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 2011
  + Joseph +
31 March, Old Testament

Joseph and Potiphar's WifeJoseph was the son of the patriarch Jacob and Rachel — and was his father's 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), thus also playing an important part in God's plan to bring Messiah to His people and to all mankind.

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25 March 2011
  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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21 March 2011
  The BBOV Springs Forward
The Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©

BBOVThis update comes partially from referrals and partially from my keeping my eyes open on Facebook. I found some of these gems either through Networked Blogs or through postings or links in my news feed.

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).

CONFESSIONAL LUTHERAN BLOGS

Newly Listed

Those who read Another Long-Winded Pasquinade are probably like me: They appreciate all that Tim Schenks writes and they wish he'd write a bit more often. For in spite of the title, the author not only pokes fun from time to time but also does a good job of incorporating church history into his interpretation of present practices.

Former followers of A Blonde Moment will enjoy the author's new blog "Consecutive Odds." Now we just need to persuade her to write more.

Do Pastors Dream of Electric Sheep? I can't speak for all of us, but I've dreamed of just about everything else under sun and moon. However, I do try to keep up on how technology influences the pastoral office. This blog, which takes its name from a Philip K. Dick story*, helps the process, offering "theology, technology, & pastoral care, with a Lutheran twist."

*Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? This story inspired the movie Blade Runner.

Gnesio Online Magazine of Lutheran Theology is a full-featured and sophisticated web offering. It features multi-media, iPhone and iPod apps, and solid Lutheran writing. If you're wondering about the name, the Greek γνήσιος (gnesios) means genuine or authentic. It comes from the party of Gnesio-Lutherans, those who resisted doctrinal alterations initiated by Philipp Melanchthon and his followers. You can also follow the Gnesio Facebook page.

Step into The Pastor's Study and venture "inside the mind of a Confessional Lutheran pastor, husband, father, and sinner." Here Pastor Matthew Ruesch continues in Wisconsin the writing he began as The Minnesota Lutheran.

Meet the Queen Mommie, aka Emily Cook. This self-professed "Recovering Perfectionist, Reforming Tom-boy, Rejoicing Mother, Redeemed Sinner" has style and wit to spare — not bad for a pastor's wife and mother of six.

A Bit of Change

Although he still writes articles de ecclesia et liturgia (on Church and Liturgy), Fr. Tim May decided to expand the title to match an expanded arena of blogging. So from now on, you can read the newly-named (but same URL) May's Blog. See the post Changing the Name for the details.

FINALLY ...

For all those 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 the Illuminous 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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19 March 2011
  + 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 2011
  + 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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11 March 2011
  + Matthias Flacius Illyricus +
11 March AD 1575

Matija Vlačić IlirikCroatian reformer Matthias Flacius Illyricus (Matija Vlačić Ilirik) was born on 3 March 1520 in Labin (Albona in Latin). At that time, the region was under control of the Venetian Republic. He left home at age 16 to study in Venice. Baldo Lupetina a relative and Franciscan superior on the nearby island of Cres (who was later executed as a heretic) encouraged Matthias to continue studying in Germany.

Flacius traveled to Augsburg, arriving in 1539. He stayed only a short time before moving to Basel, where he enrolled at the university and studied Hebrew and Greek. There he also acquainted himself with many of the day's noted Protestant intellectuals. He moved on to Tübingen to continue his studies.

Traveling on, Flacius headed for the birth place of the Lutheran Reformation. He received his Master's degree from the University of Wittenberg at the age of 24 and lived for most of the 1540s in that town. His degree led to an immediate promotion to professor of theology.

Following Wittenberg, Matthias moved to Magdeburg. Between 1549 and 1557 and under his leadership, this city became a center of opposition to first the Augsburg and then the Leipzig Interims. These were forced truces between the Catholics and the Lutherans and certain other Protestants. During this period, Flacius began openly opposing Philipp Melanchthon and the theological and political compromises he was making with Rome and certain non-Lutheran reformers. Flacius believed that he was a faithful follower of Martin Luther and his theology and saw Melanchthon as one who would destroy much of what Luther had struggled so mightily to obtain.

Matthias Flacius IllyricusHis time in Magdeburg was productive otherwise, as well. While there, he commenced work on on the 13-volume Ecclesiastica Historia (poplularly known as the Magdeburg Centuries) with Johannes Wigand and other scholars. He also wrote numerous tracts and pamphlets on various theological topics.

