You were there

You know that old spiritual that asks, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?. . .when they nailed Him to the tree?. . .when they laid Him in the tomb?. . . .when God raised Him from the tomb?”  Well, the answer to that question is YES.

According to the Bible, if you were baptized, you died with Him, you were buried with Him, and you rose from the dead with Him. [Read more...]

The movie vs. the flannelboard

We saw the movie Noah.  It had some good cinematic touches (such as the imagery with the seven days of creation), and I don’t begrudge some of the imaginative liberties (such as having the animals be in suspended animation on the ark).  I was even finding myself liking it for awhile.  Some of the criticisms, I saw, were ill founded.  (That they made Noah a vegetarian?  Well, compare Genesis 1:28-30 and Genesis 9:2-4, which suggests that God gave permission to eat animals after the flood.)  But the flaws in the movie kept getting more and more damaging.  Like an ark that has a few leaks, which let in more and more water, the force of which makes the leaks bigger, until the sides stave in and the vessel goes down to the watery depths. [Read more...]

Creation and the new creation

In last Sunday’s sermon on the dialog between Nicodemus and Jesus (John 3), our pastor drew parallels between the Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters at the creation (Genesis 1:2) and what Jesus told Nicodemus about the role of water and the Spirit in the new creation (John 3:5). [Read more...]

A member has been added to your Body

On the Sunday of All Saints yesterday, a new saint was added to the number of saints who constitute Christ’s church.  My new grandson, Thomas Gene Edward Hensley, was baptized.

“When[the church]  baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingraffed into that body, whereof I am a member.”  John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII

My father’s name was read among the dead, and now his name-sake enters the church, so it was all very meaningful to me.  In honor of All Saints, now that I am thinking about John Donne, after the jump I’ll quote the context of the above passage from his Devotions, a series of meditations as he was undergoing a serious illness, which as far as he knew may well be fatal.  The “for whom the bell tolls” refers to the custom of ringing the church bells to call people to prayer for someone who was dying, and he was wondering if the bells were ringing for him. 

[Read more...]

A great video on baptism, inspired by the Prince

Prince George, the future King of England, was baptized yesterday.  For that occasion, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who baptized the prince, made a quite remarkable video about the meaning of baptism.  Read the excerpts and watch the video after the jump.  Note the very end, especially, about the Sacrament signifying that Christ is “for you.”  It sounds pretty Lutheran to me! [Read more...]

Off for the baptism of Michael Gustavus

This weekend, I’m making a mad dash to Oklahoma to be there for the baptism of my new grandson, Michael Gustavus.

Getting ready to go, I came across this, which has rated a RealClearReligion link, a rather flippant dismissal of infant baptism except as a communal rite of welcome.  Compare that discussion to this one:  The Large Catechism – Book of Concord.  (Notice how, according to the Lutheran confessions, Baptism is NOT a human work, but God’s work and that it cannot be separated from faith.  I understand that some people don’t believe in the efficacy of Baptism, whether or infants or adults, but I wish they would not mischaracterize the position of those who do.)  How would you answer the one you disagree with?


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