Transcript: Episode 0056

This transcript:
  1. Was machine generated.
  2. Has not been checked for errors.
  3. May not be entirely accurate.


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Welcome to the Stone Choir podcast. I am Corey J. Moeller.

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And I'm still woe. And God said, let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to

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separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days

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and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.

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And it was so. And when God smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, I will

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never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil

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from his youth. Neither will I again strike down every living creature as I have done,

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while the earth remains seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and

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night shall not cease. These two readings from Genesis 1 and Genesis

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from the creation and after the flood are a reminder to us that seasonality is a part of

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creation. The way that God created everything involves seasons and patterns and repetition

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and resonances among those various patterns as they harmonize. And so today, as we wrap up the

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calendar year, as the church has just begun the church year in the West, I thought that we thought

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this would be a good opportunity to talk about the liturgical calendar, about our liturgical life

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in the church as we are observing all the things that are revealed in Scripture that are not revealed

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in creation. Because on one hand, you have God's seasons that are shown in the stars and in the

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weather that we have on the earth, and on the other hand, you have seasons that are only present if

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you are aware of the Word of God. And these have been historically observed before Christianity,

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before Christ, and then after Christ, and in different forms because prior to Christ's birth,

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the pattern of life in believers pointed towards his birth and all the prophecies that he would

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fulfill. When he was born, when he fulfilled them, when he died and was resurrected from the dead,

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he completed the patterns that had been established prior to his birth.

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But the church didn't abandon the idea of the repeating patterns that are observed

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in the yearly life of believers. And from the earliest days in the church, we have examples of

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holidays or holy days being observed for the same reason. It wasn't necessarily any longer the case

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that God was specifically commanding a particular day to be observed in a particular way,

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but as a means of remembrance, all believers clung to the fulfillment of those promises that

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Christ had fulfilled when he came. And so what perhaps in some cases was once a law,

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all those we'll get into in a bit, was also a teaching tool, remains to this day, a teaching

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tool of the church, to do the things that have been done in the past in a manner that's consistent

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with Scripture in terms of observing what God has revealed to us is a great way of teaching

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everyone the faith and to be reminded of it. Because one thing that I think Christians don't

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necessarily take seriously is you can't hold all this in your head at once. You cannot possibly

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have all of God's things in mind all the time. You would be God if you could do that. Only God

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does that. The rest of us can only do one thing at a time. And so it's valuable to have seasons

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to remind us. You know, Lent is a season of penitence. Advent is a season of anticipation.

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Christmas is a season of thanksgiving. And then Easter as well, the greater thanksgiving,

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that the fulfillment of the birth was even more greatly fulfilled in his death and then resurrection.

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So as we talk about the calendar today, it's in view of,

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you know, again, the church calendar has just begun as we're recording this, we're just in

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the middle of Advent. It's also right at the end of the calendar year. And just as a very brief

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housekeeping measure, as I mentioned last week, we're going to be taking a couple of weeks off.

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The next episode back will be January 10th. That should be the first week that we're back.

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This week is also, as we drop this on Friday, will be the winter solstice,

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which is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, because the earth is a globe

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spoiler. The earth is a globe. It's tilting on an axis. It's going around the sun.

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The incidence of the light varies. So it's attenuated at different angles as it passes

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through the atmosphere. It has longer and shorter amounts of light being delivered

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through the atmosphere, just based on that angle. It gets cold. That's what happens.

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We have winter in the northern hemisphere, because the earth is a globe, it's tilted,

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and it's how God arranged things. In the northern hemisphere, it gets cold in the winter,

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and hot in the summer. And then the seasons are reversed in Australia.

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They call it summer and winter for the weather, but not for the time of year. And so today,

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as we're talking about calendars, that's going to be part of it. It's what is a calendar to us

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historically, and when does it make sense for us to be on the same page? There are two things I

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hope that folks will take away from this episode. One, these calendars are for the harmonization

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of the Christian life, and they're for the teaching of Christians. Two, they're not a law,

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and we'll make that case especially towards the end. Nothing that we're saying here is a condemnation

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of people who use a different calendar, who don't observe a calendar at all, who have wildly

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different calendars, slightly different calendars. We're not picking a winner. What we're saying is

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the use of these things as they've always been done among believers is salutary. And therefore,

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when someone wants to abandon a salutary practice, the owner is on them to say,

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here's why we're not allowed to do this anymore. So as we'll make the case towards the end,

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we're not the ones making a law of these things by saying, hey, this is a good idea. People have

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always done it. It's salutary. Others are in fact making a law saying, you can't do that. Why are

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you doing that? That's wrong. That's not in the Bible. We're going to make the case today in part

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that that's nonsense. And when we picked the subject, we didn't intend for it to be polemical.

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We just wanted a nice, easy end of the year subject. But as we started looking at it,

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it was clear that some of this is going to have to be polemical because of some of the things that

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happened during and after the Reformation. They just weren't good. Sorry, at the end of the year,

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that we're going to maybe be ruffling a few feathers. We didn't intend to, but this is just

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part of the Christian life. And when people get mad at that, that's not good. So I think one of

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the first examples I want to just give of the teaching value of the liturgical calendar goes

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all the way back to Leviticus. And this is a case where this was God's law for the Hebrews.

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Lord spoke to Moses saying, speak to the people of Israel and say to them,

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these are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations.

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They are my appointed feasts. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh is a Sabbath of

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solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your

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dwelling places. These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations which you shall

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proclaim at the time appointed for them. In the first month, on the 14th day of the month at

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twilight is the Lord's Passover. And on the 15th day, the same month is the feast of unleavened

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bread to the Lord. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have

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a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, but you shall present a food offering to

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the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary

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work. Obviously, this is a law being given to the Israelites in part to cause them to be focused

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on God's things and in part to separate them from their neighbors. These were holy days set apart

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for the Lord. And these are things that we are released from. Christians should not be

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celebrating Passover because we have the Paschal Lamb on the cross. It is finished. There's no

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more Passover for any Christian. It's all this stuff with sater meals and crap. That is Judaism.

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Stay away from that stuff. We are not trying to suggest that anyone should return to observing

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the old forms because God made clear that they were finished. On the other hand, keep in mind

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what was going on with the Passover. This was a Lamb that was sacrificed in remembrance of God's

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salvation of the Hebrews from captivity in Egypt. What was this? This was typological of

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Christ. This was pointing forward to the perfect Lamb sacrificed on the cross.

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So when Isaiah prophesied in chapter 53, he was oppressed and he was afflicted. Yet he opened

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not his mouth like a lamb that has led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before it shears

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is silent. So he opened not his mouth. The Passover Lamb and the prophecy of Isaiah involving a Lamb

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being sacrificed pointed forward to the perfect sacrifice of the Messiah who was to come. And

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what happened? When John saw Jesus coming, he said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the

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sin of the world. And everyone who was around him knew what he was talking about. This wasn't on

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the left field. They understood that what they had been taught in their Passover celebrations

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was fundamentally pointing towards the Messiah. And so when John and Claire's Behold the Lamb of

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God who takes away the sin of the world, they understood that that was typological. They

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understood that the small form that they had observed was being fulfilled completely by the

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birth of the Messiah. And this is one of the key elements of a liturgical life of observing

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whatever holy day is appropriate. It's a teaching tool. So you reinforce over time,

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this is a thing from God. This is important. When it is fulfilled, you receive it with Thanksgiving.

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Now in the case of the Passover, it was prophetic and it was pointing forward in time.

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It is no less important for us today where these things have been fulfilled

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to remember them. Because Jesus said, Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.

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There's to be a cyclical nature to the way we interact with God's things. And when we look at

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the calendar, what do we have? We have a day and a night cycle. We have months that are based on a

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lunar cycle. The months are subdivided by four evenly divisible into weeks. Each week is functionally

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a season of a month. And then you have a year that is subdivided into months and also seasons.

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This is how God arranged things. God did that. This was not man-made. This is not something that

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guys discovered and did some math on. God handed this stuff to us on a silver platter and says,

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Here's how it works. Live within these constraints. Again, for the Hebrews, in this particular case,

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it was a law to observe a certain thing at a certain time. But for all of us, we're creatures.

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We live in a world that has seasons, that has days and nights, that has years. We are all

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subject to these natural forces for our good. And so it's only natural that also within the church,

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the same sort of cyclical nature would be observed as we live out the Christian life

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in parallel to the normal everyday life that we have in the world. So whether the calendar is

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the same or different, we should have observances that repeat year after year, because that's the

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sort of order that God has given to us. When we look at the Old Testament, it's very easy to recognize

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that there are certain feasts, certain organizations of the church year. The church year is,

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and I do mean to use church, because this is for believers in the Old Testament for the true Israel.

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The church year of the Old Testament is broken up into these seasons, these observances.

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But we need to focus on why are they commanded to observe these things. And it's not just in

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Exodus or Leviticus or these various other places in Scripture where

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specifics are given, where they are specifically commanded to observe the Feast of Booths or

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Unleavened Bread, whatever it happens to be. All of the places where God commands them to

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remember something that God has done for them are commandments from God to observe a form of liturgy.

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And that's what all of these major feasts are, of course, because when you remember,

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say, the Passover, you're remembering the deliverance from death in Egypt, and you're looking forward,

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of course, to the deliverance from the second death that is Christ's death and resurrection.

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But God, throughout the pages of Scripture, commands the Israelites, and by virtue of that,

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He is commanding His Church, His true Israel, to observe the remembrance of certain things that

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God has done for us. And ultimately, in addition to teaching and unity and good order, the purpose

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of the church year, the purpose of the Feasts and the Festivals and the commemorations,

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is to remember all of these things that God has done for us. And if you look at the

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observances in the modern church calendar, in the modern church year,

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you can look at those and compare them to what was observed in the Old Testament,

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because they are the fulfillment of those observances. We won't go through those in detail,

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because it's not the purpose of the episode. You can find charts for that. There are plenty of

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comparisons. The most obvious, of course, is Passover and Easter. But when you look at the

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church year, what God is doing, because this is something God has created, I'm not saying that

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exactly what we have today was handed to us by God. That's not what happened, because the modern

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church calendar is a creation of Christendom, of Christians. As we've already mentioned,

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it's Adia Foran. It is not absolutely required. But the central point, the remembrance of these

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things that God has done for us, that God has done for his church, that remembrance is commanded

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in Scripture. That is required of Christians. And that is the central point around which the church

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calendar orbits, around which this cycle occurs. Because if you look at the church calendar,

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how does it begin? It begins with Advent, which is the season in which we are recording this. This

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is the third week of Advent. Advent is preparing us for the coming of the Messiah, for the incarnation.

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So it revolves around Christ's life. It revolves around really the central point of what it means

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to be a Christian and of Christianity. It revolves around Christ. You have Advent, which is looking

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forward to his birth. You have Christmas, which is his birth as incarnation. And you proceed

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through the calendar as you are proceeding through Christ's life here on earth. And then,

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yes, we also have about half the year, sometimes more than half, because there's an issue of

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movable feasts. Not all of the feasts of the church take place on the exact same calendar day every

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year. And there are reasons for that. But we have about half the year, which is the season of Pentecost,

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or the season after Pentecost, or the season of Trinity, depending on how you name it in

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your church tradition. And when you look at what that is, what that is, the teaching tool,

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you have ordinary time, as it is called. In a way, this represents the church age, the age in

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which we are currently living, because we are living in that time after Pentecost. And so it

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can be used as a teaching aid to highlight not just the history of the church, because you have

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half the year that is retelling Christ's life, that is retelling that history, you have the other

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half the year that is directly tied to how we are living here and now today in the church age.

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And again, the teaching aspect of the church calendar of this cycle is incredibly important.

