Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

29 June 2007
  + Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles +
29 June, New Testament

The Confession of Saint Peter ("You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God") is commemorated on 18 January, and the Conversion of Saint Paul on his approach to Damascus a week later, on 25 January. On 29 June we commemorate the martyrdoms of both apostles. The date is the anniversary of a day around AD 258, under the Valerian persecution, when what were believed to be the remains of the two apostles were both moved temporarily to prevent them from falling into the hands of the persecutors.

Peter and PaulThe Scriptures do not record the deaths of Peter or Paul, or indeed any of the Apostles' deaths except for James the son of Zebedee (Acts 12:2), but they are clearly anticipated (see the readings below), and from an early date it has been said that they were martyred at Rome at the command of the Emperor Nero, and buried there. As a Roman citizen, St. Paul would probably have been beheaded with a sword. An early tradition claims that St. Peter was crucified head downward.

The present Church of St. Peter in Rome replaces earlier churches built on the same site going back to the time of the Emperor Constantine, in whose reign a church was built on what was believed to be the burial site of Peter. Excavations under the church suggest that the belief that this is the true home of his burial predates Constantine.

Lection from the 1- and 3-Year Series

Psalm 46 or 18:25-32
Ezekiel 34:11-16 (both series)
Acts 12:1-11 or 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Matthew 15:13-20 or Mark 8:27-35

Collect

Merciful and eternal God, from whom the holy apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul received grace and strength to lay down their lives for the sake of Your Son, grant that, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we may with like constancy confess Your truth and be at all times ready to lay down our lives for Him who laid down His life for us; even Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
28 June 2007
  + Irenaeus of Lyons, Pastor and Confessor +
28 June AD 200

Irenaeus of LyonsIrenaeus (ca. AD 130-200), believed to be a native of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), studied in Rome and later became pastor in Lyons, France. Around 177, while Irenaeus was away from Lyons, a fierce persecution of Christians led to the martyrdom of his bishop. Upon Irenaeus' return, he became Bishop of Lyons.

Among his most famous writings is Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies). This work condemned several errors but focused especially on Gnosticism, which denied the goodness of creation. In opposition, Irenaeus confessed that God has redeemed his creation through the incarnation of the Son. Irenaeus also affirmed the teachings of the Scriptures handed down to and through him as being normative for the Church.

Despite a few stray texts, very little suggests that he did not die a natural death. He was buried in Saint John's Church, Lyon — a congregation later renamed in his honor. Iconoclastic Huegenot Calvinists destroyed his tomb and remains in 1522.

Collect

Almighty God, You upheld your servant Irenaeus, giving him strength to confess the truth against every false doctrine; keep us, we pray, steadfast in Your Word and grant us the practice of true religion, that in constancy and peace we may walk in the way of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
27 June 2007
  + Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Confessor +
27 June AD 444

Cyril of AlexandriaSaint Cyril (ca. AD 376-444) became Patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt in 412. Throughout his career he defended a number of orthodox doctrines, among them the teaching that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is "rightly called and truly is the Mother of God" — Theotokos, "the God-Bearer" (Formula of Concord, Epitome, VIII, 12). In 431 the Council of Ephesus affirmed this teaching that the Son of Mary is also true God.

The Council was responding to the Nestorian heresy, which distinguished so completely between the divine and human natures of Christ that claims were made that the divine Christ did some things while the human Jesus did others.

Some of the differences are quite subtle; perhaps even Nestorius himself could not have foreseen the full ramifications of his position, including a "resurrection" of only the divine nature. Ephesus condemned the title of "Christ-Bearer" (Christotokos) for the Virgin, since the Nestorians would only claim that Mary bore the Christ, but not God Himself.

Cyril receives almost as many brickbats as he does bouquets, even from orthodox Christians, because he's also known for being what one person calls "an ill-tempered, quarrelsome, hasty, and violent man." This seems especially so during his early years as Bishop of Alexandria.

