The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Cardinal Tweeted Me Today



Today I went out to the backyard to check on food and water supplies. I had an extra kiddie pool in the wild garden, but it was too deep - as is - to use for birds. I kept water in it so the pool would not fly away in a storm, but the water showed it was not used. I did not even see the mud that would suggest a raccoon cleansing his food.

I grabbed a Cutco knife and cut the entire pool, to make the sides half as tall. The birds have loved this at the Community Pool. Today two starlings were splashing around and having a great time. The pool is always filthy with bird dust and short on water, and I check it twice a day. Catching the birds having fun, looking from the bedroom window, is quite entertaining. Often I see birds flying straight toward me to reach the bird swing, the platform feeder, or the finch feeder.

I was filling the new pool at the Jackson Bird Spa when a cardinal showed up, only 10 feet away, watching me.

Male cardinals are very shy and often bathe far in the background. They let females eat first to see if the coast is clear. Having a male cardinal so close is a genuine thrill, because of the trust and the beauty of the bird.

He kept looking at me and tweeting. All the birds know that there will be fresh water and food when I leave the backyard, especially fresh water. The cardinal came down from his roost nearby in the tree, next to the spa, where I was, and landed on the new rustic fence, which we fashioned out of the dead tree. He tried one branch sticking up, then another.

I finished filling up the new pool, set up watering in the Jackson Aqueduct, and went inside. I left the spa the same, except for the new pool. Birds are very suspicious of changes. I will move the shallow pans around the yard, under the aqueduct, to allow more places for birds to bathe or toads to hydrate.

Cardinals decorate the greys and whites of winter,
and they seem quite droll when they eat their seeds so easily.

Nurturing cardinals in the summer
means enjoying them all winter.

In the Big Leagues of Rose Growing.
We Dropped Off a Collection of Fragrant Roses at His Hospital Office

Veterans' Honor


From our physician, who is a Lenski fan and a baseball fan:

"Thanks for the roses, they are beautiful!

You are in a different rose growing league than I am.

Thanks again."


R__, M.D.

***

GJ - We give away roses all over, and that means there are even more roses to share. As the Germans say, "A shared joy is a doubled joy - Literally, a cut joy is a doubled joy. Eine geteilte Freude ist eine Freude gedoppelt."

Cutting roses is fun, because they are bound to bring smiles. In our doctor's case, his nurses got them a day early, because it was his day off.

We had been talking about Creation cures - non-toxic - in his garden.

Peace



Expanding the Wild Garden

Chaste Tree is used for medicine.

When I gardened in Midland, the distant end of the backyard was ideal for compost and a wild garden. Evergreens supported a hammock, which everyone loved, especially the kids. The length was a perfect fit between two of the trees, so we did not have to stretch the hammock or move the trees.

Tall bushes divided our parsonage property from the neighbor's, and the neighbor was a good friend. He became an even better friend when the corn was ripening. He was very anxious about how the Silver Queen was doing, so I always said, "Do you want some?" He always did.

An herbalist provided me with unusual herbs, such as comfrey, tansy, and salad burnet. I grew a remarkable patch of parsley, just to attract swallowtail butterflies - and it did. The parsley was grown on pure compost, just as the sweet corn was.

I let the wild area grow with tall herbs (comfrey - borage's tall cousin), sunflowers, and whatever wanted to flourish there. One bird (forgot its name) made its nest in the tall grass and made a racket when I approached.

Now that our dead tree is cut into sections, we have the perfect rustic fence to divide the lawn grass from the newly expanded wild area. The fence juts into the air where the branches have been left on. We did as little cutting as possible. The birds will think the new perches are just for them, and they are not entirely mistaken. The jutting branches will also warn against falling over the logs.

Our helper is donating a small tree he is cutting down from his yard.

This new fence will create two lines for growing, sunflowers behind it, tall plants in front of it. The tall plants will be a year-around warning not to tumble into the wild garden. I am thinking ahead.



Plants for the Wild Garden
I am already thinking of what I will do in the wild garden, as we conquer the lawn grass with cardboard, compost, leaves, and mulch.

Rugosa roses are old-fashioned roses, known for their bright seed pods or hips. The hips are used in flower arrangements, for rose hip tea, and eaten fresh (a tart fruit loaded with Vitamin C). Birds and various animals will eat them, too. If you favor big hips, rugosa roses are the ideal diet.

All roses grow hips, which are the seed pods or fruit, but the older roses have much larger ones.

Chaste Tree is a good candidate. I have one growing - the flowers are an intense blue. Bees and insects love this plant, my Moline diaspora friends tell me.

Borage and buckwheat are two flowering bee plants, easy to grow. They seed themselves.

Some beneficial insect plants on the list are - 

Shasta daisies. Shastas are classic-looking daisies—a central core of tiny yellow disk flowers surrounded by white ray flowers. Each of these inflorescences measures 2 or more inches (5 cm) across. The plant’s glossy dark green leaves have small teeth on their margins and create good habitat for predatory bugs like assassin, damsel, and spined soldier bugs. The nectar and pollen from the flowers is preferred by some species of parasitic wasps, minute pirate bugs, lacewings, soldier beetles, ladybugs, and syrphid flies.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 2385-2386). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 


  • Butterfly weed, related to milkweed, but prettier, good forMonarch butterflies.
  • Milkweed, self-seeding, like most weeds, and a Monarch butterfly magnet.
  • Mountain mint. 


