I love this painting of the Resurrection by Lucas Cranach the Younger (the son of Luther’s friend).  It’s filled with light, which has, indeed, overcome the darkness. May all of you have a glorious Easter!   Painting by Lucas Cranach the Younger, The Resurrection (1558).  Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=461755 Read more

I just got back from our Good Friday service.  Here in Australia we’re a day ahead of the U.S.A., so this happened on your Maundy Thursday.  I’m writing this post so that it will show up on your Good Friday, our Saturday.  The service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Adelaide was packed and extraordinarily moving. We read the Passion narrative from the Gospel of John, punctuated by stanzas from that achingly beautiful and melancholy hymn “O, Dearest Jesus, What Law… Read more

Just as some liberal Bible scholars have claimed that belief in Christ’s divinity “evolved” over some centuries of tradition, some have claimed that the emphasis on the Cross of Jesus Christ, along with the atonement and everything else it represents, only developed after the time of Constantine.  They say that because Christian visual art did not depict Christ on the Cross until the 4th century.  Actual evidence, however, shoots down both assertions from the “evolution of doctrine” school. We have… Read more

Today, on Maundy Thursday, we commemorate Christ’s gift of Holy Communion, in which He gives in an ongoing way His body and blood for us in bread and wine.  Peter Leithart at Christianity Today connects the Lord’s Supper to vocation, though he doesn’t use that term: Keeping our eyes fixed on the surface helps us see how the Supper contributes to a Christian understanding of culture. Bread and wine are, after all, cultural products. The Old Testament sacrificial system testifies to the link… Read more

Scientists have discovered a new organ in the body.  In fact, it is the largest organ in the body:  the interstitium.  This is tissue containing liquid-filled spaces that exists between the major organs, functioning in part as shock absorber protecting the organs.  The interstitium fluid empties into the lymph nodes, giving it other functions relating to the immune system. Scientists don’t really know what all the interstitium does.  Said one scientist, “It would be analogous to discovering blood vessels for… Read more

We had our Tenebrae service on Tuesday, here in Australia, and the Scripture readings struck me with their irony.  It’s excruciating, I thought, using an adjective often used to describe irony in its extremest form.  Then I realized that the very word “excruciating” comes from “crucify.” Irony is very difficult to define, but let me take up my literature professor vocation once again and give it a try:  Irony involves the tension between two meanings.  The tension may arise because… Read more

The young anti-school shooting crusaders are discrediting the NRA and influencing public opinion to support gun control.  Opponents of gun rights are coming out of the woodwork, organizing boycotts, shaming companies, and trying to make gun rights advocates social pariahs, almost as despicable as opponents of gay marriage.  Now retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is proposing the ultimate solution:  Let’s just repeal the Second Amendment. From CNN: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens believes the students and… Read more

Years ago, I read the book I and Thou by the Jewish theologian Martin Buber.  I have found it very useful in understanding human relationships and how things can go wrong.  Peter Leithart  writes about it for First Things, and I appreciate being reminded about it. Briefly, he says that our relationships are either between persons (an “I” and a “thou”) or with objects (an “I” and an “it”).  Sometimes, though, we treat persons as if they were objects. Buber, by the… Read more

Pro-abortion advocates wrap themselves in the mantle of “the woman’s right to choose.”  But many women don’t choose to get abortions.  Their husbands, boyfriends, or other men pressure them to do so.  Pro-abortion advocates make abortion a hallmark of feminism.  But they don’t say much about the large-scale “gendercide” taking place in many parts of the world, in which girl babies are systematically aborted because the parents prefer sons. Lutherans for Life of Australia is circulating a brilliant, hard-hitting article… Read more

Our new granddaughter, Hannah Grace Hensley, was baptized on Palm Sunday.  Now comes Holy Week.  Christmas celebrates the Incarnation, God becoming a human being.  But this week and the events it commemorates shows, in rapid succession, why this happened and how it was all “for us.”  In fact, all of the strains and themes of Christianity come together this week. On Maundy Thursday the Gospel is underscored, as Christ tells us to take His body, “given for you,”  and His… Read more

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