Always remember: you're unique, just like everyone else.
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Atlantis: the domain of the Stingray
31Dec
2014
Wed
23:58
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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What I Did Today 20141231

well, this is it

I actually went into the office today. I needed to do so in order to write the sermon for tomorrow's Divine Service. I went in with one idea for a sermon; what I ended up writing was something completely different. I find it interesting when that happens. I also put together half sheet handouts for tomorrow and Epiphany.

I made a trip to Walmart to get a few fixings for tonight and tomorrow. I found some cupcakes decorated with the Minions from Despicable Me 2. They happen to be some of Tirzah's favorite fictional characters.

Back home, I texted a couple of folks to determine whether or not we should have Bible Study this week. We decided to cancel.

Then, it was time to get stuff ready for tonight's activities. As usual, we had snacks for supper: cocktail sausages, chips and dips, tater tots, nachos, and carrots and dip...well, carrots were available.

We were going to watch the ball drop in New York for Eastern New Year, but the station cut out with a minute to go for 10 minutes of uninterrupted news...great. Oh well, the kids will still go to bed, as we have church in the morning.

I don't know if I'll last to midnight or not, though...

30Dec
2014
Tue
23:40
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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What I Did Today 20141230

surviving the cold

Our high today was in the low single digits. It got above 0, but not for long. As I write this, it's about -17 outside.

Our garbage was supposed to have been picked up last week, but the roads in town were really icy, so they canceled pickup for our town. We're normally picked up every two weeks, but we were added to the rotation today. I wasn't going to hold my breath about them coming out today, but they did.

Beyond that, I didn't want to venture outside, so I stayed home today. I did a little thinking and planning for Thursday's sermon, having already come up with an idea for Sunday's on Sunday. Tomorrow, I do plan on going into the office to write the sermon.

I played a little more Minecraft with the kids, developing my world a little more, restructuring my rail system, and in some ways, making it more complex.

29Dec
2014
Mon
23:37
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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What I Did Today 20141229

showoff

To relax on my day off, I showed off what I had created in Minecraft to the kids. They were in awe of what I had learned to do with rails and minecarts. They played with me some as I continued to improve upon what I had built. Basically, the day was spent in that.

28Dec
2014
Sun
22:27
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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What I Did Today 20141228

Last Sunday of the Year

I played a game of NHL 15 this morning before church. Kicked the snot out of the Pittsburgh Penguins playing as the Tampa Bay Lightning. I meant to charge the controller when I was done, but forgot to plug it in.

After getting ready for church, we headed over that way. I was surprised to be the first ones there this morning, but that gave me time to change the paraments quickly to red since we were celebrating Holy Innocents today (sermon posted). The crowd was a little sparse today, especially compared to what we had on Christmas.

There wasn't any catechesis today. I scheduled today off with Christmas being just four days ago. After church, we went to Safeway.

After lunch, the kids finally played Minecraft on the PS4. I don't get the game, but I'm thinking about giving it a try just so I know what's going on.

After supper, we all had ice cream. We got some fixings for it at Safeway. It made for a nice treat.

Now, we're all tired and just about ready for bed.

14:44
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Matthew 2:13-18

Holy Innocents, Martyrs 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Four days ago, you just finished singing this wonderful hymn about the heralding angels’ message to the shepherds in the field as Jesus was born:

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He leaves His throne on high,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!” (“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, TLH 94:3)

No sooner do we close the hymnal on that stanza and we come to the Fourth Day of Christmas, “celebrated” as the feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs. As you heard in the text appointed for this day,

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.

The Prince of Peace is “born that man no more may die,” and today we “celebrate” the deaths of the male children in Bethlehem two-years old and younger. Jesus’ birth and the celebration thereof is marked by slaughter, there is blood on His birth.

09:09
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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For the Holy Innocents, those Sweet Flowerets of the Martyr Band

a Coventry Carol

"Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
'A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.'" - Matthew 2:16-18

Lully, lulla, thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay, thow littell tyne child,
By by, lully, lullay!

O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This pore yongling for whom we do singe
By by, lully, lullay?

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Chargid he hath this day
His men of might in his owne sight
All yonge children to slay,—

That wo is me, pore child, for thee,
And ever morne and may
For thi parting nether say nor singe,
By by, lully, lullay.
27Dec
2014
Sat
23:55
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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What I Did This Week, no. 52

It's the End of the Year As We Know It.

Alright, so this update is just going to be this week. For the last four days of the year, I’ll be doing individual updates like I did to start the year off. As for this week, it was a pretty busy one which ended with a time of relaxation with family and a friend. But the busyness is to be expected with Christmas being in the week. A service on December 24, another on the 25th, and that’s in addition to what normally happens on Sunday.

25Dec
2014
Thu
14:44
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Nativity of Our Lord

John 1:1-18

The Nativity of Our Lord 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...”

How often have you thought about those words from today’s Gospel? I mean, really thought about them?

It’s so easy this time of year to get caught up in the Christmas story as told by St. Luke. Pregnant Mary, no room in the inn, finding room in a stable, giving birth, manger, swaddling cloths, angels singing, shepherds wondering. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:14) These are all great things, things to marvel over, things to rejoice about. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

But John gives us a different perspective. He fills in the blanks that, as we read Luke, don’t realize are there. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word of God is God; practically inexplicable and wholly incomprehensible beyond what John says. There is another person to this Godhead, the Word, and He is God. He was there in the beginning; of course He was, since He is God.