Bee Balm or Horsemint garners a lot of attention in the garden. Like other members of the genus Monarda, it has hollow, square stems; but unlike many other monardas, horsemint bears short, tubular yellowish flowers with purple spots. Nectar from these flowers is more readily accessed by smaller bugs, while monardas with more elongated flowers are often preferred by butterflies, bees, and moths. Native plant research at Michigan State University found horsemint to be attractive to a large diversity of natural enemies, particularly late in the season. Not only does horsemint attract a plethora of good bugs, but it is also drought defiant, deer resistant, powdery mildew tolerant, and incredibly visually interesting.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 2469-2474). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

Alyssum - This plant may be small, but it is enticing to many natural enemies in a big way. Sweet alyssum is most often grown as an annual, and its short stature makes it a great choice for the front of the insectary border, in between crop rows, or in containers. It is frequently grown as a companion plant on organic lettuce farms because of its ability to attract a large number of beneficials, including parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, lacewings, big-eyed bugs, hoverflies, and many others. Cabbage growers also find it useful for increasing the lifespan of the parasitic wasps that control many common cabbage pests.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 2441-2445). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

Oregeno - Most oregano varieties produce clusters of tiny white, pink, or purple flowers atop stems lined with medium-sized oval leaves. Though oregano is considered a culinary herb, its benefits to the insectary border are as obvious as can be. Not only is oregano useful to beneficials for its nectar, pollen, and user-friendly flower shape, but it also has the ideal habit for many ground-dwelling beneficials. On a summer afternoon, I love to sit near oregano and just watch it buzz with life. If I get close enough, I can spot some pretty interesting critters. On the oregano in the dead center of my vegetable garden, I regularly find minute pirate bugs, parasitic wasps, hoverflies, tachinid flies, soldier beetles, lacewing larva, and big-eyed bugs. There are always plenty of bees and butterflies, too. And if I lift up the plant’s skirt and check out the soil beneath, I’m likely to find a handful of spiders and ground beetles scurrying about as well.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 2495-2501). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 


Will the starlings, blue jays, or squirrels get most of the peanuts today?

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Roses Get Special Treatment

The garlic family includes garlic, garlic chives, chives, onions,
alium, giant alium, and wild onion.

The newest roses, planted in early June, are started to bud and bloom. Gurney's second sale of the year had the same promise - a variety with no promises about which ones would be in the mix. Given the 80% discount, I accepted the condition.

Almost half my roses are bargain roses, costing $5 - $8 each. Most Jackson and Perkins roses are $26 each. Some less glamorous companies sell for about $20. The bargain roses have included yellow, orange, red, pink, bi-color, and fragrant varieties.

Soaking the entire bush for several hours, before planting, is a great idea.

Planting involves pruning the roots and canes to bring them out of dormancy and having red wiggler earthworms in the soil. Roses can be planted in mulched soil, or the lawn can be mulched with newspaper and wood mulch after planting.

Red KnockOut roses are disease free, easy to grow, and productive.
They need pruning or they look like weeds.


After Planting
I have found that pruning each cane speeds up the leafing out process. When leafing is slow, I keep pruning the canes a little each day, but I also give them stored water - or even better - rainwater.

Those who want to protect their roses should sell their rototillers, dump their toxins, and plant garlic around the bushes. Garlic chives are even better, because they spread on their own through the rose bed. Insects do not like the garlic aroma, and rosarians believe garlic makes the roses healthier and more aromatic.

Young roses should be cane-watered every day for several weeks. Watch for droopy signs in the leaves after a long, hot sunny day. Early morning watering is better because roses that go to bed damp are more likely to mildew and attract slugs.

Some canes give up early and become dead wood. The sooner deadwood is removed, the better.

New roses are not going to bloom profusely at first, because the root system feeds the plant water and nutrition. Exponential growth in the roots will happen in time, affecting the strength and production of the roses.

When a new rose blooms, cutting off the rose and carrying it inside in triumph is a great idea. Or, hand one to a passerby. Pruning generates cane, flower, and root growth.

Those who plant KnockOut roses will see the bush produce a lot of buds early, then a lot of blooms. Take a deep breath and cut off all the blooms that start to age, after cutting several sprays to share and enjoy indoors.

No matter how diligent the pruning, some blooms will be hidden away, with three petals left, or even bereft of petals. Cut those off. Old blooms make the plant go to seed and go to sleep.

The rules for pruning are simple:

  • The cut can be any place on the cane - that makes no difference.
  • When in doubt, cut it out. Pruning causes fruitfulness.
  • If three buds are growing and one is in full bloom, starting to fade, cut that one off. 
  • Always prune dead and diseased canes.
  • A fast-growing KnockOut can be cut in half and it will grow back even more productive. My mature KnockOut roses have been reduced 50% twice and stand almost six feet tall.
  • Prune for shape and to build up remaining buds.
Watering
If I am doing routine watering, I water at the base with the soaker hose. However, I spray down all the plants all the plants every so often, sometimes when using the soaker hose. Each faucet has two soaker hoses and one ordinary hose. I use switches to vary the benefits.

The rule of thumb for water is one bucket of water per rose per week.

Reasons not to freak out - stay calm and blame Ichabod:
  1. Aphids happen. Many beneficial insects devour them. 
  2. Roses tend to mildew, depending on the kind growing. Big deal.
  3. Black spot is the price we pay for rose colors. Remove and toss the damaged leaves and canes.

Mulch
Weeds can break through mulch and grow on top of mulch. I leave dandelions alone because they are mining calcium from below, sheltering earthworms, and providing materials for birds. 

If grassy weeds are breaking through, I add another layer of newspapers and mulch - after trimming the long grassy weeds. Our helper came to plant garlic but said, "First I am trimming those weeds. The rose garden looks like a bad haircut." We paid attention to maple trees, another airborne tree infestation, and long, invasive grassy weeds. We threw away the grassy weeds, Most weeds can be added to the mulch.

