Friday, May 24, 2013
/> We have been quite busy here at the Palmer household. Stan received his call to be a pastor to two congregations in western Kansas, Lindsay was confirmed, Elise graduated from high school, the younger girls sang in homeschool choir at the seminary for the last time! We thank God for all the opportunities he has given us during our time in Indiana, and the wonderful people we have met whom we will always cherish. As to being completed, I am unsure as of this time if this blog will be "completed" or not. I have enjoyed blogging about family and theology (my two main interests). Most of my readers are on facebook, where I post photos about our family. I have touched on many theological subjects that are important to me. After we are settled in our new parsonage in western Kansas, I may feel like blogging again. For now, I am going to focus on completing the task of packing our family up and spending time with dear people that are here. I appreciate those who took the time to read our blog, and hope that it was as enriching to you as it has been for us. God's blessings to you. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21
Monday, April 22, 2013
This is one of the prayers we prayed in church yesterday. I cut it out of the bulletin, and plan to refer to it often as we wait for Call Day, when Stan will know where he will be a pastor (and we find out where we will be living). Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. ~Collect for the 4th Sunday of Easter, used in the LC-MS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod).
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Here is another excellent Issues, Etc. program. The topic? America's Population Implosion. Yes, you read that correctly, "Implosion." I find it curious that with many hot button topics, we hear the ramifications and reasoning behind one side of the issue, but we don't often hear the full story from people on the other side of the issue. This is one of those issues. Ever since I was a child, I remember hearing about "overpopulation." It frightened me somewhat. Here is the other side. If you are a person who does not want to have children, you can still listen without fear of being shamed. The guest, Jonathan Last, states clearly that he is not trying to talk people into having kids if they don't want to. He is, however, offering some intelligent observations about the consequences of our fertility rate, which is below replacement rate.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
This verse is such a wonderful summary of how we can know God: through the forgiveness of sins. It is also appropriate to think about during Lent, when the focus is on repentance, and how Christ carried our sins to the cross. Jeremiah 31:34b: "They all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." We are forgiven through the sinless death of Jesus Christ on our behalf, brought to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. That is how we know God our Father! All thanks be to Him.
I am a big fan of history. To be honest, in school through the 12th grade I found it to be one of the most, if not the most, boring subject around. In college I suddenly found myself interested, once I realized I was learning about real people like you and me. I still find it fascinating that widely held beliefs in one era can be the exact opposite of those held in a different era. I try to keep an open mind when considering beliefs of another period. It is easy to mock them, and think of ourselves as infinitely more intelligent and advanced than people in other times. In some cases, we do have advanced knowledge. In other areas, we are lacking and would do well to consider some older habits and beliefs. One subject that interests me is birth control. I find it incredible that the Christian church, across denominations, condemned it until less than 100 years ago. I used to think it was just the influence of newer technologies. However, there is more to it. How did our society change as much as it has? How did Planned Parenthood get started, and how did Margaret Sanger influence the church and in turn, society? Here is a gem of an Issues, Etc. radio program, called "Evangelicals and Birth Control". The guest is Dr. Allan Carlson. There is also a print article on the page I linked, if you would rather read about it than listen to it. Even though the title speaks of evangelicals, the program would be informative for anyone interested in American or church history. I think it is a wise practice to understand how and why a society changes. Sometimes we take our own beliefs for granted, and don't really examine why we believe as we do. Stan always says, "Know what you believe and why you believe it." That is good advice.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
I have recently been thinking about the lack of substance in the last presidential debates. Most of the responses to the questions reminded me more of sales pitches than deep explanations of why one view was better than the other. Here is an excerpt from an article, "Doing better on 'hard cases'" in the January 26, 2013 issue of World Magazine, by Marvin and Susan Olasky, quoting Amherst College political science professor Hadley Arkes: "Arkes recommends that pro-lifers pursue 'a strategy Abraham Lincoln used when he asked slave owners, why are you justified in making a slave of the black men? Is it because he is less intelligent than you? Ah, beware! The next white man who comes along, more intelligent than you, might enslave you. Is it because he is darker? Ah, beware again. The next white man who comes along with a complexion even lighter than yours may enslave you.' "We're simply making the same kind of principled argument, so we say, why is that offspring in the womb anything less than human? It doesn't speak yet? Neither do deaf/mutes. It doesn't yet have arms and legs? Well, other people lose arms and legs in the course of their lives without losing anything necessary to their standing as human beings."
