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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

30 June 2007

Where Do I Get These Questions?

Q: What do you do if you don’t have a question to answer? Do you answer all the questions you get? How long do people wait? What kind of people write in to or read your column?

Questions GaloreA: To answer the first question, at my present pace, I’ll never run out of questions, so I won’t worry about not having a question to answer. If, in my retirement, I can respond to more than a couple people each week, the new question well might run dry. Then, I guess I could summarize my sermons, comment on something I recently learned in Bible study, or just stop writing a column and work on a book.

Secondly, I don’t answer all the questions I get. For a few, I cannot find an answer, no matter how I search. Some I cannot understand, even when I ask for clarification. Some fall into the category of asking, “Can God make a rock so big that He cannot move it?” Others appear to be attempts to deliberately stump me or to mock my faith. If I have time and energy, I’ll occasionally respond to one of these — but a steady diet of debating unbelievers gives me a headache.

Sometimes I’ll answer the questioner directly and my response is never seen in public. This happens when anything I say might violate a confidence or if the question doesn’t have broad enough appeal for the general reading public. I also try to tread lightly on certain questions involving human sexuality. I don’t ignore my beliefs or refuse to respond to questions about Lutheranism — I just try to avoid extremely narrow, technical questions in such broad forum. Also, some people have questions so similar to ones I’ve already answered that I show them what I previously wrote and ask them to reply only if they still have more questions.

Holy CommunionHow long do people wait? Being a parish pastor, a husband, and a father, I hold other priorities higher than or equal to this weekly Q&A (see what the Lord says through St. Paul in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-11). Try as I might, I never get to the bottom of the pile of unanswered questions. I try to stay up with newer queries and keep a lookout for “emergency” questions, especially when someone faces death, a crisis of faith, extreme mental health issues, or other such situations. When students write in with teacher-imposed deadlines, I try to hurry my responses — although I also try to avoid doing their homework for them.

Finally, all kinds of people write (or phone, or ask me in person). Lutherans, other Christians, believers in different gods, and atheists have all gotten in touch. Questions have come from countries around the globe and from every continent except Antarctica. I’ve answered young children, teens, adults, and senior citizens. While most questions come from lay people, Christian pastors and other church workers sometimes ask me, also. If I don’t know an answer, I try to put folks in touch with someone who can help.

I’ve met some people who’ve been moved to the brink of faith by the work of the Holy Spirit and who just want one last intellectual or emotional objection answered. I’ve encouraged (and been encouraged by) life-long, devout believers who just want help filling in a few details about parts of Scripture or articles of faith. Little makes me happier than having previously confused questioners tells me that they clearly understand my responses.

Pastoral InstallationWhen pastors tell me that I’m helpful in their ministry, I’m glad I can share a gift God gave me with others in the Church. Above all else, I celebrate when hearing that God used something I’ve said to help move a person to belief in Christ or that God has allowed me to have a powerful positive impact on someone’s life.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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29 June 2007

Dancing Jesus?

Q: One of my Bible study groups asked me if Jesus danced. I know there is a time for everything under the sun (Son) but is it said or insinuated anywhere that Jesus danced?

A Time for EverythingA: Ecclesiastes 3 tells us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven ... (v. 1)” including “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.... (v. 4)” However, this is what we would call descriptive, not prescriptive, language. In other words, these events and activities happen, but not necessarily all of them in like manner for all people. For one born mute, there might never be “a time to speak (v. 7)” and someone who’s suffered paralysis may never enjoy a dance.

Even among “ordinary” people, the balance and distribution of these items varies. Teachers and students both may speak and “keep silence (v. 7)” — however, while learning may take place with both sides quiet, all speaking at once rarely advances education. Furthermore, some of these activities are specialized. One who farms (v. 2) may never engage in tailoring (v. 7) or vice versa.

The Marriage at CanaRegarding Jesus, some people of His day may have inferred that He danced from His words and some of His other activities. The marriage at Cana, the site of “the first of his signs, (John 2:11)” where He turned water to wine, likely included dancing as part of the festivities. Dancing could have happened at some of the other celebrations Jesus attended — we just don’t know for sure.

Jesus invoked dancing while condemning His own generation, which tried to impose its own will on God and society. Responding to comparisons between Himself and the imprisoned John the Baptist, He said, “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ (Luke 7:31-32)”

The Lord at Levi's HouseChrist’s following words show that many considered Him to be too much of a “party animal” to be any sort of religious teacher or holy man: “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children. (vv. 33-35)”

We must remember that even if Jesus did dance as an adult, He likely only did so with other men. While boys and girls may have played together, respectable men and women normally danced in groups with their own sex. If there were any “coed” dances of that day, they likely were as exotic or erotic as a modern square dance.

