Good Friday 2018

IMG_1966

Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?
It is my sins for which Thou, Lord, must languish;
Yea, all the wrath, the woe, Thou dost inherit,
This I do merit.

O wondrous love, whose depth no heart hath sounded,
That brought Thee here, by foes and thieves surrounded!
All worldly pleasures, heedless, I was trying
While Thou wert dying.

O mighty King, no time can dim Thy glory!
How shall I spread abroad Thy wondrous story?
How shall I find some worthy gifts to proffer?
What dare I offer?

But worthless is my sacrifice, I own it;
Yet, Lord, for love’s sake Thou wilt not disown it;
Thou wilt accept my gift in Thy great meekness
Nor shame my weakness.

And when, dear Lord, before Thy throne in heaven
To me the crown of joy at last is given,
Where sweetest hymns Thy saints forever raise Thee,
I, too, shall praise Thee.

— “O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken?”
LSB 439:3, 7-8, 14-15.

Advertisements

What is Lent? A Video

The above video was produced by Concordia Publishing House.  The song the children sang in the video is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.”

O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss, till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
And grant to me Thy grace.

My Shepherd, now receive me;
My Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me,
O Source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me
With words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
To heavenly joys above.

— “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” LSB 450:1, 3-4.

The original wording of this hymn is attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.

May you have a blessed Lent.

“O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright”

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.  I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”  (Revelation 22:16).

“O Morning Star, how fair and bright!
You shine with God’s own truth and light,
Aglow with grace and mercy!
Of Jacob’s race, King David’s son,
Our Lord and master, You have won
Our hearts to serve You only!
Lowly, holy!
Great and glorious,
All victorious,
Rich in blessing!
Rule and might o’er all possessing!

*

“Come, heavenly Bridegroom, Light divine,
and deep within our hearts now shine;
There light a flame undying!
In Your one body let us be
As living branches of a tree,
Your life our lives supplying.
Now, though daily
Earth’s deep sadness
May perplex us
And distress us,
Yet with heavenly joy You bless us.

*

“Lord, when You look on us in love,
At once there falls from God above
A ray of purest pleasure.
Your Word and Spirit, flesh and blood
Refresh our souls with heavenly food.
You are our dearest treasure!
Let Your mercy
Warm and cheer us!
O draw near us!
For You teach us
God’s own love through You has reached us.

*

“Almighty Father, in Your Son
You loved us when not yet begun
Was this old earth’s foundation!
Your Son has ransomed us in love
To live in Him here and above;
This is Your great salvation.
Alleluia!
Christ the living,
To us giving
Life forever,
Keeps us Yours and fails us never!

*

“O let the harps break forth in sound!
Our joy be all with music crowned,
Our voices gladly blending!
For Christ goes with us all the way—
Today, tomorrow, every day!
His love is never ending!
Sing out!  Ring out!
Jubilation!
Exultation!
Tell the story!
Great is He, the King of Glory!

*

“What joy to know, when life is past,
The Lord we love is first and last,
The end and the beginning!
He will one day, oh, glorious grace,
Transport us to that happy place
Beyond all tears and sinning!
Amen!  Amen!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Crown of gladness!
We are yearning
For the day of Your returning!”

Lutheran Service Book,
“O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright,” 395:1-6.

All I can say to these stanzas is “Wow.”  The text for this Epiphany hymn was written by Philipp Nicolai during one of the heydays of the Conservative (Lutheran) Reformation.

An epiphany is when an amazing truth dawns on us.  Epiphany is the season when the Church celebrates the dawning of Christ upon His Church.  The Word of Truth dawns on us.  (John 1).  “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  (1 Peter 1:19).

Happy Epiphany.

Thy Word is a Trusty Shield and Weapon

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  (John 1:1).

“A mighty fortress is our God,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need
That has us now o’er taken.
The old evil foe
Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.”

The Word “of God is living and active.”  It is sharper than any sword.  (Hebrews 4:12).

