Advent and the Four Last Things

For those who even celebrate Advent these days, it has become the season to lead up to Christmas.  As such, it’s happy and anticipatory.  It used to be a sober time of penitence, like Lent.

And the four Sundays of Advent, with its four candles in the Advent Wreath, were not all about Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love.  They were about “the Four Last Things”:  Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven.

I don’t begrudge the happy Advent.  I’m glad to find it anywhere I can.  But wouldn’t it be good for us to contemplate those Four Last Things?

See Advent—Let’s Hold Back the Christmas Cheer » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Here the first Sunday of Advent is among the 3 most popular Sundays when people go to church. This is what we sing then:

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Here the first Sunday of Advent is among the 3 most popular Sundays when people go to church. This is what we sing then:

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    snafu @ 1

    what language is that? That was nice.

    My favorite is “Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel”.

    This hymn I think captures the spirit of what Dr Veith is saying maybe…

    Preparation, Joy, and Love are all Law words aren´t they?

    The Law always accuses. The Law always accuses. These words focus on us in that we are commanded to do them.

    Preparation. In the Introit and the Holy Liturgy this is centered in a confessions of sins. “Confess your sins to one another and you will be healed”.

    Joy. “Be joyful always!” This is punishing Law and Divine Command. It is what we don´t have. Idolatry is why we don´t have joy. We lack faith and trust in God and pander after our idols which consume us as worshipers with worry.

    Hope. More Law. This is something too we are commanded to do. Hope is faith in the future tense the Lutheran Confessions tell us. And we focus on now when we should focus on Christ , or we focus on the future by spiritualizing life rather than focus on our neighbor´s needs because we live in The Hope.

    But then the wisdom of our spiritual fathers, who bring us their gifts in the Holy Liturgy and an other-worldly way to focus our calendar on Christ alone….

    Death: This is something God does. There is no resurrection without first a death. So we anticipate the advent of One Who´s Death, alone, can swallow up Death. This is real Hope and Joy. This is Holy Gospel.

    And so our part is to do (Law!) the Mortification of the Law and exercise this Faith in the discipline of Liturgy.

    Judgement: This is also something that God alone can do. God will come as a terrible judge. The Law has not been abolished. Our Old Adam will face the terrible fire of death (all will die) and judgement and will be no more. And Hope says in response to this: “Come quickly Lord!” We know, because of our Holy Baptism, that we are now a New Man , In Christ , who will not die. And we anticipate with groans that Judgement that alone can finally sever that parasitic Old Adam that we were and grant us the full rest of being New in Christ. Now fully Alone. In Christ. Alone.

    Hell: This too is a reality that is about God and not about us. Christ descended into hell fully as only the God-Man could as the Full Incarnate Christ while that same Incarnate Christ remained for 3 days also in the grave as God and Man. Only such a One could do this and so declare his victory over sin, death and the devil and the release of the captives. Even the gates of hell can´t prevail against such a God who is also fully flesh of our flesh and knows our suffering and grief.

    So our part is to do (law!) the discipline of the Holy Liturgy, exercising the priesthood he has commanded till he returns by being in prayer for the whole of the creation that he loves and died for.

    Heaven: The Holy Liturgy and the Church calendar, along with even the Law and the Holy Gospel are “things that pertain to our earthly existence” (Formula of Concord art VI “3rd Lutheran use of the Law”) . They are…. Law things…. they are what we are commanded to do until our Lord´s return in Glory.

    So where is the Holy Gospel in all this if it is not even Administration of Holy Word and Holy Sacrament Churchly Things like Holy Liturgy ??!! If what we do in church is all Right Hand Earthly Kingdom then where is the Gospel?

    It is alone… ” and [invisible] faith which trusts in this Word of God in the water. ” and it is in being truly “worthy and well prepared [ to receive the Lords Supper] who has [invisible!] faith in these words: ‘given and shed FOR YOU!’”

    The Gospel is invisible faith alone, in Christ alone. “The kingdom of God comes in way that cannot be seen” Jesus said. The Means of Grace are “marks of the Church” . They are the visible, earthly kingdom things that will perish (part of the romans 8 “flesh/body” stuff, not “Spirit” which is alone invisible faith alone in Christ alone. Where they exist we trust, in invisible faith, that the invisible Heavenly Kingdom is there. What is the “Heavenly Kingdom”? It is the very Body and Person of Christ. Alone. Where Christ is, THERE is Life and Salvation.

    In, with and under the invisible seed that pastors plant that is all earthly kingdom stuff and law that pastors are commanded to0 do and vow to do in their ordination (more law!) , the Holy Spirit creates [invisible!] yeast and salt .

    He invisibly brings us into that Heavenly Kingdom that is Christ Alone. This is what Advent is all about! Where Christ is, THERE , alone, is life and salvation.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    snafu @ 1

    what language is that? That was nice.

    My favorite is “Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel”.

    This hymn I think captures the spirit of what Dr Veith is saying maybe…

    Preparation, Joy, and Love are all Law words aren´t they?

    The Law always accuses. The Law always accuses. These words focus on us in that we are commanded to do them.

    Preparation. In the Introit and the Holy Liturgy this is centered in a confessions of sins. “Confess your sins to one another and you will be healed”.

    Joy. “Be joyful always!” This is punishing Law and Divine Command. It is what we don´t have. Idolatry is why we don´t have joy. We lack faith and trust in God and pander after our idols which consume us as worshipers with worry.

    Hope. More Law. This is something too we are commanded to do. Hope is faith in the future tense the Lutheran Confessions tell us. And we focus on now when we should focus on Christ , or we focus on the future by spiritualizing life rather than focus on our neighbor´s needs because we live in The Hope.

    But then the wisdom of our spiritual fathers, who bring us their gifts in the Holy Liturgy and an other-worldly way to focus our calendar on Christ alone….

    Death: This is something God does. There is no resurrection without first a death. So we anticipate the advent of One Who´s Death, alone, can swallow up Death. This is real Hope and Joy. This is Holy Gospel.

    And so our part is to do (Law!) the Mortification of the Law and exercise this Faith in the discipline of Liturgy.

    Judgement: This is also something that God alone can do. God will come as a terrible judge. The Law has not been abolished. Our Old Adam will face the terrible fire of death (all will die) and judgement and will be no more. And Hope says in response to this: “Come quickly Lord!” We know, because of our Holy Baptism, that we are now a New Man , In Christ , who will not die. And we anticipate with groans that Judgement that alone can finally sever that parasitic Old Adam that we were and grant us the full rest of being New in Christ. Now fully Alone. In Christ. Alone.

    Hell: This too is a reality that is about God and not about us. Christ descended into hell fully as only the God-Man could as the Full Incarnate Christ while that same Incarnate Christ remained for 3 days also in the grave as God and Man. Only such a One could do this and so declare his victory over sin, death and the devil and the release of the captives. Even the gates of hell can´t prevail against such a God who is also fully flesh of our flesh and knows our suffering and grief.

    So our part is to do (law!) the discipline of the Holy Liturgy, exercising the priesthood he has commanded till he returns by being in prayer for the whole of the creation that he loves and died for.

    Heaven: The Holy Liturgy and the Church calendar, along with even the Law and the Holy Gospel are “things that pertain to our earthly existence” (Formula of Concord art VI “3rd Lutheran use of the Law”) . They are…. Law things…. they are what we are commanded to do until our Lord´s return in Glory.

    So where is the Holy Gospel in all this if it is not even Administration of Holy Word and Holy Sacrament Churchly Things like Holy Liturgy ??!! If what we do in church is all Right Hand Earthly Kingdom then where is the Gospel?

    It is alone… ” and [invisible] faith which trusts in this Word of God in the water. ” and it is in being truly “worthy and well prepared [ to receive the Lords Supper] who has [invisible!] faith in these words: ‘given and shed FOR YOU!’”

    The Gospel is invisible faith alone, in Christ alone. “The kingdom of God comes in way that cannot be seen” Jesus said. The Means of Grace are “marks of the Church” . They are the visible, earthly kingdom things that will perish (part of the romans 8 “flesh/body” stuff, not “Spirit” which is alone invisible faith alone in Christ alone. Where they exist we trust, in invisible faith, that the invisible Heavenly Kingdom is there. What is the “Heavenly Kingdom”? It is the very Body and Person of Christ. Alone. Where Christ is, THERE is Life and Salvation.

    In, with and under the invisible seed that pastors plant that is all earthly kingdom stuff and law that pastors are commanded to0 do and vow to do in their ordination (more law!) , the Holy Spirit creates [invisible!] yeast and salt .

    He invisibly brings us into that Heavenly Kingdom that is Christ Alone. This is what Advent is all about! Where Christ is, THERE , alone, is life and salvation.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus!

  • http://womanofthehouse-blog.blogspot.com/ womanofthehouse

    Very interesting, Dr. Veith. I had not heard about the Four Last Things before. I have been Lutheran for two years, and I was surprised to learn that Advent is a season of repentance. I admit that after 25 years in non-liturgical Christianity, thinking of this time of year as a somber season is near impossible for me. The mental adjustment is huge and it might take another 25 years for it to happen and even then it might not. It’s such a different way to think.

  • http://womanofthehouse-blog.blogspot.com/ womanofthehouse

    Very interesting, Dr. Veith. I had not heard about the Four Last Things before. I have been Lutheran for two years, and I was surprised to learn that Advent is a season of repentance. I admit that after 25 years in non-liturgical Christianity, thinking of this time of year as a somber season is near impossible for me. The mental adjustment is huge and it might take another 25 years for it to happen and even then it might not. It’s such a different way to think.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Dr. Veith,

    Your post makes me think of C.F.W. Walther’s statement about law and gospel, “Without the law, the gospel is not fully understood; without the gospel, the law profits us nothing.”

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Dr. Veith,

    Your post makes me think of C.F.W. Walther’s statement about law and gospel, “Without the law, the gospel is not fully understood; without the gospel, the law profits us nothing.”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Ah I forgot love!

    Love is the fulfillment of …. the Law!

    The Law, our consciences, always , always accuses. It demands of us constantly and gives us nothing for it.

    We do not love. We can see how God provides Love in the world where in our Lutheran Confessions? In the 1st article and the 4th petition of the Lords Prayer in the Small Catechism.

    He provides this love in the form of the production of what the Lord´s Prayer calls “daily bread”.

    Daily bread includes everything a good Fatherly God provides us that we need to have a happy , creaturely, life on earth. This is the earthly righeousness that God demands. This is alone why “Good works are necessary”.

    The point is not obedience to God.

    The point is God´s provision of 1st article and 4th petition love “purely out of Fatherly Divine goodness and mercy ( note: this is all 1st article not 2nd or third article faith, christ and sanctification here!!!) without any merit (even the merit of christ in faith ) or worthiness in us” and this is all provided “daily and richly”….. “even without our prayer, even for all the wicked”… (Note: no faith in God or a god is necessary for this to be done!).

    And this daily bread fully includes “spiritual ” stuff and “material ” stuff. But here “spiritual” stuff is not faith in christ or the Gospel. It is spiritual in the worldly sense that we need and that we value more than material goods… romantic love (eros), brotherly love, good and faithful friends, good neighbors, a good reputation. A good fatherly God wants us to be HAPPY with those toe curling , giddy things called love and caring that are what make us get up every day. The things all us Old Adam moralists are afraid of as being slippery slope , or “the emotional argument”.

    Love is all law law law law law. Wonderful as it is, it must be forced out of our Old Adam by mortification . We are unwilling to give it to others. We do it out of a sense of duty or reciprocity. It is not something we do recklessly and spontaneously as first nature. It can only , with alot of effort, become second nature.

    It is this love though that is God´s Will, both in and apart from the Law, and the behavioral difference between Christ and our New Man and the Old Adam is right here: New man has faith that loves and love that is faith. It happens out of who he is. No effort is needed. No internal dialog of choosing happens. It flows as light from sun. spontaneously. automatically.

    So Advent looks forward to the Blessed Incarnation that is about a second Adam who simply was good because he IS good. Jesus did not have to internally debate between a choice of doing. He just showed up and did Jesus.

    And this is the perfect picture of how our New Man , in christ alone, is. Bird of air and lily of field. He just can have joy in creaturely being and rest from labor. In Christ.

    Now we need to battle our Old Adam as a recalcitrant ass who must be cajoled and beaten into doing Love for others, and parceling it out measuring every ounce and wanting tit for tat in exchange.

    We as old adam want to imagine we can be a gleaming moral factory that God can inspect and that meets all his metrics. And we fail to realize that God DOES want this, but that there is no point if that factory is not producing and shipping goods out of the factory for the good and pleasure of others! THAT is why God wants our factories to be virtuous and in order. This is not for show. this is for production. Vocation is this.

    Come Quickly Lord!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Ah I forgot love!

    Love is the fulfillment of …. the Law!

    The Law, our consciences, always , always accuses. It demands of us constantly and gives us nothing for it.

    We do not love. We can see how God provides Love in the world where in our Lutheran Confessions? In the 1st article and the 4th petition of the Lords Prayer in the Small Catechism.

    He provides this love in the form of the production of what the Lord´s Prayer calls “daily bread”.

    Daily bread includes everything a good Fatherly God provides us that we need to have a happy , creaturely, life on earth. This is the earthly righeousness that God demands. This is alone why “Good works are necessary”.

    The point is not obedience to God.

    The point is God´s provision of 1st article and 4th petition love “purely out of Fatherly Divine goodness and mercy ( note: this is all 1st article not 2nd or third article faith, christ and sanctification here!!!) without any merit (even the merit of christ in faith ) or worthiness in us” and this is all provided “daily and richly”….. “even without our prayer, even for all the wicked”… (Note: no faith in God or a god is necessary for this to be done!).