A particularly acute example of his extreme rigity comes from his closing of Novatianist churches, although the Novationists weren't particularly unorthodox. Their "fault" was as much one of pride as of theology — they descended from those who'd stood firm in the persecutions of earlier years and refused to associate or worship with the heirs of those who recanted the Faith under persecution. Their main theological aberration were insisting upon rebaptism of converts from "lapsed" Christianity and an attitude that was, perhaps, less than Christ-like in dealing with erring brothers.

Cyril also ran the Jews out of town. The reason given was that they were seditious and violent, although we're left with little evidence. This action likely contributed to an ongoing feud with Orestes, the imperial prefect. These disagreements seemingly spilled over into a quarrel with the prefect's friend, the neo-platonist scholar Hypatia, who was later murdered by a mob.

Few have directly condemned Cyril for her death but the leaders of the mob certainly claimed the bishop as their leader. In modern times, Carl Sagan, in his book Cosmos, blamed Hypatia's death (and the destruction of the great Library of Alexandria) on dogmatic Christianity's desire to root out rational paganism. However, other scholars see the whole feud as an internal Church struggle and no one has yet established a definitive cause (or date) for the final destruction of Alexandria's library.

At any rate, and despite the considerable rancor that accompanied his early years as bishop, the mature Cyril worked diligently to reconcile the Nestorian and Orthodox parties. His efforts led many of the less virulent Nestorians back to full communion.

The writings of Cyril on the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ reveal him to be one of the most able theologians of his time. Cyril's Christology influenced subsequent church councils and was a primary source for Lutheran confessional writings. He still speaks clearly to our age, especially as the old Christological heresies are trotted out under new guises.

Collect

Heavenly Father, You used Your servant Cyril to confess the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and of Your Son being one person with fully divine and human natures. Grant that we, also, might be constant in Your Word, bold in Your confession, and steadfast in Your worship, to the glory of Your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
26 June 2007
  The Holy Prophet Jeremiah
26 June, Old Testament

The holy prophet Jeremiah is counted as one of the four "major prophets" of the Old Testament, along with Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. His name means "Established (or Raised up) by Yahweh (the Lord)."

He was active as God's prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah ca. 627 to 582 B.C. As he fulfilled his calling, he predicted, witnessed, and lived through the Babylonian siege and eventual destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.

In his preaching he often used symbols such as an almond rod (Jeremiah 1:11-14), wine jars (13:12-14), or a potter at work (18:1-17). His entire prophetic ministry was a sermon, communicating through word and deed God's anger toward his rebellious people. He suffered repeated rejection and persecution by his countrymen. As far as can be known, he died in Egypt, having been taken there forcibly. He is remembered and honored for fearlessly calling God's people to repentance.

JeremiahJeremiah also is credited by many as the author of the Book of Lamentations. The book consists of five separate poems, of which the first four are acrostics consisting of verses whose first words begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In English translations, of course, this style completely disappears.

Chapter Three is an especially well-developed acrostic. There are twenty-two letters in Hebrew and the other chapters have 22 verses. However, this chapter has sixty-six, grouping sets of three verses under each letter of the alphabet. Thus, verses one through three begin with א (aleph), verses four through six with ב (beth), seven through nine with ג (gimel), and so-on down the line. Chapter Five, while not an acrostic, still has 22 verses.

The themes of the book unfold as follows: Chapter 1 treats the fallen and desolate city of Jerusalem as a widow weeping over her loss. Chapter 2 connects her misery with the sins of the nation and her people which brought God's judgment. Chapter 3 expresses hope that the Lord's punishment will result in blessing for His people and affirms His goodness: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.' (vv. 22-24)" Chapter 4 is a lament on the destruction of city and temple but lays the blame upon the people's sins. The final chapter outlines the city's continuing troubles and prays that the Lord will finally restore Zion and not abandon His chosen people, although their sins are great and they certainly deserve it.

The book of Jeremiah similarly proclaims harsh judgment upon persistent sin while also reminding the Lord's people of His faithfulness. It looks to a time when the need for the Law's commands and punishments will cease and all will be made right. The clearest expression of this thought is in 31:31-34, where a "New Covenant" of grace is promised, a covenant established by the blood of the coming Messiah: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.

