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St. Matthias the Apostle

St. Matthias the Apostle

February 24, 2021 AD

Epistle: Acts 1:15-26

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

 

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On the night when He was betrayed, after the last supper, in His sublime great high priestly prayer, the Lord Jesus prayed for His disciples saying, “Holy Father…While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name which Thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scriptures might be fulfilled.”

At the last supper Jesus said to His troubled disciples: “Truly, truly I say to you, one of you will betray me.” John the beloved disciple, prompted by Peter, then asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” and Jesus replied, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” And when Jesus had dipped the morsel He gave it to Judas. Saint John tells us that after Judas had received the morsel Satan entered into him and that Judas then “immediately went out and it was night.” “And it was night” – night not only in the sense that the sun had set, but night in the sense that all the powers of darkness aided among others by Judas now gathered all their strength to destroy, as Saint John writes, the true Light that enlightens everyone coming into the world. There are those chilling words of John: “And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” This describes not only what was happening on that dark night, but it is in a real sense a summary of the long history of humankind’s love for the darkness and rejection of the light culminating in that night when the Lord of Light and Love was betrayed by Judas who had shared the intimate fellowship of that last earthly supper of the Lord. Long centuries before the psalmist had prayed as in the psalm we prayed this evening, “Even my close friend, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”

What Judas did on that dark and doleful night was in a way only the culmination of what he had already been doing for a long time. He was, you might say, the treasurer for Jesus and those who followed Him, and Judas had already been in the habit of stealing. Finally he agrees with the High Priest’s council to betray his Lord for thirty pieces of silver. In this sad case of Judas we see how habitual sin steadily becomes worse and at a point known only by God can finally make repentance impossible. But the fact is that Judas still was not completely blinded by sin. After he had betrayed his Lord the voice of conscience still spoke. Judas came to realize what he had done and tried to give back the money to the temple authorities but they would not have it. Then, as we heard in the Epistle from Saint Luke’s Book of Acts, we learn that Judas then used the money to buy a field and that having bought the field “fell headlong, burst open in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.” Saint Luke tells us that this became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that that field became known as Akeldama which means field – of blood. Saint Luke also sees in all of this the fulfillment of some words spoken long before by the psalmist: “Let his habitation become desolate and let there be no one to live in it” and “His office let another take.”

As it in fact happened Judas’ office, his work, his position of one of the twelve apostles was not TAKEN by another. Rather God Himself filled that office in this way.

During the ten days between Jesus’ ascension into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Saint Peter led the eleven remaining apostles in filling the office, telling the eleven that one of the men who had been an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry from His baptism to His ascension must be chosen to fill the vacant place.

Two men were nominated: one who was named Joseph who was called Justus, the other one Matthias. Then they prayed saying, “Lord, You that know all hearts, show us which one of these two YOU have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” Then they cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias and he was numbered with the apostles. In THIS way GOD chose Matthias to be an apostle.

More than this we do not know with certainty. But early tradition tells us that Matthias later worked in Cappadocia which is an area of present day Turkey bordering on the Black Sea, and that he perhaps also preached in the country of Georgia. And finally sealed his witness to the Saviour with his own blood.

Be all that as it may, we remember Matthias with thanksgiving because he was an apostle. And what is an apostle? An apostle is one who was sent by Jesus to be a witness to His life and death and resurrection and ascension. The word apostle comes from a verb which means ‘to send.’ The apostle is one sent by Christ to preach and teach with authority. And what the apostles in fact taught is found in the Holy Scripture: the New Testament is but the WRITTEN deposit of the apostles’ teaching and to that teaching the Church of Christ is bound until He returns in glory.