    And this daily bread fully includes “spiritual ” stuff and “material ” stuff. But here “spiritual” stuff is not faith in christ or the Gospel. It is spiritual in the worldly sense that we need and that we value more than material goods… romantic love (eros), brotherly love, good and faithful friends, good neighbors, a good reputation. A good fatherly God wants us to be HAPPY with those toe curling , giddy things called love and caring that are what make us get up every day. The things all us Old Adam moralists are afraid of as being slippery slope , or “the emotional argument”.

    Love is all law law law law law. Wonderful as it is, it must be forced out of our Old Adam by mortification . We are unwilling to give it to others. We do it out of a sense of duty or reciprocity. It is not something we do recklessly and spontaneously as first nature. It can only , with alot of effort, become second nature.

    It is this love though that is God´s Will, both in and apart from the Law, and the behavioral difference between Christ and our New Man and the Old Adam is right here: New man has faith that loves and love that is faith. It happens out of who he is. No effort is needed. No internal dialog of choosing happens. It flows as light from sun. spontaneously. automatically.

    So Advent looks forward to the Blessed Incarnation that is about a second Adam who simply was good because he IS good. Jesus did not have to internally debate between a choice of doing. He just showed up and did Jesus.

    And this is the perfect picture of how our New Man , in christ alone, is. Bird of air and lily of field. He just can have joy in creaturely being and rest from labor. In Christ.

    Now we need to battle our Old Adam as a recalcitrant ass who must be cajoled and beaten into doing Love for others, and parceling it out measuring every ounce and wanting tit for tat in exchange.

    We as old adam want to imagine we can be a gleaming moral factory that God can inspect and that meets all his metrics. And we fail to realize that God DOES want this, but that there is no point if that factory is not producing and shipping goods out of the factory for the good and pleasure of others! THAT is why God wants our factories to be virtuous and in order. This is not for show. this is for production. Vocation is this.

    Come Quickly Lord!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    woman of the house @ 3

    No dear sister. This is what you were born in your baptism to do! Let Advent be about Christ Alone and what a good Fatherly God will do even and especially if we are lacking in hope, preparation, joy and love.

    Every one of the 7 petitions (7 represents a complete list) in that perfect model prayer is done indeed without our prayer or asking.

    We are asking then to receive those things with thanksgiving.

    And we are acknowledging that all is God´s Word and does not in any way depend on us. God will make both his earthly goodness happen from the faithless wicked (us in our Old Adam!) for the wicked.

    And from that, we can trust in faith how much more he will make the goodness of the Holy Gospel happen for us his Elect! And you know you were elect in your Baptism!

    Advent and the Liturgy is like the Lord´s Prayer.

    This is your birthright dear sister. You know how to do this!

    Look to Christ alone.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    woman of the house @ 3

    No dear sister. This is what you were born in your baptism to do! Let Advent be about Christ Alone and what a good Fatherly God will do even and especially if we are lacking in hope, preparation, joy and love.

    Every one of the 7 petitions (7 represents a complete list) in that perfect model prayer is done indeed without our prayer or asking.

    We are asking then to receive those things with thanksgiving.

    And we are acknowledging that all is God´s Word and does not in any way depend on us. God will make both his earthly goodness happen from the faithless wicked (us in our Old Adam!) for the wicked.

    And from that, we can trust in faith how much more he will make the goodness of the Holy Gospel happen for us his Elect! And you know you were elect in your Baptism!

    Advent and the Liturgy is like the Lord´s Prayer.

    This is your birthright dear sister. You know how to do this!

    Look to Christ alone.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    fws @ 2,
    That’s Finnish, my native language.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    fws @ 2,
    That’s Finnish, my native language.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    shafu @ 7

    Oh you finns and estonians (and hungarians). Your languages and culture continue to fascinate me. The Lutheranism that comes from those places is often pretty amazing. I have often wondered if that perhaps is because of how the language has shaped it since the language is so unlike those of their neighbors….

    Very nice snafu! Thanks for sharing you Suomi you!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    shafu @ 7

    Oh you finns and estonians (and hungarians). Your languages and culture continue to fascinate me. The Lutheranism that comes from those places is often pretty amazing. I have often wondered if that perhaps is because of how the language has shaped it since the language is so unlike those of their neighbors….

    Very nice snafu! Thanks for sharing you Suomi you!

  • Ryan

    The order from the article is death judgement HEAVEN hell. I did not see anything in the original article that indicated that those TWO themes were being set in opposition to four advent themes other churches set up as a preaching hack for pastors. And While I agree with much of the sentiment of the quote linked careful reading of the lessons for the Sundays in Advent certainly show hope (ie the Gospel) in light of the End Times.

    In fact the third Sunday representing joy has been around a long time – its enshrined in the introit and name for that Sunday, gaudete (rejoice) and thus its color – rose, and is a reflection of the older parallel Sunday in Lent – Laetare. One purpose of the Rose Sundays being a short break in the periods of fasting recognizing that all is not gloom and doom – our religion is not one of sour piety (that’s Satan’s religion) – our God designates a feast on earth as his mark and a wedding feast in heaven as our culmination.

  • Ryan

    The order from the article is death judgement HEAVEN hell. I did not see anything in the original article that indicated that those TWO themes were being set in opposition to four advent themes other churches set up as a preaching hack for pastors. And While I agree with much of the sentiment of the quote linked careful reading of the lessons for the Sundays in Advent certainly show hope (ie the Gospel) in light of the End Times.

    In fact the third Sunday representing joy has been around a long time – its enshrined in the introit and name for that Sunday, gaudete (rejoice) and thus its color – rose, and is a reflection of the older parallel Sunday in Lent – Laetare. One purpose of the Rose Sundays being a short break in the periods of fasting recognizing that all is not gloom and doom – our religion is not one of sour piety (that’s Satan’s religion) – our God designates a feast on earth as his mark and a wedding feast in heaven as our culmination.

  • SKPeterson

    Advent is anticipatory – both of the Christmas coming and the Second. As such, it points us to the Cross and Resurrection of Easter. Christ is born so that He may die and carry then the enormity of our sins upon his shoulders. It is this sober reality coupled with the joy of release from the penalty of sin (I don’t think of it as Law, fws, but as an appropriate response to the Gospel) that characterizes Advent (and Lent).

    I am reminded of Luther’s quip on what he contributed to his own salvation. Roughly, “My sins, for which Christ died, rose and makes supplication for me before the Father.” It is recognition and thankfulness for that fact that characterizes the expectation and joy of Advent and the comings of Jesus Christ.

  • SKPeterson

    Advent is anticipatory – both of the Christmas coming and the Second. As such, it points us to the Cross and Resurrection of Easter. Christ is born so that He may die and carry then the enormity of our sins upon his shoulders. It is this sober reality coupled with the joy of release from the penalty of sin (I don’t think of it as Law, fws, but as an appropriate response to the Gospel) that characterizes Advent (and Lent).

    I am reminded of Luther’s quip on what he contributed to his own salvation. Roughly, “My sins, for which Christ died, rose and makes supplication for me before the Father.” It is recognition and thankfulness for that fact that characterizes the expectation and joy of Advent and the comings of Jesus Christ.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Ryan @ 9

    Amen brother Ryan!

    Our Hope in the Holy Gospel is the invisible heavenly kingdom thing that the Just live in by invisible faith in, with and under the earthly kingdom of law and earthly righteousness that is everything we can see and know and grasp with our reason.

    This is a great joy in the things to come. And it is a joy here on earth in seeing that Our good Father God provides goodness any way He will, anyway. In spite of our unfaithfulness.

    That rose candle of joy is , unreasonably, there in the middle of the world in it´s passion of death and suffering. It is not a break . It is a reminder that our suffering or repentance or even faith is not the point of confession or repentance. What we do is not the point. Even though we have things we must do. Like repentance. Christ is the point. And so this very doing is an excercise of faith apart from works that we can do. The law always accuses. But then there is Christ!

    “Accordingly, Luther says [in the Preface to the Epistle to the Romans]: Follow the Epistle to the Romans in its order, concern yourself first with Christ and His Gospel, that you may recognize your sins and His grace; next, that you contend with sin, as Paul teaches from the first to the eighth chapter; then, when in the eighth chapter you will come into [will have been exercised by]
    temptation under the cross and afflictions, this will teach you in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters how consolatory predestination is, etc.” Formula of Concord, solid declaration. election

    And this (Apology to the Augsburg Confession II Original Sin:

    “Thus, … Augustine, in a long discussion, refutes the opinion … that concupiscence in man is not a fault, but an adiaphoron [ie morally neutral], as color of the body or ill health is said to be an adiaphoron [as to have a black or a white body is neither good nor evil]. For [even if not entire consent, but only the inclination and desire be there] who ever dared to say that these matters, [were morally neutral], namely, to doubt concerning God’s wrath, concerning God’s grace, concerning God’s Word, to be angry at the judgments of God, to be provoked because God does not at once deliver one from afflictions, to murmur because the wicked enjoy a better fortune than the good, to be urged on by wrath, 43] lust, the desire for glory, wealth, etc.?

    And yet godly men acknowledge these in themselves, as appears in the Psalms and the prophets. [For all tried, Christian hearts know, alas! that these evils are wrapped up in man’s skin, namely to esteem money, goods, and all other matters more highly than God, and to spend our lives in security; again, that after the manner of our carnal security we always imagine that God’s wrath against
    sin is not as serious and great as it verily is.

    Again, that we murmur against the doing and will of God, when He does not succor us speedily in our tribulations, and arranges our affairs to please us. Again, we experience every day that it hurts us to see wicked people in good fortune in this world, as David and all
    the saints have complained. Over and above this, all men feel that their hearts are easily inflamed, now with ambition, now with anger and wrath, now with lewdness.]

    But in the schools they transferred hither from philosophy notions entirely different, that, because of passions, we are neither good nor evil, we are neither deserving of praise nor blame. Likewise, that nothing is sin, unless it be voluntary [inner desires and thoughts are not sins, if I do not altogether consent thereto].

    These notions were expressed among philosophers with respect to civil righteousness, and not with respect to God’s judgment.”

    Only faith can show us that this all is sin. Reason cannot reveal this to us until “the veil of Moses is removed”. The we can truly repent in fullness, without fear of that sure and certain death that the Law even after Christ will bring to all men including us.

    And so we can be prepared, by the Law as our schoolmasters to fully (!) receive the forgiveness Christ has won for all men.

    The miracle in the midst of all this is not ” of the Rose Sundays being a short break in the periods of fasting recognizing that all is not gloom and doom .”

    It is that there is joy and hope precisely in the midst of repentence for sin. Because what is left is alone Christ.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Ryan @ 9

    Amen brother Ryan!

    Our Hope in the Holy Gospel is the invisible heavenly kingdom thing that the Just live in by invisible faith in, with and under the earthly kingdom of law and earthly righteousness that is everything we can see and know and grasp with our reason.

    This is a great joy in the things to come. And it is a joy here on earth in seeing that Our good Father God provides goodness any way He will, anyway. In spite of our unfaithfulness.

    That rose candle of joy is , unreasonably, there in the middle of the world in it´s passion of death and suffering. It is not a break . It is a reminder that our suffering or repentance or even faith is not the point of confession or repentance. What we do is not the point. Even though we have things we must do. Like repentance. Christ is the point. And so this very doing is an excercise of faith apart from works that we can do. The law always accuses. But then there is Christ!

    “Accordingly, Luther says [in the Preface to the Epistle to the Romans]: Follow the Epistle to the Romans in its order, concern yourself first with Christ and His Gospel, that you may recognize your sins and His grace; next, that you contend with sin, as Paul teaches from the first to the eighth chapter; then, when in the eighth chapter you will come into [will have been exercised by]
    temptation under the cross and afflictions, this will teach you in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters how consolatory predestination is, etc.” Formula of Concord, solid declaration. election

    And this (Apology to the Augsburg Confession II Original Sin:

    “Thus, … Augustine, in a long discussion, refutes the opinion … that concupiscence in man is not a fault, but an adiaphoron [ie morally neutral], as color of the body or ill health is said to be an adiaphoron [as to have a black or a white body is neither good nor evil]. For [even if not entire consent, but only the inclination and desire be there] who ever dared to say that these matters, [were morally neutral], namely, to doubt concerning God’s wrath, concerning God’s grace, concerning God’s Word, to be angry at the judgments of God, to be provoked because God does not at once deliver one from afflictions, to murmur because the wicked enjoy a better fortune than the good, to be urged on by wrath, 43] lust, the desire for glory, wealth, etc.?

    And yet godly men acknowledge these in themselves, as appears in the Psalms and the prophets. [For all tried, Christian hearts know, alas! that these evils are wrapped up in man’s skin, namely to esteem money, goods, and all other matters more highly than God, and to spend our lives in security; again, that after the manner of our carnal security we always imagine that God’s wrath against
    sin is not as serious and great as it verily is.

    Again, that we murmur against the doing and will of God, when He does not succor us speedily in our tribulations, and arranges our affairs to please us. Again, we experience every day that it hurts us to see wicked people in good fortune in this world, as David and all
    the saints have complained. Over and above this, all men feel that their hearts are easily inflamed, now with ambition, now with anger and wrath, now with lewdness.]

    But in the schools they transferred hither from philosophy notions entirely different, that, because of passions, we are neither good nor evil, we are neither deserving of praise nor blame. Likewise, that nothing is sin, unless it be voluntary [inner desires and thoughts are not sins, if I do not altogether consent thereto].

    These notions were expressed among philosophers with respect to civil righteousness, and not with respect to God’s judgment.”

    Only faith can show us that this all is sin. Reason cannot reveal this to us until “the veil of Moses is removed”. The we can truly repent in fullness, without fear of that sure and certain death that the Law even after Christ will bring to all men including us.

    And so we can be prepared, by the Law as our schoolmasters to fully (!) receive the forgiveness Christ has won for all men.

    The miracle in the midst of all this is not ” of the Rose Sundays being a short break in the periods of fasting recognizing that all is not gloom and doom .”