SalomeThe glaring New Testament exception to this type of formal, group dancing also involved John the Baptist. Herod imprisoned him because John condemned Herod’s “wife-swapping” when Herod took his brother’s wife Herodias as his own. She decided to end John’s moral diatribes permanently by playing up to Herod’s lusts with her daughter’s dancing (see Mark 6:14-29). While Mark doesn’t give the specifics, it seems that the ruler was “moved” more by the eroticism than by the artistry of the young woman’s dance.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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18 June 2007

Small but Mighty

No, I don’t refer to David vs. Goliath but to Lutheran Carnival #52: Gerhard O. Forde Edition, hosted by Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength. Weekend Fisher’s use of Dr. Forde’s book titles to introduce the three categories of posts is clever and works well.

Thanks to the Moose Report for hosting the previous carny. Next up in two weeks is Barb the Evil Genius. Check out the official Lutheran Carnival of Blogs site for details on reading, hosting, and contributing.

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Lucky Dog

or, Every Father Has His Day

The Aftermath of the Wedding: Dancing with My DaughterI enjoyed Father’s Day today. Actually, I hold that (to paraphrase the response of my dad to us kids when we asked when we would get to celebrate Children’s Day) every day is Father’s Day. After all, fatherhood is a divine gift not given to all men. Those who receive the blessing can either cherish it and use it wisely or else despise and abandon it for selfish or otherwise evil purposes.

Anyhow, Father’s Day always falls on a Sunday, which means that I get to start each one by talking about our Heavenly Father and His love for us through the gift of His own dear Son Jesus Christ. Today I preached on the aftermath of David’s sins involving Uriah and Bathsheba, echoing Nathan by reminding each person present that “You Are the One.” The Law, of course, is obvious. I said to each (and how I longed for an older English that understood the difference between you and thou), “You are the one who continues to sin in thought, word and deed and you are the one who constantly finds special ways to excuse, rationalize, or ignore your own wickedness while still eagerly demanding that God exercise ‘justice’ on all those ‘real’ sinners among whom you constantly find yourself.”

Love and ForgivenessActually, as I developed the sermon, the Gospel became equally clear and easy to proclaim to each: “You are the one for whom Christ came to earth. You are the one for whom He suffered horribly and for whom He died. You are the one for whom He rose and for whom He will return to resurrect and to bring to live with Him forever.” Tying in today’s Gospel, I then reminded each, “You are the one who has received a marvelous gift: Your sins, which are many, are forgiven. You are the one who knows this and shows this when you love much. This is not to cause God to forgive you but because He has forgiven you.”

After the service and Bible study (which this week was a study of the new hymnal, Lutheran Service Book), The Fair Stephanie took off to Kansas City (actually, Overland Park) for a coaching session with her Sweet Adeline chorus in anticipation of this fall’s international competition in Calgary.

LauraWhile she did this, I took the younger daughter and the only grandson (child of Daughter Number One) with me to Powell Gardens. There, we toured the trails, sniffed the flowers, and got down with the kid-friendly sounds of The Doo-Dads. Honestly, how could any papa resist Let’s Potty, Peanut Butter in My Ear, or Who’s That Kid in the Mirror? — as well as the rest of their songs?

I then allowed the grand rascal some time in the new fountain in the still under construction Fountain Garden under his auntie’s watchful eye while I renewed our membership. That mission accomplished, we walked out to the car, changed the soggy young man, and headed into KCMO for a dinner rendezvous with my Starter (and, God willing, Finisher) Wife. It being My Official Day, I chose the path of least formal dining, beginning with an appetizer of two pounds of boiled mudbugs and a beverage to cut the dust, followed by a cold glass of tea and a piping hot blackened fish entrée at Jazz: A Louisiana Kitchen.

A Pile of Boiled CrawfishMrs. Me cannot eat (allergies) and doesn’t particularly like to watch others eat (think little black eyes, claws, a bunch of legs, and antennae) the crustaceans, but true love is sometimes blind (and at other times takes a brief walk outdoors during the appetizer). Meanwhile, Daughter the Second and Grandson the Only helped me quickly polish off the crawfish and the two orphan boiled potatoes that sat among them (read down in the linked Wikipedia article). While she’d eaten them with me many times while we lived in Deep East Texas (Jasper) and a few times since, it was his first taste — a “taste” that turned into almost a full third of the pile set before us.