At the last supper the Lord Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit would bring to the apostles’ remembrance all that He said and had done. That promise was wonderfully fulfilled in the teaching and preaching of the apostles beginning with Saint Peter’s wonderful sermon on Pentecost. The sermon St. Luke records in Acts 2. And that teaching was then written down by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The task assigned by the Lord Jesus to Matthias and all the apostles continues today as the pastors of the Church hand down the apostles’ teaching through their own preaching and teaching. And if a pastor does not do that or contradicts the teaching of the apostles, he walks not in steps of the holy apostles but of Judas who betrayed the Lord. And that is why in the Collect or “appointed prayer” for Saint Matthias’ Day we pray:

Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve. Grant that Your church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen


Invocavit – The First Sunday in Lent

gate-of-heaven-violet-1024x1024Invocavit – The First Sunday in Lent

The First Sunday in Lent
February 21, 2020 AD

Old Testament:  Genesis 3:1-21
Epistle: II Corinthians 6:1-10
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11

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Quinquagesima

Quinquagesima

February 14, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Isaiah 35: 3-7
Epistle: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Gospel: Luke 18: 31-43

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Sexagesima

Sexagesima

February 7, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Isaiah 55: 10-13
Epistle: II Corinthians 11:19-12:9
Gospel: Luke 8: 4-15

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Our Saviour Parish News, February, 2021



OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH

3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410.235.9553
FEBRUARY, 2021

Ash Wednesday
February 17
7:30 pm Divine Service

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Lent begins on February 17, Ash Wednesday. Divine Service will be celebrated at seven thirty in the evening. On the following Wednesdays in Lent there will be Vespers with the Litany, except on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in March when Divine Service will be celebrated.

Wednesday, February 24, is Saint Matthias Day. Since Saint Matthias was chosen to replace the traitor Judas, this holy day is directly connected with the Lenten season.  Saint Matthias was chosen during the ten days between our Lord’s ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 1:15–26).

Wednesday, March 24, is the Eve of the Feast of the Annunciation, a most important holy day because it celebrates the conception of Jesus following the virgin Mary’s assent to the message of the angel Gabriel. Nine months before His birth in Bethlehem (Saint Luke 1:26–38) the eternal Son of God took on Himself the humanity that is yours and mine in the womb of His virgin mother. And that is in the most real sense the beginning of the journey which would lead to the Cross. The ancient appointed prayer or collect for the Annunciation expresses this in a memorable way:

O Lord, as we have known the incarnation of Your Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel to the virgin Mary, so by the message of His cross and passion bring us to the glory of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

On the three remaining Wednesdays in Lent the meditations will focus on Old Testament Types of Christ’s Passion. “Types” are events which point forward to the Savior. We will consider the Sacrifice of Isaac, the Passover Lamb, and the Blood of the Covenant.

I wish I could announce that our midweek Lenten services will as usual be preceded by our popular soup suppers. But the circumstances surrounding the COVID virus do not make that possible at this time. Depending on circumstances we may be able to have them as Lent goes on.

We recently heard from the office of the President of Synod, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, that he is planning to come to our Saint Mark’s Conference which will, God willing, take place April 19–20. Dr. Harrison was to have spoken at last year’s conference which had to be canceled because of the COVID pandemic. On the Monday in Holy Week, March 29, he will make a decision as to whether or not he can come. We will be sending out notifications with the proviso that all depends on the circumstances of the pandemic. The theme of the Conference will be the one announced last year, the life and works of the Rev. Dr. Hermann Sasse (1895–1976) of blessed memory. Last year was the 125th anniversary of Dr. Sasse’s birth. He was almost certainly the greatest faithful Lutheran theologian of the last century. His writings continue to guide and enrich the Church of the Augsburg Confession throughout the world. English-speaking Lutherans owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the President of Synod who has himself translated countless pages of Dr. Sasse’s works and has caused them to be published.

Our dear sister in Christ, Dorothy Bell, fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday, January 28. She was born on September 8, 1931 in Meherrin, Virginia, and will be buried in Saint Matthew’s Cemetery in Meherrin. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon her and may our heavenly Father comfort her husband Louis, her children, and all who mourn her departure. As of this writing, funeral arrangements are incomplete, but you will be notified as soon as they are in place.

