doctor to encourage the young man to move farther west. Matthias found an employment opportunity with the United Brethren Publishing House in Circleville, Ohio. There he would become printer for the Brethren's semimonthly German paper. Loy came to Circleville in 1847 and quickly met the Lutheran pastor. This good soul suggested that Matthias waste no more time getting on with his pastoral education and suggested that he enroll at the Theological Seminary in Columbus. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Ohio was much more conservative and confessional than the Lutherans he had left behind in Pennsylvania.
With the promise of financial aid through the Lutheran pastor, Loy sought and received release from his printer's contract and left for Columbus. Of Matthias's time there, C. George Fry writes, "It was at this institution that he received the only two years of formal higher education deemed necessary to be a pastor. In 1849, after a two year 'cram course' that included academy, college, and seminary, Loy was graduated and installed as a minister in Delaware, Ohio."
Loy was finally surrounded by orthodox Lutheran theology and he made the most of his time at the seminary. As a student, he was immersed in Lutheran doctrine and began reading Der Lutheraner
, edited by C. F. W. Walther
. This led to a long relationship with Dr. Walther, a friendship that grew so great that even their eventual disagreements over predestination and the fracturing of the Synodical Conference couldn't destroy.
According to Fry, these two men, along with Charles Porterfield Krauth
, "must be seen as a common effort to preserve traditional Lutheran theology from the corrosive effects of 'the acids of modernity' in the last half of the nineteenth century. These three titans — Walther in the West, Krauth in the East, and Loy in the middle — could be compared to three anchors holding fast the ship of Lutheran Confessionalism during the ferocious storms of the Modernist-Fundamentalist Controversy."
In 1860, the Joint Synod of Ohio elected Loy President. Four years later, he was appointed editor of the Lutheran Standard. After sixteen years in the ministry, Capital University, Columbus, Ohio called Loy as professor of theology. He resigned as president of the Ohio Synod in 1878. Around this time he also returned the call to become English-language professor of theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Wilhelm Friedrich Lehmann, Loy's successor as synodical president, died in 1880 and Loy returned to that office, succeeding him also as President of Capital University. He started the Columbus Theological Magazine in 1881. Loy retired as professor emeritus in 1902 and died on 26 January 1915.
Loy was instrumental in the formation of the Synodical Conference
. However, at the Ohio Synod meeting at Wheeling in 1881, the synod withdrew from the Conference. This came about over sharp differences in understanding Predestination. Many Ohio Synod pastors taught that God predestined people according to His foreknowledge of whether they would come to faith while the Missouri Synod condemned this as false doctrine.
During his life, Loy wrote several books. Of special note is his seminal work The Augsburg Confession: An Introduction to Its Study and an Exposition of Its Contents
He also wrote at least twenty hymns, including An Awe-full Mystery Is Here
, The Law of God Is Good and Wise
, The Gospel Shows the Father's Grace
, and Jesus, Thou Art Mine Forever
. His hymn translations included All Mankind Fell in Adam's Fall
, The Bridegroom Soon Will Call Us
, Let Me Be Thine Forever
, and Thy Table I Approach
*Since his death date (26 January) and birth date (17 March) both conflict with long-standing festivals on the sanctorial calendar (Titus
respectively) and since 27 January belongs to John Chrysostom
, I moved Loy's commemoration the first open date, 28 January.
Quotes from C. George Fry's Matthias Loy: Theologian of American Lutheran Orthodoxy [PDF]
. This excellent biography was printed in The Springfielder
, October 1974, Volume 38, Number 4.
Additional Reading includes Loy's autobiography, The Story of My Life
, which the Internet Archive has in several formats, including PDF, Nook (EPUB), and Kindle (MOBI). See also entries at Net Hymnal
and the Christian Cyclopedia
O Lord God, heavenly Father, we pray that, as You raised up Matthias Loy to lead Lutherans in America into a renewed appreciation of their confessional heritage and to a fuller confidence in the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, so You would continue to provide us with faithful pastors and leaders, keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, defend us against all enemies of Your Word, and bestow on Christ's Church Militant Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: biography, commemoration, hagiography, hymnody, loy, lutheran confessions, lutheranism, matthias loy, synodical conference, theology
+ John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church +
27 January AD 407
Saint John Chrysostom, Preacher, Bishop, and Theologian, was called Chrysostom
(Greek for"golden-mouthed") by his hearers. He was a dominant force in the fourth-century Christian church.
Born in Antioch around AD 347, John was instructed in the Faith by his pious mother, Anthusa
. After serving in a number of Christian offices, including acolyte and lector, John was ordained a presbyter and given preaching responsibilities.
His simple but direct messages found an audience well beyond his home town. His title came from his legendary preaching abilities. An unsubstantiated but widely circulated tale is that pickpockets and cutpurses would flock to services because he held his audience so spellbound that they could easily rob Saint John's hearers.