"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Scripture says nothing of how prophet's life ended. Chapter 43 reveals that Johanan took Jeremiah, the prophet's faithful scribe Baruch ben Neriah, and a remnant of Judean people, to live in Egypt. This directly contradicted the Word of the Lord Jeremiah had just spoken in Chapter 42, forbidding such a move and warning of dire consequences. Since Jeremiah 52:31 mentions the reign of Evil-merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, many think that he may have been at least 90 years old when he died. Some ancient traditions claim that he was stoned to death in Babylon. Others say that he finally went to Babylon with Nebuchadnezzar's army.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
25 June 2007
  The Presentation of the Augsburg Confession
25 June AD 1530

Diet of AugsburgNote: Please see Ask the Pastor for more on the history and theology of the Augsburg Confession and its presentation and the Cyberbrethren for a photograph of a first edition printing of the Confession and the Apology.

The Augsburg Confession, the principal doctrinal statement of the theology of Martin Luther and the Lutheran reformers, was written largely by Philipp Melanchthon. At its heart it confesses the justification of sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, for the sake of Christ alone.

Signed by leaders of several German cities and regions, the confession was formally presented to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at Augsburg, Germany, on 25 June 1530. A few weeks later Roman Catholic authorities rejected the Confession, which Melanchthon defended in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (1531). In 1580 the Unaltered Augsburg Confession was included in the Book of Concord.

An historical sidelight: Because of imperial protocol, Melanchthon wasn't allowed to make — or even attend — the presentation. Instead, two of the Saxon chancellors gave the oral reading and handed the written Latin and German copies to Charles V.

Lection

Psalm 46
Isaiah 55:6-11
Romans 10:5-17
John 15:1-11

Collects

O Lord God, heavenly Father, pour our Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people, keep them steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and comfort them in all temptation, defend them 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.

Almighty God, we praise You for those You have sent to call the Church to its tasks and renew its life, including your servant Philipp Melanchthon. Raise up in our own day pastors, teachers, and theologians inspired by Your Spirit, whose voices will give strength to Your Church and proclaim Your kingdom; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hymn

God's Word Is Our Great Heritage

   God's Word is our great heritage
   And shall be ours forever;
   To spread its light from age to age
   Shall be our chief endeavor.
   Through life it guides our way,
   In death it is our stay.
   Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
   We keep its teachings pure
   Throughout all generations.

Notes on the Propers: The suggested readings come from the LCMS hymnal Lutheran Worship, as does the first collect. These propers are also used for the Commemoration of the Doctors of the Church, including Luther and C. F. W. Walther. The second collect is modified from James Kiefer's Hagiographies.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
24 June 2007
  The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
24 June, New Testament

His Name Is JohnThis day celebrates the birth of a son to the elderly and previously childless couple Elizabeth and Zechariah the priest. On the eighth day, his parents would name him John ("Yahweh is gracious").

John would grow up to be the last prophet of the Old Testament and the Forerunner of the coming Messiah, his younger cousin Jesus. Notice that today's date is six months before Christmas — the Nativity of Our Lord — since the Annunciation to Saint Mary came "in the sixth month" of Elizabeth's pregnancy.

The Christian Church remembers Saint John the Baptizer's prophetic ministry and commemorates his death on 29 August.

Lection

Psalm 141
Malachi 3:1-4
Isaiah 40:1-5 or Acts 13:13-26
Luke 1:57-80

Collect

Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation; now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
22 June 2007
  A Commemoration I Missed
San Gennaro: 19 September AD 305

Saint JanuariusEmily of The Children of God looks back today on Growing Up with San Gennaro. She not only introduces this martyr under the Diocletian persecutions but, more importantly, shows how superstition grows around a cult of saints. In this case, a processional relic can stir up riotous reactions and tremendous worry or lead to complete calm — not only for the city of Naples but for much of southern Italy.

