Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον [Luke 1. 46b]

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Midweek Homily - - -

Philippians 2. 6-11
Lententide Midweek Vespers Two
28 February Anno Domini 2013
Father Jay Watson SSP

   There was a time when I was instructing young catechumens in the early 2000’s when I could point to the marginally successful heavy rock band “Creed” as an example of the word still being used in today’s context. The name was chosen by those musicians because they had some nascent religious convictions.

   The word Creed is the anglicized version of the Latin, “Credo” and means “I believe.”

   There are only two creeds, two beliefs, or, two belief “systems,” in the universe. One either believes in the True God, or one believes in oneself. It is a corollary of Dr. Franz Pieper’s point about their being only two religions in existence: the True faith of the Triune God of Holy Scripture, and the ersatz and emotionally manufactured myths of man’s own ego.

   Luther placed his commentary on the Creed right after the Ten Commandments.  He did this because the Creed is pure 100% undiluted Gospel.  It follows the convicting death of the Law with Christ’s life-giving Person and work. There is only one Creed in the world: the “I believe” Jesus Christ is all that the Scriptures reveal His to be.  But instead of reciting every single word from Genesis 1.1 to Revelation 22.21, the church and its Saints (Patriarchs, Prophets, Psalmists, Good Kings, Evangelists, Apostles, Bishops, Pastors, Deacon, Theologians, and Lay) have always mined from Holy Scripture those words of truth about The Word, The Truth that were needed at whatever moment in history that falsehood and error had to be combated. All of the Creeds from Adam and Eve to the Council of Chalcedon in 425 AD are simply different angles and facets of the diamond of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sin!

   Eve could and did confess that the true creator and forgiver God was the One Who watched over them then, and Who would be coming to Anoint them with salvation in time—Messias! Abram confessed the Lord in believing God’s promise to make of him a great nation, and to take from him, a seed which would be the Savior. So too were there credos made by David, Solomon, Jonah and Daniel.  The New Testament is replete with beautiful confessions of faith—creeds, “I believes” by Bartholomew (“Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel” Jn. 1.49), Thomas (“my Lord and my God” Jn. 20.28), Martha (“yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” Jn. 11.27), and of course Saint Peter at Caesarea Philippi (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” Mt. 16.16).

   The Apostle and the new burgeoning and “springing up” Gentile congregations in the years immediately after Pentecost knew of all these creeds and fully embraced and endorsed them. Paul to the Philippians reiterated the first universal general Creed in chapter 2. 6-11, especially its penultimate verse: “…Jesus Christ is Lord…”  Iesus es kurios was the creed of the church until heretics changed the general accepted meaning of the word Lord.  The ecumenical, world-wide, Catholic and Apostolic conventions, convocations, assemblies, synods, COUNCILS of Bishops and Presbyters met to combat heresy and apostasy. They met at Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon.  They took fuller and detailed passages of Holy Scripture and fleshed out in precision the Incarnated God/Man.  The Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed are more robust and meatier versions of Paul’s creed and Abram’s creed and Eve’s creed. There is only one creed, and it is Jesus Christ the God/Man, incarnated to fulfill the Law (the Ten Commandments) perfectly and to pay for your law-breaking on Calvary, perfectly.  The creed, your creed, is God obeying and dying and resurrecting for you.  As Luther puts it in his Small Catechism, “where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.”

   And as the Law was given without Moses’ participation, so too was the Gospel given without cooperation or proof-reading.  The Holy Ghost overshadowed the Blessed Virgin and she was “with child,” God was Incarnate!  The Lord Christ is the Good Shepherd Who seeks and saves the lost of His flock. The Lord told Peter that He and his confession would be the truth which He The Truth would build His Church, but, that this was a revelation from the Father, through faith yes, but BY GRACE, and not of Peter’s work.  So too whenever you stand and confess the Creed, it is not your beliefs but THE BELIEF which is true because Christ is True. All three of the articles of the creed (which are so designated for catechetical purposes) are things which God had done, does, and will do, for you, not anything you can do, choose, or decide.  The creed is believed by Grace and gives peace and comfort, and rest, because it’s Jesus!

   As Jesus loves you in spite of your sins, and desires you to fight the good fight of Sanctification in the narrow sense (drowning the “old Adam” daily in confession & absolution) by the power of God the Holy Ghost; He goes on giving you mercy and forgiveness in multiple way. The creed of Christ surrounds you. You hear the invocation and benediction (the Gospel) and you are graced to give your credo: AMEN!  You are given His true Body and real Blood (the Gospel) and you are constrained in joy to again confess, credo, AMEN!

