Seed-Grains of Prayer: Prayer for our Pastors

seed-grains-grid“Everlasting, gracious, heavenly Father, for my pastor I pray; grant him to speak Thy word with joy, fearlessly against every error, false doctrine, and abuse; that he may declare and make plain to us the mysteries of the Gospel, and remove from our hearts all delusions.  Keep him steadfast in the true doctrine and Christian life, that he may be unto us a leader unto everlasting life.  Guard his body against sickness, that to our great benefit, he may for a long time go before us and preach Thy divine word without fear or hesitation, without hypocrisy, not of favor, hatred, jealousy, or for self-advantage, but proclaim the truth in all its purity and fullness, and denounce evils as becometh them, that I and many more may be won for Thy kingdom.

“Open my heart and ears that I may listen to Thy word with desire and love, with reverent mind, and hearty attention; to walk in accordance thereto in true faith, and bring fruit unto Thy divine glory.  Save me from becoming tired of hearing and from slothfulness of soul; and instill in my mind a great hunger and earnest desire for the inestimable riches of Thy grace, which is tendered to us in the sermon. Grant me grace to know and esteem my pastor as a servant and steward of the divine mysteries, that I receive Thy word from him without offence, unto the bettering of my life, the abhorrence of sin; and not let correction pass me by unheeded, nor, that I offend, or despise him by whom the correction cometh. Preserve us all in the true faith and a Christian life, that we may daily grow and increase therein, remaining steadfast unto our end, and be eternally saved; through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Wilhelm Loehe, Seed-Grains of Prayer, #330.

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These Christmas cards remain…

After an avalanche of recent Christmas card orders, these are the designs
that we still have in stock. Have a closer look, see the inside, and find
purchase information on our Christmas cards page.

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The Advent Wreath: An Excerpt

“The lighting of an Advent wreath during the Advent season is a Christian ceremony which has come down to us from about the time of Martin Luther. As before the birth of Christ the light of prophecy concerning His advent and His redemptive work became brighter and brighter, so the nearer we come in the church year to the feast of His nativity, the greater the amount of light from the Advent wreath. This ceremony is helpful for recalling, discussing, and teaching the significance of Advent.”

-An excerpt from Ceremony and Celebration, in which Rev. Paul H.D. Lang describes the theological significance and historic, confessional Lutheran position on liturgy, ritual, and ceremony.

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Save on EVERYTHING during our 3-day Thanksgiving sale!

Looking for Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, or a little something for yourself? Starting today, everything is on sale! Prices are valid through Saturday, November 30, which also happens to be Small Business Saturday.

A few highlights:

  • He Restores My Soul edited by Katie Schuermann, uses Psalm 23 as the framework to point the cross-bearing Christian woman to Christ and the comfort found in Him alone. As one reviewer notes, “These stories provide the reader with a glimpse into some of the many ways suffering can and does manifest itself in our lives while providing a lens through which the Christian sees suffering and responds to it; namely through the cross of Christ.”
  • Share the joy of Christ’s birth with your family and friends with our stunning Christmas cards. Each one pairs beautiful artwork with the words of Scripture or the timeless poetry of hymns.
  • God With Us by David H. Petersen is a collection of brief sermons that are perfect for personal devotion. You’ll read how Christ’s incarnation is the basis of all Christian preaching and the essence of every celebration of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, every proclamation of Absolution to repentant sinners.
  • The Great Works of God: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Exodus contains more than 120 Christocentric, devotional meditations in which Valerius Herberger shows his fervent belief that Jesus Christ is the center of every part of Scripture. Matthew Carver’s translation of this work is outstanding.
  • In the classic Ceremony and Celebration, Lang describes the theological significance and historic, confessional Lutheran position on liturgical worship. Do you know why we do what we do? Find out here.
  • Wherever you fall on the spectrum of Latin — a scholar, a teacher or student of classical education, or a novice — you will find Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church to be an absolute treasure. Liber Hymnorum is two hymnals in one, the first half being English, the second Latin, exactly mirroring the first half in content and numbering.

A blessed Thanksgiving to you!

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Two-day sale on Christmas cards!

Today and tomorrow only, save 10% on all of our Christmas cards. Create a custom assortment from 11 unique designs: one price, you choose the assortment.

Choose from a variety of styles, including stained glass, illumination, triptych, classic art, and original commissioned pieces.

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A blessed Reformation day to you!

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Now available: Two new Christmas cards for 2019

Emmanuel Press is pleased to introduce two new Christmas cards this year.  The first card, Gloria in excelsis Deo (below), features a colorful stained glass with 1 John 4:10 inscribed inside: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

The second new card, Puer Natus (left), is a 16th-century illuminated manuscript from a Latin Divine Service book in Italy. The inside text is Isaiah 9:6, which also appears on the cover: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

As you’ll read on our Christmas cards page, you can now create a custom assortment of Christmas cards. One price, you choose the cards, whether it is one design or a mixture of all eleven. Choose from a variety of styles, including stained glass, illumination, triptych, classic art, and original commissioned pieces.

