The Glory Has Departed

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4


Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Third Sunday after Trinity, 2018. Luke 15:1-10.
The Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin


The Third Sunday after Trinity, 2018


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


                       
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22

The Sermon Hymn #436            The Lord’s My Shepherd               

The Grace and Gentleness of Jesus the Savior


The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #123             Our God, Our Help

KJV 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 

8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Third Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we all like sheep have gone astray, having suffered ourselves to be led away from the right path by Satan and our own sinful flesh: We beseech Thee graciously to forgive us all our sins for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ; and quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may abide in Thy word, and in true repentance and a steadfast faith continue in Thy Church unto the end, and obtain eternal salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end Amen.




Background - Objective and Subjective Views of the Scriptures

The problem with most Biblical commentary is that the so-called experts start with a subjective view of the Scriptures, which are correct only to the extent they agree with the expert.

The Roman Catholic Church established this view well before the Reformation and used it against the Lutherans when the papal party could not win against the Lutherans by arguing from the Bible.

The starting point for Rome was - what agrees with Roman dogma? Therefore, they necessarily argued for the lack of clarity and incompleteness of the Biblical witness. Because of all the confusion, everyone needed a Supreme Court and senior justice, which would be the bishops headed by the Pope. The infallible pope concept, which Stephan and Walther propmoted, is easily transferred to Rome, where many LCMS pastors have landed.

Eastern Orthodoxy picked a different route because of their history of brutal, bloody wars over doctrine, so they emphasized worship and took a vague approach to doctrine. They agree with Rome but are tired of the wars. This approach is very appealing to the high church LCMS pastors who leave, sometimes right after ordination.

However, this is not limited to the Lutheran Reformation versus Rome. Zwingli and Calvin decided on approaches they would take, contrary to the Reformation - the efficacy of the Word, the work of the Spirit exclusively through the Word, and the Sacraments as the visible Word, actually conferring forgiveness.

That is why the vast majority of written material on the Bible starts with "What can I do with this story?" It can be compared to politicians who speak of a "narrative" to get them elected, or scammer who scares people into buying something. 

All this above is the subjective approach to the Scriptures. The faux-Lutherans of today practice this by starting with their dogma and shaping their narrative from the Bible to fit the agenda. 

In contrast, the objective view of the Scriptures means that we take the whole as God's Word, all in perfect harmony, as the revealed truth. Lots of people say "inerrant, infallible, inspired, plenary inspiration, norma normans, etc" but what do the labels mean if they deny what is clearly taught in the Word?

That is why Luther's Sermons are so important. They were his #1 way of teaching, and he also considered preaching the #1 task of the Church. 
  1. What is number #1 today when pastors are encouraged to copy each other's work or to take them (free!) from Craig Groeschel? 
  2. What is number #1 if disagreeing with false doctrine is reason to kick a pastor and congregation out of the organization?
  3. Is #1 successful in the eyes of the world or faithful in view of the Scriptures?
  4. Where is expository preaching if #1 is raising money and being successful in the eyes of Christianity Today?

The Grace and Gentleness of Jesus the Savior


KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 

This passage could easily be called the introduction to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Prodigal follows these illustrations and teaches the same grace of the Father in a different light, with good people acting like the outraged Pharisees. I am pointing that out to show how much the setting matters. These are not slips of paper glued together, but complete works all in harmony with the One Truth of the Bible. What is true in one place must be true in another or mistakes are being made.

Jesus' illustrations are begun with an interesting and contrasting audience. The hated tax collectors and obvious sinners drew near to Jesus, because He was the first one to teach them about another righteousness, the righteousness of faith in Him. 

They could not be seen that way by the scribes and Pharisees, who argued for the righteousness of works. These works-saints were offended by men (publicans) who extorted taxes for the hated Roman Empire and those sinners who were known as worthy of shunning.

The charges agains the Son of God are severe, 
"He welcomes sinners, and
He sits down to dine with them!"

The righteousness of works was not attractive to these people. It was only salt in their wounds. The Pharisees of that day and today would prescribe more Law for those who violated the Law. That is like getting test results (bad!) but no treatment, no medicine, no healing.

The true nature of God the Father is full of grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness. The mission of Jesus was to teach this and to show this in His own work. The Father and Son are in perfect agreement, and the Holy Spirit witnesses to this harmony.

