New Year Prayer 2016 A.D.

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Happy New Year and merry eighth day of Christmas!  The eighth day of Christmas is the day your true love gives to you eight maids a milking.  (See: “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song).

The New Year celebration is a part of the twelve days of Christmas because the calendar is based on the birth of Christ.  All human history revolves around the one eternal God made flesh, who became a human baby.

New Year prayer:

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ , our Lord.

Lutheran Service Book, p. 312, “For purity.”

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

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New Year Prayer 2015 A.D.

Happy New Year!

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ , our Lord.

Lutheran Service Book, p. 312, “For purity.”

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

Prayer for the Church

“Merciful God, we humbly implore You to cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed by the doctrine of the blessed apostles, may walk in the light of Your truth and finally attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

Lutheran Service Book, “For the Church,” 305.

Prayers in Kinetic Typography

These videos are best seen full screen.  At the bottom of each video there is a button just to the left of the word “vimeo” that will expand it to full screen.

In The Small Catechism, Martin Luther instructs that as you begin to say these prayers, “you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:”

These videos are excellent examples of kinetic typography.  They were produced and loaded onto Vimeo by Dave Lassanske.

Prayer for the Removal of Schism

Bring to naught, O Christ, the schisms of heresy which seek to subvert Thy truth, that, as Thou art acknowledged in heaven and in earth as one and the same Lord, so Thy people, gathered from all nations, may serve Thee in unity of faith.

The Lutheran Hymnal, 104.

The Beauty of a Winter’s Night

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day with the longest night of the year, this marks the beginning of Winter.  There is an austere sparkling beauty to a cold Winter’s night.

snow & trees

Those white dots in the photo are flashbacks from tiny crystalline snowflakes, both on the ground and in the air.  Different types of snowflakes reflect light in different ways:  Sometimes, the flash makes the snowflakes appear as a sky full of colored halos.

Even though there are evergreens in the background, we know this is not the growing season, they are dormant.  But sometimes God does things out of season.  Just as God gave a son to Sarah who was ninety years old and fifty years past child bearing age, so also God gave a Son to Mary, a virgin.  Now that was out of season:  Life does not come from a virgin womb.

Likewise, mankind was dead in trespass and sin, but from our dead flesh, from Mary sprang forth new Life: her baby Jesus Christ.  This is the unseasonal symbolism of Christmastime: a celebration of light and life from the dead in the cold of winter and deep of night:

“Behold, a Branch is growing
Of loveliest form and grace
As prophets sung, foreknowing;
It springs from Jesse’s race
And bears one little Flow’r
In midst of coldest winter,
At deepest midnight hour.”

“This Flower whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True Man, yet very God;
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load.”

“O Savior, Child of Mary,
Who felt our human woe;
O Savior, King of Glory,
Who dost our weakness know,
Bring us at length, we pray,
To the bright courts of heaven
And to the endless day.”

— “Behold, a Branch is Growing.”  (The Lutheran Hymnal 645:1, 4-5).  See also Isaiah 11.

God says to the snow, “Fall.”

God’s word is not only inerrant, it is also effective and powerful.  (Isaiah 55:10-11).

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.

Prayer for the Ministers of the Word

O almighty God, who by Thy Son, Jesus Christ, did give to Thy holy Apostles many excellent gifts and commanded them earnestly to feed Thy flock, make, we beseech Thee, all pastors diligently to preach Thy holy Word . . . through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

The Lutheran Hymnal, 103.

Prayer for Our Presidents

O merciful Father in heaven, who holdest in Thy hand all the might of man and who hast ordained the powers that be for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of them that do well, and of whom is all rule and authority in the kingdoms of the world, we humbly beseech Thee, graciously regard Thy servants, the President of the United States and the President Elect of the United States, and all the rulers of the earth.  May all that receive the sword as Thy ministers bear it according to Thy commandment.

Enlighten and defend them by Thy name, O God.  Grant them wisdom and understanding, that under their peaceable governance Thy people may be guarded and directed in righteousness, quietness, and unity.  Protect and prolong their lives, O God of our salvation, that we with them may show forth the praise of Thy name; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

The Lutheran Hymnal, 104.