Tiny but mighty - the flower fly.
Bee-like in looks, they be like - "Aphids will feed my babies."


Nurture the Beneficial Creatures
God created creatures to eat and be eaten. Whether we believe in Creation or not, every living thing "obeys the laws of Nature and of Nature's God." Except man.

The more we shelter and nurture the beneficial creatures, the less we have to worry about damage to our flowers and crops.

Here is a short list, which can be implemented a little at a time:
  • Welcome the birds with abundant shallow dishes for drinking and bathing. Food is secondary to water, but food will establish habits for stopping for a snack, staying for a meal. I always provide low perches to let them hunt for food. Suet is abundant for the bug-eating birds.
  • Think of the toads. They like logs, broken flower pots, and shallow water dishes for hydrating themselves. It's a numbers game - 10,000 bugs per toad per summer.
  • Plants with tiny flowers will feed and shelter beneficial insects - coreopsis, sunflowers, dill, Queen Ann's Lace, buckwheat, allysum, lace flower, pigweed, goosefoot, and ragweed. Many delicate flowers can be planted or sown for their beauty and usefulness.
  • Mulch is good for birds, spiders, earthworms, and all soil creatures.


Veterans Honor rose - a deep and bright red,
like a velvet pillow in the midst of the garden.
Long-lasting and fragrant blooms. 



Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Bunch of Cut-Ups Were in the Backyard Today

Dead trees are natural habitats for various animals,
including woodpeckers. On the ground they feed the soil and harbor toads.

Our landscaper promised to cut up our dead tree that fell over. Saturday did not work out, so we gathered at lunch on Sunday.

Soon we had our helper and his family in the backyard. I brought out watermelon. Mrs. Ichabod came out.

These gatherings are fairly common around here. When the landscaper had a garage sale, the girls across the street sold lemonade. When the girls' parents had their garage sale, everyone went over there for a time.

We had a lot of laughs during the tree surgery, even though the tree was tougher than cheap meat to cut. We added a wood chisel, a rip saw, a crow bar, and a mallet and boss screwdriver to make the chips fly.

The landscaper said, "What are you doing with the logs?"

Our helper said, "He is going to make a wild garden."

"Oh, you are going to grow weeds?"

I asked, "How many roses do I have?" Our helper laughed and said, "He got you there."

"Hey, are you going to give me some earthworms?"

I said, "I put 1,000 worms total in all your raised beds and wherever you had flowers."

The landscaper looked a bit shy and asked, "Did you see my weeds?"

"Yes, you did not put enough newspapers under the wood. The weeds burst through."

"My grandson will work on that next visit."

I use the landscaper's grass clippings to feed the crepe myrtle in front.
The Sweetheart calladiums match the blooms.
Mrs. Ichabod loves calladiums,
so I planted these beneath the crepe myrtle bush.


We heard various stories from his work as an Army Ranger and fun comments about national politics. He said, "I wish days like this would last forever." He was doing a lot of work for me, even though he suffers from military injuries, and he loved it.

Our helper did a lot of sawing with the ripsaw, jumped on the cut with the saw in his hands, and tumbled. We commented on how many dead and wounded that would have left with a chainsaw in his hands.

The landscaper said, "I would have been fine. I would have started running early."

We stretched out the stout and irregular pieces of the tree to reach across backyard for a new fence. I am planning on solar lighting the fence to prevent tripping and give the backyard more depth.

We are now going to use cardboard boxes as the bottom layer of Jackson Mulch, with leaves and compost on top. This opens up a new area for beneficial plants, berries, ornamental bushes, and experiments.

I said, "I always wanted my own stump." We plan to prop up the stump so the honeysuckle vine will have some support and the birds will have a lower perch. The stump did not cooperate with our plans, so we dropped it down again. I made a suggestion to the landscaper and he rolled his eyes about cementing the stump in place.

Our helper said accurately, "The stump will rot away and feed the soil." Yes, indeed. He considers our projects quite educational, and we have a lot of laughs doing the work.

Shewell-Cooper taught me how easy gardening could be.

Lay compost on top for mulch
or let mulch become compost.
Either way, no rototilling is needed.
Science and common sense tell us
not to violate the Creation principles around us.

Martin Luther College - WELS - Gayer Than Lavender Hose


One Martin Luther College contact said that 20 graduates are using the GLBT rainbow profile photo on Facebook.

That is consistent with the stories, graphics, and videos that come out of that school.

Do not doubt that the Lavender Mafia is doing well in the Wisconsin Sect.

SP Mark Schroeder's response to hearing that about an active homosexual in the WELS ministry was - "Write a letter."

The Fourth Sunday after Trinity. Patience in Suffering.


The Fourth Sunday after Trinity, 2015


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Time

The melodies are linked in the hymn name. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.


The Hymn # 452                           The Son of God  
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 #531              Come Ye Disconsolate  

Patience in Suffering

The Communion Hymn # 308       Invited Lord  
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 # 413                        I Walk in Danger  

KJV Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

KJV Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

Fourth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, who art merciful, and through Christ didst promise us, that Thou wilt neither judge nor condemn us, but graciously forgive us all our sins, and abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul: We pray Thee, that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou wilt establish in our hearts a confident faith in Thy mercy, and teach us also to be merciful to our neighbor, that we may not judge or condemn others, but willingly forgive all men, and, Judging only ourselves, lead blessed lives in Thy fear, through Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Patience in Suffering

KJV Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Christianity grew up in opposition. The Roman Empire saw the Christian Faith as a troublesome version of the very difficult Jewish sect. Not long after the death and resurrection of Christ, the Jewish revolt began because they first defeated a small contingent of Roman soldiers. An entire Roman Army, with all the slaves made their way to Judea and began its conquest. The Roman Army never lost a war, except when they went up against Herman the German, who knew Roman tactics.