In 1557, Flacius was invited to head the newly founded theological faculty at the University of Jena. He served in this capacity until the end of 1561, when he was released due to his position in a controversy over original sin. He then moved to Regensburg, living there from 1562-1566. He was unable to achieve two great desires. First, he wanted to open a school for Southern Slavs and also hoped to relocate the Protestant printing press from Urach. Neither happened because Regensburg cancelled his asylum on the orders of Emperor Maximilian II.

At the invitation of the City Senate of Antwerp, Flacius moved there for a brief time, staying long enough to write a confession of faith for the Lutherans of the Low Countries. He was then in Strasbourg from 1567 to 1573. There he completed his final large work, the Glossa compendiaria, a commentary on the New Testament. He died at Frankfurt-am-Main in 1575.

Many would call Matthias Flacius' hermeneutical works his most important achievements and he certainly was a pioneer in the field. His Clavis Scripturae Sacrae (Key to Sacred Scripture) established that any passage of the Bible should be interpreted considering the purpose and the structure of the whole chapter or a given book. It also declared the rule that the literal sense of the text should have a priority over allegories and metaphors. He also contributed much to Church history and dogmatics. As overall proof of his learning and scholarship, we note that Flacius likely owned the single largest private collection of books during the 16th Century.

Matija Vlačić IlirikAs a theologian Flacius tried to stay loyal to Luther, particularly the Reformer's emphasis on the bondage of the will. Unfortunately, his often abrasive style and his extreme position on original sin alienated many other staunch Lutherans. Because of this, his name fell into neglect and an undeserved degree of disrepute among many confessional Lutherans, even to the present day.

Additionally, he was a Croatian with Italian manners and mannerisms whose German was never good enough for those among whom he worked. In other words, Matthias Flacius Illyricus failed to fit in among his contemporaries in almost every way imaginable. However, we cannot underestimate his influence in preserving, promoting, and expounding the theology of the Lutheran Reformation.

In 1878, biographer Johann Wilhelm Preger eulogized Flacius: "A man of resolute courage, insuperable strength, possessing a wide-ranging knowledge one rarely encounters, with a broad vision and an industrious spirit."

Notes: See the Matthias Flacius Illyricus Memorial Collection for an extensive resource of things Flacius. Magdeburg Press sells How to Understand the Sacred Scriptures, a translated portion of the Clavis Scripturae Sacrae. Illyricus comes from the name of the former Roman province of Illyricum, which included his homeland.
 
09 March 2011
  Ash Wednesday
The Lenten Season Begins

The entire Christian life celebrates Christ's victorious Resurrection on Easter morning. However, from Christianity's earliest days, the actual Paschal season has received special emphasis. The Church has traditionally prepared for this, the greatest Feast of our Lord, through the season of Lent.

From ancient times, Ash Wednesday has marked the first day of Lent. There are forty days from Ash Wednesday until Easter. Sundays are not counted because the Sundays in Lent are not fast days; rather, each is a celebration of the Resurrection. The forty days of Lent are reminiscent of the forty days in which rain fell during the Flood, our Lord's forty days and Israel's forty years in the wilderness, Christ's forty hours in the tomb, and related periods of judgment, testing, and completion of divine activities. The Gospel readings of Lent focus on the temptation and trials that Christ underwent on his way to His suffering and crucifixion.

Many people observe Lent by fasting. This can take place in many ways: Physically, we may deny ourselves various foods and pleasures; liturgically, we may omit parts of the Divine Liturgy, such as Alleluias and songs of praise. The Fast increases in depth and seriousness as we move from Ash Wednesday to Holy Week. During the Sundays following Ash Wednesday, we follow our Savior as he puts himself "in harm's way" and prepares for his passion and death. As we continue through the Church Calendar, it is then during Holy Week that we fully focus on his suffering and death.

Along with fasting, two other traditional activities of the early Church remain part of many people's Lenten observance. These are increased prayer and almsgiving. All three of these are mentioned together in the Sermon on the Mount. A portion of this discourse in Matthew is the appointed Gospel in the three-year Lectionary cycle.

Ash WednesdayAsh Wednesday receives its name from the ancient custom of rubbing oneself in ashes during a fast or period of penance as a sign of humility and sorrow. In Scripture, we observe this happening among people as varied as Job, the king of Ninevah and the rest of the city, Daniel, and Mordecai.

