For those who are interested, I will be posting sermons and newsletters, etc., at Bishop and Christian here.
Pr. Timothy Winterstein
“If one should inquire about the reason why we keep such a vigil, the answer is easy to find and give. For He who has granted us the glory of His name has illuminated this night: He to whom we say ‘You shall enlighten darkness’ enlightens our hearts, so that just as our eyes rejoice at this splendor of lighted candles so our minds may be enlightened and shed light on the meaning of this resplendent night.
Why, then, is it that Christians keep vigil on this anniversary night? This is our greatest vigil and no other vigil of similar proportions is known. In answer to our eager query, When do we keep vigil? We reply: Several other vigils are kept by us, but nothing comparable to this vigil. The apostle has urged the faithful to frequent fasting and vigils, recalling his own practice in the words, ‘In toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst’ (2 Corinthians 11:27). But tonight’s vigil is so special that it deserves to appropriate to itself the common title of vigil” (St. Augustine, Sermon 221:2 [HT to A Year with the Church Fathers, ed. Scott Murray])
Read the rest here (starting on page 199 in the document).
I commend to your attention the newest article by Todd Wilken in the Issues, Etc. Journal.
So, regarding our natural knowledge of God and our spiritual blindness, the elephant story also has a point. In fact, we’re worse off than blind men when it comes to knowing God. But this is where the story goes wrong. It assumes that we gain knowledge of God by examination. We don’t. Christian knowledge of God isn’t gained by examining the attributes of God; it is given by revelation. God doesn’t reveal himself as a composite of individual observable attributes. He reveals himself in the Incarnation, in the
person and work of Jesus Christ.
To rightly understand Christian theology, consider this twist on the story: what if the elephant could talk? In the elephant story,
what would happen if the elephant weren’t the passive object of the blind men’s examination? What if the elephant could talk and tell the blind men exactly what and who he is? This is why the elephant story ultimately fails as a critique of Christianity. Christianity claims to have heard from the elephant himself. Christianity asserts that the elephant has spoken and revealed himself to blind men. Christianity asserts that the unknowable God has made himself known, that the unseen God has revealed himself, that the spiritually blind are made able to see, and that those unable to know God are given knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. For Christianity, the elephant is Jesus. But unlike the elephant in the story, Jesus doesn’t just stand there as the passive object of our examination. Rather, he speaks and acts to reveal himself to us. And, when Jesus reveals himself, he reveals God. …
Jesus himself [like the Trinity] is no analogy. Contrary to what many Christians think, Jesus did not come to reveal what God is like; he came to reveal God himself. To see Jesus is to see God. To touch Jesus is to touch God. To hear Jesus is to hear God. Not only is no analogy necessary, any analogy would be an implicit denial of Jesus’ divinity. Does Jesus use analogies to describe God’s work to save sinful mankind? Yes, we call them “parables.” But Jesus is no parable; he’s God. This means that Jesus’ death is no analogy either. Again, contrary to what many Christians think, Jesus’ death is not some grand object lesson, pointing us to something else. It is not a mere demonstration of God’s love; it is God’s love. It is not God showing us how much he loves us; it is God loving us. To put it in philosophical terms, Jesus’ death doesn’t signify something else; Jesus’ death is the thing itself.
Pr. Todd Peperkorn wrote the following for his congregation’s website:
Oh that is my FAVORITE HYMN! Can we sing that more often, pastor? This is a question that I get from time to time, and it certainly is one worth thinking about
How do we pick hymns? Why do we sing some hymns and not others? Is there such a thing as good hymns and bad hymns? All of these are questions that get us to the heart of who we are as a congregation. We could ask the question another way: what is happening when we gather Sunday morning, and how does what we do reflect what God is doing? [Click HERE to read the rest]
If you are at all concerned about Lutheranism in America, read this.
Pr. Timothy Winterstein
If you are a Lutheran or want to talk to Lutherans, I suggest signing up at The Wittenberg Trail. My profile is here. If you are a member of Trinity or St. Paul’s, you may also want to sign up at MyChurch. If enough people sign up here, it may be a good way to publicize events, etc.
Pr. Timothy Winterstein