First Icon: Christ the Just Judge

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As a gift for my vicarage I received my first icon (actually a gift certificate that allowed me to purchase my first icon). I purchased the “Christ the Just Judge” icon that is pictured with this post. It hangs on my office wall.

It truly is beautiful and full of symbolism. Of course Christ is depicted at the center. Mark is in the bottom left depicted as a Lion. In the upper left corner a “living creature with the face of a man.” In the upper right is John as an eagle. In the bottom right is Luke as an ox. It is quite common in Christian tradition to connect the four evangelists to the four living creatures spoke of in the book of Revelation, “And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight” (4:7). 

This gift has now got me hooked on icons. Go to Archangel Books in Maplewood (south of the Sem) to find a wonderful sampling of icons (and even more on the web).

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Chapel Ablaze?

Part of my duties as sacristan include dealing with the candles in the chapel. This morning before our chapel service I was working on an older candle, trying to get it to fit into the stand that holds it for our evening prayer services. Eventually I got it to fit, put the brass follower on top, and realized that it needed to burn for a bit for it to settle correctly. I went ahead and lit the candle (as I have done probably 50 times… in the sacristy), let it burn for a bit, and then lit my candle lighter, extinguished the candle, and went to light the candles in the chancel.

As I exited the sacristy… the fire alarms went off. Sure enough, the small amount of smoke from extinguishing the candle set off the fire alarm in the chapel. I have to say… it is effective! Incredibly loud! Thankfully, a seminary maintenance supervisor was in the building and shut it off quickly. I fessed up immediately and retreated to the vestry to get the student ready for the service. In doing so, I missed the fire department arriving. Two trucks and the chief. 

Thankfully, my boss got a good chuckle out of the whole situation. No harm, no foul. The only think… I was the brunt of many jokes in my post-chapel class.

Debate Tonight

In about thirty minutes I’m heading with Lisa to the seminary to pick up a friend. From there we are off to the Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University to watch the debate on the big screens at the Republican Debate Watch Party/Rally. I know a number of other folks from the seminary community are heading there too. 

I know that things will be a zoo around the sem campus because of our location just down the street from Washington University. A staging area is located on the old CBC campus and they are prepared to host overflow parking at the seminary.

Check out Respublica for more info on all the activity that has happend around St. Louis… including a robbery of a bank just down the street from the seminary. The thief was caught on the sem campus. Apparently he didn’t notice the line of police cars down the street from the bank…. or the constant helicopter overflights. Oops.

Carrier Trip Video

From KETC, LIVING ST. LOUIS Producer Anne-Marie Berger traveled to California for a special tour of the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. As guests of the U.S. Navy, Anne-Marie, photojournalist Scot Page and KETC board member Jeffrey McDonnell began their visit at the Naval Air Station on North Island in San Diego. From there, they flew in a C-2 cargo plane that landed directly on the Stennis, 100 miles off the coast. After 36 hours on board, they were catapulted off of the carrier’s flight deck.

In most shots I’m in a blue jacket with white stripes on the sleeves. I’ll hopefully post some of my own video in the future.

What does a seminarian do over break?

Ever wonder what a seminarian does over break? Do you think that we lock ourselves up in our rooms/houses, eagerly awaiting the start of the next term? Well, yeah… some of us look forward to class… but we also have lives outside of the seminary.

What am I doing this break (two weeks between end of spring term and start of summer term)?

First, I’m helped out at a wonderful church in Southern Illinois last weekend and I will be preaching this next weekend at my home church. This will be my third time helping out there… and my first time preaching… ever! While I am certainly nervous about this… I’m also excited about this opportunity.

Second, I’m doing a lot of work with the American Red Cross. I’ve been a lifeguard instructor for about six years now. I’ve since expanded out to nearly all the available first aid and CPR courses that the Red Cross offers. Yesterday and today I helped with a lifeguarding course at SLU. Tomorrow is a day of rest and preparation. Thursday I teach a First Aid and CPR course at a Lutheran Camp. Friday I will help with testing and skills tests at a lifeguard class.

Saturday I head with my wife to see my grandfather who is having is oil changed… aka… getting a new defibrillator. This will be his third one. Please keep him in your prayers… his name is Elvis (how cool of a name is that!). With this visit to Central MO comes preaching at my home church.

Then the big event begins on Monday… I’m still not entirely sure if the “big event” will happen… so I’m not going to talk about it. If it does… I’ll be posting pictures and videos. All I can say and ask is that you keep me in your prayers as I will be partaking in something that has an “inherent risk of injury or death.” Don’t worry… I will be with trained professionals. 

Then… back to class. Lutheran Confessions II, John and the Catholic Epistles, and (pending approval) Christian Initiation (a independent study course looking at Christian initiation rites and working toward a faithful Lutheran practice of the catechumenate). 

Appropriate Prayer

An appropriate prayer this evening as St. Louis mourns the loss of at least five public servants:

Almighty God, merciful Lord, be gracious to the families of those whose lives have been tragically ended and who are now at rest with You. Comfort them in their grief, deliver them from danger, and sustain them with the knowledge that they are upheld by Your everlasting arms. Grant them Your Holy Spirit that they may meet the days to come with steadfastness and patience, and with the hope of the glorious resurrection and a blessed reunion in heaven with those they love who have departed in the faith; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

(from the Lutheran Service Book: Pastoral Care Companion)

Idiocy in St. Louis

The City of St. Louis has been embroiled in a bitter debate about the status of the fire department. The former (as of yesteday) Chief of the Fire Department refused to promote a number of firefighters to senior leadership positions because he felt that the test that they took was “biased against African-Americans.” A federal court ruled against the firefighters that made this claim. However, the chief refused to make the promotions even under pressure of the mayor’s office.

The chief got demoted and a new acting chief was named. Today, five new battalion chiefs were named. The Post-Dispatch points out that they were the top scorers on the exam that was called “unfair” ans “biased.” The irony is that out of this group…. two are African-American, one is the first woman battalion chief, and the other two are white. Seems racist to me.

What truly bothers me is the claims made by the former fire chief… that he alone gets to make decisions regarding promotions. He has a boss, just as everyone else does. The mayor told him to do something. He should have done it. The courts told him he was wrong. What also bothers me is that the top-scoring candidate said that he didn’t think the test was equitable. How… I’ve yet to hear a valid argument as to why these tests are “racist” and “unfair.” Also what bothers me is that in St. Louis city there are two fire-department unions… one for blacks and one for whites. How is this possible??? I personally have problems with labor unions as a whole…. but this goes waaayyy beyond a problem with the concept of labor unions. Something needs to change.

St. Louis Post Article