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Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (3/28/15)

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 which include 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). For the most part, these will be things I either bookmarked, read, wrote down, and/or simply couldn't get to myself during the week. 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" when all we want is some "cartoons," right? Let's get the show started already, shall we?

8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): On April 1st, 2012, The Lutheran Satire released "A Palm Sunday Farewell" to announce to the world why the YouTube Channel was being retired by Pastor Hans Fiene. With tomorrow being Palm Sunday, I thought it was a good time to revisit this classic video.

 I'm not suggesting that my own blog post is "the best" or anything, but in sticking with the Palm Sunday theme this week, this was the best place to put this. So, here's a quick look back at what I wrote last year for Palm Sunday. It was a piece titled "Palm Sunday, Palms Someday" that I wrote when I was out of town and in Florida for work for 3 straight weeks and away from my family during Easter.

This is an excerpt from a Palm Sunday sermon delivered by Pastor Charles Henrickson in 2013: "Today is a day that goes by two names. The one that we’re probably more familiar with is 'Palm Sunday.' For it was on this day that Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, greeted by the cheering crowds, and the people used palm branches to welcome him. Palms to indicate victory and triumph. Palms to symbolize success and long life. And so on Palm Sunday Jesus is hailed as the messianic King of Israel, coming to Jerusalem to establish his reign: 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!' The people with the palm branches were correct. Jesus did come to Jerusalem that day to bring in the messianic kingdom. But the question remained: How would he do it? How would this Messiah establish his kingdom? How would he win his victory? And the answer is, by suffering, by dying, by being crucified. This king’s conquest would come with strange and mocking signs: being arrayed with splendid clothing; having an inscription placed over him on the cross, 'This is the King of the Jews.' From a procession of palms to a criminal’s crucifixion, this is how Jesus would triumph and bring in the kingdom of God. The suffering that Jesus enters Jerusalem to undertake–this then brings us to the other name for this day, 'The Sunday of the Passion.' 'Passion.' What does that word mean? The root idea literally has to do with someone being acted upon, as in our word, 'passive.' So 'passion,' as we usually use it, has the idea that someone has been acted upon, has been overtaken, by a strong feeling. For example, we would say things like 'They had a passionate love affair' or 'He went about his work with a passion.' Those persons have had something happen to them. So too the word 'Passion,' when it is used in connection with our Lord Jesus Christ, has the idea of him 'being acted upon.' It refers to Christ’s suffering and his death. Thus we speak of 'The Passion of our Lord.' And so we refer to this day in the church year not only as 'Palm Sunday' but also as 'The Sunday of the Passion.' For on Palm Sunday Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to enter into his Passion, his holy suffering. This is the great week, that 'Holy Week,' when our Lord suffered and died for our sins. This week we go 'From Palms to Passion.' That is the path that our Lord takes to victory. And we hear in the reading of the Passion Gospel just how willingly Jesus lets that suffering happen to him. He certainly knows going into it what’s in store for him. Listen to the things he says: 'I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer'; 'the new covenant in my blood'; 'the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table'; 'the Son of Man goes as it has been determined'; 'this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors.'' Yes, it is clear that Jesus knows that suffering is coming for him, and he allows it to happen. And suffer Jesus did. Betrayed, deserted, and denied by his disciples. Rejected by the religious leaders of his people. Railroaded by unjust trials and testimonies. Beaten by soldiers, mocked by onlookers. Nailed like a common criminal to a cross. But this was not any suffering that Jesus deserved. He had committed no crime. He had committed no sin of any kind. As Pilate declared, three times, 'I find no guilt in this man.' As the one criminal next to Jesus said, 'This man has done nothing wrong.' As the centurion said at his death, 'Certainly this man was innocent!' But on that cross, the Son of God was taking our place, taking the judgment we deserved, so that God’s righteous condemnation would not come against us. And so the Passion shows what is called Christ’s 'passive obedience.' He let fall on him the punishment that we deserve. Even though he did no wrong, Jesus suffered the penalty that God’s law requires for all who break it. That punishment is death under God’s judgment. This is what Christ suffered. 'He humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross.' By that death–the death of the righteous Son of God, standing in the place of sinners like you and me -- we are now forgiven. All our sins have been atoned for. Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account. We have been redeemed, set free from our bondage by the precious blood of Christ. Now God accepts us and cares for us as his own dear children, because we have been joined -- by baptism and by faith -- to his own dear Son."

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Matthew 21:1-11 (ESV) "1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, 'Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once." 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 "Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt,a the foal of a beast of burden.'" 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!' 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, 'Who is this?' 11 And the crowds said, 'This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.'" Here's what my Lutheran Study Bible has to say about this: "Palm Sunday is a high point, as a crowd at the Jewish capital openly acclaims Jesus as Messiah. It is also a turning point, however, since it galvanizes His opponents. Like the crowds in Jerusalem, we are prone to fickleness -- today all for the Lord, tomorrow turning from Him. Though we often prove faithless, Jesus remains constant. His love and forgiveness never falter. ''Hosanna in the highest!' That ancient song we sing; For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heav'n our King.'' (LSB 443:3). Amen."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): Pastor Jordan McKinley tweeted out this quote from Pastor Todd Wilken thanks to the Timehop App: "Who gets to define worship what worship is? The one who is worshipped -- not the one who worships -- this is something we have forgotten in modern American Christianity. We think that the worshipper gets to decide what worship is, but that's not true. The one who gets to decide what proper worship is is the one who is the object of worship--the one who is worshipped. And he's given us things that comprise Christian worship that the Church has held dear for millennia that the modern Church has dispensed with and abandoned. He's given us the simple preaching of the word and the sacraments. And while those hold an excitement for those who believe what they say, and while those do create an experience of a kind, the excitement isn't the point and the experience isn't the point. It's about the objective reality and truth of what God is saying and doing on Sunday morning. And if it's outside of me, and it isn't an experience being generated in me, or, let's be honest, manipulated in me, if it's truly outside of me and it's what God is doing for me on Sunday morning, then it's far more certain than any experience, any excitement, that you can create by any means. When God preaches the simple Law and Gospel of His Word that delivers Christ crucified to sinners so desperately in need of forgiveness, life, and salvation, that's certain -- because it doesn't depend on how you feel or what experience it creates. And we He gives to us through those objective means--those things that are outside of ourselves -- like water with the Word in Baptism and the bread and wine that really, truly bring Christ's body and blood for us to eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins -- that's outside of you, and its certainty doesn't depend on whether you experienced it sufficiently or were sufficiently excited by it." (Rev. Todd Wilken, on the Issues, Etc. comment line from 3/26/14)

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

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed a balanced spiritual diet this morning so I hope you're full and wide awake and ready to face the day in your God-given vocations.

Grace and peace to you and yours!

NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. 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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