   Please turn in your hymnal to page 12 at the top, to our Baptismal creed: The pure Gospel!  Please stand and with me credo:

[“I believe in God the Father…”]


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The "THIRD" Father Jwatso: Very Trinitarian

I'm thinking seriously of resurrecting one of my many pen-names (all on file at Interpol, unfortunately)... "Roger Evolet" whenever I inflict one of these upon you... lemme think - -

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We're Looking for a Few Good Men (sorry wymyn)


1o.  Membership get you lots of special attention from your
        friendly neighborhood District President.

9.   When’s the last time you were in a club with a name
       as cool as Polycarp?

8.   Any old smart and ambitious guy can pay lots of money
       and put in tons of time to get the letters Ph.D. after his
       name; we give you the three letters SSP by grace.  J

7.   The last time you saw your family Physician he said you
       weren’t getting enough incense in your diet.

6.   Membership gets you special “discounts” at all Eastern
       Orthodox bookstores.  (ouch!)

5.   You just need another outlet now that you’re too old
       for the rigors of undercroft Dartball.

4.    The winner of our annual Crosier “sword-fight” gets a
        free trip to Vatican City.

3.   Along with genuflection, elevation, Semper Virgo, the
       Apocrypha, and prayers for the dead, you’re still
       “jonesing” for another challenge to present your puckish  

2.   Our secret handshake and “high sign” are taken straight
       from Spanky and Alfalfa’s “He-Man Woman Haters Club.”


[ Drum Roll Please…]

And the NUMBER ONE Reason you need to join the
 Society of Saint Polycarp:


1.   Benedict of Nursia? Francis of Assisi? Bernard of
      Clairvaux? We got ‘em all beat flat out with
      Father Hollywood of  Gretna!

And if I may be serious for a moment; and re-reading the above 10 “reasons” suggests I may  J

Please check out:  http://societyofsaintpolycarp.blogspot.com/  or post a comment to me for additional information.  You can also find me at Facebook where you can pm me:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/jay.watson.37

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Hymn for REMINISCERE - -

   I didn't want to post this until AFTER Sunday...I thought, too many pastors were getting ready for yesterday's MASS (yesterday) that to post this hymn in the early a.m. might cause angina, coronaries, and coffee-nose-squirts (great name for a law-firm).
   But here now is my hymn for the 1-year pericope: Saint Matthew 15. 21-28


Words: Jay W. Watson 2013
Meter: 8, 8, 8, 6,
Tune: Isleworth, Samuel Howard, 1782  (TLH # 439)
Text: Reminiscere Gospel, Saint Matthew 15. 21-28

That blessed day when Jesus came    
To Sidon’s northern coast’s so clear   
She having heard of This Man’s fame   
Her heart brought all its fear 

This Canaan voice crying O Rex       
Give mercy Thou Son of David       
My daughter with a demon vexed   
Thou heal with a bid  

No reply with His tongue He made   
The dozen wished her sent away 
In silence harsh the more she prayed 
Thus anchored vowed to stay 

Christ answered her with sayings dark 
Bread given dogs is never meet  
Yet little dogs for crumbs do bark    
Scraps craving at Thy feet

To steadfast mother Jesus said 
In trusting so receive My pow’r 
Thy daughter shalt be fed with bread 
Be loosed this same hour 

The saving act came not from her  
‘Twas Mercy came to Tyre’s coast 
God’s banquet in His Son most pure
Father and Holy Ghost

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Saint Matthew 15. 21-28
REMINISCERE: 24 February Anno Domini 2013
Father Watson SSP and Dr. Michael Anderson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

   The Lord is always going “thence.” Jesus came first to the Jews, Abraham’s seed, but Jesus was, from before eternity, the Savior of all who would believe—including all the Gentiles to be in-gathered.

   Although it would not be until after His Resurrection and Ascension that the “12” would go beyond Judea to the ends of earth (including Tyre and Sidon) in today’s Gospel Christ Himself ventures into this northern area of the Gentiles. This is a picture of what He would do for all of you. His Word, which means HIMSELF, was carried by the “12” and their successors to Italy, Spain, France, Germany, England and America.  You are the descendents of this “woman of Canaan.”

   You may not a daughter who is “grievously vexed with a devil” but you have sorrows, struggles and heartaches that cause you too to cry out: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David.”