Once we were done, Steph and I drove home (I kept the kids) to peacefully conclude what could have been a very hectic day. Prayers have been said, teeth brushed, and hugs and kisses exchanged. Now everyone but I lies sleeping. Tomorrow’s my normal “Sabbath Day,” so I sometimes stay up reading or writing on Sunday evening and Monday morning early. As I do so now, the Lord allows me this last look back on a blessed Father’s Day. As I prepare to take in the dogs in anticipation of rain, I consider how today, Laissez les bon temps rouler met Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow ... and how I am better off by their encounter.

Note: Wedding dance picture added later.

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15 June 2007

Rotten Fruit from Gossip’s Vine

Q: I know several people who’ve been hurt by gossip. Why do people who wouldn’t dream of telling a hurtful lie about someone else so often tell harmful truth for no good reason?

Grape VinesA: I think that many don’t believe that the truth is gossip; at least they convince themselves that this is the case. However, unless telling the truth is both beneficial to all involved and has the blessing of those about which it’s spoken, we should think twice before opening our mouths.

We use the seemingly harmless term “grapevine” for our traditional gossip networks. News spreads rapidly through large or small communities. While Scripture often speaks glowingly of vines, gossip vines are of poor quality and produce rotten fruit. People’s reputations are damaged — even destroyed — as the fruit of the message is consumed and passed along the vine.

The Eighth Commandment says, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” In the Small Catechism, Luther further developed the Commandment in the light of Scripture: “We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest possible way.”

GossipIf our neighbor is having problems with husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, or others, we do them no good by telling the truth about these problems. Our neighbor’s reputation is a sacred trust and we violate this trust, betraying our neighbor, when we intentionally display him in a negative light.

Political campaigns, especially those termed “negative,” justly receive condemnation from many. These mudslinging campaigns rarely have a fraction of the impact of words shared among people from the same church or community. In the Old Testament, the Lord demanded public testimony from two or three reliable witnesses to make a case. However, this was directly related to trial situations. No one was empowered or deputized to go sneaking around, digging up dirt on each other, and spreading the filth as fast as tongues can carry it.

We may hide our motives or identities from others as we fan the flames of deceit, envy, or hatred. However, Paul writes, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)” He sees through excuses, judging the deed according to the heart that conceives it. Remember again, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

Good SamaritanAs weak and sinful people, that bit about “explaining everything in the kindest possible way” may be especially difficult to do. I have no particularly kind way to explain such behavior, so I won’t try. Instead, I’ll pray that those responsible for damaging not only their own spiritual well-being, but also that of so many others, will reap the spirit of repentance instead of wrath. Paul clearly displays the alternatives in Galatians 6:8-10: “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

When we plant and harvest the grapes of gossip, their vines will soon choke us. But when we are grafted to the True Vine, Jesus Christ (see John 15), we receive divine nourishment and strength to resist the temptation to gossip, slander, or defame. What a wonderful God we have! While we hold grudges and harbor ill will, our Father loves mercy over wrath, and is pleased to forgive all sins.

May those assaulted by either liars or those who tell unnecessary truths say with their Savior, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)” And may each person who begins, spreads, or believes gossip be moved to say, “Father, forgive me.”

For more from Ask the Pastor, please see the 2005 column Gossip.

Eighth Commandment quotes from Luther’s Small Catechism, © 1986 by Concordia Publishing House.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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Grace, Faith, and Predestination

Q: Can you explain the terms foreseen faith and prevenient grace for me? How are they used? How do they relate to the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions? To what historical period do these terms belong?

BibleA: According to the Lutheran Confessions and a Christ-centered study of the Scriptures, these terms usually are used incorrectly and are at odds with God’s Word. You’ll see how this is so as we touch on the more detailed portions of your questions.

Some people are unwilling to let God be God. They attempt to understand His thoughts and actions when He makes no effort to explain them. Their speculation centers on the question, “Why are some saved and not others?” Foreseen faith, a misunderstanding of the origin and expression of justifying faith, is a human idea of how God predestines some to salvation. Its supporters claim that God, in His omniscience, can see ahead of time who will believe and marks that person as predestined to eternal election according to his foreseen faith. A similar phrase such folks use is that God predestines “in view of faith.”

