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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 th...

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Worship At The Table

This article nicely highlights the things Lutherans are in the midst of recovering, and so I commend it to you. There is one little gliltch in the last paragraph, however. Our worship is not a return to Eden and its tree of life. Rather those looked foward to the Cross and the Supper which do not look backward, but look forward instead to the New Heaven; whe...

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Liturgical Psalmody

The Psalms have been an essential part of Christian worship from its inception. Today we find only traces of such usage in the Introit and Gradual. But in earlier times multiple Psalms were sung aloud to prepare God's people to rightly hear the reading of the Holy Scriptures. But why? What is the logic?  According to St. Augustine, "in them the Lord Jesus Christ hims...

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A Retake On Hebrews Chapter Thirteen

A Retake On Hebrews Chapter Thirteen It seems to me that this chapter of Scripture is not only misunderstood, but also mistranslated into the English. It is in my reading a Eucharistic admonition and liturgical Preface. Beginning with v. 1 philadelphia (brotherly love) should be understood as Eucharistic admonition. "Brother" should not be read as a collegial term in the...

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The Alleluia Verse And The Hearing Of The Holy Gospel

A question was recently asked about the Alleluia Verse that precedes the gospel, noting that the words on our insert don't always match the words intoned by our Cantors; and I am always glad to discuss such questions since they are at the heart of our faith. As for the technical answer I believe that the composer of the melodies used a slightly different text. This is not...

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The Consecration From Article 7 of the Formula Of Concord

The Formula of Concord is one of our official Lutheran Confessions of Faith. Today someone reminded me of this beautiful passage, found in Article 7, concerning the consecration of the elements in Holy Communion. In it the 16th Century Reformers hearken back to St. John Chrysostom (born ca. 347 AD), one of the church's greatest theologians ever. May this beautiful theologi...

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On The Interpretation Of Matthew 5:17

By now you are probably familiar with my remonstrations that Lutherans need to learn how to read / hear Scripture. That we must rid ourselves of the Fundamentalist, a-ecclesiastical, a-sacramental, a-liturgical reading / hearing of it. Should we be so blessed as to accomplish this high goal I think that many of our ecclesiastical ills might also dissolve. In preparati...

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Servant Worshiper Liturgizer

As often as we hear the term "servant" in Scripture such as:Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins ... Psalm 19:13James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, James 1:1 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38 In such verses Servant = Worshiper. So that whe...

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A Refresher On Private Confession And Absolution

This article by the Rev. Doctor John Pless is a good refresher on the confessing of our sins, and receiving of absolution. Officially private confession and absolution is a sacrament of the Lutheran church. But you would never know it by how rarely it is offered and practiced. But it's never too late to hope for a revival. To that end I hope you will read this article, an...

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A Survey Of The Religious Landscape In America 2017

The landscape of the Christian religion in America in 2017 -- the good, the bad and the ugly....

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