In 398, John was made Patriarch of Constantinople, where His determination to reform the church, court, and city brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually, he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until his death in 407. It is reported that his final words were: "Glory be to God for all things. Amen."
was one of four Eastern theologians among the eight Doctors of the undivided Church
. The other three were Athanasius
, Basil the Great
, and Gregory of Nazianzus
. The four great early Western (or Latin) doctors were Augustine
, Gregory the Great
, and Ambrose of Milan
The following excerpt is based on the passage, "[T]he letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6
)" It comes from his Sixth Homily On 2 Corinthians.
Yet he says these things not in one sense only, but in reference to those who prided themselves on the things of Judaism. By the "letter" here he means the Law which punishes those who transgress; but by the "spirit" he means the grace which through Baptism gives life to those who by sins were made dead.
In the Law he that has sin is punished. Here, he that has sins comes and is baptized and is made righteous, and being made righteous, he lives, being delivered from the death of sin. The Law, if it lay hold on a murderer, puts him to death. The Gospel, if it lay hold on a murderer, enlightens, and gives him life.
Quoted from The Lord Will Answer: A Daily Prayer Catechism
© 2004 by Concordia Publishing House.
O God, who gave Your servant John Chrysostom the grace to proclaim eloquently Your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of Your Name, mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching and fidelity in ministering Your Word, that Your people shall be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: biography, chrysostom, church history, commemoration, doctors of the church, hagiography, hymnody, john chrysostom, liturgics, patristics, theology
+ Saint Titus, Pastor and Bishop +
26 January, New Testament
Saint Titus, Pastor and Confessor was sent by Paul
as bishop and pastor to Crete.
Along with his other duties, he was also to "appoint elders in every town (Titus 1:5
)" — in other words, he chose and consecrated the first generation of Cretan pastors and appears to have been the island's de facto
bishop. While there, he was to himself be a faithful shepherd for Christ's flock as he trained and placed others into the Office of the Holy Ministry.
Titus is mentioned as Paul's companion in some of the epistles: 2 Corinthians 2:13
; 7:6, 13-14
; 8:6, 16, 23
; Galatians 2:1-3
; 2 Timothy 4:10
The letters Paul wrote to Titus and Timothy are collectively known as the Pastoral Epistles
. Much of Christianity's understanding and practice of the pastorate comes from these three relatively brief letters.
Almighty God, You called Titus to the work of pastor and teacher. Make all shepherds of Your flock diligent in preaching Your holy Word so that the whole world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: bible, biography, crete, feasts, festivals, new testament, pastor, pastoral epistles, saint paul, saint titus
The Conversion of Saint Paul
25 January, New Testament
Today celebrates the Conversion of Saint Paul through the revelation of the risen Christ to him on the road to Damascus. The zealous Pharisee Saul was traveling to arrest followers of Jesus. Instead of capturing Christians, Paul found Himself made captive by his Savior's boundless grace and became Christ's primary apostle to the Gentiles. Accounts of the event are in Acts 9:1-22
; Acts 26:9-21
; and Galatians 1:11-24
Paul's normal symbol in ecclesiastical art is a shield with sword and open Bible. The Latin words Spiritus Gladius
(sword of the Spirit) come from the apostle's words about the armor of God, where he urges believers to take up "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:17
)" The sword also reminds us of the traditional accounts of his martyr's death, which speak of his beheading during the Neronian Persecution.
Almighty God, as You turned the heart of him who persecuted the Church and by his preaching caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world, grant us ever to rejoice in the saving light of Your Gospel and to spread it to the uttermost parts of the earth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: acts, ananias, apostle, christ, conversion, epistles, feasts, festivals, jesus, new testament, saint paul
+ Saint Timothy, Pastor and Bishop +
24 January, New Testament
Today we commemorate Saint Timothy, Pastor and Confessor. The festival days for Pastors Timothy and Titus are set on either side of the day marking Saint Paul's conversion
. This proximity reminds us of their connection with the apostle, including his establishing them in office and the letters he wrote to them.
Timothy grew up in the faith as taught by his mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois
. He was a companion of Paul for many of the apostle's travels and spent much of his own pastorate in Ephesus.
Timothy is mentioned in Acts 16-20
, and appears in 9 epistles either as joining in Paul's greetings or as a messenger. Additionally, two of Paul's three "pastoral epistles" — 1 Timothy
and 2 Timothy
— were addressed to him and his congregation.
The letters Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus are collectively known as the Pastoral Epistles
. Much of Christianity's understanding and practice of the pastorate comes from these three relatively brief letters.
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign iwth the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: bible, biography, eunice, feasts, festivals, lois, new testament, pastor, pastoral epistles, saint paul, saint timothy
+ Sarah +
20 January, Old Testament
Sarah, whose name means "princess," was wife (and half-sister) of Hebrew patriarch Abraham
). In obedience to divine command (Genesis 12:1
), she made the long and arduous journey west, along with her husband and his relatives, from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran and then finally to the land of Canaan.