   When Eve turned her back on the Lord, when Adam decided to listen to the voice of the devil he was dooming not just himself and His wife, but all of his children to the vexations of the devil.  The devil says eat (sin) and once eaten, the poison metastasizes throughout the body, and all bodies to come.  The poison of original sin causes both daily sins, and, the results of living in a decaying demonic realm.  Because of your sins, and your original sin, people have diseases, divorces, murders, depressions, adulteries, and yes, demonic possessions, attacking them.  Everyone here has already been, or will be, “grievously vexed!”  Kyrie Elieson.  Kyrie Elieson indeed.

   Repent of your sins in thought as well as in deed and word. Curb your tongue, bridle your mean-spirited brain, and smite your breast as you smite that devil Satan.  Be not like the “12” who sought to silence an outsider, a freak, a foreigner, an undesirable, a woman, a black, an Hispanic, a Frenchman or a liberal.  Let all who are repentant come to Christ. Let all who are hurting and dying come to Christ. Let all “grievously vexed” come to The One who can loose them and heal them and give them life eternal.  For in reality, He comes to them first!

   In her hour of utmost need, the woman turned to Jesus. She needed help to save her daughter so she turned to the Rabbi Whose name meant Savior. She worshipped Him. She worshipped Him as God because she acknowledged Him as Messiah from the earthly line of King David. This Gentile knew the Word of God and believed it despite what her eyes told her, despite what Jesus seemed to be telling her, despite how the “12” treated her, despite what the demon was doing to her precious child.

    The Gospel of Jesus is so precious it is NOT to be tossed to swine any more than pearls should be given those creatures of the unclean, i.e. non-believing Gentile pagans.  First the Law kills sinners and shows them their filth—their sin THEN Jesus shows up right there in their very own Tyre and Sidon, Overland Park and Lenexa, and says “O woman, O man, My love for you is GREAT, My work for your law-breaking is great, My payment for your rightful sentence is great, complete, and finished; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”

   You are made whole in Water + and Absolution. Come to the Sacrament and be made whole in Jesus’ Body and Blood.

   God's will, promises, purposes and Word stand forever! The "until's" and the "when's" of God are far more long-lasting than the fallen human brain may ever begin to appreciate. We undeserving gentile dogs will feast from the Master's Table, forever. The little Greek girl from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon ... once possessed and grievously vexed, so long ago before the Word spoke of a woman's faith ... will frolic and dance, forever. Our Lady will be a virgin ... our Virgin Mother, the symbol of the baptizing Church, forever. Because the all-healing Lord Christ, God be praised, is our Brother, forever.

In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost

Saturday, February 23, 2013


“Them Sparrows Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Us”
(dialogue of one of the orphans at the film’s conclusion)

   Prince may have sung “Even Doves Cry” but last night even pastors cry—I’m just glad that the theater was darkened and nobody could see the tears.

   And of all places; I never would have “thunk it.”

   I was at White Concert Hall located on the campus of Washburn University of Topeka (one of my Alma matters) for the 17th annual Kansas Silent Film Festival.  This was my fourth year in a row to go to this fun and entertaining event.  I’m a huge fan of Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy, but also love most all the old classic Silents: Nosferatu, Phantom of the Opera, Woman in the Moon, The Passion of Joan of Arc, The Man Who Laughs, The Golem, etc., etc. 

   To view them from a projector (and not just digital DVD technology) and in public is the best!  There’s nothing quite like sitting in a large darkened auditorium (White Concert Hall has a huge seating capacity, but even for a festival as ‘narrow’ as this we had several hundred people) watching a black & white, silent classic, laughing as one to the antics of Harold Lloyd, the Keystone Cops, Fatty Arbuckle, or some ubiquitous dog or monkey.  And the festival always has top-notch live musicians accompanying the Silents on piano or organ.  If you live anywhere within driving distance of Topeka, Kansas, this might be worth your while in February of 2014: http://www.kssilentfilmfest.org/kssff2013/index.html

   But last night it was different.  The “feature” was a film starring Mary Pickford, “America’s Sweetheart,” from 1926, titled SPARROWS : (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparrows_(1926_film   and     http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017423/  )  I had never seen Pickford in a movie before (that I can remember) though I’ve known of her past fame and importance in the history of cinema.

   Without saying too much about the movie, I knew as I was driving home last night that this WAS a blog post for sure.

