Friday, December 4, 2009

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

The season of Advent is upon us! During this time of the Church Year, we take time out of our daily hectic lives. We slow down, and again ponder the wonder of the Incarnation, and prepare ourselves not only for the celebration of Christmas, but also for Christ's Second Coming. It is a time of prayer, of fasting, of anticipation; a time of joy, of repentence, of preperation.

During this Advent season, we must ponder the Mystery of the Infinite God taking up human flesh. He Who is fully God became fully Man, that He might take up man and forgive his sins.

But, we must constantly remind us that He has come, He is come, and He will come. For, over 2000 years ago Jesus came; He lived, died, and rose again for the salvation of man. He comes to us, every time the we gather in His Name. He comes to us in Holy Scripture; in Holy Baptism, where He clothes us in His righteousness; in the Absolution our Pastor speaks over us; in the Sacrament of the Altar, wherein He comes and bids us partake of His Most Precious Body and Blood.

Knowing then that He has accomplished our salvation and is still with us even now, we look foward to the Eschaton- the End of All Things. We pray with the whole Church:

"O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel."

For we are but strangers in this land; foreigners in a foreign land. For, having taken on Christ, we are no longer merely of this world- we are now citizens of the Kingdom of God. We long for His justice to be poured out; we long for the Return of Our King. We long for the peace only the Prince can bring.

But, fear not! Turn not your head downtrodden!

"Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel! Has come for Thee, O Israel!"

Heavenly Father, we pray and ask Thee to prepare our hearts for the Advent of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Jesus. Even as we contemplate the wonder of His Incarnation and Nativity, we pray that we would contemplate and anticipate His Second Advent, at the End of Days.

Holy Spirit, we ask Thee to illumine our hearts with the Light that has come into the darkness. May the love of the Christ-child fill us, and may You increase in us Faith.

We ask this in the Name of Jesus, Who livest and reignest together with You and the Father, One God, now and forever, unto age without end. +Amen+

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Loving Christ

For those unawares, I had surgery recently. As such, it has given me much time to sit around and do nothing think. And as I have thought, my mind has gone and thought on Jesus. And the more I have thought on Him, the more I have found myself loving Him.

What is not to love about Him? He forgives all our sins; He saves us from eternal damnation. He reconciles us to the Father, and grants to us the Holy Spirit. He brings us into the Family of God by Holy Baptism; He gives us Himself, His True Body and Blood, in the Holy Eucharist. He gives us His life-giving words in Holy Writ. He is our Prophet, King, and High Priest. He invites us to be co-heirs and co-workers with Him; He draws us into union with Him- indeed, with the Holy Trinity.

I pray that by His Love, my love be tranformed; by His Heart, my heart be transformed. He is Love Incarnate.

Love Incarnate, Who Died on a Tree
Love Incarnate, Who died for Me.

Love Incarnate, Fount of all Mercy
Love Incarnate, Who satisfies the Thristy.

Love Incarnate, Healer of all Woes
Love Incarnate, Defeater of all Foes.

Love Incarnate, Ender of Death
Love Incarnate, Imparter of Life-Giving Breath.

Love Incarnate, Risen One
Love Incarnate, Only-Begotten Son.

Love Incarnate, Whose Sacrifice All Wrath Appeases
Love Incarnate, Whose Name is Jesus.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thoughts on Politics and Life

Lately, with all the talk on health care reform and other new policies of the Obama administration, I have been thinking about it all, and the ramifications they propose. And as I have taken a look at it all, I have had to re-examine my own political views, and have found (to my surprise) that in reality, my views on politics were far different than I always assumed they were.

