• Doctrine,  Vocation

    For Holy Week

    By Bethany Kilcrease If anyone is still looking for some good devotional reading for Holy Week and beyond, let me introduce you to a hidden gem recently written by a Lutheran woman. I have been reading and re-reading Carolyn Brinkley’s Bearing the Cross: Devotions on Albrecht Dürer’s Small Passion (CPH, 2012) for several years now and heartily recommend it to anyone. Deaconess Brinkley uses the artist Albrecht Dürer’s series of woodcut images called the Small Passion (1511) as the basis for thirty-four short devotions. As implied by the title Small Passion, Dürer’s extremely detailed woodcuts portray scenes Christ’s Passion, although Dürer and Brinkley also contextualize the Passion narrative with images…

  • Katie Luther Posts

    Psalm 102, Domine, exaudi orationem meam, et clamor meus ad te veniat

    By Mary Abrahamson O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee A prayer of the afflicted when he is overwhelmed, and pours out his soul to the Lord. The previous psalms in this series have focused on the particular sins and also, more generally, upon the sinful nature of the psalmist. This psalm, however, takes a different approach. Here we meditate upon the brokenness of the world. In this life there will be troubles. Natural disasters, broken relationships, societal demise, evil governments and regimes, terror of all varieties. All these can wear on the faithful, can sow seeds of doubt and despair, and can tax the emotional stamina…

  • Katie Luther Posts

    Psalm 51, Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam

    By Mary Abrahamsson Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. In this well known and well loved Psalm God gives us some wonderfully clear expressions of original sin, guilt over specific sins, and repentance for forgiveness of sins through His great mercy in Jesus.  David references cleansing with hyssop, bulls, burnt offerings, and sacrifices, all part of the ceremonial cleansing rites God commanded in the Old Testament. Many of the refrains are familiar from our liturgies.  The liturgies of both the Old and New Testament church consistently proclaim sin and the need for…

  • Katie Luther Posts

    Psalm 38, Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me, in rememorationem de sabbato

    By Mary Abrahamson O Lord, rebuke me not in thy indignation, for a remembrance of the Sabbath, A Psalm of David Oh, this is vivid! Right from the beginning, David gives us a searing image of God’s anger, …. hot displeasure, arrows piercing, hand pressing. God’s righteous wrath over our sin isacutely portrayed in these two short verses.  Again we see God pressing on David to show David his sin. O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure! For Your arrows pierce me deeply, And Your hand presses me down. The following verses remind us of the physical and emotional burden of our sin. We may think…

  • Katie Luther Posts

    Psalm 32 Beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates

    By Mary Abrahamson Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, A Psalm of David David starts this well known Psalm with the acknowledgment of God’s great mercy and forgiveness.   Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. But then David changes direction. He describes his life under sin. Like David, we hide our sin, we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are not sinning, or that our sin is not so very bad. Other times we simply will not let ourselves admit that what we are doing is wrong. Like David, we feel the weight…

  • Katie Luther Posts

    Psalm 6 Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me

    O Lord, rebuke me not in thy indignation, a Psalm of David The emotions of the Psalmist David are powerfully expressed. We can likely all recall times during which the weight of our sins is equally great. Right away in the first few verses God’s anger is referred to as hot displeasure. We can understand the troubled bones and soul that cry out for God’s help.   O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord—how…

  • Katie Luther Posts

    Psalms for Holy Week

    By Mary Abrahamson In the Christian church, seven Psalms have historically been classified as the Penitential Psalms.  These psalms focus on our sin and our need for a Savior.  Some show how a particular sin or sinful lifestyle can eat at us.  Others meditate more generally on sinful nature or sin in the world.  On repentance and salvation, too, some are more specific and others more general. These Psalms have been used in a variety of liturgical devotional ways throughout the history of Christianity.  Some traditions use them during all of Lent; others use one Psalm a day during Holy week.  The Eastern church uses them in specific liturgical rites…

  • Katie Luther Posts

    Blessed Easter!

    He is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia! Have a blessed Easter. Go to church. Celebrate the love our dear Lord has for us and the wonderful news that our Lord conquered the grave. He is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia.   Photo Credit to Jim Forest. Creative Commons License.

  • Doctrine,  encouragement

    Easter Vigil

    By Amanda Markel You may have noticed that some churches have a service on Holy Saturday evening. For some people, this may or may not come as a surprise. It is not uncommon for churches to have a Saturday evening service weekly, which usually serves as an opportunity for members who cannot make it to the regular Sunday morning service to still receive Christ’s gifts, and be in fellowship with the congregation. But whether or not your church regularly worships on Saturday evening, the Holy Saturday service, the Great Vigil of Easter, is different.  First, what it’s not. It’s not supposed to be a regular Saturday worship service. It shouldn’t…

  • Doctrine,  encouragement,  Motherhood

    For Good Friday

    By Sandra Ostapowich “I couldn’t believe how gory it was.” That’s what my boss told me after going to see The Passion of the Christ when it first came out in the theater. “I knew the story of Jesus and what was going to happen, but I had never imagined it could be that violent.” And this from a snarky atheist. I used to be able to watch violent movies, shoot-em-ups and creepy murder mysteries without batting an eye. I’d go through Holy Week and piously imagine the betrayal, trumped-up charges, beatings, flogging, public humiliation and crucifixion and how horrible it must’ve been. But, in my mind, it was sanitized.…