Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

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

31 March 2008
  + Joseph +
31 March, Old Testament

Joseph was the son of the patriarch Jacob and Rachel — and was his fathers favorite son. He incurred his older brothers' jealousy (both through Jacob's favoritism and by his own attitude toward them, particularly regarding his dreams) so they sold him into slavery in Egypt and told their father he was dead (Genesis 37). In Egypt he became the chief servant in the home of Potiphar, a military official. Joseph refused to commit adultery when his master's wife tempted him. In retaliation, she unjustly accused him of attempted rape and he was imprisoned (Genesis 39).

Years later, he interpreted dreams for Pharaoh, who then freed him from prison and placed him in charge of the entire country. When his brothers came from Canaan to Egypt in search of food, they did not recognize him. He eventually revealed his identity, forgave them, and invited them and his father to live in Egypt. We remember and honor him for his moral uprightness (Genesis 39) and for his willingness to forgive his brothers (Genesis 45 and 50). We also celebrate his role in saving the family of Israel (Jacob), where he thus also played an important part in God's plan to bring Messiah to His people.

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28 March 2008
  KFUO Mixed Messages
I just received the following note: "On January 11, 2008 KFUO FM aired The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass, which included wording that described God as a woman."

Rather than merely cut and past the contents of the email, I took a couple minutes to check the veracity of its claims and dug up some links for you to follow.

You can see the Mass listed on the Classic 99 playlist from that date.
While the rest of the Mass/ballad refers to God in masculine language, the Conclusion differs:

      They say God loved the World so dear
      She set aside her crown
      And cloaked herself in human shape;
      They say that she came down,
      And dwelt awhile among us here.
      She came down


A copy of the lyrics can be found at The PuritanBoard. If you start reading at the beginning, you may not be able to make it to the Conclusion. For example, the "Credo" has three stanzas but certainly isn't Trinitarian. If you think that an error in transcription may have been made in the conclusion, check out the Mass at Clarion Records. It includes the MP3 for the Conclusion (click #12 when you get there). You clearly hear the vocalist sing "she" and "her."

I'll return you to the author of the email for a final question and comment: "How does the airing of such material fit with the mission and values of The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod? Such programming contrasts markedly with what one could hear on Issues, Etc." Can I get an "Amen"?

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25 March 2008
  The Annunciation of Our Lord
25 March, New Testament

The AnnunciationLuke 1:26-38 tells us how the angel Gabriel announced to Mary of Nazareth that she had been chosen to be the mother of the Christ and her response. Mary, a virgin pledged to marry Joseph, briefly wondered how this could be, since she had not had sex with any man. Once Gabriel told her that the Child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, she humbly accepted this sacred obligation: "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. (v. 38)" Nothing prevents us from supposing that Our Lord was conceived immediately after this. Since the Church from early days observed 25 March as the date of the Annunciation, the celebration of the Christ's Nativity is observed on 25 December, nine months later.

For centuries in vast parts of Europe, 25 March also marked the change to the new year. While it seems somewhat odd and abrupt to change years in the middle of a month, we can imagine that those accustomed to that calendar easily made the adjustment. Furthermore, they could take to heart the reminder that God's chosen time, that most special time when He sent His Son into human flesh, merited such a "strange" circumstance.

Even though the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth took place six months later (see Luke 1:39-56), as Elizabeth neared the end of her own pregnancy with the child who would grow to become John the Baptizer, Mary's song of celebration at that time is also appropriate to remember on the Feast of the Annunciation. In the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) the virgin mother of God celebrated God's gift to her, to Israel, and to all people.

Martin Luther wrote a commentary on this canticle. About verse 49, he said, "The 'great things' are nothing less than that she became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed upon her as pass man's understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among whom she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in Heaven, and such a child.

"She herself is unable to find a name for this work, it is too exceedingly great; all she can do is break out in the fervent cry: 'They are great things,' impossible to describe or define. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God.

"No one can say anything greater of her or to her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees, or grass in the fields, or stars in the sky, or sand by the sea. It needs to be pondered in the heart, what it means to be the Mother of God."

