Dear friends in Christ,
We continue our survey of Church History from the book of Professor E.A.W. Krauss from our St. Louis seminary of a century ago. This month we find Heinrich Melchior Muehlenberg, sent from Germany, arriving in Pennsylvania to begin his work there. In this brief look at his account, we find Pastor Muehlenberg several times using the phrase [or variation of it]: “I remained silent for further reflection.” We do well to do the same at various points in our life, especially at momentous moments. Also, we do well to follow this practice as we prepare ourselves for our Thanksgiving celebrations. We rightly sing in the hymn [TLH #39, 4]: “Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee, Who from the heavens the streams of His mercy doth send thee. Ponder anew What the Almighty can do, Who with His love doth befriend thee.”
43.2 [part 1]
HOW MUEHLENBERG SETTLED INTO HIS CONGREGATIONS
Later Muehlenberg described the account of his first experiences very thoroughly and clearly.
He writes: I was a stranger in Philadelphia and did not know where to turn first. On the way, I had heard that the pharmacist, Zwiefler, who had formerly been in Ebenezer, now lived in Philadelphia and had joined with the Moravian Brethren. First I went to an English pub and from there sought out Mr. Zwiefler. He kindly received me and when I inquired about the German Lutherans, he said that the most intelligent and the majority had joined with Count Zinzendorf; the others had taken on an old preacher named Johann Valentin Kraft, who had recently arrived from Zweibruecken in Germany. He had been dismissed from there. Afterwards, I wanted to rent a room for my stay but the only one I could find was in an English house where Mr. Zwiefler lived. From there I again went to the English innkeeper where I had first stayed and inquired where New Providence and New Hannover were. He did not know but brought in a German man from the country who was just then in the city and lived in New Hannover. The man was named Philipp Brandt. He said we would forever be searching fruitlessly because New Providence was better known by the name “Trapp” and New Hannover by the name “Falkner’s Swamp.” Brandt reported to me that the congregation in New Hannover had a preacher named N. Schmidt who was a quack dentist. He then reported that New Hannover was 36 miles away. Even though the roads were bad, he had to set out on the return trip that evening. Although I was still weak and sick from the ship travel, I did not want to miss anything so I decided to go along and had my things brought from the ship to the rented room. Mr. Brandt, meanwhile, rented me a riding horse and we rode silently out of the city that evening. We fed the horses at a German inn ten miles from the city. In the pub were some German men and were told that old Pastor Kraft was received as preacher in Philadelphia, Germantown and in the Trapp. We spent the night there.
On Friday, 26 November, we continued our journey in the company of some German men. We could only proceed very slowly on account of the ruts in the roads. It was already evening when we had to cross two rivers. The first was low, the other was high. My horse was small and the river strong. It took the horse along with it for a few yards but the horse pulled itself through and happily came out. I was covered with water up to my chest and we still had ten miles to ride in the dark until New Hannover but we arrived safe and sound at Brandt’s residence. Saturday morning I rode with Brandt to an officer of the church (Vorsteher) and asked him if he would send for the other officers and elders. That afternoon, two officers and four elders came together. I had Mr. Brandt read aloud to them the letter from the Court Preacher Ziegenhagen. Some said that they had recently received the aforementioned Schmidt to be their preacher but they would also receive me if the members of the congregation would agree to it. Others thought it would be good if I would discuss with the old pastor, Kraft, the possibility that he would serve in Philadelphia and Germantown while I would serve in Hannover and Providence; or that I would preach in the lower towns and Kraft would preach in the upper towns. Answer: I had no instructions for Germantown nor could I leave any of the three places unless they would first dismiss me. They thought it would be hard because those in Philadelphia, Germantown and Providence already had too many dealings with Pastor Kraft. I let it rest for further examination. I wanted to preach tomorrow, the First Sunday in Advent, in their church and they were to inform Mr. Schmidt of this. In private discussions I learned that the local congregation was very divided. One part stayed with Schmidt; others had left the church because of him; still others had previously withdrawn and no longer wanted anything to do with churches and clerics; some joined Count Zinzendorf’s new establishment; many believed nothing at all.