   Yes, it was almost melodrama in the “gay 1890’s” stage way (c.f. Desperate Desmond’s Dastardly Deed) but Pickford and the script infused it with genuine pathos, heart-felt comedic touches, and high adventure as well.   It’s a story of a group of 8 orphan children, nine counting Pickford who is the leader and surrogate mother to the kids, who are held under brutal and inhumane conditions on a work-farm deep in the swamps and bayous of some unnamed Southern state.  The evil taskmaster “Grimes” and his wife starve and beat the children and keep them hidden from the outside world.  It is only when a kidnapped baby (the snatching was eerily & uncomfortably prescient of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1 March 1932) is going to be murdered by “Grimes,” by being thrown into the ubiquitous quicksand “bottomless” bogs, that Mary Pickford leads the children through the alligator infested swamps to safety.  The initial harrowing escape is capped by a thrilling inter-coastal water chase on motorized boats with gunfire and cannonade.  A great movie on all accounts…but…

   I did not anticipate the religious underpinnings of the movie, the serious faith of Pickford’s character, and clear Christ-centered message of “divine and loving providential care.”  Now to be sure, this was no confessional Lutheran film.  The precepts were standard American Protestantism (circa early 20th century) but it just caused my jaw to drop open—so saturated is my brain in 2013 to the current milieu of film and the zeitgeist of anti-Christian media. 

   Mary prays with the children several times to the Lord.  Mary keeps a picture of the Nativity to show the children. She looks up to heaven and asks for the Lord to intervene, protect and rescue her and the children.  When things go from bad to worse, and the kids chafe at the Lord’s apparent indifference, Mary simply assures them that the Lord will shepherd them no matter how things “appear” to seem.  But, what got to me in a visceral and physical way, was when (SPOILER…but not really, as the film is not currently available in the US on DVD, so I’m thinking one can only view this if TMC or Netflix has it) the baby that Mary has been attempting to nurture back to health becomes critically sick during the night of a bad rain-storm.  Mary sits in a chair nestling the little child to her bosom when suddenly the wall shimmers and quivers in front of her.  She is in a dream state, or maybe it’s a vision, when she sees a bright light tableau of Jesus as Good Shepherd standing in His pasture surrounded by lambs.  He slowly (MY MOUTH GAPING; this is a secular group of film geeks I’m surrounded by, whose last contact with God in a movie is Morgan Freeman or Whoopi Goldberg—WHERE ARE THE PC POLICE?) steps from his sheepfold into the room where Mary and the baby are and takes the small child into His loving arms to return to His flock.   Salty tears are flowing down my left cheek as it’s clear to everyone that the baby has just died, but NOT bereft of its Savior Pastor.  When Mary comes out of the dream/vision and realizes what has happened, it is portrayed as a Miracle indeed; she knowingly looks up and nods with an ever so small ascent to Grace. 
    Only the darkness and a few coughs kept this lachrymose “softy” from embarrassing himself.  My generation of “John Wayne” movie aficionados simply does not cry at sentimental and manufactured movie scenes.  One meets Jesus in the strangest places.

   There appears to be little commentary on this religious invasion into an otherwise standard comic/adventure/Dickensian Silent classic.  The host to the Festival did not mention the cameo of Jesus nor even the several references to Matthew 10. 29-30 and the love Christ has for even the smallest Sparrows.

   I can’t lavish too much credit on either Pickford or the director for their own personal Christian beliefs or confessions as I know nothing about their personal and private lives.  But it is sad beyond the point of sighing, that I, a pastor and lifelong Lutheran, would be so desensitized by the last 40 year drift of all popular celluloid and televised drama and entertainment, that I would be so “caught off guard” by such a tender, decent, and respectful insertion of Christ Jesus and His tender shepherding of His flock.

   It’s a beautiful, fun, sad, exciting, hopeful, and yes, beatific movie…you should track it down and view it with the whole family!  It made me think of Augustine’s famous aphorism: “…our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

   So, in a sense of lost times, and eras, when Jesus was not so alien and foreign to cultural stories and public gatherings, I desperately miss 1926, 1526, and 26.  Come quickly Lord Jesus and take all your little sparrows home.