    It is that there is joy and hope precisely in the midst of repentence for sin. Because what is left is alone Christ.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK peterson @ 10

    Interesting. Why not consider it law SK? It is what the 1st commandment demands of all men. It is something we do. It is a good work. It is the highest good work.

    But it is a good work and something we do. And we make an effort at doing this because we are commanded and our neighbor needs this. It is not about obedience.

    Why is that? Obedience to God is not righteousness on earth even if it is a virtue that God requires. Only obedience-as-love-for-others is righteousness on earth. It is what we can see and do in our bodies.

    We , even as believers, can only see Old Adam and deal with him. “good works are necessary” and this is the mundane , unspiritual existence of all men, including christians. It is law law law. For our neighbors. Not for God. He doesn´t need it. And the point of the Augustana is for us to understand that this fully and especially includes everthing we do in church.

    We get earthly goodness as something tangible that brings goodness to others, including joy, in the same way pagan aristotle tells us we do it. (apology art II Justification). And in with and under this visible seed that pastors (are commanded to) plant, God makes purely invisible , salt and yeast , and children of abraham out of hearts of stone.

    Now then there is the new man that is regenerated. But this joy happens out of the new man without any effort or internal dialog. “like light from sun ” “As the angels and planets do God´s bidding” “automatically”. Our new man is exactly like Christ in the Blessed Incarnation who , like lily and bird, did not need to toil or work at goodness. Christ was all of this in the Blessed Incarnation and the take home point for “sanctification” is that noone noticed anything special. He had to be pointed out in a crowd. Amazing.

    We can know this new man goodness only by invisible faith. It is precisely why we cannot separage wheat from weed, sheep from goat or do soil analysis. Not even with our own navel gazing trying to check under the hood to see if your thoughts words and deeds are new man spontaneous or old adam begrudging. Since that visible acts of new man fruit of spirit and old adam works of the law are ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL (FC art VI) , then how would we have evidence of which is which

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK peterson @ 10

    Interesting. Why not consider it law SK? It is what the 1st commandment demands of all men. It is something we do. It is a good work. It is the highest good work.

    But it is a good work and something we do. And we make an effort at doing this because we are commanded and our neighbor needs this. It is not about obedience.

    Why is that? Obedience to God is not righteousness on earth even if it is a virtue that God requires. Only obedience-as-love-for-others is righteousness on earth. It is what we can see and do in our bodies.

    We , even as believers, can only see Old Adam and deal with him. “good works are necessary” and this is the mundane , unspiritual existence of all men, including christians. It is law law law. For our neighbors. Not for God. He doesn´t need it. And the point of the Augustana is for us to understand that this fully and especially includes everthing we do in church.

    We get earthly goodness as something tangible that brings goodness to others, including joy, in the same way pagan aristotle tells us we do it. (apology art II Justification). And in with and under this visible seed that pastors (are commanded to) plant, God makes purely invisible , salt and yeast , and children of abraham out of hearts of stone.

    Now then there is the new man that is regenerated. But this joy happens out of the new man without any effort or internal dialog. “like light from sun ” “As the angels and planets do God´s bidding” “automatically”. Our new man is exactly like Christ in the Blessed Incarnation who , like lily and bird, did not need to toil or work at goodness. Christ was all of this in the Blessed Incarnation and the take home point for “sanctification” is that noone noticed anything special. He had to be pointed out in a crowd. Amazing.

    We can know this new man goodness only by invisible faith. It is precisely why we cannot separage wheat from weed, sheep from goat or do soil analysis. Not even with our own navel gazing trying to check under the hood to see if your thoughts words and deeds are new man spontaneous or old adam begrudging. Since that visible acts of new man fruit of spirit and old adam works of the law are ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL (FC art VI) , then how would we have evidence of which is which

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    What a great song, Snafu! It will play in my mind all day. Somebody: Translate this song into English and get it into the Lutheran Service Book online supplement!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    What a great song, Snafu! It will play in my mind all day. Somebody: Translate this song into English and get it into the Lutheran Service Book online supplement!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk peterson @ 10

    ” It is this sober reality coupled with the joy of release from the penalty of sin (I don’t think of it as Law, fws, but as an appropriate response to the Gospel) ”

    Try this:

    It is something we do SK. It is Law. There is nothing inappropriate about mortification: running the race, reaching for the crown, subduing the flesh . Working (law) at being joyful and, as you say,

    responding! as the 1st commandment requires us to do to with joy and the discipline of prayer, church attendence etc.

    But none of this is sanctification.

    This is the Holy Spirit working mortification on the Old Adam. This just happens in your new man . Those new man works are to breath as faith is to the body. It just happens unconsciously and automatically and without even a thought.

    When is it you think about your breathing? when you are working (law) hard, or there is something the matter with you.

    When we notice our breathing and need to coach ourselves or others with breathing reminders, admonitions (breath harder! Keep breathing! ) then that is Old Adam law talk. Wherever we notice or think about what we are doing with our breathing we are talking about the Old Adam.

    But breathing is the same breathing whether it is joy and love and peace of the new man or old adam. And Old Adam too can have joy love and peace. There is nothing in a “fruit of the spirit” list that does not also fully appear in a “works of the law” list.

    It is impossible to tell which man is doing the breathing this means.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk peterson @ 10

    ” It is this sober reality coupled with the joy of release from the penalty of sin (I don’t think of it as Law, fws, but as an appropriate response to the Gospel) ”

    Try this:

    It is something we do SK. It is Law. There is nothing inappropriate about mortification: running the race, reaching for the crown, subduing the flesh . Working (law) at being joyful and, as you say,

    responding! as the 1st commandment requires us to do to with joy and the discipline of prayer, church attendence etc.

    But none of this is sanctification.

    This is the Holy Spirit working mortification on the Old Adam. This just happens in your new man . Those new man works are to breath as faith is to the body. It just happens unconsciously and automatically and without even a thought.

    When is it you think about your breathing? when you are working (law) hard, or there is something the matter with you.

    When we notice our breathing and need to coach ourselves or others with breathing reminders, admonitions (breath harder! Keep breathing! ) then that is Old Adam law talk. Wherever we notice or think about what we are doing with our breathing we are talking about the Old Adam.

    But breathing is the same breathing whether it is joy and love and peace of the new man or old adam. And Old Adam too can have joy love and peace. There is nothing in a “fruit of the spirit” list that does not also fully appear in a “works of the law” list.

    It is impossible to tell which man is doing the breathing this means.

  • SKPeterson

    fws,

    I don’t think the words “Rejoice! Rejoice!” have the connotation of command, of law. In the same sense, angels appearing to people often say “Do not be afraid!” But, it’s a reassurance, not law. How is joy connected to the 1st Commandment? I can possibly see how one could work it in, but in a natural law context, not in commandment law – I would think ‘awe’ would be a more appropriate response than ‘joy’.

    Perhaps we are having a disagreement on semantics, not on substance.

    I just do not associate joy with works of the Law, but from reveling in God’s goodness and mercy. For example, “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength…And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” Nehemiah 8.

    Here the Jews were condemned by the Law – because they had forgotten it, despised it and ignored it. They knew themselves to be guilty under the Law. Yet, God declares a literal holiday, a day of feasting and not fasting, a day of joy, not one of mourning. The people condemned under the Law are pardoned and respond with joy. That is the promise of Advent – the anticipation of Christ’s coming to us in the Eucharist and in Jesus Christ to come into the world again. Law fulfilled as we are all made righteous in Jesus’s blood, Gospel joy that we didn’t have to do the work, but that we vicariously get the benefits of Christ’s death in making us righteous.

  • SKPeterson

    fws,

    I don’t think the words “Rejoice! Rejoice!” have the connotation of command, of law. In the same sense, angels appearing to people often say “Do not be afraid!” But, it’s a reassurance, not law. How is joy connected to the 1st Commandment? I can possibly see how one could work it in, but in a natural law context, not in commandment law – I would think ‘awe’ would be a more appropriate response than ‘joy’.

    Perhaps we are having a disagreement on semantics, not on substance.

    I just do not associate joy with works of the Law, but from reveling in God’s goodness and mercy. For example, “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength…And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” Nehemiah 8.

    Here the Jews were condemned by the Law – because they had forgotten it, despised it and ignored it. They knew themselves to be guilty under the Law. Yet, God declares a literal holiday, a day of feasting and not fasting, a day of joy, not one of mourning. The people condemned under the Law are pardoned and respond with joy. That is the promise of Advent – the anticipation of Christ’s coming to us in the Eucharist and in Jesus Christ to come into the world again. Law fulfilled as we are all made righteous in Jesus’s blood, Gospel joy that we didn’t have to do the work, but that we vicariously get the benefits of Christ’s death in making us righteous.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think the problem may be more with our understanding of Christmas than our understanding of Advent. Advent prepares us for Christmas, either way, but what is Christmas? Is it a giddy, happy time of gift-giving and family togetherness, of God coming to be with us and show us love and there’s a baby and angels and glad tidings and peace on earth? Not a few Christians treat Christmas pretty much like that, but that view is highly influenced by secular ideas. They forget who Jesus is and why he came.

    Not that a proper understanding of Christmas won’t have elements of joy in it. But for many, the element of mystery — especially the mystery of the Incarnation — is completely missing. As is the element of reverence, which might come from a lack of appreciation for the Incarnation (this is God we’re talking about), as well as a lack of understanding of where your sins put you in relationship to God — which is why Jesus came. But people don’t want to talk about sin much when it comes to Christmas. Can’t we just be happy for a little while that God came to see us and say hello and teach us how we should act? As it were.

    I always enjoy the parallels in Advent between preparing our hearts for Christmas, and preparing our hearts for Christ’s second Advent. I think if we focused more on the latter aspect, we’d understand better how to celebrate the former. I mean, while I frequently pray for Christ to come again soon, I also realize, with fear and wonder, what that will actually mean. It will be a happy occasion, yes, in a sense. But there will be no small amount of fear and wonder along with it, as well.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think the problem may be more with our understanding of Christmas than our understanding of Advent. Advent prepares us for Christmas, either way, but what is Christmas? Is it a giddy, happy time of gift-giving and family togetherness, of God coming to be with us and show us love and there’s a baby and angels and glad tidings and peace on earth? Not a few Christians treat Christmas pretty much like that, but that view is highly influenced by secular ideas. They forget who Jesus is and why he came.

    Not that a proper understanding of Christmas won’t have elements of joy in it. But for many, the element of mystery — especially the mystery of the Incarnation — is completely missing. As is the element of reverence, which might come from a lack of appreciation for the Incarnation (this is God we’re talking about), as well as a lack of understanding of where your sins put you in relationship to God — which is why Jesus came. But people don’t want to talk about sin much when it comes to Christmas. Can’t we just be happy for a little while that God came to see us and say hello and teach us how we should act? As it were.

    I always enjoy the parallels in Advent between preparing our hearts for Christmas, and preparing our hearts for Christ’s second Advent. I think if we focused more on the latter aspect, we’d understand better how to celebrate the former. I mean, while I frequently pray for Christ to come again soon, I also realize, with fear and wonder, what that will actually mean. It will be a happy occasion, yes, in a sense. But there will be no small amount of fear and wonder along with it, as well.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I have to admit, as somebody stuck in a “jazzerine” church that’s all about the latest and greatest, that I’m a bit envious of those of you who have a strong traditional Advent season. It’s good to hear such rich Christian tradition still being exercised.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I have to admit, as somebody stuck in a “jazzerine” church that’s all about the latest and greatest, that I’m a bit envious of those of you who have a strong traditional Advent season. It’s good to hear such rich Christian tradition still being exercised.

  • SKPeterson

    tODD – I think you hit on something important. In our Advent service last evening, our pastor specifically mentioned the dual aspect of the Second Coming we anticipate during the Advent season. For those of us who cling our Baptisms and to the Cross, the return of Christ is a hoped for event. Come Lord Jesus, Come! Yet for those who do not believe, they will say “let the mountains cover us” as they face judgment. Christ comes to bring salvation and judgment (for fws, yes both Law and Gospel ;)) which He also did in the manger at Bethlehem. This is truly a wonderful and awesome event to contemplate. The Now and Not Yet.

  • SKPeterson

    tODD – I think you hit on something important. In our Advent service last evening, our pastor specifically mentioned the dual aspect of the Second Coming we anticipate during the Advent season. For those of us who cling our Baptisms and to the Cross, the return of Christ is a hoped for event. Come Lord Jesus, Come! Yet for those who do not believe, they will say “let the mountains cover us” as they face judgment. Christ comes to bring salvation and judgment (for fws, yes both Law and Gospel ;)) which He also did in the manger at Bethlehem. This is truly a wonderful and awesome event to contemplate. The Now and Not Yet.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK peterson @ 15

    FWS I hope we have a difference on substance. That way we can each learn something new dear brother.

    You always have lots of stuff worth saying. I always perk up when you post SK (Soren kierkegaaard Peterson?).

    SKPETERSON “I don’t think the words “Rejoice! Rejoice!” have the connotation of command, of law. In the same sense, angels appearing to people often say “Do not be afraid!” But, it’s a reassurance, not law. ”

    FWS I am thinking here Confessionally , that is to say, I am thinking in Law/Gospel mode.

    Would Christ need to be encouraged to rejoice , rejoice or not to be afraid or be reassured that way? No. Therefore neither do you as New Man need this.

    We need it , as we need all Law, soley because our Old Adam clings to us still. (FC art VI). The rejoice rejoice you refer to is The Holy Gospel . “Immanuel as come TO YOU! FOR YOU! To save YOU!” But even this Gospel is Earthly Kingdom Romans 8 flesh/body. That means the preaching of it will perish with the earth. It “pertains to our earthly life ” . (FC art VI ) Even Law and gospel are earthly right hand kingdom (ie kingdom of the law and man-righteousness). The heavenly kingdom is alone invisible faith, alone in christ.

