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Call to Lent

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Ashes on a Baby

Oh, yes. It’s true. See that little cross?

They can die.

Even them.

In fact, we all will. Age is no guarantee that any of us will make it.

Christ, however, is a different story altogether.

Last evening, we returned to our hard wooden pew. We had lined up with friends of ours, and one by one, the pastor smudged a cross on the forehead of each of us, intoning the solemn reality of Scripture, “… you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” And yet, the grave reminder of our mortality, without exception, was in the shape of a cross, for in Jesus’s death, we have life, and that life gets to have the last word with us. Amen!

The murders in Parkland yesterday. These were kids and adults, and loved ones expected to see them come after school. Now, they will meet them at the coroner’s office. Another horrible symptom of the cancerous sickness of sin that is ultimately fatal to us all. The only question for each of us is when and how. The cause of such evil? That’s more difficult for people to discuss than the effects, so we set about preparing secular solutions, even sensible ones, as far as they go. We grieve and hurt, and so, putting our trust in ourselves — Who else? — we look for answers that surprisingly never seem to go deep enough. Lawyers and politicians (ironically, with guns) have never created a utopia, and they won’t be able to this time, either, though many people hope they will.

As I held our littlest one in my arms, I knew that bottom line. The headlines made it real enough yesterday. It can happen to any of us. Even her.

She’s only two weeks old.

And, I am Daddy. I have strong arms, quick eyes, and even have access to some of those lawyers and guns, too. All good and necessary. I love her dearly — I love my family — but, I can’t protect her from everything. The cross on her newborn forehead, above those little closed eyes, reminds me that Jesus can.

The biggest fear, the darkest threat to her is death. I’m not big enough to protect her from that, but Jesus is. We brought her to the waters of Holy Baptism. There, Jesus met her and made her His own. That cross reminds me that His victory has guaranteed that death has no real power over her. He has her and us, His baptized children, safely located where no evil and no wickedness can have the last word, because bound to Him, our life lasts forever and death is but a sleep.

So, sleep in my arms, little baby. I love you, and what I cannot protect you from, our Lord can. In fact, He already has.

 

Who is doing this?

Robert George points out today:

“When a mass murder or other horrific crime like the one in Parkland is committed, there are a number of important questions to be asked, and a number of debates to be had about what precisely we can do to prevent them in the future or at least minimize loss of life. These crimes are almost always committed by men, frequently young men (and sometimes even boys). So the very first question I want to know the answer to is this: What do we know about the perpetrator’s father and the young man’s relationship with him? I don’t know the answer in the case at hand, but time after time the answer has been that the father is (and was) absent (for one reason or another) from the boy’s life or had virtually no relationship to the son or effective authority over him. I repeat that there are many questions to ask and debates to be had. The question of the perpetrator’s father and the relationship between father and son is not the only question. But for me it is the first one. Although I don’t agree with Barack Obama on much, he was in my opinion right–more right, I suspect, than he knew–when he talked about how much fathers matter, especially in the lives of their sons.”

Confession

I ran across these words this evening. I’m going to leave out the author’s name to respect the individual’s privacy, but if you’ve been Lutheran a while, maybe it’s time you hear this from someone else:

I’m a newer Lutheran ie “Newtheran” who converted from American Evangelicalism to the LC-MS.

I travel extensively for work.

Tonight I went to what was ostensibly an LC-MS Church for Ash Wednesday Service.
What I observed was a disaster: Lutherans attempting to ape “your best purpose driven life now, seeker sensitive, revivalistic American Christianity”. This is the crap my family and I fled from.

It was so bad I actually left the “service” – I couldn’t stomach the heterodoxy any longer.

If this is what my family and I had initially experienced leaving American Christianity we wouldn’t be Lutheran.

To my Lutheran brethren, especially those who are “tired” of the Liturgy, I’m pleading for you: BE LUTHERAN.

You may think that you’re being hip & cutting edge by trying to be American Evangelicals but your not, you are in fact debasing and embarrassing yourselves.
You can’t “out-evangelical” Evangelicals.

“Lutheran Substance with Evangelical Style” is a lie. Please stop it.

Be steadfast to our Confessions and rejoice in the gift of the Historic Liturgy; our historic, credal, liturgical and sacramental Christianity is what our Evangelical neighbors are aching for.

These are a few of our favorite things

Bah-DUM-BUM, Bah-DUM-BUM! Girls in white dresses, with blue satin sashes…

No, wait! Sorry. I love that song.

Okay, have you ever noticed the sidebar on the right? Wondered what’s there?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce you to what each button is and why we think it’s worth a click.

The first couple are easy. The top is the link to our YouTube channel. That’s where we’ll park videos after we share them on the blog. Granted, pretty much all of them are there for the audio, not because of their stunning cinematography. In fact, a lot of them are recorded from where the camera sat during a church service, underneath a wooden church pew, or perhaps after the service during the postlude — those, I suppose, would have something worth listening to AND looking at. Anyway, that’s where you can find ’em.

The next one is for blog readers in San Diego. The San Diego Master Chorale has a well-earned reputation as one of the region’s best ensembles for artistic musical quality, whether it be goosebump-inducing acapella sotto voce or soaring passages of power and dazzling complexity, and is often accompanied by the San Diego Symphony itself. These are the singers that can deliver both the monumental masterworks that make you grin in the first five seconds while pairing it with fresh and dynamic new arrangements that require a choir that can make it accessible without sacrificing artistry. The best value in town when it comes to the sheer span of centuries’ worth of culture you can experience in a single performance.

For the next couple, stay tuned!