Homosexuality was common in the Roman Empire. Many of the first Christians were former homosexuals who converted to the faith and left that life behind. The first fifteen emperors of Rome were either homosexual or bi-sexual. Julius Caesar was called "every woman's husband and every husband's wife." He spent so much time with the King of Bithynia that he was dubbed the Queen of Bithynia.

Paganism was so dominant in the Roman Empire that Constantine the Great gave up on the City of Rome and created his own capital in the town that became known as Constantinople (Istanbul in Turkey). He bribed noble families with land to move to his new capital, to create a Christian capital.

It was not until the Edict of Milin, 313 AD, that the active persecution of Christians was stopped.

Therefore, we have references to persecution already in the New Testament, in Romans, Hebrews, and 1 Peter. Revelation is another source.

Moreover, the value of newborn life was small in those times, just like ours. If they did not want a child, they left it out to be exposed to the wild animals. If that did not do the job, slave traders grabbed the babies to be raised for prostitution. In fact, all slaves were considered property to be used in any way whatsoever desired by the owners. If one slave killed someone, all the slaves were killed, to keep the institution intact.

All the parallels are exact. Nations covet the grandeur of Rome, and each nation descends into the degradation of Rome. I grew up hearing about "we are turning into the Roman Empire." That was said often by many people, but Latin and Roman history are no longer taught, so that comparison is lost on 99% of all students.

Paul never said, "This is not the time or place to grow a church." Instead, he taught through the Holy Spirit to spread the Word of the Gospel to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles, which gave them miraculous growth. That is no longer seen in the West because no one trusts the Word of God for that growth. In the name of growth, based on business, they teach business principles instead of the Gospel.

19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 

The great temptation for Christians is to despair and give up, - or to join the spirit of this age, the spirit of Satan and the Antichrist, to adopt the new thinking and fit in, be rewarded, and find promotions and benefits from that surrender.

It is a great suffering that is being felt now as people realize how much has been lost in America in the last 50 years. The greatest turn, the most tragic, was the rejection of unborn life in favor of human convenience. When the Supreme Court re-wrote biology and the Constitution in Roe Vs. Wade, and they were not impeached, the road was paved for all the other attacks on natural law.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Declaration of Independence

 "The laws of nature and of nature's God..." That is a much bigger issue than independence from Britain. Natural law means right and wrong, even the concept of freedom, are all derived from Creation.

Creation is understood many ways, but this group of leaders did not dispute Creation or Creation's God. They taught and practiced the concept of all justice coming from God Himself.

Many Christians doubted Jefferson as a president, so he promised "the separation of church and state" in politics, meaning that the federal government would not interfere in the states' application of religious principles, such as requiring active church membership in order to vote, prayer in schools and public places, and so forth.

Notice how deception works. This phrase has been turned upside-down, just as justification (by faith) in Reformation and all Christian documents, has been turned into justification without faith. The question is,as Humpty Dumpty said, "Who is the master of the language."



While it is possible to reclaim America, it is also not likely at this stage. So much has been done to empower the worst, shower the non-working with free gifts and drugs galore, and to welcome criminal invaders to outnumber the citizens.

So we can only wait and do what we can, not expecting to overturn this new Roman Empire, but hoping for the final revelation of Christi's glory. In that time many souls will be claimed or reclaimed for the Gospel. Enormous and catastrophic events wake people up. So will years of total self-love and hedonism, in some cases. The Word has its effect in both cases - in converting and in hardening, in illuminating and blinding.

Those who deny the Word are going to increase in blindness and harshness. Those who only pretend to follow the Word from within the visible church will actively persecute the Word and be far more powerful and effective in murdering souls that the metal-clinking Satanists and tattooed pan-sexuals. The danger is far closer than most understand, so patience, diligence, and Bible study are all required. No one is too strong to fail, to lose faith, to surrender.

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 

Patience is required because Satan makes it more difficult by making suffering "endless." Bad times seem to be forever. Nothing works better than to make people impatient and despairing.  

I easily remembered. three LCA clergy who did almost nothing until they retired and were safe. They wrote a few things and passed away. They had already retired and had no votes, no congregations. They betrayed their congregations by taking the comfortable way out. As one said, "I want to retire in peace."

The world's peace is not real peace. It is a temporary truce between the believer and Satan. He collects later.

Because of original sin, the world is broken, sinful, and hates the Gospel. 

Luther on persecution:
By the words “if so be that we suffer with him” the writer means that we are to do more than exercise the sympathy that grieves over another’s misfortune, though such sympathy is binding upon Christians and is a superior Christian virtue, a work of mercy: we ourselves must suffer, non solum affectu, sed etiam effectu, that is, we are overwhelmed by like sufferings. As Christ our Lord was persecuted, we also must endure persecution. As the devil harassed him, we also must be harassed unceasingly. And so Satan does torment true Christians. Indeed, were it not for the restraining hand of the Lord our God, the devil would suffer us to have no peace. Paul has reference to a heartfelt sympathy intense enough to enter into actual suffering. He says to the Hebrews ( Hebrews 10:32-23): “Ye endured a great conflict of sufferings; partly, being made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions.”

