Saturday, June 20, 2009

Welcome summer

It is, I think, a very good thing that the age of parsonages/rectories is quickly passing. The notion that the people should 'provide' for their pastor need not include the idea that they let him live in 'their' home while he is their pastor. We all know the stories of pastors' widows destitute of homes in their old age.

The provision of a housing allowance with which the pastor goes out and takes care of it all himself is a good thing, also because, on the one hand, it forces the pastor to live in the 'real' world, and on the other, it enables the pastor to gain equity, as well as to take care of his home's needed repairs, maintenance, etc. in his own time, without waiting on the trustees. After all, those trustees have their own houses to look after.

Another reason this is good is that this pastor finds the occasional stint at home improvement a fine diversion.

So my blogs have been slower of late, because I've been up on the roof, fixing and improving. I am not trained in this. I have been learning on the job. It's rewarding, actually; especially when I consider how much I am able to save by doing it myself.

And now we arrive at summer's first day, always a welcome thing. Projects well underway, vacations planned, picnics attended, and roofs repaired.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Trinity Sunday

The Athanasian Creed was said prior to mass today. The Gospel for the Feast of the Holy Trinity is St. John 3:1-15. The sermon:

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Sermons for the Vigil of Pentecost and for Pentecost Day. On Pentecost the first verse of the Gospel was read in several languages.

Out of the Barn

Angels rejoice,
and earth repeats;

The Spirit proceeds,
since Pentecost morn,

And preachers proclaim
the tidings of peace

And Gottesdienst
is out of the barn.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Grammarian, XVII

Since we Lutherans are not accustomed to conducting our rites in Latin, nor are we under any obligation to do so, our use of the language tends to veer a bit from its sources at times. We don't need to be liturgically all that familiar with it, so we generally aren't, although here and there one can find Lutherans providing for at least an occasional use of a Latin rite.

One such instance of our unfamiliarity is seen in the occasional reference among Lutherans to the words of absolution as they are (presumably) heard in Latin.

The English, stripped to its bare essentials, is "I forgive you," the confessor acting in the stead of Christ, according to Jesus' mandate to the Apostles in St. John 20, "whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted," etc.

Hence, one would think, the Latin would be, simply, "Absolvo te," since "absolvo" is "I forgive."

Now class, can anyone tell me what the formula really is?

It is not, actually, "Absolvo te," but, according to the Roman Rite, a more emphatic "Ego te absolvo," the pronoun "ego" being voiced, although by the rules of Latin, it would not need to be. When it is, the subject is emphasized.

"Ego te absolvo" states the subject implied in "absolvo," namely, "I."

The "ego" is reminiscent of the "ego" commonly referenced in the Gospel of John, in all the "ego sum" sayings of Jesus: I am the Good Shepherd, I am the way, etc. Jesus is Himself the great I AM, as the Greek letters in the three rays of the nimbus in any icon of Jesus normally spell out.

Hence, for the confessor to say, "Ego te absolvo" is for him truly and most definitively to be Christ's own representative, speaking for Him here. Indeed, the "ego" in the statement may rightly be said to be Christ Himself, speaking through His representative.

Though we don't say it in Latin, it would certainly be helpful to think of the Latin origin of the pronouncement when we say it in English.