Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wedding Photos

We recently attended our nephew's wedding and enjoyed seeing family and friends. Bethany was a flower girl, along with her cousin. Elise played preludes and postludes on the organ.

Money-saving Laundry Tip

Here is something I do to save money on laundry-I make my own fabric softener. I thought it sounded weird when I first heard of it, but decided to give it a try. It works as well as store bought softener, is way cheaper, and I always have the ingredients on hand!

1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 c hair conditioner
3 cups water

I shake it up in an empty softener bottle, and voila! Instant softener. I even use blue conditioner, which makes it look like Downy.

Emotion-Driven Worship

Here is a great soundbite from Pastor Jon Sollberger, called, "The 'Liturgy' of Emotion-Driven Worship." It is several minutes long.

Wedding photos

In June we went to our nephew's wedding. Bethany was the flower girl, along with her cousin, and Elise played the preludes and postludes on the organ. We had a great time with family and friends.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pentecost Prayer

Today we observe Pentecost, the day God sent the Holy Spirit to establish the New Testament church (see Acts 2). We prayed the following prayer in church this morning, called the Introit; this text is based on Psalm 104:24, 27-28, 30, and an antiphon from a Liturgical Text.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of your love. Alleluia.
O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of your love. Alleluia.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Church Decor

I have noticed that young Christians who are members of churches with plain "worship centers", (or ones that double as gyms)have a tendency to pick a different location for their weddings. They are often looking for something more aesthetically pleasing. There are different reasons that many modern churches do not fit the bill in this area, ranging from concern that certain decor may break the commandment to not worship idols, to sheer pragmatism. This is one of my favorite Luther quotes, discussing why images are allowed in homes and in the sanctuary (we call it so, because it is a sacred place, where God comes to us in Word and Sacrament). And no, I am not promoting the worship of icons. Please read on (if you want a shorter read, my favorite part is the last paragraph).

According to the law of Moses no other images are forbidden than an image of God which one worships....Concerning this I have a powerful passage in Lev. 26.1, "I am the Lord your God. You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no graven image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land, to bow down to them."...It is because of worship that idols and figured stones are forbidden...Where they are not worshiped, they might well be set up and made....
We have also an example of this in the Old Testament. For Joshua (Josh 23[:26]) set up a cairn at Shechem under an oak as a testimony...However, because it was a stone of testimony, and not for the worship, he did not do this against the commandment. Thereafter also Samuel (1 Sam 7 [:12]) set up a stone and called it Stone of Help...But because no worship but only remembrance was intended, he did not sin...
No one is obligated to break violently images, even of God...One is obligated, however, to ...instruct and enlighten the conscience that it is idolatry to worship them, or to trust in them, since one is to trust alone in Christ...Images for memorial and witness, such as crucifixes and images of saints,are to be tolerated...And they are not only to be tolerated, but for the sake of the memorial and the witness they are praiseworthy and honorable...
Now we do not request more than that one permit us to regard a crucifix or a saint's image as a witness, for remembrance, as a sign....Pictures...we would paint on walls for the sake of remembrance and better understanding...It is, to be sure, better to paint pictures on walls of how God created the world, how Noah build the ark, and whatever other good stories there may be, than to paint shameless worldly things. Yes, would to God that I could persuade the rich and the mighty that they would permit the whole Bible to be painted on houses, on the inside and outside, so that all can see it. That would be a Christian work...
God desires to have his works heard and read, especially the passion of our Lord. But it is impossible for me to hear and bear it in mind without forming mental images of it in my heart. For whether I will or not, when I hear of Christ, an image of a man hanging on a cross takes form in my heart...If is is not a sin but good to have the image of Christ in my heart, why should it be a sin to have it in my eyes?

God made us physical people, and certainly in this generation there is an understanding of the influence of the visual. There are visual images that point worshipers to themselves, and others that point them to God. It is good and pleasing to engage all of our senses in the worship of God. It can point us to Jesus, who took on human flesh, with all of its senses, and made His dwelling among us.