The Big Reveal

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”    Matthew 1:18-25

 

Truth is revealed by God alone

Can’t take the virgin’s word

She’s too young.

An angel comes instead

“Joseph, Son of David

You’re going to be a Dad

Of miracle begun

Your wife will bear

A son.

 

Holy Spirit seed

Is growing

Is holy

Is now

‘God With Us.’

 

Don’t be afraid.

You’ve done nothing wrong.

Innocent is she.

Please take her home.

Guard and love her

And

‘Trust in the Lord

With all your heart

And lean not on your own

Understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him

And He will make your paths straight.’

 

And be sure to name your little one

Jesus

For He will save his people from

Their sins.”

 

Truth is revealed by God alone.

A babe receives

Through water and the Word

The saving name of Jesus

In Triune unity.

‘God With Us’

Immanuel

Now resides within her breast,

Her genesis of faith begun.

 

All glory be to God the Father

All glory be to God the Son

All glory be to God the Spirit

Named us as sons and daughters

To live with Him as One.

 

Truth revealed by God alone

To Joseph

To you

To me.

God is with us.

~LJ

Lord God Heavenly Father,  thank you for revealing Your Son Jesus Christ first through the angel who spoke to Joseph and then to us through our Baptism.   Thank you for giving us the eyes of faith to see what miracle of life has taken place through simple water and Your Holy Word.  Just as the big reveal changed Joseph and Mary’s lives forever, so too our lives are forever changed and we are awed.   We take our place in the lineup of sons and daughters of the King of King and Lord of Lords.   Forgive us when fail to live as Your sons and daughters.   Grant us your peace.   In the name of Jesus, Immanuel, God With Us, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art

pink-grasses-copy

“This is uncanny, Lord:

a rutted sandy road

running through grass

to a railroad crossing,

a semaphore

against a blue sky

and a white cloud,

a little water color

on a piece of rough paper.

I’ve seen this all a thousand times,

but here it is,

trapped and alive and held:

the golden hue of every glorious summer day,

the everlasting simple grass and sand and sky,

a bit of the first morning,

when the morning stars sang together

and the sons of God shouted for joy.

Adam could walk across this railroad track

and eve, still nude and unashamed.

Uncanny is hardly the word for it;

call it a miracle.

I thank you Lord

for the miracle

of this artist’s eye of innocence,

this deep adoration of Your handiwork

that lets me look upon Your world again

as once Your Son could look

on lilies of the field

growing in Galilee.”

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray for Joy

 

 

A Citizen’s Prayer

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Purge us, O God,

of cynical distrust,

of party passion,

of the deafness

of our rebellious bent.

Teach us, O Lord, the meekness

that would rather be deceived

than be encrusted

with perpetual distrust.

Teach the charity

that will interpret

all uncertainties

toward the side of goodness.

Create in our world

an air in which

the truth can freely breathe,

a sea on which

the ships of truth can sail,

an earth on which

the feet of truth can walk unhurt.

Your Son, our Lord,

would not speak ill of Caesar

even when Caesar’s power

nailed Him to the cross.

Give us the Spirit of Your Son.”

For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen

~Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray For Joy

“Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good…  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:9, 17-18, 21

 

A Prayer

dscf0218

O God, O Lord of heaven and earth, thy living finger never wrote

That life should be an aimless mote, a deathward drift from futile birth.

Thy word meant life triumphant hurled through every cranny of Thy world.

Since light awoke and life began, Thou hast desired Thy life for man.

 

Our fatal will to equal Thee, our rebel will, wrought death and night.

We seized and used in Thy despite Thy wondrous gifts of liberty.

We housed us in this house of doom, where death had royal scope and room,

Until Thy Servant Prince of Peace breached all its walls for our release.

 

Thou camest to our hall of death, O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air,

To drink for us the dark despair that strangles man’s reluctant breath.

How beautiful the feet that trod the road that leads us back to God!

How beautiful the feet that ran to bring the great good news to man!

 

O Spirit, who didst once restore Thy Church, that it might be again

The bringer of good news to men, breathe on Thy cloven church once more,

That in these gray latter days there may be men whose life is praise,

Each life a high doxology to Father, Son and unto Thee.   Amen.

