Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day II: Sorrow

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

Today is Reformation day, and so one part of me rejoices in the triumph of the gospel over those human failings that would have hidden and distorted the gospel so many years ago. But another part of me weeps in sorrow over the bitter schisms, which rend our Lord’s most Holy Church. We are all under one calling, one gospel, one Lord, and yet our sinful humanity divides us, we fight, we argue, we even go to war over those things which divide us. Reformation day is a wonderful day to remember the strength of the Word and of the gospel shining throughout time and rising in loud strains upon the criticisms which the reforms made of the Church. Yet one cannot but help to remember all the schisms and the brokenness of the Church today. How the day of victory is one of sorrow?
I pray that one day I may be reunited with my brothers and sisters in Christ under the Word free of all the human sinfulness that so distorts our thoughts and causes us to depart from one another.

The Church’s One Foundation
By Samuel J. Stone

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one over all the earth;
Her charter of salvation:
One Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses
With every grace endued.

Through toil and tribulation
And tumult of her war
Se waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth has union
With God, the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won.
O blessed heavenly chorus!
Lord, save us by your grace
That we, like saints before us,
May see you face to face.

Reformation I: Mysterious Ways

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart. 1 Cor 1:18-19 ESV

When all was naught, when neither energy nor matter, neither space nor time existed, You existed. In emptiness You alone were infinite fullness, and from Your infinitude through absence all things came to being. Where there was no space to be filled your fullness made space to overflow into. You are the ontological mover, the One from whom and by whom all things were made and without whom not even nothing would be made. Your existence is even necessary to predicate such a thing as non-existence, for without You there is neither existence nor nonexistence, for there is no thought not concept to comprehend the negation of the ontological necessity of You.

Your ways are higher than my ways, Your thoughts higher than my thoughts. You act in mysterious ways that we can neither observe nor understand. For you became incarnate as a man who neither betrayed the Glory of God to those around him, nor thought the glory a thing to be grasped but humbled himself to death, even death on a cross! And so the incomprehensible mystery of the cross, of infinite humility killing the infinite deity. The death of Life itself, and yet in that death, the death of death itself. Life giving death, the abdication of death by death itself. Oh Glorious Holy Mystery! How I yearn to dwell in your mystic incomprehensibility!

All my wisdom, all my ways, all my self-reliance, my feeble power is swallowed up in the mysterious ways of God.

From the cross thy wisdom shining,
Breaketh forth in conquering might
From the cross forever beameth
All Thy bright redeeming light

Oh Mysterious Cross! The wisdom of God shining as death and suffering redeem! In the broken places, in death on the cross comes the conquering redeeming light. Not in chariots and horses, not in regal glory, but instead in abject despondance and brokenness. Oh the folly of God that causes the wise to stumble and the arrogant to fall, but to use who cry out in despair and hopelessness we are given hope and life, we are raised from the pit and into a new life, not just one of a new experience of this life, but a new life all together which permeates all things and raises us to be no longer creatures of God, but instead sons and daughters of God.

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word;
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from your Son
And bring to nought all he has done.

Lord Jesus Christ, your power make known,
For you are Loud of lords alone;
Defend your holy Church that we
May sing your praise triumphantly.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death of life.

Keep us steadfast in your Word, hold us in the gospel light never to fall away from your son. Oh Lord of Lords and King of Kings, hold us in your hand, guide and lead us through the dark nights of life and lead us by your ever shining light. For from the cross your love and grace call us from death to life through the Holy Spirit. Guard and protect your church, lead it to unity in your Word and Spirit.

Quotes taken from the LSB. Thy Strong Word, and Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in your Word are written by Franzmann and Martin Luther respectively.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Oddly it seems that we are unable to desire the light
until we are surround by pitch black night.
Lost in the eve of grief and hopeless despair,
we finally seem about life to care.

Gone the easy peaceful days,
spent lazing in the sun's comforting rays,
replaced by nights full of tears,
and many many lonely years.

Where did it all go awry?
rise to deaf heaven my bootless cry!
shake awake the Lord from groggy slumber,
Lord! your help no longer encumber!