St. Andrew

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus.
John 1:35-42a

Today is the feast of St. Andrew, the apostle recognized as the first of Christ’s disciples. You can find his shield in Wyneken Hall (pictured here), which shows the boat hook of a fisherman and an “X” shaped cross. As we fast approach the Advent season, this symbol of Andrew’s martyrdom directs our focus on the life poured out on us from another cross, where the lamb of God was crucified for our transgressions in order to win us salvation. Come, Lord Jesus!

Sermon Study: 1 Timothy 2:1-4

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4

For anyone interested in an 82-year-old analysis of this text, we recommend reading this sermon study from the May 1935 issue of Concordia Theological Monthly. CLICK HERE to read it. It’s one of the few articles in that volume actually written in English. 

Commemorations: Elizabeth of Hungary & Clement of Rome

There are two commemorations on the Lutheran calendar this week. Yesterday we remembered Elizabeth of Hungary, daughter of the King of Hungary, married at 14 and widowed at 20, after which she made provisions for her three children so that she could become a nun. She died at the age of 24, likely due to her self-sacrificial ways and self-denial. She was known for her warm hospitality and her care for the sick and needy; one story tells of her giving up her bed for a leper. Many hospitals throughout the world are named for her.

Later this week, on the 23rd (which happens to be Thanksgiving this year), we’ll remember Clement of Rome, said to have been ordained by Peter. The 4th bishop of Rome, Clement faithfully kept Christ central to the Church. Tradition says that he was tied to an anchor and drowned, dying a martyr’s death.

As interesting as these tales are…why do we remember them? Why can you find a calendar of commemorations in the first few pages of the Lutheran Service Book?

The LSB offers a quick explanation: we don’t honor saints for their own sake, but to remember that God has given faithful servants to His Church. Through remembering we see God’s mercy as of old. These saints are “examples of those in whom the saving work of Jesus Christ has been made manifest.”

For a more in-depth look into why Lutherans remember the saints, here is an article from the July/October 2014 issue of Concordia Theological Quarterly. “Then Let Us Keep the Festival: That Christ Be Manifest in His Saints,” was written by Dr. D. Richard Stuckwisch, a 1993 and 2003 CTSFW grad.

CLICK HERE to read it.

Dr. Rast: Honorary Doctorate

The following news release came from Concordia University Chicago, about their plan to award an honorary doctorate to President Rast. Thanks be to God for our faithful Seminary president! We’re proud to claim Dr. Rast as our own.

River Forest, IL (November 10, 2017) – Concordia University Chicago will award an honorary doctoral degree to Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast Jr., 16th president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN, at the CUC fall commencement ceremony. Dr. Rast, who will receive the Doctor of Letters honoris causa, will act as commencement speaker at the undergraduate ceremony on Dec. 9.

Dr. Rast is also a professor of American Christianity and American Lutheranism at the seminary, where he joined the Department of Historical Theology in the fall of 1996 after serving as pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church in Madison, TN. He earned his B.A. in theological languages from Concordia-Chicago, his M.Div. and Master of Sacred Theology from Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne, and his Ph.D. in American church history from Vanderbilt University.

As a member of the board of directors for the journal Lutheran Quarterly, Dr. Rast has authored numerous articles on a wide range of topics, with special interest in the growth and expansion of Lutheranism in the United States in the mid- to late-19th century.

In addition to serving at the seminary, Dr. Rast regularly presents at workshops, retreats and conferences around the U.S. He has represented the seminary and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod at numerous international conferences and by teaching in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

The undergraduate commencement ceremony will take place in Concordia University Chicago’s Geiseman Gymnasium on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 10:30 a.m., followed by the graduate commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. Admission is by ticket only.

With thanks to Jordan DeBoer for the photograph.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Book Signing: Pless & MacKenzie

After chapel today, Professor Pless and Dr. MacKenzie signed copies of their books in the CTSFW bookstore. Professor Pless was a general editor for two collections of essays, “Closed Communion? Admission to the Lord’s Supper in Biblical Lutheran Perspective” and “The Necessary Distinction: A Continuing Conversation on Law and Gospel,” which take a deeper look into Holy Scriptures and faithful practice. “The Reformation,” by Dr. MacKenzie, engages readers with historically-rich illustrations and facts.

Copies of the books can be purchased here:

Closed Communion

The Necessary Distinction

The Reformation


All Saints’ Hymn

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might,
Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold!
Alleluia! Alleluia!
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
But lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
For All the Saints (LSB 677)

All Saints’ Day 2017

As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation rolls into All Saints’ Day, I find myself thinking especially of my grandparents, gone home to eternal peace. They faithfully brought their children up in the Church, and my parents in turn did the same for me and my siblings. Who are you remembering this All Saints’ Day?

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Revelation 7:9-14