So Jesus offered two clear parables to illustrate the nature of divine mercy and grace, which is so appropriate for Father's Day. What the Son illustrates is always what the Father teaches - there is no contrast.

1. The words of the Gospel are living and quickening, if we only comprehend them aright. But, in order that we may learn to understand this Gospel better, we will now place before us two classes of men, namely, public sinners and Pharisees, and will make Christ their judge. You have often heard that it is our duty, for love’s sake, to serve our neighbor in all things. If he is poor, we are to serve him with our goods; if he is in disgrace, we are to cover him with the mantle of our honor; if he is a sinner, we are to adorn him with our righteousness and piety. That is what Christ did for us. Philippians 2. He who was so exceedingly rich did, for our sake, empty himself and become poor. He served us with his goods, that we in our poverty might become rich. He was made to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.


3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 

Here the parable puts the listener in the role of the shepherd. We have all lost an animal for a time and went out to find it. If two pet dogs are in the house and a third one has vanished, the third one gets the attention.

This is quite a view - the shepherd leaving the entire flock in the wilderness, where he should be protecting them, and looking for the lost one until he finds it. So Jesus puts us in the shepherd's role, but that is far beyond what a sensible person would do. And that is the point. God is not like man - God does far more than we can imagine. To show us that point, the relationship between God and man is shown in a human dramag where we can identify with many points but see also - yes, only God is like that, a grace far beyond what we can show ourselves, but one that should move us through the Gospel Word.

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

We can identify with the found part, and that should give us joy. What we have done wrong, God rejoices in hauling us back from the precipice.

Sometimes it is doctrinal error, where the agreement of many false teachers will make error seem like the highest good. How can 60 professors and pastors be wrong? - The same way that Rome is wrong, error strengthened by numbers and centuries of tradition. So we can be yanked back by a sudden controversy, conflict, shunning, rejection, and turmoil.

When we have lost an animal, we enjoy telling people about how we found it. Once I asked Sassy to track Precious, and that took about 15 seconds. When Precious saw Sassy, she just sat down - the party is over. I surrender. Take me home.

Man's temptation is to pile more Law on the hurting sinner, but the message here is to rejoice at finding someone. As Luther wrote, it is one thing to share goods and food, which is easy to do. But to identify with the sinner, to cover his sins and be condemned (as Jesus was) is another matter. 

Typical of Luther - he points out Jesus covering our sins, which is in the introduction - He is condemned by the works-salesmen. But the nature of God is to rejoice is the lost. So we should not pull back from helping if it casts a bad light on us. That is not to endorse the sin. 

"This means that I must love the sinner and be his friend, must be hostile to his vices and earnestly rebuke them, yet that I must love him with all my heart so as to cover his sins with my righteousness."

7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 

This is another commending of grace for the repenting sinner. Someone may be contrite and ready to start a new life, but is still weak and confused from previous experiences and habits. Yet we rejoice in the new state and the hope that begins to grow.

The 99 are those who imagine themselves beyond all need, and it is an ironic twist or poke at the works-saints. To say they need no repentance is ironic humor, because we are all in need of repentance. It is that state where we feel no need that we harden our hearts against others and no longer feel the need for God's grace and forgiveness, since we are above that.

That is the self-righteousness of apostasy in America today, where most church bodies are done with grace and now want to change society for the better. A 20+ "classic" the Braaten-Jenson Dogmatics makes fun of the Atonement and the cross. The authors subsequently howled over the results of their apostate dogma.

It is easy to notice that the message of American culture is works rather than God's grace in Christ.

8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

I hate to mention this, but this parable becomes true for us several times before it is a Gospel lesson again. I was actually on a borrowed phone, ordering a new one, when an Army Ranger did a search of our house and found the lost phone. More recently, it was expensive medicine.

Do we not accomplish every possible task to find what is lost? I will crawl on my knees, get out the mega-flashlight, pick up all extra items and shake them out, move, examine, re-examine, and try strange and exotic places for the lost item. Freezer? Don't be so sure. Go ahead and look. Under the papers. I looked. Look again. 
There it is, There it is. A similar item.

So when the lost item is found, we rejoice and tell people about it. 

9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

The bigger the find, the happier we are. The angels rejoice over the repentance of one sinner, so we can see that Jesus teaches grace and forgiveness over condemnation by the Law. 

We can always make ourselves feel superior if we are not vulnerable to that one weakness, whatever it might be. However, the entire world lives in condemnation for lack of faith in Christ. That condemnation is universal - except for those who trust in His gentle forgiveness.