1.) Universal Healthcare: I admit that I am struggling with the issue of universal healthcare. From a purely political view, I am not that happy about government-run healthcare. I am of the opinion that government should generally be kept to a minimum (i.e., protect the country and protect citizens from fraud). However, from a humanitarian point of view, I am slightly sympathetic towards it. How can we spend tons of money on foreign affairs and bailing out big corporations (which I definately disagree with), and yet let our people get sick and die? How can we be so cruel and let people go without aid? And besides, there are already certain forms of "socialized" medicine already practiced within the U.S. Ever heard of the Department of Veterans Affairs? Any veteran of the United States military has full access to free healthcare coverage and free hospital visits if they wish. Or, how about the special perks of being President and a member of Congress? They get some healthcare benefits, don't they? "But", some might say, "they earned it! For vets, they served in the military! And, for members of Congress and the President, they are serving our country by making laws and looking out for us! They are earning their keep. Just like any other company provided insurance (but oddly enough, the company is us)." Alright- fair enough. But, is it a far step to expand coverage to all people? While people should earn their keep, shouldn't they get treatment, just because they are fellow humans? And technically, they are earning their keep- they are working, and paying their taxes.

This issue is a complex one, and an issue that tears me in different directions.

2.) Being Pro-Life: No, I am not becoming pro-choice. On the contrary, I am becoming even more pro-life. However, I am starting to question the tactics and actions of pro-lifers. We too often come across as close-minded, judgemental, bigots, and the like. Now, of course people are going to think whatever they are going to think about pro-lifers. However, we always haven't shown ourselves in a positive light. While we are always proclaiming the wrongs of abortion and defending the life of the unborn, how often does the public see our more passive side? Just us, being silent, and praying to God? And how often our we compassionate to those who have had an abortion? We find out someone has had an abortion, and while we may not vocally speak out loud, we think, "Oh, they've had an abortion! That is a really bad sin!" Come on now! How pompous and arrogant can we be! Yes, they had an abortion. Whoop-de-flippin-do! Guess what? According to Jesus, we've all commited murder (and adultery, and idolatry) in our hearts. We are obviously not holier than them. On the contrary, we are just as much sinners in need of Grace as someone who has had an abortion. We need to welcome them as a fellow sick person, and together repent, and bask in the healing the Christ gives. We need to shout that just as loud as we do that abortion should be illegal. Now, I'm not saying that there are not people who are saying this- I am just saying I don't see it. Now, I don't to see it for my own sake- it needs to be seen for the sake of those who don't know!

3.) Pro-soldier, Anti-War: For a long time, I have always believed in the concept of a just war. And to some extent, I still do. However, as I have lived through two wars now (Iraq and Afghanistan), and seen the effects it has on people, I have come as I can short of joining the military in seeing the horrors of war. And as my feelings have been changing, I have always been slightly guilty. "If I'm against war, than I'm anti-soldier. And I want nothing but to support those who serve in the Armed Forces." However, I've come to realize that I can be anti-war, AND pro-soldier. I now think that war should be a last ditch effort- that it should be avoided at all costs. War is a horrible thing, and a sin. Make no mistake about it- war is a sin, and a terrible blight upon this planet. However, there are times when we have no choice but to enter into it. However, whether in times of war or an era of peace, we can still support our men and women in the military. They basically sign a contract with the government and become dogs of the military, all in order to serve us. While not all go in with that mentality, that is in fact what they are doing. And they, just like any other public servant (indeed, any other person), they need our prayers and encouragement.

Now besides this, there are a whole host of issues that could be addressed. And I suppose as time goes on, as policies are implemented, as I grow older and wiser (hopefully on the wiser part), and as I just live out life, my views will likely change. What I do know is this- being "conservative" or "liberal" is a fading thing. People are starting to realize there is much more to the story than following with fervent loyalty a certain political agenda, and that more often than not, we are conservative in one way and liberal in another.

