Rocklin, California

Category: Teaching (Page 1 of 5)

The Fortress of Holy Matrimony

O God, our dwelling place in all generations, look with favor upon the homes of our land. Embrace husbands and wives, parents and children, in the arms of Your love, and grant that each, in reverence for Christ, fulfill the duties You have given. Bless our homes that they may ever be a shelter for the defenseless, a fortress for the tempted, a resting place for the weary, and a foretaste of our eternal home with You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect 2 for the newly married)

I didn’t used to cry at weddings. As a pastor, a part of my job at a wedding is to be the presence of normalcy, especially when people get emotional. That’s a part of the gift that the Church gives to a bridal couple. You are entering into something that has been happening for thousands of years. This is not new territory. So there is no reason for the pastor to get emotional. He knows what he’s doing, and it really doesn’t change very much.

I had it together very well until the collect listed above. This prayer is near the end of the wedding service, and I was just bowled over by the beauty, the simplicity, and the grace that is displayed in this prayer. It is especially this line which got me:

Bless our homes that they may ever be a shelter for the defenseless, a fortress for the tempted, a resting place for the weary, and a foretaste of our eternal home with You…

A shelter, a fortress, a resting place, and a foretaste of our eternal home. Those are big words.

Do we think of our homes in this way? Do we understand marriage and family as God’s gift of shelter, protection, rest, and hope?

That is what our Lord promises. That is what our Lord gives to you in your family, whether you are married or not. God puts us in families because He knows it is not good for man to be alone. We are by nature social creatures, but really it is much more than that. When we love each other, and work to live out that shelter-fortress-resting place-foretaste, what we are saying is that the Triune God is in our midst, that He loves us, and that He creates

It’s no wonder I get emotional at these things. My friend, Pastor Don Jordan, was helping with the wedding, so I was able to sit down and reflect during this part of the service. Fortunately for me, I could just see my wife, Kathryn, in the pew on the other side of the bridal couple.

This is the foretaste. Our families. Other people whom God has put in our midst. That is the gift, and it is centered in Christ.

I think I’m okay with getting emotional at weddings. God is doing some amazing there’s there, and the young couple have no idea what they are getting into. But I can hardly wait to watch what God does for them and through them.

Happy wedding day, Paul and Katie!

Sisterhood: A Women’s Retreat

Friends,

Holy Cross in Rocklin and Grace in Grass Valley are co-hosting a women’s retreat on Saturday, October 19. It is titled, Sisterhood: Bearing One Another’s Burden’s With Joy, and will be led by noted author and speaker, Katie Schuermann. Katie is the author of the Anthems of Zion series at Concordia Publishing House, He Remembers the Barren, and is the editor of He Restores My Soul. The retreat costs $25 for those who pre-register.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Katie come and speak. She is a wonderful lady and a great speaker. It will be a fun time, and I’m sure will be a blessing to the women of your parish.

I would love it if you would share this with your friends and family. We want to have as many women there that we can handle. It will be such a great time!

Link to Eventbrite for Registration

Here is a short bulletin announcement:

Sisterhood: Bearing One Another’s Burdens With Joy is a women’s retreat led by noted author and speaker, Katie Schuermann. It will be at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Rocklin on Saturday, October 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call Holy Cross at (916)624-81815, email [email protected], or go to www.holycrossrocklin.org. We hope to see you there!

The Cross Alone is Our Theology

By Pastor Emeritus John-Paul Meyer

February 25, 2018

After a conversation with one of our members on “what he thought about all this corpus talk,” Pastor Meyer wrote this little piece. I pass this along to you with his permission. -Pastor Peperkorn

Luther wrote in the Heidelberg Disputation: “The cross alone is our theology.” He believed one knows God not through works but through suffering, the cross, and faith.

The message of the cross is a three-note chord. Christ lived, died, and rose again. The question is how do we best proclaim this three-note chord? Should we wear the crucifix and remember the death? Should we wear a cross and remember Christ’s victory over the cross? Which note do we emphasize?

I am drawn to the crucifix because of the message it gives me: to follow Christ is to empty myself, even to the point of death, if that is required of me. I am not part of the church triumphant, as much as I’d like to think I am. I am part of the church militant. I am in the trenches. This is the part of my journey where I die to self. That’s just the way it is. So the crucifix reminds me that Christ actually died for me and that I am now called to die as well.

The empty cross is beautiful, too, contrary to what some suspect.

Even so, I think there is a real danger in forgetting the cost of redemption and the cost of discipleship. An empty cross all too easily becomes a piece of jewelry, a pop-culture icon. An empty cross doesn’t demand that our minds reflect on the sobering reality of Christ’s death. The empty cross conveniently allows us to gloss over Good Friday and Holy Saturday and go straight to Easter morning. We can lift our hands for blessings and name-and-claim our victory, and barely give a thought to the message of the cross.

The empty cross fits all too neatly in American culture. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I claim that. He paid the price. I claim that. He wants to bless me. I claim that too. Here’s my list of wants, Lord. Ready, Go! Americanized pseudo-Christianity in a nutshell.

Christ has died. I must die, figuratively and literally. Christ has risen. If I die with Christ, I will be raised with Christ. Christ will come again. If I die with Christ and am raised with Christ, then I will rise to meet Him when He comes in glory.

Our Lord didn’t make the mistake of focusing on the victory before Calvary. He knew the victory was His, but death on a cross would come first.

Daily, we must die to self. We must be willing to go to the cross as long as there is breath. Our three-note-chord isn’t complete. We hear faint hints of victory now and then. But we must avoid the childlike desire to pound out the victory note like it is the only note on the piano.

Why do I prefer the crucifix? It humbly reminds me of the price Jesus Christ paid for my sin, and it soberly reminds me that I must empty myself for Him and carry my cross daily, until I see Him face-to-face.

For now, there is a reminder. The cross of Christ. Not an empty cross, but a rugged old cross where a body is pierced and bleeding for my sin and the sin of the whole world. The crucifix. It contains the message that will lead me to my eternal home. I must be willing to die. For it is in dying that we are raised to new life.

Finally, the crucifix is needed to teach about death…death of the body. Our culture wants to ignore death, make a friend of death. People no longer die. They pass on or expire. We do not want to think of the body that has suffered and died. We want to think of the person being in a better place. We do not want funerals. We want life celebrations. We do not write and print obituaries. We have life tributes.

The crucifix reminds me Jesus the Christ died. He died before He rose. Day one out of the box I am dying. I will suffer in this body and die as well before the victory. The crucifix emphasizes the first two notes of the cord as we await the last note to sound.

Rev. John-Paul Meyer

Pastor Emeritus

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

Rocklin, California

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