“With might of ours can naught be done,
Soon were our loss effected;
But for us fights the valiant one,
Whom God himself elected.
You ask, “Who is this?”
Jesus Christ it is,
The almighty Lord.
And there’s no other God;
He holds the field forever.”

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea …”  (Psalm 46:1-2).

“Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill;
They shall not overpow’r us.
This world’s prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none.
He’s judged; the deed is done!
One little word can fell him.”

“‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?'”  (Jeremiah 23:29).

“The Word they still shall let remain,
Nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain
With his good gifts and Spirit.
And do what they will—
Hate, steal, hurt, or kill—
Though all may be gone,
Our victory is won;
The kingdom’s ours forever!”

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

(Luke 21:33).  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16).

Amen.

— “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” Christian Worship, 200.
Scripture quotes: NIV, 1984.

“The Church’s One Foundation”

The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is His new Creation by water and the Word.
From heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

Jesus creates His Church with water and the Word.  Jesus gives His life to her with His Body and Blood.

Elect from ev’ry nation yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation: one Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued.

From all nations, for reasons we cannot comprehend, He has chosen men to be His own.  There is one Church, one Body of Christ, there is no true division.

The Church shall never perish!  Her dear Lord to defend,
to guide, sustain, and cherish, is with her to the end.
Though there be those that hate her, false sons within her pale,
against both foe and traitor she ever shall prevail.

The picture in this post is of a visible church building.  It is something we can see.  It is a mere symbol.  The true Church is recognized only by her faith.  The one universal Church does not consist of earthly buildings, but of His people.  Within the visible church, there will always be false sons and traitors.  (Acts 20:29-31).

Though with a scornful wonder men see her sore oppressed,
by schism rent asunder, by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping; their cry goes up, “How long?”
and soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.

Heresies and schisms cause the saints distress.  This is because they know that true doctrine is the Word of God, and the Word of God is their very life.  Therefore, they hold on to the healthy doctrine for their very lives.  Unionism and toleration of unhealthy doctrine is a mark of a false son and a traitor, not a saint.

Mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation of peace forevermore,
till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest
and the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest.

— “The Church’s One Foundation,” Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, 486:1-5.

On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Come, then, and hearken, for he brings
Glad tidings from the King of kings.

on-jordans-bank-notes-sb

Then cleansed be ev’ry Christian breast
And furnished for so great a Guest.
Yea, let us each our hearts prepare
For Christ to come and enter there.

For Thou art our Salvation, Lord,
Our Refuge and our great Reward.
Without Thy Grace our souls must fade
And wither like a flower decayed.

Lay on the sick Thy healing hand
And make the fallen strong to stand;
Show us the glory of Thy face
Till beauty springs in every place.

All praise, eternal Son, to Thee
Whose advent sets Thy people free,
Whom, with the Father, we adore
And Holy Ghost forevermore.

— “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry.”  (The Lutheran Hymnal 63).

Happy Advent!

Abide with Me

“Abide with Me! Fast Falls the Eventide” from The Lutheran Hymnal, 552:

Abide with me!  Fast falls the eventide
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!

A sundog shines over boats:

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day
Earth’ joys grow dim, its glories pass away
Change and decay in all around I see.
O Thou, who changest not, abide with me!

This old hymn is loved because it reflects the reality of life:  Days and lives come and go, but God is eternally faithful.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dweltst with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Someday, Christ will return on the clouds to be with us forever.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

Α & Ω

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

The many masts of Fish Creek harbor:

I need Thy presence every passing hour
What but Thy grace can foil the Tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me!

God paints the sky with colors.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still if Thou abide with me.

We loved the many shifting hues in this sunset.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes,
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earths vain shadows flee
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!

Heaven is our true home.

All the photos in this post were taken on the same day from Peninsula State Park in Door County, WI.

Now more than ever, in uncertain times, the Christian Church needs steadfast preaching and hymnody.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16).

May God bless you.