October 31, 2011

Searching For The Great Pumpkin

I loved the Charlie Brown movies when I was little. I still like them. Nostalgia takes over and I have the children watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" every year before we carve up our own great pumpkins.

Really, how can you not just love the whole Lucy and Linus dialogue? You want to watch the whole movie now, don't you?

Well, we went on our own search this year for the perfect pumpkins (since Titus lovingly killed most all our pumpkin vines...) at Rock Creek Farm. Grandma Sherrill was still here, and it was a beautiful fall day.

Isn't this view just breathtaking? Acres and acres of pumpkins to look through, with glistening, snow-capped mountains for a backdrop on a crisp, sunny Colorado morning.

Peter, Maggie, Susie, Ben and Annie showing Renata the pumpkins they've chosen. It's never too early to start looking for the great pumpkin...

Peter ran all over the field, looking for just the right pumpkin. He ended up deciding to get a little pie pumpkin because the others were too heavy to carry out of the field and it took too long to try and roll one out...

It was so fun to have Grandma Sherrill here with us and be able to take her with us to the pumpkin fields.

There were bouncy castles for the kids to jump in and hay bale mazes for the kids to jump over...

Isn't Joanna getting tall? She has been such a great help to me lately. She took Maggie and Annie over to see the animals.

Here is our "fall display" in our kitchen window. Notice the snow in the backyard. Yes, we've already had 6 inches of snow. Right now it's all melted away, but I hear that we may have another winter blast headed our way this week.

This is Joanna's swan gourd. It was one of the few things that survived in our backyard this year. We thought it was pretty neat looking!

And, thanks to an old Martha Stewart Living magazine, we have little mice that now adorn our stairs and baseboards. Joanna and Susie spent a whole day cutting these little rodents out. They drive our cat crazy!


October 18, 2011

The Gifts Christ Freely Gives

The gifts Christ freely gives He gives to you and me

To be His Church, His Bride, His chosen, saved and free!
Saints blest with these rich gifts are children who proclaim
That they were won by Christ and cling to His strong name.

The gifts flow from the font where He calls us to His own;

New life He gives that makes us His and His alone.
Here He forgives our sins with water and His Word;
The triune God Himself gives power to call Him Lord.

The gifts of grace and peace from absolution flow;

The pastor's words are Christ's for us to trust and know,
Forgiveness that we need is granted to us there;
The Lord of mercy sends us forth in His blest care.

The gifts are there each day the Holy Word is read;

God's children listen, hear, receive, and they are fed.
Christ fills them with Himself, blest words that give them life,
Restoring and refreshing them for this world's strife.
The gifts are in the feast, gifts far more than we see;

Beneath the bread and wine Is food from Calvary.
The body and the blood remove our every sin;
We leave His presence in His peace, renewed again.

----------- Lutheran Service Book, Hymn #602, "The Gifts Christ Freely Gives"

Have you ever sang this hymn before? If you have, you know that it is a wonderful hymn written by one of the most talented musicians in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Kantor Richard Resch from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

We had the fine pleasure of hosting Kantor Resch this past weekend.
Our church, Trinity Lutheran in Denver, Colorado, offered an organist workshop this past Saturday for all the area church organists. We had a fantastic turnout and I would venture to say that everyone enjoyed Kantor Resch's presentation.

The children enjoyed having breakfast with the Kantor before he headed off to the workshop that morning.

That night, a few of our church members came over to visit and share in a few drinks.

We had the fire going outside, everyone was sitting at Adrian's picnic table having a good ole' time. Even Renata was out there, all wrapped in a blanket, listening to the theological discussions taking place...

Kantor Resch played the organ on Sunday morning, which was fantastic! And, Kantor Lock played trumpet in a brass ensemble along with the MacGilvray boys and another gentleman who is a friend of our choir director. They were also outstanding. It was a wonderful service.

The children delight in having visitors, and Kantor Resch was no exception.
We were glad to have Kantor Resch stay at our house for the weekend. The children were pumped. They love the Kantor and they love to sing. They know the Kantor loves to sing. They know that having the Kantor at our house means they get to sing a bunch and as loud as they want!

This was perhaps the best part of the whole visit. Kantor Resch playing our piano while we sang our hearts out to some great hymns. I think if Kantor Resch would've been up for it, we might have done this for hours on end. It was just wonderful!

Our last day with Kantor Resch found us driving up into the mountains for some Beau Jo's pizza in Idaho Springs.

We had a great time visiting with the Kantor. If Benjamin could have, I think he might have tried to sneak into the Kantor's luggage to go home with him. We have a lot of pictures with little Ben on the Kantor's lap. I think the Kantor was pretty sweet on Ben too, how could he not be?

October 14, 2011

Rebirth Through the Water of Holy Baptism

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

(John 3:1-16 ESV)
Before our baby was born, Adrian and I decided to do things a bit differently than the rest of the world is used to. We agreed that her name would not be announced until her baptism.
Adrian even wrote a newsletter article about this, which you can find here.

