Saturday, November 11, 2006

For It Is the Way of the Devil...

Tonight's reading from Day by Day We Magnify Thee was a quote from Luther's sermon for tomorrow, 1544. Part of it said:

"For it is the way of the devil, where he cannot overcome a heart with suffering and sorrow to beset it continuously, and so that it is too much and too long for the patience and it appears as though it would never end, so that at last it makes the person weak and weary and robs him of courage, and the hope of overcoming the enemy.... We need most of all the power and the might of God through prayer, so that we are not overcome in such hard fighting, but reach the end. Such patience and longsuffering you should have and practice joyfully."

While what Luther wrote is good and true and wonderful, it is also good to have a father-confessor who absolves you for the inability to practice your patience and longsuffering always with joy. And for those of you who identify with that quote, you might also be interested in checking out some of the past posts at I Trust When Dark My Road.

(Hey, Coral and Melody... we love you, dears!)

Men Who Fix Things

My husband's radio was broken. He asked a repairman about fixing it. The value of the radio wasn't going to be worth the cost of repairs. But before tossing it, he checked out the inside of the equipment. All it needed was a little piece soldered. Our eldest son had learned to solder at work, so he fixed it, and now the radio gets a clear signal. Yee haw!

My washer decided to break yesterday. It would pump water out during the spin cycle, but not spin. I was going to be a very resourceful girl and use to figure out the problem and solve it. So much for resourcefulness: it took nearly three hours just to take the machine apart enough to see what was going on inside. And for that I needed help because (dummy me) my injured hand isn't back to full use yet. Finally I got resourceful enough to call the local appliance dealer and ask if they did repairs. Gloriosky! They do! And they could come out the next morning. (That was the biggest shocker -- usually we have to wait at least a week for repairmen or deliveries way out here in the boonies. This incident is just one more incentive to look for businesses to patronize closer to home instead of over in the City.) Now I have an operative wash machine. Yee haw again!

On the way to town for paper route today, my youngest son remembered what I had pitifully failed to recall on my last 15 trips to town. He reminded me to take the route into town which avoided the detour. Yee haw once again! (Funny thing is, we got stopped on the road for a couple of minutes, just waiting, while the combine was filling the truck with corn, and both trucks were stopped next to each other, blocking the whole road. LOL!)

It's nice to be surrounded by helpful and competent men.

Friday, November 10, 2006


There is something so beautiful about freshly laundered white linen, ironed until it's dry and crisp and smooth. You almost have to wonder if, when God created flax on the third day, He made it specially to have the honor of being altar linens.

follow-up to Wednesday's post on the liturgy

Pastors Weedon and Cornelius (and Pr Cornelius again) have written some articles that are definitely worth reading!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Propers

I had been completely unaware of how often I referred to the section in TLH with the propers.

As things were being discussed for the new hymnal, I thought it was good to have propers in the hymnal, but, hey, y'know, there's limited space, and something has to go. I didn't much care for the idea of ditching the propers from the pew edition, but I didn't realize until the last couple of months what a huge thing it is that they've done.

I prefer the one-year pericope series. Some others prefer the three-year series. Although I have lots of excellent reasons why my preference is better ;-) I figure they probably think the same thing. But now, missing the collects and introits and graduals from my LSB, I am beginning to think that that reason alone (having the propers in the pew edition of the hymnal) is reason enough for the synod to go back to the one-year series across the board.

Tuesday's Election

Mel's blog points out how short-sighted we were this week.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Breezy Day

It's a beautiful sunny day. It's warm. The youngest child wanted to eat dinner outside at the picnic table. The mother with Seasonal Affective Disorder thought it would be a good plan. Sure, it's a little breezy today. But hey, it's time to break into a chorus of John Denver's "sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy...."

When it's a "little breezy" to the tune of having the wind knock over your full milk glass, when it's a "little breezy" to the tune of having the wind blow your cowboy soup off your spoon on the way to your mouth,...
maybe it would've been better to forego the sunshine and eat indoors.

Election Results

Wow -- if yesterday was a referendum on That Nasty War over there, I think we just voted to allow That Nasty War to come back onto our soil.

And then the other election results -- we voted in favor of higher taxes, higher gasoline prices, more govt control of private business. And in Wisconsin we voted for allowing voter fraud to continue unabated.

This week's psalm (36) and this week's verse (continue in the faith; we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God) sound different today than they did on Monday.

The Law No Peace Can Ever Give

The law reveals the guilt of sin
and makes men conscious-stricken.
The gospel then doth enter in,
the sinful soul to quicken.
Come to the cross, trust Christ, and live.
The law no peace can ever give,
no comfort and no blessing.

I've been told that pastors must "use" the law to teach us how to live. I've also been told frequently in the past year that the liturgy is "law."

Pastors certainly ought to use the law to smash our self-righteousness and to show us that we are sinners. When they do that, the law will additionally function to inform the Christian as to how he should live. But the point of Christianity is primarily about forgiving sinners, not about teaching people to be "good." (All other religions teach that.) So things begin to get off-base when the focus is on how the law can guide us into good works.