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As we've mentioned in previous episodes, one of the ways that human beings actually learn

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something and remember it, which is obviously important if you're learning something,

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is repetition. And what does the church calendar, what does the liturgical year afford? It affords

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repetition, because every year you go through looking forward to Christ, the birth, death,

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and resurrection of Christ. You go through these same stories, through these same lessons every

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single year, and that way you remember them. And just as an aside, but an important one,

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for those pastors who have been in a liturgical tradition for many years, undoubtedly,

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they have dealt with a number of deaths in their congregations, that is, again, part of the cycle

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of human life, not in the next world, but in this one. Near the end, many people start to have

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memory and other issues. That is simply one of the facts of getting old in these fallen bodies.

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It may be that you start to forget things. It may be against the point where you forget how to tie

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your own shoes. But if you talk to pastors in liturgical tradition, they will tell you that

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those who have spent their lives in these churches will remember the liturgy. Now, they may have

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forgotten certain things. They may have forgotten many things. Again, you may forget how to tie your

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own shoes. That's up to God how that goes at the end of our lives. But these people, even that close

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to the end, will still remember the blessing of the liturgy. Now, I'm obviously conflating a little

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bit liturgy in the sense of order of the church worship and order of the church year, but they

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are comparable because you have liturgy on the grand sense of the church calendar, this cycle

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of lessons and remembrance, of thanking God for the things that He has done for us and the things

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that He will do for us, the things He promises us. And you have that playing out as well in the church

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service itself. And that repetition affords you comfort at the end of your life. And it's not

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just comfort for the person who remembers it. Obviously, it is. But it's also comforting for

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all the people around that person because you can look and see that even at the end of life,

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where many things are trending downward, God has not abandoned that person. You've trained up that

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child because that's a child of God. You've trained up that child in the way that he or she should go.

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And when he's old, he is not departed from it. That is a blessing from God. And we should be

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thankful for that. This is something that I witnessed firsthand when my dad was doing his

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vicarage at the Lutheran home in Fort Wayne. For one year, my family attended church services

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every Sunday at an old people's home. And it was a full service retirement community. They had

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everything from independent living to basically intensive care. And it was probably three quarters

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Lutherans there. But a lot of people would come down for the Sunday services. I think there are

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a couple of them, if I remember correctly. And something I was a teenager, I think at that time.

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One thing that stuck with me from witnessing that for a year was exactly what Corey just said.

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There were people there who were in advanced states of decay. Men and women, mostly women,

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because a lot of them were in their 90s and some were in their hundreds, who

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some of them were pretty close to vegetative. They were basically non-communicative in most cases.

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And yet, when they were wheeled into the church service, they could say many of the prayers.

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They could participate with some, in some cases, almost all the liturgy. They remembered some of

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the hymns. That was still a part of them, even when they didn't remember their own name. They may

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now remember their family names. They still remember God's things because they'd done the same thing

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their entire lives. So this sort of treasure that we look at it today as bland and repetitive,

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as though that's a bad thing. It is a blessing that you don't realize until you begin to lose your

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senses. When these churches that put everything up on screens and it's different every week,

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what's going to happen to someone who loses their sight? They're no longer going to have access to

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what's ever going on. And if what's going on is novel every week, if you have new hymns every

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week, new words, whatever you're doing, if it's always new, you are excluding the oldest people

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at the end of their lives. And some of them are going to end up in places where maybe the only

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thing that they have is some sort of continuity with a liturgy that they can still remember.

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So as Corey said, it's not that this is a law. This is not you must do this or you are sinning.

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This is a teaching tool. And when it is omitted, when it is deprived of people for whatever reason,

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you're not simply depriving them of something manmade. Because the liturgy, in the case of the

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Western liturgy, the one that the Lutherans use is basically the same in large parts of the ones

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the Roman Catholics use. It's mostly just quotes from Scripture. One of the great things that the

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most recent Lutheran hymnal has done is putting Bible verses next to all the parts of the liturgy

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that are Bible verses, and it's virtually the entire thing. Almost every word that is said

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or sung or chanted is Scripture. So what some people look at as some sort of formal manmade

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right, it's actually just God's words. We're saying back to him what he's given to us.

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And that sort of repetition of God's things is the greatest blessing you can have. I think one

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of the things that we talked a little bit about meditation recently, we did the episode on the

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Eastern Orthodox, meditation in a good sense is precisely this. It's focusing on a certain element

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of the Christian faith at a certain point, maybe in your day, maybe in your week, maybe in the

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calendar year. So when you have a penitential season like Lent, that is a time specifically to

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focus on penitence, on acknowledging your sins in a way that perhaps most of the year, they don't

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get as much attention. If nothing else, once a year for a number of weeks, you're going to have a

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reminder baked into the calendar that you are a sinner and that the Christ who is crucified on

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Good Friday, that was for you and for your sins. And our repentance, our turning away from the evil

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that caused God to have to sacrifice himself, is a part of the Christian life, acknowledging our

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sins, confessing them, and then acknowledging our Savior and confessing him. It's cyclical,

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but as I said earlier, you can't, if you spend every minute of every day just dwelling on how

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terrible you are, that's going to fracture and break you. And God doesn't want that either.

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So we're given these times according to God's time so that we can not skip anything,

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so that God's word is preached in its fullness. And so the various aspects of everything these

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reveal to us are in our minds at various times. And the more that is built up in your heart and

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your mind when you're young, when you're healthy, as you get older, this stuff is going to matter to

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you more. If you remain in the faith, as your body starts to fail, as your mind starts to fail,

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when you can have confidence that God's things are still there for you, that is a tremendous

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comfort. Because you realize that it's not your doing, it's that God has been there for you all

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along. And so this sort of cyclical repetition where I'm going to keep repeating that because

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that's what it is, the over and over of weekly and seasonal and annual observances of these things.

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It's not men making a law and imposing it. It's us returning again and again to the gifts that

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God has given us in Scripture. In a very real sense, it's extremely odd that any Christian would

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object to the idea of doing the same thing over and over and over, of repeating things.

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For one, it is a blessing from God if your life is such that you get to repeat things over and

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over and over, because novelty is often not good. We're not saying novelty is always bad,

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but novelty is often bad. In a very real way, our lives are lives of repetition,

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just the 24 hour cycle. You wake up, eat, go about your day, eat, go to sleep, and then you do it

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again. And every day you do that is a blessing from God. Deviations from that are typically not

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good. If you don't get to sleep, you generally don't feel very good the next day. Now that's going

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to be much worse if you're saying your 40s or your 50s versus your 20s. So for the listeners in their

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20s, it's coming for you too. But this repetition is part of human life. You have the daily cycle,

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you have the weekly cycle, the monthly, the yearly, you have the seasons that repeat every year as

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God promised as well read at the beginning of the episode. These are blessings from God.

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And even beyond that, we are commanded to be daily in the scriptures. That is repetition,

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that is repeating the same thing every single day for your entire life, reading the same book

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every day until you die. That's part of the Christian life. Repetition is a good thing.

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Anyone who has learned a second language knows that the only way you can learn a second language

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is repetition. Spaced repetition is one of the best ways, but

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generally it is repeating those words, it is using those words, it's using the language,

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that is how you learn it. The same thing for scripture, how you learn the things of God

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is reading the book that he gave us, is learning them.

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Part of that learning as we are commanded in the Third Commandment is observing the Sabbath.

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Part of that is going to church, is not forsaking the gathering together of the saints,

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and how that is organized is around the life of Christ, the life of the church,

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the life together as Christians. And we have this cycle of lessons and teaching so that we can make

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Christians, so that people can remain Christians, so that those who are Christian can become stronger

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Christians. Don't forget, just because you are in the church service and you know every

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single word that's going to be said, that's a good thing, that's a blessing from God,

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and you will remember that when you grow old. But don't forget, the young and the old are also there.

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There are those who are just beginning to learn the things of God, and they need this,

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and there are those who are at the end of their lives, as we mentioned, who still remember these

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things, because they went through it when they were young during the prime of their life, and then

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in their old age. We do these things to teach the next generation of Christians, but also to make

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the current generation stronger. This is part of life as a Christian, and it is a blessing from God.

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So we shouldn't look down on repetition. We shouldn't try to seek out novelty, this drive to look for

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things that are always new, always different, is very much a part of modernity, and it would be

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entirely alien to our forefathers in the faith. That is not something that would have driven them,

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either culturally or religiously. It would have been, again, totally alien to them. This repetition

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is a blessing from God. Each day when you wake up and have a normal day, that is a great blessing

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from God, and you should thank Him at the close of the day in your evening prayers. If you have a day

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that is entirely novel, seldom is that good. Now, there are days where you can have some novelty

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that's good. If you get married, that's a novel day for you. That's different from the rest of your

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life. But following that, you want every day after that to be roughly the same. Yes, you have the

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mile markers in life as it were. You have the birth of your first child, and you have various

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points where you move from one part of life to the next. But by and large, and these are

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really seasonal parts of life, so you can compare the seasons in the grand sense of things, the way

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the earth experiences them, and then the seasons of a human life. But really within those seasons,

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you want each day to be roughly the same as the last, and you want the next one to be roughly the

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same as the day you're currently experiencing, because, again, that is a blessing from God.

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Just as Scripture says that God gives to his beloved sleep, that is a blessing from God at the

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end of the day, that you get to sleep, that you have restful slumber, all of these repetitions,

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all of these parts of life, and it is a human life. It is really the core of our life when you have

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each successive day being comparable to the last. That is a blessing. That is a good thing.

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This comes from God, and we as Christians should recognize that, and we should want the same thing

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in our churches. We should want the same sort of blessings as God gives us in our lives,

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also to occur in the church, because then we can lead the young into the faith, we can strengthen

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those who are either young in the faith or in the prime of their life, and we can retain those who

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are at the end of their lives. We shouldn't look down on these things. These are blessings that

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were given to us by our ancestors, passed down through generations of faithful Christians,

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and preserved in the church. Ultimately, they are blessings from God. But we should not look down

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on what has been given to us by our forefathers, particularly when you look at those forefathers,

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look at the lives they lived, look at the societies they built, were they more Christian or less

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Christian than we are today, or put another way, are we more Christian or are we less Christian?

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When we look back to the very earliest days of the church, we find already in the second century

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accounts of Christmas and Easter being observed. I think it's important when we're thinking about

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these things, especially if you want to delve into the history of the way certain holidays or

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holy days, it's the same thing. When someone says, do you happy holidays or writes merry Xmas,

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usually they're trying to deny Christ, but they can't, because holiday literally means a day set

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apart and consecrated for a holy purpose, is a holy day. In Xmas, the X is the first character

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of Christ. It's a Christian abbreviation too. There's no way to remove the reason for the

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season from it. All they do is make fools of themselves. So it's right to get aggravated

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when they're deliberately besmirching and blaspheming something holy. On the other hand,

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they're losers. They can't. This is God's stuff. Other people don't get to mess with it.

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Back from the very beginning of recorded history, of recorded Christian church history,

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we find accounts of these celebrations being held. I think one of the things that we mistake

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when we look back through time is to try to pinpoint which council or which father first said,

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yes, this is an official thing, and then here's the date on the calendar, and now it's official.

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Now it's Christian. Imagine if you lived in 40 AD in the Jerusalem area and you were a believer,

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you're a follower of the way. You knew that Christ was born, he died, he was resurrected,

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he ascended into heaven. You were a Christian. Do you think that seven years, give or take,

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depending on which calendar you want to go to, seven years after Christ ascended into heaven,

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do you think that it might have occurred to people who were witnesses to that event? On the

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anniversaries of such events might have said to themselves, hey, we should remember this. We have

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the historic pattern of things like Passover, where we have annual celebrations in remembrance

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of these important events. Are there any more important events in the way of the Christian

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than the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ? I think the answer is clearly no.

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That should be the answer to all of us. Today should be no. That is the most important thing

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that has happened in history. Those events are paramount in all of human history.