She was originally named Sarai but the Lord commanded her change in name (Genesis 17:15
). At the same time, He changed Abram's name to Abraham (from "exalted father" to "father of a people"; Genesis 17:5
). While her new name held no change in meaning as did her husband's, the Lord still thought it proper to identify her in a new way as He continued the Messianic line through her.
She remained childless until old age. Then, in keeping with God's long-standing promise, she gave birth to a son and heir of the covenant (Genesis 21:1-3
). When first promising Abraham and Sarah a son of their own, He told Abraham, "You shall call his name Isaac
[he laughs]. (Genesis 17:19
)" Evidently, the Lord anticipated both Sarah's celebration at his birth (Genesis 21:6
) and her previous disbelieving laughter when she first heard she would become pregnant (Genesis 18:12-15
). Thus, God reminds subsequent generations that He always "gets the last laugh."
We remember and honor Sarah as faithful wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac, the second of the three great patriarchs. Thus, she became biological mother to the people of Israel and spiritual mother to all who believe in Jesus Christ, her greatest descendant. We also acknowledge her gracious hospitality to strangers (Genesis 18:1-8
Following her death at the age of 127, Abraham laid her to rest in the Cave of Machpelah (Genesis 23
), where he was later buried (Genesis 25:7-10
Saint Paul used the example of Sarah bearing Isaac according to divine promise to illustrate the relationship Christians have with God through the Gospel's promise. Galatians 4:21-31
contrasts Ishmael, the child of the slave woman Hagar, with Isaac, the promised child of the free woman Sarah. The author of Hebrews was inspired by the Holy Spirit to record that even though she initially laughed at the Lord's seemingly impossible prediction, "By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11
Scripture quoted from the ESV.
Labels: abraham, abram, biography, christology, commemoration, hagiography, isaac, ishmael, old testament, prophecy, sarah, sarai
The Confession of Saint Peter
18 January, New Testament
Today we celebrate God's blessed revelation to the disciples that Jesus was more than a good man, a holy man, an outstanding teacher, or an awesome miracle worker: Thus, we also celebrate that through the Apostles and Evangelists, we also know and believe that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:16
Flesh and blood still don't reveal this to us; faith is still a gift of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God. However, with the primary means of the Gospel Word, God uses the secondary means of flesh and blood to proclaim and teach each new generation this central confession of the Christian Faith.
Thus, once the Father, working through the Holy Spirit, created faith in Peter and the others that Jesus was the Anointed One promised by the prophets, Jesus commissioned them to minister in His Name. Yet they weren't to begin immediately. Peter's great Christological "aha!" would sit in silence until after the Son of Man went to Jerusalem to "suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21
After the Resurrection, the Apostles received the fullness of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and immediately put this confession into the world. Preaching, teaching, baptizing, and absolving sinners, the original disciples discipled others. The Good News of the suffering, dying, and risen Messiah led thousands, then millions to the Faith.
Using the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven
— the binding of unrepentant sinners' trangressions to them and the remission of sins for those who believe in Jesus as their Savior — remains the Church's mission. Their exercise is through the divinely created Office of the Holy Ministry, wherein Christ's called pastors continue to forgive sins on behalf of their Lord.
Through the pastoral office, Jesus continues to breathe His Spirit upon His appointed messengers. They continue the apostolic practice of forgiving sins in His stead and by His command while still firmly declaring the unremitting wrath of God against those who will not repent and believe: "If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld. (John 20:23
The Lutheran Confessions
are replete with many instances and expressions of this gracious office. One brief and clear section is in the Small Catechism in the writing on Confession
2 Peter 1:1-15
Mark 8:27-35 (36-9:1)
Dear Father in heaven, You revealed to the apostle Peter the blessed truth that Your Son Jesus is the Christ. Strengthen us by the proclamation of this truth that we too may joyfully confess that there is salvation in no one else; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Tags: Saint Peter
| Simon Peter
| Confession of Saint Peter
| Jesus Christ
| Christian feasts
| saints' days
| historical theology
| exegetical theology
| Church history
| Bible history
| New Testament
| Aardvark Alley
Labels: apostle, christ, confession, disciple, feasts, festivals, gospels, jesus, keys, new testament, saint peter
Grapevines, Asses, Weddings, and Kings
Connecting tethered donkeys and a couple getting hitched.
Bits and pieces of Israel's prophetic blessing in Genesis 49 are familiar to many Christians, especially to those paying attention during Advent:
Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father's sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion's cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him [or, "until Shiloh comes"];
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey's colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk. (vv. 8-12)
Yet while we recognize this as Messianic prophecy, what's with the donkey and grapevine stuff? The foal and colt language may remind us of Zecheriah 9:9
and its fulfillment on Palm Sunday
. We get an idea of royal splendor with the wine-washed robes, dark eyes, and gleaming teeth. Yet what's so Messianic about where the livestock is tethered?