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 

As long as we live we are subject to this sinful nature and corruption. On the other hand, we also have the daily forgiveness of sins through the Holy Spirit's work in the Gospel. Thus we have the paradox of sinners justified by faith - simul iustus et peccator, as the theologians like to say, quoting Luther before they drop him in the ditch.

Those who realize their sin but wander in darkness are the most miserable. Police officers use this knowledge of psychology to offer a relief to this burden. "Just confess and you will feel better." One TV show features this, and it does work well.
The pain is so great for normal people that they crack from the suffering, the knowledge of the terrible evil they have done. But sociopaths have no sense of guilt and do not care at all. We seem to have more of those and more drug-induced sociopaths all the time.

 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Luther on the Rewards:
12. Take the case of the adventurous officer. For a few dollars per month he defies spears and guns, exposing himself to almost certain death. The merchant hurries to and fro in the world in a frenzied effort to amass riches, hazarding life and limb, apparently careless of physical cost so long as God’s mercy preserves to him but the shattered hulk of a body. And what must not one endure at court before he realizes, if he ever does, the fulfillment of his ambition?

In temporal things man can do and suffer everything for the sake of honor, wealth and power, because these are manifest to earthly vision. But in the spiritual conflict, because the reward is not discernible to the senses it is very difficult for the old man in us to believe that God will finally grant us glorious bodies, pure souls and hearts of gladness, and make us superior to any earthly king. Indeed, the very reverse of this condition obtains now.

Here is one condemned as a heretic; there one is burned or in some other way put to death. Glory, wealth and honor are not in evidence now. So it seems hard for us to resign ourselves to suffering and wait for the redemption and glory yet unrevealed.

Again, no hardship is too great for the world to undergo for the sake of sordid gain; it willingly suffers whatever comes for that which moth and rust consume and thieves steal.

13. Paul means to say: “I am certain there is reserved for us exceeding glory, in comparison wherewith all earthly suffering is actually of no consideration; only it is not yet manifest.” If we have to face the slightest gale of adversity, or if a trifling misfortune befalls us, we begin to make outcry, filling the heavens with our false complaint of a terrible calamity.


Luther's Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity - Epistle Lesson.
Consolation in Suffering and Patience

Norma Boeckler


Luther's Sermon for the FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY. Romans 8:8-22



TEXT:

ROMANS 8:8-22. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to vanity not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

CONSOLATION IN SUFFERING, AND PATIENCE.

1. Paul’s language here is peculiar. He speaks in a manner wholly different from the other apostles. There is something particularly strange about the first sentences of the passage. His words must be faithfully studied and their meaning learned by personal experience. The Christian life consists altogether in the practice and experience of what the Word of God tells us.

He who has no experimental knowledge of the Word will have but little conception and appreciation of Paul’s words here. Indeed, they will be wholly unintelligible to him.

2. Up to the point where our text begins, Paul has been assuring us in this epistle that through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ we attain the high privilege of calling God our Father; that the Holy Spirit bears witness in our hearts of our sonship, and makes us bold enough to come, by faith in Christ the Mediator, joyfully before God, trusting him to fill and bless us.

Then Paul draws the conclusion, first, that we are children of God; next, he says: “If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” The second conclusion is the outcome of the first. For the reason that we have the boldness and assurance to call God our Father in sincerity and nothing doubting, we are become not only children but heirs, heirs of God and brethren to Christ, joint-heirs with him. But all this, as Paul says, is true “if so be that we suffer with him” ( Romans 8:7).

3. The high prerogative of heirship, Paul faithfully enjoins, is dependent on a sacred duty. Let him who would be Christ’s brother, and joint-heir with him, remember he must also be a joint-martyr and joint-sufferer with Christ. The apostle’s meaning is: Many are the Christians, indeed, who would be joint-heirs with Christ and gladly enjoy the privilege of sharing his inheritance, but who object to suffering with him; they separate themselves from him because unwilling to participate in his pain. But Paul says this will not do. The inheritance follows only as a consequence of the suffering. Since Christ, our dear Lord and Savior, had to suffer before he could be glorified, we must be martyrs with him, with him be mocked by the world, despised, spit upon, crowned with thorns and put to death, before the inheritance will be ours. It cannot be otherwise.

A consistent sympathy is essential to Christian faith and doctrine. He who would be Christ’s brother and fellow-heir must also suffer with him. He who would live with Christ must first die with him. The members of a family not only enjoy good together but also share in their ills. As the saying is, “He who would be a companion in eating must also be a companion in labor.”

4. Paul would earnestly admonish us not to become false Christians who look to find in Christ mere pleasure and enjoyment, but to remember that if we are to participate in the “eternal weight of glory” we must first bear the “light affliction, which is for the moment.” 2 Corinthians 4:17.

By the words “if so be that we suffer with him” the writer means that we are to do more than exercise the sympathy that grieves over another’s misfortune, though such sympathy is binding upon Christians and is a superior Christian virtue, a work of mercy: we ourselves must suffer, non solum affectu, sed etiam effectu, that is, we are overwhelmed by like sufferings. As Christ our Lord was persecuted, we also must endure persecution. As the devil harassed him, we also must be harassed unceasingly. And so Satan does torment true Christians. Indeed, were it not for the restraining hand of the Lord our God, the devil would suffer us to have no peace. Paul has reference to a heartfelt sympathy intense enough to enter into actual suffering. He says to the Hebrews ( Hebrews 10:32-23): “Ye endured a great conflict of sufferings; partly, being made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions.”