Our Saviour Church in fact has roots in Saint Matthew’s Church, Meherrin, which was founded as an African-American congregation in 1883, nine years before the founding in Baltimore of Our Saviour Church, which was then called Jackson Square. It was members of Saint Matthew’s in Meherrin who founded Saint Matthew’s Church in Baltimore in 1928  which in 1973 merged with Our Saviour. So our roots as a congregation in a real sense go all the way back to 1883.

Gabe Purviance had been sick with the COVID virus but has made a good recovery. His father Philip was hospitalized with the virus but is now with Gabe and his wife Louise and is making a good recovery. Continue to keep them all in your prayers together with Joe Silver who will undergo surgery this Friday, and also Yolanda Ford, who having been hospitalized is now in the Future Care home on North Point Boulevard.

Our former organist, Matthew Bunn, resigned as organist on Sunday, January 24th. We are fortunate that John Igoe has agreed to serve as our organist for some weeks to come. He has served before as substitute here at Our Saviour and we are happy that he is available. He played for Divine Service on January 31.

At the end of this newsletter Quilla Downs reports on the gifts we were able to give to needy families connected with the Waverly Elementary School this Christmas. It really is wonderful that we were able to give even more generously than last year because of our people’s generosity. It happens that I began my education in kindergarten at the Waverly School then known as School 51. Judy Volkman reports on our Free Flea Markets.

We are continuing to work toward the restoration of the mechanism which plays the bells in the church tower. Mary Techau has done much in this connection. We now have over $9,000 in the bell fund. At our website (oursaviourbaltimore.org) there is a delightful video about the bells with Gabe Purviance as narrator. Be sure to see it!

While we are on the subject of finances, I should mention that a generous friend of our congregation recently sent us a check for $10,000. The Church Council will be discussing how this may best be used.

I suspect that during Lent last year very few people expected that the world would still be plagued with COVID–19 as this Lent begins. But so it is, and Lent is almost here.
The Church has always marked Lent with the three disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as Christ teaches in His Sermon on the Mount—Saint Matthew 6:1-21. Lent is not so much a time to take on extraordinary disciplines as it is to return to those ordinary thoughts and words and deeds which are fitting for all those who have been baptized into our Lord’s death and resurrection. And so if we have been negligent in prayer, Lent is a time to return to a more disciplined prayer life. The forms of daily morning and evening prayer which Dr. Luther provides in the Small Catechism are not just forms to use but in fact a pattern for daily prayer. Public prayer is the worship of the Church. If we have for no valid reason (e.g. sickness, danger of exposure to the virus, etc.) been negligent in Sunday worship, Lent is certainly a time to begin to remedy that negligence and also to join in the midweek Lenten devotions. Almsgiving includes not just monetary gifts but anything that we do to help our neighbor, for example, our flea markets, our gifts to the GEDCO food cupboard, our gifts for the Helping Up Project, the help we recently provided for a group of Christians in Kenya. These needs are now greater than ever. But at the heart of the Lenten season is the contemplation of God’s great love in the passion and death of His only Son. God is a generous God! “God so loved the world that He gave…” Let us pray that through our Lenten discipline we may be ever more fully conformed to the image of our generous God!

Remember that our services are livestreamed at Our Saviour Baltimore Facebook and that sermons can be heard by calling (410) 587–0979. Never hesitate to call me at my home telephone: (410) 554–9994. If I am not at home, do leave a message. I check my messages throughout the day. The Holy Sacrament is the spiritual food and drink for our journey through this world. I am always ready to bring the Sacrament to those who for any reason are unable to come to the Divine Service.