On Sunday I rode to church with the church officer. It was framed in with blocks a year ago but still not completed. Men and women rode to church. Preacher Schmidt also came and sat by me in the chair. I told him that today I would give my introductory sermon and relieve him. He showed himself to be courteous and said that he would not stand in my way. This first sermon was based on 2 Corinthians 5. 19, 20. After the sermon, because the officers and elders wanted me to, I read aloud to the assembly my call and instruction from the Very Reverend Ziegenhagen. In the afternoon I had various visits and opportunity to speak a good word and to hear various views. Several rejoiced because they hoped that the congregation would in time become well ordered. Those who remained with Preacher Schmidt were not completely satisfied; they thought he should not be completely rejected even though he was not ordained and was occasionally a bit intoxicated. Others said that they would take a wait and see attitude because they had already been conned a few times before and they did not know whether my letters were forged or not. I am glad that God’s providence had kept His beloved servant, Boltzius [from Ebenezer in Georgia], from the heartbreaking conditions here. On the sea voyage I became physically accustomed to the harsh seasickness and now I must also become used to the moral conditions that cause a person to vomit.
Monday, 29 November, three congregational elders accompanied me to New Providence. The oldest living officer was summoned. I showed him the writing of the court preacher. He immediately recognized the court preacher’s signature and said that he was glad that I had come. They had indeed given up hope and no longer expected anyone. Because they had not received an answer to their last correspondence of 1739, they then, a year ago, asked the consistory in Darmstadt for a preacher. After that, an old preacher, Valentin Kraft, had arrived saying that he had been sent by the consistory. He brought no witnesses with him and came with absolutely nothing, pretending that everything would come later. The church officer was of the opinion that I should confer with Mr. Kraft and should serve either the two lower cities or the two upper country congregations. I remained silent for further reflection.
Tuesday, 30 November, the older church officer from the Trapp rode with me to the younger church officer and from there to Philadelphia, where we arrived, wearied, at 9 pm…. Afterwards I paid for the horse and went to my rented room.
Monday, 01 December, the officer from Providence came for me in a German inn where I was to make my visit with Pastor Kraft. In the presence of various Germans, Mr. Kraft first rebuked me for not immediately, on the first day of my arrival in the country, going and reporting to him. But then for my consolation said that he would help me and place me where it would be best for me. I remained silent for further reflection.
He then explained that he had already traveled around in the country, set up a Presbyterium generale and speciale in Philadelphia etc., and now and then appointed officers and elders. He had even already established a consistory over which he would preside. I was completely foreign here, yet I still wanted to follow my instructions and have the letter read from the court preacher to the officers and elders of the Philadelphia congregation; however everything was under Mr. Kraft’s direction. In the afternoon he had two come from his Presbyterium speciale and read the letter aloud to them. After this, he repeated his remark with an arrogance of office: “I will then place him in a place where it is necessary.” Because his vomit inducing attitude again awakened the seasickness with me, I burst out with the following phrases before the men: I cannot deviate from my instructions. If the three appointed congregations do not want to receive me, I must first have permission from my superiors in Europe before I can accept one or two other congregations. He consequently ordered the men of his Presbyterium speciale to make arrangements for me to preach the following Sunday in the old butcher house that the Lutherans and Reformed rented together for worship. At the conclusion, Mr. Kraft said to me that a prominent Swedish merchant in the city, Mr. Peter Koch, wanted to meet both of us tomorrow over lunch. On Thursday Mr. Kraft came and got me to go to Mr. Koch. He urged me to be decidedly jovial with Mr. Koch or else he would regard me as a Pietist. We ate with the man and had various useful discussions of church matters. After the meal, not knowing how to make myself more jovial, I had the prudent man read the letter from court preacher, Ziegenhagen. He requested that I preach in German the following Sunday in their Swedish church. Mr. Kraft said that it wouldn’t work because it was already arranged that I would preach in the old assembly house. Mr. Koch answered that it could be in the Swedish church in the afternoon. And so it remained.