5. And in the verse preceding our text he tells us that as our blissful inheritance through brotherhood and joint-heirship with Christ is not a mere fancy and false hope of the heart, but a real inheritance, so our sympathy must amount to real suffering, which we take upon ourselves as befitting joint-heirs. Now Paul comforts the Christian in his sufferings with the authority of one who speaks from experience, from thorough acquaintance with his subject. He seems to view this life as through obscurities, while beholding the life to come with clear and unobstructed vision. He says: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shal be revealed to usward [in us].”

6. Notice how he turns his back to the world and his face to the future revelation, as if seeing no suffering anywhere, but all joy. “Even if it does go ill with us,” he would argue, “what indeed is our suffering in comparison with the unspeakable joy and glory to be revealed in us? It is too insignificant to be compared and unworthy to be called suffering.” We fail to realize the truth of these words because we do not see with our bodily eyes the supreme glory awaiting us; because we fail to grasp fully the fact that we shall never die but shall have a body that cannot suffer nor be ill. If one could conceive the nature of this reward he would be compelled to say: “Were it possible for me to suffer ten deaths by fire or flood, that would be nothing in comparison to the future life of glory. What is temporal suffering, however protracted, contrasted with eternal life? It is not worthy to be called suffering or to be esteemed meritorious.”

7. In this light does Paul regard suffering, as he says, and he admonishes Christians to look upon it similarly. Then shall they find the infinite beyond all comparison with the finite. What is a single penny measured by a world of dollars? though this is not an appropriate comparison since the things compared are both perishable. The suffering of the world is always to be counted as nothing measured by the glorious and eternal possessions yet to be ours. “I entreat you, therefore, beloved brethren,” Paul would say, “to fear no sufferings, not even should it be your lot to be slain. For if you are actually joint-heirs, it must be your fortune, a part of your inheritance, to suffer with others. But what is your pain measured by the eternal glory prepared for you and obtained by the sacrifice of your Savior Jesus Christ?

It is too insignificant to be contrasted.” So Paul makes all earthly suffering infinitely small — a drop, a tiny spark, so to speak; but of yonder hopedfor glory he makes a boundless ocean, an illimitable flame.

8. Why cannot we take his view of the insignificance of our afflictions and the magnitude of the future glory? The extravagance of our conduct is apparent in the fact that but a harsh word uttered by one to his fellow will make the injured one ready to overturn mountains and uproot trees in his resentment. To them who are so unwilling to suffer, Paul’s word of encouragement here is wholly unintelligible. Christians are not to conduct themselves in this impatient manner. It ill becomes them to make extravagant complaint and outcry about injustice. “But,” you say, “I have truly suffered injustice.” Very well, so be it. But why do you make so much of your sufferings and never give a thought to what awaits you in heaven?

Why not exalt the future glory also? If you desire to be a Christian, truly it will not do to conduct yourself in this impatient manner. If you must air your grievances, surely you may do it quietly and decorously.

9. In this life it must be otherwise than in the life of glory. If you essay to be a joint-heir with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not suffer with him, to be his brother and are not like unto him, Christ certainly will not at the last day acknowledge you as a brother and fellow-heir. Rather he will ask where are your crown of thorns, your cross, the nails and scourge; whether you have been, as he and his followers ever have from the beginning of time, an abomination to the world. If you cannot qualify in this respect, he cannot regard you as his brother. In short, we must all suffer with the Son of God and be made like unto him, as we shall see later, or we shall not be exalted with him in glory.

10. Upon this same topic Paul addresses also the Galatians ( Galatians 6:17): Henceforth let no one confuse me, say nothing to me about the doctrine that friendship is rewarded on earth; for I bear branded on my body the marks of my Lord Jesus Christ. His reference is to the signs in ancient paintings of Christ, where the Savior was represented as bearing his cross upon his shoulders, with the nails, the scourge, the crown of thorns and other emblems in evidence. These marks or signs, Paul instructs, all Christians as well as himself must exhibit, not painted on a wall but branded in their flesh and blood. They are made when inwardly the devil affrights and assails us with all manner of terrors and overwhelming afflictions, and at the same time outwardly the world slanders us as heretics, laying her hand to our throats whenever possible and putting us to death.

THE REWARD.

Such marks, or scars, for Christ the Lord, Paul admonishes all Christians to exhibit. Thus he encourages them not to be terrified though they suffer every conceivable wrong, such as our brethren here and there have suffered now for several years. But brighter days are in store for us when once the hour of our enemies and the power of darkness shall come. Our adversaries annoy us now with malignant words and slanderous writings, and indeed they may take our lives. So be it. We must in any event suffer if we are ever to attain true glory. But what they will secure by putting us to death they certainly shall experience.

11. In Paul’s reference to the glory that shall be revealed in us there is a hint as to the cause of man’s unwillingness to suffer: faith is yet weak and fails to descry the hidden glory; that glory is yet to be revealed in us. Could we but behold it with mortal vision, what noble, patient martyrs we should be! Suppose one stood on yonder side of the Elbe with a chest full of gold, offering it to him who should venture to swim across for it. What an effort would be made for the sake of that tangible wealth!

12. Take the case of the adventurous officer. For a few dollars per month he defies spears and guns, exposing himself to almost certain death. The merchant hurries to and fro in the world in a frenzied effort to amass riches, hazarding life and limb, apparently careless of physical cost so long as God’s mercy preserves to him but the shattered hulk of a body. And what must not one endure at court before he realizes, if he ever does, the fulfillment of his ambition?

In temporal things man can do and suffer everything for the sake of honor, wealth and power, because these are manifest to earthly vision. But in the spiritual conflict, because the reward is not discernible to the senses it is very difficult for the old man in us to believe that God will finally grant us glorious bodies, pure souls and hearts of gladness, and make us superior to any earthly king. Indeed, the very reverse of this condition obtains now.

