The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

Ash Wednesday Service, March 1 - 7 PM Central
NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM, 2017

Saved worship files 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

Friday, July 15, 2016

Getting the Long, Drenching Rain Promised

Roses and grapes respond to pruning the same way.
These are Europeana roses.


We had a combination of relatively little rain - plus grass encroaching the roses. We solved the second issue by pulling some Bermuda grass, placing newspaper and cardboard, and adding another layer of cypress mulch where needed.

The fence roses were looking lean, so they received almost all stored rainwater in time for the initial rainstorm, which did not last long enough for a generous rain. I gave the roses plenty soaker-hose water under that mulch, so they perked up right away. Mr. Lincoln roses began producing more roses.

Our helper, when he got a vase of roses for his wife, asked, "What is the name of that strong smelling roses?"

"Stinkin' Lincoln," I said. He laughed.

Our helper said, "That rose fills the whole room." I said, "Yes!" and made a choking sound.  Mr. Lincoln has everything going for it - spectacular growh, perfect buds, classic rose fragrance, and beautiful roses in full bloom.

Our chiro's secretary loves rose fragrance, so they get some Mr. Lincolns each time. We were low on Mr. Lincoln blooms, but now they are back. Mrs. Gardener also loves them. Weather permitting, she will get some today.

The falling KnockOut petals show that some branches need pruning
to make them even more fruitful.


KnockOut Roses - 50% Off
Readers may recall that my video of the front garden showed KnockOut rose blooms peaked and even dropping petals. I am glad that showed up, because I have been pruning the blooms all the time. The heat made them bloom and finish fast.

Unlike most KO owners, I execute the 50% prune in early spring and mid-summer. Our helper cut them in half.

"Cut all of them in half?"

I said, firm in my conviction, "Yes, 50% off all the KnockOuts. Leave no blooms. This will encourage new growth and they will all bloom at once."

Once again, this is John 15:1ff at work. The deadwood is pruned away while the fruitful branches are pruned to make them even more fruitful.

Peace roses remind us that
peace is the chief attribute of the forgiven believer.


The True Vine

15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes (GJ - cleanses), that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Mr. Lincoln is the classic rose
that delivers beauty, abundance, and fragrance.

With yesterday's rain and today's soaker, the KnockOuts will be especially hydrated and fertilized for a new bloom cycle and display of color. Even now the drenching rain is pouring down, one of those rains that will soak a person running to the car, no matter how fast he runs.

Like the Matthew 7:15-21 lesson coming up on Sunday, this parable illustrates the difference between faith and unbelief.

People do not face the fact that deadwood on a rose will never get better, and they act as if pruning roses will hurt the plants. This parable illustrates the reality of deadwood being taken away, withering, gathered up, and destroyed. We piled up the KnockOut cut branches and put them in the garbage, because that helps prevent the spread of disease.

The pruning to allow more fruit is a bit obscured in translation. The Greek word is "cleanse" and it is used again when Jesus says, "You are already cleansed by the Word I have spoken to you." I not only studied Greek for years but also wrote out a translation of the entire Fourth Gospel, Mark and Revelation as well, plus Galatians. I have the Greek text for this passage open at the moment.

Like most parables, this one seems obscure at first. That was Jesus' intention. As we study it in time, each phrase takes on more meaning.

Like Matthew 7:15-21, this passage encourages the use of the Word and trust in the  Word. What does this mean - “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" - except to remain in the Means of Grace?

The fruitful believer is not defined as one who is on 15 parish committees and a synodical board or two. He is not described as a "disciple-maker." The fruitful one dwells in Christ through the Word and Sacraments. The abundant fruits of the Spirit come from the abundance of God's Word, which inevitably have an effect, both in converting and damning, in enlightening and damning.

No wonder that Scriptural sermons make people so upset they call the district president to "remove this stone from our shoe" as the mobsters say. But Scriptural sermons must bear fruit, whether in pruning away the unbelievers or in refreshing and encouraging growth in the believers.

Falling in Love roses offer white and pink petals,
fragrance, and a mean set of thorns.