Xrysostom's post on biblical beer
triggered a memory of things learned long ago. He wrote, "The time of Messiah was prophesied to be a time of free-flowing wine, illustrated by Jesus' first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana
In an agrarian culture, especially in a dry climate where even the "wealthy" often have little to spare and a small margin for error in planting and harvesting, Jacob's comment seems patently ridiculous. If you need every grape in order to produce enough wine and raisins for the next year, why in the world would you tie your animals to the vines? A donkey will eat anything that's green (and many things that aren't). To do this invites disaster.
When could you ever afford to act so extravagantly? Only if you already had more and better wine than you ever imagined. More? How about 120 - 180 gallons
? Better? How about learning that "the good wine"
had just appeared? The Bridegroom had come and it was time to party (cf. Mark 2:19
The Lord announced Himself through "the first of his signs"
as the New Judah, heir to the "scepter" and the "ruler's staff" of Genesis 49.
+ Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa +
Basil the Great of Caesarea, 1 January AD 379
with Gregory of Nazianzus, 9 May AD 389
and Gregory of Nyssa, 9 March AD 395
Saints Basil and the two Gregorys, collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers
, were leaders of Christian orthodoxy in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in the later fourth century. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers; Gregory Nazianzus, Patriarch of Constantinople, was their friend. All three were influential in shaping the theology ratified by the Council of Constantinople
of 381, which is expressed in the Nicene Creed
Their defense of the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Trinity, together with their contributions to the liturgy of the Eastern Church, make them among the most influential Christian teachers and theologians of their time. Their knowledge and wisdom continues to be heard and known in the Christian Church today.
When we commemorate the brothers, we also do well to remember their sister Macrina
(Makrina). The eldest child of their generation, she did much to support and encourage the brothers' theological studies, moral development, and later work. Gregory of Nyssa wrote a Life of Macrina
, one that actually focuses more on his sister's last days and death.
Please note that this day of celebration was chosen by The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod
for its list of commemorations
. Basil is remembered in the East on his heavenly birthday (death date) while the West traditionally celebrated him on 14 June, the anniversary of his consecration.
The occidental Church doesn't commemorate him on his date of death because of its conflict with the Western celebration of a major Christological feast, The Circumcision and Name of Jesus
. Recently, Roman Catholicism adopted 2 January for the commemoration. The LCMS chose to remember Wilhelm Loehe
on that date and transferred Basil to an open day, combining his commemoration with those of the two others with whom he worked so closely.
and Gregory of Nazianzus
were two of the four Eastern theologians among the eight great Doctors of the undivided Church
. The other two were Athanasius
and John Chrysostom
. The four great early Western (or Latin) doctors were Augustine
, Gregory the Great
, and Ambrose of Milan
. When the commemoration falls on the Baptism of Our Lord, it is normally transferred to the next open day.
1 Corinthians 2:6-13
Almighty God, who revealed to Your Church Your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in a Trinity of Persons, give us grace that, like Your servants Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; who live and reign one God, now and forever.
Labels: basil the great, biography, christology, church history, commemoration, doctors of the church, gregory of nazianzs, gregory of nyssa, hagiography, macrina, nicene creed
The Baptism of Our Lord
The First Sunday after the Epiphany, New Testament
The Baptism of our Lord (Matthew 3:13-17
; Mark 1:4-11
; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
) is always celebrated on the first Sunday after the Epiphany
. Christians remember how John
baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. The Holy Spirit assumed the form of a dove and came down to rest on Jesus' head while the voice of the Father spoke from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. (Mark 1:11
His Baptism marks the first adult appearance of our Lord recorded in Holy Scripture. Prior to this day, the last we hear of Him was following His return from the temple as a twelve year old boy. Luke records, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (2:52
Following His baptism, "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. (Mark 1:12
)" There He remained for forty days of fasting and temptation by Satan. Once the time of temptation was over, Jesus entered into His public ministry as He called the disciples, worked miracles, preached and taught, forgave sins, and prepared Himself for the suffering and death awaiting Him.
With John, we might wonder why Jesus came to be baptized (see Matthew 3:14
). However, Jesus told him, "It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. (Matthew 3:15
)" Jesus' baptism publicly marked Him as God's Anointed One (Messiah or Christ). He had nothing for which He needed to repent, so His entry into Baptism's waters was not to wash away sins. Instead, He took all the sins of mankind upon Himself. He identified Himself as one of us by being baptized and spent the rest of His earthly life fulfilling our
righteousness, keeping the Law perfectly.