These days, most believers don't cover themselves in burlap and ashes; the ashes are placed on the foreheads of believers as their pastor says, "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." The ashes remind us that we still daily sin and that all our grand and glorious deeds are nothing in God's sight. This is especially illustrated when the ashes are taken from the burning of the previous year's branches used on Palm Sunday. The praises of the people, their "Hosanna to the Son of David" and "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord," have fallen silent and are consigned to the burn pile of good intentions not followed through.

However we observe Lent, we must take care to not assume a false piety by focusing on self. The believer keeps Lent extra nos (outside of self), following the lead of Hebrews 12:2 and "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Yes, Lent is a time of reflection and repentance. However, it's not intended to keep us looking within. Instead, upon viewing our sins, we then focus on the One who takes them away.

Along with readings and collect, I also include the Litany, a responsive prayer appropriate to days and seasons of penitence.

Lection

Psalm 51:1-13 (14-19)
Joel 2:12-19
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that, lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Litany

God the Father, in heaven,
      have mercy.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
      have mercy.
God the Holy Spirit,
      have mercy.
Be gracious to us.
      Spare us, good Lord.
Be gracious to us.
      Help us, good Lord.
By the mystery of Your holy Incarnation;
   by Your holy Nativity;
   by Your Baptism, fasting, and temptation;
   by Your agony and bloody sweat;
   by Your Cross and Passion;
   by Your precious Death and Burial;
   by Your glorious Resurrection and Ascension;
   and by the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter:
      Help us, good Lord.
In all our time of tribulation;
   in all our time of prosperity;
   in the hour of death; and in the day of judgment:
      Help us, good Lord.
We poor sinners implore You
      to hear us, O Lord.
To prosper the preaching of Your Word;
   to bless our prayer and meditation;
   to strengthen and preserve us in the true faith;
   to give heart to our sorrow and strength to our repentance:
      We implore You to hear us, good Lord.
To draw us to Yourself;
   to bless those who are instructed in the faith;
   to watch over and console the poor, the sick, the distressed,
   the lonely, the forsaken, the abandoned,
   and all who stand in need of our prayers;
to give abundant blessing to all our works of mercy;
   and to have mercy on us all:
      We implore You to hear us, good Lord.
To turn our hearts to You;
   to turn the hearts of our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers;
   and graciously to hear our prayers:
      We implore You to hear us, good Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
      we implore you to hear us.
Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
      have mercy.
Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
      have mercy.
Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
      grant us Your peace.
O Christ,
      hear us.
O Lord,
      have mercy.
O Christ,
      have mercy.
O Lord, have mercy.
      Amen.

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07 March 2011
  + Perpetua and Felicitas, 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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05 March 2011
  The BBOV: March Comes in Like an Aardvark
The Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©

BBOVThis update comes partially from referrals and partially from my keeping my eyes open on Facebook. I found some of these gems either through Networked Blogs or through postings or links in my news feed.

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).

CONFESSIONAL LUTHERAN BLOGS

Newly Listed

The ABC3s of Miscellany, the Rev. Albert Collver's excellent endeavor, is our first new listing. It encompasses much of his widely ranging interests both within and without the Church, including dogs and travel.

Pastor Thomas Messer of Alma, Michigan talks shop, encouraging readers with the Lord's command, "Abide in My Word." Receptionism, unionism, and liturgics are included in recent posts.

Gary Trammel lets us in on his gtramblings, wherein he muses on religion, life, and vocation, usually in a pithy, to-the-point style.

The PM Notes of Pastor Matt Richard include faith, the pastoral office, doctrine, missions, and culture. This comes from a decidedly Lutheran perspective within the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.

The internet allows us to import items of value without paying duties. Therefore, we welcome sundries (mixed bag, potpourri, tidbits), the bi-lingual export of Pastor Georg Warnecke of Greifswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. You can also catch up on Facebook with both Pr. Warneke and his Sundries.

The What a Way blog is part of the LCMS initiative to "rebuild active recruitment and retention of church workers as an integrated part of the LCMS culture and lifestyle at the local congregation level by developing resources designed to facilitate deliberate activity, dialogue and support of church workers." See also the What a Way Facebook page.

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Join in Staring at the View of Islam from a Christian perspective. You'll gain understanding as you study the comparisons and contrasts and learn more of the many contradictions with which devout Muslims must deal.

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For all those 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 the Illuminous or one of these blog buttons:
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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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01 March 2011
  + 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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