Thursday, November 04, 2010

An Everlasting Covenant

Today's Bible story was the Lord's covenant with Abraham, the name-change from Abram, and circumcision.

Genesis 17:13 is an amazing promise: "My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant."

That's not just about circumcision. That applies to so many ways that God is incarnational. The covenant of circumcision showed in a man's flesh. But what about the Passover which was established as an everlasting ordinance (Exodus 12:24)? We eat Jesus flesh and drink His blood and have eternal life (John 6:54), putting on immortality (1 Corinthians 15). That is certainly "in your flesh" and also certainly an "everlasting covenant."

In addition to that, Christ Himself took on our flesh. His covenant is in our flesh --Christ took on our flesh-- and it has ramifications forever and ever.

Once in the blest baptismal waters
I put on Christ and made Him mine.
Now numbered with God's sons and daughters,
I share His peace and love divine.

His body and His blood I've taken
in His blest Supper, feast divine;
now I shall never be forsaken,
for I am His, and He is mine.
O God, for Jesus' sake I pray
Thy peace may bless my dying day. (TLH 598)

This is no esoteric idea. This is no "concept." This is no theologically-tinged philosophy. This is concrete. This is about a God who did not stay afar off, but came down from heaven to help us, to join Himself to us, that we might in our flesh be saved by His promise, forever.

"And They Were Not Ashamed"

Recent stories in chapel and Didache have been from the first chapters of Genesis. We talked about how Adam and his wife were naked and they were not ashamed. Pastor mentioned that shame always results when you are not being what you were made to be, not doing what you were made to do. When we are who God made us to be, when we do what God made us to do, there is no shame.

But later, after Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from the Lord. They were ashamed.

For a long time, I have pondered the conversation among the persons of the Trinity after the fall into sin -- "man has become like One of Us, knowing good and evil." Which "One" said this?

Earlier in chapter 3, the devil tells Eve about eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. "You will not surely die." Okay, that part is a flat-out lie. "You will be like God, knowing good and evil." Is that part a lie? Hmmm. There appears to be some truth to that claim, seeing as how God Himself said the same thing at the end of chapter 3.

But now I'm wondering if the problem is wrapped up in Adam and Eve trying to be what God had not made them to be, and doing what God had not given them to do. They were the creatures. They were not God. It was not given them to be like God, knowing good and evil. And when they took it for themselves, sin and shame made them know evil in a way that they'd've been better off without.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Funeral Tonight

The All Saints service was planned for our regular midweek service. Then Pastor Goltermann (a retired pastor in the congregation) went to be with Jesus on Saturday evening. So his funeral was combined with the All Saints service.


Gary was just saying that, if you want to know what a church teaches, what they believe, what the pastor's focus is, go to the funerals. One of my friends mentioned tonight that she never used to go to funerals. But here ... here she tries to come to as many as she can. Funerals are some of the best services there are! An hour and 40 minutes tonight of "Behold a Host" and Revelation 7 and "Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care" and "For All the Saints" and the Beatitudes and "Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending" and a sermon that could have been better only if it had been 2-3 times longer.

Pastor Goltermann grew up in the congregation where Gary did his student teaching. One of his congregations (three decades later) helped support Gary through seminary. He was pastor in Buckley during the 40s. He assisted Ed Suelflow at Walther Memorial. I managed to hold myself to only two times of "It's a Small World After All" this evening. :-)

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Beer-Batter Fish

Because I lost my mom's recipe and had to call her today to get it, I am posting this online as well as putting the card in my recipe box. Two places to hunt for missing recipes.

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

2 egg yolks
1/2 can beer (about 2/3 cup)
2 Tbsp oil or melted butter

Stir these together, just till blended.
Let stand an hour or more.

Begin heating frying oil.
Then beat two egg whites.
Fold whites into batter.
Dip fish into batter and deep-fry at 375.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vote Democrat

There is a conservative trend favoring Republicans and Tea Party candidates this election season. Those of you in Wisconsin who favor such politics may not want to vote a straight-party ticket, though.

The Democrat incumbent Secretary of State has been doing a relatively innocuous job for about 30 years. The Republican candidate has no political experience and has served in no elected position. This is not necessarily reason enough to vote against a person, even if he's next-in-line for governorship should both the governor and lieutenant governor go MIA. But this Republican candidate for Secretary of State works as a pastor of the "God Squad" in Milwaukee. He declared bankruptcy in 2003. He has been delinquent in paying bills which, he says, is nothing to be ashamed of. He desires to use the Secretary of State office to expand into social action such as crime, jobs, literacy, drugs, and abortion.

Now, for the rest of the races on Tuesday's ballot, go ahead and vote for the Republicans. Scott Walker for governor! Ron Johnson for senate! Schuller for treasurer! Yes!

(By the way, if you're looking for more information on the Attorney General's race, I think this article in the Isthmus is a good summary of the issues.)

Today's Laugh

Chris Cross, a tourist in Vienna, is going passed Vienna's Zentralfriedhof graveyard on October 31st. All of a sudden he hears some music. No one is around, so he starts searching for the source. Chris finally locates the origin and finds it is coming from a grave with a headstone that reads: Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827. Then he realizes that the music is the Ninth Symphony and it is being played backward! Puzzled, he leaves the graveyard and persuades Tim Burr, a friend, to return with him.

By the time they arrive back at the grave, the music has changed. This time it is the Seventh Symphony, but like the previous piece, it is being played backward. Curious, the men agree to consult a music scholar. When they return with the expert, the Fifth Symphony is playing, again backward. The expert notices that the symphonies are being played in the reverse order in which they were composed, the 9th, then the 7th, then the 5th. By the next day the word has spread and a throng has gathered around the grave. They are all listening to the Second Symphony being played backward.

Just then the graveyard's caretaker ambles up to the group. Someone in the crowd asks him if he has an explanation for the music.

"Oh, it's nothing to worry about," says the caretaker. "He's just decomposing!"