Lection (Series C)
Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: baptism, christ, christology, epiphany, epiphany 1, feasts, festivals, gospels, jesus, john the baptist
+ Jakob Andreae, Theologian +
7 January AD 1590
Born 25 March 1528 to blacksmith Jakob Endriß and his wife Anna (née Weißkopf) in Waiblingen in the dukedom of Württemberg, Jakob Andreae (also Andreæ or Andreä) came from a family seemingly too poor to support any higher education. However, it was his good fortune to come of age at a time when Duke Ulrich began Evangelical reform in the duchy. Württemberg's mayor, aware of the young man's potential, procured for him a ducal scholarship.
In 1539 Andreae attended a preparatory school in Stuttgart, and two years later he entered the University of Tübingen — at the tender age of thirteen years. In 1545 he began his study of theology under the Tübingen faculty. He stayed only briefly. Württemberg was critically short of pastors and he was placed in the parish after one year of study. His enemies found ample ammunition for their opposition of him due in part to his arrested academic career.
The religious sea change that Martin Luther
began with the German Reformation had spread through Europe. In many parts of the continent, the changes went much deeper than did those of the Lutherans. New ways of thinking and of doing theology led to new sects and confessions within Christendom. With all the change around them, some Lutherans began following other ways of thinking, although many remained orthodox followers of Luther.
The signing of the Augsburg Confession
in 1530 appeared to signal full doctrinal consent among the Lutherans but agreement was brief. The interpretation of the Scriptures and the roles of the Augsburg Confession, its Apology, the Smalcald Articles, and the Catechisms became controverted. While Philipp Melanchthon
and others were already altering the Confessions to suit their shifting interpretations of Scripture, Luther's death in 1546 hastened Lutheran disunity. Into the turmoil of the middle and latter Sixteenth Century stepped Jakob Andreae.
Andreae began this time in theology's public sphere with the intention of conciliation among Protestant Christianity. Yet even at his most irenic, Andreae never forsook fidelity to orthodox Lutheranism. Convinced that it was God's will that the Church would be one (cf. John 17:11-12, 20-23
), he sought to reach out to those outside the Lutheran party while also challenging errorists within. The hardliners among the Gnesio-Lutherans unswervingly believed that anyone teaching falsely deserved immediate and absolute condemnation.
This caught Andreae in a bind: He could continue his gentle methods in dealing with errorists, including John Calvin and invite the wrath of the staunchest Lutherans or he could be more forceful with the false teachers and alienate them completely from Luther's heirs.
The actions of others finally led him to give up hope of full unity. A 1570 meeting of theologians in Zerbst in agreed to espouse unity based upon the Augsburg Confession, the Apology, the Smalcald Articles, and the Catechisms. Initially elated with the agreement, Andreae soon saw the Wittenberg theologians qualifying their confessional subscription according to Melanchthon's revisions. This was followed by a series of Crypto-Calvinist
reinterpretations of the Lutheran Confessions and led Andreae to realize that it would be impossible to build and maintain a truly Lutheran Electoral Saxony with such errorists in place.
With the entire spectrum of Germanic Protestantism calling upon the Augsburg Confession to support wildly contradictory theological positions, Andreae began arguing for a new confession around which true Lutherans could gather and which could be used to screen and reject errorists. Need for such a confession became even more apparent after Andreae visited Wittenberg and discovered for himself the depth of their Christological differences and found that on their home turf, these theologians had no interest in the unity he desired.
Finding himself stymied by these least Lutheran Protestants, Andreae turned his attention to those who still wanted to fully follow the reforms and the theology of Luther. He finally took of the gloves and started forceful condemnation of the Philippists and Crypto-Calvinists through the series Six Christian Sermons. Martin Chemnitz
, David Chytraeus, and others read the copies sent them by Andreae, which asked that the sermons be used as the basis of the new confession. While they agreed with Andreae's theology, they didn't think that sermons were the proper means of making a confessional statement. They asked instead for a thesis-antithesis form.
Andreae responded by writing the Swabian Concord, built on the foundation of his Six Sermons. The finished document became the first draft of the Formula of Concord
. After Chemnitz and Chytraeus read the document, they worked it into a revision known as the Swabian-Saxon Concord. Into this was assimilated Württemberg's Maulbronn Formula. Next came the Torgic Book, followed by the Bergic Book, developed in the years 1576-1577. The Bergic Book became the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord.
The Formula was included in the Book of Concord
, which was published on 25 June 1580, the fiftieth anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession. Included with the Solid Declaration was the Formula's Epitome, the Augsburg Confession, the Apology, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, Luther's Catechisms, and the three Ecumenical Creeds. Finally, German Lutheranism had the theological consensus which Andreae had so long desired.
Andreae's efforts for church unity based on doctrinal agreement didn't end with the Formula of Concord. In his later years, he continued to espouse pure Lutheran theology and to oppose all who denied or compromised it. This included his 1586 debate on the ubiquity of Christ with Calvinist theologian Theodore de Beza
in Mömpelgard, Württemberg (now Montbéliard, France).