So far Professor Krauss
It is hard to believe that soon we will be into 2017. Time does march on! The four of us at Ladies’ Day Out had a very enjoyable lunch at Jelly Beans.
This Sunday is our Bake & Craft Fair. As you may know this is our only fund raising activity so I hope we have a good turnout.
This next Sunday, 30 October, we have a Fifth Sunday Dinner. I see we only have 3 signed up to bring something. I sure hope we have more to come. The sign-up sheet is next to the organ.
Our next meeting is November 13 after church.
It’s never too early to start planning for our Christmas Cookie Exchange in December.
I pray all have a blessed month.
God Bless and have a blessed month.
REMEMBER THE TIME CHANGE FOR 06 NOVEMBER: The tradition of using Roman numerals on timepieces was established by the early clocks on church towers. During the Crusades, the Church drew the line from the infiltration of heathen Islamic learning by banning the adoption of Arabic numerals on its clocks. To this day, most 'classic' clocks and watches have Roman numerals.
[Source: Watch Around Nr. 008 Autumn 2009-Winter 2010]
THOUGHTS FROM LUTHER ON ALL SAINTS’ DAY—01 NOVEMBER:
Consider the ancient generations and see: who trusted in the Lord and was put to shame? Or who persevered in the fear of the Lord and was forsaken? Or who called upon Him and was overlooked? For the Lord is compassionate and merciful; He forgives sin and saves in time of affliction. [Ecclesiasticus 2. 10-11]
The examples of the saints’ weaknesses are more important and bring more comfort than the examples of the great, splendid strength and other virtues that the saints had. I cannot be bettered by the fact that David killed Goliath, bears and lions because I cannot follow him in such courageous deeds because they surpass all my powers and thoughts. For by such great deeds the saints are extolled on account of the power and strength that they had as brave heroes. But when the example of the weakness, the sin, the terrors and the trials the saints endured are held before us like when I read the laments, sighing, terrors and anxiety that David had, that encourages and gives me a great comfort. Because I see that they are not destroyed and undone in their anxiety and terror but take heart and are comforted with the promises. Thus I conclude that I, too, should not despair.
ELECTION DAY 2016 IS COMING when we are called upon to decide on a candidate for a particular office. On this day may we remember our nation in prayer. Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace and a blessing to other nations. Grant that we may choose trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and serve You faithfully in our generation. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.
OUR CRACK RESEARCH DEPARTMENT TO THE RESCUE—in case you are working on a crossword puzzle:
Black Market= A vast informal economy driven by human relationships, dense networks of social connections through which people trade resources and create value.
THE END OF THE CHURCH YEAR POINTS OUR ATTENTION TO JESUS’ SECOND COMING
Luther comments: For you [Jesus] is a Lord who was born, tormented, crucified, and who died and rose for your benefit. He forgives all your sin and sees to it that you do not fall into sin or despair in it. Thereafter He will in the end completely rescue you from it and thrust all enemies into the abyss of hell. Therefore, you need not fear, but rather must rejoice in Him and take comfort to the highest degree. He must be judge, that is true, for if He were not, we would never be saved. If He were to let the devil rule and do as he desires, and if He allowed the evil thoughts in my heart to prevail, and if He also allows the sects to continue, I would be lost eternally. Now if He is going to protect me, He must also judge and condemn—not me, but my enemies, that is, precisely the devil who shoots his evil arrows into my heart. [AE, LVII, 115]
GOD’S THANKSGIVING JOY: God accepts our desires as though they were of great value. He longs ardently for us to desire and love him. He accepts our petitions for benefits as though we were doing him a favor. His joy in giving is greater than ours in receiving. So let us not be apathetic in our asking, nor set too narrow bounds to our requests; nor ask for frivolous things unworthy of God’s greatness. – St. Gregory Nazianzus
Praise and Thanksgiving, Father we offer [LSB #789}
Sing to the Lord, bless his name. Psalm 96.2
About 60 times the psalms call on us to praise God. Thus it seems to be an important thing. But what is the praise of God anyway? Certainly singing and playing music belong to it. God has certainly deserved that the whole world sing to Him [see vs. 1]. He rejoices when we use our musical gifts to His glory. But there are also many other possibilities of praising God from the rising of the sun to its setting [compare Ps. 113.3].