Once again we can look at Luther's comparison with all the subjective forms of Christianity. They talk about Jesus all the time - even the radical chaplain at Yale said so, William Sloane Coffin - but they tear down the access to His grace - the Means of Grace.

Where do I find grace? In having a church with 6,000 members drained from other churches? In praying for the US to get out of Nicaragua (a prayer at a wedding)? In being obedient to a denomination? In feeling grace? (Yahoooo.)

Grace is always found and will always be found in the Word, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion. 

Father's Day Grace
Every father of a child shoud rejoice in that child, no matter what. God's gift of life, natural or adopted, is a special miracle. We can take that for granted, and many do. 

But Jesus is the example of gentle forgiveness. When mothers complained about their children "ruining a rug by spilling on it," my wife said, "Be glad. My daughters cannot spill on anything." The irony is - Erin Joy loved spills of all kinds and had people laughing til they cried over her delight. Falling nurses - hilarious, falling with babies, even funnier. Falling into a wheelchair - breathless with laughter. Falling quart of yogurt shooting upward over a nurse - the best ever. No one was hurt from the human and food spills - everyone had weeks and months and years of laughter from it. One enormous 3 ring binder fell and spilled the papers all over the floor - the nurse, pardon me, cussed over the spill. She heard a tiny voice laughing and laughing. That became the unit's big story of the day.

In that way too, God converts sin into forgiveness through contrition. The way can be very rough at times, for all people, because we all need both components - contrition and forgiveness. But we can rejoice in the forgiveness, just as God and His holy angels do.

21. Therefore, when you feel your sins gnawing at you, and feel your heart trembling and agitated, place yourself beside the publicans where they are standing. These are the very ones who shall receive the Gospel. Do so joyously, and say: “Oh, God! it is thy word that says there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance, and that all the righteous and angels are to interpose and cover up sins. Now, Oh, God! I have come to this that I feel my sins. I am already judged. I need but the one Shepherd who seeketh me; and I will therefore freely venture on thy Gospel.”

22. It is thus that you come to God. You are already the sheep placed upon his shoulders. You have found the Shepherd. You are the piece of silver in the hand. You are the one over whom is joy in heaven in the presence of all the angels. We are not to worry, if we do not experience or feel this at once. Sin will daily decrease, and its sting will drive you to seek God. You must struggle against this feeling by faith, and say: “Oh, God! I know thou hast said this, and I lean upon thy Word. I am the sheep and the piece of silver; thou the shepherd and the woman.”

23. You might say: Yes, this I will gladly do; but I cannot atone for my sins. I can render no satisfaction for them. Consider then the publicans and sinners. What good have they done? None. They came to God, heard his Word and believed it. Do the same. His are living words. The Gospel is too deep to be fathomed by human words. Conscientious men who tried it readily understand this.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Luther's Sermon on the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin

Norma A. Boeckler



THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.


Text. Luke 15:1. 10. Now all the publicans and sinners were drawing near unto him to hear him. And both the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake unto them this parable, saying, What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go alter that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his [riends and his neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto your, that even so there shalt be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who ,need no repentance.

Or what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth together her friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost. Even so, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.





PARABLE OF THE LOST SHEEP.

1. The words of the Gospel are living and quickening, if we only comprehend them aright. But, in order that we may learn to understand this Gospel better, we will now place before us two classes of men, namely, public sinners and Pharisees, and will make Christ their judge. You have often heard that it is our duty, for love’s sake, to serve our neighbor in all things. If he is poor, we are to serve him with our goods; if he is in disgrace, we are to cover him with the mantle of our honor; if he is a sinner, we are to adorn him with our righteousness and piety. That is what Christ did for us. Philippians 2. He who was so exceedingly rich did, for our sake, empty himself and become poor. He served us with his goods, that we in our poverty might become rich. He was made to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

2. Now, the outward works of love are very great, as when we place our goods in the service of another. But the greatest is this, that I surrender my own righteousness and make it serve for the sins of my neighbor. For, outwardly to render service and help by means of one’s goods is love only in its outward aspect; but to render help and service through one’s righteousness, that is something great and pertains to the inward man. This means that I must love the sinner and be his friend, must be hostile to his vices and earnestly rebuke them, yet that I must love him with all my heart so as to cover his sins with my righteousness. I am commanded to rebuke; but Christ tells me, in Matthew 18:15-18, how I am to do this: “If thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone; if he hear thee, then hast thou gained thy brother. But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established. And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church; and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican. Verily I say unto you, what things soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

3. In short, such an enemy of my neighbor am I to be that I cannot let him suffer. So dearly must I love him that I shall even run after him, and shall become like the shepherd that seeks the lost sheep, like the woman that seeks the lost piece of silver. On this occasion, therefore, we shall speak concerning such great work of love as is shown when a pious man invests the sinner with his own righteousness, when a pious woman invests the most wanton harlot with her own honor.