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When you're looking at what the first people were doing, don't focus on the councils

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that ratified. Here's a good time for us to establish a norm for all believers to do it,

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because remember what transpired between AD 40 and AD 340. You had the church going from being

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this tiny nascent, in many ways, persecuted fringe thing to becoming an official state

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church in some nations. As the number of believers grew, the unity of practice became more important.

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We talked last week about how Americans tend to clap completely differently. Everyone else tends

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to clap on the same beat. When you're just spontaneously clapping, most people tend to

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converge. We don't. There's a natural tendency among people to try to converge on similar patterns.

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You want to do something similar to your neighbor. It's abnormal to try to fight your neighbor and

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try to be different just for the sake of doing your own thing. Of course, it would make sense

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that the early believers would remember Easter. They would remember the day that Christ rose from

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the dead. That's a pretty big deal seven years after it happened, one year after it happened,

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on the one year anniversary. Do you think they forgot? These people had calendars.

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Calendars have been around forever. Astrology was one of the oldest disciplines in humanity.

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Today, we think of astrology as this pagan practice. It is today, but the way that God revealed himself

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in the stars has been lost to us. I don't think it's recoverable. I don't think we need it.

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But the fact that we find astrology in every single old civilization is more than just

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they liked looking up a lot. There was a lot of very sophisticated math and a lot of tremendous

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achievements for them to be able to figure that stuff out on their own. What they were looking for

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were the very portents that God recorded in Genesis 1 that he was putting there.

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Of course, one year after Christ was raised from the dead,

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Christians are going to remember and celebrate it. Now, does that mean that Easter, when it was

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first formalized as a celebration on a particular day of a calendar, was the exact day? No. Does it

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matter? I don't think so. I think we should try to get it as close as possible, but it doesn't

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matter if it's exactly the day because consecrating a day as a holy remembrance is itself what God

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says is important. We'll get to some passages about that later. But again, when you're looking back

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through time and you see these debates about calendars and who's got the right date or the

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right offsets for these things or changeovers between one style of calendar and another,

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none of that matters. We're not saying you must use this particular calendar in this particular way.

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On the other hand, a calendar is functionally a local thing. So there's a difference between

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the calendars in the east and the west today. Historically, if my ancestors lived in England

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and somebody else's ancestors lived in Russia 2,000 years ago, did it matter if their calendars

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were the same? Absolutely not. They're going to have the same seasons. They're going to have the

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same years, but are they going to recognize exactly the same months and dates? Who cares?

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They're never going to meet each other. They're never going to have any commerce. So agreement

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across vast distances on calendars is irrelevant. It's trivia. As empires spread and as there was

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more commerce among various nations, it became more important for calendars to be unified. It

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just gets easier. Today, time is one of the most important things in the world for GPS, for ATMs,

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for computers. Everything relies on incredibly precise time. So it's not enough just to have

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like the same days. You need to have the same milliseconds when you get down to certain levels

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in order for everything just to work. That's how interconnected we are today. So

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yesterday, there is a need for a single unified calendar and the divergence from that is

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usually crazy. There are historical reasons why there are disagreements, but we eventually had to

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get on the same page. And it really didn't matter who won. It didn't matter. It just mattered that

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we would agree on a common form of the thing. Because again, the Sabbath observance doesn't need

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to be on Saturday or Sunday. Sunday was chosen because it was a confession of Christ's resurrection.

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It was the eighth day of creation. But it's not a law. On the other hand, if Christians where you

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live are gathering on Sunday and you come along and say, well, that's not a law. I don't have to do

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that. I'm going to worship on some other day because I'm not beholden to that. It's not that

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you are exercising Christian freedom to despise what you're believing neighbors are doing,

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is that you're being a jerk. You're saying, I don't care what any other brothers and believers

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in Christ do. I'm going to go my own way. And this is how judges ended up. The very last passages

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and everyone did what was right in his own eyes. That's not a happy ending for that book.

40:02.180 --> 40:07.220
This is kind of where some people are spiritually today. They think that if there's not an explicit

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command from God, they can just do whatever they want. And so one of the points of this episode

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is that that's not the case, not because the calendar is a law. Again, pick whatever calendar

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you want. Eastern Orthodox and some others use a different church calendar. So they celebrate

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Christmas a couple of weeks after us. I'm not mad at them. I think it's a little weird, especially

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in the West, for someone to be celebrating such an important holiday on a different day

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than everyone around him. But that is far less important a question than whether or not he's

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celebrating Christmas at all. The fact that someone using a different calendar is still

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celebrating Christmas is the important part. That's the big ticket item. I think if we got rid

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of the other doctrinal disagreements, we'd all be on the same calendar. But the calendar is not

40:54.980 --> 41:01.060
the concern. I hope that's coming through here. You must use this particular calendar with this

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particular set of dates. Who cares? The observance, the regular observance in faithfulness to

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remember God's gifts is the important part. And then when you live in a certain place

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where all believers are doing the same thing, you should do what they do. Not because God commands

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you to be on a certain calendar, but he commands the faithful to gather together. And so if everybody

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in your neighborhood, everyone in your community is a church on one day, and you're like, I'm going

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to go a different day. I'm not going to celebrate that Christmas. I'm going to celebrate my own

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that's different. What are you doing? You're separating yourself from the body of Christ.

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And we're members of one body. We're not individuals. We're not we're not solo agents in

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this thing. We are members of something that's been going on for thousands of years.

41:49.300 --> 41:54.580
One of the great advent hymns in anticipation of Christmas is Savior of the Nations come.

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This is a, I think one of the great things about this hymn not only is it beautiful,

41:59.620 --> 42:05.620
but it's a hymn that's been sung continuously among Christians for 1600 years. It was written by

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Ambrose of Milan over 1600 years ago, and Christians have been singing it ever since.

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So when you have some churches, they have the new hymns up on the, on the projectors every week,

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you know, the whatever garbage stuff is being produced by pop vocalists

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versus the churches that are singing the same hymn that's been sung for 1600 years.

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I think that's a fundamentally different experience. And again, we're not saying

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this one is sin and this one is not a sin. We're saying that this one is a continuation of the

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faith that we inherited from our fathers. Why on earth would anyone take a 1600 year old beautiful

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hymn and say, I'm not going to do that. We got this new thing. It's got drums. It's great.

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Seriously, why do you not want to join with all of the saints in heaven in worshiping the way they

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worshiped as much as possible? And so admit we're going to get into the Reformation, but just

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keep in mind that when Lutheran in particular, the Lutherans looked at what Rome was doing,

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they did not want to sever all ties. They didn't want to sever any ties. They just

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wanted to clean up some doctrinal layers. And so as they altered aspects of the liturgy and altered

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aspects of the calendar, it was not for the sake of destruction. It was simply to remove

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things that they believed were false teachings, because your calendar is necessarily a function

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of whatever you teach. And that's a good thing. Whatever doctrines your church teaches should

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be reflected in your church's liturgy and its liturgical practices. And if your church frankly

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despises all historic norms, that's also a confession. The show art for this episode is an

43:51.780 --> 43:58.500
excerpt from Owen Cyclops on Twitter, his full year liturgical calendar. It's beautiful. It's

43:58.500 --> 44:04.260
done in his style of art. If you like it, it's a great example. I think it's a particularly good

44:04.260 --> 44:09.140
illustration of this point because he's a Roman Catholic, and the calendar is a Roman Catholic

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calendar. So the inset that we used for the art is something that I think we all pretty much agree

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on in the West. We're looking at the advent period of the calendar. If you zoom out, once it gets

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into Pentecost, fully a quarter of Owen's calendar is dedicated to various observances

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for the Blessed Virgin Mary. And they're almost all doctrines that are

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evolutions in Rome that are not shared among some other churches. In fact, some of them were

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ratified very late. That's fine. I disagree with the doctrine that's represented in that portion

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of the calendar, but I think it's a very good thing that it's on the calendar because that is

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the liturgical confession of his denomination. That's the way it should be. Your church calendar

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should teach your doctrine because that's exactly what it's going to do. Whatever you're repeating,

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whatever you're visiting, is going to be teaching people. So I look at that, and I think it's

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beautiful. I look at the part that has some things that I don't agree with doctrinally.

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I'm not mad at the calendar. I'm not mad at him. I just think that a different theology would be

45:18.740 --> 45:24.180
reflected differently on the calendar. So we'll link in the show notes his poster. If you are

45:24.180 --> 45:28.260
Roman Catholic, check it out. Everyone should check it out. If you're Roman Catholic, you should buy it.

45:28.980 --> 45:35.620
If you're not Roman Catholic, I think it's also an important illustration that when you look at that

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and see the historic claims of Rome, some of which are very true, some of which get increasingly

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tenuous. One of the arguments that we see today against church calendars, against the liturgical

45:48.740 --> 45:54.580
calendar, is that that's popish. That's papus. That's what those guys in Rome are doing. I want

45:54.580 --> 46:00.900
nothing to do with that. Pope bad. It's all bad. That's simply not true. That's not Christian

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because Rome inherited many of the things on that calendar. It's not a Romish calendar. It is the

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Western Christian calendar. There are things on it that are particular to Rome. A lot of the

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calendar is shared by Lutherans and Anglicans and a number of others. That's a good thing.

46:20.420 --> 46:24.980
And wherever we have agreement, we should celebrate it. It's a tremendous blessing

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that we all go to church on the same day, not only every week in that weekly cycle,

46:31.060 --> 46:36.180
but seasonally when we all go to church on the same day for Christmas and for Easter and the

46:36.260 --> 46:41.380
other important days that are shared across Christendom. That's valuable. It's a reminder that

46:41.380 --> 46:47.220
regardless of some disagreements, we hope that we still have the same God and we're using the same

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book and we're pointing towards the same immutable true facts that are written in time and in eternity

46:53.060 --> 46:58.820
because God did them for us. So if you look at that, don't think, oh man, I'm really missing

46:58.820 --> 47:02.340
out because I'm not Roman Catholic. I don't want that to be your conclusion. I want you to think,

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I wish that my church had a liturgical calendar that reflected our beliefs. And if your belief

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calendar is empty, think about that. Think about why it is that your church body has abandoned

47:17.060 --> 47:22.900
something that has been done for thousands of years. That's an important question. Like you said

47:22.900 --> 47:28.260
at the beginning, we didn't intend for this to be polemical. I naively had forgotten that this

47:28.260 --> 47:35.940
was a huge matter of dispute. I'm off Twitter until we start recording again. So I'm not doing

47:35.940 --> 47:41.220
any DMs or anything for a few weeks. I'm not going to read my get back because even the podcast is

47:41.220 --> 47:46.980
a job, responding to DMs is not a job. So please just wait for me to get back. I did happen to

47:46.980 --> 47:52.500
look just this morning briefly at Twitter and the one thing that I'm glad I caught was somebody

47:52.500 --> 47:58.900
yesterday had posted about the liturgical calendar and said, hey, this is a great teaching tool.

47:58.900 --> 48:03.460
Pastors consider using this as part of how you teach your parishioners throughout the year.

48:04.020 --> 48:09.700
And most of the comments to him were nasty. They were mean and they were hateful comments

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despising a Christian calendar with Christian holy days on it. Why? Because it's too popish

48:17.140 --> 48:23.780
because it's not in the Bible. So that's an argument. If the inheritance of our forefathers

48:23.780 --> 48:30.500
was to do certain things in certain ways, we don't get to just torch it. In the generations episode,

48:30.500 --> 48:35.060
we talked about how that's kind of the approach that boomers have to everything else. They'll buy

48:35.060 --> 48:41.860
a property and chop down all the trees and sod the lawn and just have this carpet of green where

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there used to be beautiful lush plants. This is what people have done in other places like the

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church calendar. It's the same energy. It's the same rebellious destruction to come in and find

48:53.780 --> 49:01.140
something beautiful and say, I'm going to remake all this in my image. So looking at these things,

49:01.700 --> 49:08.260
if it's causing you to be angry, you're in the wrong. And so it's not that the calendar is a

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matter of law, but despising it, despising other Christians for their sincerely held observation

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of what they believe to be holy days is wrong. I disagree with the Roman Catholics who observe

49:22.180 --> 49:27.940
things like the Annunciation or all the various aspects of Mary ascending in heaven and stuff

49:27.940 --> 49:32.500
that are not scriptural. But I'm not going to be mad at them for observing them on the calendar.

