Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jesus Down Two Touchdowns...

I just received a certain publication from a certain administrative subdivision of a certain Lutheran church body.

On page 2 of this publication, the word Ablaze!(tm) is given great prominence - attested by the editorial standard that the word always begins with a capital "A", ends with an exclamation point, is set in an italic font, and is always in bold.

This one page contains seventeen mentions of Ablaze!(tm).

So, how's Jesus faring these days? By contrast, our Blessed Lord, the King of the universe, the One who died on the cross for our sins, rose triumphantly from the dead, and lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for all eternity was mentioned four times - sans exclamation point, and with no bolding.

Ablaze!(tm) 17, Jesus 4.

Of course, with two safeties, we can only conclude that our Lord Jesus is quite a powerhouse on defense in the red zone.

According to Scripture, we are in the last days, so I can only conclude we're in Overtime - though how many ticks are left on the clock is anyone's guess except the Father. But I do know this much, our Lord will not be outscored, not by Satan nor by any man-made marketing gimmick.

For God, two touchdowns is nothing, sports fans. Look for some razzle dazzle, clock management that will make your head spin, and an onside kick. Remember, it was that gutsy call of the play action fake followed by a cross pattern that caught the Demons napping that sent the game into OT in the first place.

Our Lord will not be denied, not by the BCS, not by crooked refs, not by bum luck, and not by being pushed into playing second string to a slogan.

Back to you in the booth, John.


revalkorn said...

I received a certain publication from a certain administrative subdivision of a certain Lutheran church body, and I was amused to see an article about a Lutheran congregation celebrating its first Passover seder.

Since when is it good to pretend to be of the Hebrew faith? Since when did Christ not fulfill the Passover? But I digress . . .

Father Hollywood said...

I belonged to a church in Atlanta that had an annual "seder." The strangest part for me was the fact that there were pitchers of wine everywhere. When the consecration came, the pastor consecrated the bread (really matzah) at his table (which was distributed), but the consecration of the wine was intended for some of the pitchers on our tables.

We then had some kind of Lord's Supper" followed by more wine drinking.

Question is, what was consecrated and what was not? It was really confusing.

Ironically, the pastor was a former Roman Catholic priest.

I guess these things are supposed to be educational, but in the end, I think they only distract from the once for all sacrifice of the Passover Lamb to end all passover lambs.

Past Elder said...

Some years back I attended a seder held before Holy Thursday service.

It had nothing to do with pretending to be Jewish. It had nothing to do with thinking the Passover had not been fulfilled in the sacrament whose institution we were about to remember and celebrate.

It had everything to do with experiencing what the Apostles thought they were about to experience as they had at previous seders, and understanding something of the shattering change "This is my Body" and "This is my Blood" would have been when said of the usual blessing at each point, experiencing something of that oneself, and understanding yet more fully how Jesus really is our Passover and the Eucharist we celebrate is our focus therefore and not yet another of the world's various rituals, maybe relevant now and maybe not.

When I was an elder, I did something like this for our Adult Ed class -- not celebrating a seder but presenting what it is along with where they were at the moments when Christ spoke the verba; also I did a similar presentation of the sabbath synagogue service, pretty much point for point our mass of the catechumens, service of the word, whatever you want to call it.

For that matter I did another one on the Office, tracing the liturgical hours through the Temple restoration and back to the morning, afternoon and evening prayer of the three patriarchs in the Law, which in traditional Jewish belief is the origin of it all. And another on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, which no-one knew even existed, showing how the celebration of the giving of the Law becomes the giving of the Spirit, God himself having counted the Omer from the Passover Lamb Jesus to the transformation of Pentecost.

All of this sort of thing can be done poorly, well, so-so, and for the right, wrong or mixed reasons. Much like everything else we do.

I find though that they can help with two major things -- one, understanding how the Gospel does fulfill the Law, and two, that what we do liturgically isn't just another cultural artifact possibly to be discarded for something else that "works".

Rev. Benjamin Harju said...

...followed by a cross pattern that caught the Demons napping that sent the game into OT in the first place.

I thought the game was sent into NT, not OT ;-)

...Remember, it was that gutsy call of the play action fake followed by...

Wasn't there an amazingly successful Hail Mary in there somewhere, too?

Regarding seders, as a youth I have participated in a modern Jewish home seder at Passover, and a Christianized seder-al-a-Lord's Supper. In retrospect, I liked the Jewish one better - only because it wasn't entirely contrived and artificial.

As far as I've understood the subject matter, we don't really know what the seder-meals of our Lord's and the Apostles' day looked like. Scholarship can only demonstrate with any certainty what the Pharisaic reconstruction of Judaism did (i.e. post AD 70). It seems a bit odd to copy what the unbelieving Jews propagated as a part of their rejection of Christ Jesus, the Messiah.

That being said, I agree we can learn something from such seders, because they probably have something in common with the seders of old. But, really, I wish people would leave the Lord's Supper out of it.

In fact, if you want to demonstrate the fulfillment of the OT by the NT, then leave the seder in the fellowship hall, gather in the nave, and celebrate the Mass properly. The historic liturgy carries the mind and intent of Christ and His Apostles, along with the Fathers and the entire Faith down to our present age.

In fact, the Mass is to where I look for salvation from the Great Ablaze! Critical Event to come on the Last Day. Kyrie Eleison!

Past Elder said...

By way of clarification:

Yes, the modern seder will not be at every detail what happened in the Upper Room. But the point is on the meaning, and the blessing at the breaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, which are essentials beyond doubt common.

And in no sense would I encourage such things in place of the Holy Thursday liturgy, but exactly as you say, in the parish hall, before, with the day's liturgy by the book.