4. This is something that neither the world nor reason will do. A work like this cannot be done by honorable and pious men who are actuated only by reason, by men who would prove their piety by turning up their nose at those who are sinners, as here the Pharisees do who murmur and grumble at public sinners.

5. This is what our monks do. They have gone about making faces at all who lie in their sins, and have thought: “Oh, but this is a worldly fellow!

He does not concern us. If, now, he really would be pious, let him put on the monk’s cowl.” Hence it is that reason and such hypocrites cannot refrain from despising those who are not like them. They are puffed up over their own life and conduct, and cannot advance far enough to be merciful to sinners. This much they do not know, that they are to be servants, and that their piety is to be of service to others. Moreover, they become so proud and harsh that they are unable to manifest any love. They think: “This peasant is not worthy to unloose the latchet of my shoes; therefore do not say that I am to show him any affection.” But at this point God intervenes, permitting the proud one to receive a severe fall and shock that he often becomes guilty of such sins as adultery, and at times does things even worse, and must afterwards smite himself, saying: “Keep still, brother, and restrain yourself, you are of precisely the same stuff as yonder peasant.” He thereby acknowledges that we are all chips of the same block.

No ass need deride another as a beast of burden; for we are all of one flesh.

6. This we clearly see in the two sorts of people here presented to us as examples. In the first place, we have the Pharisees and hypocrites who are exceedingly pious people, and were over head and ears in holiness. In the second place, we have the open sinners and publicans, who were over head and ears in sins. These, therefore, were despised by those shining saints, and were not considered worthy of their society. Here, however, Christ intervenes with his judgment and says that those saints are to stoop down and take the sinners upon their shoulders, and are to bear in mind that, with their righteousness and piety, they are help to others out of their sins. But, no’ That they will not do. And this is indeed the way it goes.

7. A truly Christian work is it that we descend and get mixed up in the mire of the sinner as deeply as he sticks there himself, taking his sin upon ourselves and floundering out of it with him, not acting otherwise than as if his sin were our own. We should rebuke and deal with him in earnest; yet we are not to despise but sincerely to love him. If you are proud toward the sinner and despise him, you are utterly damned.

8. These, then, are great and good works in which we should exercise ourselves. But no man pays attention to them. Such works have entirely faded away and become extinct. In the meantime, one resorts, in the name of the devil, to Saint James, another proceeds to build a church, a third provides for the saying of masses, — this one does this, the other does that, and no one thinks of praying for the sinner. It is therefore to be feared that the holiest are in the deepest hell, and that the sinners are mostly in heaven.

But it would be a truly Christian work, if you received sinners, if you entered into your closet and there said, in earnest prayer to the Lord: “Oh, my God! of such a person I hear so and so, he lieth in his sins, he hath fallen. Oh, Lord, help him to rise again,” etc. This is just the way in which to receive and serve the sinner.

9. Moses acted thus when the Israelites worshipped the molten calf. He mingled freely with the people in their’ sins. Yet he punished them severely, and caused three thousand men to be slain from gate to gate.

Exodus 32. After that he went up and bowed down before God, and prayed that he would forgive the people their sin, or blot him out of the Book of Life. Behold, here we have a man who knew that God loved him and had written his name in the book of the blessed; and yet he says: “Lord, I would rather that thou shouldest damn me and save the people.”

10. Paul, too, acted thus. At times he rebuked the Jews severely, calling them dogs and other names. Yet he knelt down and said: “I could wish that I myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren’s sake.” Romans 9:3. It is as if he had said: “I would willingly be anathema, if only the mass of the people might be helped.” Such a course as this is much too lofty for reason, and passes beyond its conception. It is thus that we, too, must act, and thus that we must serve our neighbor.