49:33.300 --> 49:37.460
They're doing that according to their conscience. I wish that their conscience were differently

49:37.460 --> 49:45.540
formed, but I'm never going to get mad at the practice because the practice itself is intended

49:45.540 --> 49:50.100
to be proper worship. And the fact that there's doctrine behind it that I would disagree with

49:50.100 --> 49:55.700
is a separable matter. I think it's important for us to separate doctrines that are observed

49:55.700 --> 50:00.580
in the act of the observation itself. Because again, if this is for teaching,

50:00.580 --> 50:06.660
then whatever your calendar teaches is a reflection of what your church body should teach.

50:06.660 --> 50:13.300
And if there's no overlap, you're missing out. We should be careful to note here that

50:14.340 --> 50:20.500
the Western Church calendar has a core on which we all agree. And we've already gone

50:20.500 --> 50:27.380
over part of that, obviously, of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost. We agree on the

50:27.380 --> 50:33.620
core of the calendar. And incidentally, the East agrees as well. The East disagrees on the dates,

50:33.620 --> 50:41.140
but as mentioned, that doesn't matter that much. When it comes to the specific inclusions or removals

50:41.140 --> 50:48.740
from the calendar, if you look at the church in, say, the year 1000 and then compare the calendar

50:48.740 --> 50:55.540
currently used by Rome to that, it's different. The same is true for the Lutherans. There is no

50:55.540 --> 51:00.420
Christian group that is using the exact same calendar that was used a thousand years ago,

51:00.420 --> 51:07.140
1500 years ago. That's not the point. It may be that there will be observances that get added

51:07.140 --> 51:12.980
or removed over the centuries. The core remains the same, that teaching function remains.

51:14.740 --> 51:22.020
We in the Lutheran Church, for instance, have Reformation Sunday, which is celebrated immediately

51:22.020 --> 51:29.300
before all saints. We have that on our calendar, because we consider the Reformation to have been

51:29.300 --> 51:35.940
a vitally important restoration of right doctrine to the church. And so we celebrate that as a gift

51:35.940 --> 51:44.260
from God. Obviously, Rome is not going to have that on its calendar. We do not have the Marian

51:44.260 --> 51:49.860
dogmas on our calendar. Rome has added those to its calendar. You are going to have these

51:49.860 --> 51:54.580
distinctions, these differences. As Woe said, this is going to flow from your teaching, from your

51:54.580 --> 52:00.260
doctrine, from your theology. But just to make certain that we are absolutely clear

52:00.900 --> 52:06.500
on what Lutherans hold, on what we are saying about what the calendar is and what the calendar is

52:06.500 --> 52:12.740
not, what these practices are in the church and what these practices are not. I want to read

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Article 15 from our Confession, because it lays out exactly what we believe. I will also

52:18.020 --> 52:21.780
link to this and some other parts of the Book of Concord in the show notes. They go over it in

52:21.780 --> 52:29.140
greater length, this article is quite short. Of usages, and by usages it means practices,

52:29.140 --> 52:33.940
in the church they teach, which is saying we teach, that those ought to be observed,

52:33.940 --> 52:39.540
which may be observed without sin, and which are profitable unto tranquility and good order in the

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church, as particular holy days, festivals, and the like. Nevertheless, concerning such things,

52:46.820 --> 52:52.660
men are admonished that consciences are not to be burdened, as though such observances

52:52.660 --> 52:58.740
were necessary to salvation. They are admonished also that human traditions instituted to propitiate

52:58.740 --> 53:04.660
God, to merit grace, and to make satisfaction for sins, are opposed to the gospel and the doctrine

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of faith. Wherefore vows and traditions concerning meats and days, etc., instituted to merit grace,

53:11.380 --> 53:16.180
and to make satisfaction for sins, are useless and contrary to the gospel.

53:17.700 --> 53:23.060
And so in some, in short, the Lutheran position, is that we should maintain those things that are

53:23.060 --> 53:29.300
good. You keep the things that were handed down from your forefathers, when they are good,

53:29.300 --> 53:35.940
when they are profitable, when they are useful. Now, we have to be very careful what we mean by this,

53:36.900 --> 53:40.900
because there are some who attempt to turn this argument around and say,

53:40.900 --> 53:45.940
unless you can show me exactly why we must do this, I'm going to get rid of it. That's not the

53:45.940 --> 53:53.860
standard. The standard is, if you want to remove something from church practice, the burden is on

53:53.860 --> 54:01.380
you to show why it should be removed. With the Reformation, we showed, amply, abundantly,

54:01.380 --> 54:07.460
why we removed certain practices, why we changed certain things, why we got rid of things that

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had crept into the church over the centuries. There are others who did not do that. There are

54:12.980 --> 54:18.340
others who basically said, whatever looks like Rome, smells like Rome, we have to get rid of it.

54:18.340 --> 54:22.420
And so we'll get rid of the candles, we'll get rid of the incense, we'll get rid of the artwork,

54:22.420 --> 54:27.140
we'll get rid of the hymns, we'll get rid of, and the list goes on and on. And they just jettisoned

54:27.220 --> 54:32.260
practically the totality of the Christian faith. They retained nothing of Christian praxis.

54:32.980 --> 54:38.260
That is not what we advocate. That is not what Christians advocate. You retain the things that

54:38.260 --> 54:44.980
are good. And so, insofar as these things have been handed down from our forefathers and do not

54:44.980 --> 54:52.820
conflict with the faith, they should be maintained. We don't have to make some sort of particularly

54:52.820 --> 54:57.620
compelling argument. And we are, of course, making the argument, but it is not incumbent on us to

54:57.620 --> 55:06.500
make the argument that these things are necessary or that these things are somehow the pinnacle of

55:06.500 --> 55:13.060
praxis in the church. The standard is, if they do not conflict with the faith, and they have been

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passed down to us by our forefathers, they should be maintained. And that is what we see in this

55:18.980 --> 55:24.820
article, if they are profitable unto tranquility and good order in the church, and particularly

55:24.820 --> 55:30.340
singled out, holy days, festivals, and the like. That is what we're talking about with the church

55:30.340 --> 55:36.340
calendar. We maintain this cycle because it is profitable for teaching, it is profitable for

55:36.340 --> 55:41.700
good order. And it's not just profitable for good order within a specific church, within a national

55:41.700 --> 55:49.300
church or a denomination or tradition. This also aids with unity across all of Christendom.

55:50.820 --> 55:57.860
Even if we disagree on the date specifically, we all still celebrate Christmas. We all still

55:57.860 --> 56:07.620
celebrate Easter. This leads to an international unity, a universal, a Catholic unity amongst

56:07.620 --> 56:12.020
all Christians. And that is a good thing. We don't have to have these same specific

56:12.020 --> 56:18.500
rights, the same specific traditions, all these other things across national churches. You're

56:18.500 --> 56:23.380
going to have a different church in Germany than you're going to have in Uganda or Japan

56:23.380 --> 56:30.820
or even France. That's fine, that's good. To some degree, praxis in the church should be a reflection

56:31.460 --> 56:37.220
of that church, of that nation, of the people who constitute that physical church at that time.

56:38.020 --> 56:43.940
However, insofar as we can agree on these matters, on these overarching matters,

56:43.940 --> 56:49.780
that is good, that's profitable. It shows us that we have Christian brothers in other countries.

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And we should recognize them as Christian brothers. Yes, they're Christian brothers over

56:53.940 --> 56:58.980
there. They are not my neighbor. But they are still Christian brothers. They are Christians

56:58.980 --> 57:06.260
who also celebrate these major holidays, these holy days, who recognize the history of salvation

57:06.260 --> 57:13.620
in the church and the work of Christ. And in order to have that unity, we have to have something

57:13.620 --> 57:20.340
upon which we are unified. Yes, ultimately, our unity is in Christ, is on the gospel. But to have

57:20.340 --> 57:27.460
the unity in praxis, the unity with regard to observances, is incredibly profitable. It helps

57:27.460 --> 57:34.820
us to view other Christians in other places as our brothers in Christ. So it's important to know

57:34.900 --> 57:42.580
that while the emergence of specific festivals and holidays is the function of men saying,

57:42.580 --> 57:48.180
hey, it would be a good idea if we did X. That's undoubtedly the origin of them. Even the very

57:48.180 --> 57:53.860
first Easter and the very first Christmas was undoubtedly believers saying, hey, let's make

57:53.860 --> 58:00.980
sure we remember that. That does not make them manmade in the sense that other things are manmade.

58:01.460 --> 58:06.340
When they said those things, they weren't saying, it is now the law and you go to hell unless you do

58:06.340 --> 58:10.660
it just like this. They were saying, wouldn't this be profitable for all Christians?

58:11.860 --> 58:17.700
As Corey said, it has always been the case and it is entirely permissible. In fact, it's necessary

58:18.420 --> 58:26.020
for the observed liturgical calendar to evolve over time because God continues to operate in time.

58:26.980 --> 58:31.940
The ordinary time period of the calendar in Pentecost, that's about half of the church year,

58:31.940 --> 58:39.860
where it's focused on the time of the church. It's focused on what happened from acts forward

58:39.860 --> 58:47.860
unto the last days. In fact, the very last Sundays observed at the very end of the church year,

58:47.860 --> 58:54.500
just prior to Advent, are specifically focused on the actual end times, which frankly is one of my

58:54.500 --> 58:59.060
favorite parts of the church year, just before getting back into Advent, looking forward to the

58:59.060 --> 59:06.420
birth of Christ, is that recognition of the end of all things, of thy kingdom come, finally being

59:06.420 --> 59:12.420
answered, being fulfilled by God, he is going to come. It will be terrifying. God says we're all

59:12.420 --> 59:18.580
going to hide in caves and pray for it to be over. I'm not sitting here thinking, wow, the world's

59:18.580 --> 59:23.940
going to be a lot of fun, but it's promised by God and he says it's what he's going to do. That's

59:23.940 --> 59:30.820
something for Christians to look forward to, and the prophecies of the end time are also cyclical.

59:32.580 --> 59:37.780
When Jesus was giving the parables about the virgins and the various other ones that pointed

59:37.780 --> 59:45.780
towards the end times, he was promoting an awareness and a watchfulness in what better way to keep watch

59:45.780 --> 59:53.060
than by having regular observations to keep those things in mind. I think that it's not for nothing

59:53.140 --> 01:00:00.580
that some church bodies, some even call themselves bodies, but there are certain Christian sects

01:00:01.300 --> 01:00:06.340
that will go close to, if not over the line, of actually rejecting Christmas and Easter,

01:00:06.340 --> 01:00:13.060
they're the most basic Christian holidays. It's not for nothing that that sort of rejection

01:00:14.180 --> 01:00:20.100
invariably follows rejection of the creeds, because they'll say, well, those are man-made too.

01:00:20.660 --> 01:00:24.900
As we've talked about in past episodes, no, they're not. The Nicene Creed is a collection of

01:00:24.900 --> 01:00:31.460
quotations from Scripture, just like the Lutheran liturgy is a collection of quotations from Scripture.

01:00:32.500 --> 01:00:40.580
Is the Creed or the liturgy inspired by God? Not according to itself, but insofar as every word

01:00:40.580 --> 01:00:46.180
of it is strayed from God's mouth. It's all good. It's all profitable. It's things that we should be

01:00:46.180 --> 01:00:50.180
remembering and bringing to mind and confessing publicly.

01:00:52.420 --> 01:00:57.220
One of the good examples, I think, of the church calendar evolving over time

01:00:57.220 --> 01:01:04.500
is Trinity Sunday. This is a Western observance. I think the east also has a form of it that is

01:01:04.500 --> 01:01:11.380
fairly late in church development, but it's interesting for the reason that the Trinity

01:01:11.380 --> 01:01:18.500
Sunday observance began not with the clergy, but with Christians. It began with Christian

01:01:18.500 --> 01:01:26.260
observances forcing the clergy to recognize what became Trinity Sunday. This was before the

01:01:26.260 --> 01:01:32.420
Reformation. Initially, Rome fought it, but it was salutary, so they permitted it. Then,

01:01:32.420 --> 01:01:38.980
eventually, after a couple centuries, it became formalized. I think it's a good example of something

01:01:39.940 --> 01:01:45.540
do you have to have Trinity Sunday? No. It's clearly not a law. For over a thousand years,

01:01:45.540 --> 01:01:51.140
Christians had no such thing. Then one day, someone said, you know what, it'd be a good idea to devote

01:01:51.140 --> 01:01:57.140
one of these special days specifically to the doctrines of the Trinity. Others agreed.

01:01:57.140 --> 01:02:00.740
Frankly, it was mostly the Christians and the pews who agreed, and then, eventually,

01:02:00.740 --> 01:02:08.180
the church capitulated. That's a good thing. One of the great things that I really enjoy on

01:02:08.180 --> 01:02:14.180
Trinity Sunday is the recitation of the Athanasian Creed, because it's something that's an important

01:02:14.180 --> 01:02:19.700
creed from antiquity that doesn't get much play today, but it's very important just for revealing

01:02:20.900 --> 01:02:27.060
almost everything that we can faithfully say about the Trinity in such a way that is

01:02:27.620 --> 01:02:33.140
understandable to the extent that it's plain language, but you start to get a sense from reading it

01:02:33.940 --> 01:02:39.540
how inscrutable God is in ways that are omitted from the Nicene and the Apostles Creed,

01:02:39.540 --> 01:02:45.700
because they were solving different problems. So Trinity Sunday became an occasion for Christians

01:02:45.700 --> 01:02:51.060
in numerous denominations to recite the Athanasian Creed at least once a year. I think that's a good

01:02:51.060 --> 01:02:56.820
thing. It's profitable. Is it law? No. Are you going to hell if you don't do it? No, of course not.

01:02:56.820 --> 01:03:01.700
On the other hand, if it's a good thing that's been going on for at this point close to a thousand

01:03:01.700 --> 01:03:09.700
years in varying degrees of observance, why would you get rid of it? It's kind of a jerk

01:03:09.700 --> 01:03:13.940
question that some people ask that's not necessarily sincere, but I almost wonder, what are you afraid

01:03:13.940 --> 01:03:20.820
of? What is it about having a Trinity Sunday that might make certain preachers nervous,

01:03:21.380 --> 01:03:26.660
because as we said when we were talking about the creeds in past episodes, when you bookend

01:03:27.380 --> 01:03:33.860
the preaching with one of the creeds, it provides a contrast with whatever the preacher is saying.

01:03:33.860 --> 01:03:37.860
And so a faithful preacher is never going to say anything that's going to contradict the creeds.

01:03:38.740 --> 01:03:42.820
An unfaithful preacher, if he's messing with some of those core doctrines,

01:03:42.820 --> 01:03:45.940
there's going to be a contrast that even a typical Christian in the pews

01:03:46.580 --> 01:03:51.140
is probably going to be able to pick up on. So you know, Pastor, you said this in the sermon,

01:03:51.140 --> 01:03:57.060
but the creed says this. Can you help me understand why there seems to be a disconnect?

01:03:57.060 --> 01:04:00.500
Am I misunderstanding something? And hopefully that's the case. You know, most of the time,

01:04:00.500 --> 01:04:05.380
that should be the case. If you have a faithless pastor or one who's simply confused and neuroneous,

01:04:05.940 --> 01:04:13.140
then the creed is acted as an ancient bulwark against false teaching. Now, is that man made?

01:04:14.100 --> 01:04:19.220
At some point, it doesn't matter. The question is, is it true and is it salutary? If it is,

01:04:19.220 --> 01:04:23.780
let's keep it around because it's going to be beneficial. It's certainly going to be far more

01:04:23.780 --> 01:04:28.580
beneficial than whatever crap is going up on the projectors every Sunday, because that stuff is

01:04:28.580 --> 01:04:33.860
all ephemeral. That stuff is not going to stick. It's in one ear and out the other. And you've

01:04:33.860 --> 01:04:38.660
forgotten by the time you get home, never mind when you're 90. The things that we're talking about,

01:04:38.660 --> 01:04:44.020
the things that are important in the church life and the liturgical life are ones that reinforce

01:04:44.020 --> 01:04:48.980
and build up the faith, that keep us focused on God's promises and on His things, and give us

01:04:48.980 --> 01:04:55.700
a reassurance that we are part of the whole body of Christ, not simply one denomination,

01:04:55.700 --> 01:05:01.540
but part of the entire church writ large. And these major marks are marks of the church.

01:05:01.540 --> 01:05:04.340
And so when someone comes along and is like, I don't need any of that stuff,

01:05:05.460 --> 01:05:11.700
the more they say that, the more in danger they are of rejecting things that are actually fundamental,

01:05:11.700 --> 01:05:16.980
that are actually matters of sin. And so it's not that these are necessarily all guardrails,

01:05:16.980 --> 01:05:22.100
but when they're good affirmative teaching tools, and you get rid of them, you're necessarily getting

01:05:22.100 --> 01:05:29.460
rid of whatever teaching is going to have been enforced by that sort of repetition. It's just,

01:05:29.460 --> 01:05:34.260
it's a natural way that humans work. You do the same thing over and over enough times,

01:05:34.260 --> 01:05:39.940
you get really good at it. That's a beneficial thing. It's not a matter of boredom. It should be a

01:05:39.940 --> 01:05:45.380
matter in most occasions of pride. I don't know that there's necessarily the occasion for pride in

01:05:46.100 --> 01:05:52.020
the church service, but there's certainly the occasion for giving thanks to be part of something

01:05:52.020 --> 01:05:59.460
as much as possible that's ancient. It's ironic that although Lutherans split from the Roman Catholic

01:05:59.460 --> 01:06:06.100
Church, today some of the liturgical practices that are closest to what used to be Roman practice

01:06:06.100 --> 01:06:13.620
are found among some LCMS congregations that have preserved many of the rites, many of the forms,

01:06:13.620 --> 01:06:18.900
apart from those things where we doctrinally disagree with what pre-Vatican II churches had.

01:06:18.900 --> 01:06:25.780
So I've had Catholics see streams of LCMS services and say, man, I wish my local parish were like

01:06:25.780 --> 01:06:31.220
that because it was more Catholic than what they have now. The reason for that is that we didn't

01:06:31.220 --> 01:06:36.580
despise the things that were good by themselves. One of the really cool things in the video we've

01:06:36.580 --> 01:06:42.740
linked a few times from Matt Whitman with the 10-Minute Bible Hour when he visited the Lutheran

01:06:42.740 --> 01:06:47.380
Church, the LCMS church. At the end of the very first video, he said something I always stuck

01:06:47.380 --> 01:06:52.900
with me because it was such a great quote. He said, when he went to that church, he expected

01:06:52.900 --> 01:06:58.900
something that would be very 1600s. What he found was something that was all 2,000 years of church

01:06:58.900 --> 01:07:04.660
at once. He paused and reflected. I have a lot more to think about. It was clear that it really

01:07:04.660 --> 01:07:11.700
made an impression on him that he was a reformed guy of some stripe. The doctrine that was taught

01:07:11.700 --> 01:07:16.820
in that one service he was at was very familiar. That was in his words. I get all the doctrine,

01:07:16.820 --> 01:07:22.740
but the practice was very distinctly to his eyes and ears that seemed very Roman Catholic.

01:07:22.740 --> 01:07:27.380
But when he looked at it analytically, he realized that it was just Christian.

01:07:28.900 --> 01:07:35.300
It was the Western Christian church without the stuff that was specific to Rome, which was

01:07:35.300 --> 01:07:40.820
Luther's entire goal. That was a purpose. It wasn't revolution. It wasn't to throw away

01:07:40.820 --> 01:07:45.780
everything that had ever been done. It was just to clean up a mess because the

01:07:45.780 --> 01:07:52.900
Rome had become a depreciating asset. They had some deferred maintenance that needed some upkeep,

01:07:52.900 --> 01:07:59.700
needs some doctrinal upkeep. When that attempt was rejected, we had to go in our own direction.

01:07:59.700 --> 01:08:04.820
It was another to desire. We preserved as much as we could because it was good. The things that

01:08:04.820 --> 01:08:11.860
were good were kept. We continue to do things like singing hymns that were sung 1600 years ago

01:08:11.860 --> 01:08:16.980
using liturgical forms. In some cases, they are even older than that. That's a good thing.

01:08:16.980 --> 01:08:21.780
Personally, I take comfort in that. The fact that I'm not standing there every Sunday doing

01:08:21.780 --> 01:08:27.540
something entirely new that I'm part of something that's been going on for hundreds and thousands of

01:08:27.540 --> 01:08:35.140
years, that's part of what it means to be Christian. You're not solo. You're not by yourself doing

01:08:35.140 --> 01:08:40.900
your own thing. It's not what every man thinks is right in his own eyes. It's what Christians have

01:08:40.900 --> 01:08:46.580
agreed on is a good thing. It's a blessing. That's what this is about. Again, these are about

01:08:46.580 --> 01:08:52.340
blessings from God's things preserved through time. As tradition, these are not laws. These are

01:08:52.340 --> 01:08:59.140
not matters of damnation. When you start throwing them away and saying, I can do better, it turns

01:08:59.140 --> 01:09:03.380
out no one ever does. No one has ever improved on any of the things that they've thrown away.

01:09:03.380 --> 01:09:09.300
They've only ever ended up with worse, either shoddy or they're an imitation that's crummy,

01:09:09.380 --> 01:09:14.820
or just ripped it out entirely and done something that is demonstrably poorer for it.

01:09:17.460 --> 01:09:23.460
In this modern age, where there are so many men who are looking for something that feels traditional,

01:09:23.460 --> 01:09:27.620
they don't understand doctrine. They don't understand the historical stuff. They just want

01:09:27.620 --> 01:09:32.340
something that seems a bit more atemporal because they understand that where they are today is a

01:09:32.340 --> 01:09:39.460
hellscape and it's terrible. Churches, including Rome, the Latin mass in particular in the east,

01:09:39.460 --> 01:09:44.660
frankly, one of the appeals of the east is that it feels old. It feels atemporal. Latin mass,

01:09:44.660 --> 01:09:50.660
the same thing. The liturgical forms feel old because they are. Everyone senses it. You come

01:09:50.660 --> 01:09:55.940
in and you're like, this is, some people think it's anachronistic. I think that what Matt said

01:09:55.940 --> 01:10:00.740
was correct. It's all 2,000 years of church at once. It's not an anachronism. It's that

01:10:01.460 --> 01:10:05.780
it has been preserved throughout time because God's things are eternal.

01:10:05.780 --> 01:10:12.260
God's word is eternal. When it comes to us in the liturgy, it should feel a bit like that too.

01:10:12.260 --> 01:10:16.500
It shouldn't be a laser light show. It should be something that would be recognized in other

01:10:16.500 --> 01:10:23.060
centuries as familiar. That's part of being a participant in the body of Christ. We as Lutherans

01:10:23.060 --> 01:10:28.900
think that that's beneficial. It's a good thing. Part of the core of the cycle of the church year

01:10:29.540 --> 01:10:38.420
is alternating fasts and feasts. That is both a technical term, but it is also literal because

01:10:38.420 --> 01:10:45.380
fasting again is part of the Christian life. Yes, it's fallen by the wayside for most modern

01:10:45.380 --> 01:10:52.020
Christians, but it is something that we should be doing because it does not say if you fast. It says

01:10:52.020 --> 01:10:59.060
when you fast. But each Sunday is a feast day. So even during penitential seasons, you have

01:11:00.340 --> 01:11:06.660
the punctuation of the joy of a church service. You have the feast day that is the divine service

01:11:06.660 --> 01:11:15.380
that is the Gottesdienst. But there's another aspect to having a liturgical calendar,

01:11:15.380 --> 01:11:21.300
having a church year that I think is often neglected, but I want to highlight it specifically.

01:11:22.020 --> 01:11:28.100
And that is there's a delayed gratification built into the church year.

01:11:30.420 --> 01:11:36.180
We know this when it comes to cyclical readings. If you have a particular part of scripture that

01:11:36.180 --> 01:11:40.660
you like and you're following electionary, you'll eventually get to that book that you really like

01:11:40.660 --> 01:11:47.300
and you'll very much enjoy that. And we've mentioned books we like before. The same thing happens

01:11:47.940 --> 01:11:52.980
with the church year, with the calendar, because there'll be for instance, certain hymns.

01:11:54.420 --> 01:12:01.380
There will be certain hymns that are sung on certain days in the church year. And so for

01:12:01.380 --> 01:12:07.700
instance, you may really like for all the saints and that's sung on all saints day. So you have

01:12:07.700 --> 01:12:12.740
to wait for November for that one to come back around. And I think that's a good thing. I think

01:12:12.740 --> 01:12:18.820
that churches should reserve certain hymns for certain days. It's good to have that expectation

01:12:18.820 --> 01:12:26.980
to look forward to that. And you have that if you have this liturgical worship. If you just go to

01:12:27.700 --> 01:12:31.380
your church service and it's whatever the worship leader feels like singing that Sunday,

01:12:32.100 --> 01:12:38.740
there's no looking forward to these things. There's no expectation of we'll have this part of this

01:12:38.740 --> 01:12:43.620
service on this day. And I can look forward to that and I know it's coming. And part of the

01:12:43.620 --> 01:12:48.020
Christian life is expectation. It is looking forward because ultimately, of course, we're

01:12:48.020 --> 01:12:53.300
looking forward to paradise. But you look forward to the blessings of God. If you are married, you

01:12:53.300 --> 01:12:57.140
look forward to the blessings of children. There are all these blessings, this expectation built

01:12:57.140 --> 01:13:01.940
into the Christian life. And you have that in the calendar. If you don't have the calendar,

01:13:02.660 --> 01:13:08.100
you're missing out on these things. And so you won't get to look forward to Reformation Sunday.

01:13:08.740 --> 01:13:12.820
And singing a mighty fortress, although that one is used other times in the church year as well.

01:13:14.100 --> 01:13:20.660
Or if you like thy strong word, which is used as part of our music for this podcast.

01:13:21.780 --> 01:13:27.620
You have these things that are blessings from God and pictures of the Christian life. Again,

01:13:27.620 --> 01:13:33.620
these are teaching. But you have them only if you keep the good things that were passed down to us

01:13:33.620 --> 01:13:39.140
by our forefathers. Instead of jettisoning them because, well, I don't see the reason why we

01:13:39.140 --> 01:13:45.620
should have to have these. They had very good reasons for maintaining them. And the men who

01:13:45.620 --> 01:13:52.580
instituted them originally had very good reasons for doing so. And unless we have even more compelling

01:13:52.580 --> 01:13:58.980
reasons for altering them, we should not. Because we lose out on part of the Christian life on part

01:13:58.980 --> 01:14:05.220
of Christian practice if we do not have these things. And as has been the case with so many other

01:14:05.860 --> 01:14:12.100
episodes of this podcast, we're not speaking of things that are absolutely required for a Christian.

01:14:13.540 --> 01:14:20.420
The issue of baptism comes to mind. Must you absolutely be baptized in order to be saved? No.

01:14:21.460 --> 01:14:25.940
That is the position of Scripture, quite frankly, but it is the Lutheran position.

01:14:25.940 --> 01:14:31.860
That is what we believe. Should you be baptized? Absolutely. Is it a blessing from God? Of course.

01:14:32.980 --> 01:14:38.740
That is the case with so many of these things. What we are saying, the thing for which we are

01:14:38.740 --> 01:14:45.140
advocating is that you have the fullness of the Christian doctrine, the fullness of the Christian

01:14:45.140 --> 01:14:52.740
life, not the minimum. Yes, you could go ahead and live your life as a minimal Christian with a

01:14:52.820 --> 01:14:57.060
minimum of God's blessings, with a minimum of the blessings passed down to you from the

01:14:57.060 --> 01:15:02.420
historic church. And you may very well still be a Christian. That is entirely possible.

01:15:02.420 --> 01:15:09.220
But why would you want that? If God is offering you this wealth of blessings, why would you say,

01:15:09.220 --> 01:15:14.820
no, I'll just have the appetizer? Don't do that. That's not the Christian life. The Christian life

01:15:14.820 --> 01:15:20.260
is receiving the fullness of God's blessings, whatever blessing God wants to give you, say,

01:15:20.260 --> 01:15:27.060
by all means, and more. That is the response. That is part of what prayer is. Prayer is asking

01:15:27.060 --> 01:15:33.380
God for things. Yes, there's a returning of Thanksgiving as well. But the greatest worship

01:15:33.380 --> 01:15:37.460
of God is turning to Him, looking to Him in the day of trouble and expecting good from Him.

01:15:38.340 --> 01:15:44.420
And we see that in all aspects of the Christian life. The sacraments are a blessing from God.

01:15:44.420 --> 01:15:47.700
If you don't have the sacraments in your church, can you still be Christian?

01:15:48.420 --> 01:15:52.820
You can still be Christian, but you're missing out. You've rejected some of the good things

01:15:52.820 --> 01:16:00.420
of God. If you have a pastor who focuses only on, say, the synoptic gospels and reads nothing

01:16:00.420 --> 01:16:05.940
else from Scripture, can you still be a Christian? Sure, you're missing out. The same thing with

01:16:05.940 --> 01:16:12.020
the church calendar. If you jettison these good things, you are missing out on blessings

01:16:12.100 --> 01:16:18.260
that are freely available to you. And there's no reason to do that. You are limiting your Christian

01:16:18.260 --> 01:16:25.140
life. You are limiting the blessings from God for no reason. And so no, it's not required of

01:16:25.140 --> 01:16:30.980
Christians. You don't have to have a church calendar. You could have a Christian church service,

01:16:30.980 --> 01:16:37.060
where you did the exact same thing, sung the exact same hymns, never deviated from that whatsoever,

01:16:37.060 --> 01:16:41.300
didn't change with the seasons, didn't recognize Christmas officially. Obviously,

01:16:41.380 --> 01:16:44.660
you have to believe in Christmas, but you didn't change at all for the seasons of the

01:16:44.660 --> 01:16:49.620
church. And you could still be Christian. But why would you do that to your children?

01:16:49.620 --> 01:16:54.500
And why would you deprive yourself of all of these blessings that have been passed down to us?

01:16:56.260 --> 01:17:01.300
Again, to be explicit, to make sure we are absolutely clear, these things are not required,

01:17:02.020 --> 01:17:07.220
but they are good. They are good for unity. They are good for order. They are good for teaching.

01:17:07.780 --> 01:17:09.860
And they are, quite frankly, also good for your soul.

01:17:11.140 --> 01:17:17.540
One of the passages that often gets used against those who would advocate for some form of

01:17:18.100 --> 01:17:21.780
formality and worship, like using a calendar, a shared calendar in particular,

01:17:22.500 --> 01:17:30.180
is Romans 14. I want to read this long passage because, as I was taking a look at it again today,

01:17:30.180 --> 01:17:35.380
in light of that Twitter thread that I mentioned earlier, where a guy just made a very

01:17:36.260 --> 01:17:42.340
neutral, inoffensive comment saying, hey, the liturgical calendar is beneficial for teaching

01:17:42.340 --> 01:17:48.100
in churches. And he was attacked. He was dogpiled by people who called themselves Christians.

01:17:48.100 --> 01:17:54.420
And so when I then looked at this passage in Romans 14, I realized that it was not a condemnation of

01:17:54.420 --> 01:17:59.940
what he was saying. It was actually a condemnation of those who use the so-called regulative

01:18:00.020 --> 01:18:06.260
principle as a tamer against Christians. I'm going to read this whole thing here and talk about it

01:18:06.260 --> 01:18:11.780
for a minute. As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but do not quarrel over opinions.

01:18:12.340 --> 01:18:16.900
One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.

01:18:16.900 --> 01:18:21.540
Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains

01:18:21.540 --> 01:18:27.140
pass judgment on the one who eats. For God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on

01:18:27.140 --> 01:18:32.340
the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls, and he will be

01:18:32.340 --> 01:18:39.460
upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another,

01:18:39.460 --> 01:18:45.620
while another esteems all days alike. Each one should fully be convinced in his own mind. The one

01:18:45.620 --> 01:18:51.940
who observes the day observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats eats in honor of the Lord,

01:18:51.940 --> 01:18:55.700
since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains abstains in honor of the Lord

01:18:55.700 --> 01:19:00.740
and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we

01:19:00.740 --> 01:19:05.860
live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we

01:19:05.860 --> 01:19:11.700
die, we are the Lords. To this end, Christ died and lived again. That he may be the Lord for both the

01:19:11.700 --> 01:19:16.420
dead and the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you? Why do you despise your

01:19:16.420 --> 01:19:21.460
brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For as it is written,

01:19:21.460 --> 01:19:26.420
as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

01:19:26.980 --> 01:19:29.780
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

01:19:31.300 --> 01:19:37.540
This passage specifically deals with one man esteeming all days alike, and another man esteeming

01:19:37.540 --> 01:19:42.260
one day as better than another. And this is generally one of the key proof texts that's used

01:19:42.260 --> 01:19:49.220
to attack any form of liturgical calendar. I think a crucial thing to acknowledge when you're

01:19:49.220 --> 01:19:53.780
looking at this passage is to whom was Paul writing. Obviously, he's writing to all of us.

01:19:53.780 --> 01:19:58.580
I'm not trying to pluck this from its context so we can say, oh, it doesn't apply to us.

01:19:59.380 --> 01:20:03.300
But when you specifically look at the church in Rome, when Paul was writing,

01:20:03.940 --> 01:20:08.900
he was addressing a nascent church. I don't think it's clear that anyone had actually visited there

01:20:08.900 --> 01:20:16.740
before any apostles. I'm not sure if it's recorded. So what we can infer from the historical context

01:20:16.740 --> 01:20:21.860
is that it would have probably been a large number of Jews who had converted to Christianity or had

01:20:22.820 --> 01:20:26.260
fleshed out their Jewishness as Christians and believing in the Messiah,

01:20:27.300 --> 01:20:32.980
along with Roman converts to Christianity. Because remember, they had the Septuagint there,

01:20:32.980 --> 01:20:37.380
they'd been primed. Some of them may have already been believers. When the Messiah came,

01:20:37.940 --> 01:20:43.700
there was an influx of men saying, I want to be part of the way. And so they would have been

01:20:43.700 --> 01:20:48.740
gathering together. Jews and Gentiles alike in the same place, probably in synagogues at this point.

01:20:49.380 --> 01:20:54.100
And some of the things that Paul was addressing in that place were disputes among them.

01:20:54.820 --> 01:21:00.740
Because the very first heresy that emerged in the early church was Judaism. It was those

01:21:01.540 --> 01:21:07.940
Jews who had been practicing. When they recognized that the Messiah had come,

01:21:08.020 --> 01:21:13.300
they still didn't fully understand what that meant. Even Peter himself,

01:21:13.300 --> 01:21:19.060
God had to come to him in a vision multiple times with the animals on the sheet coming down from

01:21:19.060 --> 01:21:24.340
heaven. And God said, take and eat. And he said, Lord, nothing unclean has ever touched my lips.

01:21:24.340 --> 01:21:30.500
And God said, kill and eat, eat it. Anything that I have made is not unclean. Peter specifically

01:21:30.500 --> 01:21:39.380
needed to be told that the old separations were set aside and that Jesus completing the old covenant

01:21:39.940 --> 01:21:44.980
meant that it was no longer restricted for these things to occur. And so it's inevitable that in

01:21:44.980 --> 01:21:49.380
this day, where you have Jews and Gentiles gathering together in a synagogue, there would

01:21:49.380 --> 01:21:54.020
have been Judaism naturally occurring. Because frankly, at that point, a lot of the Jews didn't

01:21:54.020 --> 01:21:58.500
know any better. And so a number of Paul's epistles were specifically saying, look,

01:21:59.140 --> 01:22:03.460
you guys are believers in Christ. You have received the faith that the Messiah came.

01:22:04.180 --> 01:22:11.060
Now stop holding others to the old law. You don't tell someone who's a convert to be circumcised.

01:22:11.060 --> 01:22:15.860
You don't tell them to observe the specific patterns of feasts and festivals. You don't tell

01:22:15.860 --> 01:22:22.820
them not to eat certain things. All of that is completed in Christ. And this was certainly one

01:22:22.820 --> 01:22:29.060
of the disputes that he was addressing here. So when Paul says to them, one person esteems one

01:22:29.060 --> 01:22:33.460
day is better than another, while another steams all days alike, in that context, that's absolutely

01:22:33.460 --> 01:22:38.660
what he's talking about. The Gentiles who were coming in, they didn't have the baggage of the

01:22:38.660 --> 01:22:43.220
old ceremonial system. Now again, I'm not trying to say this only applies to them and it doesn't

01:22:43.220 --> 01:22:48.260
apply to us, but I'm saying when you specifically look at what was going on there, I think it's

01:22:48.260 --> 01:22:54.420
frankly kind of the opposite of what the regulars principle guys say today. Because what's happening

01:22:54.420 --> 01:22:59.380
today, when someone posts or says something like, we're saying here that the church calendar is good

01:22:59.380 --> 01:23:04.980
actually, and inevitably will make a bunch of guys angry for saying, that's not a law, you're

01:23:04.980 --> 01:23:11.860
making that a law. Well, I'm telling you guys, you are violating Romans 14. You are sinning

01:23:11.860 --> 01:23:17.220
by condemning someone for observing a church calendar. Full stop. That's what this passage is

01:23:17.220 --> 01:23:22.900
saying. You are the ones who are prohibiting someone for practicing in such a manner. You're

01:23:22.900 --> 01:23:28.020
saying, that's not Christian, no Christian would do that. Well, you are condemned by Romans 14.

01:23:28.020 --> 01:23:32.500
Period. Now, as I said earlier, we didn't want this to be a plan club. So I don't want to beat

01:23:32.500 --> 01:23:36.660
up on you guys. I would have a break and come back and I'd be happy and everyone getting along.

01:23:36.660 --> 01:23:40.340
Hopefully it'll be just one church, maybe Jesus will come back and know this crap will matter

01:23:40.340 --> 01:23:47.700
anymore. It's not okay for us to be at each other's throats over those things, which is,

01:23:48.260 --> 01:23:51.860
from the very moment that we began this episode, the spirit of what we're trying to say.

01:23:52.500 --> 01:23:55.700
I'm going to go back to the very first thing. As for one who is weak in the faith,

01:23:55.700 --> 01:24:01.940
welcome him, but do not quarrel over opinions. Church calendar is absolutely an opinion. It

01:24:01.940 --> 01:24:07.060
is not something to quarrel over. I'm not going to argue with the ortho guy who wants to celebrate

01:24:07.060 --> 01:24:12.100
Christmas two weeks after I do whatever. I'm glad he's celebrating Christmas. That's a good thing.

01:24:12.900 --> 01:24:16.660
The fact that there are differences in calendars, that there are differences in the specific

01:24:16.660 --> 01:24:22.340
observations, some of that's just natural. If you're separated by space and time, of course,

01:24:22.340 --> 01:24:27.140
there are going to be different traditions. That's okay. It would be quarreling over opinions

01:24:27.140 --> 01:24:33.540
to condemn them for those practices. Again, even the practices where I would condemn some of the

01:24:33.540 --> 01:24:39.220
things on the Roman Catholic calendar, it's not that they're observing the wrong feasts.

01:24:39.220 --> 01:24:44.580
It's that I think that the doctrine underlying it is not substantiated by scripture. That's my

01:24:44.580 --> 01:24:50.180
concern. That ceases to be a matter of opinion because it's a matter of doctrinal correctness,

01:24:50.180 --> 01:24:54.180
which they would agree as well, just in the opposite direction because the pope dogmatized

01:24:54.180 --> 01:24:58.580
some of those things. It was one of the few areas where there were ex-cathedra pronouncements,

01:24:58.580 --> 01:25:04.100
specifically dealing with some of the Marian stuff. Those cease to be matters of opinion when

01:25:04.100 --> 01:25:09.940
they go to such strongly held beliefs. This is also the case with the guys who will swoop in and

01:25:09.940 --> 01:25:15.940
condemn someone for saying, hey, the church calendar is good actually. To condemn that is to

01:25:15.940 --> 01:25:21.380
functionally act as a Judaizer. You may not condemn a man for observing a calendar because

01:25:21.380 --> 01:25:27.300
you're the one who's quarreling over opinions. Separately, in the rest of this conversation

01:25:27.380 --> 01:25:33.300
today is about the fact that this is a salutary opinion. Yes, somebody came up with Christmas.

01:25:33.300 --> 01:25:38.020
Somebody came up with Easter as the idea that, hey, let's remember what happened last year. Let's

01:25:38.020 --> 01:25:43.220
remember what happened 100 years ago. Remember what happened 2,000 years ago. That's a man's

01:25:43.220 --> 01:25:50.260
opinion only insofar as it's a rational recognition of something that's absolutely true. Again,

01:25:50.260 --> 01:25:57.620
when we look to the cyclical nature of history itself, of creation itself, and of how church

01:25:57.620 --> 01:26:03.940
practice, going back to the Levitical days, it's always been the case that there were observances.

01:26:04.580 --> 01:26:11.380
Do you think that the same God who told them to observe the Passover and those other things,

01:26:11.380 --> 01:26:14.820
do you think that he stopped caring about observances? Do you think that he said,

01:26:15.140 --> 01:26:20.260
it doesn't matter. I mean, you just forget about it. As Corey said earlier, it's explicitly not the

01:26:20.260 --> 01:26:25.700
case. It is not a law which day you do it, but there are certain things that you must confess.

01:26:26.420 --> 01:26:32.180
You must confess Christmas as Christ was incarnate. That's in the creeds. You must

01:26:32.180 --> 01:26:38.740
confess that he died. That's Good Friday. You must confess that he was resurrected. That's Easter.

01:26:38.740 --> 01:26:43.620
If you confess those things, why would you then not remember the days as days of commemoration?

01:26:44.580 --> 01:26:51.620
See, we're not turning a calendar into a law, but if your calendar is not a reflection of your

01:26:51.620 --> 01:26:58.100
confession, what is it that you're really confessing? To confess that Christ was resurrected from the

01:26:58.100 --> 01:27:03.940
dead is to confess that there's an Easter-sized hole missing in your calendar, if you don't observe

01:27:03.940 --> 01:27:09.860
it. So observe it. Is that a law? No, but it's consistent with your confession. It's the Christian

01:27:09.860 --> 01:27:15.380
life being aligned with the Christian confession. That's really where the rubber meets the road

01:27:15.380 --> 01:27:20.100
with this stuff. It's not making a law to say we should have a calendar and we should use it

01:27:20.100 --> 01:27:24.900
consistently, but when you start chipping away and saying, I don't believe this. I'm not going to do

01:27:24.900 --> 01:27:28.820
that. I'm not going to do the other thing, you very rapidly get to the heart of the Christian

01:27:28.820 --> 01:27:34.900
faith itself. That's where it really becomes an issue. Again, Romans 14 expressly condemns

01:27:34.900 --> 01:27:39.700
anyone who would attack a man for observing a calendar. We are not attacking those who don't

01:27:39.700 --> 01:27:45.140
observe it. We're saying you guys are missing out. There's a treasure from the church, from

01:27:45.140 --> 01:27:50.660
Christians going back thousands of years that you're missing out on. Please join us in enjoying

01:27:50.660 --> 01:27:55.060
these treasures of the church collectively. This is for all of our benefit. It doesn't belong to

01:27:55.060 --> 01:27:59.700
Lutherans, just like it doesn't belong to the Pope. That's why we were not shy about taking whatever

01:28:00.340 --> 01:28:06.020
was preservable from what Rome had. If it was good, we kept it because it's Christian. It's

01:28:06.020 --> 01:28:11.700
not his. For someone today to say, that's the Pope's stuff. No, it isn't. It's my stuff. It's

01:28:11.700 --> 01:28:18.580
your stuff. It is your inheritance as a Western Christian. If you despise it, you're not despising

01:28:18.580 --> 01:28:23.300
the Pope. You're despising your fathers in the faith. Frankly, you're despising your children,

01:28:23.300 --> 01:28:29.380
too. If you take away something that was an inheritance and you refuse to pass it on,

01:28:29.460 --> 01:28:35.140
you're breaking a chain that God has established through time because the faith is transmitted

01:28:35.140 --> 01:28:40.020
through time from man to man. When you start picking away and tearing pieces out of it,

01:28:40.020 --> 01:28:48.340
you're doing real harm. This continuity is not a law, but as a matter of human wisdom,

01:28:48.340 --> 01:28:52.340
why would you remove that, which is good? It's fundamentally what it's about. I'm not saying

01:28:52.340 --> 01:28:55.940
you're going to hell if you don't do it. We're saying you're missing out if you don't do it.

01:28:56.020 --> 01:29:00.900
If you say we're sinning by doing it, you are clearly sinning. I wish that weren't the case.

01:29:00.900 --> 01:29:06.660
I wish we'd get on the same page about this stuff, but as a bare minimum, we cannot quarrel over

01:29:06.660 --> 01:29:12.580
opinions and emphatically as not what we're doing here. You can tell very clearly that we're not

01:29:12.580 --> 01:29:17.700
quarreling over opinions because it's Advent and we haven't said which color you should use for your

01:29:17.700 --> 01:29:23.540
candles, as that is one of the minor points over which people will quarrel during the season of

01:29:23.540 --> 01:29:28.980
Advent. Completely ridiculous. For historical reasons, some churches use blue, some other

01:29:28.980 --> 01:29:33.860
churches use purple, or they'll call them sarum and violet, depending on what you want to call

01:29:33.860 --> 01:29:39.700
the colors. Use whichever one matches your pyramids. That's probably the best advice. I have one set

01:29:39.700 --> 01:29:45.860
of each. These are the minor things that don't matter. These are the little things over which

01:29:45.860 --> 01:29:52.180
you can squabble that ultimately it's a matter of preference when it comes to some of these

01:29:52.260 --> 01:30:00.100
matters, which color candles you use is largely a matter of preference. Yes, there is a meaning to

01:30:00.100 --> 01:30:07.380
the colors established as historic precedent in the church. Yes, it is good in some way to follow

01:30:07.380 --> 01:30:15.380
some of these. For instance, using black pyramids on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and Holy Saturday

01:30:15.460 --> 01:30:21.700
is good as a teaching tool to remember the point of these days in the church here.