    So what that means is that “in , with and under ” this perishable righteousness and virtue God makes happen on earth by driving us with the law, including the driving us to preach and hear the Gospel, the Holy Spirit creates the invisible yeast and salt that is faith in Christ. And this is nourishment for invisible New Man, invisible Holy Church.

    Steve, we have forgotten how to do Law and Gospel is my point. We have all been taught that doing law and gospel is like a file cabinet with two drawers and the task to parse the Holy Scriptures between those two drawers. It is sort of a uniquely Lutheran Systematic Theology. This is not quite it I suggest….

    Instead Law and Gospel is to put EVERYTHING into category of Law. This would be anything we can see our do in our bodies. Which is everything on earth.

    This categorically, urgently and especially includes everything we can see or do in our bodies in the Churchly Estate or the vocation of the sacred. This means that we include , especially the administration of the Holy Sacraments and Holy Scripture and the Holy Liturgy firmly into the Earthly Kingdom of the Law, visible man-righteousness, and virtue and mortification.

    We see to do this when we can see that the Old Lutheran categories of the Two Kingdoms and Two Kinds of Righteousness are just and only other modalities of Law and Gospel distinction that are the modalities the Old Lutherans used to extend the doctrinal Law and Gospel we both were raised with, out to our practical lives and vocations.

    We do this so that we are very clear that The Gospel or the Heavenly, or Left Hand Kingdom is a category populated by only ONE thing, that alone, gets placed into the category of Holy Gospel: invisible faith alone, in Christ alone. This is therefore also where we place Sanctification , which is identical to regeneration or the New Birth in the Confessions.

    We Lutherans are deer blinded by headlites in applying Law and Gospel to life because we don´t see the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms as strictly and only another modality of Law and Gospel. It is true that the reformers did talk about the Civil vs the Churchly Estate, but when they did that, it was not then law and gospel. It was law/law: They were distinguishing between two vocations.

    Why is this important: It is the Two Kingdoms as Law and Gospel modality along with Two Kinds of Righteousness, that the Old Lutherans used to teach the distiction of Law and Gospel in every day life on things like adiaphora, church rites, and vocation. For some reason we lost those things.

    You can read on this in the confessions in the Luther sermon referenced by FC art VI Solid Declaration. See if you agree with me. Here ya go!:

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    So have you ever read this sermon before that is such an important part of the body of our Confessions ? along with the Galatians Commentary of Luther, the preface to the 1545 translation of romans, the sermon on the descent into hell by christ, and the wittenberg concord all referred to as a further clarification on the confessions by our Confessions? This is where I am getting this all from dear brother SK.

    We need to return to an understanding that the Confessions are nothing more than a hands on demonstration of how to do Law and Gospel with every doctrine one by one, and then, having acquired the knack, to do this with Holy Scriptures. For example, we then can see the 3 year lecture series on Law and Gospel of Our Lord as being the Parables. Jesus nowhere says “Law and Gospel”. So where is it? Earthly righeousness vs heavenly righteousness of faith. Earthly Kingdom vs Heavenly Kingdom of faith. And we do law and gospel , alone, so we are clear that Christ alone, is alone in the heavenly Kingdom and is alone the Gospel, and not our response to the gospel, which is law insomuch as we still have the Old Adam clinging to us (FC art VI).

    SK PETERSON “How is joy connected to the 1st Commandment? I can possibly see how one could work it in, but in a natural law context, not in commandment law – I would think ‘awe’ would be a more appropriate response than ‘joy’. ”

    FWS Again Law and Gospel.

    Note that in the Small Catechism the commandments are structured as Mortification + Love. This is the structure of “shalt not (mortification)… but we should (love)” .

    Love (aka daily bread production) is the point and end purpose of the second table of the law. And fallen man can perfectly keep the second table outwardly. But mortification is needed for this to happen. The law is needed.

    Mortification + love = Old Adam righeousness. No faith at all is necessary in God or god to do this outwardly.

    But there is one commandment that has no mortification! The first commandment. “We should, fear and love and trust in God above all things. ” For this ONE commandment, no amount of law or mortification can make this happen . Why ? this one commandment requires a change in the heart to keep. “a new movement of the heart” (apology art XVIII). “Joy” is what the birds of the air and Lilies have unfettered by the law and that internal oppresive dialog you and I have between our old adam heart/will and the Law of our Conscience. We have that as new man. we will have only that once our Old Adam is cast off in our physical death and we enter the second Advent in the twinkling of an eye.

    You reference to “Natural Law”. The Confessions say that natural law = conscience. “commandment law” is not even a category for Lutherans. “the decalog was written for the Jews” They say. So we can find moral law in aristotle perfectly and quite completely this means. Or new age philosophers. or confucius. Or the roman catholic scholastics. We do not need a “secret-divinely-revealed-decoder-ring” this means to know and do true (ie God-pleasing) love and outward righteousness SK. And as for the “Natural Law of Aquinas”… Lutherans categorically rejected that concept in favor of “God´s Ordinance” , which they caracterized (Art XXIII Apology) as being moral adiaphora like rain, seasons or the law of gravity. They rejected the scholastics here and Aquias and the aristotelian categories that they “baptised ” into christian doctrine. We should follow their example and stop reading Roman Catholic stuff to look for some ethical response to the culture wars on homosexuality, women´s roles etc. We will lose the Gospel that way.

    Consider: ” For Aristotle wrote concerning civil morals so learnedly that nothing further concerning this need be
    demanded.” (Apology, art VI (II) of Justification 14])

    This has profound implications as to Lutheran Ethics.

    Bless you dear SK!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK peterson @ 15

    FWS I hope we have a difference on substance. That way we can each learn something new dear brother.

    You always have lots of stuff worth saying. I always perk up when you post SK (Soren kierkegaaard Peterson?).

    SKPETERSON “I don’t think the words “Rejoice! Rejoice!” have the connotation of command, of law. In the same sense, angels appearing to people often say “Do not be afraid!” But, it’s a reassurance, not law. ”

    FWS I am thinking here Confessionally , that is to say, I am thinking in Law/Gospel mode.

    Would Christ need to be encouraged to rejoice , rejoice or not to be afraid or be reassured that way? No. Therefore neither do you as New Man need this.

    We need it , as we need all Law, soley because our Old Adam clings to us still. (FC art VI). The rejoice rejoice you refer to is The Holy Gospel . “Immanuel as come TO YOU! FOR YOU! To save YOU!” But even this Gospel is Earthly Kingdom Romans 8 flesh/body. That means the preaching of it will perish with the earth. It “pertains to our earthly life ” . (FC art VI ) Even Law and gospel are earthly right hand kingdom (ie kingdom of the law and man-righteousness). The heavenly kingdom is alone invisible faith, alone in christ.

    So what that means is that “in , with and under ” this perishable righteousness and virtue God makes happen on earth by driving us with the law, including the driving us to preach and hear the Gospel, the Holy Spirit creates the invisible yeast and salt that is faith in Christ. And this is nourishment for invisible New Man, invisible Holy Church.

    Steve, we have forgotten how to do Law and Gospel is my point. We have all been taught that doing law and gospel is like a file cabinet with two drawers and the task to parse the Holy Scriptures between those two drawers. It is sort of a uniquely Lutheran Systematic Theology. This is not quite it I suggest….

    Instead Law and Gospel is to put EVERYTHING into category of Law. This would be anything we can see our do in our bodies. Which is everything on earth.

    This categorically, urgently and especially includes everything we can see or do in our bodies in the Churchly Estate or the vocation of the sacred. This means that we include , especially the administration of the Holy Sacraments and Holy Scripture and the Holy Liturgy firmly into the Earthly Kingdom of the Law, visible man-righteousness, and virtue and mortification.

    We see to do this when we can see that the Old Lutheran categories of the Two Kingdoms and Two Kinds of Righteousness are just and only other modalities of Law and Gospel distinction that are the modalities the Old Lutherans used to extend the doctrinal Law and Gospel we both were raised with, out to our practical lives and vocations.

    We do this so that we are very clear that The Gospel or the Heavenly, or Left Hand Kingdom is a category populated by only ONE thing, that alone, gets placed into the category of Holy Gospel: invisible faith alone, in Christ alone. This is therefore also where we place Sanctification , which is identical to regeneration or the New Birth in the Confessions.

    We Lutherans are deer blinded by headlites in applying Law and Gospel to life because we don´t see the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms as strictly and only another modality of Law and Gospel. It is true that the reformers did talk about the Civil vs the Churchly Estate, but when they did that, it was not then law and gospel. It was law/law: They were distinguishing between two vocations.

    Why is this important: It is the Two Kingdoms as Law and Gospel modality along with Two Kinds of Righteousness, that the Old Lutherans used to teach the distiction of Law and Gospel in every day life on things like adiaphora, church rites, and vocation. For some reason we lost those things.

    You can read on this in the confessions in the Luther sermon referenced by FC art VI Solid Declaration. See if you agree with me. Here ya go!:

    http://www.thirduse.com/?p=10

    So have you ever read this sermon before that is such an important part of the body of our Confessions ? along with the Galatians Commentary of Luther, the preface to the 1545 translation of romans, the sermon on the descent into hell by christ, and the wittenberg concord all referred to as a further clarification on the confessions by our Confessions? This is where I am getting this all from dear brother SK.

    We need to return to an understanding that the Confessions are nothing more than a hands on demonstration of how to do Law and Gospel with every doctrine one by one, and then, having acquired the knack, to do this with Holy Scriptures. For example, we then can see the 3 year lecture series on Law and Gospel of Our Lord as being the Parables. Jesus nowhere says “Law and Gospel”. So where is it? Earthly righeousness vs heavenly righteousness of faith. Earthly Kingdom vs Heavenly Kingdom of faith. And we do law and gospel , alone, so we are clear that Christ alone, is alone in the heavenly Kingdom and is alone the Gospel, and not our response to the gospel, which is law insomuch as we still have the Old Adam clinging to us (FC art VI).

    SK PETERSON “How is joy connected to the 1st Commandment? I can possibly see how one could work it in, but in a natural law context, not in commandment law – I would think ‘awe’ would be a more appropriate response than ‘joy’. ”

    FWS Again Law and Gospel.

    Note that in the Small Catechism the commandments are structured as Mortification + Love. This is the structure of “shalt not (mortification)… but we should (love)” .

    Love (aka daily bread production) is the point and end purpose of the second table of the law. And fallen man can perfectly keep the second table outwardly. But mortification is needed for this to happen. The law is needed.

    Mortification + love = Old Adam righeousness. No faith at all is necessary in God or god to do this outwardly.

    But there is one commandment that has no mortification! The first commandment. “We should, fear and love and trust in God above all things. ” For this ONE commandment, no amount of law or mortification can make this happen . Why ? this one commandment requires a change in the heart to keep. “a new movement of the heart” (apology art XVIII). “Joy” is what the birds of the air and Lilies have unfettered by the law and that internal oppresive dialog you and I have between our old adam heart/will and the Law of our Conscience. We have that as new man. we will have only that once our Old Adam is cast off in our physical death and we enter the second Advent in the twinkling of an eye.

    You reference to “Natural Law”. The Confessions say that natural law = conscience. “commandment law” is not even a category for Lutherans. “the decalog was written for the Jews” They say. So we can find moral law in aristotle perfectly and quite completely this means. Or new age philosophers. or confucius. Or the roman catholic scholastics. We do not need a “secret-divinely-revealed-decoder-ring” this means to know and do true (ie God-pleasing) love and outward righteousness SK. And as for the “Natural Law of Aquinas”… Lutherans categorically rejected that concept in favor of “God´s Ordinance” , which they caracterized (Art XXIII Apology) as being moral adiaphora like rain, seasons or the law of gravity. They rejected the scholastics here and Aquias and the aristotelian categories that they “baptised ” into christian doctrine. We should follow their example and stop reading Roman Catholic stuff to look for some ethical response to the culture wars on homosexuality, women´s roles etc. We will lose the Gospel that way.

    Consider: ” For Aristotle wrote concerning civil morals so learnedly that nothing further concerning this need be
    demanded.” (Apology, art VI (II) of Justification 14])

    This has profound implications as to Lutheran Ethics.

    Bless you dear SK!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Google Translate says the words of the Finnish hymn are:

    Hosanna, Son of David,
    Blessed be he!
    Blessed Son of David,
    which comes in the name of the Lord.
    Hosanna, Hosanna,
    Hosanna, Hosanna!
    Blessed Son of David,
    which comes in the name of the Lord.

    It’s a nice little advent tune AND it’s accompanied by a pipe organ!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Google Translate says the words of the Finnish hymn are:

    Hosanna, Son of David,
    Blessed be he!
    Blessed Son of David,
    which comes in the name of the Lord.
    Hosanna, Hosanna,
    Hosanna, Hosanna!
    Blessed Son of David,
    which comes in the name of the Lord.

    It’s a nice little advent tune AND it’s accompanied by a pipe organ!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK Peterson @ 15

    “I just do not associate joy with works of the Law, but from reveling in God’s goodness and mercy. ”

    Ponder the fact that teh Formula of Concord makes this rather startling (to us modern lutherans infected with neo-scholasticism of melancthonian calvinism) assertion:

    If you compare the items in the two lists “fruit of the spirit” and “works of the law” there is not a single difference!

    I could be wrong, but you seem to see a difference between those two lists…

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK Peterson @ 15

    “I just do not associate joy with works of the Law, but from reveling in God’s goodness and mercy. ”

    Ponder the fact that teh Formula of Concord makes this rather startling (to us modern lutherans infected with neo-scholasticism of melancthonian calvinism) assertion:

    If you compare the items in the two lists “fruit of the spirit” and “works of the law” there is not a single difference!

