Showing posts from August, 2013

The Pharisee and the Rebublican

The other day, in confirmation class, we were talking about Luke 18:9-14.  The book we were using referred to the Pharisee and the publican, but also noted that "publican" could also be translated as"tax collector."  One of my students didn't pay close enough attention and was referring to the Pharisee and the Republican.

Insert your political punchline here if you'd like...

We had an interesting conversation about this parable and the difference between the Pharisee and the tax collector.

The Pharisee believed that he deserved God's blessings because he had earned them while the tax collector knew that he was desperately sinful and only God's mercy could help him.The Pharisee was very happy with himself while the tax collector was in angst because of his sin.
We talked about what word of God the Pharisee needed to hear and what the tax collector needed to hear.
The Pharisee needed to hear God's law, to reveal his true unrighteousness, so that he …

The Invocation

"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Have you ever wondered why we begin the Divine Service with these words?

There are two key reason for beginning with these words.
It publicly declares to everyone who is there that we are gathered in the name of the Triune God.  It is God's house and God's service.It is a reminder of our Baptism.  When you were baptized, whether your remember it or not, you were baptized into the name of the Triune God.  Jesus instructed in Matthew 28:19-20 that we baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and so the church has done just that. And since the time of the Apostles, Christians have started the Divine Service by using the same words used when they were baptized.  It has served as a reminder for Christians throughout the history of the church of the promises of God that are theirs in Holy Baptism. The invocation can serve as a reminder to Christians today as well.  Beginning the service with th…

A Swing or a Top

Many people imagine the Christian life as similar to a child on a swing.  When you are young you need the help of dad, a push, in order to swing.  However as a child learns to pump his or her legs and swing without the push, so the mature Christian becomes stronger and stronger and less dependent upon God.

The swing analogy is not Biblical.

Rather, the Christian life is much more as if each Christian is a top that is dependent upon God to spin.  The top cannot spin itself, it is dependent upon someone to spin it.  To mature as a Christian is not to learn to become stronger and less dependent upon God, rather it is to recognize your weakness and utter dependance upon Christ for all things.  You never become strong enough to be self reliant, rather you become less and less self reliant and more and more Christ reliant.