Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." (John 20:21-23)

"To 'bind' means to hold someone accountable or to obligate, while to 'loose' means to free from obligation or to forgive. This ecclesial practice, as outlined in Matthew 18:15-22, is a communal pastoral process of reconciliation rather than the legalistic method of community discipline with which it is commonly associated. The intent is not to search out and chastise wrongdoers or to purify and thus protect the community's reputation."

"The authority to bind and to loose is given not to just any group but to a people empowered by the Holy Spirit to be an intentional community of shared standards, mutual trust, and redemptive discipline."
-- Darrell L. Guder, Missional Church

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22)

"[Reconciliation] is an antidote to the competitive, alienating individualism of North American culture. While central to the biblical understanding of the nature of salvation, reconciliation may be the most difficult practice for contemporary Christians even to consider, much less to actualize within their congregations."
-- Darrell L. Guder, Missional Church

Thursday, January 15, 2009

“What is the kingdom of God? Answer: Simply what we learned in the Creed, namely, that God sent his Son, Christ our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the power of the devil and to bring us to himself and rule us as a king of righteousness, life, and salvation against sin, death, and an evil conscience. To this end he also gave his Holy Spirit to teach us this through his holy Word and to enlighten and strengthen us in faith by his power.”
-- Large Catechism (Third Part: The Lord’s Prayer), The Book of Concord

Galatians 4:1-7
1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace."
-- Benediction, Lutheran Service Book, "Divine Service, Setting Two", p.183

With these words, I completed my worship demonstration for P-140 (Worship I). After Matt (my partner) and I completed our turn, there were two more pairs from our team that still had to preside over the liturgy, but the hard part was over.

In order to pass this class, one must satisfactorily pass this assignment; there is no "averaging out" poor conduct on the worship demonstration; if the seminary cannot "let us loose in a congregation", they will not pass us. (It makes sense, but it "adds a little somethin-somethin" to the whole experience.)

At the beginning of the class period, we rolled dice to figure out what order our pairs would go in. Then we rolled dice to figure out which half of the service each person would preside over. In other words, you have to come prepared to preside over either half. Our team has worked very hard for the last week to learn the liturgy; my teammates and I were very well prepared.

I owe my Christian brothers and sisters at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Reston, VA a very big "thank you" for the year in which they allowed me to serve them by assisting in the liturgy. Although I had never conducted a number of the portions of the service or presided over worship in general, the experience of leading portions of the worship at GSLC made preparing for this task much easier.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Augsburg Confession XXVIII: Concerning the Power of Bishops

The apostles directed that one should abstain from blood and from what is strangled. But who observes this now? Yet those who do not observe it commit no sin. For the apostles themselves did not want to burden consciences with such bondage, but prohibited such eating for a time to avoid offense. For in this ordinance one must pay attention to the chief part of Christian doctrine which is not abolished by this decree.

Hardly any of the ancient canons are observed according to the letter. Many of their rules fall daily into complete disuse, even among those who observe such ordinances most diligently. Consciences can neither be counseled nor helped unless we keep this moderation in mind: that such ordinances are not to be considered necessary, and even disregarding them does no harm to consciences.

Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord : The confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (100). Minneapolis: Fortress Press.