Saturday, April 27, 2013

Praying FOR People

I can wash the dishes "for you" because it will benefit you to have clean dishes.  Or I can wash the dishes "for you" because it's your job but I can do it instead of you.

Usually we think of praying "for somebody" something we do on their behalf, something that will benefit them.

But maybe sometimes we also pray "for somebody" by speaking to God prayers as if we were the other guy praying for himself.  Praying "in his stead," as it were.  Putting ourselves in the other guy's shoes and then begging God for what's good for that neighbor.

This may not be the way we usually think of "praying for him."  But maybe it's one of the ways we learn (experientially) about the words "substitutionary" and "vicarious" and "priestly."

Friday, April 26, 2013

Best Thing Ever

Every time we've sung "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" this Easter, I remembered my mother-in-law's funeral.  It was the final hymn.  The casket was escorted out by the funeral director, and the pall bearers (including my sons) followed. 

The guys put their hymnals back in the pew rack and filed out, singing the hymn (from memory) with the rest of the congregation. 

Is there anything in this earthly life that's better than that?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Liturgy as Teacher

How does a pastor know what to say when he's teaching somebody?

I've seen my pastor do it in numerous contexts: teaching from the liturgy.  Somebody is getting married?  My kids tell me he went through the vows and the wedding rite, talking about what it means, what it teaches, what it shows, what God does in that rite.  Or maybe a young pastor wants to know how to be a pastor, what to do.  So Pastor uses the ordination vows as a guideline to discuss the work of a pastor.  Or maybe people have questions about death.  He may start discussing the funeral rites.

I like that.  Not only does the liturgy tell us what we need to know when we're asking, but it also means that every time you're there again (a baptism, a wedding, a first communion, etc) you've got all that fleshed-out and expanded-upon discussion to illuminate what God is doing & saying in those rites.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Culture's Attitude Toward the Church

Archbishop Francis Cardinal George said a couple of years ago, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square."

President Matt Harrison quoted this yesterday on Issues Etc and added one more clause: "And his successor will help rebuild from the ashes."

Don't Break the Playmobiles

Zoe (age 2) was playing Playmobiles at our house.  She declared the little brunette to be Alia.  The little red-head was Zoe.  The man was Daddy.  The woman was Mommy.

But Zoe kept yanking at the Mommy's left hand.  "Zoe, don't do that.  You don't want to break the Mommy."  You see, Playmobile aprons come off and on.  Playmobile boots come off and on.  Playmobile hats come off and on.  Zoe was stymied: she could not take the left hand off.  "Mommy.  Hand.  Mommy.  Hand.  Hand.  Off."

Oh.  Sometimes it takes a while for me to get it.

The child finally consented to imagine that the Playmobile-Mommy's hand was off.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Holy Gho... Spiri.... Ghos.... Spirit!

Andrew has scolded me for saying "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" at the start of prayers.  "Mommmmm, how long is it going to take for you to quit doing that?!"

Last week Maggie was distracted when she said "Holy Ghost" to match what she expected to be my mistake, but I got it right and said "Spirit."  So we clashed anyway.

So I busted a gut when David Scaer (who has a bit of the same problem) mentioned what his pastor told him:
"The Holy Ghost is scary." 

Oh, bad puns.  How I love them!

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Talents

People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.

spoken by Miss Maudie
(end of chapter 10 of To Kill a Mockingbird)
as to why Atticus's children didn't know 
about his awesome on-target shooting skills

Thing is, don't people take pride in their talents?  Miss Maudie's statement makes perfect sense -- our talents have been given to us by God and are nothing to take credit for.  But we do.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Recent Doings

Maggie and I began sewing some aprons last week.  Well, "began" "sewing" I guess.  I bought the fabric months ago.  We pinned and cut out the pieces.  Then it all sat.  Maybe we'll haul out the sewing machine later this week and begin again.

Snow in April.  Over and over.  Bah humbug.

Took all my days off last week to head off to Minnesota.  One evening with Paul and Mandy, enjoying supper and conversation and seeing their workplaces. 

Spent a whole morning relaxing in a Starbucks, all by myself, drinking tea and reading the Formula of Concord in preparation for attending three-quarters of the "It's the Law -- Or Is It?" conference put on by the Association of Confessional Lutherans.   As much as I love my family, my introverted self is yearning for another few days of self-indulgent quiet and reading ... and maybe movies.

Most of the speakers at the conference were great.  Rolf Preus especially.  I intend (?) to blog about my notes, not because anybody out there in cyberspace cares, but because this blog is where I keep my notes for myself.  But boy, I've been doing a lousy job blogging recently.  I want to, but there are other responsibilities.

Thoroughly enjoyed an evening out with friends.  It was an early evening: the other three had early flights that morning, and I was expecting a late night of driving the following evening.  But, oh, dinner was delicious, company was delightful, and conversation was interesting and encouraging.

The drive home from Minnesota was stressful.  My aging body doesn't take long drives well in the first place.  But because of the snowstorm, there was a huge accident with a three-hour delay.  Three hours -- that means by the time I hit Wisconsin, I should have been well over halfway home.  This is the rare instance when a person begins to wonder about GPS...   (No, I don't want GPS.  When we've used Andrew's, it kind of drives me nuts.  Ha ha ... drives me nuts.....)

Little girls are coming over tonight for a sleep-over.  Nathan has surgery tomorrow to remove one of the pins in his broken-but-healing ankle, and it will be early.

An attack of Murphy's Law:  A mere two hours after cleaning the oven, the meatloaf fat spilled over the edge of the pan and smoked up the kitchen.  Two weeks later, pizza-cheese fell off the pizza and burned onto the bottom of the oven, smoking up the kitchen.  Hey!  That'll teach me to clean the oven!!

New plan I should try for my goofing-off-on-computer time:  what if I went on Facebook only once a week?  Being away from the computer, I determined to catch up on FB this afternoon, but do it quickly, with light skimming.  Not exactly like exercising self-control as I ought, but it might be a better use of time without cutting off contact with loved ones who aren't Right Here In Person.

Oh, Poop!

Stealing a story that my son-in-law told about my granddaughters recently:

Alia and Zoe wouldn't stop talking about poop.  So Dad finally put an end to it: "No more using the word poop!"

Alia wanted to know if they could talk about pee.  No, that wasn't acceptable either.  

Could they talk about food?  Of course.
Could they talk about people?  Why, yes. 

"Well, you know, Daddy, when food goes through people it becomes ..."