In addition to his tireless work on behalf of Lutheran unity, Jakob Andreae also found time for a large family. He married Anna Entringer in Tübingen in June 1546. She bore him twenty children between 1547 and 1579. Of these, eleven reached adulthood. Anna died in 1583. In 1585, he married Regensburg widow Regina Reitter, nee Schachner. Andreae died on 7 January 1590, followed 2 ½ years later by Regina.
Labels: book of concord, david chytraeus, formula of concord, german history, jakob andreae, lutheran confessions, lutheranism, martin chemnitz, melanchthon, reformation, theology
The Epiphany of Our Lord
6 January, New Testament
The Epiphany season begins today, with the Feast of the Epiphany. This day celebrates the Wise Men bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ Child.
The word Epiphany means "showing" or "manifestation" and the entire season from today until the beginning of Lent deals in one way with the ways in which Jesus was shown to be the Christ, either by His own words and deeds or by the actions of the Father and the Holy Spirit (as in His baptism). The hymn Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
(printed below) praises many of these manifestations and anticipates that last, great Epiphany, when Jesus manifests Himself visibly before all mankind and brings His Church home to eternal glory.
In much of the world, Epiphany, not Christmas, is a day for giving gifts to family and friends. Rather than using the day in which the Father gave His Son to a sin-darkened and unexpecting world, many nations choose the day celebrating the gifts the Wise Men brought the Christ Child as a day of giving gifts to their own children (and to others). This Wikipedia article
details some of the religious and cultural practices of the day. Of course, some countries are done with the presents before
Christmas; they choose Saint Nicholas Day
on 6 December as the time of giving gifts.
The Wise Men Traveled from Afar
, another Epiphany hymn, is posted at the Happenings
and Ask the Pastor
blogs. Ask the Pastor
also has several archived posts pertaining to the Epiphany: Unbiblical Christmas Carols
, Jesus and the Wise Men
, and Names of the Magi
O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
- Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to Thee we raise,
Manifested by the star
To the sages from afar,
Branch of royal David's stem,
In Thy birth at Bethlehem.
Anthems be to Thee addressed
God in man made manifest.
- Manifest at Jordan's stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme,
And at Cana, Wedding-guest,
In Thy Godhead manifest;
Manifest in power divine,
Changing water into wine.
Anthems be to Thee addressed
God in man made manifest.
- Manifest in making whole
Palsied limbs and fainting soul;
Manifest in valiant fight,
Quelling all the devil's might;
Manifest in gracious will,
Ever bringing good from ill.
Anthems be to Thee addressed,
God in man made manifest.
- Sun and moon shall darkened be,
Stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
Christ will then like lightning shine,
All will see His glorious sign;
All will then the trumpet hear,
All will see the Judge appear;
Thou by all wilt be confessed,
God in man made manifest.
- Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,
Mirrored in Thy holy Word;
May we imitate Thee now
And be pure as pure art Thou
That we like to Thee may be
At Thy great Epiphany
And may praise Thee, ever blest,
God in man made manifest.
Labels: bethlehem, christ, epiphany, feasts, festivals, gospels, herod, jesus, magi, nativity, new testament, wise men
+ Charles Porterfield Krauth, Pastor and Theologian +
2 January AD 1883; transferred to 3 January
Charles Porterfield Krauth was born in Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), on 17 March 1823. He was son of the noted Lutheran pastor Dr. Charles Philip Krauth
. However, young Charles wasn't named for his father but for grandfathers Charles James Krauth and Robert Porterfield Augustus Heiskell.
In 1839, Krauth graduated from Pennsylvania (now Gettysburg) College
. His father was the college's president at this time and also served on the theological faculty of the city's Lutheran Theological Seminary
, so it's no surprise that young C. P. Krauth attended this school for his pastoral education. He graduated in 1841 and was ordained the following year, after which he served as parish pastor in Baltimore, the Shenandoah Valley, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Krauth was called to St. Mark's Church, Philadelphia in 1859 and served there for two years. However, his dissatisfaction with American Lutheranism led him to resign and assume editorship of the Lutheran and Missionary
, a journal espousing a return to the theology of the Augsburg Confession. His movement away from his father's church seems to have been triggered by ... his own father! This wasn't the result of family strife but because Charles James Krauth had given Charles Porterfield Krauth the gift of Chemnitz
The more he read from "the Second Martin," the more he was convinced that the General Synod
and most of Americanized Lutheranism had departed the ways of "the First Martin"; i.e., Luther
himself. C. P. Krauth became increasingly uncomfortable with Lutherans who were so concerned with ecumenism that they would downplay, abandon, or deny the theology of the Augsburg Confession and the rest of the Book of Concord. He recognized the strains of "Socinianism ... Universalism ... Unionism, Pietism, Moravianism, and Methodism"* and other non-Lutheran, even unchristian, philosopies and theologies that diluted and corrupted pure Evangelical Lutheranism away from what he was ever-increasingly growing to know, to believe, and to love.