~Hymn by Martin H. Franzmann

 

This prayer-hymn speaks of the ways God works in the world that He created, redeemed, and is restoring unto Himself.  We are created by Him, redeemed through His Son Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and now sent to share this Good News with others.

Blessings on your day!

LJ

 

 

 

Joy

dscf0168

You put me on the stretch, O God.

You do me the honor of putting me to the test

as You once tested our Father Abraham.

You bid me do the impossible:

not only to endure

the tempering heat of trial

but to rejoice in it–impossible!

 

But Your Son did not find it impossible

when You tried Him with failure.

He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit

and gave thanks to You

when You took from Him

the wise and understanding

and revealed Him only to babes,

to the inconsequential little ones

in whom Your love delights.

 

Your servant Paul found it possible.

Your servant James found it possible.

And You are my Father just as You are theirs.

I thank You for all proofs of Fatherhood.

I thank You for the trials I meet.

Give me the heart to meet them unafraid,

to joy in them as I rejoice in You.  Amen.

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray For Joy

 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Remembering on this day the trials that began in New York 15 years ago….

 

 

 

 

Rid us, O Lord

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rid us, O Lord,

of the arrogant delusion

that our age is

harder to live in,

harder to live through

and be decent in

than any age

that ever was,

that we are being tried

as our fathers never were,

that we have more excuse

for our neurotic screaming,

our pitiful muddling,

our sentimental slobbering,

our pinching terror

at the shadows of the future

cast upon our way

than any men who ever walked

beneath Your heaven

and on Your earth.

Teach us, O Lord,

by Your sane and steadying Word

that we stand before You

as we always stood,

living of Your grace

and moving toward Your judgment,

that the Bomb

and the terrible technological trifles

of our time

have not altered

the great,

plain,

steady fact

that You are Lord

and have not changed

the blessed time

of Your coming

as a thief in the night.

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann from Pray for Joy

 

“Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!  For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.  Trust in the Lord, and do good.  Dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:1-4

Steady

P7290043.jpg

Psalm 40:1-5

 I waited patiently for God to help me; then he listened and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path, and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things he did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in him.

 Many blessings are given to those who trust the Lord and have no confidence in those who are proud or who trust in idols.

 O Lord my God, many and many a time you have done great miracles for us, and we are ever in your thoughts. Who else can do such glorious things? No one else can be compared with you. There isn’t time to tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Lord God, many are the cries for help that are rising to you this day.  Cries from Italy.  Cries from Louisiana.  Cries from hospitals.  Cries from the lonely in their homes.  Lord, have mercy.  Hear our prayers for Jesus’ sake and come to our aid that we might in turn tell of the wondrous ways that you have delivered us.  We give you praise for saving us from the deep pit of sin through your Son Jesus Christ who gave His life for us.  You have set our feet firm on the Rock of our salvation through faith.  Steady us as we go through this day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God’s Face

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
   the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6: 24-26

Lord God, thank You for turning Your face towards us through Your Son Jesus Christ who always kept His face turned on You.  Even on the Cross when You turned away from Him because He was covered with the filth of all our sins He turned to You and asked You to forgive us.  And You did.  We don’t deserve anything good from Your Hand, but because of Jesus You lavish upon us Your never ending goodness and mercy and love.  How great is Your love for us!  May we share Your peace with those we meet this day.  For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen.

Lost and Found

Matt Dalrymple crosses

Image by Matt Dalrymple

Country lost in the red white and blue

Too many people walking in the shades of gray to notice colors bright

Beckoning eyes to see beyond hatred

And prejudice

To truly see in those around them those whom God has created.

 

Country lost in the red white and blue

Desperately seeking peace and prosperity

In the promises of mere men

Who stand before them

As answers to their empty pockets and empty souls.

 

Country lost in the red white and blue

Look to the One

Who alone provides for sparrows as well as kings.

Whose Wisdom reaches down from the Heavens

Whose love and mercy never end.

 

Country lost in the red white and blue

See the Cross where the Savior bled

And appeared abandoned by one and all.

The weak resignation

Belied the power wherein

The Son of God battled with sin and death and the evil one

And won

Freedom for the red white and blue

For all who believe that “greater is He who is within us

Than he who is in the world.”

Our God reigns

No matter the color of the flag

No matter the left or the right

No matter whether you believe or not

Our God reigns

And will keep the world spinning until

He comes again.