Lection

Psalm 45:7-17
Isaiah 7:10-14
Hebrews 10:4-10
Luke 1:26-38

Collect

O Lord, as we have known the incarnation of Your Son Jesus Christ by the message of the angel to the virgin Mary, so by His cross and Passion bring us to the glory of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Luther quote from Luther's Works, Vol. 21, p. 326, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, Concordia Publishing House © 1956.

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19 March 2008
  + Joseph, Guardian of Our Lord +
19 March, New Testament

The Angel and St. JosephAll that we know of Saint Joseph we learn from the first two chapters of Matthew and of Luke. Otherwise he is mentioned only in passing (see Luke 3:23; John 1:45; John 6:42) as the supposed father of Jesus of Nazareth.

Matthew shows Joseph's compassion for his betrothed wife: When the Virgin Mary revealed her pregnancy to him he sought to avoid a public rebuke, which may have resulted in her being stoned. Then after the Lord sent His angel and revealed Himself as the cause of this extraordinary circumstance, Joseph submitted to God's will, just as had his wife.

The Heavenly Father thus graciously allowed this unassuming man to bear the responsibility of protecting and providing for the Incarnate Word and the Theotokos. How could Joseph possibly have imagined the extraordinary events that awaited them, including the visits of shepherds and wise men, as well as Herod's wrath and their subsequent flight to Egypt?

Joseph was a pious Jew, a descendant of David, and a carpenter by trade. (The Gospels use the Greek word tekton, which may be translated "builder" or "architect.") Some scholars suggest that he may have been a mason, a metalworker, or a building contractor.

Because of the silence of the Gospels — and because Jesus entrusted Mary to the care of John — it is generally believed that Joseph died a natural death after the visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve (Luke 2:41-51) but before His baptism (Matthew 3:13-17), probably around His thirtieth year. We can only wonder what influence Jesus' earthly father had on Him during His early years on earth.

Lection

Psalm 127
2 Samuel 7:4-16
Romans 4:13-18
Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

Collect

Almighty God, from the house of Your servant David You raised up Joseph to be the guardian of Your incarnate Son and the husband of His mother, Mary. Grant us grace to follow the example of this faithful workman in heeding Your counsel and obeying Your commands; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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17 March 2008
  + Pádraig of Ireland, Bishop and Missionary +
17 March AD 466

St. PatrickPádraig (Patrick, Padraic), one of the best-known missionary saints, was born to a Christian family in southwest Britain around the year 389. While he was a teenager, raiders captured and took him to Ireland. There, he was forced to serve as a herdsman.

After six years he escaped and found his way, home, and then traveled to a monastery community in France. Imagine the surprise of those who knew him — even by his own reckoning, he left Britain as one who cared little for God.

With his new trust in the Lord, Patrick threw himself wholeheartedly into monastic life. Ordained a bishop in 432, he made his way back to Ireland, where he spent the rest of his long life spreading the Gospel and organizing Christian communities.

He staunchly defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity during a time when it was not popular to do so. His writings include his autobiography, Confessio, and several prayers and hymns still used in the church today.

St. Patrick's CrossPádraig died around the year 466. Many people attribute the Lorica (see below) to him. One of the symbols used for Patrick in ecclesiastical art is a red Cross Saltire on a white background. This was added to the overlaid crosses of Saint George and Saint Andrew to form the current Union Jack of the United Kingdom.

The legendary account of Patrick driving snakes off of the Emerald Isle is just that — a legend. There's no evidence that snakes ever slithered across Irish soil. Much more likely is the story that he used the shamrock or some other type of clover to roughly illustrate the Holy Trinity to the unconverted folk of Ireland.

If he were to return to earth in present day, one can only imagine the disdain with which this hero of the faith would view the drunken celebrations in many places which are held to "honor" his memory.

Lection

Psalm 97:1-2,7-12 or 96:1-7
1 Thessalonians 2:2b-12
Matthew 28:16-20

Collect

Almighty God, in Your providence You chose your servant Pádraig to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who wandered in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of You; grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now forever.