The picture here shows the presentation of the glass vial containing Januarius's purported blood, which is supposed to protect the area against earthquakes, Mount Vesuvius, and the like for the next year if it liquefies. Scripture (cf. Hebrews 11 or Revelation 6:9-11; 7:13-17) and the Lutheran Confessions certainly bespeak continuing honor for the departed believers. However, isn't it frightening how easily we who are saved by God's grace through faith in Christ can twist the Church's history and commemorations into images of the worst that paganism has to offer?

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
17 June 2007
  Is There a Forde in Your Future?

There is if you visit Lutheran Carnival #52: Gerhard O. Forde Edition, courtesy of Weekend Fisher at Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength.

Also, remember that the Lutheran Carnival of Blogs needs your continuing support in three areas. First, of course, you can read it every two weeks, even if you're not a blogger  even if you're not a Lutheran! Secondly, if you're a confessional Lutheran blogger, you can contribute posts to it on a biweekly basis (and some hosts also allow third-party submissions). Finally, you can answer the continuing call for hosts, so that the same small group of people doesn't have get to do it so often.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | |
 
16 June 2007
  E!‽ Gads!
Find Me a Neck to (W)ring

Little Aard left the living room and camped in front of the [my] computer. As usual, she'd left the boob tube turned on. Still, L.A. totally ignored the babble of the E! Network show that she didn't want to watch. I happened to come through the front door just in time to see whatever mid-evening (ca. 8:15 p.m. CDT) show she didn't care about cut to commercial. 'Twas an eye-opening commercial indeed ... and one I'm quite happy she missed.

How do I describe the item being promoted? Well, it's not really jewelry, although it is a ring designed for a man to wear. I mean really — how can I call something motorized "jewelry"?

"Motorized‽" you ask.

Yep, 'tis a battery powered ring that supposedly runs for about twenty minutes. It seems that the motor is a wee bit out of balance, however, since the manufacture admits that the thing has a tendency to vibrate. Perhaps that's the result of outsourcing the labor (perhaps a topic for another post).

Anyhow, the ad showed a guy presenting a small box to a gal who wasn't already wearing a ring. She opened, smiled, and said, "Yes, I do!" Obviously neither seemed to mind the obvious design flaw while she seemed eager to give it back to him (and he appeared happy to take it off her hands).

Now if deciphering the above wasn't overly difficult, perhaps you've arrived at this paragraph wondering if your take on this new product and its accompanying ad match the Aardvark's. Well, I'm not totally opposed to girls (and guys) who wanna have fun. However, in my not-so-humble opinion, certain types of "fun" shouldn't be advertised during the prime time hours (and I'm not just talking about that fictitious "family hour" that begins each week night, usually a half hour after the local news).

What I mean is that I don't think ads for sex toys, ED aids, and related products and services should appear until after your normal sub-18 year old human (or 18 year old subhuman?) or aardvark ceases television watching for the day. In other words (IOW for those overly addicted to Netspeak), don't plug the play before Jay. Once The Tonight Show begins, I figure that the kids with whom I least want to be discussing vibrating birds and bees should be getting ready for bed, cramming for the morrow's test, or (in summer or during school breaks) doing some reading away from the idiot box.

Do I have a specific objection to mutually consenting and married people (or aardvarks) purchasing and using adult play toys? I wrestle with the pros and cons and find myself waffling worse than a box of Eggos. Overall, if the advertising doesn't point to out-of-wedlock grappling and if the product doesn't violate my growing opposition to birth control, I don't really think that I care. However, the obvious lack of vows in the current Durex commercial certainly points toward a violation of the Sixth Commandment (Lutheran, Roman, Anglican enumeration; 7th for the rest of you).

If you, too, would like to postpone the inevitable discussions on sex, you can tell Durex and the E! Network your thoughts about advertising the Play Vibrations ring while the kids are camped before the tube. And while I'm on the subject, besides generally frowning upon birth control, I specifically object to Trojan Man ads during hours when young people watch the tube or are listening to the car radio whilst we're driving about — so you're welcome to give them what-for, too.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
  Hemingway E(a)rnest about Her Faith
Mollie Z Zeroes in on American Religion

The Divine Mrs. H.One of my favorite people in the whole world, blogger or not, remains Mollie (Ziegler) Hemingway, a writer for Get Religion and all-around Lutheran orthobabe. Mollie recently had opinion pieces published by First Things, one of the most reputable religion organizations, and by that ultimate MSM, the Opinion Journal of the Wall Street Journal.