But what I also know (and this is more important), as that when it comes down to it, it is about Jesus. And thank God that He doesn't demand a political agenda- He demands a worldview, centered in His Word and His Son. As a Christian grows in faith, and is restored to the image of Christ, they will find their views going where they never thought they would ever go. All political ideologies will slowly go out the window, and loyalty to a certain brand of politics will die out. But no matter what, politics and government (as good as though things can be) will not save- only Jesus does. And thank God for that!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Heresy from the Episcopal Church, USA

US Episcopal Church votes to lift ban on consecrating gay bishopsEcumenical News InternationalDaily News Service15 July 2009
By Daniel Burke

Anaheim , California, 15 July (ENI/RNS)–The U.S. Episcopal Church on 14 July overwhelmingly voted to lift a three-year-old moratorium on consecrating gay and lesbian bishops, despite warnings that the ban was necessary to preserve unity in the wider Anglican Communion.
A large majority of Episcopal bishops, priests and lay delegates gathered here for the church’s triennial General Convention asserted that “God has called and may call” gays and lesbians in lifelong committed relationships “to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.”
More than 70 percent of lay and clergy delegates in the church’s House of Deputies approved lifting the moratorium on 14 July; the church’s House of Bishops had approved it the day before by a 2-to-1 margin.

While the resolution clears the way for gay and lesbian bishops, it does not mandate that dioceses must consider them, nor does it guarantee that, if elected, they will receive the necessary ratification votes to serve.

“This is a day to rejoice for the Church – no, let me be more specific, this is a day to rejoice in the Episcopal Church, which once again has stood for the full inclusion of all,” openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire wrote on his blog.

Robinson also wrote that bishops who voted to lift the ban “will pay a price for opening their hearts, much as gay and lesbian people in this Church have paid a price for their exclusion. I applaud them for their courage and will stand with them in the consequences of their vote.”
Also late on 14 July, Episcopal bishops debated a resolution that would begin the development of liturgical rites to bless same-sex unions, and enable bishops in states where gay marriage is legal to change marriage rites in the Book of Common Prayer to be gender neutral.

The resolution, if passed by the bishops, would also need the approval of lay and clergy delegates before it could become church law. Robinson’s consecration in 2003 caused a furore in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, which counts the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church as its U.S. branch. Many Anglicans, particularly in the Global South where their numbers are growing rapidly, say homosexuality is sinful and unbiblical.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide, warned in mid-2008 at a meeting of more than 600 bishops from around the world that the communion would be in “grave peril” should the moratorium on gay bishops be lifted.
Addressing the General Convention as it opened last week, Williams said, “Along with many in the communion, I hope and pray that there won’t be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart.”

Since Robinson’s election in 2003, every key intra-Anglican body – from leading archbishops to international councils – has warned the Episcopal Church not to consecrate or elect any more gay bishops.

Already, several archbishops, particularly those in the Global South, have severed ties with the Episcopal Church over its gay-friendly policies. In the U.S., four dioceses opposed to those policies and dozens of parishes have seceded from the denomination and formed the rival Anglican Church in North America.

The Anglican Communion Institute, a think tank, said that “The Episcopal Church is already out of communion with the majority of the world’s Anglicans,” and predicted that more dioceses would leave the church.

Bishop Henry Parsley of Alabama, who voted against lifting the moratorium, said, “I long for us to be an inclusive church, but not a polarised church,” according to Episcopal Life, the denomination’s official news outlet. “We need to be part of the larger Anglican Communion in what we do in this matter.”

Urging fellow delegates to reject the resolution, Zack Brown, a lay youth delegate, said, “Please don’t vote in a way that makes more conservatives feel the way I do now: like I’m the only one left.”

The resolution on gay bishops also encourages Episcopalians to “participate to the fullest extent possible” in the Anglican Communion, and reminds the global church that the Episcopal Church contributed more than US$660 000 – almost one-third of the budget – to funding the communion’s bureaucracy in 2007.

While some Episcopalians argue that their church never enacted an official moratorium on gay bishops, it voted at its last meeting, in 2006, to urge dioceses to “exercise restraint” by not electing bishops “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and willlead to further strains on communion”.