Here is one condemned as a heretic; there one is burned or in some other way put to death. Glory, wealth and honor are not in evidence now. So it seems hard for us to resign ourselves to suffering and wait for the redemption and glory yet unrevealed.

Again, no hardship is too great for the world to undergo for the sake of sordid gain; it willingly suffers whatever comes for that which moth and rust consume and thieves steal.

13. Paul means to say: “I am certain there is reserved for us exceeding glory, in comparison wherewith all earthly suffering is actually of no consideration; only it is not yet manifest.” If we have to face the slightest gale of adversity, or if a trifling misfortune befalls us, we begin to make outcry, filling the heavens with our false complaint of a terrible calamity.

Were our faith triumphant, we would regard it but as a small inconvenience to suffer, even for thirty or forty years or longer; indeed, we should think our sufferings too trifling to be taken into account. May the Lord our God only forbear to reckon with us for the sins we have committed! Why will we have so much to say about great sufferings and their merits? How utterly unworthy we are of the free grace and ineffable glory which are ours in the fact that through Christ we become children and heirs of God, brethren and joint-heirs with Christ!

Well may we resolve: “I will maintain a cheerful silence about my sufferings, boasting not of them nor complaining about them. I will patiently endure all my merciful God sends upon me, meanwhile rendering him my heartfelt gratitude for calling me to such surpassing grace and blessing.” But, as I said, the vision of glory will not enter our hearts because of our weak and miserable flesh, which allows itself to be more influenced by the present than by the future. So the Holy Spirit must be our schoolmaster to bring the matter home to our hearts.

14. Note particularly how Paul expressly states that the glory is to be revealed in us. He would remind us that not only such as Peter or Paul are to participate in the blessing, as we are prone to believe, but that we and all Christians are included in the word “us.” Indeed, even the merest babe obtains at death, wherein it is a joint-sufferer with mankind, this unspeakable glory, which the Lord Jesus into whose death it was baptized has purchased and bestowed upon it. Though in the life beyond one saint may have more glory than another, yet all will have the same eternal life.

Here on earth men differ in point of strength, comeliness, intellect, yet all enjoy the same animal life. So in the other life there will be degrees of radiance or glory, as Paul teaches ( 1 Corinthians 15:41), yet all will share the same eternal happiness and joy; there will be one glory for all, for we shall all be the children of God.

15. Now the first point of consolation is that we turn our backs upon all suffering, saying: “What is all my pain, though it were tenfold greater, compared to the eternal life unto which I am baptized, to which I am called? My sufferings are not worthy to be so termed in connection with the exceeding glory to be revealed in me.” Paul magnifies the future glory to make the temporal sufferings the more insignificant. Then follows: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the revealing [manifestation] of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope: [For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope;]”

16. Here is the second point of consolation. Paul holds up as an example to us the condition of the whole creation. He exhorts us to endure patiently, as the creature does, all the violence and injustice we suffer from the devil and the world, and to comfort ourselves with the hope of future redemption. Remarkable doctrine this, unlike anything elsewhere found in the Scriptures, that heaven and earth, sun, moon and stars, leaf and blade, every living thing, waits with sighing and groaning for the revelation of our glory.

THE TRAVAIL OF CREATION.

17. Such sighing and agony of the creature is not audible to me, nor is it to you. But Paul tells us he sees and hears it, not expressed by one creature alone, but by all God has made. What does he mean? What is the sighing and longing of creation? It is not that annually the leaves wither and the fruits fall and decay: God purposes that every year new fruits shall grow; he decrees the shattering of the fallen tree. But Paul refers to the creature’s unwilling subjection to the ungodly; “subject to vanity,” he phrases it.

For instance, the blessed sun, most glorious of created things, serves the small minority of the godly, but where it shines on one godly man it must shine on thousands and thousands of knaves, such as enemies of God, blasphemers, persecutors, with whom the world is filled; also murderers, robbers, thieves, adulterers. To these it must minister in all their ungodliness and wickedness, permitting its pure and glorious influence to benefit the unworthy, most shameful and abandoned profligates. According to the apostle, this subjection is truly painful, and were the sun a rational creature obeying its own volition rather than the decree of the Lord God who has subjected it to vanity against its will, it might deny every one of these wicked wretches even the least ray of light; that it is compelled to minister to them is its cross and pain, by reason of which it sighs and groans.

Just as we Christians endure many kinds of injustice and consequently sigh for and implore help and deliverance in the Lord’s prayer, so do the creatures sigh. Although they have not human utterance, yet they have speech intelligible to God and the Holy Spirit, who mark the creatures’ sighs over their unjust abuse by the ungodly.

18. Nowhere else in the Holy Scriptures do we find anything like Paul’s declaration here concerning the earnest expectation and waiting of the creatures for the revelation of the children of God; which waiting the apostle characterizes as a sighing in eager desire for man’s redemption. A little later he compares the state of the creature to a woman in travail, saying it cries out in its anguish. The sun, moon and stars, the heavens and earth, the bread we eat, the water or wine we drink, the cattle and sheep, in short, all things that minister to our comfort, cry out in accusation against the world because they are subjected to vanity and must suffer with Christ and his brethren. This accusing cry is beyond human power to express, for God’s created things are innumerable. Rightly was it said from the pulpit in former times that on the last day all creatures will utter an accusing cry against the ungodly who have shown them abuse here on earth, and will call them tyrants to whom they were unjustly subjected.

19. Paul presents this example of the creatures for the comfort of Christians. His meaning is: Be not sorrowful because of your sufferings; they are small indeed when the ensuing transcendent glory is considered.

