Golden and Noble Works

“A wife too should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways; and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works."
Martin Luther

Sunday, January 29, 2012

They Will See His Face – Part 3

Kristi writes:

Richard Eyer's book They Will See His Face continues to impress me.  Here are some thoughts on Chapter 3 - Liturgical Prayer and the Healing of Our Loneliness.

Eyer points out the difference between loneliness and solitude: Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful.  I've experienced loneliness and solitude.  Eyer gets the definition right on both accounts.  Loneliness is a place where you are turned in on yourself.  Solitude is a state that comes from outside yourself.

This leads me to wonder how so many people can be content with "worshiping" at home by themselves.  I am so tired of hearing the question, "Pastor, is it better to be fishing on Sunday morning, thinking about God; or being in church on Sunday morning, wishing I was fishing?"  Sin grabs hold and wants me to plot my own chart, do my own thing, and tell God how to run the show.  It's all about me.  This is sin, and I know it.  I am driven to my knees, begging God to forgive me of breaking the First Commandment yet again.

I like Eyer's thoughts regarding public and private prayer. They are two different things and should not be compared side-by-side in their purpose.  He reminds us that private prayer gives us the opportunity to share with God our deepest thoughts and desires.  Yet there is much to be gleaned by participating in public prayer.  In this way, our thoughts are not on ourselves only, but on the needs of the whole body of Christ.  Yes, sometimes it does get tiring repeating the phrase, "Hear our prayer."  However, this repetition points me to the object of my faith - Jesus Christ.  The focus is Christ, not me.  In the Divine Service, God gives good things to me immediately.  To that I can say, "Amen!"

Written prayer is a gift.  Written prayer comes from the Scriptures.  These are words that get us outside ourselves.  It is so easy for me to become focused on my needs, my wants, my sinful desires.  Written prayer reminds me of what God gives, purely out of His divine goodness and mercy; He gives me Himself.  Nothing could be better.

Finally, Eyer encourages a specific time and place for personal devotions.  This is a personal struggle.  It is quite easy for me to say that I'll get to my devotions later in the day.  I need to attend to schooling, cooking, laundry, fill in the blank.   When that happens, trouble is bound to occur.  By making time in the Word a priority, I receive Christ.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Busy Day Bean Soup - From Kathy F.

Kathy writes: 
This is one of my husband's favorite soups...a warm memory from his childhood....and it has become one of my all time favorites too.  Thought I would share it with the rest of you ladies!!  Enjoy!
1 large jar of precooked white beans
1 jar water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic
2 T brown sugar
1/8 tsp season salt
1 large onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 carrot chopped
1 med potato chopped
1-2 cups cubed ham
put it all in crock pot
high 1 hour
low 6-8 hours
mash with potato masher before serving
freezes well

*Pictured above...not Kathy's husband.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Prayer Request - From Beth M.

My dad was diagnosed a week ago with a rare brain cancer, Astrocytoma (Grade 3), after having a brain biopsy at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. This past Thursday our family had a consultation with a neurologist at Mayo Clinic to discuss possible treatment. This is an aggressive cancer which infiltrates through the supportive tissue on the brain which eliminates surgery as an option. My mom has set up an appointment at a cancer treatment center near their home in IL to begin radiation treatments.

My 74 year old dad has been a healthy, very active farmer all of his life. He knew he wasn’t feeling right during harvest but attributed it to old age. After seeing many different Drs. and getting no answer for the swelling and white spots on his brain with symptoms of fatigue, falling, and confusion, my mom and dad drove to Mayo in Rochester for a second opinion, which leads to where we are today. Everything has happened so quickly, but God is giving my family the strength to go through this. My dad was reciting his confirmation verse (Hebrews 13:5) as I read it to him on Thursday before we said our “good-byes” to travel back to our homes. What comfort God promises us in His Word!

Needless to say, I can think of nothing else as I try to get something accomplished at home and long to be in IL to help my mom and dad. I am looking at leaving next week to stay with them awhile, taking my younger two with me while the older two remain at home with Mark.  My siblings live near my parents and have been able to help out.  We thoroughly enjoyed the surprise visit from my foster brother from Florida during our time at Mayo, and know that he will be with us again as able. God is good in that this is bringing my family closer than what we’ve been in some time.

Thank you for all your love and support!

Your sister in Christ,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

They Will See His Face – Part 2

Kristi writes:

I’m continuing to read the book titled They Will See His Face by Richard Eyer.  The topic is worship and healing.  Today I’ll share some thoughts on chapters 1 and 2.

Chapter 1:  The General Confession and the Healing of Our Guilt – Confession is a hard thing for me to do.  It means an acknowledgement that I have done something wrong, and I despise being wrong.  When I have sinned against Jerome or Joanna, it is quite difficult for me to swallow my pride and apologize.  It’s also humbling to hear the absolution that is given to me after I make that confession.  The Confession and Absolution in church works the same way.  I make a general confession, but so often I don’t want to reflect on those specific sins.  Then I miss out on the sweet Gospel of forgiveness.