Saturday, January 19, 2013
The Catechism: the Sacrament of Holy Baptism—Part I and II What is Baptism? Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God's command and combined with God's word. Which is that word of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” [Matt. 28:19] What benefits does Baptism give? It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. Which are these words and promises of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” [Mark 16:16]
Sunday, January 6, 2013
As we enter the season of Epiphany, inevitably someone will ask “What is Epiphany really all about? Is it just about remembering the Wise Men when they visited the Christ Child?” While the visitation of the Magi from the East is certainly part of the answer, there is more that can be said that will hopefully enrich our understanding of Epiphany, and why it is still an important part of the Church Year. Epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphaneia , which means “appearance” or “manifestation”.
In a sense, Epiphany is the final crescendo or climax of the Advent and Christmas Seasons. Counting forward from December 25th, it is also referred to as the Twelfth Day of Christmas. It extends from the traditional date of January 6th until the beginning of Lent. Like Easter and Christmas, Epiphany is an occasion for feasting in some cultures. If you've ever lived in a French-American Roman Catholic community in the deep south you may be familiar with the custom of baking a special “King's Cake” as part of a family observance of Epiphany.
As the name implies, one of the overarching themes during this season is “appearances” or “manifestations”. In our Scripture readings, this theme of appearances is initiated with the familiar story of the Wise Men from the East (Matthew 2:1-12); the appearance of the star which leads them to the newborn King of the Jews – the manifestation of God made flesh. During this season, this theme continues with the Baptism of Jesus, which is marked with a glorious manifestation of each Person of the Holy Trinity. The subsequent readings during Epiphany will vary from year to year, but generally include familiar passages such as excerpts from the Sermon on the Mount, the Calling of the Twelve, and the Wedding at Cana. These passages have an underlying thread that illustrates God's faithfulness by His coming and appearing before us for the purpose of teaching, nurturing, and caring for His
people as He traverses ultimately to the cross that awaits Him. The Epiphany season concludes with a reading about another manifestation of God that rivals the glory and majesty of the Lord's Baptism, with striking parallels: Christ's Transfiguration, as recorded in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9. Again, the God-Man is glorified before some onlookers and the voice of the Father is heard again saying: “This is My beloved Son...”.
Our hymnody during Epiphany reflects this as well. Yes, we do sing of the visitation of the Wise Men, such as in “The Star Proclaims the King Is Here”, but there are several that speak of directly of the glorious manifestations of the Lord's baptism and the grace and mercy He offers us:
This the baptism that our Savior greatly longed to undergo
This the crimson cleansing needed so the world God's love might know
This the mission of Messiah as He stepped from Jordan's stream
He, the chosen and anointed Son of God, sent to redeem.
Jesus, Once with Sinners Numbered (LSB 404)
During this time in our services, we reply back to God with humble thanks and praise, as so beautifully illustrated in the Gradual for Epiphany, taken from Psalms 117 and 96:
Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is His steadfast love toward us
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts!
Joy, O joy, beyond all gladness, Christ has done away with sadness! Hence, all sorrow and repining, For the Sun of Grace is shining! Refrain, O Rejoice, Ye Christians, Loudly, LSB 897 Happy New Year! Instead of focusing on myself, this hymn points me to the one I will spend all eternity with. That is something to rejoice about in the new year. Today is also Epiphany, when we remember that Christ was revealed as Savior for ALL races and nations of people when the Magi came from afar to visit him, led by the star. Indeed, the "Sun of Grace" shines for all people, shown by His sinless life, His innocent suffering and death on the cross and by His resurrection. He resolved to die for you. This new year, "Let every heart prepare Him room," as the well-known song, Joy to the World, proclaims. "The Lord has come," and will come again. Hallelujah!