As he ventured farther into the "old" Lutheranism of the Reformation and the Age of Orthodoxy, Krauth started speaking more harshly about the "new" Lutheran leaders who were following the lead of Samuel Simon Schmucker
. He claimed that the General Synod had become the playground of "moral weaklings." These "amiable inanities" only played at "neutrality and conservatism," ignored major theological differences, and generally espoused a healing through "a cataplasm of soft words and soft soap, or an ointment of love and lard."† Needless to say, the other side hated these criticisms and the cracks between their conflicting confessions quickly expanded to a major rift.
This new conservative and confessional wing of English-speaking American Lutheranism found itself needing its own organization and theological institutions. The confessional party established Lutheran Theological Seminary
, Philadelphia in 1864 and asked Krauth to lead their new school and become its professor of systematic theology. In 1867, Krauth was instrumental in the establishment of the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America
. He wrote the General Council's position papers and the foundational document and then drafted its constitution. Three years later, he was elected the Council's president, in which office he served for a decade, until 1880.
Krauth composed a series of theses on pulpit and altar fellowship under the title the “Akron-Galesburg Rule.” The summary is simple: "Lutheran pulpits for Lutheran pastors only, and Lutheran altars for Lutheran communicants only." While the Galesburg Rule
permitted exceptions based on pastoral discretion, it still strongly repudiated the nearly blind ecumenism of the General Synod.
Krauth's theological arguments and personal appeal stood him in good stead. Over the course of time, both his own father and Beale Melanchthon Schmucker
(Samuel Simon's grandson) joined him in a literal reading of the Scriptures and a quia
adherence to the Lutheran Confessions. He also drew William Passavant
, the pioneer of the American Lutheran deaconess movement, into the confessional camp.
Krauth's scholarship and academic influence went beyond Lutheranism. He became a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania
, serving from 1865 to 1868. He was made Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy in 1868 and held that position until his death in 1883. From 1873-1882, he was also Penn's Vice Provost.
Over the course of his life, Charles Porterfield Krauth saw more than one hundred of his works in print. Chief among these was The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology: As Represented in the Augsburg Confession, and in the History and Literature of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
(1875). His reputation as one of the great American Lutheran theologians remains secure. In fact, we might drop the "American" and name him as one of the great theologians throughout all Lutheranism.
Pastor David Jay Webber leads us to think thusly, claiming that if C. F. W. Walther
justly deserves the title, of "the American Luther," then Krauth is the best candidate for "the American Chemnitz."†† Walther himself noted a Chemnitz-like mix of confessional theology and a conciliar nature in calling Krauth "the most eminent man in the English Lutheran Church of this country, a man of rare learning, at home no less in the old than in modern theology, and, what is of greatest import, whole-heartedly devoted to the pure doctrine of our Church, as he had learned to understand it, a noble man and without guile."†††
Finally, a few notes on his family: C. P. Krauth was married to Susan Reynolds from 1844 until her death in 1853. In 1855, he married Virginia Baker. He was blessed with five children through his two wives.
*Commemoration moved from 2 January (the LCMS calendar's remembrance of Wilhelm Loehe) to today. His birth date of 17 March conflicts with the commemoration of Saint Pádraig.
† "The General Council Before Its First Anniversary," The Lutheran Church Review
, Vol. XXVI, No. 4 (October 1907)
†† David Jay Webber, Charles Porterfield Krauth: The American Chemnitz
††† Walther, Lehre und Wehre
XXIX:1 (January 1883)
Sources and extended reading suggestions: Christian Cyclopedia
, Penn Biographies
, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology
at Google Books, and, especially, David Jay Webber's Charles Porterfield Krauth: The American Chemnitz
O Lord God, heavenly Father, we pray that, as You raised up Charles Porterfield Krauth to lead Lutherans in American into a renewed appreciation of their confessional heritage and to a fuller confidence in the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, so You would continue to provide us with faithful pastors and leaders, keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, defend us against all enemies of Your Word, and bestow on Christ's Church Militant Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: american history, biography, charles porterfield krauth, commemoration, conservative reformation, galesburg rule, general council, general synod, hagiography, lutheranism, samuel schmucker, william passavant
+ Wilhelm Loehe, Pastor and Theologian +
2 January AD 1872
Christened Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe, he established a reputation already as a young pastor for being "too" theologically conservative and "too" politically progressive. This led to his being moved to at least twelve positions until he received his own parish in Neuendettelsau, Bavaria in 1837. Beginning his career with difficulty, he accomplished much from such a small place. Even though he had aspirations of a more prominent position in a major city, church and government officials never allowed that to pass.