Eyer points out the joy in hearing the absolution.
We leave behind our guilt, and we move on to the worship of God with "angels and archangels and all the company off heaven.” We are free to leave our sins at the altar and walk with the host of believers.   Having been cleansed and absolved, I now receive receive the body and blood of my Lord with fellow believers.  That drives me to my knees.

Eyer goes on to share the joy that comes from private confession.  The Lutheran church has not mandated this but is becoming more vocal in sharing the relief that comes from such.  A sin that burdens us is like a cancer.  It continues to grow and fester and cause us more problems.  Jesus is the cure; He removes all of the cancer and renews us by His Word and Sacraments.

We truly are sick with sin.  Eyer writes: In private Confession and Absolution the hand of God rests on us more specifically as a healing presence when the pastor makes the sign of the cross on us and assures us that our sins are forgiven… Confession, also the work of the Holy Spirit within us, is the surgery God performs that removes the cancerous condition that kills.  Absolution, the work of Jesus Christ, is the new life that gives us hope and a future.  Jesus is the only one who can heal us.  I am now beginning to understand the connection between worship and healing.

Chapter 2: The Name of God and the Healing of Our Anxiety –  I could spend a lot of time worrying.  Even worse, though, is being anxious.  I think of worry as a short-term phrase.  If I am anxious, it continues to plague me.    When I turn in on myself, I see only problems that need fixing.  I cannot correct these issues by myself, though.  That only provides short-term relief.  Rather, I need fixing that comes from outside myself.  I am so sick with sin that I have no idea how to fix it.  I do know that God can provide healing of the mind.  He takes my burdens and grants me peace.

When I sit in the church pew (or on the organ bench), I pray that I remain focused on the gifts that are being given to me.  So often, though, I am tempted to let my mind drift to the activities yet to follow.  I start to think about the events yet to come and my involvement in them.  I forget my reason for coming to church.  This is where Eyer gives us the “password” to entering the presence of God.  He writes: God’s response to our drifting is dealt with in the liturgy of public worship, and He begins by giving us a password by which to enter into His presence.  That password, given us in the Invocation, is His holy name of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  God’s name slams the door on my sins and brings me back to the gifts that are right in front of me.  I have been forgiven of my sins and now I receive Christ’s body and blood.  I am now in the presence of God, where He desires to give me only good things.

When I enter the house of the Lord, I know that something special is happening.  The worldly values are not on display here.  God’s Word and Sacraments are here FOR ME.  I am comforted each week when I sit in the pew because I know what is coming.  There are no huge surprises or new teachings.  They are the truths that my forefathers were taught and passed along to their children.  The Church sings together – those seated beside me and those already singing praises in heaven.  It is in church that I know WHO I am and WHOSE I am.  That brings true joy and comfort.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

They Will See His Face – Part 1

Kristi L. writes:

I’m starting to read a book titled They Will See His Face by Richard Eyer.  The topic is worship and healing.  I don’t know anything else about the book, other than it has been recommended to me by several people.  Last night I read the Preface and was blown away by all of the good theology in it. This was just the preface, people.
I love what Eyer says regarding one’s personal tastes about church.  He writes:
I may not like to wear a hat in the winter, but I know from experience as I grow older and lose more hair that I am likely to regret it later if I don’t.  I wear a hat not because I feel like it, but because it is a good thing for me to do.  In worship, some things may seem strange and even feel awkward until we come to understand the truth and benefit that result from doing things that way.  It is important to remember that worship is not what we like to do, but what God has chosen to do for our benefit.  Worship is primarily God’s action in our lives through Word and Sacraments and only secondarily our action in response to that as prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.  (pages 8-9)
In our sinful nature, we think that worship should be what we give to God, rather than what He receive what He gives to us.  Formal worship also helps us to see that something special is happening here; the world would have everything be casual and laid back.  I love formal worship; it helps me stay focused on the Word and all that the Lord is giving to me.
Eyer also writes beautifully on the reasons we attend church.  He states: 
There are times when the only thing that carries my tired body from bed to pew is the thought of seeing friends and the social interaction that the fellowship of the congregation provides.  But I am also aware that when I am focused on friends or the expectation of finding the church a friendly place to be, I am not as focused on God as I need to be and I miss the thing needed most. (page 11)  
I have been guilty of this very thing so many times.  And then, while sitting in the pews, admiring the neighbor’s new clothing or hairstyle, I realize my sin.  I’m here to receive Christ’s blessings, not fulfill a social obligation. 

I’d love to have a conversation with you regarding this book.  I’ve only gotten as far as the Preface, and I’m eager to delve into more of it.  The book is quite inexpensive.  

You can order one through Amazon (new) or (used).  I’m hoping that your pastor would also have this book on his shelf, and he’d be delighted to share it with you.  Will you join me and read They Will See His Face?  It only has 119 pages.  Let’s read some good theology together.