24Dec
2014
Wed
22:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord

Luke 2:1-20

The Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The family made their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census. Mary was tremendously pregnant; she could give birth at any moment. They couldn’t find room in the inn—it’s a small town, but that’s where they had to go to register, and so did many, many others. They find a place to stay; it’s warm and dry, but surrounded by barn animals. Mary gives birth, wraps her Son in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger.

Angels sang. The whole creation rejoices at the birth of the Son. Shepherds made their way to see the sight of which they were told. What do they see?

07:55
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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The Infant King

posted before, good enough to do again.

07:51
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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Breaking the Pattern

something a little different

It seems all I post lately are sermons and weekly updates. Well, this one is a little different.

20Dec
2014
Sat
23:15
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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What I Did This Week, no. 51

Did I just write 51?

A busy week, or so it felt. As I look over what was done, it doesn’t look like a lot, but what I experienced of it is different than how it reads. I guess that’s because, though it’s a short line or blurb in the retelling, it amounts to more time than it reads, and that would be preparation.

17Dec
2014
Wed
22:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent III - The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Luke 1:57-80

Mid-week Advent III 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

God is faithful. He makes promises, and He keeps them.

Hear the promise of the Lord from the prophet Amos: “’Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD.’” (Amos 8:11) Days are coming, He says, when there will no longer be the hearing of the words of the LORD. The Word will cease to be given and received, and God likens it to a famine.

Hear the promise of the Lord from the prophet Malachi: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6) There will be a famine of hearing the words of the LORD, but God will send Elijah to them. Elijah will come before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

13Dec
2014
Sat
22:04
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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What I Did This Week, no. 50

The End is Near!

Fifty. Five-Oh. 5-0. I’ve been thinking, actually, about week 52 since there are 4 more days in the year after week 52 and since I started this whole thing by trying to post a daily entry. I’m not sure yet if I’ll make the Number 52 entry an 11-day entry or the usual 7 then a daily entry for the last 4 days of the year. I’ve got some time to figure that out. As for this week, however, it seemed pretty normal—normal, that is, for a week in Advent.

10Dec
2014
Wed
22:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent II - The Visitation

Luke 1:39-56

Mid-week Advetn II 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Perhaps you recall a word from last week or hearing a word from last week, though it was a Greek word: Theotokos. The word means God-bearer, though it is often translated, for the sake of simplicity and impact, Mother of God. Did you cringe at that at all when any of that was said, last week or this week?

It was at the Council of Ephesus in AD431 that this title for Mary was decreed. This is a council in our history, dear Lutherans; that is to say that we confess the same faith as the Church when it convened in council in Ephesus (as well as other councils), and so for us, then, Mary is Theotokos, the bearer of God.

7Dec
2014
Sun
15:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Populus Zion

Luke 21:25-36

Populus Zion 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

I grew up as the Cold War was coming to an end. While I never had to practice them, I recall stories of classrooms running duck-and-cover drills. From time to time, you can still see fallout shelter signs on one building or another, even in places that would be untouched by fallout from a power plant disaster. I watched movies such as Red Dawn, Firefox, and War Games in which Soviet invasion, the Cold War, and global-nuclear annihilation were central themes. These and other signs are all remnants of the preparations and ideas this nation made and had for nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Mr. Gorbachev may have torn down the wall, but the threat of global annihilation still exists as terrorists plot to knock down buildings, overthrow governments, steal nuclear materials to make a dirty bombs, and devise new and horrific biological weapons. There are threats of war left and right, governments posturing here and there, even as, as I have recently read, there are plans to send 100 American tanks to Lithuania to counter “Russian aggression,”1 a response to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

6Dec
2014
Sat
23:32
author: Stingray
category: My Ramblings
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What I Did This Week, no. 49

Advent is in Full Swing

It’s the first week of Advent, which means two full-fledged church services. I say “full-fledged” because when we have Confessions study, we begin with Vespers, a full-fledged service to be sure, but the setting is more relaxed than the mid-week services during Advent and Lent. Before we get, there, though, of course, there is Sunday service. So, let’s get to the week...

3Dec
2014
Wed
22:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent I - The Annunciation

Luke 1:26-38

Mid-week Advent I 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

What we observe today begins the second greatest mystery of the Christian faith: God comes to earth and dwells with man.

Religions around the world are filled with what are called theophanies—the appearing or manifestation of their god or gods on earth to man. These gods appeared to someone to instruct them, to give them some bit of their holy writings, or to interact with them in some other way. In Greek mythology, these theophanies often resulted in the birth of demigods—half divine, half human creatures, and these were not always human in appearance. Perhaps the most notable among these demigods is Hercules—son of the lord of Olympus, Zeus, and his human consort, Alcmene.

When YHWH appears to man, when He comes and dwells with man, His is no theophany like those of ancient, false lore. Some may wish to draw connections between the myth of Hercules and what we heard in tonight’s text, as if somehow part of what was read tonight was borrowed from that myth. But it is not so; the Son born to Mary is no demigod hero, but He is the very Son of God and YHWH Himself, the Creator and Savior of the world. He is Jesus, Immanuel, God-with-us, the second person of the Holy Trinity enfleshed and dwelling with man—He is YHWH’s theophany!