The Lorica or Saint Patrick's Breastplate

Shamrock TrinityI bind unto myself today
     the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
     the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
     by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan river;
     his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
     his riding up he heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
     I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
     of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet "Well done" in judgement hour;
     the service of the seraphim;
confessors' faith, apostles' word,
     the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
     and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
     the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
     the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
     the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
     around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
     the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
     his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
     his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
     his heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
     the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
     the hostile men that mar my course;
of few or many, far or nigh,
     in every place, and in all hours
against their fierce hostility,
     I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
     against false words of heresy,
against the knowledge that defiles
     against the heart's idolatry,
against the wizard's evil craft,
     against the death-wound and the burning
the choking wave and poisoned shaft,
     protect me, Christ, till thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
     Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
     Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
     Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
     Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
     the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
     the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
     eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
     salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Translation by Cecil Francis Alexander

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07 March 2008
  + Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs +
7 March AD 203

The ArenaAt the dawn of the Third Century, Roman emperor Septimus Severus banned conversions to Christianity. Among those disobeying that edict were Vibia Perpetua, a young noblewoman, and her maidservant Felicitas. Both were jailed at Carthage in North Africa along with three fellow Christians, Revocatus and Saturninus, and Saturus, their teacher.

Perpetua and at least some of the others had not completed catechesis and weren't yet baptized when arrested. Evidently, they received Holy Baptism before being taken to prison. She was also a new mother and a fairly recent widow. Felicitas (or Felicity) was near the end of her own pregnancy when arrested.

During their imprisonment, Perpetua and Felicitas witnessed to their faith with such conviction that the officer in charge became a follower of Jesus. For some time, doubts remained about their fates, but Perpetua had a vision of a golden ladder guarded by a fierce dragon. She climbed it, stepping on the dragon's head to do so. At the top, she found a green meadow with many white-robed figures. In their midst stood a Shepherd, who welcomed her and gave her cheese from the sheep's milk. She awoke understanding that martyrdom was assured but that she would triumph.

Kiss of PeacePerpetua's father came to plead that she recant her confession of faith and renounce Jesus Christ. This she steadfastly refused.

Roman law forbade the execution of pregnant women and Felicitas feared that Perpetua and the men being held at the same time would face martyrdom but leave her behind. However, she gave birth two days before the scheduled execution and was allowed to join her companions in the arena on 7 March.

The women first made arrangements for the well-being of their children. This was possible because the imperial decree only concerned recent converts to Christianity (or Judaism). Since those entrusted with their children's care were believers of long standing, they were safe from persecution, at least for the time being.

The accounts say that the five were first scourged at the crowd's urging. Then the men faced a boar, a bear, and a leopard while a wild cow was set against the women. After they were all injured, Perpetua and Felicity exchanged the kiss of peace before the Romans put them to the sword. One tradition holds that Perpetua showed mercy to her captors by guiding the sword of a trembling young gladiator to her own heart because he could not bear to put her to death.

The martyrs were interred in Carthage in North Africa and the story spread throughout Christendom. Later, a basilica was erected over their tomb. The story of the martyrdom of Saint Perpetua, Saint Felicitas, and their faithful companions has served for centuries as encouragement to persecuted Christians.

Lection

Psalm 34:1-8 or 124
Hebrews 10:32-39
Matthew 24:9-14

Collect

O God the true Emperor of Your saints, who strengthened Your servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial, grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

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03 March 2008
  The Newest BBOV
The Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©

BBOV by St. CharlesIt's been a month and a half since the last update of the BBOV. Now the time has now come to address the changes to the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© — this time involving only additions, no subtractions or changes in name or address.

If you're not sure what to make of the BBOV or wonder about the benefits of being listed and of listing others' blogs, please read the first three links under Aurous Effluence in the sidebar. Those who'd like the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© can either email me or copy the list from the Alley's source code (click View | Page Source or Control+U in Firefox or View | Source in Internet Explorer).

THE NEW ROUND OF NEWBIES

Since we only have a few blogs with which to deal, I'll give a thumbnail introduction instead of the usual bare-bones list. First, meet the blogs cum newsletters of two solidly confessional congregations. Holy Cross Happenings comes to us from the congregation in Emma, Missouri served by (Ask the) Pastor Snyder. We also have Memorial Moments from Houston, Texas.