No gay bishops have been elected since that resolution was passed at the urging of the church’s then-newly elected Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, though several dioceses have considered gay and lesbian candidates. Jefferts Schori voted on 13 July to lift the moratorium.
The Rev. Susan Russell, president of the pro-gay Episcopal group Integrity USA, said the resolution “was another step in the Episcopal Church’s `coming out’ process — and it sends a strong `come and see’ message to anyone looking for a faith community where God’s inclusive love is not just proclaimed but practiced.” [855 words]

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While I believe there is a faithful remnant left in the Episcopal Church, this just adds to the list of false doctrines and practices being put into action by the bishops of the church body. While I pray that TEC (The Episcopal Church) may yet repent and turn back to the Truth, the time is drawing nearer (it may already be upon us) that we must declare TEC to be a heretical sect.
Kyrie, eleison!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Podcasts, Theology, and Bears, oh my!

Just downloaded about 2 days worth of podcasts from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. For listening to in my free time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Sword of Flame is No More! Eat Ye of the Tree of Life!

"Hold on a minute", you might find yourself saying. "Isn't that a bit of a heretical statement to make? I mean, didn't God set the angel to guard Eden with a flaming sword forever?" Yes, yes He did. But that doesn't mean we don't have access to the Tree of Life.

41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" - Luke 1: 41-42

Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking on the part that says, "Blessed is the fruit of your womb". Now, that is referring to Jesus. Now, as that is an expression, one shouldn't take it to far, right? Unfortunately (or perhaps not) my mind likes to delve deeper into issues. And here is what it came up with.

Jesus Christ is called "the fruit of thy (Blessed Virgin Mary) womb". Well, He lived a perfect life. Then, He willingly allowed Himself to be offered up on the Cross of the sins of the world. The Cross is also called the Tree.
On the night He was betrayed, Our Lord instituted the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the Eucharist. In this great Mystery, He gives to us His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

When we partake of the Sacred Supper, we consume His Body and Blood (though how this happens is beyond our comprehension). We eat that which was offered up on the Tree, He who is the fruit of the Virgin's womb.

It was by the Cross that Christ won for us eternal life. Eating of the Tree of Life in Eden would have granted Adam and Eve immortality. Do you see the connection? We eat of the New Tree of Life, the New Fruit of Immortality. We are given this by the Savior- we are given this Meal that we might have eternal life. The Most Holy Eucharist is the New Fruit. For in it, we partake of the very One who turned a Tree into the Tree of Life- Jesus Christ!

I admit that I am not likely the first one to have thought of this, but I was so excited to make the connection that I just had to share it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Such a sublime mystery, one which can only be taken hold of and believed by faith. To our infinite and miniscule minds, we cannot even begin to comprehend the nature of God. All of our terms are but at best a poor description of Him- for the Lord is not to be comprehended. He is complete other. He is beyond the realms of understanding.

And yet, how is it that we know whom God is? He graciously reveals it to us- through His Word, throught the witness of His people, but most importantly, through Himself.
All acts of the Triune God are just that- trinitarian. From Creation, to Salvation, to the End of the Age- all movements of God have participating in them the Three Divine Persons.

But wait just a minute. God tells us that He is One. How can it be that there are Three Persons in One God?! Surely such a thing is blasphemy; surely it is heresy. But no- it is true. For though there are Three, there is One. Unity in Trinity, Trinity in Unity; undivided, and yet seperate.
What is this blessed mystery? What mind can fathom God? None can know the Lord- except through Him. In order to know God, one must know God.

And how is this? It is through the Second Person of the Trinity- Jesus the Christ. Through Him, we are reconciled to God the Father. But how does one come into a saving faith in Christ? Through the gift given of the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift- one that cannot be earned or accepted; rather, it is received.

So, one has a relationship with the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit. And when you have relationship with One, you have a relationship with Three. Because it is impossible to believe in a part of the Triune God, deny the other, and say that you have a faith in God. Its all or nothing.

God is Three Persons- in perfect love, harmony, and relationship with each other. And when we have Faith, and receive the gifts of Faith- namely, forgiveness, life, and salvation- we enter into a mystical union with the Triune God. He who is sufficient in and of Himself, who needs no other, graciously and lovingly gathers us into Himself- and we partake of the Divine Nature!

