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A Retake On James Chapter Three

This is a recap of this morning's pastor's class at Christ Lutheran Church, entitled: A Retake On James Chapter 3. One can understand James 3 as an general admonition to the baptized on the use of the tongue; or as a specific admonition to the clergy of the church that James addresses. I take it as the latter, and then analogically also the former. Why? If one reads Scri...

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The Eucharistic Elements

In this essay I will discuss the earthly elements of the Eucharist, the bread and the wine. At the risk of stating the obvious the first thing we should remember is that these are the elements Jesus chose for the Sacrament of his body and blood. Of all that he might have employed he "took" these. He did not say of roast lamb, herbs, olives, fish or figs "this is my body."...

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2 Competing Understandings Of Christian Worship

This quote by Gregory Dix contrasts two very different understandings of the holy Christian faith and the worship of the one, true God in Christ. There is the puritan understanding, and the ceremonious / incarnational one. Dix says: "Briefly, the puritan theory is that worship is a purely mental activity, to be exercised by a strictly psychological 'attention' to a subjec...

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Lift High The Cross

Today sacred history continued unabated. Today God's people did what God's people have always done: erect sacred icons of their faith. Images that preach the gospel day in and day out without saying a single word. And speaking of sacred images, there is none higher than the crucifix. It is the visual icon of the holy Christian faith. It is our life and salvation. It is o...

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In The Cross Of Christ I Glory

Our new crucifix is nearly complete as you can see by the attached picture. It will also be on display tomorrow in the community room. It will be a powerful addition to our sanctuary and to our faith, for it is THE icon of our redemption. Though the Lord's death and resurrection are past events historically, they are ever alive among the baptized; in our worship, in Wor...

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A Pastoral Letter On Sexual Morality For 21st Century Christians

Beloved in Christ, In our day the floodgates of sexual immorality have opened wide. Within the dead culture there are no longer any restrictions. Those who manipulate culture have succeeded in turning the world away from Christian morality, which provided divine light to the western world (and beyond) for 17 centuries. What Melville pointed out in Moby Dick was true:the p...

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Hymn # 548 - What A Gem

The parting hymn at Christ Lutheran Church this Lord's Day was #548, "My Inmost Heart Now Raises." The hymn is written to be sung in the morning, and is a wonderful way to start day. I especially love the last two verses: 5. God shall do my advising,Whose might with wisdom blends;May He bless rest and rising,My efforts, means, and ends!To God, forever blest,Will I with mi...

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More On The Perpetual Virginity Of Mary

The doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity is unquestioned by most of the world's Christians. That doesn't settle the matter, but it should cause Lutherans to examine both sides of it. Objectors give Matthew 1:24-25 as evidence against the possibility, "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she...

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Quote From St. Ambrose (5th century)

"Marah was a fountain of most bitterwater: Moses cast wood into it and it became sweet. For water withoutthe preaching of the Cross of the Lord isof no avail for futuresalvation, but, after it has been consecrated by the mystery of thesaving cross, it is made suitable for the use of the spiritual laverand of the cup of salvation. As then, Moses, that is, the prophet,cast w...

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A Pastoral Letter For 21st Century Christians

Background:Much of St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians leads me to believe that it is not merely an abstract epistle, but that it has all the marks of a homily for those who are about to be baptized, and anointed (chrismated or confirmed) with the Holy Spirit. For this seems to be the church's earliest practice, that candidates were baptized, and upon emerging from the font...

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