Desperately Seeking Absolution details her examination of online confessionals and America's separation of confession from absolution. The Decline of the Sabbath includes a look at the ponderings of Christopher Ringwald in his new book A Day Apart. Both Hemingway and Ringwald lament the loss of a set Sabbath each week — not only for religious reasons but also for the personal and societal benefits they think such a day holds.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
  Moosing Person ... and Posts
An overdue pointer for the Lutheran Carnival of Blogs

Thanks to Mrs. WhoisBDK of The Moose Report for her fortnight of hosting Lutheran Carnival LI. Along with this installment of the Carnival, she also introduced readers to the "unknown Lutheran" — and one of my favorite composers &mdash Baroque organist Dieterich Buxtehude. Aside from his own considerable performing and compositional gifts, Buxtehude also provided inspiration for the next generation, including Handel, Telemann, and Bach.

Technorati Tags: | | | |
 
14 June 2007
  The Holy Prophet Elisha
14 June, Old Testament

The Prophet Elisha and the ShunammiteAfter the prophet Elijah defeated the priests of Baal and then fled Jezebel's wrath, The Lord came to him on mount Horeb. He told him to anoint new kings of Syria and Israel. He also commanded Elijah to anoint "Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, (1 Kings 19:16)" a member of the tribe of Issachar, to replace Elijah as the prophet of God to the northern kingdom of Israel ca. 849-786 B.C.

During Elijah's final days on earth, Elisha refused to leave his mentor's side. Elisha asked Elijah to grant him a final blessing, saying, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me. (2 Kings 2:9)" Once he saw the elder prophet taken up into heaven, Elisha took up Elijah's mantle and assumed the prophetic office (2 Kings 2:1-14).

Like Elijah, Elisha played an active role in political affairs. He also performed many miracles, such as curing the Syrian army commander Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-27) and restoring life to the son of a Shunammite woman (4:8-37). A vocal opponent of Baal worship, Elisha lived up to his name, which means "my God is salvation."

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
12 June 2007
  The Council of Nicaea
Summer AD 325

NicaeaThe Christian Church's First Ecumenical Council was convened in Nicaea (modern Isnuk, Turkey) in the early summer of AD 325 by the Roman Emperor Constantine. The emperor presided at the opening of the council. The major intended topic was the ongoing Arian controversy.

The council ruled against the Arians, who taught that Jesus was not the eternal Son of God but was created by the Father and was called Son of God because of his righteousness. The chief opponents of the Arians were Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, and his deacon, Athanasius. The council confessed the eternal divinity of Jesus and adopted the earliest version of the Nicene Creed, which in its entirety was adopted at the Council of Constantinople in 381.

Other topics included celebration of the Resurrection and how the date for Easter would correspond with Passover, the Miletian schism, validity of baptism by heretics, and the restoration lapsed Christians who renounced the Faith under persecution. The Council also established a number of new canons (Church laws). Enumeration varies, but twenty is the number suggested by the editors of the Early Church Fathers:
1. prohibition of self-castration, as done by Origen;
2. establishment of a minimum term for catechumens;
3. prohibition of the presence in the house of a cleric of a younger woman who might bring him under suspicion;
4. ordination of a bishop in the presence of at least three provincial bishops and confirmation by the metropolitan;
5. provision for two provincial synods to be held annually;
6. exceptional authority acknowledged for the bishops of Alexandria and Rome, for their respective regions;
7. recognition of the honorary rights of the see of Jerusalem;
8. provision for agreement with the Novatianists;
9-14. provision for mild procedure against the lapsed during the persecution under Licinius;
15-16. prohibition of the removal of priests;
17. prohibition of usury among the clergy;
18. precedence of bishops and presbyters before deacons in receiving Holy Communion, the Eucharist;
19. declaration of the invalidity of baptism by Paulian heretics;
20. prohibition of kneeling during the liturgy, on Sundays and in the fifty days of Eastertide.
   (Summary from Wikipedia.)
Their version of what we now call the Nicene Creed was almost identical to what is now used in the Church until the third section, where the original ends, "We believe in the Holy Spirit." It fell to the Second Ecumenical Council (First Council of Constantinople) to add what is now used. Therefore, the confession used in the churches may properly be called the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The so-called filioque (where "and the Son" was inserted after the words about the Spirit proceeding from the Father) was only later added by the Roman Catholic Church and never accepted in the East.

