Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gone for a While

Three kids have moved to Milwaukee. It wasn't hard for me to say goodbye to them when they were only 50-80 minutes away. But today we help pack up a kid who'll be going two states away. This is going to be different.

At least I can look forward to food, wine, chocolate, and giggling friends this weekend. It just so happened that the U-Haul unloading weekend landed on the same day, in the same city, as the Mamapalooza with a bunch of homeschooling friends. Helping the kids with packing/unpacking is how I'm justifying my goof-off trip. I feel a little guilty for leaving my husband to cook for the crew, and to fetch my broken car back from the mechanic, and to do my paper route for me. And I feel guilty for stalling on the next physics chapter and starting the Algebra 2 book with Paul. But I can justify it for now by claiming that I'm helping Nathan and Katie. Yes I am. I don't want to indulge myself with friends. No. Of course not. I'm just doing it to be nice to the kids.

(Do ya buy that??)

"Singing the Devil Away" (12)

Gerhardt's song then goes on to make plain that first-article gifts are not enough to counter depression. They are good. They are evidence of what God does out of love for us. But gifts of food and clothing and home cannot counter the devil's attacks. The only antidote to depression is the song of God's Word and the Holy Spirit's enlightenment.

Stanza 10 speaks in sensual terms (as Dr Kleinig mentioned earlier). We taste the doctrine that we long to hear and by which we are refreshed. And when the Holy Spirit opens our minds, then our senses absorb His lovingkindness.

Stanza 11 echoes so many Easter themes. And Epiphany themes. The light in the darkness. The prophets' and the apostles' message. The peaceful conscience which is a peace "not as the world gives." And that these words of the scriptures are the only thing that brings assurance.

Stanza 12 recalls the firm foundation referred to in the previous stanza, and how the devil's efforts cannot topple what God has built. The devil's plans will collapse, but all his railing against God's work will not be able to undo it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Good grieeeeeef!

Gary about stepped on a toad near the front stoop this evening. "Ah ha," I think. "An opportunity for wee cat to chase something alive." Granted, nobody wants to bite a toad. But still, the chase would be good for her. (Especially since I have had to kill two mice in the last 24 hours all by myself. And this AIN'T MY JOB. It's the cats' job!)

Well, either this is a very smart and camoflauged toad ... or this is a defective kitty. This kitty's grandma was the awesome huntress who taught Athena to be such a good mouser (and possum-chaser, and bunny-murderess, and fowler, etc). I would've thought Rosie would have a grand time pouncing at the toad. I didn't think she'd actually do it damage, though.

But, c'mon! She crouched into a pouncy stance, twitched her tail, and stared. No pounce. Finally she walked over and touched noses to the toad.

She better be more effective when tempted with mice and groundhogs!

Silver Chair

When I first read the whole Narnia series, I loved it. There were stories in the series I liked better than others, of course.

The thing I've found, though, is that one of my less-favorite books, the Silver Chair, is the one I'm growing to love more than ever. It touches on the idea about repeatedly reciting the words from God. And there's so much in there about believing the Word against all evidence to the contrary. And doing what Aslan called them to do, regardless of the outcome. And of course, Aslan's faithfulness to them in spite of their failure to obey. And Puddleglum's declaration that he would prefer to live in his imaginary world with a sun than in the "real" underground world of the queen.

When Maggie pops that BBC show into the VCR, I hear something new and rich each time.

"Singing the Devil Away" (11)

The next verses of Gerhardt's hymn make the case that God's first-article gifts are evidence that He cares.

Stanza 7 says that it's a lie that God doesn't accept us, and that He would not have given all these good things if He were displeased with us. Stanza 8 points out that everything in creation was designed to serve me. Stanza 9 comments on the rain and grass and food that God uses to delight us.

"Singing the Devil Away" (10)

Let the devil rant and rage;
death has lost its danger.
God protects me from his threats
with His grace and favor.
Since He honors me and loves
me as He loves Jesus,
all the devil's scornful taunts
will not make me gloomy.

Just look at all the lines in common with Gerhardt's Advent hymn!

"What though the foes be raging,
heed not their craft and spite.
Your Lord, the battle waging,
will scatter all their might."

and "I stood, my shame bemoaning,
Thou com'st to honor me."

and "Rejoice, then, ye sad-hearted,
who sit in deepest gloom."

And this Gerhardt stanza also reminds us of the ever-so-precious Christmas hymn by Luther (which didn't make it into LSB): "What harm can sin and death then do? The true God now abides with you! Let hell and Satan rage and chafe: Christ is your Brother; you are safe."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


A hundred years ago, people did not have tv, movies, or video games.

But they did not spay their cats either. I think watching little kitties is all the entertainment anybody would ever need! We've had so much fun the last couple of days, watching Rosie attempt to master skills, explore her new environment, and just be cute. There's just nothing to do but laugh gleefully when the kitten suddenly pops out of nowhere and tears madly through the house, practicing her Bursts Of Speed. Or when she decides she MUST learn to run up the stairs with gracefulness, but keeps missing and bonking her head when she didn't jump high enough. And yet she perseveres.

Maybe instead of valium and antidepressants, we need more KITTENS to nap in our laps and entertain us with their antics. Hooray for kittens! (Hmm. Maybe we shouldn't get Rosie spayed when she's older, after all.)

"Singing the Devil Away" (9)

Still singing to the TLH tune for "Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain"...

Jesus is my innocence,
righteousness, and glory.
He has gained from me a place
where I live in safety,
like a fortress so secure
that no foe can conquer.
Even hell's artillery
cannot break and take it.