Friday, February 22, 2013

HAIKU FRIDAY or, Traitorous Fascination - -

  I do plan on eventually writing Haiku for almost every Biblical Saint, especially the "12."  In fact many of the Apostles could easily have multiple (MUL-TA-PULL) short poems composed to them:
such as Judas.   I am strangely fascinated by the mysteries which surround Judas, especially the "crux theologorum" dimensions and the inevitablility of Scriptural prophecy (David's typological Psalm: 55. 13-14)

I plan on several more short pieces on this individual (as well as a short essay on King Saul) in due course. But for now:
Chosen one of the "Twelve"
Thieving heart for self glory
Name shamed eternal

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Midweek Homily - -

Exodus 20. 1-17
Lententide Midweek Vespers One
21 February Anno Domini 2013
Father Jay Watson SSP

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost

   The Ten Commandments are the Law of God—the Torah. Correctly speaking all Scripture contains Law—the requirements, demands, commands, and will of the Lord for His beloved creatures. Specifically speaking, in the so-called “narrow sense,” by Law we mean the two tables of stone upon which God wrote the Ten Commandments and gave to Moses, to give to his people.

   Centuries before this, Adam and Eve had God’s will perfectly placed in their hearts and minds, and they could have kept the Word of the Lord, but they chose to rebel and follow their own will.

   It has been such ever since. To teach man that the answer was not inside of man, inside of his blackened and sin-corrupted heart, God gave the Law “extra nos” (outside of us) externally and objectively written by His sacred hand, His Holy finger (Holy Spirit) upon two tablets of stone. And though even pagans, as Paul tells you, have a sense of “right and wrong” still written on their pagan hearts (as do you), the fickle heart and the world’s opinion can be changed, manipulated, and twisted for self…whereas the Word of the Lord is immutable and stands forever.

   In Lententide you do well to daily read the Ten Commandments as a mirror and Holy indictment against everything you’ve done and everything you’ve said, and…everything you’ve thought.  You are a dead man; a dead woman.  Your guilt shouts “condemned” against you to the heavens. Your neighbor may not know what you’ve done, but the angels know.  I should recite each of the ten right now again, and apply them to everyone in this room. The ten are best summarized and condensed the way Our Lord Christ did. All ten may be spoken of as the two great tables: Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength—THIS is the greatest law; and the second is like unto it—Love your neighbor as yourself.  The Lord does for the Ten Commandments what Dr. Luther does for the key doctrinal teachings of the entire Bible—He distills, refines, and extracts the “heart,” kernel, gem of the essence.  Luther took the Bible like a giant sponge, or ripe grapefruit, and squeezed out of all 66 books the six-chief parts, the “Layman’s Bible” into his Small Catechism.  Christ Jesus had already boiled the Decalogue down to the two commands of perfect love.  This Law is the first of Luther’s teaching doctrines—the “First Chief Part.”

   You don’t love God above all things. If you did you wouldn’t break the other 9 commandments. If you loved the Lord with all your heart you wouldn’t neglect daily study of The Word, the weekly Mass, prayer, and preaching (even at a midweek Thursday shortened service). If you feared God above all things you wouldn’t provoke your children, talk back to your parents, take things that don’t belong to you, lust after non-Christian sexual relations, gossip, covet and HATE just about everybody else for ego-willful-domineering reasons. 

   The Law, or a sermon “on” the Law, is not meant to make you angry at God or the prophet; although to be sure, the Jews hated Isaiah and Jeremiah enough to punish and kill them; the Babylonians likewise hated Daniel; The Sanhedrin hated Peter and John when they too resolved to preach the Law and attempt to follow it. No, the Law is meant to hold up to your hooded eyes of sin, a giant mirror of Love and truth, tough love, to show you a dead and cadaverous corpse.  The Law is meant to disabuse you of any sense that “your okay, he’s okay, we’re all okay.” You by yourself on your own are not okay; you’re worm-food waiting to be “shake and bake” brimstone extra.  UNLESS….

   Unless Jesus, always Jesus, only Jesus. Sola Christi!

   The Law kills you so you will stop struggling. A good surgeon will have a dying patient anesthetized so he can be about his own work of saving. Since your sinful nature makes it impossible for you to keep the Law and bring yourself back from death, Christ comes to rescue you, to redeem you from the prison camp of the dead.

   King David correctly sang in the Psalter that you were conceived in sin. He, the Holy Spirit, does not mean that the act of sexual intercourse between your Mother and Father was sinful but that two sinners were coming together, and that the fruit of their actions, would also be a sinner.  Thus, every part and step, and period of the human life, from conception until death, would have to be redeemed, fixed, and forgiven/absolved from sin and death. 

   Jesus came as the Second Adam to fix the sin of the first Adam, and the sin and sins of all the sons of Adam. Jesus the perfect and sinless God/Man took flesh from a sinner to wash all flesh clean in His cleanness.  Mary’s flesh and blood is a type of yours, thus she is “the” perfect type of the Church—the spotless and ever-virginal Bride of the Lamb.