Lent has always been kept as a season of fasting—but not only from food and drink! There may be fixed patterns in our lives, behaviors of various kinds, even patterns of thought which hinder our walk with Christ. We can all certainly benefit from careful self-examination. And then there is always the blessing of private confession and absolution which is always available by appointment. In the fifth chief part of his Small Catechism, The Office of the Keys and Confession, Dr. Luther provides necessary teaching about this. I am always ready and willing to answer your questions.

Let us continue to pray for one another and for this deeply troubled world.

Affectionately in our Lord,


Pastor McClean

Works of Mercy

Due to the increased funding from the Church, generosity from church family, and donor friends, we were able to more than fulfill our prior commitment to needy families recommended to us by our liaison at Waverly Elementary/Middle School. We usually provide $30 food gift cards to 10 families, but during the Christmas Holiday, additional help was requested, and our resources were such that we were able to purchase $70 gift cards for 11 families in need. The cards were redeemable at ALDI grocery stores. The COVID–19 pandemic and job loss have severely impacted already economically fragile communities and family budgets are stretched to the limit. I am glad that our congregation has again opened its collective heart and purse to make Christmas more meaningful and abundant for our neighbors in need. Many thanks for your continued support and concern for those who are in need.
– Quilla Downs

As COVID–19 continues, many of us are taking on projects that, in busier times, were set aside… like cleaning out that closet or the basement. If you are doing this, remember the Free Flea Market at Our Saviour. We can use men’s and women’s summer clothing, household items, and even Christmas items. We have gotten a number of items for Christmas and will have a “Christmas in July” sale! You can call Judy Volkman at (410) 377–8833 if you have items to be picked up or just to let her know that you have contributed some items. We will be starting the Free Flea Markets in May. Let us share the bounty the Lord has given us!
– Judy Volkman

Septuagesima

Septuagesima

January 31, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Exodus 17: 1-7
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5
Gospel: Matthew 20: 1-16

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The Transfiguration of Our Lord

OSLC 5Transfiguration

January 24, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Exodus 34:29-35
Epistle: II Peter 1:16-21
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9

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Second Sunday after Epiphany

2nd Sunday After Epiphany

January 17, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Amos 9: 11-15
Epistle: Romans 12: 6-16
Gospel: John 2: 1-11

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The Baptism of Our Lord

OSLC 5The Baptism of Our Lord

January 10 2021 AD

Old Testament: Isaiah 42:1–7
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:26–31
Gospel: Matthew 3:13–17

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Second Sunday After Christmas

The Second Sunday After Christmas

January 3, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Genesis 46: 1-7
Epistle: 1 Peter 4: 12-19
Gospel: Matthew 2: 13-23

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Our Saviour Parish News, January, 2021



OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH

3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410.235.9553
JANUARY, 2021

Second Sunday after Christmas, January 3 – 11:00 am
The Epiphany of Our Lord, January 6 – 7:30 pm

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There is perhaps a sense of relief at the passing of the year 2020 and hope that the new year will prove to be less difficult. But we would be guilty of the sin of ingratitude if we did not thankfully remember how our merciful heavenly Father has in fact sustained us through all the days. As I look back on the year now ended, I am very grateful as I remember all the many kindnesses, the outpouring of love when I was convalescing after my fall this past February. And what can be happier than to know that one is loved? There come to mind some words of John Keble (1792–1866):

New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought
Restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us as we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

The first Wednesday in January (the 6th) is the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord. Epiphany means revelation, a shining forth, an appearing. At Christmas God appears as Man in the world; at Epiphany this Man appears as God and Savior of the whole world. The coming of the Gentile wise men is both a fulfillment of the prophecy that “the Gentiles will come to Thy light” (Isaiah 60:3) and itself a prophecy of the ingathering of all nations in the Church of Jesus. In the Western Church (of which we Lutherans are a part) the coming of the wise men, led by the miraculous star, has always been the focus of this Feast, but in the Eastern Church the baptism of our Lord is celebrated. But also in the Western Church the Epiphany festival includes the baptism of Jesus and also His first miracle at the wedding in Cana, changing water into wine. You can see that this is so by looking at two Epiphany hymns—one by Coelius Sedulius in the 5th century and one by Christopher Wordsworth in the 19th century—found both in our present Lutheran Service Book (hymns 399 and 394) and in The Lutheran Hymnal (hymns 131 and 134). Both these hymns speak of the coming of the magi, the baptism of Jesus, and His first miracle at Cana. A portion of the ancient liturgy for Epiphany speaks of these three events:

