Thursday, December 21, 2006

St. Thomas, Apostle

Today, December 21, the Christian Church marks the martyrdom of St. Thomas. Tradition holds that Thomas was speared to death near Madras, India and died three days later, on this day in AD 72. Accordingly he is often pictured holding a spear as paintings of martyrs often show them holding or accompanied by the instruments with which they were put to death. Ironic, given Thomas demand to place his hand in the hole made by the soldier's spear in his dear Savior's side.

Here is a picture (one of my favorites) and devotion to commemorate the occasion.

Higher Things Daily Reflections

December 21, 2006-Thursday in the Third Week of Advent, St. Thomas the ApostleDaily Lectionary: Isaiah 42:1-25, Revelation 9:1-12

Readings for the Day: Habakkuk 2:1-4, Ephesians 1:3-6, John 20:24-31

“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands and put your hand here and place it in my side and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (St. John 20:24-31)

What a wonderful gift St. Thomas is to you. Just like you, Thomas needs to see things for himself. He doesn’t merely want to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead – he wants to see “real” proof. And who can blame him? Isn’t that what you want, too – for the Lord to show you something “real” as proof that He is your Savior?

In order for Thomas to believe, he needs something he can sink his teeth into – or rather, something he can sink his hand and fingers into. Like the crucifixion hole left by a steel spike. Like the jagged gash left by a Roman spear. These are the things that Thomas considers as “real.” They are real to Thomas, because he had seen them with his own eyes.

He had seen Jesus taken into custody, marched up the hill to Golgotha, seen the Roman soldiers nail Jesus to the cross, heard the dying gasps, seen the blood pour from the spear-wound, and seen the dead body of Jesus placed in the grave. These are the things that Thomas considers “real” because he has seen them with his own eyes. And because he has seen them – he believes them.

Except, Thomas has this problem. According to the Lord – seeing is not believing. Believing is actually the opposite of seeing. To believe – to have faith – is to trust in that which can not be seen. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for – the evidence of things not seen,” the Lord has told you. (Hebrews 11:1)

Like Thomas, you are constantly tempted to think that the earthly things that you can see and touch that which is truly “real.” But they are not. They will all one day pass away. Even though you see them, feel them, experience them – they are not truly “real.”

This is why you thank God for Thomas today. It is to Thomas – and to you – that Jesus shows what is truly real. Hands pierced for your salvation. The opened side from which the River of Life eternally flows. A resurrected Body which destroys death forever. No longer are sin, suffering, pain and death real. Now, what is real for you is resurrection and eternal life. Thus, Jesus tells you, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Advent 2006 Reflections were written by the Rev. Daniel Feusse ( ), pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Clearwater, NE.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Behold! The Christmas Tree

"Oh, Christmas Tree"
[Text: Rev. Kurt Hering to be sung to the tune of "O Tannenbaum] A carol written to accompany the Christmas Eve sermon entitled, "Behold! The Christmas Tree," proclaiming the cross as the Alpha and Omega of Christmas trees – the tree of life.

1. Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches
Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches
For on those boughs so stark and bare
God’s Child condemned, took our place there.
Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches.

2. Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches
Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches.
Christ’s body given And His blood
Oh, tree of life from you for food.
So let us feast forevermore
On Him who graced your branches.

3. Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches.
Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches.
Stained red, you bore God’s only Son,
Born but to suffer death, He won
Salvation and eternal life
For all upon your branches.

4. Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches
Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches.
So evermore when we behold
Your beauty let the news be told
The Christ child born on Christmas Day
Brought glory to your branches.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

See Ya Later, Wes & Marquita

It is a wonderful thing that as Lutherans who believe their Baptism gives them eternal life, we can always confidently speak these words of parting, regardless of health or circumstances -- "See ya later!"

Wes and Marquita -- two of those dear and gentle souls who know how to lift a pastor's spirit with their quiet confidence, steady presence, and humble satisfaction while others are complaining about manna and grumbling for quail. They both now rest in peace awaiting the resurrection of all flesh while their souls have joined the saints who have gone before them around the throne of the Lamb.

Wes Townsend: March 30, 1930 -- December 12, 2006

See ya later, Wes & Marquita!

That Dangerous Sport -- Golf?

2006 Nextel Cup champ breaks wrist in golf cart mishap.

Somewhere out there Ricky Bobby is ROTFLOL!

Friday, December 8, 2006

Advent IS Coming!

Advent is coming!
That is what Advent means: coming. So in the season of the church year called Advent, we prepare for the coming of the Lord, our Savior -- Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God.

By His Coming we too are sons of the living God -- by His coming in earthy flesh:
  • as the promised Seed of the mother of all living – Eve;

  • as the firstborn Son of the mother of God – Mary;

  • as the ascended Lord of the mother of all believers – Church.

This will be the focus of our preparation for Christmas in our midweek worship services this Advent here at Trinity, Layton. During the Wednesdays of Advent (December 6, 13 & 20) we will have both an 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. service so that as many of you as possible will be able to attend to your personal, spiritual preparation for the coming of our Lord and the celebration of Christmas.

To be prepared for His coming means to confess our sin – for me to repent of my own personal sin as the most heinous before God and the only evil that separates me from Him.

Easily, the most frequently asked question of me is, "Pastor why do you have to call us sinners all the time – every sermon, every service?" And truth be told, unlike "Jeopardy," it is not always phrased in the form of a question – "Pastor, my parents/children/friends don’t like to come here because of all that talk about sin in our service and your sermons. You need to be more upbeat and the service should be more uplifting if we want our church to grow."

But what is more uplifting than to be rescued from the depths of our sin and into the very presence of God in His holy Kingdom? Sadly, much of Christianity would have you believe that, once you have heard the good news and accepted Jesus as your personal Savior who lives in your heart, sin is no longer an issue for you. Therefore, if you believe and have the Holy Spirit, all that is left is to be happy and to tell God and the world how much you love them. So church becomes a matter of entertainment and partying with the Lord.

Dear people of God, church is all about delivering the forgiveness of sins, or it is nothing at all. It is why Jesus came, it is why he comes, it is why He is coming again –to take away the sin of the world, and to take us away from the sin of the world. That is what a Savior does. That is what our Savior does. That is what The Savior does.

If you have no sin, you need no Savior -- and Christmas is a hapless holiday, a moldy manger, a feastless festival.

So repent! The kingdom of God is at hand. Advent IS coming, Jesus coming to earth for the salvation of all who believe – from Garden, to Manger, to Font.

Let it be so among us now and until the very end of our days.

Have a most blessed Advent season and a very merry Christmas as Jesus comes to you in His church – the kingdom of God come to earth!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Ya just gotta laugh!

A new take on an old classic, "Hu's on First?"

A Tale of Two Countries

That was then . . .

A day that will live in infamy!

This is now. . .

A day that is dying in ignominy!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

A friend of mine who is a retired pastor from the Poconos, affectionately known as Charley Chaplain, informed me of a NY Post poll that placed both Pres. and Sen. Clinton among the ten most evil people of the millennium. The former president came in as number two and the current senator as number six. [See for the top, or bottom, 25.]

Neither of the Clintons were even listed as choices by the pollster. Both were the "beneficiaries" of write-in votes in this e-poll. What rational person would rank them above such murdering despots as Hitler, Stalin, Hussein and Bin Laden? Curiously, the most notorious communist tyrant, Mau Tse-Tung, is not listed among the top twenty-five at all – an omission with ominous overtones of its own. Furthermore, can there be any doubt that if the NY Times were to run a similar poll that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld would out-distance even Hitler himself?

Regardless of one’s political persuasion, to rank either Clinton or anyone from the Bush administration, anywhere among these folk is ridiculous, disingenuous and destructive.

Herein lies the rub of it all. We the poeople cannot agree that we are the good guys in all of this, globally speaking. Our nation was founded to be a shining beacon to the world as a nation of laws for the peaceful coexistence of a moral people. As the Commander in Chief of the United States of America, the President is sworn to uphold our Constitution and protect the citizenry. By virtue of his office, President Bush righteously prosecuted the war in Iraq for the protection of the American people. However, because he knew the pacifism of the political left and the anti-American fervor in the U.N., he came up with disingenuous reasons (such as to establish democracy in the Mideast) for the war and tried to prosecute it in a way that would appease those who will never accept that the United States can initiate a war that is just and beneficial to the cause of peace. Result -- turning decisive victory and security into impending defeat and subservience to foreign terrorists.

Lesson for the political right -- you cannot ever please the political left of our own country or the "diplomats" of the world. They will never like nor agree with anyone who works from the premise that we the people of the United States of America have a better ideal and government than does the United Nations in general, or any other nation in particular.

Lesson for the political left -- human beings cannot save the planet, that is God's job. There will always be disease, there will always be pollution, and there will always be death [Genesis 3:16-19; Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8].

Lesson to both, we are the United States of America. You politicians have been elected and sworn to serve and protect us from the world and preserve our safety and freedoms -- not to serve and protect the world from us, nor to win favor and applause from your political opposites.
If one does not think that the United States of America
  • is the best nation on the face of the earth,

  • our constitution righteously separates us from the rest of the world,

  • and our people are deserving of protection from those who think otherwise,
then perhaps that person should not take the oath, or even stand for election, for an office established for these very purposes.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." []

Monday, December 4, 2006

Creation Is a Blast!

Creation is a blast! A trophoblast, that is. At least it is for that "blob of tissue" medical science has labeled: "fetus. "

According to research cited in an article entitled Baby Immunizes Mother:

"As we have learned more about the immune system, doctors began asking themselves why a pregnant mother’s body doesn’t reject the foreign tissue of the baby growing inside her. . . . From conception the unborn child is a genetically unique individual. It appears that under normal conditions the trophoblast is a special set of cells that the body cannot identify as foreign. In addition, the trophoblast makes cells that encourage the mother’s immune system to protect it. Scientists now believe that this amazing feature may actually be provided by the father’s genetic information. In effect, the baby, with the help of the father, immunizes the mother’s system so that it doesn’t reject the baby! So, even before birth, the mother nurtures and the father protects the child." [Creation Moments, July 13, 2006,]

Wow!!! That IS a blast, isn’t it? A blast to evolutionists and pro-abortionists alike.

Trophoblast fits perfectly with God’s revealed Word of the Bible in regard to both the history of creation and the promise of salvation. While evolution requires millions and billions of years of trial and error and death in order to develop genetic characteristics that will enable life to survive and develop into more advanced forms, trophoblast is evidence of a genetic programming that protects a life which already contains everything needed to develop into its mature, advanced form. According to genetic research, there is NEVER a time, from conception to death, that human life is ever anything short of fully human – the chromosomes remain the same.

According to the psalmist, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." [Psalm 51:5]

The human trophoblast cells that beg a Creator also confess a Savior. This built in protection of a little sinner is God the Father’s means to deliver that sinner from the amniotic waters of the womb to the baptismal waters of the church.

Just as no one is born into this world without a mother, no one is born again into the kingdom of heaven without church. Trophoblast is one earthly means that Our Father has created and continues to use in order that His command -- as spoken by His only begotten Son -- may be fulfilled and come to fruition:

  • In John 3:5, "Jesus answered [the Pharisee, Nicodemus], ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’" [NKJ]
  • Or as we learn from the Small Catechism explanation to the Apostles’ Creed, "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith."

Thankfully, just as God has created and continues to use the earthly means of trophoblast cells to protect and deliver human life into the world, so He has instituted and continues to use the earthly means of the spoken and sacramental Word of the Gospel to deliver and protect human life in His church by faith – for in this, and this alone, is the kingdom of heaven and eternal life.
Yup! Creation is a blast from God. And God does everything to protect and deliver His creation – especially those whom He has made His own children by Baptism.

Let us pray to the Father that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we baptized and forgiven children of God will always abide in the Word – never forgetting or betraying Him who has created human fathers and mothers to nurture and protect their babies in order to bring them into the world and also to the Baptismal font that bestows forgiveness of sins and faith unto eternal life. Amen

Ya just gotta laugh!

A day in the life of a laughing warrior . . .

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Is Synod an Oxymoron?

To kick things off in the name of a laughing little warrior, here is Isaac Martin's 21st century manifestation of the 95 Theses. I haven't counted the number of theses in this document, but regarldess of number they are intended to be one in spirit with my progenitor and namesake -- the good Dr. Martinus. Please accept them as a call to wrestle with ourselves and rejoice in our distinct and common identity.

Walking Together Down Different Roads . . .
Is Synod an Oxymoron?

As members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, we are blessed and glad to call one another brothers and to work together in the service of the saints God has seen fit to gather together in our congregations. The saints at the congregation which has called me to be their servant of the Word once chose and continue to be called by the precious name of Trinity –– Father, Son and Holy Spirit –– three persons yet One God. These saints have been and continue to be called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified along with the whole Christian church on earth, and kept with Jesus Christ in the one true faith by the Holy Spirit working though Word and Sacrament. While going by a wide variety of names befitting and reflective of local considerations, the saints of all our LCMS congregations share this same calling, gathering, enlightenment and sanctification. [See also THE MOTIVES AND QUALIFICATIONS OF A GENUINE CHURCH MEMBER: Walther's Words of Welcome to New Membersby C.F.W. Walther]

This being the case, it is troubling, confusing, and detrimental to the unity of faith that there are so many different teachings and practices among us regarding such things as the liturgy of the Divine Service, the office of the ministry, the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, church discipline et al. We pledge to walk together as a Synod, yet behave as if the vows we make are some ethereal, idealistic chimeras subject to individual interpretation lest they preclude Christian love and prevent Christian mission. Our synod seems to have become an oxymoronic "walking together" down different paths with the assumption that the good intentions of the individual pedestrians are sufficient to deliver them to the same destination in the end. It is precisely such "good intention" that prompted Jesus to rebuke His closest of friends and disciples, Peter, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." [Matthew 16:23]

It seems to me that our synodical problem is that, when it comes to our walking together, we are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.

All of Scripture is about bringing us into unity in Christ to walk and talk together on the same path with the same mind.

  • In John 14:6 Jesus tells us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

  • Jesus high priestly prayer entreats the Father on behalf of His church, "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." [John 17:20-21]

  • In 1 Corinthians 1:10 the Apostle Paul calls for the saints there to walk together in their confession and practice: "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."

  • This synodical agreement finds its culmination at the table of our Lord, as Paul continues his exhortation of the people of the church at Corinth: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread." [1 Corinthians 10:16-17]

  • This agreement is no different for the saints in Rome: "Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." [Romans 15:5-6]

  • It extends to the Philippian Christians as well: "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." [Philippians 1:27]

  • Paul goes so far as to connect the work of the Holy Spirit Himself to such agreement: "Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." [Philippians 2:1-2]

  • And therefore the very presence of God demands such agreement: "Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." [2 Corinthians 13:11 ]

  • Peter joins the chorus as he shows that unity does not proceed from our compassion for each other, but compassion for each other proceeds from unity in Christ: "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." [1 Peter 3:8-9]

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who calls and sends His under-shepherds to gather His flock together – i.e. to unify them according to the teaching of His Word. To be a pastor, by definition, means to be a shepherd. A shepherd, by definition, gathers sheep into a herd or flock. This is so in order to feed them all in the same pure and nourishing pasture, water them all at the same clean and quiet stream, examine and treat them all for vermin and disease, bed them all in the same guarded fold, and lead them all along the same safe paths from pasture to stream to fold. He has a rod to tap the nose and hind quarters of sheep and direct them back to the path when they step off it, as well as to fight off predators who would take the sheep off of the path. He also has a staff with a crook to rescue sheep stuck in muddy pits or fallen into dry cisterns when they strayed too far from the path to look for greener pasture.

The world disdains dependent, obedient sheep. The Lord loves them. The world loves independent, mountain climbing goats. The Lord disdains them and will cast them aside on the last day. We are called out of a world that walks many different paths in many different directions, and into a fellowship that walks the same direction on the same path.

Our path is the path of Christ and Him crucified. The goal of the church is not to walk *to* the cross, but to walk *with* it and the One who died upon it. We do not have to get to the cross, the cross has come to us, and so has the One crucified upon it. We are not many people each trying to find our own way to the cross, we are one people baptized into the cross of Christ. The cross is the path we are on, not the destination to which we are headed.

The same cross leads through every nation and every people, and as it does it gathers them around the crucified One and makes them one with Him on the same road. That is why the early church was called "The Way." That is why the baptized are called the "body of Christ." That is why we are called the communion of saints. That is why we are called a congregation (gathering together). That is why we are called church, which from the Greek means to be called out from varying places into an assembly in one place. That is why we are called synod, which means "walking together." That is why we have a "Book of Concord" which means to be in agreement. That is why that book is also referred to as "The Lutheran *Confessions*," which means to say the same thing. That is why we have a constitution, which is a document setting policy so that we can operate together.

Those members of Synod who are called to exercise the pastoral office and/or elected to exercise political office in service to congregations, districts or synod are charged with executing the agreed upon policies of the body, i.e. unified organism, which called and/or elected them. Those policies that unify us are our congregational, district and synodical Constitutions, the Book of Concord and the Scriptures -- in ascending order of importance.

As I understand it, the purpose of our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is to take many people and guide them to walk together down the same road in a common direction. So how is it that we seem to walk so many diverse paths and take such divergent roads?

And just how can a pastor lead people who are encouraged to choose from among those different paths and roads according to the many options presented by a fractured synod? It sounds and feels like herding cats to me. It is sucking faithful pastors dry, breaking the backs of the officers of the church who call for unity in doctrine and practice, alienating confessionally orthodox congregations, and tearing the synod apart.