The Council also saw the first major collaboration between Church and state since Christianity began and signaled a rise in imperial influence in affairs of the Church. Constantine called it, presided over the initial session, and, in many respects, set its agenda. While his personal religious beliefs may have been part of his reason, most scholars agree that his main fear was that a divided Christianity would result in a divided Empire. The historical irony is that the Roman Empire fractured before any major schisms in Christendom.

Nicene Creed

Nicene FathersI believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian [catholic] and apostolic Church, I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
11 June 2007
  + Barnabas, Apostle +
11 June, New Testament

St Barnabas"Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet" (Acts 4:36-37). Here Scripture makes first mention of Saint Barnabas.

This name given by the Apostles matches what we know of his actions. When Saul of Tarsus (or Paul) came to Jerusalem after his conversion, most of the congregation wanted nothing to do with him. They knew him only as a persecutor and an enemy of Christ's Church. Barnabas, however, willingly gave him a second chance. He sought him out, spoke with him, and brought him to meet the other Christians, vouching for him.

Later, Paul and Barnabas went on a missionary journey together, taking Barnabas's cousin Mark along. Part way, Mark turned back and went home. When Paul and Barnabas were about to set out on another such journey, Barnabas proposed to take Mark along, and Paul was against it, saying that Mark had shown himself undependable. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance, and so he and Mark went off on one journey, while Paul took Silas and went on another. Apparently Mark responded well to the trust given him by the "son of encouragement," since we find that Paul later spoke of him as a valuable assistant (2 Timothy 4:11; see also Colossians 4:10 and Philemon 24).

Lection

Psalm 112
Isaiah 42:5-12
Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3
Mark 6:7-13

Collect

Almighty God, Your faithful servant Barnabas sought not his own renown but gave generously of his life and substance for the encouragement of the apostles and their ministry. Grant that we may follow his example in lives given to charity and the proclamation of the Gospel; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
06 June 2007
  Hey, Pastor! Are You "Meddlesome"?

St. Thomas a BeckettThis isn't a call for any of my brothers in office to start sticking your noses into any inappropriate businesses. Rather, I encourage you to check out the reminder that Christina has for us at The Blair Church Project. Based upon the 1964 Burton-O'Toole Film Beckett, her essay's title poses the question, Will No One Rid Me of This Meddlesome Priest?

As you read, you realize that Christina hopes that no one will ever answer her query in the affirmative. Instead, she calls pastors to not "lose sight of the special call given them" or get "so bogged down in this world that" they lose "their sense of divine struggle." She also reminds all believers that "our actions have eschatological consequences" and encourages the laity to "stand behind the servants He has called" while standing "for Him wherever He has deployed us."

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
05 June 2007
  + Boniface of Mainz +
5 June AD 754

Saint BonifaceThe man who later became known as Saint Boniface was born around AD 670-680 at Crediton, Devonshire, England and baptized Winfrid or Wynfrith. Although he was educated, he became a monk — at that time a calling often avoided by people of learning or means. While still in England, he was ordained as a presbyter and was inspired by the example of others to become a missionary.

Upon receiving a papal commission in 719 to work in Germany, Winfrid devoted himself to starting, organizing, and reforming churches and monasteries in Hesse, Thuringia, and Bavaria. After becoming an archbishop, Boniface was assigned to the See of Mainz in 743. Ten years later he resigned his position to engage in mission work in the Netherlands.

