Rev. Harrison on Lent

I am appreciating more and more the ability of Matt Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, to witness to our faith in the public square.  Here are his Lenten greetings:

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.

  • #4 Kitty

    Matt 6:5 -6
    That’s a rather ironic verse for Ash Wednesday. Of course we don’t take Jesus’ words literally. And what happened to President Harrison?He sounds like he’s auditioning for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

  • #4 Kitty

    Matt 6:5 -6
    That’s a rather ironic verse for Ash Wednesday. Of course we don’t take Jesus’ words literally. And what happened to President Harrison?He sounds like he’s auditioning for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

  • helen

    “Of course we don’t take Jesus’ words seriously.” –Kitty

    Whichh street corner shall we expect to see you praying on then, Kitty?

  • helen

    “Of course we don’t take Jesus’ words seriously.” –Kitty

    Whichh street corner shall we expect to see you praying on then, Kitty?

  • #4 Kitty

    But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    Well, of course Jesus doesn’t mean what he says here…blah, blah, blah, derp.
    These two verses are hardly what I want to be reminded of when considering the imposition of ashes.

  • #4 Kitty

    But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    Well, of course Jesus doesn’t mean what he says here…blah, blah, blah, derp.
    These two verses are hardly what I want to be reminded of when considering the imposition of ashes.

  • Mary

    So, #4 Kitty, after watching the video, that is all you got out of it? How sad.

  • Mary

    So, #4 Kitty, after watching the video, that is all you got out of it? How sad.

  • Tom Hering

    #4 Kitty @ 3, Jesus is telling us not to make a public display of how right we are with God. The imposition of ashes is a public confession of how wrong we are with God.

  • Tom Hering

    #4 Kitty @ 3, Jesus is telling us not to make a public display of how right we are with God. The imposition of ashes is a public confession of how wrong we are with God.

  • Tom Hering

    “He sounds like he’s auditioning for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

    Dr. Veith said he likes the idea of Lent as a Spring Break for the soul. So maybe Rev. Harrison’s video is part of a new series, Lutherans Gone Mild.

  • Tom Hering

    “He sounds like he’s auditioning for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

    Dr. Veith said he likes the idea of Lent as a Spring Break for the soul. So maybe Rev. Harrison’s video is part of a new series, Lutherans Gone Mild.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom @ 6: “Lutherans Gone Mild” :) :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom @ 6: “Lutherans Gone Mild” :) :)

  • #4 Kitty

    “Lutherans Gone Mild”~ Love it!
    I’ve seen a video of him speaking before an audience in Fort Wayne. He’s very engaging when he wants to be.

  • #4 Kitty

    “Lutherans Gone Mild”~ Love it!
    I’ve seen a video of him speaking before an audience in Fort Wayne. He’s very engaging when he wants to be.

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Thankfully, Jesus didn’t tell us how we ought to behave when trolling blogs. That is #4 Kitty’s stated goal here, isn’t it?

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Thankfully, Jesus didn’t tell us how we ought to behave when trolling blogs. That is #4 Kitty’s stated goal here, isn’t it?

  • #4 Kitty

    Oh tODD would you just look at what you wrote? I think it’s you that’s trying to troll me.

  • #4 Kitty

    Oh tODD would you just look at what you wrote? I think it’s you that’s trying to troll me.

  • Joanne

    Of course, it’s always a good idea to follow the text for the day, the pericope, and this Gospel periope was from Matthew. Lots of time a surface glance makes the day’s passages seem odd for the time of year. They are usually the result of a very old tradition and often relate to pericopes either just before them or just after them. Often pastors have to do a lot of research on a pericope text to get the reason why over so long a time, this text is the right one for this day.

    They read the various commentaries to get ideas there from Luther or Gerhard. They read the previous and following chapters to get a fuller sense of the context of the text. They meditate on the text using exegetical (word for word in the original language) methods to fill out even more meaning. They consider the rules of interpretation, hemenutics, to see if there’s more to the text if interpreted differently, if the rules will allow it. Then somewhere in all this, they start putting together a homily or sermon or message as here.

    I was very pleased with Pastor Harrison’s message, Lent really is a time for reflection. And, of course, I love Luther. He was an excellent pastor, even to his Augustinian flock before all the ruckus stared.

    I do have one disappointment. When listening to Pastor Harrison’s listing of all the wonderful things our pastors do for us, preach, baptise, funerals, weddings, etc., I kept listening for “hear our confessions and forgive our sins.” If you confess regularily to your pastor and receive his absolution, you know like me that is one of the most powerful things our pastors do for us. He knows just how black my sin is and yet even after I tell him how awful I’ve been, he still lays his hands on my head and forgives me. That’s a miracle every time it happens, and mysteries just like our baptism and the Lord’s supper.

    Please, Pastor Harrison, don’t forget confession with our Pastors especially during Lent.

  • Joanne

    Of course, it’s always a good idea to follow the text for the day, the pericope, and this Gospel periope was from Matthew. Lots of time a surface glance makes the day’s passages seem odd for the time of year. They are usually the result of a very old tradition and often relate to pericopes either just before them or just after them. Often pastors have to do a lot of research on a pericope text to get the reason why over so long a time, this text is the right one for this day.

    They read the various commentaries to get ideas there from Luther or Gerhard. They read the previous and following chapters to get a fuller sense of the context of the text. They meditate on the text using exegetical (word for word in the original language) methods to fill out even more meaning. They consider the rules of interpretation, hemenutics, to see if there’s more to the text if interpreted differently, if the rules will allow it. Then somewhere in all this, they start putting together a homily or sermon or message as here.

    I was very pleased with Pastor Harrison’s message, Lent really is a time for reflection. And, of course, I love Luther. He was an excellent pastor, even to his Augustinian flock before all the ruckus stared.

    I do have one disappointment. When listening to Pastor Harrison’s listing of all the wonderful things our pastors do for us, preach, baptise, funerals, weddings, etc., I kept listening for “hear our confessions and forgive our sins.” If you confess regularily to your pastor and receive his absolution, you know like me that is one of the most powerful things our pastors do for us. He knows just how black my sin is and yet even after I tell him how awful I’ve been, he still lays his hands on my head and forgives me. That’s a miracle every time it happens, and mysteries just like our baptism and the Lord’s supper.

    Please, Pastor Harrison, don’t forget confession with our Pastors especially during Lent.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    #4 Kitty (@10), if I may remind you of your own words on an earlier post:

    Of course I’m trolling that’s …uh kinda what I do.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    #4 Kitty (@10), if I may remind you of your own words on an earlier post:

    Of course I’m trolling that’s …uh kinda what I do.

  • #4 Kitty

    2:29 am??
    And you’re Pacific Standard?
    Please tell me I’m not the reason you’re missing sleep!
    But to you’re point. Admittedly, some of the things I say are construed as trolling. From my point of view, however, I’m simply making observations that one is not likely to hear in an echo chamber. For example I hope that my statements above are not considered trolling. Personally, I thing President Harrison is a very gifted leader. But his delivery! Before congress he was Harrison the Juggernaut and above, before his constituents, he’s Fred Rogers. The point I was trying to make is that the real President Harrison is a great deal more engaging than either.

    Secondly, his choice of scripture. I’ve heard the very same text used as a reason for some not to submit to the imposition of ashes. And so, I truly did think it unusual to hear it on Ash Wednesday.

    In short, I regrettably (but in many cases perhaps~ rightfully) am branded an internet troll. Honestly though, I’m open to ways in which to deliver a sometimes provocative perspective without crossing that line.

  • #4 Kitty

    2:29 am??
    And you’re Pacific Standard?
    Please tell me I’m not the reason you’re missing sleep!
    But to you’re point. Admittedly, some of the things I say are construed as trolling. From my point of view, however, I’m simply making observations that one is not likely to hear in an echo chamber. For example I hope that my statements above are not considered trolling. Personally, I thing President Harrison is a very gifted leader. But his delivery! Before congress he was Harrison the Juggernaut and above, before his constituents, he’s Fred Rogers. The point I was trying to make is that the real President Harrison is a great deal more engaging than either.

    Secondly, his choice of scripture. I’ve heard the very same text used as a reason for some not to submit to the imposition of ashes. And so, I truly did think it unusual to hear it on Ash Wednesday.

    In short, I regrettably (but in many cases perhaps~ rightfully) am branded an internet troll. Honestly though, I’m open to ways in which to deliver a sometimes provocative perspective without crossing that line.

  • Kelly

    Okay #4 Kitty, but again, this was not some private choice of Bible passage he made. It is used as part of the pericope for Ash Wednesday. It might seem unusual at first, but there’s usually a sermon or message that expounds on the text. In short: don’t practice your righteousness before men in order to be seen and praised by them. Suffice it to say that those who participate in the imposition of ashes (or praying in church, or any other church rite where you’re not the only other person in the room) don’t see this as a prohibition on ashes. Ashes on Ash Wednesday stand for repentance and a reminder of mortality and sin, not proof that you’re fasting or doing any other good works. Personally I don’t know any Christians who go around all day twisting up their face to look like they’re starving on Ash Wednesday. Most don’t participate in any real fasting at all.

    And I daresay that addressing your own church body is a bit different than having to take a stand on a stupid government mandate that you’re p.o.’d about.

  • Kelly

    Okay #4 Kitty, but again, this was not some private choice of Bible passage he made. It is used as part of the pericope for Ash Wednesday. It might seem unusual at first, but there’s usually a sermon or message that expounds on the text. In short: don’t practice your righteousness before men in order to be seen and praised by them. Suffice it to say that those who participate in the imposition of ashes (or praying in church, or any other church rite where you’re not the only other person in the room) don’t see this as a prohibition on ashes. Ashes on Ash Wednesday stand for repentance and a reminder of mortality and sin, not proof that you’re fasting or doing any other good works. Personally I don’t know any Christians who go around all day twisting up their face to look like they’re starving on Ash Wednesday. Most don’t participate in any real fasting at all.

    And I daresay that addressing your own church body is a bit different than having to take a stand on a stupid government mandate that you’re p.o.’d about.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Kelly

    In short: don’t practice your righteousness before men in order to be seen and praised by them

    That’s how I see the imposition of ashes. As a rite within the church I don’t have that much of a problem with it. However, last year I remember two co-workers coming back to work with crosses on their foreheads and I thought it a bit over the top.

    And I daresay that addressing your own church body is a bit different than having to take a stand on a stupid government mandate that you’re p.o.’d about.

    True but…he speaks as if he’s addressing an audience of either children or octogenarians.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Kelly

    In short: don’t practice your righteousness before men in order to be seen and praised by them

    That’s how I see the imposition of ashes. As a rite within the church I don’t have that much of a problem with it. However, last year I remember two co-workers coming back to work with crosses on their foreheads and I thought it a bit over the top.

    And I daresay that addressing your own church body is a bit different than having to take a stand on a stupid government mandate that you’re p.o.’d about.

    True but…he speaks as if he’s addressing an audience of either children or octogenarians.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kitty (@13), do the math. A 2:29AM timestamp on this blog (which is on Eastern time) is 11:30PM over here on the West coast.

    Admittedly, some of the things I say are construed as trolling.

    Come now. “Construed”? You’ve admitted to trolling here. Don’t blame the readers.

    From my point of view, however, I’m simply making observations that one is not likely to hear in an echo chamber.

    A potentially admirable goal — I will leave aside for now the question of whether all “echo chambers” are bad; you seem to assume that there is no truth to be found in such a place — but I would argue that if you’re accused of being a troll, you’re not doing a great job of making your point, no matter how valid or interesting it may be. Perhaps you think I’m speaking as part of the “echo chamber”, but I assure you at the least that I was not historically considered part of the in-crowd here, nor do I believe most here think of me as just another Veith yes-man.

    For example I hope that my statements above are not considered trolling.

    I think it’s clear how they came across to me. “Of course we don’t take Jesus’ words literally”? And you didn’t even attempt to unpack that statement? If you’re going to offer up a challenge to the conversation, or otherwise want to say something potentially controversial, then be prepared to defend and explain your position. But to me, it is the essence of trolling to fire off controversy grenades and then fail to back them up.

    I’ve heard the very same text used as a reason for some not to submit to the imposition of ashes. And so, I truly did think it unusual to hear it on Ash Wednesday.

    Then the question here is whether those wearing ashes outside of church are doing so boastfully. Quite frankly, I don’t see how you could know this about all people wearing ashes. Jesus is clearly criticizing the practices of proud people who think that by their grandiose works they gain favor with God. I have a hard time seeing ashes on the forehead being an obvious application for that reading.

    Is it possible? Definitely. We sinners can (and do) abuse any good thing. I could easily imagine a small, mostly Christian community in which those with ashes look down their nose at those without, “Oh, you didn’t go to church this morning? Well I did!”. But I could also easily see that people wear them in humility (this is, after all, their intent), or even in fear that someone might ask them what the ashes mean. It’s really no different than wearing a jewelry cross, to me. It says something about what you believe, and potentially opens up a conversation about sin and salvation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kitty (@13), do the math. A 2:29AM timestamp on this blog (which is on Eastern time) is 11:30PM over here on the West coast.

    Admittedly, some of the things I say are construed as trolling.

    Come now. “Construed”? You’ve admitted to trolling here. Don’t blame the readers.

    From my point of view, however, I’m simply making observations that one is not likely to hear in an echo chamber.

    A potentially admirable goal — I will leave aside for now the question of whether all “echo chambers” are bad; you seem to assume that there is no truth to be found in such a place — but I would argue that if you’re accused of being a troll, you’re not doing a great job of making your point, no matter how valid or interesting it may be. Perhaps you think I’m speaking as part of the “echo chamber”, but I assure you at the least that I was not historically considered part of the in-crowd here, nor do I believe most here think of me as just another Veith yes-man.

    For example I hope that my statements above are not considered trolling.

    I think it’s clear how they came across to me. “Of course we don’t take Jesus’ words literally”? And you didn’t even attempt to unpack that statement? If you’re going to offer up a challenge to the conversation, or otherwise want to say something potentially controversial, then be prepared to defend and explain your position. But to me, it is the essence of trolling to fire off controversy grenades and then fail to back them up.

    I’ve heard the very same text used as a reason for some not to submit to the imposition of ashes. And so, I truly did think it unusual to hear it on Ash Wednesday.

    Then the question here is whether those wearing ashes outside of church are doing so boastfully. Quite frankly, I don’t see how you could know this about all people wearing ashes. Jesus is clearly criticizing the practices of proud people who think that by their grandiose works they gain favor with God. I have a hard time seeing ashes on the forehead being an obvious application for that reading.

    Is it possible? Definitely. We sinners can (and do) abuse any good thing. I could easily imagine a small, mostly Christian community in which those with ashes look down their nose at those without, “Oh, you didn’t go to church this morning? Well I did!”. But I could also easily see that people wear them in humility (this is, after all, their intent), or even in fear that someone might ask them what the ashes mean. It’s really no different than wearing a jewelry cross, to me. It says something about what you believe, and potentially opens up a conversation about sin and salvation.

  • fws

    joanne what a joy to hear you constantly urging on us the blessing of private confession!

  • fws

    joanne what a joy to hear you constantly urging on us the blessing of private confession!


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