Dr Kleinig pointed out that Gerhardt lived during the time of the Thirty Years War. Previously, fortresses provided protection during war. But gunpowder and cannon had been developed to such a point by this time that cannon would break down the thick walls of castles. So this verse hearkens back to the idea that there actually is an impenetrable fortress where we can find security and safety from our enemy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

"Singing the Devil Away" (8)

If I've sinned and done what's wrong,
Then I say I'm sorry.
My one antidote for guilt
Is the blood of Jesus.
That's the ransom for my soul
From all evil-doing.
If I show it at God's throne,
I have His approval.

Notice that the "I'm sorry" is spoken, but is not the antidote for guilt. Contrition goes hand-in-hand with faith, but is never the thing that gives assurance of forgiveness. The only thing that rescues us from evil-doing (and from the guilt associated with it) is Jesus' blood.

The last couple of lines remind me of "In Thee Alone," where it says about Christ's death and sacrifice:
Lord, show before the Father's throne
That Thou didst for my sin atone.
So shall I from my load be freed.
Thy Word I plead.
Keep me, O Lord, each hour of need.

"Singing the Devil Away" (7)

The Gerhardt hymn "Let Me Rise" goes on with the Christian's response to the devil's accusations. The venom has been removed from Satan's bite. It is the cross of Christ which has crushed Satan's head and provides for us the feast in heaven.

I will shake my head and say:
"Flee, you snake, you dragon!
You can't strike me with your sting.
You can't make me fearful!
Christ has crushed your toxic head
with His painful passion.
He has snatched me from your reach
to His hall for feasting.

"If you tell me I have sinned,
I will answer boldly:
I don't take my lead from you
for my self-appraisal.
Who has given you the right
to condemn God's people?
Aren't you now already stuck
in hell's fiery fury?"

Then the song goes on to tell Satan that he has no right to throw our sin in our faces. And it reminds us of the communion hymn: "Who can condemn me now for surely the Lord is nigh who justifies." And Romans 8: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." And the lines from "God's Own Child": telling Satan to "drop his ugly accusation" and "now that to the font I've traveled, all your might has come unraveled."

They say "the winner writes the history." It's true. But that never stopped the devil from trying to rewrite history from his own perspective. They also say that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. That's what the devil is aiming for with his accusations!

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!

Andrew has been such a help recently. He has been growing up and maturing. He's also been yearning desperately for a cat of his own for about 4-5 years. So on Saturday (somewhat as a reward) we brought home the sister of Rachel and Matt's kitty.

Rachel tells us that Hero is the lively one and Rosie is the calm one. It's been fun, watching Rosie play and explore and learn, and then flop down exhausted and snooze. One of the kids exclaimed, "And Rachel says this is the CALM one?" Yup yup yup: that's how toddlers are!

Rosie is named in honor of Samwise Gamgee's fair bride. For pictures, check out my husband's very first blog post that's not about theology.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


We attended a lovely wedding yesterday of some young friends. In addition to the worship and prayers, in addition to the nice party, there was a little bit of tugging on the heart-strings. This was the first time I remember being back at that church after Pastor Wiest's funeral there.

For the wedding, we sang the beautiful Starke wedding hymn, part of which goes:
Jesus, You have made her holy,
pure and fair her radiant train.
To Yourself Your church presenting
without wrinkle, spot, or stain.

That one word train threw me back to one of the songs that always reminds me of Pr Wiest: "The Son of God Goes Forth to War" (the second verse of which is about St Stephen). Each stanza ends with "who follows in his train?"

We've sung this wedding hymn several times in the last year, and until yesterday, I never thought about the train of the apostles, prophets, martyrs, and all saints. I always just thought of a bride's dress, the beautiful wedding clothes, pure and fair, without stain, as the Apostle writes about the Church in Ephesians 5. ("And there, in garments richly wrought, as Thine own bride I shall be brought to stand in joy beside Thee.")

But do these words not also call to mind the whole Church, all the blessed saints who have gone on before, as well as those who will come after, joined with us? "A noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid, around the Savior's throne rejoice, in robes of light arrayed. They climbed the steep ascent of heaven, through peril, toil, and pain. O God, to us may grace be given to follow in their train."

Basic Meaning "Fallacy"

I've been accused of thinking that words have basic meanings which are constant throughout its uses. For example, we often hear that the word bat has a variety of meanings: the flying mammal, the stick used to hit a ball, or what a coquettish girl does with her eyelashes. I maintain that those are all the same word, having something to do with an item being fanned back and forth. A bat's wings go back and forth. So do the girl's eyelashes. So does the stick when it's swung in the strike-zone. So even though we use them as different words, all those words have one essential meaning, one basic meaning. I don't see any "fallacy" in this.

Another example is the word train. A bride's dress has a train. A choo-choo is usually called a train. And then there's the train (or retinue) who came with the Queen of Sheba to hear Solomon. The common theme here is the thing that follows along in a row, following the lead item.

Short Jokes

The folks who are on Martin Loopers have already seen these, as they're Kari's sig-lines. But this is for Sean....

I couldn't figure out why the Frisbee was getting bigger, and then it hit me.

Don't argue with idiots; they will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through the snow.

The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by a period of anxiety.

I tried sniffing coke once, but the ice cubes got stuck in my nose.

And for a longer read that nevertheless provides a good healthy laugh at someone else's family realities (not that ANYTHING like this could EVER happen in MY house!) check out Pr Petersen's story about their idyllic morning.