I know people who find peace in obeying man-made ideals of being environmentally friendly. I know people who find peace by obeying the laws of the fundamentalist Christians (homeschooling your kids, tithing, women banned from jeans and haircuts). I know people who find peace in their adherence to the liturgy and the rubrics. I know people in each of those categories who enjoin their activities upon others so that others can be assured that they too are making God happy by their behavior.

Now, certainly, there's nothing wrong with buying consumer goods that come with less plastic packaging. And there's nothing wrong with homeschooling or wearing long hair and dresses. And there's definitely nothing wrong with tithing or the liturgy; on the contrary, these last two in particular are good things. The problem comes when we find comfort in our obedience to these things we see as rules, when we see ourselves as better Christians for following these rules.

Christians love God's law. So do Pharisees. But for very different reasons. Although the outward behavior of the two may be quite similar, the motivation is different. Because of original sin, Christians still have pharisaical motivations at one and the same time as they have a holy and pure love of the law.

If we see the liturgy as "law," and we are happy that we know the law so that we can obey it and do it, then the law is being used unlawfully. That would be an example of the law being used to show that we're so good, rather than the law accusing us and showing us our need for a Savior who actually did measure up. Or maybe, conversely, the law being used to instruct us as to our failings so that we can then make the necessary changes to measure up ourselves.

Instead, we cling to the liturgy because it is Gospel: the aural Word of God which bestows on us Jesus' forgiveness.

Thy grace alone, dear Lord, I plead,
Thy death is now my life indeed
for Thou hast paid my ransom. ...
The law no peace can ever give,
no comfort and no blessing.
Faith clings to Jesus' cross alone
and rests in Him unceasing.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On Charlie Today

For those out-of-staters, I need to explain that our governor would have to become more ethical to rank right up there with Bill Clinton in terms of morality and ethics.

So the question was raised on Charlie Sykes's talk-radio show this morning about what would happen if we re-elect our governor today but the Republican is chosen for Attorney General. My husband said the big winner would be Barbara Lawton, the Lieutenant Governor. And Charlie responded that Gary was very insightful! Oooooh, high praise indeed!

Polly's Bubble-and-Squeak

I saw a recipe on a friend's blog that met all the requirements for a really great recipe. It still took me a few weeks to get around to trying it out. I thought it looked great because it's quick and easy, yummy, inexpensive, nutritious, and uses ingredients that are often already on hand. When I mentioned it to my eldest daughter who aspires to be a pirate sailing tall ships on the seas [I'm rolling my eyes...] she squealed and bounced because this is pirate food! This weekend we took it to our homeschool group's foreign-food potluck, and it was declared delicious by a lot of friends. So this is definitely going to have to go into the regularly used repertoire of meals.

1# sausage
1 onion
1/2 head cabbage
4 potatoes

Brown the sausage and chopped onions. Throw in the chopped cabbage and chopped potatoes. Polly said to cook it with a little water on the stove until the potatoes were done. I couldn't do that at a potluck, so I seasoned it with salt and pepper, and baked it (covered) in the oven in my iron stewpot for about an hour. I suppose it would also work well in a crockpot. Polly said season it with vinegar, but [oops] I forgot that. It was fantastic!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Like to Cook

I keep writing about the hymnal. It must be boring Coral, Melody, Shannon, and Maria to tears. So maybe I should write about food for a while. (Of course, probably there will be something about the hymnal mixed in with my musings on food!)

We were at a Higher Things conference once. Klem Preus was speaking on the Gospel of John and evangelism. Somehow it came up that his mom is a really good cook. Somebody teased that he oughtn't let his wife hear him say that. He explained that it didn't matter because his wife wasn't a good cook. Gasps of horror ensued! He said that about his wife?? In public?? He was a little surprised by the response; he said she knew she couldn't cook, and what was the big deal?

For some reason, that really stuck in my brain. (I do remember some of the things Pr Preus wanted us to learn from John too!) Y'know, it wouldn't offend me in the least if my husband got up in front of huge group of people and told them that his wife didn't know the first thing about decorating or landscaping or flowers or anything about making a home pretty. It would be a perfectly true statement, and it wouldn't bother me if he said it, any more than it would bother me if he said his wife has brown hair.

What I wonder is: Would people respond with gasps of horror to "My wife can't make the house pretty" as people responded to "My wife can't cook"? For some reason, I think most of us think it's more integral to "wifeliness" to cook than to make a home pretty. Or maybe that's just my perspective because I love to eat good food so very very much.

(And yes, I know this is an incredibly sexist post. Deal with it!)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

St. Robert

Today, as many of us celebrated All Saints Day, some of us remember that Dr Robert Preus died twelve years ago.

Oh, how blest are ye whose toils are ended,
Who through death have unto God ascended!
Ye have arisen
From the cares which keep us still in prison.

Christ has wiped away your tears forever;
Ye have that for which we still endeavor;
To you are chanted
Songs that ne'er to mortal ears were granted.