11. Again, we have an incident in the first Book of Samuel. When the people demanded a king, and would not be ruled by God’s Word alone, but lost faith in the Lord, and said that they wanted a temporal king to go out before them and fight their battles, like all the nations, 1 Samuel 8:20.

Then God came and punished them for the sin of having despised him, and spake thus to the prophet Samuel: “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me.” After that the people came to Samuel and besought him to pray for them, saying: “Pray for thy servants unto Jehovah thy God, that we die not; for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask a king.”

Then Samuel, among other things, said unto them: “Far be it from me that I should sin against Jehovah in ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear Jehovah, and serve him in truth with all your heart, for consider how great things he hath done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:19-24.

12. David also acted thus. When the Lord inflicted the plagues upon Israel he spake unto the Lord and said: “Lo, I have sinned, and I have done perversely; but these sheep, what have they done? Let thy hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.”

13. Such should be your bearing toward sinners; inwardly the heart in service, outwardly the tongue in earnest. God requires this of us; and this is what Christ, our Captain, has manifested in himself, as Paul says to the Philippians 2:4-9: “Not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross.”

14. Christ was filled with all righteousness, and might justly have condemned us all as sinners. But he did not do so. What did he do, then?

He gave himself to be our Servant. His righteousness has served for our sins, his fullness for our feebleness, his life for our death. This we find illustrated, for our example, in the Gospel before us, where he bears himself with such friendliness toward sinners that the Pharisees murmur.

The Lord therefore sets before them the following parables in order to teach how they are to receive sinners and be of service to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it, etc. Or what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it?”

15. Christ is both the shepherd and the woman; for he has lighted the lamp, that is, the Gospel, and he goes about in the desert, that is, the world. He sweeps the house, and seeks the lost sheep and lost piece of silver, when he comes with his Word and proclaims to us, first our sins, and then his grace and mercy. Christ’s declaration, that he is the shepherd and has laid our sins upon his back or shoulders, makes us trust in him fully, and makes publicans and other sinners run after him. These would not have come unto him thus, had they regarded him as a hard and wrathful judge; for they had previously acknowledged themselves to be sinners and in need of his grace.

And so they were drawn to him when they heard his loving doctrine. Here comes the sheep out of the wilderness, and here the lost piece of silver is found.

16. Learn from this, then, that our neighbor is to be sought as a lost sheep, that his shame is to be covered with our honor, that our piety is to be a cover for his sins. But nowadays, when men come together they backbite one another; and thus they would show how zealous they are against sin.

Therefore, ye men, whenever ye come together, do not backbite your neighbors. Make not one face at one person and another at some one else.

Do not cut off one man’s foot and another man’s hand; make no such traffic of living flesh. Likewise, ye women, when you come together, conceal the shame of others, and do not cause wounds which you cannot heal. Should you meet with anything like this in some one’s house, then throw your mantle over shame and wounds, and close the door. A very good reason for doing this is, that you would have others do the same to you. Then, if you have kept the matter secret, bring the parties before you afterwards, and read them a good lecture; and let it remain with you as a secret.

17. Christ, too, acts thus. He keeps silent and covers our sins. He could, indeed, expose us to shame, and could tread us under foot, as our text shows that the Pharisees did. But he does not do so. All will be brought to light, however, at the final judgment. Then everything hidden must be revealed. Then the virgin must place her crown upon the harlot, the pious woman must throw her veil over the adulteress, and everything we have must serve as a garment to cover the sins of others. For every man shall have his sheep, and every woman shall have her piece of silver. All our gifts must be the gifts of others.

18. Hence there is, in God’s judgment, no greater sin on earth than that pious men and women and virgins commit when they despise those who lie in their sin and would appropriate to themselves their natural gifts, puffing themselves up and despising their neighbor.

19. Hence this Gospel is very comforting to sinners. But whilst it is friendly to sinners, it is a source of great fear to Pharisees. Had this Gospel been nothing more than a good counsel, it would not have been so comforting; but now that it has been commanded I can recognize the mind of God in Christ, since he will have it so, and enjoins that we are to cover the sins of others. Yea, what is still more, Christ himself does this, and to this end was he sent; for no man fulfills the law of God as perfectly as he. We are scarcely a spark amid the divine fire and light. He is the fire of which heaven and earth are full.