Today the Church is joined to her heavenly Bridegroom;
because in Jordan Christ has washed away her offences:
the wise men with their offerings hasten to the royal marriage,
and the guests are regaled with water made wine, Alleluia.

If you are able to do so, do try to come to Divine Service on Epiphany; it is a beautiful culmination of our Christmas celebration. We will sing familiar carols: The First Nowell, What Child is This, We Three Kings of Orient Are, and that wonderful Epiphany hymn, As with Gladness Men of Old. In my opinion no Epiphany service can be complete without that wonderful hymn, so simple and yet so lovely.

The Epiphany season is the culmination of the Christmas Cycle of the Church Year: Advent-Christmas-Epiphany. On the last Sunday in this month the Easter Cycle of the Church Year begins: PreLent-Lent-Holy Week-Easter-Ascension-Pentecost. There was a time when it was customary, after the reading of the Gospel on Epiphany, to announce the dates of the Church Year:

“Beloved brethren, as we have recently rejoiced over the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, now through the mercy of God, we must tell you about the happiness that will stem from the resurrection of that same Lord and Savior:

January 31 will be Septuagesima Sunday,
February 17 will be Ash Wednesday,
On April 4 we will joyfully celebrate the holy feast of Easter, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May 13: the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May 23: the feast of Pentecost
November 28 will be the first Sunday of the Advent season of our Lord Jesus Christ: to Him be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

We continue to livestream our services which can be found at Our Saviour Lutheran Church – Home | Facebook. And here I must thank Richard Brown for making all of this possible. You can also call (410) 587-0979 to hear the sermon. For those of you who cannot yet come to Divine Service I can bring the Holy Sacrament to you at home; simply call me at (410) 554-9994 and we can arrange a convenient time. The Sacrament of our Savior’s Body and Blood is the spiritual food and drink of Christians—it is provision for the way on our journey through the wilderness of this world to the heavenly fatherland.

There is no doubt that the worldwide pandemic still continues to affect all our lives in so many different ways. We all eagerly hope for its end! The remarkable development of vaccines is certainly a sign of hope—but the end is not yet. We must continue in our prayers for the sick and the dying and the bereaved, also for all those who are so selflessly caring for them. We also need to be alert for opportunities to be of help.

I wish to thank you for your Christmas cards and gifts. Let us continue to keep one another in our prayers as we enter this new year.

Affectionately in our Lord,


Pastor McClean

Works of Mercy

Although there will be more stimulus checks coming, there is still hunger in America. We are collecting canned goods to pass on to CARES to give to needy families. Please put your donation in the boxes in the side hallway so we can share the bounty the Lord has given us with those who need it. Thank you!

Judy Volkman

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

December 27, 2020 AD

First Lesson: Revelation 1:1-6
Epistle: 1 John 1:1-2:2
Gospel: John 21: 20-25

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Rorate Coeli – The Fourth Sunday in Advent

gate-of-heaven-violet-1024x1024Rorate Coeli

The Fourth Sunday in Advent
December 20, 2020 AD

Old Testament: Deuteronomy 18:15-19
Epistle: Philippians 4:4-7
Gospel: Luke1:39-56

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Gaudete – The Third Sunday in Advent

gate-of-heaven-violet-1024x1024Gaudete

The Third Sunday in Advent
December 13, 2020 AD

Old Testament: Isaiah 40:1-8
Epistle: I Corinthians 4: 1-5
Gospel: Matthew 11: 2-10

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