Pentecost as holiday of Law and Gospel

For the Jews in Jesus’ time and today, Pentecost was a celebration of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, which was thought to have happened 50 days after Passover.  So for centuries, it was a holiday that celebrated the Law.  But then, on the same day, God gave His people the Holy Spirit, making it also a holiday celebrating the Gospel. [Read more...]

The Upper Room

Something I picked up in church:  The “upper room” that was the setting for the Last Supper (Luke 22:7-12) was also very likely the same “upper room” in which the Disciples met to replace Judas (Acts 1:13).  That means it was also the place where Jesus washed His Disciple’s feet and since it was the place “where they were staying” in Jerusalem, it must have been where Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection and was very likely where the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost (Acts 2:1), which we celebrate this Sunday.  So this room was, in effect, the first church-as-building.  And it reminds us of what happens even today in church buildings, which are the places where we too receive the Lord’s Supper, serve each other, meet the Risen Lord, and receive the Holy Spirit.

He ascended into Heaven

Happy Ascension Day!  Today we celebrate that Jesus, in the words of the Apostle’s Creed,  “ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”  It’s interesting how some Christians use this teaching to deny that the Body of Christ can be really present in Holy Communion–after all, His body is in heaven at the right hand of the Father–while Lutherans use this teaching to explain how the Body of Christ can be present in Holy Communion (He now shares the attributes of Godhead, such as omnipresence).

Here, though, is an ancient Christian holiday that has not become secularized.  What do you say is the true meaning of Ascension Day? [Read more...]

Memorial

My father, a member of the occupying army in Europe just after World War II, died about this time last year.  My wife’s father, who fought at Iwo Jima, also died last year.  There aren’t many World War II veterans left.  Let’s remember and thank God for them today, along with our other veterans and the rest of our honored dead.

Mama tried

Our daughter Mary sent her mother this touching, sentimental musical tribute.  I would like to share it with all of you as a belated Mother’s Day testimonial. [Read more...]

The world’s eucatastrophe

Thanks to Rev. Sam Schuldheisz who posted passages from J. R. R. Tolkien on “eucatastrophe,” a word he coined for “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears.”  Tolkien then developed the idea that the eucatastrophe of history is the Birth of Christ, and the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation is His resurrection. [Read more...]


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