His time of activity overlapped the period in which Pippin the Younger and Charlemagne reigned and his work of converting the Saxons to Christianity was seen as a boon for expansion of Frankish rule. Yet Boniface never operated as a pawn of the kingdom of the left hand. Instead, he balanced alliances among the Carolingians, Bavarian rulers, and the papacy and often consecrated bishops who were already his followers in order to keep others from meddling in ecclesiastical affairs.

History isn't clear as to exactly when people began calling Winfrid "Boniface," Latin for "good deeds." However, his entire life gives ample testimony to events which would lead to this appellation.

Among his most famous exploits was the felling of Thor's Oak, an ancient tree believed sacred to the Nordic and Germanic god of thunder. Accounts from the period relate that when Thor (or Donar/Donner) didn't strike him dead with a lightning bolt, the locals agreed that the Christian God was supreme and agreed to be baptized. In a practical yet also symbolic gesture, Boniface used the wood of the fallen tree in the construction of a chapel in Fritzlar.

On June 5, 754, while awaiting a group of converts for confirmation, Boniface and his companions were murdered by a band of pagans in Friesland. The above picture is a commemorative statue in Dokkum, The Netherlands — a town near where he was martyred. Erected in 2004, it commemorated the 1250th anniversary of his death. Boniface is known as the apostle and missionary to the Germans and, according to historian Christopher Dawson, no other Englishman had any greater influence upon Europe's history.

Lection

Psalm 115:1-8 or 31:1-5
Acts 20:17-28
Luke 24:44-53

Collect

Almighty God, who called Your faithful servant Boniface to be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland, and by his labor and suffering raised up a people for Your own possession, pour forth Your Holy Spirit upon your Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many Your holy Name may be glorified and Your kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
03 June 2007
  The Feast of the Holy Trinity
The First Sunday after Pentecost

JesusThe Feast of the Holy Trinity, or Trinity Sunday, is a movable festival on the Church calendar in Western Christendom. Its date of celebration depends, as do Lent, Ascension Day, and Pentecost, upon the date of Easter.

Often, the Church Year is divided into two approximate halves. The "festival half," sometimes (rather inappropriately, in my opinion) termed "the Lord's half year," runs from the First Sunday in Advent through the week following Pentecost. This period encompasses all of the major Christological observances. Trinity Sunday is sometimes considered the close of the festival half but is usually understood to be the beginning of the non-festival half, sometimes called "the Church's half year." Its proper liturgical color is white, but except for certain special observances, green will be used for paraments and vestments until the church year closes.

This day celebrates the mystery of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — One God yet Three Persons — a fact revealed in Scripture but apprehended only by faith, since its comprehension defies human logic. Some people with a literalistic (rather than literal) understanding of the Bible attempt to deny this doctrine since they cannot find "Trinity" or "Triune" or "Three Persons" in the pages of Scripture. However, the sum total testimony of the Old and New Testaments certainly speaks of God as One yet also as Three Persons.

Regardless of the lectionary cycle used, the appointed Scriptures for the day reflect both God's undivided unity of self and His Triune nature. While not often used by most of the Christian Church during the rest of the year, much of the Western Church uses the Athanasian Creed as its confession of faith on Trinity Sunday.

TrinityLection — One-year Series

Psalm 29
Isaiah 6:1-7
Romans 11:33-36
John 3:1-15 (16-17)

Lection — Three-year Series, Year C

Psalm 8
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Acts 2:14a, 22-36
John 8:48-59

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true faith and to worship the Unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for You, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reign, one God, now and forever.

Holy TrinityHymns

Holy, Holy, Holy

   Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
   Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
   Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
   God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

   Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
   Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
   Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
   Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

   Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
   Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
   Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
   Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

   Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
   All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
   Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
   God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Three Persons, One GodHoly God, We Praise Your Name

   Holy God, we praise Your Name;
   Lord of all, we bow before You.
   All on earth Your scepter claim,
   All in heaven above adore You.
   Infinite Your vast domain,
   Everlasting is Your reign.

   Hark! The glad celestial hymn
   Angel choirs above are raising;
   Cherubim and seraphim,
   In unceasing chorus praising,
   Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
   "Holy, holy, holy Lord!"

