Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unholy Veneration

According to the Catholic News Service the blood of Pope John Paul II is to be venerated this weekend. From the news story:

A small vial of Pope John Paul II's blood is the relic for the Mass for his beatification, the Vatican said.

The relic was to be presented to Pope Benedict XVI and exposed for veneration during the Mass in St. Peter's Square May 1, the Vatican said April 26.

Yep, the church of Roman continues it’s horrid practice of the veneration of dead saints and relics just as it continues to sell indulgences.

I guess it could be worse, after John Paul II’s death some Polish officials are quoted as saying that they hoped John Paul's heart would be removed from his body and returned to his homeland for burial. Just imagine the venerating that could be accomplished with a whole heart instead of a vial or two of the former pontiffs blood.

As a friend of mine said on his Facebook wall; "There is only one Blood to be venerated and it isn't this one."

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Come, You Faithful, Raise The Strain

Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain by John of Damascus for this blessed Easter day!

Come, you faithful, raise the strain
Of triumphant gladness!
God has brought his Israel
Into joy from sadness,
Loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke
Jacob’s sons and daughters,
Led them with unmoistened foot
Through the Red Sea waters.

This the spring of souls today:
Christ has burst his prison
And from three days’ sleep in death
As a sun has risen;
All the winter of our sins,
Long and dark, is flying
From his light, to whom is given
Laud and praise undying.

Now the queen of seasons, bright
With the day of splendor,
With the royal feast of feasts
Comes its joy to render;
Comes to gladden faithful hearts
Which with true affection
Welcome in unwearied strain
Jesus’ resurrection!

For today among his own
Christ appeared, bestowing
His deep peace, which evermore
Passes human knowing.
Neither could the gates of death
Nor the tomb’s dark portal
Nor the watchers nor the seal
Hold him as a mortal.

Alleluia! Now we cry
To our King immortal,
Who, triumphant, burst the bars
Of the tomb’s dark portal
Come, you faithful, raise the strain
Of triumphant gladness!
God has brought his Israel
Into joy from sadness

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth by Paul Gerhardt

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
The guilt of all men bearing;
And laden with the sins of earth,
None else the burden sharing!
Goes patient on, grow weak and faint,
To slaughter led without complaint,
That spotless life to offer;
Bears shame and stripes, and wounds and death,
Anguish and mockery, and saith,
“Willing all this I suffer.”

This Lamb is Christ, the soul’s great Friend,
The Lamb of God, our Savior;
Him God the Father chose to send
To gain for us His favor.
“Go forth, My Son,” the Father saith,
“And free men from the fear of death,
From guilt and condemnation.
The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,
But by Thy Passion men shall share
The fruit of Thy salvation.”

“Yea, Father, yea, most willingly
I’ll bear what Thou commandest;
My will conforms to Thy decree,
I do what Thou demandest.”
O wondrous Love, what hast Thou done!
The Father offers up His Son!
The Son, content, descendeth!
O Love, how strong Thou art to save!
Thou beddest Him within the grave
Whose word the mountains rendeth.

From morn till eve my theme shall be
Thy mercy’s wondrous measure;
To sacrifice myself for Thee
Shall be my aim and pleasure.
My stream of life shall ever be
A current flowing ceaselessly,
Thy constant praise outpouring.
I’ll treasure in my memory,
O Lord, all Thou hast done for me,
Thy gracious love adoring.

Of death I am no more afraid,
New life from Thee is flowing;
Thy cross affords me cooling shade
When noonday’s sun is glowing.
When by my grief I am oppressed,
On Thee my weary soul shall rest
Serenely as on pillows.
Thou art my Anchor when by woe
My bark is driven to and fro
On trouble’s surging billows.

And when Thy glory I shall see
And taste Thy kingdom’s pleasure,
Thy blood my royal robe shall be,
My joy beyond all measure.
When I appear before Thy throne,
Thy righteousness shall be my crown—
With these I need not hide me.
And there, in garments richly wrought
As Thine own bride, I shall be brought
To stand in joy beside Thee.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday; the day where the historic and catholic church celebrates Jesus’ intuition of the Lord’s Supper; often referred to as the Eucharist. From the Gospel of Matthew 26:26-30;

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Our gracious Lord gives us in his blessed Sacrament not symbols or shadows of things to come but His very Body and Blood for faith and the remission of our sins. In the Holy Supper we actually receive the medicine of immortality because in it Christ’s bride, the Church, receives the very Body and Blood of Her Lord shed for her sins. Thanks be to God!

I can think of no more beautiful reflection on the wonderful gift of the Lord's Supper than one of my favorite communion hymns by none other than Martin Luther himself; O Lord We Praise Thee:

O Lord, we praise you bless Thee, and adore Thee, in thanksgiving bow before Thee. Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish our weak souls that they may flourish.O Lord, have mercy!

May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary, that our sins and sorrows did carry, and Thy blood for us plead in all trial, fear, and need.O Lord, have mercy!

Thy holy body into death was given, life to win for us in heaven. No greater love than this to Thee could bind us; may this feast thereof remind us!O Lord, have mercy!

Lord, Thy kindness did so constrain Thee that Thy blood should bless and sustain me. All our debt Thou hast paid; peace with God once more is made.O Lord, have mercy.