01:30:22.820 --> 01:30:27.700
Incidentally, I think it's worth noting that Ash Wednesday is a great example of what I said earlier

01:30:27.700 --> 01:30:32.100
where you can look forward to something in the church here and maybe it ties into the fact that

01:30:32.100 --> 01:30:40.100
we both like the Book of Job. But I think it is important to hear at least once a year the words

01:30:40.100 --> 01:30:46.500
of Genesis 3 and you hear these on Ash Wednesday and those churches that recognize that observe

01:30:46.500 --> 01:30:53.220
Ash Wednesday for dust thou art and unto dust shout thou return. That is a vitally important

01:30:53.220 --> 01:30:59.300
thing for the Christian to hear and to remember it gives you the context of not just the reality

01:30:59.300 --> 01:31:05.060
of human life, but it gives you that necessary foundation to understand

01:31:05.380 --> 01:31:12.660
what Christ did, the meaning of Christ's sacrifice, the meaning of that redemption of creation,

01:31:14.180 --> 01:31:19.620
what happens to us in this life and how it would have been an ultimate fate without Christ.

01:31:20.260 --> 01:31:25.780
And so you have that reminder in the church calendar, something you can look forward to

01:31:25.780 --> 01:31:28.820
as part of the cycle of your year in the church.

01:31:29.140 --> 01:31:35.380
But the matter of these minor things, we are not going to squabble over those and Christians

01:31:35.380 --> 01:31:39.540
shouldn't squabble over those. That doesn't mean you can't discuss them. You can have a

01:31:39.540 --> 01:31:43.540
civilized discussion of whether you want to have purple or blue candles. That's fine.

01:31:44.420 --> 01:31:52.180
You don't start a fight over it. The church should not be divided over minor matters.

01:31:52.820 --> 01:31:59.220
Now, division over doctrine and disagreeing on the sacraments, these things, those are

01:31:59.220 --> 01:32:04.740
reasons to be in separate church bodies, because if you do not agree on the core matters,

01:32:05.380 --> 01:32:12.500
you're not in communion. And then you can't have communion because part of that is discerning

01:32:12.500 --> 01:32:17.060
the body and blood. It's not just discerning the body and blood in the literal sense there.

01:32:17.540 --> 01:32:22.660
Discerning that you are part of the greater body. And that means that you have to have these

01:32:22.660 --> 01:32:28.500
agreements in doctrine, agreements on the grand issues, but you can have disagreements on the

01:32:28.500 --> 01:32:35.140
color of the pyramids. There are matters that require division and there are matters that

01:32:35.140 --> 01:32:42.660
do not require division on the issue of matters that do not require division. Those who have

01:32:43.220 --> 01:32:49.220
rejected things, that were inherited from our forefathers, that were good, that should not

01:32:49.220 --> 01:32:54.660
have been rejected for which there was no sufficient reason to reject them, that is

01:32:54.660 --> 01:33:01.220
an impermissible division. And those who have left the church over those issues should not

01:33:01.220 --> 01:33:08.260
have done so. It was sin to do that. Schism is not always sinful. It depends upon the

01:33:08.740 --> 01:33:14.660
reason why. If it is again over doctrine or theology, then you are required to separate

01:33:14.660 --> 01:33:22.660
from a body that is teaching falsely. But if it is over adiaphora, you are not permitted to separate.

01:33:23.620 --> 01:33:28.980
Just because you, again, it may seem trivial, but there are people who take this this seriously,

01:33:28.980 --> 01:33:32.980
just because you do not like the color of the candles does not mean that you need to find a

01:33:33.140 --> 01:33:38.580
new church. It means that you need to just deal with it. Ignore the color of the candles. Or

01:33:39.300 --> 01:33:44.740
learn why this other color is used, because it is probably profitable to learn the teaching you

01:33:44.740 --> 01:33:50.580
can derive from that. And so if you like the purple candles, which typically represent royalty,

01:33:50.580 --> 01:33:56.340
its representation of Christ's royalty, of his incarnation, descended from the line of David,

01:33:56.980 --> 01:34:00.420
well, maybe you should look into why they use the blue, it's a little bit different.

01:34:00.820 --> 01:34:04.260
Well, maybe you should look into why they use the blue, it's a reminder of the night sky,

01:34:04.260 --> 01:34:10.260
and many of the teachings surrounding the nativity, the angels appearing in the night sky,

01:34:10.260 --> 01:34:15.540
they have reasons for using these things. And so don't separate over these minor issues.

01:34:17.540 --> 01:34:22.820
One of the goals of the Christian church should be unity amongst those who believe.

01:34:23.060 --> 01:34:31.060
And the calendar is actually beneficial to that. And again, as I said earlier,

01:34:31.060 --> 01:34:36.580
I'll repeat it now, one of the reasons the calendar is beneficial for the purpose of unity

01:34:36.580 --> 01:34:42.500
is that it reminds us across church bodies that we all believe these core matters,

01:34:42.500 --> 01:34:49.620
that we all affirm the promises concerning the coming of Christ. Advent looks forward to that.

01:34:49.620 --> 01:34:53.380
We all affirm the incarnation, that is why we have the season of Christmas.

01:34:54.100 --> 01:35:01.380
We all affirm that Christ came to redeem the nations, that it is available to all human

01:35:01.380 --> 01:35:08.580
beings, all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. And so we observe epiphany. We affirm

01:35:08.580 --> 01:35:13.620
that we should be sorry for our sins, that we should repent, that we should recognize the fullness

01:35:13.620 --> 01:35:18.740
of our sin in order to recognize the fullness of Christ's sacrifice. And so we observe the

01:35:18.740 --> 01:35:25.540
season of Lent. We recognize that it was Christ's perfect life, death and resurrection,

01:35:25.540 --> 01:35:31.460
by which we can be saved in faith. And so we recognize the season of Easter. And we recognize

01:35:31.460 --> 01:35:36.900
the church. We recognize the communion of the saints. We recognize that this is the mystical

01:35:36.900 --> 01:35:41.060
body of Christ that exists throughout all time and is comprised of all believers,

01:35:41.700 --> 01:35:46.660
from Adam all the way until whatever unfortunate man is the last one left on this earth.

01:35:47.380 --> 01:35:49.540
And so we recognize the season of Pentecost.

01:35:51.940 --> 01:35:57.460
I just went through the entirety of the church calendar. No Christian can disagree

01:35:57.460 --> 01:36:01.460
with any of those things, because these are core parts of the Christian faith.

01:36:02.100 --> 01:36:07.060
And so there's no reason to reject this. It is a teaching tool. It is good for order.

01:36:08.020 --> 01:36:14.260
It not only creates but it highlights the unity across Christian groups. And that which is good

01:36:14.260 --> 01:36:20.180
for order and is good for unity and informs Christians, teaches them, brings them up in the

01:36:20.180 --> 01:36:25.300
faith, solidifies them in the faith. These things are good and should be preserved. And when they

01:36:25.300 --> 01:36:31.300
have been handed down to us by our forefathers, we should not squander that inheritance. It is a

01:36:31.300 --> 01:36:37.220
good thing that was preserved for us, not just by those men who came before us, but by God preserving

01:36:37.220 --> 01:36:45.460
his church. Again, we will put in the show notes a link to Owen's church calendar that has his very

01:36:45.460 --> 01:36:50.820
artistic version of the Roman Catholic calendar. He's selling copies of that. It's beautiful.

01:36:50.820 --> 01:36:55.620
If you're Roman Catholic, you should probably buy a copy. If you're not, you should enjoy it.

01:36:55.620 --> 01:37:03.060
We'll also link to another website that shows the Lutheran liturgical calendar. They're also

01:37:03.060 --> 01:37:10.260
selling less fancy, but still very nice posters of the entire church here. Just as a good reminder

01:37:10.260 --> 01:37:17.700
of what we go through as we're enjoying God's gifts week after week in church. Because if your

01:37:17.700 --> 01:37:23.460
church is observing the seasons and using the lectionary, it's going to have readings that

01:37:23.460 --> 01:37:28.980
reflect whatever is going on at that particular time of the year. On the subject of lectionary,

01:37:29.700 --> 01:37:36.420
Corey has another podcast that's just him reading from the daily lectionary every day. Then on Sunday,

01:37:36.420 --> 01:37:42.100
in particular, their readings are appointed for each day. We'll link that in the show notes as

01:37:42.100 --> 01:37:46.500
well when we're on our brief hiatus. It's something you should be listening to anyway. Again,

01:37:46.500 --> 01:37:50.740
not because Corey's doing it. He's a very good narrator and reader. He has a great voice for

01:37:50.740 --> 01:37:57.060
that. But if you do nothing else devotionally, if all you do is listen to 15 minutes of Scripture

01:37:57.060 --> 01:38:03.700
every day, you're in better shape than most people. Maybe things get screwy and that's all you have

01:38:03.700 --> 01:38:10.820
time to do. You're not able to focus and do more than that. It's still salutary. If you can spend

01:38:10.820 --> 01:38:15.780
15 minutes a day listening to Scripture while you're getting ready for work in the morning,

01:38:16.900 --> 01:38:22.020
that is a great thing. In particular, the lectionary is going to work through the entire church

01:38:22.020 --> 01:38:27.780
calendar so the readings will reflect what's going on seasonally. They're going to cover all the

01:38:27.780 --> 01:38:34.420
various stories. The lectionary and the liturgy go hand-to-hand. On the subject of opinions,

01:38:34.420 --> 01:38:39.700
there are a bunch of different lectionaries too. I personally despise the arguing over them.

01:38:39.700 --> 01:38:44.660
I don't care. For you to say that somebody is reading the Bible wrong, that makes me angry.

01:38:45.300 --> 01:38:51.220
Use whatever lectionary you're going to use. Just read the Bible regularly. While we're

01:38:51.220 --> 01:38:55.700
going for a couple of weeks, go back and listen to the back catalog. Subscribe to Corey's confident

01:38:55.700 --> 01:39:00.020
faith podcast where he does the daily lectionary readings and just start enjoying them because

01:39:00.020 --> 01:39:05.860
that is part of the church calendar. It's not super over. He mentions it every day. Here's the time

01:39:05.860 --> 01:39:13.620
of the season. But those readings are just, it's God's word and it's his gifts being poured out to

01:39:13.620 --> 01:39:20.260
us and because faith comes by hearing, frankly, I think in some cases it's almost more profitable

01:39:20.260 --> 01:39:25.380
to hear someone reading something than reading it yourself. There's just something about the way

01:39:25.380 --> 01:39:31.620
our brains work that God understood. That's how he's given these things to us. Be sure to check

01:39:31.620 --> 01:39:35.940
out the show notes this week because there's some good stuff in there that'll be interesting.

01:39:35.940 --> 01:39:40.900
It's not homework, but it's beneficial for you. That's the purpose of all this. It's not homework.

01:39:40.900 --> 01:39:46.100
It's not making laws. It's just look at these blessings. Look at these good things that God

01:39:46.100 --> 01:39:51.460
has preserved in time through the church. Let's enjoy them together. That's my entire hope for

01:39:51.460 --> 01:39:59.620
all of this for everyone. And so we will end this week's episode with a short reading from

01:39:59.620 --> 01:40:07.780
Ecclesiastes 3, something for you to ponder in the remaining week, less than a week leading up to

01:40:08.580 --> 01:40:15.140
Christmas Day. And of course this is the fourth Sunday in Advent this coming Sunday.

01:40:16.340 --> 01:40:19.300
But our reading to end this episode, Ecclesiastes 3.

01:40:38.100 --> 01:40:43.700
A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.

01:40:44.340 --> 01:40:50.660
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together. A time to embrace

01:40:50.660 --> 01:40:57.380
and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to seek and a time to lose. A time to keep

01:40:57.380 --> 01:41:04.900
and a time to cast away. A time to tear and a time to sow. A time to keep silence and a time

01:41:04.900 --> 01:41:20.820
to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.

01:41:34.900 --> 01:41:36.900
Ecclesiastes 3.