While I was pregnant with this baby, Adrian and I had a very difficult time deciding on names, especially girl names. We dug through baby name books, did a little online name searching, asked friends and family for advice.... and still, we were without a name. Sure, there were plenty of names that we could've chosen, but none of them really stuck out to us. In the past, we'd always just come up with a name for this baby, agreed upon it, and that was that.

So, as I was rounding out the 36th week of pregnancy, it just so happened that we had a chance to visit with Dr. Kleinig and his wife, Claire, for a few days. We, of course, consulted with him about a name for this baby. And he gave us one! It was just so strange how it all happened to come about. It was like God was working through the Kleinig's to give us this name for the baby...
And, so, the name Renata was chosen. We picked Claire for the middle name because it seemed appropriate and I was pretty adamant about it!

Renata. It's of Latin origin and means "Reborn".

Now, it was interesting to see everyone's reaction to the fact that we weren't going to share her name until her baptism. And, it truly led to some rather interesting dialogue about infant baptism with the nurses and my doctor. I doubt they have that conversation with too many families...
It also caused a bit of a "build up" in anticipation for her baptism. The children could hardly wait for her to receive her new name. Our friends and family were equally excited.

Grandma wrapped the girls hair in curlers Saturday night, just so that they would have a special "do" for the big day!

So, this past Sunday, little Renata Claire was truly reborn through the waters of Holy Baptism. And, when her name was announced for the first time, it was in the midst of our parishoners, in the house of God. That moment was something I don't think I'll ever forget.

Our friend, Angelique, was kind enough to take pictures for us after Sunday School. We looked a bit dishelved by then, but that's nothing new! She took a ton of photos, I only posted the first three here because they were the best.

Here's one of us all with Grandma Sherrill. So happy she could be here for the baptism.

Here we all are with Renata's sponsors, Kevin and Vicki. Her other sponsors, John and Claire, couldn't be with us in person.

We rejoice that little Renata Claire is a child of God!!!


Following is the article that my husband wrote for our Trinity Tribune (the church newsletter).

Are you really going to name her Apple?
Have you thought of Sage Moonblood... or maybe Moxie Crimefighter?

Names mean something, especially to the Christian. They surely aren't indifferent things, nor do you find the Saints of the Scriptures taking the names of people, places, or even animals lightly. You might think of Adam carefully naming the animals, Zechariah shocking his family by naming his boy John, the significance of the name Moses (out of the waters), or the occasion for Jesus death being the "place of the skull".
Everywhere one looks through the Scriptures, you don't find frivolity or even stupidity, but rich theological significance in names. Just think, every time you hear the name of Christ Jesus what lies beneath it is the declaration, "This one and not another is chosen (Christ) to save you from your sins (Jesus)!"

The last week of August, Kantor Lock and I had the beautiful privilege of taking a Continuing Education course from Dr. John Kleinig, a well-known and respected Lutheran professor from Australia. He said we should call him John, which not all professors do. Many like to be known more formally. He followed that up with me at a break by telling me if I didn't call him John, that would be insulting to him. Now, I have been around Seminary professors since I was one year old. Not many insist on being identified by their personal name, as not many want to have a personal relationship, though a few have. In any case, Dr. Kleinig, who made much of the significance of names and the theology of God's name, said "Call me John", and he meant it. That was readily apparent in how warmly he regarded not only me and the other students, but also my family throughout the week in class, outside of class, and in saying good-bye. He even invited my whole troop, all ten (soon to be eleven) of us, multiple times to his home in Australia. No "Call me Dr. Stuffy Pants" would do something so personal and gracious and perhaps even crazy like that, especially considering our brood. With his name he gave us personal access to him and all that was his, his home included. Apparently he meant it when he said, "Call me John".

Now, if you are familiar with the book of Exodus, you know of the significant event of the burning bush where God revealed to Moses the Divine Name. What Dr. Kleinig explained to us on the second day of class, from the Hebrew text, was that this was the giving of God's PERSONAL name to Moses. It wasn't a TITLE like Christ or Almighty. It wasn't a COMMON name like God or Redeemer. It was a personal name, like John, or Adrian, or Jesus. In doing so, God declared, "Dear Moses, don't be so worried and terrified and nervous in my presence. Call me by my first name, my personal name." It was unto Moses a Gospel name, a beautiful, comforting, saving name. "YHWH", Moses said, according to God's insistence in the Old Testament. "JESUS", we say according to his insistence in the New Testament. Again, it is as though God says, "Don't call me Dr. or Mr. or Rev., call me by my first name. I want an intimate, personal relationship with you."
Dr. Kleinig went on to explain that in giving Moses the Divine Name, God gave him everything. It was that gracious name of God that gave Moses access to everything that belongs to God, as the name Jesus does for us. Through it, Moses had received from God not only everything that belonged to God, but also the use of everything that was God's. In fact, along with the promise that God was with him, God's name was the only weapon Moses had to stand against Pharaoh, the superpower of the ancient world, and all the demonic spiritual forces that stood behind him. So, Moses used that name before the people, before Pharaoh, before Pharaoh's court of magicians and false gods, and especially before God in prayer. Of course, as you know, the weapon of the name of God and His presence was more than enough to do just that. By giving the name YHWH, God gave Moses and the Israelites Himself, and everything that comes with Him... use of His house, His gifts, His protection, His blessing, His rescue, His riches... everything!!!

