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What Luther Says

Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 12/14/2013)

Remember when Saturday mornings used to be so much fun when you were a kid?

For me, I'd usually stay up as late as I could the night before (after what I thought was such a "hard" and "long" week at school), and then sleep in as late as I wanted to on Saturday morning.

The best part? Whether Dad would make us breakfast or not (his French Toast!), the even better part of my Saturday mornings growing up was plopping myself down in front of our TV to watch cartoon after cartoon! You know, the kind that were only on once-a-week and not available in an instant through YouTube and/or Netflix?

I thought about that recently and decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us adults to enjoy each and every Saturday morning now that we're all grown up (ok, at least some of us more than others anyway). I mean, isn't it time for us to look forward to Saturday mornings again?

Besides, it will be good for us to recall that childlike faith in fun and laughter if only for a few moments each week. You'll remember that laughter was for Luther a sign of divine grace and also an antidote against the devil too.

From the very beginning, humor had been a theological topic for Martin Luther, embracing the dramatic scope of his whole world view. He himself explained: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words of with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks." And so this unique concept is born! Ok, so it's really not all that "cool" or "original" or "fun" to be sure, but it will be our new tradition here, and I'll try to make it worthwhile too. So who's with me then?

Please keep in mind, it won't be flashy, and it will hardly grab and hold your attention like a classic episode of the Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, or Voltron would, but these "Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane" should satisfy the Confessional Lutheran's appetite for a balanced breakfast that includes your VDMA Vitamins like Vitamin A (Amusement), Vitamin B (Best of the Blogs), Vitamin C (Confessional), Vitamin D (Doctrine), and Vitamin E (Everything Else).

Each Saturday morning, God willing, I'll do my best to share some of the things I remember coming across in my unpredictable journey through Cyberspace during the week (hence, the "Along Memory Lane" part). Of course, this is also where the things you send me via email (if any) will show up too.

Ok, enough with all the commercials! Let's get the show started already, shall we?

8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): I know I featured my 8-year-old son Luke in this section last week, but I simply had to mention him again today because this is too funny. A few days ago, Luke came inside after playing out in the snow for quite awhile here in Buffalo, NY where we've already seen about 3 feet of snow and he says: "Oh no! I was out there for more than an hour! Daddy, am I gonna get Theratopia!?!" Haha! Love the things kids say. Now, maybe we adults can have some fun coming up with an actual definition for a make believe condition called "Theratopia" so have at it! Then, I woke up this morning to find this Christmas cool picture in my inbox. I'm assuming it was taken last night after I relapsed and fell asleep. Enjoy!

While this comes from an Evangelical/Reformed blog I thought it was worth sharing for the same reasons the author highlighted: "Perhaps you’ve already seen the 1970 interview of Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Dame Joan Bakewell on the nature of man. If not, you owe it to yourself to check out this 19-minute conversation recently released by the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust. The interview is striking for a number of reasons. First, it’s conducted in the U.K., where most observers would guess such a fair and engaging interview would be all but impossible today. Second, the interviewer’s familiarity with basic doctrinal Christianity and the contentions of the broader culture set her apart from the talking heads today. Third, it seems there may be very few evangelicals today of the stature of Lloyd-Jones who could command any interest from secular television. Fourth, most sadly, are there any evangelical pastors who would be so thoroughly convinced and unashamed of the Bible’s teaching about man, sin and salvation in Jesus Christ alone? So, I guess you should view the interview because we’re not likely to see its like in our lifetimes. It is an amazing interview that would definitely not even be permitted in England and probably not even in America in many places." WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE INTERVIEW BY CLICKING HERE.

Why is the Small Catechism so important? "A last observation regarding the foundation, content, and place of pastoral care in Luther relates to the catechism. The catechisms of Luther emerged from a series of sermons, and this might serve as a reminder that they are actual proclamation and catechization. They are, therefore, not to be put back on the shelf like a common book. In the preface to the Small Catechism we find two observations that are foundational for pastoral care. On the one hand, Luther states that every member of the congregation-not only the children-needs to know this basic knowledge of the Christian faith, that is, needs to memorize it. Having memorized the text, then they can begin to integrate and apply it to their life. Luther’s thrust is that the language of the faith must be learned first and must be memorized. To use more than one form will confuse things, for '. . . young and inexperienced people must be instructed on the basis of a uniform, fixed text and form. They are easily confused if a teacher employs one form now and another form . . . later on.' The other aspect Luther points to in the preface to the Small Catechism is the foundational significance of the parts of the catechism, not only for the existence of the Christian congregation but also for the surrounding community. This has to do with the specific formation of the consciences and their preparation for the distinction between good and evil, between justice and injustice. Here also the foundations for the existence of a human community in family, society, and state are at stake. This is why Luther stated: 'You should also take pains to urge governing authorities and parents to rule wisely and educate their children. They must be shown that they are obliged to do so, and that they are guilty of damnable sin if they do not do so, for by such neglect they undermine and lay waste both the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world and are the worst enemies of God and man?' Thus, in the catechism -as summary of God’s word- the Christian responsibility for the two kingdoms, for that of the heavens and that of the world, is concentrated. This is not simply a question of the possibility of adaptation, but one of the necessity of existence." Luther’s Care of Souls For Our Times, by Reinhard Slenczka

Micah 4:1-7 "1 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, 2 and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; 4 but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. 5 For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever. 6 In that day, declares the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; 7 and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore." One of the joys we have in Advent is looking back at the prophecies pointing to the coming Messiah. It has been a blessing to me these last days to be considering the prophecy found in Micah 4:1-7. The phrase "in the latter days" leads us today to think of the day when God’s promises will be fulfilled. It reminds us that the drawing together of people for the worship of the Lord is a part of the Messiah’s great work. The picture in verse 2 of people flowing to the mountain of the Lord reminds me of Christ’s words in John 12:32-33 "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die." May Advent draw us together under the Cross to worship the King of Kings. Another item that Micah takes note of in the above passage is the Word of God. In verse 2 it says, "out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Verses 3 and 4 make clear that the Word of God is that which brings peace. And without a doubt our Lord would have us consider Jesus as the Word in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). Advent is a reminder that not all have been gathered in yet; not all is as it should be. But today is yet a day of grace, "Repent and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15). This passage has reminded me of the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. Look at those verses in Micah again. Doesn’t it look like heaven? The Small Catechism says: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." What does this mean? Answer: The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer. But we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also. How is this done? Answer: When God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and will that would not let us hallow the name of God nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh. Instead, He strengthens and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith until we die. This is His gracious and good will. As we pray "thy will be done" and "deliver us from evil" we are praying for Christ’s Advent; for His coming again. Come, Lord Jesus! Pastor Dennis Norby

"God's Church was never intended to impress the culture with it's whistles and bells and yuppie foo-foo-ness. You go to church NOT for an emotionally uplifting experience! You go for the forgiveness of your sins in Word and Sacrament! You go to be crushed by the law that calls you 'Sinner!' and then receive the Grace of God, which is only found in His Word and Sacrament. That is what the church should be selling...except they're not selling it, it's free and undeserved, but essential. Without it...we're no longer a church. If the forgiveness of your sins in Word and Sacrament is not the reason your congregation gathers together on Sunday morning...Find another church!" Rev. Anthony R. Voltattorni

Sorry, but that's all I have for you this week.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, now that your belly's full and you're wide awake, and you have the whole day in front of you, just go outside and play, but play nice and never, ever bend the rules just to get along or to be liked (Galatians 1:10; Jude 1:3).

Grace and peace to you and yours!

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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