Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sorry, Lady, Lutheran Masses are Free.

Why wearing a clerical collar is a good way to deliver Meals on Wheels

This month, the Jerseyville Ministerial Alliance has been delivering the hospital's meals on wheels. (They find different volunteer groups for a month, Hope has a month, usually in the spring.) This is my week. And, like anything else pastoral I do, I've worn my uniform.

Today a lady stopped me and said, "Father, what are Masses now?" I assumed she meant when are masses now. She didn't. She clarified, "How much do they cost?" It's moments like this when I realize just how apostate Rome is and how little the Reformation accomplished on the other side of the Tiber, despite few reforms. Picking my jaw up from the floor, I responded, "Ma'am, I'm the Lutheran pastor. You can't buy our Masses; the Mass is a gift from the Lord. So it's free."

As a side note, as well as offering opportunities like this to refute Roman falsehoods, a collar adds distinction. None of the other men who've been delivering meals this month wear one. They all dress in normal business casual, which makes them blend in. Six months from now (or less), most of these people receiving meals won't remember the people who delivered their meals and blended in. But they might remember the Lutheran pastor for his distinctive dress. The man deserves no distinction, but the Office he occupies is Christ's Office. It is distinct from anything else. It's the Office through which Christ distributes His gifts. The man is dispensible; the Office indispensible. You might as well dress like it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What we believe informs what we do in the Lord's Supper

We've had a very lively discussion in Sunday morning Bible Class the past few weeks about Article VII of the Formula of Concord, the article on the Lord's Supper. The conversation has dwelt for a long time on what effects the presence of Christ's Body and Blood. Is it the words of Jesus (the Verba) or the reception of the elements by the communicant? And, if Jesus' Body and Blood are present at His Words, how long does His presence continue? Indefinitely (until everything is consumed? Or only until the Supper is ended?

There's a lively debate happening at the Gottesdienst blog. It's scholarly but thorough.

If you check it out, read the posts in this order:

For my own part, I believe the Scriptural and Lutheran position is that the Words of Jesus bring about His presence, and that presence endures until everything is consumed. And my practice confesses that. Because Receptionism is nearly as prevalent as it is false, I genuflect during the consecration. And because any talk of the end of Christ's presence in the Supper is speculative at best, and an impious denial that the Word of the Lord endures forever at worst, I consume everything that has been consecrated.

If you're not getting enough of this conversation in Bible Class on Sunday mornings (or if you're note getting any of it), go read what these other faithful Lutheran pastors have to say on the issue and come back and discuss it here.

James Kushiner on Government Health Care

"I do not wish to empower any government to manage health care that thinks Roe v. Wade is justice, that Terri Schiavo is where she belongs, that embryos should be harvested for stem cells, or aborted babies farmed for organs."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The week of Trinity 9

Inspired by his own sermon, but only remembering the part about the servant who was "too weak to dig," Pastor Hemmer embarks on a week-long, patio-building staycation.