Photo Sharing & Autumn Leaves

One of the benefits of internet photo sharing is the ability to receive input from others as to the quality of particular photographs.  The above photo was not originally one of my favorites, but a number of people have commented that they really like it.  One photographer nominated it as a “SuperShot,” another gave it a “SuperShot” award, and still another featured it in one of their galleries.  In this way, Flickr can be both fun and a useful peer review tool.

The picture is of biking on the Bearskin Trail in northern Wisconsin.  It’s not only a beautiful memory, but a beautiful picture as well.

This closeup of a leaf hasn’t received any awards, but I still like it.

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All Saints’ Day & Treasury of Daily Prayer

Happy All Saints’ Day!

A bright sunset was illuminating these leaves in the grass near my new “Treasury of Daily Prayer.”  It was a beautiful Indian Summer day: a good Autumn day to read outdoors.  The “Treasury of Daily Prayer” is a brand new release from Concordia Publishing House, an excellent resource, and a blessing for all Christians.  As part of a review, here are some of the prayers, hymns, and messages that are included in this book for today:

Hymnody

Let shouts of gladness rise
Triumphant to the skies.
Now comes the King most glorious
To reign o’er all victorious.
Hosanna, praise, and glory!
Our King, we bow before Thee.

—O Bride of Christ, Rejoice (LSB 335:2)

One of the essential blessings of the “Treasury of Daily Prayer” is the inclusion of writings from Church fathers.  It is a powerful demonstration of the continuity of the Christian faith and the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy: “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”  (Matthew 16:18).  For obvious reasons, this is a poignant part of the celebration of All Saints’ Day:

Writing

All the saints, from the beginning of the world who have died believing in the Redeemer, whether he was yet to come or had come in the flesh, all members of the people of God of all times to the present day—in this sense, all are fathers of the church.  Whether Christians have found themselves in the loneliness of a Siberian prison camp or the isolation of the diaspora or suffering inner alienation within the great secularized “churches” of our century, it has become ever more the consolation of those who have suffered for the sake of the church and whom God has led on a “lonely path” to know that they are not alone in the one church of God.  They who have been removed from every error and sin of the earthly church stand with us in the seamless fellowship of the body of Christ.

—Hermann Sasse.  [Emphasis added].

The daily prayers are deeper than most could compose alone.  Through them Christ helps us grow in love and truth as a part of His Church.  He has joined us together into all the faithful, we have become a part of some One greater than just ourselves:

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  (F34).

And finally there are included explanations of the specific feasts of the day:

All Saints’ Day

This feast is the most comprehensive of the days of commemoration, encompassing the entire scope of that great cloud of witnesses with which we are surrounded (Hebrews 12:1).  It holds before the eyes of faith that great multitude which no man can number: all the saints of God in Christ—who have come “out of the great tribulation . . . who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9, 14).  As such, it sets before us the full height and depth and breadth and length of our dear Lord’s gracious salvation (Ephesians 3:17-19).  It shares with Easter a celebration of the resurrection, since all those who have died with Christ Jesus have also been raised with Him (Romans 6:3-8).  It shares with Pentecost a celebration of the ingathering of the entire Church catholic—in heaven and on earth, in all times and places—in the one Body of Christ . . .  In all of these emphases, the purpose of this feast is to fix our eyes upon Jesus . . .

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  (Luke 5:16).

This is another book from Concordia Publishing House that dares Lutherans to be Lutheran, and invites all Christians to fully understand the words we recite together in the Creed: “We believe in one holy Christian and Apostolic Church.”  Overall, my review of the new “Treasury of Daily Prayer” for All Saints’ Day and all days is this:  It receives my highest recommendation.

May God bless you.

Pentecost

John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water.  But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’

— Luke 3:16.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

— Acts 2:1-3.

For Pentecost I considered using a picture of ordinary fire, but regular fire burns and consumes and doesn’t seem to fit the spirit of what Jesus actually did when He baptized his Church.  Also, when Moses saw the fire of the Lord, he noticed that the bush “did not burn up.” (Exodus 3:2).

This is a picture of a fallen leaf filled with sunlight.  For a moment, this dead leaf was in a sense baptized with light from heaven’s fire.  The leaf is of course long gone, but those who are baptized in the name of the Triune God will be filled with eternal light and life: We will reflect the glory of His name forever.

[In] a flash, in the twinkling of an eye . . . the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. . .  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’

— 1 Corinthians 15:52-54.

Happy Pentecost!