There are many different ways people praise one another. For example, one can simply say, “You did a good job.” So also can we take delight in God’s great deeds, thank Him for them and say, “You have done well!” That’s praising God.
We can also praise other people when we take their advice to heart. By this we are showing that we regard them as wise. So also with the omniscient God—we entrust ourselves to Him in prayer and are certain of His help. This, too, is praising God.
People giving a gift in thanks for great service can express praise. The greatest service a Person ever rendered was rendered by Jesus on the cross. There He bore the enormous burden of our sin and died for it. When we want to praise God, then, because of it, we give back to Him some of our treasures and time.
In addition, we can show our praise very simply by “going.” The greatest compliment for a chef is a full restaurant. In the same way God also rejoices when we go to where He reveals Himself and serves us: in His word and sacraments.
We then may gladly follow the call which is directed to us in every Divine Service when we sing out loud “Hallelujah!” This word means nothing other than “Praise the Lord.” Lord, may our weak praise be pleasing to You. Amen.
By Pr. Andreas Heyn in God Is For Us, 12 January 2014
FROM OUR MISSOURI SYNOD’S STEWARDSHIP DEPARTMENT:
“O give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1). The love of the Lord does endure forever because the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, is risen from the dead, lives and reigns for all eternity. He was crucified for our transgressions, but He is raised and lives forever for our justification. We are acceptable to God in Christ Jesus.
This is indeed something for which we give thanks. We give thanks in our prayers. We give thanks in the hymns we sing in church. We give thanks by talking about it with our friends and neighbors and teaching it to our children and grandchildren. And we give thanks by giving to the church a generous, first-fruits portion of the income He provides us.
Giving is giving thanks. It is one of the concrete ways in which we thank God for all He has done for us. This includes not just what He has done for us here in time, but what He does for us for all eternity. He provides for all that we need in both body and soul. He is more ready to give than we are able either to receive or even ask. That is who He is. That is His character. He is good and His love endures forever.
Let us then give thanks in all these ways, not in one way or the other. But rather in all things, everything that we do and say, whether it be in word or deed, in prayer and praise, in teaching and giving, let us give thanks to God for He is good.
November 2016: Gift Planning Newsletter Article
Many Reasons to Give – Many Options for Giving
When two people fall in love and become one in the holy union of marriage, they typically share all that is to come, including material wealth. Most couples hold wealth in joint ownership. A few with considerable property might plan to separate assets in order to conserve taxes or maintain administrative protection. Yet in most cases, people commingle their property because it reflects their attachment and commitment to each other.
There also exists an emotional attachment, especially in connection with “objects of our bounty.” Generosity and giving are natural expressions that communicate the message, “I love you. You belong to me.” Giving can flow both during life and after.
Those who hear the Call of God’s Love through faith have similar connections that often transcend human ties. For some, generosity steeps up from the conviction that all that they have is a gift. For others, the desire to share and give comes from deep within the heart. Sadly, decisions to act on such aspirations often don’t get made because of a lack of knowing how to proceed or the resolve to get started.
All of us have more options to structure gifts than is often understood. A relevant question to ask is, “What is the most effective way to give in each circumstance?” Answering this question often requires advisors who understand methods and vehicles that govern economic, tax and legal processes. But we find that many people don’t discuss this with their professional advisors. This means they may miss the best ways to match their generous intent with the optimal charitable vehicle.
Have you ever thought about seeking spiritual counsel on these gifting issues as a part of the process? Charitable advisors can help you align your hopes for blessing others with the most effective financial strategy for your particular situation.
For more information, contact Robert Wirth, LCMS Foundation Gift Planner @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-863-4427.
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