And how does this all happen? In Christ. For in Him we are reconciled to the Father, and we receive the Holy Spirit. He who is God became man, that by participating in our nature and reconciling us to the Father by the forgiveness of sins won upon the Cross by His Blessed Passion, we might partake in His Divine Nature. He takes upon Himself our burdens, and gives to us His blessings. In Christ alone may the Trinity be revealed, and by Him may we enter into faith and communion with the Lord. No other way.

All glory, honor, laud, and praise be to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three in One, and One in Three, the Most Blessed Trinity, God Almighty, world without end. Amen.

My Apologies

I just want to apologize for the lack of updates. I generally blog something as it comes to me. I would like to get into the habit of more frequent updates. But until then, please be patient. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Review of Pastor Matthew Harrison's "Christ Have Mercy: How to Put Your Faith in Action"

I recently acquired a copy of and read through Pastor Matthew Harrison's "Christ Have Mercy: How to Put Your Faith in Action". It was an excellent read. I believe that the hypothesis of the book put forward is true. And this is it- that it is not fancy programs or church fads that will bring people to Christ, or "keep the Church alive" (because for some reason, people have this notion that if we don't do something, God is going to let His people be destroyed). No, it is mercy, and the showing forth of that mercy to others. It definitely made me think.

Rev. Harrison goes on to explain how this all happens. He explains first and foremost how mercy comes not from humans naturally, but instead flows from the Triune God. He then shows how this mercy was most strongly expressed- through the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And this is not merely referring to His birth (though that certainly is a part of it). It is talking about His full work- but it centers upon the cross. Because only when we know Christ and Him crucified do we know the love of God.

After this, he explains how this mercy is manifested to us and through us. It is given to us in Word and Sacrament. And it is manifested in our whole life- as the Church corporate, and as people living out our daily lives. He shows that the social gospel waters down the Gospel, while an extreme confessionalism can lead to one not giving aid at all. Pastor Harrison rightly declares that, while some of these things may have been well-intended, they are both wrong. One cannot give up doctrine for the sake of charity, but at the same time one cannot deny help to those in need for the sake of seemingly being "confessionally pure". The two go hand in hand- one flowing from the other. Works of mercy are fruit of the faith, and just as mercy is given to us by Almighty God, so we should show mercy to others.

Now, the name can be misleading. "Ho to Put Your Faith in Action" seems just like a how-to manual right? Wrong! In fact, this book isn't a how-to manual on holy living. What it is saying is that as the Body of Christ, we are to engage in these things not because they are better, but rather because it is the natural response to the overflow of God's love and mercy given to us. In fact, I would argue (and this is my personal opinion), that while the author urges us to do things as described in the book (helping out in the inner city, giving aid to children in Africa, etc.), he is pointing to something deeper, more personal. He is saying that in all believers' lives, we do good works not because we "have to", but because we "have to". I know, paradoxical and logic defying, isn't it? We don't do good works because we "have to" for the sake of our salvation, but because we "have to" for God's mercy transforms us, and the closer we come to being in the image of Christ, the more it will be natural for us to do good works. Classic Lutheran mind-boggling rhetoric!

Despite the obvious Lutheran overtone of the book, I'd say that it could be (and should be) read by all Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation. It is a wonderful book showing that mercy is a gift received by grace alone, though faith alone, in Christ alone. And that showing forth mercy isn't just a way of putting faith into action- it is faith in action. And we aren't the primary participants- it is Christ working through us, so that none may boast.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Living the Crucified Life

Originally posted on The Wittenberg Trail (

Note: Within this post might be ranting. It is quite possible I will go off on tangents. Please bear with me; I have wanted to get this out, and now I have the words to do it. Just read carefully, and I hope you get the message. I honestly feel this is something I have to shout out to people, for their sake as well as the Church's.