    I could be wrong, but you seem to see a difference between those two lists…

  • SKPeterson

    Yes. Motivation and inspiration. By the Law we are compelled, by the Gospel we are freed to be and act as who we were meant to be. The outward manifestation is the same, but we know that nothing we do will save us, compelled by the Law or not, as no one can keep the Law perfectly except Christ. Advent gives us the hope that we will one day fully put on Christ’s righteousness as our own. That our old Adam will die to the Law and we will then live in the New Adam who is Jesus Christ. Our joy is not in the compulsion of the Law, but in the righteousness of Christ that raises us from death.

    Here’s a good Lutheran take on what I’ve been trying to express from he prelude to Pr. Harrison’s A Little Book on Joy: “we are escorted toward that which is beyond ourselves, that which is most expansive, the unending festival of rejoicing. Tugged along eschatologically, ‘through trial and cross,’ God’s purposes unfold with grace for believers as the Holy Spirit kindles faith, inviting cold, hard, and sad hearts to ‘join the ever-rising crescendo of joy’ over God’s new creation.”

  • SKPeterson

    Yes. Motivation and inspiration. By the Law we are compelled, by the Gospel we are freed to be and act as who we were meant to be. The outward manifestation is the same, but we know that nothing we do will save us, compelled by the Law or not, as no one can keep the Law perfectly except Christ. Advent gives us the hope that we will one day fully put on Christ’s righteousness as our own. That our old Adam will die to the Law and we will then live in the New Adam who is Jesus Christ. Our joy is not in the compulsion of the Law, but in the righteousness of Christ that raises us from death.

    Here’s a good Lutheran take on what I’ve been trying to express from he prelude to Pr. Harrison’s A Little Book on Joy: “we are escorted toward that which is beyond ourselves, that which is most expansive, the unending festival of rejoicing. Tugged along eschatologically, ‘through trial and cross,’ God’s purposes unfold with grace for believers as the Holy Spirit kindles faith, inviting cold, hard, and sad hearts to ‘join the ever-rising crescendo of joy’ over God’s new creation.”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk peterson @ 15

    “The people condemned under the Law are pardoned”

    This was the vocation of the prophets to proclaim this to the people . Their Old Adam driven by the Law (cf 1st article and 4th petition on vocations) to do God´s Will.

    and respond with joy.

    So in with and under the visible seed of the preached word, the Holy Spirit planted trust in “for you!” Invisible faith in the comming Messiah. Alone. Responding and faith are something that we do. Where God demands this faith in the 1st commandment. And only the Gospel can create this invisible trust. There is a visible component to this true worship that is faith in Christ, that is the expression of Joy. This could be the jubilee that the Pharisees also celebrated.

    So there is Law and there is Gospel. There are only two categories that every thing can be placed into in our earthly existence that has to do with anything that we can do in our bodies.

    And there is no third category called “response to the gospel” that is infused Gospel.

    I know you know this SKP!

    Further confessional law and gospel reading that helped me become clear on this:

    Besides, the custom of speech is well known that by the same word we sometimes comprehend by synecdoche the cause and effects.

    Thus in Luke 7, 47 Christ says: Her sins, which are many, are
    forgiven, for she loved much . For Christ interprets Himself [this very passage] when He adds: Thy faith hath saved thee.

    And the narrative itself shows in this passage what that is which He
    calls love.

    The woman came with the opinion concerning Christ that with Him the remission of sins should be sought. This worship is the highest worship of Christ. Nothing greater could she ascribe to Christ. To seek from Him the remission of sins was truly to acknowledge the Messiah. Now, thus to think of Christ, thus to worship Him, thus to embrace Him, is truly to believe.

    Christ, moreover, employed the word “love” not towards the woman, but against the Pharisee, because He contrasted the entire worship of the Pharisee with the entire worship of the woman.

    He reproved the Pharisee because he did not acknowledge that He was the Messiah, although he rendered Him the outward offices due to a guest and a great and holy man.

    He points to the woman and praises her worship, ointment, tears, etc., all of which were signs of faith and a confession, namely, that with Christ she sought the remission of sins.

    It is indeed a great example, which, not without reason, moved Christ to reprove the Pharisee, who was a wise and honorable man, but not a believer.

    He charges him with impiety, and admonishes him by the example of the woman, showing thereby that it is disgraceful to him, that, while an unlearned woman believes God, he, a doctor of the Law, does not believe, does not acknowledge the Messiah, and does not
    seek from Him remission of sins and salvation.

    34] Thus, therefore, He praises the entire worship [faith with its fruits, but towards the Pharisee He names only the fruits which prove to men that there is faith in the heart], as it often occurs in the Scriptures that by one word we embrace many things;

    Thus He here says: Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much, i.e., because she has truly worshiped Me with faith and the exercises and signs of faith. He comprehends the entire worship. Meanwhile He teaches this, that the remission of sins is properly received by faith, although love, confession, and other good fruits ought to follow. …

    And yet we shall find, in God’s judgment, that this confidence [in love] is vain, and that consciences rush thence into despair. But if the remission of sins and reconciliation do not occur
    freely for Christ’s sake, but for the sake of our love, no one will have remission of sins, unless when he has fulfilled the entire Law, because the Law does not justify as long as it can accuse us.

    37] Therefore it is manifest that, since justification is reconciliation for Christ’s sake, we are justified by faith, because it is very certain that by faith alone the remission of sins is received.

    38] Now, therefore, let us reply to the objection which we have above stated: [Why does love not justify anybody before God?]

    The adversaries are right in thinking that love is the fulfilling of the Law, and obedience to the Law is certainly righteousness.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk peterson @ 15

    “The people condemned under the Law are pardoned”

    This was the vocation of the prophets to proclaim this to the people . Their Old Adam driven by the Law (cf 1st article and 4th petition on vocations) to do God´s Will.

    and respond with joy.

    So in with and under the visible seed of the preached word, the Holy Spirit planted trust in “for you!” Invisible faith in the comming Messiah. Alone. Responding and faith are something that we do. Where God demands this faith in the 1st commandment. And only the Gospel can create this invisible trust. There is a visible component to this true worship that is faith in Christ, that is the expression of Joy. This could be the jubilee that the Pharisees also celebrated.

    So there is Law and there is Gospel. There are only two categories that every thing can be placed into in our earthly existence that has to do with anything that we can do in our bodies.

    And there is no third category called “response to the gospel” that is infused Gospel.

    I know you know this SKP!

    Further confessional law and gospel reading that helped me become clear on this:

    Besides, the custom of speech is well known that by the same word we sometimes comprehend by synecdoche the cause and effects.

    Thus in Luke 7, 47 Christ says: Her sins, which are many, are
    forgiven, for she loved much . For Christ interprets Himself [this very passage] when He adds: Thy faith hath saved thee.

    And the narrative itself shows in this passage what that is which He
    calls love.

    The woman came with the opinion concerning Christ that with Him the remission of sins should be sought. This worship is the highest worship of Christ. Nothing greater could she ascribe to Christ. To seek from Him the remission of sins was truly to acknowledge the Messiah. Now, thus to think of Christ, thus to worship Him, thus to embrace Him, is truly to believe.

    Christ, moreover, employed the word “love” not towards the woman, but against the Pharisee, because He contrasted the entire worship of the Pharisee with the entire worship of the woman.

    He reproved the Pharisee because he did not acknowledge that He was the Messiah, although he rendered Him the outward offices due to a guest and a great and holy man.

    He points to the woman and praises her worship, ointment, tears, etc., all of which were signs of faith and a confession, namely, that with Christ she sought the remission of sins.

    It is indeed a great example, which, not without reason, moved Christ to reprove the Pharisee, who was a wise and honorable man, but not a believer.

    He charges him with impiety, and admonishes him by the example of the woman, showing thereby that it is disgraceful to him, that, while an unlearned woman believes God, he, a doctor of the Law, does not believe, does not acknowledge the Messiah, and does not
    seek from Him remission of sins and salvation.

    34] Thus, therefore, He praises the entire worship [faith with its fruits, but towards the Pharisee He names only the fruits which prove to men that there is faith in the heart], as it often occurs in the Scriptures that by one word we embrace many things;

    Thus He here says: Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much, i.e., because she has truly worshiped Me with faith and the exercises and signs of faith. He comprehends the entire worship. Meanwhile He teaches this, that the remission of sins is properly received by faith, although love, confession, and other good fruits ought to follow. …

    And yet we shall find, in God’s judgment, that this confidence [in love] is vain, and that consciences rush thence into despair. But if the remission of sins and reconciliation do not occur
    freely for Christ’s sake, but for the sake of our love, no one will have remission of sins, unless when he has fulfilled the entire Law, because the Law does not justify as long as it can accuse us.

    37] Therefore it is manifest that, since justification is reconciliation for Christ’s sake, we are justified by faith, because it is very certain that by faith alone the remission of sins is received.

    38] Now, therefore, let us reply to the objection which we have above stated: [Why does love not justify anybody before God?]

    The adversaries are right in thinking that love is the fulfilling of the Law, and obedience to the Law is certainly righteousness.

  • SKPeterson

    Yes, precisely. I am glad you agree with me. :D

    I find the following you quoted to be key, especially the second sentence (at least to my understanding):

    “And yet we shall find, in God’s judgment, that this confidence [in love] is vain, and that consciences rush thence into despair. But if the remission of sins and reconciliation do not occur
    freely for Christ’s sake, but for the sake of our love, no one will have remission of sins, unless when he has fulfilled the entire Law, because the Law does not justify as long as it can accuse us.”

    Am I right in thinking that you are holding ‘joy’ in the same regard as ‘love’ here? As a work?

    Another passage you quote:

    “He points to the woman and praises her worship, ointment, tears, etc., all of which were signs of faith and a confession, namely, that with Christ she sought the remission of sins.”

    What is the other part of this story? The woman is forgiven. Righteousness is imparted to her by Christ through her faith. If that isn’t a joyful occasion, I don’t know what is. That is the joy of Advent.

  • SKPeterson

    Yes, precisely. I am glad you agree with me. :D

    I find the following you quoted to be key, especially the second sentence (at least to my understanding):

    “And yet we shall find, in God’s judgment, that this confidence [in love] is vain, and that consciences rush thence into despair. But if the remission of sins and reconciliation do not occur
    freely for Christ’s sake, but for the sake of our love, no one will have remission of sins, unless when he has fulfilled the entire Law, because the Law does not justify as long as it can accuse us.”

    Am I right in thinking that you are holding ‘joy’ in the same regard as ‘love’ here? As a work?

    Another passage you quote:

    “He points to the woman and praises her worship, ointment, tears, etc., all of which were signs of faith and a confession, namely, that with Christ she sought the remission of sins.”

    What is the other part of this story? The woman is forgiven. Righteousness is imparted to her by Christ through her faith. If that isn’t a joyful occasion, I don’t know what is. That is the joy of Advent.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK peterson

    Of course we agree dear brother!

    Yes I am holding joy in the same way as love here. It is a good work. In me it is riddled by sin as well in that my heart is not fully in it since the Old Adam still clings to me.

    And love for God is the highest and best work and it IS something I do and am commanded to do.

    I work at faith. It is alot of work for me to not despise preaching and his word after drinking a bit too much and staying out a bit to late at times on saturday night. But I get up and go because christ commands me to do that and tells me He will only be found there. And I do not trust my faith for salvation. I trust my baptism for that! Let every man including me be a liar but God is true. I confess that there is no faith in me. There is no joy, awe, or love. I am faithless.

    But I will hold God to his promise to me in my baptism.

    God will work his goodness, both temporal , creaturely Goodness just because he is good, and then , how much more I should know from thatm, that also, just because he is good, he will forgive me in Christ.

    But my own part, my own response, or at least the part I can see , which is only Old Adam, is all Law. I exercise my faith by working hard at doing good works.

    This is not an exercise of my faith by the way because I am doing good things. It is an exercise of my faith because I can only see sin and flaws in my works and so working at works throws me back to the foot of the Cross! I know there is a New Man because I am told this by Someone I trust. Evident Reason informs me totally to the contrary.

    And this law stuff is all stuff I can do in my body. So this is all earthly Kingdom stuff. It requires mortification to produce this love. key mortification phrases “subdue the flesh, discipline as an athlete running a race, persevere, die to self” And then that mortification is still “nothing” (cf st paul) if it is not about someone else who needs me: my neighbor. He needs joy and I am commanded to deliver it to him daily. And not doling it out dutifully. Ladling it out recklessly in a way that curls toes and makes people giddy. And I do not want to do this in my heart. back to the cross I run!

    And it is your and my pleasure, isn´t it, to share the good news of Advent as christ has commanded us to do? And we need to confess that we need the law and discipline to enable our Old Adam to provide this loving service. Our will too is fallen and so willpower is the enemy not the friend of this effort.

    You and I have the “mind of christ ” and the “law of christ” and the will that simply cannot sin. (1 john) and this new man is , alone, who we truly are.

    However the Holy Spirit is only able to visibly and actively serve this goodness up from us by riding that recalcitrant ass called the Old adam that is the old us and still clings to us like a parasite, with the threats and punishments of the Law. And we participate in this to the death of our Old Adam poured out for the life of others.

    So whatever we can see or do in our bodies on earth is Old Adam and the Holy Spirit using the Law to squeeze goodness out of him exactly as He does out of the Luke 18 lawless judge (Old Adam), driven by an old adam conscience for whom love has died. And yet out of this comes fatherly goodness.

    And we look to that second Advent when we will be only new man and all our tears will be wiped dry.

    Come quickly Lord!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK peterson

    Of course we agree dear brother!

    Yes I am holding joy in the same way as love here. It is a good work. In me it is riddled by sin as well in that my heart is not fully in it since the Old Adam still clings to me.

    And love for God is the highest and best work and it IS something I do and am commanded to do.

    I work at faith. It is alot of work for me to not despise preaching and his word after drinking a bit too much and staying out a bit to late at times on saturday night. But I get up and go because christ commands me to do that and tells me He will only be found there. And I do not trust my faith for salvation. I trust my baptism for that! Let every man including me be a liar but God is true. I confess that there is no faith in me. There is no joy, awe, or love. I am faithless.

    But I will hold God to his promise to me in my baptism.

    God will work his goodness, both temporal , creaturely Goodness just because he is good, and then , how much more I should know from thatm, that also, just because he is good, he will forgive me in Christ.

    But my own part, my own response, or at least the part I can see , which is only Old Adam, is all Law. I exercise my faith by working hard at doing good works.

    This is not an exercise of my faith by the way because I am doing good things. It is an exercise of my faith because I can only see sin and flaws in my works and so working at works throws me back to the foot of the Cross! I know there is a New Man because I am told this by Someone I trust. Evident Reason informs me totally to the contrary.

    And this law stuff is all stuff I can do in my body. So this is all earthly Kingdom stuff. It requires mortification to produce this love. key mortification phrases “subdue the flesh, discipline as an athlete running a race, persevere, die to self” And then that mortification is still “nothing” (cf st paul) if it is not about someone else who needs me: my neighbor. He needs joy and I am commanded to deliver it to him daily. And not doling it out dutifully. Ladling it out recklessly in a way that curls toes and makes people giddy. And I do not want to do this in my heart. back to the cross I run!

    And it is your and my pleasure, isn´t it, to share the good news of Advent as christ has commanded us to do? And we need to confess that we need the law and discipline to enable our Old Adam to provide this loving service. Our will too is fallen and so willpower is the enemy not the friend of this effort.

    You and I have the “mind of christ ” and the “law of christ” and the will that simply cannot sin. (1 john) and this new man is , alone, who we truly are.

    However the Holy Spirit is only able to visibly and actively serve this goodness up from us by riding that recalcitrant ass called the Old adam that is the old us and still clings to us like a parasite, with the threats and punishments of the Law. And we participate in this to the death of our Old Adam poured out for the life of others.

    So whatever we can see or do in our bodies on earth is Old Adam and the Holy Spirit using the Law to squeeze goodness out of him exactly as He does out of the Luke 18 lawless judge (Old Adam), driven by an old adam conscience for whom love has died. And yet out of this comes fatherly goodness.

    And we look to that second Advent when we will be only new man and all our tears will be wiped dry.

    Come quickly Lord!

  • Porcell

    Dr. Veith: They were about “the Four Last Things”: Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven.

    Yes, though we moderns, being essentially romantic modern folk, tend to accent the joy and warmth of Advent. Our spiritual Puritan forebears decidedly didn’t celebrate Christmas; during that season, understanding that Advent was essentially a time of penitence. They did royally celebrate Easter, knowing that the risen Lord was the Messiah who connected we Gentiles with chosen Israel and, through faith in the Cross, forgave our manifold sins.

  • Porcell

    Dr. Veith: They were about “the Four Last Things”: Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven.

    Yes, though we moderns, being essentially romantic modern folk, tend to accent the joy and warmth of Advent. Our spiritual Puritan forebears decidedly didn’t celebrate Christmas; during that season, understanding that Advent was essentially a time of penitence. They did royally celebrate Easter, knowing that the risen Lord was the Messiah who connected we Gentiles with chosen Israel and, through faith in the Cross, forgave our manifold sins.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk peterson @ 22

    AMEN brother!

    Aren´t you and so very blessed to have those two sheep dogs Grace and Mercy nipping at our heals as we are hurded by our Good Shepherd through the valley of the shadow of death?

    Thanks for your patience in our exchange dear brother. Blessings.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk peterson @ 22

    AMEN brother!

    Aren´t you and so very blessed to have those two sheep dogs Grace and Mercy nipping at our heals as we are hurded by our Good Shepherd through the valley of the shadow of death?

    Thanks for your patience in our exchange dear brother. Blessings.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 26

    beautifully put dear Peter. What are you and your family doing for Advent and Christmas season?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Porcell @ 26

    beautifully put dear Peter. What are you and your family doing for Advent and Christmas season?

  • Porcell

    At 26, thanks, FWS, our family, including eight grandchildren, will be together at our coast of Maine place for an observance of Christmas, including a midnight Christmas Eve service and a modest exchange of presents on Christmas day.

  • Porcell

    At 26, thanks, FWS, our family, including eight grandchildren, will be together at our coast of Maine place for an observance of Christmas, including a midnight Christmas Eve service and a modest exchange of presents on Christmas day.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Ah Peter, that sounds wonderful. all the best to you and your family. wow EIGHT grandkids. You are especially blest! That is a joy i will n0t be able to have where God has placed me.

    I am glad you will be with those you love and who make you feel loved.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Ah Peter, that sounds wonderful. all the best to you and your family. wow EIGHT grandkids. You are especially blest! That is a joy i will n0t be able to have where God has placed me.

    I am glad you will be with those you love and who make you feel loved.

  • collie

    I’d also like to thank Snafu @1 for posting the lovely Advent hymn. The voices are really beautiful and clear.

  • collie

    I’d also like to thank Snafu @1 for posting the lovely Advent hymn. The voices are really beautiful and clear.

  • Stephen

    Somebody say Steve?

    Hey, yeah. I’ve wondered that too SK. Are you really Soren Kierkegaard? If so, we have to talk.

    I’m trying to get our Advent tradition going with the wreath. It’s not something my wife grew up with, but now that we are parents all the these traditions seem that much more intimate and vital. I like the Advent feel of repentance and that we are building up to something. I tried to explain this to my wife who wants to just get going on pretty much all of it the minute the turkey sandwiches are finished from Thanksgiving. By the 26th, I feel like it was mile 26 of a marathon and I am spent.

    And as for our Christian culture, the Christian bookstore was laughable with its array of over-priced “Jesus junk” and pathetic tin wreaths. They didn’t even have any decent sets of candles. And only cheap, cardboard calendars. I don’t know why I expected something made by an artist or craftsperson. Time for some woodworking! I hope to have a “better” one next year, along with a calendar – something we can use every year. We always had those, singing around the wreath, and I remember a wooden calendar when I was very young, but I don’t know what happened to it. I want to puke green and red.

    I like the spooky Christmas songs the best like the one Frank mentioned “O Come O Come Emanuel.” I’ve hear a version of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” in minor key that’s really good. I also like Black Gospel if you want to get your heartstrings yanked. “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” is one. And there’s always “Go Tell it On the Mountain.” If that one is done well, it will kill that Old Adam, at least for the duration of the tune. I’ve also heard some old medieval stuff that’s good. When I dig it up maybe I can post it.

  • Stephen

    Somebody say Steve?

    Hey, yeah. I’ve wondered that too SK. Are you really Soren Kierkegaard? If so, we have to talk.

    I’m trying to get our Advent tradition going with the wreath. It’s not something my wife grew up with, but now that we are parents all the these traditions seem that much more intimate and vital. I like the Advent feel of repentance and that we are building up to something. I tried to explain this to my wife who wants to just get going on pretty much all of it the minute the turkey sandwiches are finished from Thanksgiving. By the 26th, I feel like it was mile 26 of a marathon and I am spent.

    And as for our Christian culture, the Christian bookstore was laughable with its array of over-priced “Jesus junk” and pathetic tin wreaths. They didn’t even have any decent sets of candles. And only cheap, cardboard calendars. I don’t know why I expected something made by an artist or craftsperson. Time for some woodworking! I hope to have a “better” one next year, along with a calendar – something we can use every year. We always had those, singing around the wreath, and I remember a wooden calendar when I was very young, but I don’t know what happened to it. I want to puke green and red.

    I like the spooky Christmas songs the best like the one Frank mentioned “O Come O Come Emanuel.” I’ve hear a version of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” in minor key that’s really good. I also like Black Gospel if you want to get your heartstrings yanked. “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” is one. And there’s always “Go Tell it On the Mountain.” If that one is done well, it will kill that Old Adam, at least for the duration of the tune. I’ve also heard some old medieval stuff that’s good. When I dig it up maybe I can post it.

  • Stephen

    Oops. The things about puking green and red was a cut and paste that ended up in the wrong place. Ruined my joke about the marathon. Never mind

  • Stephen

    Oops. The things about puking green and red was a cut and paste that ended up in the wrong place. Ruined my joke about the marathon. Never mind

  • Dust

    Snafu at 1….many thanks! And Mike at 20! Those are the words to the Sanctus in the old Lutheran Hymnal, my favorite hymnal!

    Another “beautiful” selection from the utube play list from 1 and another favorite:

    Advent blessings!

  • Dust

    Snafu at 1….many thanks! And Mike at 20! Those are the words to the Sanctus in the old Lutheran Hymnal, my favorite hymnal!

    Another “beautiful” selection from the utube play list from 1 and another favorite:

    Advent blessings!

  • Stephen

    Just read this in Pieper:

    “The Church expects of you that you do not look upon the service in its midst as a burden, but as a joy.”

    And then under the Table of Duties in the Small Catechism “What Hearers Owe to Their Pastors”

    “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you. Heb. 13:17.]”

    And then it says further in the Catechism:

    “Why should we remember and proclaim His death?

    First, so that we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins. Only Christ, true God and man, could do that. Second, so we may learn to be horrified by our sins, and to regard them as very serious. Third, so we may find joy and comfort in Christ alone, and through faith in Him be saved.”

    Sounds like all of this is being commanded. We owe our pastors our rejoicing at Christmas. How about that!!!! We owe it to our neighbor, the pastor who baptizes our kids and teaches us the Word, to rejoice and be glad at Christmas and pull of the best bathrobe drama we can. That is the law of love, the joy we owe him that sometimes we feel quite truly and fully and tearfully, and other times we want to puke green and red.

    Yes, we can say that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Absolutely. That is indeed biblical truth. But if we are doing the “joying” as in “responding (appropriately) with joy” and then seeing that as the marker of Gospel rather than us doing something (a work) in our bodies of sin and death as response, which we are commanded to do for our neighbor’s sake, then we are mixing law and gospel. Regardless of how good it feels, it still belongs under the law – something we are commanded to do. When St. Paul says “Rejoice” he is not proclaiming the gospel as such. He is telling us to do something. Would he need to entreat a New Adam to rejoice? In heaven there just IS rejoicing because that is who we are. In the “third” case noted above under why we proclaim his death, joy and comfort are not the gospel. They are gifts God gives us through faith. Christ alone is the Gospel.

  • Stephen

    Just read this in Pieper:

    “The Church expects of you that you do not look upon the service in its midst as a burden, but as a joy.”

    And then under the Table of Duties in the Small Catechism “What Hearers Owe to Their Pastors”

    “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you. Heb. 13:17.]”

    And then it says further in the Catechism:

    “Why should we remember and proclaim His death?

    First, so that we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins. Only Christ, true God and man, could do that. Second, so we may learn to be horrified by our sins, and to regard them as very serious. Third, so we may find joy and comfort in Christ alone, and through faith in Him be saved.”

    Sounds like all of this is being commanded. We owe our pastors our rejoicing at Christmas. How about that!!!! We owe it to our neighbor, the pastor who baptizes our kids and teaches us the Word, to rejoice and be glad at Christmas and pull of the best bathrobe drama we can. That is the law of love, the joy we owe him that sometimes we feel quite truly and fully and tearfully, and other times we want to puke green and red.

    Yes, we can say that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Absolutely. That is indeed biblical truth. But if we are doing the “joying” as in “responding (appropriately) with joy” and then seeing that as the marker of Gospel rather than us doing something (a work) in our bodies of sin and death as response, which we are commanded to do for our neighbor’s sake, then we are mixing law and gospel. Regardless of how good it feels, it still belongs under the law – something we are commanded to do. When St. Paul says “Rejoice” he is not proclaiming the gospel as such. He is telling us to do something. Would he need to entreat a New Adam to rejoice? In heaven there just IS rejoicing because that is who we are. In the “third” case noted above under why we proclaim his death, joy and comfort are not the gospel. They are gifts God gives us through faith. Christ alone is the Gospel.

  • SKPeterson

    @Stephen. No, not Soren, but Steven. For Advent calendars there are some good ones that are cardboard, but generally they are made in Europe. My grandmother made one that my parents still have and was part of my Advent rituals growing up. She made a wall hanging of felt material with a Christmas tree on it. She also sewed individual ornaments for each day. As Advent progressed the tree would be gradually filled in with ornaments and then the final angel announced the arrival of Christmas Eve.

    An alternative Advent wreath is to get a pine log about 4″ in diameter. Cut it so it will lay flat on a table top and use a circular bit to drill out 4 holes large enough for candles. Then add some evergreen branches or holly and you have an Advent wreath/Yule log. We also use an Advent book that was around before I was born. It’s from CPH, copyright 1965, called “The Christian Family Prepares for Christmas.” Great stuff.

    As to carols, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ has always been a favorite. A few years ago I heard a fantastic carol sung by a choir of Bulgarian monks. It was on WRR in Dallas and was a perfect song for a clear, starlit, late December evening. Absolutely beautiful.

    Hey, fws, you’ll appreciate this from the CPH Advent book:

    ‘It was a great day. On it for a moment God tore open the heavens and let the angelic ecstasy break down on the ears of men. It was the day that marked the beginning of the end for Satan and his power and set the Light of the world firmly in the midst of sin’s inky blackness. It was a day eagerly anticipated by the prophets of old and joyfully remembered by His people of the New Age.’

    See, that joy stuff has been stirring around in me for 40+ years!

  • SKPeterson

    @Stephen. No, not Soren, but Steven. For Advent calendars there are some good ones that are cardboard, but generally they are made in Europe. My grandmother made one that my parents still have and was part of my Advent rituals growing up. She made a wall hanging of felt material with a Christmas tree on it. She also sewed individual ornaments for each day. As Advent progressed the tree would be gradually filled in with ornaments and then the final angel announced the arrival of Christmas Eve.

    An alternative Advent wreath is to get a pine log about 4″ in diameter. Cut it so it will lay flat on a table top and use a circular bit to drill out 4 holes large enough for candles. Then add some evergreen branches or holly and you have an Advent wreath/Yule log. We also use an Advent book that was around before I was born. It’s from CPH, copyright 1965, called “The Christian Family Prepares for Christmas.” Great stuff.

    As to carols, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ has always been a favorite. A few years ago I heard a fantastic carol sung by a choir of Bulgarian monks. It was on WRR in Dallas and was a perfect song for a clear, starlit, late December evening. Absolutely beautiful.

    Hey, fws, you’ll appreciate this from the CPH Advent book:

    ‘It was a great day. On it for a moment God tore open the heavens and let the angelic ecstasy break down on the ears of men. It was the day that marked the beginning of the end for Satan and his power and set the Light of the world firmly in the midst of sin’s inky blackness. It was a day eagerly anticipated by the prophets of old and joyfully remembered by His people of the New Age.’

    See, that joy stuff has been stirring around in me for 40+ years!

  • Stephen

    In other words, be joyful and do what needs doing around the church at Christmas time joyfully, helping the pastor out, so he can be joyful. When its time to sing, sing joyfully, with everything you’ve got, even though you have to sit next to your mother-in-law that you can’t stand. That is law. But in, with, and under it is what God is doing.

    That’s what Frank means, I think.

  • Stephen

    In other words, be joyful and do what needs doing around the church at Christmas time joyfully, helping the pastor out, so he can be joyful. When its time to sing, sing joyfully, with everything you’ve got, even though you have to sit next to your mother-in-law that you can’t stand. That is law. But in, with, and under it is what God is doing.

    That’s what Frank means, I think.

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    SKPeterson said, “It was on WRR in Dallas.” Hey, I used to listen to WRR! (And I used to live in Dallas, obviously.) Do you still live there? What church do you belong to?

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    SKPeterson said, “It was on WRR in Dallas.” Hey, I used to listen to WRR! (And I used to live in Dallas, obviously.) Do you still live there? What church do you belong to?

  • Stephen

    Wow SK!!! Thanks for the idea. I could actually do that Advent/Yule log idea this weekend. I found the candles I need at a craft store, and I plucked ivy from the yard, which actually looks better than the stuff from the tree. right now I have them stuck to an old plate. GREAT idea!

    I like “Away in Manger” too for its spareness and simplicity. We always open one gift on Christmas Eve after we lit the Christ candle and sang. It was usually from my grandmother who traveled around the world, so it would be some strange thing from Thailand or Bulgaria or who knows where. Once I got a wooden model for a Chinese Junk from Hong Kong. It was amazing. She really put me into the spirit with the sense of the whole world being a part of Christmas. “Peace on Earth” really stretched out my imagination to places I’d never heard of with those gifts, especially because they were often toys or games we had to figure out how to play. So I would imagine kids in other counties playing them.

    I struggle with this too – what is authentic and what isn’t in the realm of “feelings” as to this discussion of joy. I’m an artist, and I want like nothing else to be authentic with what I do. But actually, the more I learn about the distinction and habit of dividing law and gospel, the more relief I have. The pressure is off you might say. I can just be, knowing that life is bound to be a slog, I’m going to screw up, but as far as the eternal stuff goes, that stuff is kept in Christ. Essentially, I cannot possibly screw any of that up. I am authentic in my baptism.

    Well, maybe that helps. If I don’t get another chance to say it, Merry Christmas, and I hope I didn’t steal your joy.

  • Stephen

    Wow SK!!! Thanks for the idea. I could actually do that Advent/Yule log idea this weekend. I found the candles I need at a craft store, and I plucked ivy from the yard, which actually looks better than the stuff from the tree. right now I have them stuck to an old plate. GREAT idea!

    I like “Away in Manger” too for its spareness and simplicity. We always open one gift on Christmas Eve after we lit the Christ candle and sang. It was usually from my grandmother who traveled around the world, so it would be some strange thing from Thailand or Bulgaria or who knows where. Once I got a wooden model for a Chinese Junk from Hong Kong. It was amazing. She really put me into the spirit with the sense of the whole world being a part of Christmas. “Peace on Earth” really stretched out my imagination to places I’d never heard of with those gifts, especially because they were often toys or games we had to figure out how to play. So I would imagine kids in other counties playing them.

    I struggle with this too – what is authentic and what isn’t in the realm of “feelings” as to this discussion of joy. I’m an artist, and I want like nothing else to be authentic with what I do. But actually, the more I learn about the distinction and habit of dividing law and gospel, the more relief I have. The pressure is off you might say. I can just be, knowing that life is bound to be a slog, I’m going to screw up, but as far as the eternal stuff goes, that stuff is kept in Christ. Essentially, I cannot possibly screw any of that up. I am authentic in my baptism.

    Well, maybe that helps. If I don’t get another chance to say it, Merry Christmas, and I hope I didn’t steal your joy.

  • SKPeterson

    @tODD – I now live in the Knoxville, TN area, but graduated high school in Arlington. Then college and grad school. Then more grad school in the PNW. I was a member of Advent Lutheran in Arlington. Guess what season it was when it was chartered? Hint, it’s in the name!

    @Stephen – your last line reminded me of a song from Lucinda Williams. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMJ_-5lVw1s

  • SKPeterson

    @tODD – I now live in the Knoxville, TN area, but graduated high school in Arlington. Then college and grad school. Then more grad school in the PNW. I was a member of Advent Lutheran in Arlington. Guess what season it was when it was chartered? Hint, it’s in the name!

    @Stephen – your last line reminded me of a song from Lucinda Williams. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMJ_-5lVw1s

  • SKPeterson

    Oh! For all you Swedish Lutheran wannabes – Sankta Luciadag kommer den 13 December! Enjoy some pepparkakor and aquavit.

  • SKPeterson

    Oh! For all you Swedish Lutheran wannabes – Sankta Luciadag kommer den 13 December! Enjoy some pepparkakor and aquavit.

  • Dust

    But Stephen in 37….isn’t the new man dead to the law? thru our baptism and all that? haven’t old things passed away and behold, all things are new? perhaps now we can rather uphold the law and in that sense are no longer a slave to its accusations? am sure am missing some very fine point of distinction, dunno….but it’s not going to stop me from letting my little light shine :)

  • Dust

    But Stephen in 37….isn’t the new man dead to the law? thru our baptism and all that? haven’t old things passed away and behold, all things are new? perhaps now we can rather uphold the law and in that sense are no longer a slave to its accusations? am sure am missing some very fine point of distinction, dunno….but it’s not going to stop me from letting my little light shine :)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    skpeterson @ 41

    uff da!

    You are a good guy SK. someday if you manage to make it down to Brasil I will buy you a beer, and we can work out that joy thang.

    Two or three beers should do it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    skpeterson @ 41

    uff da!

    You are a good guy SK. someday if you manage to make it down to Brasil I will buy you a beer, and we can work out that joy thang.

    Two or three beers should do it.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk Peterson @ 36

    tusen tak. I did like that joy stuff from your 65 advent book.

    I was 9 at the time it was published….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk Peterson @ 36

    tusen tak. I did like that joy stuff from your 65 advent book.

    I was 9 at the time it was published….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    steven @ 35 and 37

    yup that is what I meant but you are better with words.

    Hey dr luther´s examination in preparation for the Lord´s supper is some of the best stuff we got isn´t it? Love that. I need to start using it again every sunday before I jet off to church..

    Thanks!

    we have lots of stevens around here. If I change my name to steven will I become as smart as all u dudes! Hey trotk. Nice to see your posts steven!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    steven @ 35 and 37

    yup that is what I meant but you are better with words.

    Hey dr luther´s examination in preparation for the Lord´s supper is some of the best stuff we got isn´t it? Love that. I need to start using it again every sunday before I jet off to church..

    Thanks!

    we have lots of stevens around here. If I change my name to steven will I become as smart as all u dudes! Hey trotk. Nice to see your posts steven!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dust @ 42

    you are right. As New Man we died to the law. The Law no longer has any claim at all on our conscience and we are totally free from the law! And this New man was created in your baptism and is kept and sanctified alone by the power of the Holy Gospel whenever you hear it.

    But the Old Adam still clings to us doesn´t he? and alone and only for that reason Dust, we need the Law to Mortify him and put him in his place so that he can serve our neighbor who needs us with our good works.

    we drowned the old adam in our baptism , but it turns out that he is an excellent swimmer! So we need to grab him by the neck and push him under the water every day. And how do we do this? with the law! we mortify our flesh, subdue it. run the race , train to kill him like an athlete would train.

    So the Holy Spirit is continually killing our old Adam with the law and is raising up the new man with the holy Gospel. this is the rhythm of death and resurrection that we live in in our Baptism that continues until our physical death. The we will only be new man in christ alone.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dust @ 42

    you are right. As New Man we died to the law. The Law no longer has any claim at all on our conscience and we are totally free from the law! And this New man was created in your baptism and is kept and sanctified alone by the power of the Holy Gospel whenever you hear it.

    But the Old Adam still clings to us doesn´t he? and alone and only for that reason Dust, we need the Law to Mortify him and put him in his place so that he can serve our neighbor who needs us with our good works.

    we drowned the old adam in our baptism , but it turns out that he is an excellent swimmer! So we need to grab him by the neck and push him under the water every day. And how do we do this? with the law! we mortify our flesh, subdue it. run the race , train to kill him like an athlete would train.

    So the Holy Spirit is continually killing our old Adam with the law and is raising up the new man with the holy Gospel. this is the rhythm of death and resurrection that we live in in our Baptism that continues until our physical death. The we will only be new man in christ alone.

  • Stephen

    Dust @ 42

    You should let your light shine, so that they (your neighbor) might see your good works and give thanks to your Father in heaven. This is a command to love your neighbor. It is law. That doesn’t mean it is bad. And yes, who we are in Christ through invisible faith, the new creation kept in Christ alone in whom we have our heavenly righteousness – this new creation has been raised to new life with Christ alone. That is promise which we receive in our baptism, and is truly who we are.

    So it is that in, with, and under that Old Adam that lives in the body you inhabit (Dust is perfect metaphor), the one that is bound to sin and decay and will surely die, and is doing that good work of shining that light as is commanded, guess what? There is Fatherly goodness! There is the gifts God wants for his creatures, and their faith is not even required to receive them, but they will see these blessings of light in a dark world and give thanks to their Father in heaven.

    And as for upholding the law, give it a shot if you think YOU can do it (I’m talking to your Old Adam). But I don’t think that is what you mean. So then, how does one do that?

    Answer: “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me” says St. Paul. The heavenly righteousness, that new creation, the one that is imparted to you in your baptism sets you free from the law’s accusations. That is yours, “given and shed for you” Dust, through Christ our Lord. You belong to that reality, to Christ, forever. That is the Gospel.

    Just don’t confuse what I just said about the Gospel with the things we do in church. They are all law, though we are promised that in, with and under them is Gospel, so we go there to hear it. We need to hear it. All these things that we do are done because God commands it. He commands it because He desires things for us. That includes our joy, our comfort, our pleasure, as well as the stuff we’d rather not deal with, from the menial chores of life to the excruciatingly boring and threateningly wrathful stuff. Why? For the sake of our neighbor. He needs us as a means to get our neighbor loved. Stuff is done for us, to us and through us you might say, all by the law. It isn’t all terrible.

    You could say that there is “guidance” going on in all of it for our Old Adam I suppose. That is certainly one purpose of the law, but not the only one. God also wants us and our neighbor to give and receive all that good stuff too. Sometimes its like water off a ducks back to get it out of us, and sometimes he has to threaten and cajole it out of us. As Frank is fond of saying, the law always accuses. That is true, because if you scratch the surface of our pretensions about the things we try to carry out, there’s an egotistical Old Adam under there who wants something out of the deal, even in our brightest, most altruistic moments. We are sinners. Even though the Old Adam was drowned in our baptism, he won’t be completely out of air until we are actually dead and meet our Savior face to face. We see through a dark glass. So like the Advent promise, there is a “now” but also a “not yet” for us. And that is why we have the gift of faith, of Word and Sacrament and the fellowship of believers to keep us going toward that heavenly righteousness for which we yearn to complete fully.

    I hope that helps. Don’t ever think that the new creation in you is not real. And if and when you do, because you will, I’m telling you right now – that is the best place to be. Cling to Christ alone in that moment. Hold on to the promise in your baptism. Christ died for you Dust. Confess your unbelief and hold on to Christ alone. Christ alone. Where Christ is there is life and salvation.

  • Stephen

    Dust @ 42

    You should let your light shine, so that they (your neighbor) might see your good works and give thanks to your Father in heaven. This is a command to love your neighbor. It is law. That doesn’t mean it is bad. And yes, who we are in Christ through invisible faith, the new creation kept in Christ alone in whom we have our heavenly righteousness – this new creation has been raised to new life with Christ alone. That is promise which we receive in our baptism, and is truly who we are.

    So it is that in, with, and under that Old Adam that lives in the body you inhabit (Dust is perfect metaphor), the one that is bound to sin and decay and will surely die, and is doing that good work of shining that light as is commanded, guess what? There is Fatherly goodness! There is the gifts God wants for his creatures, and their faith is not even required to receive them, but they will see these blessings of light in a dark world and give thanks to their Father in heaven.

    And as for upholding the law, give it a shot if you think YOU can do it (I’m talking to your Old Adam). But I don’t think that is what you mean. So then, how does one do that?

    Answer: “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me” says St. Paul. The heavenly righteousness, that new creation, the one that is imparted to you in your baptism sets you free from the law’s accusations. That is yours, “given and shed for you” Dust, through Christ our Lord. You belong to that reality, to Christ, forever. That is the Gospel.