Of course, the theology and the giving of the name of God have great bearing for us in the New Testament age as well. At the Ascension (Matt. 28), what does Jesus give us? He gives us two things: the promise to be with us and His name; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of course, as you know, Jesus is with us in His church, in His word and it's preaching, and through His sacraments to be with us in our lives. Our baptismal font even declares that the Trinity is with us specifically in the sacrament of Baptism and there HIS NAME is upon us, blessing us, according to those sanctifying waters. As Dr. Kleinig said, " The name sanctifies everything it touches," especially the baptized! This is one reason that Christians have historically made the sign of the cross, to remember baptism and to remember that the name of God is upon us to bless us, according to our baptism.

There is an Old Testament tradition which is quite profound in the naming of babies. It is this, that your personal name was given to you in baptism. Not by your parents, but by GOD. You can even see this in the question asked of parents before baptism, not "What IS this child named?" but instead "What IS this child TO BE named?" It is to say the name hasn't happened yet, but will happen in the baptism. Liturgically or theologically speaking, Christian naming in baptism then belongs to God and not to us. A different way of saying it is, there in baptism, God gives you His name and access to Himself and there God gives you your name and defines for you in baptism your identity; who you will be and how your life will go. That is to say, your life (sola fide), regardless of what comes, will receive the blessing of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Because His name sanctifies and blesses everything it touches. That is to say God will be responsible for shaping this child and making them who they are and what they will be. This brings relief and tremendous comfort to the child baptized and to their worried and trepidatious parents!
There is an old custom associated with that tradition that is very rich and beautiful. God willing, and according to John's (Dr. Kleinig) encouragement, we are going to give it a try in a few weeks when our next baby is born. It is this: that the name of the child is first made public at the baptism. Before that, the other children of the house don't know it, the other relatives and friends haven't heard it, the parents don't even speak it to each other, until God places that name upon the child in baptism. Historically, the name then wasn't even a family name, or trendy name, or a name given without some thought. It was a Biblical name, or the name of a Saint, because it wasn't given by parents, but instead by our God in His church. You might see this practice at work in the naming of Luther, who was named for Martin of Tours, because he was baptized on that Saint's day.

Can you imagine the ramifications for the world, if all the churches returned to this practice and if everyone was named in baptism? Can you imagine if anyone wanted to hear your name for the first time, they would need to be in church hearing God's Word to do so? There would be some added excitement and anticipation to baptism and to the day and to the hearing of the name alongside God's name. Those who are lazy with the gifts of God would be compelled unto baptism, so their children could have a name and would benefit from it's blessing upon their children. Children might recognize, perhaps in a small way, that their identity and life isn't identified with what is meaningless or trendy, or is somehow to be carved out by them alone, but instead their identity is bound up in the life of Jesus and everything we are and what we will be are from Him. Whenever they pondered why they were named that which they are named, they would know it had to do with something bigger than them. That is was profound, and that their name had to do with the Christian faith and came from and with the name of their Savior, who loves them.

It was an enjoyable and profitable week with Dr. Kleinig. If you have more interest in the theology of the name, he has written an article entitled, "What is the use of naming God?" which I would be happy to share with you. He also had more to say about baptismal fonts, and their usage, and many other church rites and rituals which hopefully we have occasion to speak about or to learn of together.

Love to you in Christ,
Pastor Sherrill

So, in this article it explains why we did what we did this time when our baby was born.

October 10, 2011

Welcome Baby Girl....

Wonder what we've been up to lately???

On October 5th, Adrian and I welcomed into our family a new baby girl.

She weighed in at a little over 8 pounds and has the longest fingers and toes I've ever seen on a newborn. She also has long legs and a smattering of dark hair on her 14 1/2 inch head.

I think she looks like her daddy. What do you think? At least in this picture, they seem to have similar expressions.

She is a quiet little thing. Hardly ever cries, only when she is hungry. She is also very alert and already seems to know voices and tries to follow them with her eyes.
There are a lot of voices in our house, so she is pretty wide-eyed sometimes!

The children were so excited to welcome her home! They didn't get a chance to visit us at the hospital because my stay was so short, so this was the first time they had seen her.
It was really a sweet thing. The children came running out of the house to greet us as we pulled into the driveway. They were just bursting with pride!

Everyone had to take turns holding her. And, each of them had to have a picture taken as well! It was a good hour of passing the baby around and touching her and counting her fingers and toes.
Babies are entrancing, not only to adults but also to children!

I also need to mention that Grandma Sherrill is here to help us. We are so, so, so thankful to have her here.

Here are our five girls... FIVE GIRLS! I can hardly believe it. If Hannah were still here, that would make SIX girls.
We outnumber the boys now, which should make for some interesting times in our household!

I think we are extremely blessed to have been granted nine little children to take care of. We thank our Lord God for each one of them!!!