Such ideas grow from our inability to comprehend the Lord’s infinite knowledge and power. They also may stem from the thinking that man must somehow do something in order to earn, merit, or gain salvation. This misunderstands the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of God’s Word. Attempting to understand God proves impossible, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)” Attempting to please Him through our own actions is fruitless, since Jesus said, “[U]nless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)”

WaterThe concept of prevenient grace falls into this latter category. The Lutheran Church follows the Old and New Testaments and the early Church fathers in understanding grace as a divine attitude. This is the primary Scriptural use of the word. At times, the concept of being “full of grace” may be applied to a believer, sounding as if grace were like water, a substance that can be poured, counted, or measured. However, the idea seems actually to mean that the believer is filled with the same attitude toward others as God has toward him.

Those who think of grace as a measurable substance and who believe that we are saved “by grace” need to figure out a way in which God pours enough grace into someone that the unbeliever moves toward God or into a state of saving faith. The method many arrive at involves prevenient (or preceding) grace. According to this way of thinking God slips enough of this first type of grace into a person that the person becomes able to cooperate in his salvation.

While Saint Augustine may have implied, Jacob Arminius and Charles Wesley particularly emphasized prevenient grace and various Methodist churches still teach it. The 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline calls prevenient grace “the divine love that surrounds all humanity and precedes any and all of our conscious impulses. This grace prompts our first wish to please God, our first glimmer of understanding concerning God’s will, and our ‘first slight transient conviction’ of having sinned against God. God’s grace also awakens in us an earnest longing for deliverance from sin and death and moves us toward repentance and faith.”

GiftsPrevenient grace becomes a means for the Wesleyan tradition to teach both original sin and justification by grace alone. It allows fallen mankind to partner with God, to come to Him as He comes to it. Churches strongly rooted in the theology of John Calvin, such as many Presbyterian and Reformed bodies, disagree with this idea. They claim that if God gives this preliminary grace to everyone, human will and subsequent effort become the determining factors in salvation. They believe that this is counter to Ephesians 2:8-9, where Paul wrote that salvation “is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works.”

However, as it struggles to give God the credit and the glory for saving sinners, Calvinism also leaves itself open to criticism, since it teaches that the God causes the damnation of all He chooses not to save. This double predestination denies universal grace, the Biblical teaching that Christ Jesus died for all people, not just for the elect; that is, those who will be saved.

Lutheran theology “solves” the Arminian and Calvinist problems involved with understanding grace, election, and predestination by not solving them. Instead, Lutherans teach that salvation is the free gift of God while damnation is entirely the fault of those who suffer it. While the paradoxes of salvation may be intellectually beyond our comprehension, we simply accept and confess the paradox that Scripture presents.

Cranach: ResurrectionIn Article XI of the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, Lutheran theologians noted that a “distinction between praescientia et praedestinatio, that is, between God’s foreknowledge and His eternal election, ought to be accurately observed.” It says that predestination “extends over the godly” and that upon God’s predestination “our salvation is founded so firmly that the gates of hell cannot overcome it. [John 10:28; Matt. 16:18]”

We are not to speculate. Instead, we seek and find evidence of our predestination “in the Word of God, where it is also revealed.” That’s because the Word “leads us to Christ, who is the Book of Life, in whom all are written and elected that are to be saved in eternity, as it is written. [Eph. 1:4]” Since Christ is the means of our salvation, we don’t look for added sources, such as prevenient grace. And since the Spirit uses this Word to create and sustain faith, we see that faith comes because of God’s divine intervention and does not cause or lead up to His accepting us.

Building on Romans 8:30, the Epitome says that knowing God’s predestination strengthens faith: “In [Christ] we are to seek the eternal election of the Father, who has determined in His eternal divine counsel that He would save no one except those who know His Son Christ and truly believe on Him.... Out of pure grace ... we have been elected in Christ to eternal life, and ... no one can pluck us out of His hand; as He has ... promised this gracious election ... certified it with an oath and sealed it with the holy Sacraments....”

Article XI of the Epitome of the Formula of Concord quoted from the public domain text at The Book of Concord online.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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01 June 2007

Mental Health Help

Q: I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder 7 months ago. These months have been a living nightmare. Sometime I think about suicide. I have this scared feeling in the pit of my stomach or chest every day. I also have this feeling like Im going to die soon. When I go into the store I feel like I don’t need to buy anything for myself because Im going to die. I have also driven behind two cars that had “RIP” on their license plate. Can this be a sign from God that I will die soon or is it my anxiety? Please help. Thank you for your time.

PsychologyA: Many good Christians have bad problems with mental and emotional illness. I’m not a mental health expert, but your symptoms seem right in line with the little I know about anxiety disorders. Under otherwise “perfect” conditions, it’s often difficult to remain a firm Christian. An ailing mind makes your faith walk even more difficult.