   Lo, the apostolic train
   Join Your sacred Name to hallow;
   Prophets swell the glad refrain,
   And the white robed martyrs follow;
   And from morn to set of sun
   Through the Church the song goes on.

The Holy Trinity   You are King of Glory, Christ;
   Son of God, yet born of Mary.
   For us sinners sacrificed,
   As to death a Tributary,
   First to break the bars of death,
   You have opened heaven to faith.

   Holy Father, holy Son,
   Holy Spirit, Three we name You,
   Though in essence only One;
   Undivided God we claim You
   And, adoring, bend the knee
   While we own the mystery.

Related items: A Chime in the Church Ever Ringing and Trinity Sunday Thoughts from Incarnatus Est, Tainted Trinitarian Theology Trouble at Martin's Mumbles.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
 
Aurous Effluence
Golden Nuggets from the Aardchives
Fresh Spoor
Recent Posts

Dried Droppings
Complete Archives

2005.06 / 2005.07 / 2005.08 / 2005.09 / 2005.10 / 2005.11 / 2005.12 / 2006.01 / 2006.02 / 2006.03 / 2006.04 / 2006.05 / 2006.06 / 2006.07 / 2006.08 / 2006.09 / 2006.10 / 2006.11 / 2006.12 / 2007.01 / 2007.02 / 2007.03 / 2007.04 / 2007.05 / 2007.06 / 2007.07 / 2007.08 / 2007.09 / 2007.10 / 2007.11 / 2007.12 / 2008.01 / 2008.02 / 2008.03 / 2008.04 / 2008.05 / 2008.06 / 2008.07 / 2008.08 / 2008.09 / 2008.10 / 2008.11 / 2008.12 / 2009.01 / 2009.02 / 2009.03 / 2009.04 / 2009.05 / 2009.06 / 2009.07 / 2010.01 / 2010.10 / 2010.11 / 2011.01 / 2011.02 / 2011.03 / 2011.04 / 2011.05 / 2011.06 / 2011.07 / 2011.08 / 2011.09 / 2011.10 / 2011.11 / 2011.12 / 2012.01 / 2012.02 / 2012.03 / 2012.04 / 2012.05 / 2012.06 / 2012.07 / 2012.08 / 2012.09 / 2012.10 / 2012.11 / 2012.12 / 2013.01 / 2013.02 / 2013.03 / 2013.04 / 2013.05 / 2013.06 / 2013.07 / 2013.08 / 2013.09 / 2013.10 / 2013.11 / 2013.12 / 2014.01 / 2014.02 / 2014.03 / 2014.04 /

Home of the Aardie
Aardie: The Golden Aardvark Aaward
The Golden Aardvark Aaward

Why the Aardvark?
My Raison d’être
The aardvark is a "down & dirty" critter that spends its life rooting yucky things out of their dark haunts and feasting on their carcasses. Nuff said?

Stay in Touch
Send an E-mail

or
visit aardie on

Create Your Badge

The Big Blogroll O' Vark
& Other Links

Odds 'n' Ends

Site Feed Feedburner
Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add Yahoo News Feed
http://www.wikio.com

eXTReMe Tracker


Aardvark Alley BBOV
CAT-41 Xrysostom
Ask the Pastor Luther Library
Lutheran Confessions The Wittenberg Trail
Cyberbrethren Cranach
Lutheran Blog Directory The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Old Lutheran WorldMag.com
Blogdom of God The G.O.P.
StL Cards Kansas University Jayhawks
Dallas Cowboys KC Chiefs
Wikipedia Bloggernity Search Directory
Spam Poison Blog Universe
Globe of Blogs Blogarama - The Blog Directory
Blogdigger Get Firefox
Blogz Pro-Life Blogs
Listed in LS Blogs Blog Directory & Search engine
PLAZOO Blurt It!
Boing Boing Lileks.com
Coffee Sage January
Luther at the Movies


Lutheran Tidbit of the Day @ www.oldlutheran.com




Terror Alert Level
Terror Alert Level

My Bloginality is ENTP

Add to Technorati Favorites

Technorati search

My Photo
Name:

Ask not what blogging can do for you but what you can do for blogging.


Powered by Blogger