In the Name of the Most Holy Triune God. Amen +

These days you hear it all over churches. "Live the Victorious life!" Or perhaps, "living a power filled life". You get the idea. Because of Christ, we can now live victoriously! Unfortunately, those who proclaim this message have it all wrong. In fact, they are most likely doing more to harm those who hear it than good. Oh, how I weep!Has the Church gone so far off track? Have we really reduced the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that good news of reconciliation and forgiveness, to a message of prosperity? That all you have to do is "give your life to Jesus" or "commit yourself to God"(however many times it takes), and you'll have power, wealth, and just about anything you want?

Forgive me if this seems harsh, but that is a damnable lie! It comes not from the mouth of the Almighty, but from the pits of hell, whispered into man's ear by Satan, and driven by our sinful nature.How dare we distort God's precious message of hope into something that can be used for material gain. Something by which we get a profit. Does man not know that the profit he gets is forgiveness of sins, membership into the family of God, receiving the Holy Spirit, and being fed with the precious Body and Blood of Our Lord?
Truly, it is as St. Paul proclaimed:

"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."- 2 Timothy 3-4

So, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and all else who might read this, let me proclaim to you something. This isn't just any proclamation, it comes straight from the mouth of the Savior, Jesus Christ, Himself.

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." - Matthew 16: 24

This is how Jesus commands His people to live. This is the kind of lifestyle we should not only seek, but desire, yearn for. Christ carried His own cross and on it all our sin; now, being freed in Christ, we too should give up ourselves for others. God is not a toy. He is not the gumball machine in a mall. You don't just "put in your faith" and great wonderful delicious treats. No, instead you share with your Master a cup full of bitter suffering. Yet why should you complain? For if you share in His shame, you also share in His glory!

That is the issue; it seems people want the glory of the Church Triumphant here on Earth. It doesn't work that way. Now, is that to say that the Lord doesn't bless people materially? No! He does; and when that happens, whomever it is given to should glorify the Lord by using it to serve others(without expecting God to reward you either). The Lord knows each of our needs; if He clothes the lilies of the valley, how much more shall He take care of you? Of course you can ask Him for anything. Just don't alway expect or assume the answers going to be "yes". He shall give you what you need and what He sees fit to bless you with; no matter what He gives you, praise His holy Name! For in His Son God has given you everything that is good; all else is but a loss, but He endures forever!

So next time when you here the term "Victorious life in Christ"(or something similar), think again of what it truly means to live the "victorious life". Whoever preaches the Gospel and administers the Sacraments rightly, they are living the victorious life. For those who are starving, yet still praise God and share all that they have with others and each other, thats the victorious life. For those whom are blessed with the crown of martrydom, that is victorious living. Whoever shows kindness, mercy, and compassion to another in thanks for what Christ has done for them, that is living the victorious life.Let us heed the words of St. James:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. - James 1:27

Give everything of yourself unto others, just as Christ did for you. That is a life that pleases Our Heavenly Father. That is "living the victorious life". That is living the Crucified life. Amen +

Oh Most Holy God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:Hear the cry of your servant. We have sinned in all that we do. We have not loved you with our whole being, nor have we treated one another as we would treat ourselves. We have diluted Your Most Precious and Holy Gospel into something for material gain. Oh, that we worship you invain! That we decieve ourselves and one another with this perverse and blaphemous way of thinking! Oh Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon us poor sinners. Turn not away Your face, oh God. Instead, have mercy upon us; outstreach Your hand of grace to Your people. Forgive for shaming Your Name, and for not protecting the message of Your Holy Word. Holy Spirit, we pray Thee in the Name of Jesus, come down upon us. Sweep through us like a rushing wind, a cleansing fire. For we have taken Your house of prayer and turned it into a den robbers. Clear out the money-gatherers and those selling Your salvation; for it comes from You alone, O God, bought by the Blood of the Lamb. Lord, we can do nothing by our own strength; indeed, even if we could, this lie has spread like a great weed. Grant to us Your strength, O Lord, to defend the Truth. Reveal the sin that perverts the Gospel, and call us all into repentance. Hear this cry; let it rise as incense before Your Throne. This I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen +