Volume 21 June 2009 No. 6
EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS, INNOCENCE, AND BLESSEDNESS
This really should not need saying, but alas, it does, for I keep running across, every now and then, demonic drivel about what the so-called RIB (Righteousness, Innocence, and Blessedness) clause in Luther’s explanation to Second Article is purported to mean; drivel, I say, which is most cer¬tainly not true.
The phrase is from the last part of the explana¬tion to the Second Article, which appears nearby. These words could be, I might even be so bold as to sug¬gest, the most abused words Luther ever wrote: “that I may be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteous¬ness, innocence, and blessedness . . .”
The words do not mean that since Christ has redeemed me, therefore I owe him this, to have righteous behavior and life, and I ought to be able to assert my innocence because when I live for Jesus I don’t do bad things. Good grief, no, a thou¬sand times.
Grammatical considerations of this clause will bear out the impropriety of such a reading. The words “that I may live under him” do not mean “that I ought therefore to live under him” as if this is some sort of Law of the Kingdom, as in, “Thou shalt go and live under Christ, since He has done all this for thee.” Although it is true that I ought to live for Him, that is not what these words are about, coming as they do in the explanation of the meaning of the Gospel. With such an idea the likes of John Calvin, father of a number of Protestant—but not Lutheran—churches, would certainly be comfort¬able, namely the idea that the Gospel must again be followed by law in order that it produce good effects. Calvin indeed declared, that to the preaching of doctine must be added “admonitions, corrections, and other aids of the sort that sustain doctrine and do not let it remain idle” (Institutes of the Christian Religion , 4.12.1). So yes, Calvin would like an interpretation of these words which see them as providing admonition at once to go and live for Christ, hardly a wink after hearing of the blessed Gospel of His marvelous works, as if indeed to snatch the Gospel quickly away, much as the birds of the air in Jesus' parable of the Sower. Nothing could be more demonic than such theft from the ears of the faithful hearers.
Thus I declare: No, rather, “that I may live” is a purpose clause of the sort that according to the rules of grammar declares the result, i.e., the achievement of what logically precedes the clause. Christ, that is, purchased and won me in order that this may obtain, namely my status of living under Him in His kingdom. See, it is not what I do that causes my living under him, but what He has done. This, the work of Christ, and no deed which the addition of a new imperative might hope to accomplish, is what now enables the state of affairs to obtain, my living under Him. Christ has accomplished His blessed work that I may live under him: that I am free to count myself in His kingdom, that I am granted the blessed grace of living under Him, that mercy has blessed me to live in this inheritance of the kingdom of Christ.
So also, equally so, is it by grace, that I may “serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.” The emphasis here, then, is not on my serving of Him, but on the state of grace in which I am found serving Him: righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. These are descriptive of Christ alone, Christ the Righteous, as the Apostle calls Him; Christ the Innocent, as the Centurion at the cross called Him, and Christ who is forever Blessed, as again the Apostle declares.
But see, now due to the works of God in Christ (which are marvelous in our eyes), I live under Him, as certainly as we say that Christ's body and blood are “under” the bread and wine, so also as certainly do I now say that I am “under” him; that is, that He and I are united in one communion, sharing all things in common: He taking my sin, and I taking His righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. For this is what it means to live “under Him.”
And this is as sure as it is sure that He is risen from the dead, which is what the following clause declares by the words “even as He is risen from the dead . . .” The resurrection of Christ is the guarantee that this state of affairs is so, that I am righteous, innocent, and blessed in Christ and only because I am in Christ, And conversely, the resurrection of Christ is a thousand times, ten thousand times not a mere imprimatur on some new imperative to me to go and become Christ's servant and “live for Him,” as though this were part and parcel of the Gospel of His righteousness given to me. May all such demonic and worthless teaching be forever damned and condemned, driven far from the precious ears of Christ's own beloved. Never could there be an assertion further from the truth, and never could one assert something against a truth greater than this, that the righteousness of the Christian is Christ's Righteousness, and is received alone through faith.
- Pastor Eckardt
Committee members are needed for the following committees. It was noted that a note will be published in the newsletter asking for volunteers for the following committees and suggestions for monthly celebrations and fundraising ideas. Suggestions and volunteers should report to Sue Murphy, chairman, or Pastor Eckardt. Volunteers are needed for all the following committees.
1. Fund raiser ideas and planning
2. Church history
a. Barb Kraklow
b. Grant Andreson
c. Sue Murphy
3. Picture directory
a. Jean Russell
b. Sheri Kraklow
4. Choir robes
a. Sue Murphy
b. Jean Russell
5. Interior of the church project
6. Monthly celebrations
Sue Murphy was placed on the Church Council to report as needed to the Council.
Possible dates for the celebration in 2012 (any or all)
Conversion of St. Paul (January 23); Feast of SS Peter and Paul (June 29); Oktoberfest; The actual date of the congregation’s founding.
Ideas for goals: church directory; church history; choir robes; acolyte robes; painting the interior of the church; floor in church; altar wall; altar linens to replace the violet, red, and green; floor in gym; move and repair baptismal font.
A Day of Theological Reflection
11th in the series
“A Man after My Own Heart”
The Christology of David
Tuesday, 2 June 2009 (the date was changed)
This day of reflection will consider the themes of I Samuel, particularly as it relates to the rise of David until his coronation as King (in II Samuel). How do these things proclaim Christ?
8:30 - 9:00 registration
9:30 Session 1: David replaces Saul, I Sam. 9 and 16; and I Sam. 13:14
11:00 Session 2: David and Goliath, I Sam. 17
12:00 Noonday prayers (Office at Sext)
1:30 Session 3: David and Saul, I Sam. 18-26
2:30 Session 4: Saul dies, David coronated, I Sam. 31- II Sam. 1-2
3:15 Midafternoon prayers (Office at Vespers)
Church Picnic June 28th
Mark your calendars! Our annual church picnic is scheduled for Sunday, June 29th, at the shelterhouse at Northeast Park. We’ll head out there right after church for brats etc. as usual, and a day of frolick in the sun and some good times together.
As is also our custom, we have no Saturday evening mass that weekend, to encourage everyone to come on Sunday morning and then head out to the park.
Bring your Frisbees, your swimsuits, your tennis rackets, your bats and balls, or whatever else you’d like to bring, to have some fun.
June Ushers: Alan Kraklow (chairman), Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells, Bob Bock
6/5 Mirilda Greiert
6/5 Linda Rowe
6/15 Jill Powers
6/16 Berniece Harris
6/29 Sara Timberlake
6/17/1967 Robert and Mary Beth Jones
6/18/1960 Sandra and John Verplaetse
6/18/1977 Fr. Burnell and Carol Eckardt
6/18/1966 Don and Sue Murphy
6/19/1977 Dana and Carol McReynolds
6/19/1966 William and Judy Thompson
6/24/1989 Tony and Mindie Fisher
6/25/2005 Andy and Kristy Eckardt
6/27/1954 Monroe and Lucille Kemerling
6/27/1981 Steve and Gail Peart
6/28/1958 Dale and Anna Baker
Altar Guild Notes
Altar preparation is for chalice only on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. The only time we still provide some individual cups is on Sunday mornings.
Please see that the sacristy door is closed for mass, unless fans are being used in hot weather.
Oil candles are to be used again in the candelabra, beginning Saturday, June 6th), as we enter Ordinary Time (Trinity and the Sundays after Trinity).
Next meeting: Monday, June 1st, 6 p.m.
Carole Sanders and Mary Hamilton at home; Mirilda Greiert and Lorraine Mohr, at Courtyard Estates; Elva Garrison at Avon Nursing Home; Ruth Melchin at Hillcrest Home; Jane Melchin at Lutheran Home, Peoria., Mark Baker and Anna Baker at home.
Copies of the journal are still available in the narthex. Feel free to take one.
Better yet, why not subscribe to the journal sponsored by your own parish. Four times a year, Gottesdienst aims to kindle a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the Divine Service and the Holy Gospel in which our Holy and Triune God enlightens us with His gifts, sanctifies, and keeps us in the true faith.
A one year’s subscription is only $15 (four issues); $25 gets you two years. To get yours, see pastor or log on at www.gottesdienst.org.
Keeping the Feast: A Study of the Holy Liturgy (continued)
It is appropriate that the altar be left neat and in order following the distribution of the Sacrament, and that attention to ceremonial detail be kept throughout the Mass, in keeping with the fact that this is the highest of all kinds of feasts. The Apostolic admonition that all things be done decently and in order (I Corinthians 14:40) should certainly apply first to all things pertaining to the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament.
Yet the post-communion (also called the Thanksgiving) has always been brief, as is fitting, since any extended liturgical ceremonies after the reception of the Sacrament would have the effect of making it anticlimactic. The tenor of thankfulness for the rich and free Gifts received is evident here, yet the emphasis remains on the Gifts themselves.
The post-communion generally includes the canticle Nunc Dimittis, a versicle and closing collect, the Benedicamus, and the Benediction.
The most salient part of the post-communion is seen in its references to peace. Peace was encountered first in the Gloria in Excelsis (which some traditions have unfortunately moved to this last part, thus affecting adversely the balance latent in the tradition); this anticipated the great Pax (Latin for Peace), during which Host and Cup were held forth while the celebrant announced, “The Peace of the Lord be with you alway,” in likeness to Jesus’ words in the upper room on Easter. Now peace reappears in the Nunc Dimittis (“Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace . . .”), and is referenced last of all in the Benediction (whose last word is “peace”).
The Nunc Dimittis was not originally part of the Mass, but is properly a canticle first seen liturgically in the Office of Compline (prayers at the close of the day), from which it was imported into Vespers in the Lutheran rite. It began to appear in certain German orders of the sixteenth century, following the precedent set by the ancient Mozarbic Liturgy (Reed, 379).
Its appropriateness as a post-communion canticle is easily discerned, as it is of course the song of Simeon, who held the Child Jesus in his arms and declared then his complete readiness to die in peace. This is most helpful for communicants to sing, therefore, inasmuch as now that we have likewise receive Christ at the altar, in every sense as real a manner, we too are privileged to make the same declaration: we too can die in peace, for our Salvation is with us. Whereas Simeon declared that his “eyes” have seen God’s Salvation, in fact it was the Gospel which informed his eyes that this Child they beheld was the Incarnate God. So too, the Gospel informs our eyes and senses that the Sacrament they see and perceive is indeed the same Christ, the Salvation of God.