You are not alone in your tribulation and your complaint at injustice; the whole creation suffers with you and cries out against its subjection to the wicked world. Every bleat of the flock, every low of the herd, is an outcry against the ungodly as enemies of God and not worthy to enjoy the creatures’ ministrations; not even to receive a morsel of bread or a drink of water. Along this line St. Augustine is eloquent. “A miserly wretch,” he says, “is unworthy the bread he eats, for he is an enemy of God.”

Paul tells us the whole creation groans and travails with us, as if desiring relief from anguish; that it suffers like a woman in travail. For instance: the heavenly planets would gladly be freed from serving, yes, in the extent of their anguish would willingly suffer eclipse; the earth would readily become unfruitful; all waters would voluntarily sink from sight and deny the wicked world a draught; the sheep would prefer to produce thorns for the ungodly instead of wool; the cow would willingly yield them poison rather than milk. But they must perform their appointed work, Paul says, because of him who has subjected them in hope. God will finally answer the cry of creation; he has already determined that after the six thousand years of its existence now passed, the world shall have its evening and end.

20. Had not our parents sinned in paradise, the world would never be dissolved. But since man has fallen in sin, we all — the whole creation — must suffer the consequence; because of our sins, creation must be subjected to vanity and dissolution. During the six thousand years, which are as nothing compared to eternal life, all created things must be under the power of a condemned world, and compelled to serve with all their energies until God shall overthrow the entire world and for the elect’s sake purify again and renew the creature, as Peter teaches. 2 Peter 3:13.

21. The sun is by no means as gloriously brilliant as when created. Because of man’s ungodliness its brightness is to an extent dimmed. But on the day of visitation God will cleanse and purify it by fire ( 2 Peter 3:10), giving it a greater glory than it had in the beginning. Because it must suffer in our sins, and is obliged to shine as well for the worst knave as the godly man, even for more knaves than godly men, it longs intensely for the day when it shall be cleansed and shall serve the righteous alone with its light.

Neither would the earth produce thistles nor thorns were it not cursed for our sins. So it, with all creatures, longs for the day when it shall be changed and renewed.

22. This is the explanation of Paul’s remarkable declaration concerning the “earnest expectation of the creation.” The creature continually regards the end of service, and freedom from slavery to the ungodly. This event will not take place before the revealing of the sons of God; therefore the earnestly expectant creation desires that revelation to come without delay, at any moment. Until such manifestation the world will not consider godly souls as children of the Father, but as children of the devil. So it boldly abuses and slanders, persecutes and puts to death, God’s beloved children, thinking it thereby does God service. In consequence the whole creation cries: “Oh, for a speedy end of this calamity, and the dawning of glory for the children of God!”

23. We have plain authority for the interpretation of the groaning of creation in Paul’s further words, “the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will.” He thus makes all creation — sun and moon, fire, air, water, heaven and earth with all they contain — merely poor, captive servants. And whom do they serve? Not our Lord God; not for the most part his children, for they are a minority among those ministered unto. To whom, then, is their service given? To the wicked — to vanity. The created things are not, as they would be, in righteous service. The sun, for instance, would choose to shine for Paul, Peter and other godly ones. It begrudges to wicked characters like Judas, Pilate, Herod, Annas and Caiaphas the least ray of light; for it is useless service, yielding no good. To serve Peter and Paul would be productive of pleasure and profit; well may its benefit be bestowed upon these godly ones. But the sun must shine as well for the wicked as for the ungodly. Indeed, where it fittingly serves one godly individual, thousands abuse its service.

The case is similar with gold and other minerals, and with all the articles of food, drink and clothing. To whom do these minister? Wicked desperadoes, who in return blaspheme and dishonor God, condemn his holy Gospel and murder his Christians. This is wasted service.

24. So Paul says, “The creature was made subject to vanity;” it must render service against its consent, having no pleasure therein. The sun does not shine for the purpose of lighting a highway robber to murder. It would light him in godly deeds and errands of mercy; but since he follows not these things the service of the blessed sun is abused and that creature ministers with sincere unwillingness. But how is it to avoid service?

A wicked tyrant, a shameful harlot, may wear gold ornaments. Is the gold responsible for its use? It is the good creature of the Lord our God and fitted to serve righteous people. But the precious product must submit to accommodating the wicked world against it will. Yet it endures in hope of an end of such service — such slavery. Therein it obeys God. God has imposed the obligation, that man may know him as a merciful God and Father, who, as Christ teaches ( Matthew 5:45), makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good. For the Father’s sake the blessed sun serves wickedness, performing its service and bestowing its favors in vain. But God in his own good time will reckon with those who abuse the glorious sunlight and other creatures, and will richly recompense the created things for their service.

25. Beloved, Paul thus traces the holy cross among all creatures; heaven and earth and all they contain suffer with us. So we must not complain and excessively grieve when we fare ill. We must patiently wait for the redemption of our bodies and for the glory which is to be revealed in us; especially when we know that all creatures groan in anguish, like a woman in travail, longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For then shall begin their redemption, when they shall not be slaves to wickedness but shall willingly and with delight serve God’s children only. In the meantime they bear the cross for the sake of God, who has subjected them in hope. Thus we are assured that captivity will not endure forever, but a time must come when the creatures will be delivered. “Do ye likewise, beloved Christians,” Paul would advise, “and reflect that as the creature will rejoice with you on the last day, so does it now mourn with you; that not you alone must suffer, but the whole creation suffers with you and awaits your redemption, a redemption so great and glorious As to make your sufferings unworthy to be considered.”