20. The Gospel is spoken to those only who acknowledge their sins, and their sins they acknowledge when they repent of them. But this Gospel is of no use to the Pharisees, for they do not acknowledge their sins. To those, however, who do acknowledge them, and are about to despair, the Gospel must be brought. But at this point the devil sets up a game, and suggests to the consciences of those who acknowledge their sins and long to be freed from them, that this one should resort to Saint James, that one to Rome, this one should take refuge in prayers, the other in confession.

And then they are told: “Give six pounds of wax, have so ninny masses said, do this, do that, and thus you will be freed from your sins.” Thereby they are led farther and farther from the Gospel, and are brought to the standpoint of works. In this way they must certainly despair at last.

21. Therefore, when you feel your sins gnawing at you, and feel your heart trembling and agitated, place yourself beside the publicans where they are standing. These are the very ones who shall receive the Gospel. Do so joyously, and say: “Oh, God! it is thy word that says there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance, and that all the righteous and angels are to interpose and cover up sins. Now, Oh, God! I have come to this that I feel my sins. I am already judged. I need but the one Shepherd who seeketh me; and I will therefore freely venture on thy Gospel.”

22. It is thus that you come to God. You are already the sheep placed upon his shoulders. You have found the Shepherd. You are the piece of silver in the hand. You are the one over whom is joy in heaven in the presence of all the angels. We are not to worry, if we do not experience or feel this at once. Sin will daily decrease, and its sting will drive you to seek God. You must struggle against this feeling by faith, and say: “Oh, God! I know thou hast said this, and I lean upon thy Word. I am the sheep and the piece of silver; thou the shepherd and the woman.”

23. You might say: Yes, this I will gladly do; but I cannot atone for my sins. I can render no satisfaction for them. Consider then the publicans and sinners. What good have they done? None. They came to God, heard his Word and believed it. Do the same. His are living words. The Gospel is too deep to be fathomed by human words. Conscientious men who tried it readily understand this.

24. The learned and idle may determine the meaning of the ninety-nine in the desert. It is enough for us to learn the main thought of this Gospel.

The Starving Monarch Butterfly:
A Parable of Creation

Adult Monarch Butterfly

Some people feel much better about Creation if the six 24-hour days are stretched out to six epochs. This allows a blending of Creation and evolution. Many have felt this was an ideal solution, but I have found a terrible flaw in their reasoning.

Of course, as any world religions professor (atheist) would be glad to propose, there are endless versions of Creation, some of them gross and disgusting. How this clarifies the situation is beyond my comprehension, but it is often said, to justify a modern mytho-poetic counterpart to what they call the Creation myth.

The foundational flaw is naturally the power and efficacy of the divine Word, which is not dependent upon time or the approval of man. Addressing Creation with science is like pounding tent-stakes with a manual lawmower. It can be done, awkwardly, but why even try?

I was planning a butterfly garden for myself and others when I went over the basics in my mind. When my mother lived with us in New Ulm, she spotted milkweed growing nearby and snagged some caterpillers for us to watch. We obtained a large glass jar, installed the caterpillers on a stick, and fed them milkweed leaves daily. The following shows what happened.





The ever fatter caterpiller weaves a jade coffin with golden nails, far more beautiful than the photo above. Here is a close-up -

 The so-called golden nails really look metallic.

He turns into liquid and reconstitutes himself as a Monarch butterfly. The wings show through and he emerges, ready to lay eggs on milkweed, the only food for the babies to eat as they grow.

Here is his problem with hybrid Creation. Lacking milkweed, the eggs hatch with nothing to eat. Some butterflies can use various plants for their young, but not Monarchs.

Monarch Notes:
Q. What do monarch butterflies eat?
A. 
Adult butterflies eat nectar and water. Sometimes liquid from fruits. Larvae eat only milkweed.


Thus the Monarch life cycle requires milkweed immediately available.

But, the rationalist objects, God would have created the milkweed first and the butterflies second, taking millions and billions of years.

Then we have hundreds of thousands of other objections, since all life requires other life-forms above and below them on the food pyramid. 

No, this does not prove Creation, which is revealed by the Word. But we can reverse engineer Creation - in a feeble way - and see these hundreds of relationships before our eyes.

The Monarch's life cycle is a miracle and that is God's work. We may see it any summer day, anywhere, but it is still astonishing to watch:

  • Egg
  • Caterpiller
  • Tent-maker
  • Goo - where the caterpiller turns inself into liquid!
  • Butterfly.
Milkweed pods

 Milkweed in bloom

 Butterfly Weed is closely related to Milkweed, but not appealing to Monarchs. However, BW does attract other butterflies and is just as colorful as this photo shows.