May God bestow on us His grace and favor to please Him with our behavior and live as brethren here in love and union nor repent this blest Communion!O Lord, have mercy!

Let not Thy good Spirit forsake us; grant that heavenly-minded He make us; give Thy Church, Lord, to see, days of peace and unity.O Lord, have mercy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Liturgy And The Youth

Pastor Matthew Harrison who is now president of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod talking about youth and the liturgy.

HT Paul McCain

Friday, April 15, 2011

POTF Blog Of The Week: “I didn’t see Jesus on the cross!”

This week’s blog pick of the week comes from Kelly Klages’ self titled blog with her post “I didn’t see Jesus on the cross!”

In this wonderfully succinct piece Kelly recounts how upset her daughter gets when she didn’t see Jesus on the cross in one of Pastor Jonathon Fisk’s Worldview Everlasting video podcasts and the comfort of seeing Jesus lifted up in glory in the ending credits.

Kelly’s closing thoughts on the matter are worth their weigh in gold:

Would that all believers would be that grieved when they are denied Jesus on the cross. Would that we’d all take such joy in that sight as well.

Amen Kelly! Please do yourself a favor and read the whole thing here and you’ll see why it’s my pick of the week (even if it's a week or two late).

Monday, April 11, 2011

And The Winner Is…

And the winner is...

Congratulations go out to Claudis K from the great state of Michigan for logging on and capturing a screenshot of her visit which marked Sitemeter recording my 100,000 hit! Yeah Claudia!

Claudia beat out a particularly strong showing from my international readers from Jr. America to our north as well as a host of regulars here at POTF for a sweatshirt from the Official Ablaze!(TM) Firefighter’s (TM)(R)(C) official line of (in)activewear.

I’d also like to thank everyone for hanging out, participating in discussions that were sometimes lighthearted and sometimes serious (sometimes a combination of both where if we didn't laugh we'd go mad as hatters), and for reading this slack jawed yokel’s drivel. If I could afford it, I'd buy everyone a shirt with my logo embroidered on it but that's just not within my budget. Sorry.

You guys and gals make blogging theological just plain fun and I just wanted to say thank you to everybody. Again, Thank you!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Putting Out The Fire Reader Appreciation Contest

I was clearing out my inbox earlier today while waiting for the keynote speaker of a metrology and biopharmaceutical trade show which I was attending when I noticed an email from the good folks at Sitemeter. Normally I don’t pay attention to how many people read this blog unless I’m getting a ton of hate mail which usually only happens when I shine a light on problems facing our beloved synod like the Southeastern district trying to reintroduce Roman monastic practices and the desert father’s brand of mysticism to our daughter churches or, the all time sacred cow it seems: teaching youth to look less like Lutherans and more like evangelicals in how they worship, how they act, and how they talk as is the case nearly every time the LCMS has a national youth gathering. When I’m getting a bunch of hate mail or if synodical and district employees think that they can actually leave anonymous comments without me finding out who they are (newsflash: nothing is anonymous on the interwebs) then... I do in fact have a tendency to pay attention to the little counter that not only tells me how many people are visiting POTF but where they are signing in from and what their IP addresses are. A word to the wise, nothing is anonymous on this blog if I don’t want it to be. Anyhoo…

As it turns out, that little counter at the bottom of the page indicates that in a day or two I will hit the magic number of 100,000 visitors. I never thought I would have seven hundred visitors much less seven hundred posts with what will soon be over a hundred thousand guests here at my little corner of the Lutheran blogosphere.

As a way of showing my appreciation to everybody who reads the drivel I end up writing I’m gonna have a little contest: the visitor who takes a screenshot of the Sitemeter counter when it rolls over to that magic number of 100,000 will win a t-shirt, polo shirt, or sweatshirt with the official Putting out the Fire logo embroidered on it. Just take a screenshot, sign in and leave a message (it's very important that you leave me a message with your name!) and as soon as I verify where you signed in from, and your IP address I’ll get right to work and get you your choice of shirt from the POTF inactive-wear line of clothing. The only limitation is that the shipping address must be in the United States or Canada.

So good luck everybody and thank you from the bottom of where my heart would be if I actually had one for hanging out at POTF and making blogging fun for yours truly

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Lutheran Carnival Resurrected!

What seems like ages ago there was once a Lutheran Carnival where a variety of Lutheran bloggers contributed posts in an effort promote some of the best writing coming from Lutherans all over the world. Then, after seventy editions of the Lutheran Carnival, there came a Sabbath rest as many great bloggers switched to microblogging on either twitter or facebook or just left the blogosphere entirely. The Carnival seemingly had run it’s course…

But Lutherans believe in resurrections and all and we knew that there was always a sliver of hope that maybe one day that the Carnival might emerge from it’s tomb. And so it has!

Pastor Alex Klages has resurrected the Lutheran Carnival over at his blog: A Begger At The Table with a post titled Welcome to the Carnival! with a focus on my favorite time of the Church's liturgical calender Lent! w00t!

Be sure to stop by, say howdy, and thank Pastor Klages for doing such a great job resurrecting a fine Lutheran blogosphere tradition.