Among the brethren I have all too often heard the saving doctrine given by God Himself called cold, unloving and lifeless. I have heard synodical and district officials, as well as individual pastors, say that feeling the pain and burden of our people is just as important, or even more so, than being true to the doctrine Christ has given us for the salvation of souls. [1 Timothy 4:16] What have we become? Are we now saviors of our people rather than servants of the Word?

As far as I can tell, the LC-MS has largely become a bunch of people of different minds, each going down their own path according to their own profession of faith. Experimenting on our own people and courting the un-churched or otherwise-churched with the latest fad of technology, behavioral psychology or business management has become our driving purpose as meeting budgetary goals and scoreboard totes has supplanted faithfulness in preaching the Word and administration of the Sacrament for the sake of God’s elect.

It seems to me the one thing that hasn’t been tried in recent LC-MS history is to walk down the same path, having the same mind and practicing according to the same confession of faith. We have different paths in the world in order to serve others according to our abilities, and to touch a variety of people with the Cross we are blessed to carry –– all with the purpose of bringing them onto the same path as us. We have different gifts and talents in order to do the different things necessary to keep the church functioning in this world. But we have the same head, Jesus Christ, who gives us the same mind that causes us to speak with one mouth; who coordinates our many hands and fingers to wield the same spiritual weapons in the same spiritual war; and who directs our legs to walk in the same direction on the same path of eternal life.

And we have but one authorized function –– to tell the world that Jesus is here among us to deliver the forgiveness of sins. All of our time, talents and treasures go to make sure that there is always a place and a people able to do this. We neither worship nor give monetary offerings to please God. Our Baptism, which is one baptism common to us all, says He is already pleased with us for the sake of His Son. We worship because we need what God gives us. In worship, God reminds us that He is already pleased with us and gathers us in our common baptism to receive again the forgiveness of sins that baptism affords every day of our lives. We give our monetary offerings to support the worldly things God uses to deliver what we need for our salvation, i.e. the means of grace, and our physical service as the hands of Christ to sustain the people and things that are part and parcel of the church as it exists on earth.

As I have stated to the Church Council and the voters of the congregation I have been called and ordained to serve: I happen to have been called to lead us down one particular path, according to one mind – the mind of Christ -- in one particular direction as expressed in our Lutheran Confessions. Anyone who has joined our congregation, district and/or synod has ostensibly, and by implication, agreed to walk down that same path, according to that same mind, in that same direction and confession.

Neither I nor any member of our synod should lead, or follow along with, those whose preference is to take another path, be of another mind, or practice according to a different confession. In fact, insofar as we are undershepherds of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, we are pledged to leave the ninety and nine to find the one or ones that deviate from it and bring them back -- or to publicly remove them from the flock.

The more sheep we have running in different directions along different paths, the more we have to be leaving the flock to track down and attempt to bring back the strays if we are to remain faithful to each other. Matthew 18, among many other Scripture references, is about bringing people who have strayed back onto the same path.

My point is that we should aspire by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to walk the same path, teach the same things, and seek after those who stray from the path that is mapped out for us in our Confessions according to the mind of Christ.

The simple and incontrovertible fact of the matter is this -- one can only walk one path at a time. Therefore if some insist on walking a different path, being of a different mind and teaching different things, they do it not as a synod but as those who consider themselves more important than the body to which they have been joined. It seems to me that a congregation, a district or synod, by definition, can walk but one path -- otherwise it is not a gathering but a dispersal. As Pastor Tim Pauls conveys in his "There He Is" Lenten devotion of February 17, 2005, when God’s people don’t want Him around, He obliges. The results are always the same. Dispersal. The people wander around lost until they are led to repent and ask God to bring them back into conformity with Him.

The officers of the LC-MS and her various districts have been elected and pledged to lead us according to our Lutheran Confessions, to make sure that we all walk together and continue to abide in those Confessions, to train others to do likewise for future generations, and to support those who are doing so now.

I pray that we the people of Trinity- Layton, the Rocky Mountain District and our beloved Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod can still come to some kind of agreement to walk together and speak the same thing. If we cannot . . . well, God forbid it to be so and rescue us from our own selves. Let us join together in our daily devotional life and in the Divine Service to pray for unity -- and in our lives of sanctified service, to practice the same.

It is very sad that so often our actions run contrary to our prayers. It is even sadder that too often it is purposely so. We publicly agree in principal at conferences and conventions, and then go off and practice as we please. If you look at the prayers of the church in our hymnal, in Scripture, and throughout the history of the church, the petition is that we may be one.

God grant that it may be so once again among the people of God in the LCMS.

Your brother, servant and laughing little warrior in Christ,