   The Lord Jesus had a twin-attack on the devil and sin; a double edged Spirit of Sinlessness. The Lord had active obedience to the Law and passive obedience to the Law’s justice against you. Everything Jesus did for 33 years before Holy Week was His active Law—keeping on your behalf. Jesus gave a life-time of visible obedience from the Virgin Womb of Saint Mary, to the Prophetic arrival in Jerusalem on Palmarum. Your hatred for liberals, degenerates, homosexuals and foreigners was forgiven because Jesus spent 33 years loving them all—perfectly.  Your putting God in second place in your life (if that) was paid for by Jesus’ perfect obedience to the First and Greatest command—to Love His Father with all His heart, strength, soul and mind.

   Jesus’ passive obedience started most poignantly when He let Himself be taken prisoner in Gethsemane, and all that proceeded from His arrest, bondage, torture, humiliation and crucifixion.  His horrible and bloody six hours on the cross paid for your sins and He substituted Himself in your place for the just punishment of treason against God.

   The Law still exists. The Commandments are still there for your benefit. You are still to do them, in so much as the Holy Spirit through the Word of Christ, strengthens you to fight the good fight. So, yes, struggle, work at curbing your tongue and reforming your heart to be like Jesus,’ to drowning the “old Adam” daily.  There’s nothing wrong with trying to do a better job at being what God has made you to be. 

   But, believe, teach, and confess, that though the Law remains, and always will show you your sin, there stands behind the Law the One Who has kept it, satisfied it, and subsumed it into His Body and Blood of pure Gospel and free and total forgiveness.

   Jesus has forgiven you and has washed away all of the condemnation of original sin in His obedience and payment.  It still inheres inside of you, meaning you will still sin, actually, until the day you die; but Jesus has paid for those trespasses as well. 

   Rest safe and sound, pure and blameless, clean and white, fed and watered, in JESUS the fulfiller, author, and completer of TORAH…the LAW…

   He gives you now Gospel.  Your sins are forgiven

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Return of FATHER JWATSO (or, too tired to write)

The sound of screaming you hear is from my pal (the best cartoonist in the world: Mike Adair...visit his web sites at:  http://mikeadair.blogspot.com/  and  http://www.mikeadair.com/ ).   I'm not a cartoonist and I don't play one on TV...but many people have said that they laugh at me (??).


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A New Fr. Watson TOP TEN (oh joy)


Of course honorable mentions should be “tossed out” (“props” given) to:  Saint Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego Lutheran Church; Saint Zacchaeus Lutheran Church (for short people); Saint Boniface Lutheran Church (for the winsomely mission-minded) and Saint Ananias & Sapphira Lutheran Church (for those who worry about stewardship). 

And now…”The” list - -

10.  SAINT RAPHAEL Lutheran Church (so you’ve got at least one to blame on that McCain guy and CPH)

9.   SAINTS APOLLINARIS OF HIRAPOLIS  & EPIPHANIUS OF SALAMIS Lutheran Church (just so by the time the church’s phone message finally gets through announcing the parish name the telemarketer has hung up)

8.  SAINT ELMO LUTHERAN CHURCH (you and Wikipedia might think I’m talking about Erasmus of Formiae, but I’m just obsessed with that ’85 Rat-Packer movie…lovin’ me that John Parr theme song and the MTV video!)

7.  SAINTS HOGLAH, GOMER & DORCAS Lutheran Church (who says we’re not sensitive to our feminist parishioners…Wymyn, we hear you roar; stand strong…and keep those beards!)

6.  SAINT POLYCARP Lutheran Church (for Patristic lovers, proponents of ‘meatless Fridays,’ and acknowledgments to our parishioners who eschew the Sunday Mass for fishing up at the lake)

5.  SAINT JUDAS…NOT ISCARIOT Lutheran Church [c.f. John 14.22a]  (c’mon, this guy deserves all the rehabilitation he can get for all the slights he must’ve taken when meeting new potential Christians: “Hey, aren’t you the guy….?”)

4.  (Combining our love for Dr. Luther, Latin, and the Mount of Olives, we can name our suburban “boomer” parish)
   SAINT MARTINI & OLIVES Lutheran Church

3.  SAINT EUTYCHUS Lutheran Church (for those who think our homilies run a tad too long)

2.  SAINT CARL VEHSE Lutheran Church (well, you do want a “real” American Lutheran Church don’t you?  Truth in advertising baby--)


D R U M    R O L L   (please)


And now for the # 1 Cool Name You Do NOT Want to Name Your New Lutheran Parish:


1.  SAINT MARY THE EVER VIRGIN Lutheran Church (while it may be true, start looking for a new call brother)

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Old Saint Who Ministered to The Vicar:

   I was the Vicar and Lars was a shut-in.  I was serving a wonderfully confessional parish south-west of Milwaukee during that time of 1993/4.  One of my duties was to visit "shut-ins" once a month.  Each one of these dear saints ministered to me far more than I to them, and they were all unique and special Lambs of THE Lamb.  But to be honest, I enjoyed visiting Lars the most.

   I think Lars (not his real name) was of Polish ethnicity or maybe Polish/German because he was BOTH forthright AND jovial.  He was so demonstrably eager to have me read from Scripture and share homilies, devotions, and prayers with him.  He never complained…and he had every right to shake a fist at God.

   Not that Lars had the worst disease or was in the most pain, but that He was so incredibly cheerful and positive, that the failed kidneys which imprisoned his elderly body just seemed to make his suffering all the more tragic.  The things he would have continued to do had he not been struck down by this renal failure--the things which by the Grace of Christ he DID do.

   He lived with his daughter and son-in-law just south of Milwaukee and not all that far from the shores of Lake Michigan.  I would come into the den/living room and sit in the afternoon natural light and he would give me the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified for the forgiveness of the world.  No, he was no Pieper or Kurt Marquart but he knew his Small Catechism and he knew the Evangels.  He craved my visits because his children all worked on Sundays and thus he had no way of getting to church.  There might have been a tad of internecine Lutheranism going on as well; Lars was LC-MS, while his daughter and son-in-law were WELS.  Besides, he was not all that mobile and I think he may have been bordering on incontinence issues, which, seem to be harder for men to deal with than women (a pride thing maybe).  I would bring him “up-to-speed” on matters in the parish and then he would talk to me about his trips to the Dialysis Center.  He went several times a week for a couple of hours at a stretch.  It was very painful he said, but “heck Vicar, not nearly as painful as what a lot of people have to go through!”  I was constantly humbled by his courage.  He, never bragging, would regale me with positive things he would share with all the children and young people sitting next to him receiving dialysis at the same time: “well Vicar, they weren’t going to be going anywhere, so I might as well tell ‘em about Jesus.”  

   In his faux gruff voice and exterior (he reminded me of a mix between a retired stevedore and a teamster…but a lovable one) and clipped sentences he would share with me his observations and impressions of the world and the nation which he got from watching the news and listening to Rush (Limbaugh was at the peak of his phenomenal growth then; half way through President Clinton’s first term).  Lars could criticize and find fault but he never resorted to ad hominem viciousness or cheap-shots.  He knew more about the 8th commandment than most pastors I’ve known.

   This was a man who knew Jesus loved him and though he was not desirous to be going through the physical pain and medical trauma, was content to be a Saint and just “plug on” (as he said) till it was time to go home to “them mansions.”  He smiled more than any "shut-in" I had then as a Vicar, and that I’ve ever had as a pastor.  He smiled through the pain and discomfort and the smile was genuine; it had palpable warmth. 

   There were many times as I drove back to my apartment that I had to fight from weeping. 

   The face and voice of Jesus in His beloved and tender lambs… ministering to those who need Him.

    Lars may have been a “shut-in” but I have carried his memory with me every time I go and visit someone in the hospital or at their sick-bed.  When next I behold this dear Saint, his kidneys will be working  just “dandy” (as he would say) and we will drink the Fruit of the Vine of Resurrection with Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, and all the company of heaven.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Let Thy Holy Angel Be With Me
Saint Matthew 4. 1-11
INVOCAVIT: 17 February Anno Domini 2013
Father Watson

In The + Name of Jesus 

  Jesus was led by the Spirit shortly after the Father had called Him His beloved Son. The Jordan baptism was public and observed by many, the desert battle was observed by only the Trinity and the angels.

   The Ten Commandments still apply to all of you. Lent focuses your attention on God’s Law. The God Who scribed those stones was the Redeemer Who freed the Hebrews from Egyptian captivity. Those Israelites were to obey God…they did not.  Even after their rebellion (indeed they murmured against their own pastor—threatening to stone Moses) the Redeemer gave them cool water from a Rock, a large stone indeed.

   Like the Hebrews, YOU, are to obey the Word written on stone tablets. You do not. You have your entire life, your “forty years” in the wilderness of sin, just like the Hebrews did. And because you would die in the desert and be buried under stones and rock and dust…ashes to ashes…just like so many of them, the Redeemer Himself comes and sets things right.

   The same devil that defeated Adam in combat forcing him out into the desert to eat bread grown from stone-filled earth; the same devil that caused the Hebrews to hate the Word and instead dance around a golden calf; was met face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball by the Second Adam: Emmanuel! 

   Doing what you won’t do, what even Saint Moses couldn’t do, Jesus fasted forty days and nights, abstaining from the mammon of the broken world to subsist and eat only the Words of His Father. The Word made Flesh was fed on the Word which was God—The Holy Trinity Himself.  Do you get hungry and thirsty? Do you know what’s it’s like to go without necessities? Do you know what’s it like to be lonely and surrounded by wild things?  So does Jesus!  He battled with every one of your trespasses for forty days even before the dragon arrived for the penultimate battle.

   The devil tempted Him thrice; very Trinitarian of him wasn’t it…in a malevolent serpent-like mockery.

   He told Jesus to make stones into food. The devil was reminding Him that that was what He had precisely done in the desert for Moses…He had given manna on the ground right next to the stones and life out of a rock.  The devil knew God had made Adam out of the earth (crushed rocks and stones, if you will).  But to do what Satan suggests, even when it makes sense, even when your body, mind, and will desires it so (like in every one of your daily temptations) is to die. Jesus could have made stones into fresh bread, but to do so would have been death for you. To have eaten devil-dough would have been to eat the sourdough of the forbidden fruit.  Adam’s sin, the Hebrew’s sin, and your sin would have gone unrepaired. Had He listened to Satan, Christ would have been defeated and your fate would sealed...sealed in a tomb covered with stones just like rebellious Absalom when he defied God’s chosen King.

   The devil quoted the Psalter, out-of-context of course, to provoke Christ to hurl Himself off of the Temple Mount. Satan knew all the prophecies. Satan knew that the angels were to bear up God’s Anointed lest He dash His foot. Satan was, in essence, challenging Jesus to test death itself.  “If you are the Word, the Resurrection, prove it…jump, for You’ll either be caught by pesky seraphs or You’ll die and be buried under stones…then we can all see if this resurrection stuff is true…prove it!”

   Jesus did what you are to do and don’t do…He refused to listen to the liar; He clung to the Word of God; He believed in His Father’s love even while His belly burned and His mouth was cracked for lack of water.

   In the final trial Christ refused glory, honor, power, fame, wealth and all the things you so crave.  Jesus gave up everything that you think is essential (family, career, education, life-style, leisure, entertainment, acceptance, affirmation, food, drink, money, and fun) and simply clung to the Word. Jesus clamped down His sacred mouth on the Word and fed from God.

   The devil was defeated not by miracles, power, glory, numbers, excitement, and good feelings. The devil was defeated by the Word of God.  He would soon be crushed by the same saving—stone, the Rock of Ages, on a hilltop made of stones, skulls, blood and bone: Calvary (the place of the skull).

   Yes, fight the good fight my fellow desert warriors. Look to Moses’ words, GOD’s LAW, as the true indictment against your daily failings and inner failing as fallen creature.  The Law is good when it crushes you in to bloody stones by its righteous weight. But know this and believe this: Christ has fought and defeated the wily foe. One little Word has felled the murderous beast.

   You don’t go looking for the snake. You’re rightfully wary and concerned with his diabolic temptations and traps. You don’t presume to tempt God’s angels if you’ve done stupid and reckless things that the Lord has not asked you to do. You don’t even have to try and fight the devil man-to-demon with your knowledge of the Word and your ability to wield it like the Apostle mentions. You are not the conqueror of Satan. You are kin of the One Who has already won all your fights and battles!

   Pray the Word of God, the Psalter, but when you fail, know that the Lord prays for you!  Read the Word of God, especially the Torah, Esaias, Romans, and the Evangels, but when you fail, know that the Lord IS ALL that Word, those words, and constantly loves, protects, and forgives you.  Meditate upon the Crucifix of Christ Crucified; your Holy + Baptism; and the goodness of His Person and Work; but when you fail, know that He and His Holy Ghost brings you right back here for more peace and absolution.  Receive Him, His true Body and real Blood, and be In Him as He is placed in to you.  You don’t fail Jesus’ Eucharistic feast this day. You are out of the desert, out of the stones, and carried forward by ministering angels to the Table, the green grass, the still waters, and His cup overfloweth into you.

In The Name of The Father and + of The Son and of The Holy Ghost