The Catholic king of Bavaria was de facto
leader of the Lutheran Church. His main desire was to keep the churches from becoming places of political unrest. Thus arose strict restrictions, such as an assembly of more than five people needing a police permit. He prohibited mission circles and other "subversive enterprises," thus relegating church activities to not much more than Sunday services only.
In 1840, Loehe read a newspaper account from America by Pastor Friedrich Wyneken
. It told of German emigrants not having church or pastoral care — nobody could baptize their children, teach, visit the sick, or bury the dead. Pastor Loehe felt compelled to aid the German Lutherans in America and published an article in a church periodical asking for help. Beginning in the spring of 1841, several young men responded to Loehe's letter, expressing the desire help the settlers with their own skills and occupations. In the summer of 1842 he sent them to America at his own expense. He called them Nothelfer
("helpers in need") or "auxiliary saints", and trained them to be "emergency pastors."
Even while he had no theologians to assist his plans, Loehe published a map entitled "Overview for the German Lutheran Mission Work in the United States." It illustrated a system he developed for advancing pastoral care and outreach among German speakers in the United States. More young men followed and by his death, at least 185 came to America. Loehe paid for many of them himself and was always trying to raise money.
After only six years of marriage, Loehe's wife died, leaving him to raise their four children alone. Even among such hardships, his dreams remained clear and his desire to serve the Lord strong. Indeed, recent years have brought recognition for his farsightedness. This contrasts sharply with the handed-down opinions of many contemporaries who, while recognizing him as a founder of social institutions and mission education in Neuendettelsau, regarded him as divisive, narrow-minded, or combative. Changes in attitude began taking place especially after 1985, when several thousand of his letters were published, many previously unknown to scholars in Germany.
Seeking to support and strengthen missions and pastoral ministry in the United States, Loehe established a large parish cooperative throughout Germany. As support grew, he could publish his 1845 "Letter from the Home Country to the German Lutheran Emigrants" which 946 people, including 350 theologians, signed.
With the home churches finally behind him, he could at last send pastors! Loehe saw to the training of twenty-two pastors for work in America. Due in large part to his direct influence a seminary was established in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1846 as well as a teachers' institute in Saginaw, Michigan. Some of the men he sent to the U.S. helped to establish The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod
. Today, two LCMS seminaries, Concordia Theological Seminary
, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Concordia Seminary
, St. Louis, Missouri continue equipping and forming men to send out into the Savior's harvest fields.
Besides his interest in the United States, Loehe also assisted in training and sending pastors to care for emigrants in Brazil and Australia, both of which still have relatively small but vital Lutheran populations. He will continue to be remembered for his confessional integrity and his interest in liturgy and catechetics. He also never forgot the physical needs of those less fortunate and his works of Christian charity include the establishment of a deaconess training house, homes for the aged, an asylum for the mentally ill, and other caring institutions.
Please see Loehe etexts translated through Project Wittenberg
for his Sonntagsblatt Appeal
, his 1842 Instructions of Adam Ernst and Georg Burger
, a letter from C.F.W. Walther
to Loehe About the Fort Wayne Seminary
, and Loehe's Report of Walther's and Wyneken's Visit
O Lord God, heavenly Father, we pray that, as You led Wilhelm Loehe to establish and support Lutheran missions and ministry in the New World, so You would continue to raise up faithful Lutheran pastors and missionaries that the Gospel might be proclaimed in its truth and purity, the Sacraments rightly administered, believers ministered to, and unbelievers converted by Your saving Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives and reigns with You and Your Son Jesus Christ, one God, now and forever.
Labels: american history, biography, commemoration, hagiography, lcms, loehe, lutheranism, missouri synod, walther, wyneken
The Circumcision and Name of Jesus
1 January, New Testament
This major feast day of the Christian Church marks the infant Jesus' eighth day of life. At this time, the Law required all boys of Israel to be circumcised (cf. Genesis 17:9-14
; Leviticus 12:1-3
On this day, our Savior also received His name (Luke 2:21
). This fulfilled the command given to both Mary (Luke 1:31
) and Joseph (Matthew 1:21
) during their angelic visitations.
Christ's circumcision placed Him fully under God's Law. His name Jesus, from the Hebrew "Joshua" (meaning "Yahweh saves" or "He saves"), bespeaks the purpose for which He assumed human flesh and came to live among us.
For more on this Christological feast, including the reason for using this particular date for the remembrance, please see On the Eighth Day of Christmas
and Christianity and New Year's Day
at Ask the Pastor
Lord God, You made Your beloved Son, our Savior, subject to the Law and caused Him to shed His blood on our behalf. Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit that our hearts may be made pure from all sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Labels: christ, christmas, christology, circumcision, covenant, feasts, festivals, gospels, jesus, law, name, new testament