“But Thanks Be to God”: A Ninth Reflection

Today is the day the United States government designated for public thanksgiving to God, and so it is fitting for me to, as I have done for the past eight years on this day, reflect on the various ways God has blessed me over the course of my life, and in particular in the past year.

The failure of time in which to write and of memory, and my instinct to prefer brevity over repeating myself, ensure that my first reflection on this theme, in 2009, remains the most extensive and detailed; in subsequent years I have mostly more-briefly listed blessings I had forgotten and those I saw as new. Continue reading

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An Important Anniversary

The Nailing of Luther's 95 Theses by Julius Hübner
Half a millennium ago today, the story goes, an obscure college professor posted a list of propositions for debate to the church bulletin board, and from that one spark God breathed his fire in the Church back to life again.

The central insights of the Reformation have been crystallized in what, five centuries later, we now think of as “the five Solas”: the salvation of Man is

  • By grace alone, not because we in any way deserve or could deserve it;
  • Through faith alone, not by or on the basis of anything we could or will do or accomplish;
  • Through Christ alone, for there is and can be no other way;
  • As recorded in the Scriptures alone, for they are the sole infallible Rule by and against which which all other claims of truth must be measured; and
  • To the glory of God alone: the salvation of Man is the means, not the end.

Oh, that the fire of the Holy Spirit would once again set the world ablaze!

“But Thanks Be to God”: An Eighth Reflection

Today is the day designated for public thanksgiving to our Creator for gracious gifts which his divine Providence has lavished upon us. Thus, it is fitting for me to, as I have done this day for the past seven years, reflect on the various and manifold blessings God has poured on me over the course of my life, and in particular this past year, and how I have responded to this beneficence (with the inevitable conclusion that I have utterly failed to show appropriate gratitude).

This is the eighth year I have written on this theme; in the first such reflection, in 2009, I explained the blessings I was grateful for at length and in some detail, and in subsequent years I have more briefly listed those blessings I had forgotten and those new in the past year. And so again today. Continue reading

“But Thanks Be to God”: A Seventh Reflection

This is the day designated publicly to give thanks to our Creator for the gracious gifts he has, in divine Providence, lavished upon us. And so it is fitting for me to, as I have done this day for the past six years, reflect on the manifold blessings with which God has showered me over the course of my life, and in particular the past year, and whether I have responded as I ought to this beneficence (to the inevitable conclusion that I have utterly failed to act in appropriate gratitude).

This is the seventh year I have written to describe and summarize those people, events, and things for which I give thanks to God; 2009 saw an extended reflection in which I explained them in some detail at length, and each subsequent year I have written an addendum, more briefly listing those blessings I had forgotten and those new in the past year. And so again today. Continue reading

The Ascension and the Divine Victory

Five months ago, as the Christmas season began, I described the Incarnation as “the first openly-announced wave of an inexorable re-conquest.” The Resurrection proclaimed the victory, of which the Incarnation was the “beachhead,” had been accomplished. And today we celebrate the Ascension. Continue reading

Ashes

Carl Spitzweg 003Ashes.

For dust I am, and to dust I shall return … and so too shall all my works pass away, save only what was not my work at all.

Time slips away—has slipped away—with little or nothing to show for it. But a time has come again to re-center, to begin again with what only can be comfort in life and death: Continue reading