Thursday, November 26, 2009

Father, Provider

Finding the reason why we give thanks can sometimes be lost on Thanksgiving. Thankfully (truly), I heard a wonderful sermon on giving thanks at the Thanksgiving Eve Service here at my vicarage congregation. It was about giving thanks in thought, word, and deed for all the first article gifts that our Lord provides.

I also had a conversation with our church secretary (who is simply indispensable) on Tuesday about giving Christmas gift. We discussed how hard it is to shop for dads. The joke is, as you know, that dad always gets a tie for Christmas, Father's Day, Birthday, etc. In my family it's always DVDs. :)

That conversation got me thinking about why it is so hard to buy gifts for dad, and thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday got me thinking about all that God provides me. And the light bulb (at least the loosely screwed in one) in my head went off.

I think one of the reason why it is so hard to shop for dad is because of Dad's vocation. God has given my father the role of provider, this is the one whom He has put in place to provide me with many of those first article gifts. So when I go to buy gifts for my dad, I think what does dad want? And it is hard to figure that out, because dad is the provider, he has and is the one who gives. Is there anything that I could give my dad, that He could not get for himself? Truly no. And indeed the one thing dad really wants is to be with me and provide for and care for me. Basically he want to love his son.Certainly he would love to receive gifts, but what gift is better than a son who looks to his father for care and comfort?

And my father truly is simply an imperfect picture that points to my heavenly Father. He provides me with all things. What could I hope to provide my Father with, that He has not provided me? What could I offer my Father as gift and sacrifice of thanksgiving that is not already provided by Him? And the answer is truly nothing. Surely my heavenly father rejoices that I would seek to bring him a gift. But I am sure that His ultimate joy comes from knowing that I look to Him for all thing with the very faith that He has given me through His Son Jesus Christ. His ultimate joy comes from knowing that He cares for me and I look to Him for that care.

Thank the Lord for fathers and mothers that provide for their families, fathers and mothers that love and care and point to a reality that there is a greater Father at work loving and caring for His children.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

+Kyrie Eleison+

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Snares of Death

We walk about this life and the snares of death surround us. Sin seeks to entrap us and entangle us. It seeks to bind us that we may not get away. It seeks our death as is the wages of such binding sin. The drunkard knows this well, so does the addict. The fornicator and the gossip understand as well the strength of such holds. They understand the death which comes from such a strong stranglehold on one's life.

Yet our Lord Jesus Christ is our only hope. In fact he sought out the snares of death, every sin that would cause every man to die. He was bound in that snare of death, bound in our sins , releasing us from that bondage and taking death upon himself. Yet, the snares of death could not hold Him, and he broke the chains of death and rose again.

He was bound that I may be free. He died that I might live. He rose that I might live in Him with the confidence that no snare of death may ever hold me forever. Amen.

+Kyrie Eleison+

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Participants in the Altar"

A question was brought up this morning concerning the Lord's Supper and closed communion. The struggle was that if in the Lord's Supper was truly god's forgiveness being given, then why do we refuse to give communion to those who believe "the same" as we Lutherans do?

And the question that must be answered is this: What does it mean to believe the same?
The best understanding, I think, would mean to believe exactly the same as the person who is sitting next to you. The expression of this common belief would be holding to a common confession of faith or creed. And indeed from that common confession, understanding of terms and presuppositions must be conveyed as well, as best as can be taught. (As I hesitate to write even "as best as can be taught", because it borderlines on disunity.)

Here is my case study. My real life example of closed communion. I had a buddy in college who was a biblical baptist (and I say biblical, because if he could be convinced according to scripture of something other than what the Baptist confession teaches, then he would believe otherwise). Needless to say, through our conversations, he believed the real presence of Jesus Christ was in, with and under the bread and wine. He believed "is" means "is". Scripture convinced him. Yet, even with that, he did not believe in the grace bestowing gifts of Baptism. He continued to attend service at his Baptist church, and still believed their unwritten common confession.

And here is the important part, by partaking in their communion (their fellowship, if you prefer), literally by worshiping at their altar, he was then a participant in their altar making the confession that he believed what those others around him believed. By his worship he was adjoining himself to their fraternal communion and even a confession that was contrary to his own. He was a participant in their altar.

So also this is what Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22. He speaks of being a participant in the altar of demons or in the altar and communion of the Christ. One cannot be partakers of both. In the same way, one cannot be a participant in two different altars whose beliefs contradict. I'm not trying to say one Christian altar is of demons and the other is of Christ, but I am saying they make different confessions.

A man can only participate in one altar. One altar is correct, one altar is incorrect. One may have the Supper, one may not. And if he serves the altar that does not confess the body and blood of the Lord, and then participates in the altar who confesses and indeed gives the body and blood of the Lord through bread and wine; that man beware, for though he confesses correctly, his heart is far from the Lord, and it is quite possible that judgment is upon him.

Comments are welcome.

+Kyrie Eleison+

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Am an Uncle

I have been an uncle for sometime over a little more than two months now, because that is how long my sister Betsy has been pregnant.

Some may say, "Jay, you're not an uncle yet. Your niecphew hasn't been born."

Well, I have decided to let the theology surrounding "life" shape my worldview. As Christians we rightly call the child a child from the moment of conception. It is a child. That being said. I now have relation to that small child living in my sister's womb - I am an uncle. This is a wonderful revelation. For now, I rightly see my place as a person in relation to my sister's child. I now have a whole 7 months to ponder this new relationship that God Himself has placed me into. What a wonderful blessing to be able to think of the many ways that I can serve and love my niecphew before I see this child face to face!

I am so happy to be an uncle and I can't wait to hold my niecphew come June 19th(ish), 2010!

+Kyrie Eleison+