As promised (threatened?), for the foreseeable future Friday editions of theproverbialdisciple will include reflections upon
The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Fortress Press Edition, 2000)
If you are looking for in depth, scholarly treatment of the confessions, you won't find it hear.
This blog remains an open devotional space first and foremost.
I have taken on some new thematic foci to keep myself motivated in posting.
I hope that more diverse themes and tones will have the side benefit of providing more points of entry into the adventure of living full - UP, IN, OUT - lives as we follow Christ Jesus together.
- Epiphany Always! Pastor Phil
"Furthermore, although some theologians, like Luther himself, were drawn (against their will) by their adversaries from treating the Holy Supper into a dispute over the personal union of the two natures in Chirst, our theologians declare within the Book of Concord itself and in the norm comprehended therein that, according to our firm intent and that of this book, in the treatment of the Lord's Supper Christians must be directed to no other basis and foundation than this one, namely, to the Words of Institution of Chirst's testament. He is almighty and truthful and thus able to accomplish what he has ordained and promised in his Word. ..."
- From the 18th paragraph of the Preface to the Book of Concord, p. 11,
The Book of Concord, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2000. Emphasis added.
2 They brought to [Jesus] a man who was paralyzed, lying on a stretcher. Seeing their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], Jesus said to the paralytic, “Do not be afraid, son; your sins are forgiven [the penalty is paid, the guilt removed, and you are declared to be in right standing with God].” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man blasphemes [by claiming the rights and prerogatives of God]!” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven and the penalty paid,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? [Both are possible for God; both are impossible for man.] 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority and the power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.” 7 And he got up and went home [healed and forgiven].
Jesus said and did things that should have been impossible. Without the proof of the realities they caused, his words were scandalous blasphemy. In short, only one speaking with the voice of the living Word of God could say:
"...your sins are forgiven..."; "Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home..."; or, "“...Take, eat; this is My body...” and transform seeming sacrilegious fancies into flesh and blood realities.
God's word for us - through the birth, epiphanies, teaching, healing, death, resurrection, ascension and promise to return while never leaving us alone to fend for ourselves - can seem too good to be true. Today I give thanks for the countless faithful through the ages - from those first, timid disciples; to Paul; to those gathered at the Council's of Jerusalem, Nicea, and Athanasia; to those who undertook a rigorous study and dialogue grounded in the Word of God in order to come to a "concord" around the confession of faith they would bequeath to subsequent generations of the small corner of Christ's church called Evangelical Lutherans - who have celebrated the good news that, "[Christ Jesus] is almighty and truthful and thus able to accomplish what he has ordained and promised in his Word."
The body of Christ is broken and offered, for you. Amen.
The blood of Christ is poured out and offered, for you. Amen.
Jesus said, "your sins are forgiven," and a lame man was healed and restored to community.
Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven."
What does that healing word free you to leave behind today?
What does that healing word free you to take up today?
To whom does that healing word bid you go today?
Jesus, you are "for us"! Who or what could ever prevail against us?
Grant us your Spirit as we pray and wait upon Your Kingdom come.
And send us, far and wide, with the Good News, of your Word that forgives, heals, and sets free wherever there is sin, suffering, or slavery. Amen.