*Also note: Ceremony and Celebration is still 20% off through October 16.

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“As we worship, so we believe” – Lex orandi, lex credendi

*This book is 20% off through 10/16/19

“Our attitude toward human rites and ceremonies is evangelical, not legalistic. Rubrics and directions do not proceed from the Law but from the Gospel. We do not want conformity on the basis of legal compunction, but on the basis of our new life in Jesus Christ by which we are made free from the curse of the Law and are enabled by the Holy Spirit to live more and more in Christian love and liberty.” (p. 22)

“Ritual and ceremonial are component parts of the liturgy. They are materials of the liturgy, the things involved in doing the liturgy….Ritual refers to that part of a divine service which consists of its words, that is, the rite or the order of service….Ceremonial is everything connected with the performance of a rite. It refers not only to bodily expressions, such as speaking, singing, kneeling, bowing, making the sign of the cross, and the outward observance of the church year, but also to the ornaments, symbols, and material objects employed in the church’s worship, for example, the church building, the altar, crucifixes, candles, and vestments. Ceremonies are solemn religious things and actions….Rites and ceremonies are an outward expression of what a church believes and teaches. An ancient Latin formula puts it this way: Lex orandi lex credendi. ‘As we worship so we believe’ or ‘as we believe so we worship.’ The externals in worship are a means of communication which people understand and by which they are often affected more readily and powerfully than by words.” (p. 6, 11)

Ceremony and Celebration by Paul H.D. Lang is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to better understand why we do what we do in the Divine Service. As noted in the Preface, there is “a pious desire of both pastors and parishioners to be reverent in worship. That is the genius of this little book: It speaks to all participants in the Divine Service, not just pastors and theologians.”

The Divine Service is where Christians gather around Word and Sacrament. Its liturgy provides the structure for keeping Christ as the central focus. The words, music, actions, and physical elements of the Divine Service all play a role in the liturgy. Pastors and parishioners join together to receive God’s gifts, each playing a distinct yet integral part as defined by the liturgy, in accordance with God’s will (Heb. 10:25; 1 Cor. 14:40).

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Is Jesus in Exodus?

In a blog post entitled “Is Jesus in Exodus?” and also in an interview on Issues, Etc., Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes ponders the many different ways that Jesus is “in” Exodus.

Last year we published The Great Works of God: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Exodus, a translation which was underwritten by the Class of 2018 of Concordia Theologically Seminary. Originally written in German by Lutheran pastor Valerius Herberger, the book is now available in English, thanks to the work and talent of translator Matthew Carver. It is an outstanding resource for reading Exodus devotionally, focusing on Jesus as the center of Scripture and the fulfillment of all the types in Exodus.

As Carver notes, Herberger “writes mainly for the average educated layperson, with a very personal style. He mostly avoids technical or theological jargon and offers interesting insights….It is useful as a devotional since nothing exactly like this exists today.” Furthermore, Carver explains the book’s wide appeal: “It can be used theologically for perspectives on biblical interpretation and typology, devotionally for personal spiritual enrichment, and homiletically as an example of historical models of applying interpretation.”

Read excerpts and reviews by Dr. Carl Springer, Pr. William Weedon, Dr. Carl Beckwith, and Rev. Brian Kachelmeier.

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An excerpt from Thy Kingdom Come: “Thou art the Christ”

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“That is the right answer in all difficulties, sorrow, and temptation: ‘I believe that Thou art the Christ.’ That is the right answer in confusion as well. ‘Do you believe that Lazarus, who is dead, is not dead? Do you believe that these evil things are for the glory of God, that it is good that Lazarus was not spared this pain, or you your grief?’ He asks. And she says, ‘I believe that Thou art the Christ.’

“Jesus is the Christ. He is the resurrection and the life. That is the answer because it is the only thing that matters, the only thing that endures, the only thing that is trustworthy. Jesus is the Christ.

“Yes, we can speculate and make up excuses and find ways that death is good or cancer is a gift, but it is pretty thin, and it rarely brings comfort. We do well to learn from St. Martha not to excuse the evil in this world, but to simply say, ‘I believe that Thou art the Christ. Somehow this will be good. I don’t know how. I can’t see it. But Thou art the Christ. I have a Savior. God loves me. Death itself will come to an end. Thou wilt bring it together and bring me home.’

“May God in His mercy keep this clearly in our hearts and minds, that whatever afflicts us—fear of death, despair of our sins, deep sadness and loneliness—we might be kept safe in this Word and faith until the end. Yes, I believe that Thou art the Christ.”
________

This is an excerpt from the sermon for Friday of Laetare (the fourth week in Lent) based on John 11:1-45. Thy Kingdom Come (which is currently 20% off!) is a collection of Lent and Easter sermons by Rev. David H. Petersen. With over sixty sermons spanning Pre-Lent, all forty days of Lent, and the Sundays after Easter, this book is an excellent daily devotion for both pastors and parishioners.

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