Garfield Grade School in Moline Being Repurposed as Garfield Arms

Groundbreaking for Garfield Arms Apartment Building


Garfield Elementary School was constructed in 1901, with an addition built in 1955. In 2015, the Moline-Coal Valley School District closed the school, sending students to Hamilton and Lincoln-Irving elementary schools.
That same year, Gorman & Company, of Oregon, Wisconsin, bought the school for $75,000. When completed, the renovated building will offer 52 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom apartments for low- and moderate-income seniors earning between 30-60 percent of area median income.
 "I liked the old Gashouse Gang Garfield better."
Jim Kron turned away, so they could not see the tears.
We loved Mrs. Park.
I can remember most of the faces and half of the names. Let's see.

Front row from left: Linda Hicks, Greg Jackson, Kathleen Wilcox, unknown boy, unknown girl, John Schneck, Ann Pascall.
Middle row: George Small, unknown girl, unknown boy, unknown boy, Billie Seasland, unknown girl, Jim McCandless, Jenal Vencus.
Back row: Terry Thompson, Tamara Gustus, Bonnie ?, Steve Warren, then Jeff Hall on the far right, Cathy Pobanz next to him. The rest are unknown at the moment.

The school's corridors will be brought back to their original condition with restored ceilings. Classrooms will be renovated into apartments, and the gym space will be converted to house common space and amenities, including a multipurpose room, a kitchen and a fitness center.
A three-story wood-framed addition also will be added to the east side of the existing building.
The redevelopment will be constructed to Enterprise Green Communities and Energy Star standards, using energy efficient appliances and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems designed to reduce overall operating expenses.
New roofs will be completed at both wings, and new energy efficient storm windows will be provided at the inside of the existing windows.
Financing partners for the project include the Illinois Housing Development Authority, JPMorgan Chase, RBC Capital Markets and Greater Metropolitan Area housing Authority of Rock Island County.
Guy Johnson stopped by to take some pictures of the old classic. We still remember the new addition, which is now about 65 years old.

 Like other teachers, Miss Dickson spent her own money on the class.

Liz Copeland's mom was a favorite teacher among many great ones.

 Mrs. Forsyth was another teacher everyone remembered with great affection.


 No-o-o-o-o-o!

This classroom project is where an engineer's career was born.

Building a Butterfly Garden

 We took Monarchs for granted when milkweed was abundant.

Mosquito spraying is very effective against ladybugs and butterflies, but people can still build a butterfly garden and enjoy the results.

 Joe Pye Weed kept topping the lists for fun plants to grow,
so I started two and they were pollinator convention centers in bloom all summer. Butterflies love Joe Pye.


The first requirement is the sunniest place in the yard. That is also the least viewed area for us, so it was also ignored. I had a marvelous crop of crabgrass, actually a grain brought over by thoughtless Europeans. Then I tried a straw-bail garden, which proved to be a holiday resort for slugs, with this formula - start with straw and soak with water. That combination gives them all the food, water, and housing they need to conquer the area.

 Almost Eden sold me two Clethra bushes, and now they are well established.
Tiny flowers bring big results, and they are aromatic - songbirds like them as well.


So I turned over a new leaf and dedicated the area to butterflies. The following are great butterfly plants:

  • Joe Pye Weed, which can be six feet tall or the shorter variety, Little Joe. Butteflies always congregation around the blossoms.
  • Clethra - aka Summersweet aka Pepperbush - known for attracting all pollinators and butterflies.
  • Milkweed and Butterfly Weed are for Monarch butterflies.
  • Borage is unusually easy to grow, just scatter the seed. It grows flowers and drops seed all summer.
  • Hollyhocks are associated with old-fashioned gardens, perhaps because they stand out against a building and seed themselves.
  • Parsley brings Black Swallowtail butterflies.
  • And more - such as zinnias, lupine, etc.
I have a small sunny area, so I am going to fill it with Joe Pye - already established - and Clethra, mints, borage.

The rose garden is leavened with various pollinator plants - mints, Joe Pye, and daisies. I can add more in the future.

 Borage is the tiny version of its cousin Comfrey,
and so easy to grow. Tis another butterfly plant.