With this in mind, I first encourage you to develop and maintain a good relationship with your pastor, that he can help you meet each trial. Often, pastors have only slight knowledge about particular mental health issues. Most of us are grateful when our suffering parishioners educate us about their specific conditions. It helps us to better understand how to apply God’s Word to each individual’s circumstances.

Of course, I think that you should continue receiving professional treatment. You don’t have to go to a “Christian” counselor or psychiatrist, to receive competent help, although that may be a benefit. However, make sure that your mental health provider isn’t hostile toward Christianity or unwilling to partner with your pastor. All of life’s problems, including yours, include spiritual dimensions that secular counselors are unable to address.

De ProfundisSimilar to people involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and related groups, you might also benefit by having a “mental health buddy.” Such a partner can pray for you, look out for you, and talk you through rough times.

Since guilt, shame, doubt, and despair often accompany afflictions of the mind, I’ve also listed some previous columns concerning related mental-health struggles. I pray that these will help you to continue looking not inward at your problems but outward and upward to the God who loves you, forgives you, and promises you grace and every blessing.

  §  Can Mentally Ill People Go to Heaven?
  §  A New Christian Is Sorely Tempted
  §  Christian Troubles
  §  Mental Health and Spiritual Well-Being

Finally, I urge you to do as Saint Peter recommended: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6)” Jesus, who knew from eternity the time and place of His own death, still went willingly that He might bring you healing and forgiveness. Death’s dark valley loses its worrisome shadow when our Savior walks with us every step of the way.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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The Pastor and Funeral Visitation

Q: I’ve been a senior pastor at my current location for three years now. Here is my question: How long should I stay at the viewing at the death of a lady in the church? Thanks.

The Reagan FuneralA: I don’t know if your church body, congregation, or region of the country have any special customs and practices. If not, I’d recommend that, whenever possible, you arrive before the viewing officially begins, when the family says they will gather. Of course, this isn’t always possible, since some previous commitments may outweigh even the beginning of a family’s visitation time. Occasionally, also, an emergency keeps a pastor away.

Anyhow, after extending condolences and visiting the departed saint’s coffin or urn, have a prayer and say a brief devotion or give a very short sermon for the family. You might, if you see a need, talk for a few minutes with any family members who appear to be particularly struggling, especially if they’re also members of your congregation. Leave when the situation seems right.

Some bodies give their pastors much more help in this area than do others. Most liturgical churches (those following the orders of service established in the early Christian Church) have for centuries used resources such as what we Lutherans call our Agenda. A full-featured agenda, suitable for use in the worship services, includes all the basic rites and ceremonies we use. These include ordinations, installations, inductions, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and funerals.

My church body, The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS), also produced a scaled-down version that’s easier to take with us on the road. A new agenda was issued to accompany Lutheran Service Book, our newest hymnal. In keeping with previous issues, the LSB Agenda offers prayers, Scripture readings, and related material not only for the funeral but before and after. Meanwhile, the more portable Pastoral Care Companion focuses especially on those rites and ceremonies that may be held outside of the church building.

For hospital and shut-in visits, we have services of prayer, preaching, and Holy Communion. If death seems imminent, the pastor can speak and pray the “Commendation of the Dying” at home, hospital, nursing home, or wherever else. When meeting with the family for a first viewing at the funeral home, the Agenda and the Companion offer a rite of “Comforting the Bereaved.” Then follow the funeral and committal rites with various options, including the placing of the funeral pall. The Agenda also includes a special rite, “Burial for a Stillborn Child or Unbaptized Child.”

If your own church doesn’t offer such assistance, you check with the LCMS’s Concordia Publishing House or investigate similar materials from other bodies. Of course, some may worry that using printed, established rites destroys “spontaneity.” However, the Scripture options, the sermon(s), the pastor’s meetings with the family, and his relationship with the saint at rest allow us to tailor the entire funeral to the survivors’ needs according to our mutual memories of the departed.

Note: This response was updated to reflect the information supplied by Pastor McCain in the comments. I didn’t name the Pastoral Care Companion only because it’s not yet in my library. That will be taken care of once I get a few shekels set aside.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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Responsive Athanasian Creed

TriquetraI have a copy of the Athanasian Creed in copier-ready PDF, formatted for responsive reading. It includes a brief historical and theological introduction. Anyone who’d like it for personal or congregational purposes is welcome to click it and claim it.

For more on the Christology of this creed and its teaching on good works, please see Athanasian Creed: Trinity, Good Works, and Salvation. Concerning Trinity Sunday, with some suggested readings and hymn quotes, check last year's commemorative post from Aardvark Alley — The Feast of the Holy Trinity.

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