The next three belong to a seminarist and two pastors. Please give a warm welcome to My Babblings, 92nd & State, and The Sober Peasant.

I don't know; quite likely this next one belongs to a pastor, also, but I don't speak or read Finnish, so I can't say for sure. What I can say is that my ol' pappy always told me that I could judge a man by the company he chooses to keep. Most of the company in this fellow's blogroll is pretty darned orthodox Lutheran. Therefore, we now list Vesa-Ilkka Laurion blogi 2.

Finally, we come across a new blog from the distaff side. Women Among Disciples "is an adult women's ministry dedicated to exploring what it means to be women among disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ at home, in church and in community."

IN CONCLUSION

For these and all others enrolled in the BBOV, links back are certainly appreciated. And don't forget that all of those listed benefit when you use the entire blogroll. Also, if you'd like to graphically point to the Alley and the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©, you may use the above design from St. Charles Place (created before St. Charles left our midst) or one of these blog buttons:
Each of these buttons measures 80x15 pixels. Should you choose to use one, please link back to either the main Aardvark Alley URL or else to the post What Is the BBOV.

Finally, if you own or know of a Lutheran blog demonstrating a quia confessional subscription and would like me to consider it for inclusion, please leave a comment. And again, for more information about why this stuff benefits confessional Lutheran blogging, morality, and other worthwhile endeavors, please check out the first three links under Aurous Effluence in the sidebar.

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02 March 2008
  Margaret Sanger, Take Two
Planned Parenthood Can't Leave Its Racist Roots

The "science" of eugenics may be out of the limelight but it's certainly not out of practice:


This is part of the work done by Live Action, UCLA's pro-life student organization, and their magazine, The Advocate.

See also an undercover "sting" discussed on Hannity & Colmes via YouTube. In it, guests debate an instance where a secret recording is made of a Planned Parenthood counselor apparently coaching a minor to lie about her age and to cover up any evidence of statutory rape.

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01 March 2008
  + Saint Dewi of Mynyw +
1 March AD 601

Saint David of WalesDewi Sant (also Degui or David), Bishop and Confessor and patron of Wales, is usually represented standing on a little hill, with a dove on his shoulder. From ancient times, the Welsh have worn a leek on St. David's Day, in memory of a battle against the Saxons, at which it is said they wore leeks in their hats, by St. David's advice, to distinguish them from their enemies. The Welsh honor him not only as their patron saint but as special evangelist of their land, just as Patrick holds that honor for Ireland.

The earliest mention of St. David is found in a tenth-century manuscript Of the Annales Cambriae, which assigns his death to AD 601. Many other writers, from Geoffrey of Monmouth down to Father Richard Stanton, hold that he died about 544; their opinion is based solely on data given in various late "lives" of St. David, and there seems no good reason for setting aside the definite statement of the Annales Cambriae, which is now generally accepted.

Speculation that he was born at Henvynyw (Vetus-Menevia) in Cardiganshire is not improbable. He was prominent at the Synod of Brevi (Llandewi Brefi in Cardiganshire). Dewi was active in refuting heresy in Wales and in promoting Nicene Christology and the orthodox Christian faith.

Flag of Saint DavidAccording to tradition, Saints Dubricius and Deiniol sought him out, calling him to the Synod of Brevi "against the Pelagians." Only with great difficulty was Dewi persuaded to accompany them, since he preferred the quiet monastic life. However, once he arrived at the Synod, he preached so loudly and so eloquently that all the heretics were confounded. Shortly afterwards, in 569, he presided over another synod held at a place called Lucus Victoriae.

David is the only one of the four patron saints of the British Isles not to be represented on the British Union Jack flag. The Alley's biography for Saint Andrew touches upon each of these and their respective emblems.

Lection

Psalm 16:5-11 or 96:1-7
1 Thessalonians 2:2b-12
Mark 4:26-29

Collect

Almighty God, who called your servant Dewi to be a faithful and wise steward of your mysteries for the people of Wales, mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the gospel of Christ, we may with him receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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