Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Power of the Eucharist

St. Gregory the Great, ca. 540-604

...for there His body is received, there His flesh is distributed for the salvation of the people: there His blood is not now shed betwixt the hands of infidels, but poured into the mouths of the faithful. Wherefore let us hereby meditate what manner of sacrifice this is, ordained for us, which for our absolution doth always represent the passion of the only Son of God: for what right believing Christian can doubt, that in the very hour of the sacrifice, at the words of the Priest, the heavens be opened, and the choirs of Angels are present in that mystery of Jesus Christ; that high things are accompanied with low, and earthly joined to heavenly, and that one thing is made of visible and invisible? (The Dialogues Bk. 4 Chap. 58)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Search for the real Adam and Eve

A recent cover story of Christianity Today discusses the historicity of Adam and Eve. The article does not include the following important points:

Jesus affirms the historicity of Adam and Eve and the Genesis account of their creation and marriage in Matthew 19:1-6.
Jesus own human ancestry is, moreover, traced directly to Adam by the Apostle Luke: 3:23-38
And, moreover, the divinely revealed doctrine of the Fall hinges in large part on the existence of a real Adam who truly sinned as the counterpart to the real Jesus who was/is truly righteous and who truly died and rose again:
(Romans 5:12-21)
Obviously Paul understood both Adam and Jesus to be historical figures. To suggest that Adam is a merely figurative character representative of humanity as a whole not only cuts against Paul's clear meaning, but it also destroys the argument of the text itself. The historical man Adam plunged humanity into sin and death through an historical sin. The historical man Jesus redeemed humanity through his historical death and resurrection. Take away the historicity of Adam and the parallel upon which the argument is built no longer works.

On the Ministry

Reflect with me for a moment on how the three-fold ministry of bishop, pastor and deacon points us to the person and work of Jesus as well as the blessed, holy Triune God in whom we live and more and have our being. Jesus is the Shepherd and Bishop (Greek = episkopon) of our souls (I Peter 2:25). He is our Priest who lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25-28). He came not to be served but to be our Deacon, to serve (Greek = diakonesai) and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Just as God the Father is the source of unity in the Trinity, so the Bishop is also a priest and a deacon. Jesus is our great high priest who gives us His very body and blood to eat and drink, and the Holy Spirit is our deacon who serves us by calling, gathering, enlightening and keeping us in the one true faith. All work together in perfect harmony and cause the building up of the Body in love. I pray for all of us that we would be witnesses and partakers of the grace of God who is invading our grief with joy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Sower

(Peter Ditzel -- should be a Lutheran if he isn't already!) In Acts 16:14, we read of Lydia, "whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul." Here we see the difference. Lydia "attended unto" (prosechein—"gave full attention to," "held to," even "became addicted to") the Word of God spoken by Paul because God first opened her heart or mind. The difference between the good ground and the wayside, the stony ground, and the weedy patch is God's miraculous and sovereign act of opening a person's mind. This opening of the mind is similar to opening or tilling the ground. It softens and gives depth of earth, gives the gift of saving faith, and imparts the Holy Spirit so that the seed of the Word can take deep root and draw upon the "moisture" of the Holy Spirit to grow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!