    Just don’t confuse what I just said about the Gospel with the things we do in church. They are all law, though we are promised that in, with and under them is Gospel, so we go there to hear it. We need to hear it. All these things that we do are done because God commands it. He commands it because He desires things for us. That includes our joy, our comfort, our pleasure, as well as the stuff we’d rather not deal with, from the menial chores of life to the excruciatingly boring and threateningly wrathful stuff. Why? For the sake of our neighbor. He needs us as a means to get our neighbor loved. Stuff is done for us, to us and through us you might say, all by the law. It isn’t all terrible.

    You could say that there is “guidance” going on in all of it for our Old Adam I suppose. That is certainly one purpose of the law, but not the only one. God also wants us and our neighbor to give and receive all that good stuff too. Sometimes its like water off a ducks back to get it out of us, and sometimes he has to threaten and cajole it out of us. As Frank is fond of saying, the law always accuses. That is true, because if you scratch the surface of our pretensions about the things we try to carry out, there’s an egotistical Old Adam under there who wants something out of the deal, even in our brightest, most altruistic moments. We are sinners. Even though the Old Adam was drowned in our baptism, he won’t be completely out of air until we are actually dead and meet our Savior face to face. We see through a dark glass. So like the Advent promise, there is a “now” but also a “not yet” for us. And that is why we have the gift of faith, of Word and Sacrament and the fellowship of believers to keep us going toward that heavenly righteousness for which we yearn to complete fully.

    I hope that helps. Don’t ever think that the new creation in you is not real. And if and when you do, because you will, I’m telling you right now – that is the best place to be. Cling to Christ alone in that moment. Hold on to the promise in your baptism. Christ died for you Dust. Confess your unbelief and hold on to Christ alone. Christ alone. Where Christ is there is life and salvation.

  • Dust

    Wow, thanks very much fws and Stephen…..lots to think about and absorb, true words of comfort and joy, words of Advent to point us back to our Savior, the Savior of the World, and the firstborn of all who some day will enter the everlasting joy of His presence in our Heavenly home, perhaps someday soon? Amen, come quickly Lord!

    If you get a chance, please give a listen to the beautiful music on the utube link in comment 34….hope it works, and am pretty sure you will enjoy it? It seems to echo the heart and spirit of the deep love of our Lord you’ve expressed to me in your wise and helpful words above!

  • Dust

    Wow, thanks very much fws and Stephen…..lots to think about and absorb, true words of comfort and joy, words of Advent to point us back to our Savior, the Savior of the World, and the firstborn of all who some day will enter the everlasting joy of His presence in our Heavenly home, perhaps someday soon? Amen, come quickly Lord!

    If you get a chance, please give a listen to the beautiful music on the utube link in comment 34….hope it works, and am pretty sure you will enjoy it? It seems to echo the heart and spirit of the deep love of our Lord you’ve expressed to me in your wise and helpful words above!

  • Grace

    Dust – 34

    Thank you for the LINK – we have been sitting in our home office enjoying this site.. so many choices -

  • Grace

    Dust – 34

    Thank you for the LINK – we have been sitting in our home office enjoying this site.. so many choices -

  • SKPeterson

    fws – where are you at in Brazil? Our Associate Pastor speaks Portuguese and married a good Lutheran girl from Novo Hamburgo (her dad is one of the top lay officials in the IELB). Our church sends mission teams down there from time to time to help provide educational tools for school kids in poor neighborhoods. Right now I can’t remember which cities.

  • SKPeterson

    fws – where are you at in Brazil? Our Associate Pastor speaks Portuguese and married a good Lutheran girl from Novo Hamburgo (her dad is one of the top lay officials in the IELB). Our church sends mission teams down there from time to time to help provide educational tools for school kids in poor neighborhoods. Right now I can’t remember which cities.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK Steve “sören” peterson…. @ 50

    the “sören” is fondly. I like kierkegaard. He is theologically joyful and cheery like someone you know here…. ha! ;) and i get to use the umlaut. It has been eliminated now from portuguese orthonography. sad that. but the keyboards still have it! :)

    I am in rio de janeiro. paz lutheran in the neighborhood of Tijuca. pastor is Herivelton (not sure what his mama wuz a smoking when she named her baby….)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK Steve “sören” peterson…. @ 50

    the “sören” is fondly. I like kierkegaard. He is theologically joyful and cheery like someone you know here…. ha! ;) and i get to use the umlaut. It has been eliminated now from portuguese orthonography. sad that. but the keyboards still have it! :)

    I am in rio de janeiro. paz lutheran in the neighborhood of Tijuca. pastor is Herivelton (not sure what his mama wuz a smoking when she named her baby….)

  • Booklover

    Thank you for the beautiful music! Snafu’s link is so joyous. I have seldom heard an organ played so bouyantly. The second link, the tune of “Beautiful Saviour,” was my Dad’s favorite hymn and we sang it at his funeral. :’ | I have also always loved “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” is a beautiful chant-like hymn too, with good words.

    We lost everything Christmas and Advent-related in the flood–tree, lights, ornaments, Christmas and Advent books. But the music books were upstairs so they were safe. There probably isn’t anyone who could care less about the trinkets than I–I’m all about the music. I bought an Advent wreath and that will be it for this year. I do miss the books, so I’m heading straight after work to CPH to look at the Advent book which was mentioned!

  • Booklover

    Thank you for the beautiful music! Snafu’s link is so joyous. I have seldom heard an organ played so bouyantly. The second link, the tune of “Beautiful Saviour,” was my Dad’s favorite hymn and we sang it at his funeral. :’ | I have also always loved “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” is a beautiful chant-like hymn too, with good words.

    We lost everything Christmas and Advent-related in the flood–tree, lights, ornaments, Christmas and Advent books. But the music books were upstairs so they were safe. There probably isn’t anyone who could care less about the trinkets than I–I’m all about the music. I bought an Advent wreath and that will be it for this year. I do miss the books, so I’m heading straight after work to CPH to look at the Advent book which was mentioned!

  • SKPeterson

    fws – I had an interesting thought and you’re to go-to guy on this. It seems to me, that so much of our Advent celebration – the rituals, the imagery, the hymnody, are conditioned as much on the solar calendar as the liturgical. Advent is the time of the lengthening of night, moving then towards the increasing light that dawns at Christmas. I cited “O, Little Town of Bethlehem’ as a favorite and thinking back to my childhood, I imagined Bethlehem as a peaceful New England village, blanketed in the still quiet of snow and dark nights full of stars. Standard Currier and Ives stuff, but powerfully reinforced by the trappings and happenings at church. The marriage between the two is quite perfect. How does this work in the Southern Hemisphere?

  • SKPeterson

    fws – I had an interesting thought and you’re to go-to guy on this. It seems to me, that so much of our Advent celebration – the rituals, the imagery, the hymnody, are conditioned as much on the solar calendar as the liturgical. Advent is the time of the lengthening of night, moving then towards the increasing light that dawns at Christmas. I cited “O, Little Town of Bethlehem’ as a favorite and thinking back to my childhood, I imagined Bethlehem as a peaceful New England village, blanketed in the still quiet of snow and dark nights full of stars. Standard Currier and Ives stuff, but powerfully reinforced by the trappings and happenings at church. The marriage between the two is quite perfect. How does this work in the Southern Hemisphere?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK @ 53

    It is the most jarring dissonance you could imagine. Imagine christmas on the hottest day of the year with the brightest sunlight and the most gorgeous urban beach in the world beckoning.

    A heavy meal has no appeal.
    The stile nacht is not.
    Christmas is not a big deal… it is the preliminary calm leading to…

    NEW YEARS! this is where abo0ut 3 million brasilians all dressed in white crowd to the beaches to offer cheap champagne and offerings on little boats to the sea goddess imanja. and that is the night that all the fireworks are done. not on the 4th of july.

    It is spectacular…. and THAT is but a dry run for the bachannalian festival of fat tuesday that happens the weekend just before ash wednesday. and it is starting to bleed over into ash wednesday.

    I leave town.

    And I come back on ash wednesday ready and hungry for church. I LOVE ash wednesday here. It takes on new meaning. Very important meaning. It is a release from what came before it.

    I feel… um… joy? at the start of Lent. Can I DO that?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    SK @ 53

    It is the most jarring dissonance you could imagine. Imagine christmas on the hottest day of the year with the brightest sunlight and the most gorgeous urban beach in the world beckoning.

    A heavy meal has no appeal.
    The stile nacht is not.
    Christmas is not a big deal… it is the preliminary calm leading to…

    NEW YEARS! this is where abo0ut 3 million brasilians all dressed in white crowd to the beaches to offer cheap champagne and offerings on little boats to the sea goddess imanja. and that is the night that all the fireworks are done. not on the 4th of july.

    It is spectacular…. and THAT is but a dry run for the bachannalian festival of fat tuesday that happens the weekend just before ash wednesday. and it is starting to bleed over into ash wednesday.

    I leave town.

    And I come back on ash wednesday ready and hungry for church. I LOVE ash wednesday here. It takes on new meaning. Very important meaning. It is a release from what came before it.

    I feel… um… joy? at the start of Lent. Can I DO that?

  • SKPeterson

    YES, YOU CAN.

  • SKPeterson

    YES, YOU CAN.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Great that you all liked the “Hoosianna”: you’re similar minds with us! (Don’t know about the Hungarians and Estonians, but we all like our nation relatives even despite the lack of understanding anyway) Mike’s Google translation was a good start, now all is needed is a bit of fine-tuning. That “Maa on niin kaunis” Dust linked is also a great hymn, my son’s (1.8 yrs) favorite.

    Now that I think of it, I can’t recall many American Lutheran hymns. Our hymnals have been traditionally filled with Scandinavian and German songs, not American. (Although rev. Anssi Simojoki lead the publishing of 99 new hymns last year, that include also some Lutheran hymns from the new world.)

    How about linking some for us foreign readers to enjoy? I’m sure YouTube has them.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Great that you all liked the “Hoosianna”: you’re similar minds with us! (Don’t know about the Hungarians and Estonians, but we all like our nation relatives even despite the lack of understanding anyway) Mike’s Google translation was a good start, now all is needed is a bit of fine-tuning. That “Maa on niin kaunis” Dust linked is also a great hymn, my son’s (1.8 yrs) favorite.

    Now that I think of it, I can’t recall many American Lutheran hymns. Our hymnals have been traditionally filled with Scandinavian and German songs, not American. (Although rev. Anssi Simojoki lead the publishing of 99 new hymns last year, that include also some Lutheran hymns from the new world.)

    How about linking some for us foreign readers to enjoy? I’m sure YouTube has them.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Snafu (@56), don’t ask me. Nearly all my favorite hymns were written before the 18th century — or at least their tunes were — and are therefore mostly from the Old World, of course.

    There is this one great American hymn, though: “Be Still My Soul” … ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Snafu (@56), don’t ask me. Nearly all my favorite hymns were written before the 18th century — or at least their tunes were — and are therefore mostly from the Old World, of course.

    There is this one great American hymn, though: “Be Still My Soul” … ;)

  • SKPeterson

    Most of our hymns in English are old Anglican hymns. However, this is a good Advent hymn from American Paul Manz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcRrjCGNsEs&feature=player_embedded

  • SKPeterson

    Most of our hymns in English are old Anglican hymns. However, this is a good Advent hymn from American Paul Manz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcRrjCGNsEs&feature=player_embedded

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@58), of course! And my choir even sang that work in November! Man, is it beautiful, both lyrically and musically.

    I do think the work can’t be done justice by an all-male choir, though — you really have to hear the sopranos hitting that high A. I couldn’t find an exceptional recording of it on YouTube, but here’s a decent one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8bb45ZDppg

    Of course, it’s really not a hymn one could sing at church. There isn’t an obvious melody line — certainly not the soprano one, which goes several whole steps above anything I’ve ever found in a hymnal, as does the tenor line. In fact, I’m not sure I’d ever sung a G above middle C before that piece.

    Still, absolutely beautiful.

    And, since I’m on the topic, I really love “The Eyes of All Wait Upon Thee”, as heard in this okay recording: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Sd6rOtYRT0

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@58), of course! And my choir even sang that work in November! Man, is it beautiful, both lyrically and musically.

    I do think the work can’t be done justice by an all-male choir, though — you really have to hear the sopranos hitting that high A. I couldn’t find an exceptional recording of it on YouTube, but here’s a decent one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8bb45ZDppg

    Of course, it’s really not a hymn one could sing at church. There isn’t an obvious melody line — certainly not the soprano one, which goes several whole steps above anything I’ve ever found in a hymnal, as does the tenor line. In fact, I’m not sure I’d ever sung a G above middle C before that piece.

    Still, absolutely beautiful.

    And, since I’m on the topic, I really love “The Eyes of All Wait Upon Thee”, as heard in this okay recording: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Sd6rOtYRT0

  • SKPeterson

    There’s also the St. Olaf choir. I’m looking out for if/when it will be broadcast locally. Here’s a good example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAa3NC1Fuc4

  • SKPeterson

    There’s also the St. Olaf choir. I’m looking out for if/when it will be broadcast locally. Here’s a good example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAa3NC1Fuc4

  • collie

    SK@41, in honor of my Swedish heritage via my grandfather, I may try whipping up a batch of pepparkakor and add it to our other Christmas traditions. I love my small link to Sweden and its unique culture, art and traditions, and I think you may have inspired me to teach our grandchildren about their ancestors through these Christmas celebrations. Thanks for that ;-)

  • collie

    SK@41, in honor of my Swedish heritage via my grandfather, I may try whipping up a batch of pepparkakor and add it to our other Christmas traditions. I love my small link to Sweden and its unique culture, art and traditions, and I think you may have inspired me to teach our grandchildren about their ancestors through these Christmas celebrations. Thanks for that ;-)

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Oh yes, “Be still my soul”. That sounds so familiar. It has to have been translated into Finnish, I’m sure…. ;)

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Oh yes, “Be still my soul”. That sounds so familiar. It has to have been translated into Finnish, I’m sure…. ;)

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