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hopeful penitence

While we mourn our sin during this time of Lent and focus on our sinfulness in light of God's Law, we must not let mourning turn to brooding or hopelessness. Lent is not a time of self-deprecation, a time to 'beat ourselves up,' or a time to resolve to…

Lent: on sin, hopelessness, and faith

Pow! Right between the eyes. The readings appointed for Ash Wednesday hit us hard with our sinfulness, harder than probably any other readings during the Church Year. The deliberately examined life cannot help but lead us to despair for lack of our own goodness and merit. In the mirror of…

prayer on the eve of Lent

O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth: Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee: Grant this…

pre-Lenten reflection: new disciplines

Usually as we approach Lent we think of disciplines that cut away and simplify, the stereotypical 'giving up' of things in order to let us draw closer to God in our daily walks. While I am certainly not opposed to this practice, this year, I am going to try a…

clinging to our baptism

Luther reminds us that the promises made to us by God in baptism are not just for the moment we are baptized but go with us for our entire lives: Just as the truth of this divine promise [baptism], once pronounced over us, continues until death, so our faith in…

on Christmas

Today the Virgin gives birth to him who is above all being, and the earth offers a cave to him whom no one can approach. Angels with shepherds give glory, and magi journey with a star, for to us there has been born a little child, God before the ages.…

on baptism and security

Therefore our Baptism abides forever; and even though some one should fall from it and sin, nevertheless we always have access thereto, that we may again subdue the old man. But we need not again be sprinkled with water; for though we were put under the water a hundred times,…

advent: ready, set, wait

The new church year has begun. Advent is upon us with all its familiarity, hope, and joy. For most of us, the season of Advent is merely a run up to Christmas. A sanctified excuse to get caught up in the pre-Christmas madness that the rest of our secularized society…

Luther on God's promises

We must recognize that God's promises and commands are distinctly different. God's promises require faith. God's commands demand action. God's promises are absolute and will certainly happen because God himself carries them out. On the other hand, his commands are never fully obeyed. Peopled don't live up to God's standards…

the Boston Massacre and Ferguson, Missouri

Remember the Boston Massacre? I mean, do you remember reading about it in gradeschool? In case you don't, here is a quick synopsis, courtesy of Wikipedia: British troops had been stationed in Boston, capital of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, since 1768 in order to protect and support crown-appointed colonial…