OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
in the City of Baltimore
Sunday, January 6
THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
FESTIVAL DIVINE SERVICE – 11:00 A.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord. This year we have the happy circumstance that January 6th falls on Sunday — I say happy because nowadays, when this great festival does not occur on a Sunday, it sadly tends to pass by all but unnoticed. I like to think of the great festivals of the Christian Year as rays of light on life’s sometimes dreary way, and so I think it a pity when these bright festivals are ignored for no good reason. And so I have throughout my ministry insisted on the observance of Epiphany no matter what day of the week it might fall on.
The Feast of the Epiphany is in a sense the climax of the Christmas season. Epiphany – which means appearing, revealing, manifestation, showing forth – celebrates the appearing of Christ as God and Savior of the whole world. Among Eastern Orthodox Christians Epiphany is kept in celebration of the Baptism of Jesus at which the heavenly Father declared Him to be His Son and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove, so revealing Him to be God in the flesh, One of the Holy Trinity. Among Western Christians (among them us Lutherans) Epiphany has since ancient times been kept in celebration of the coming of the Gentile wise men to worship the Christ Child and offer Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. The coming of the wise men is both a fulfillment of ancient prophecy – “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 60:3) — and also itself a prophecy of the gathering of all nations into the redeemed people of God, the one holy Church. Although we Western Christians do not celebrate Christ’s Baptism as principle theme of the Epiphany festival, the Baptism of Jesus, together with the changing of water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana, have continued to be a part of our Epiphany celebration as can be seen in the hymns of this festival. Dr. Luther translated from Latin into German the Epiphany hymn of the century poet, Coelius Sedulius, a hymn which has two stanzas about the magi, one stanza about the Baptism of Jesus, and one about the miracle at Cana: in all of these events the deity of our Lord is revealed, each is indeed an epiphany of His godhead. This wonderful hymn is found in all of our Synod’s hymnals: the German Church Hymnal for Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession (Hymn 60); The Lutheran Hymnal, the red book (Hymn 131); Lutheran Worship, the blue book (Hymn 81); and in our new hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book (Hymn 399) And we will of course be singing this hymn as part of our Epiphany celebration. In the coming of the magi to worship Him, in His baptism in the Jordan River, in His changing of water into wine at the marriage in Cana Jesus appears as the Savior of the world. And if you were to ask me for some words of Holy Scripture which sum up the meaning of Epiphany, I might well refer you to the 11th verse of the 2nd chapter of the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Titus: “The grace of God has appeared” – the original Greek texts here reads: “epiphanee” (whence we get the English word “epiphany”) – for the salvation of all people…”
On Sunday January 27 there will be an Epiphany Service of Lessons and Carols at 4 0’clock in the afternoon. We will hear readings from Holy Scripture concerning the Epiphany of Christ and will sing hymns and carols of the Epiphany season. We will have a guest organist, Matthew Machemer, who is the Associate Kantor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There will also be a quartet including students of the Peabody Conservatory. A reception will follow. Plan now on attending this festival and invite your friends and neighbors to come. The Choral Vespers we had in connection with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and the 125th Anniversary of Our Saviour Church was a happy occasion and I am sure that that will also be true of the upcoming Epiphany Lessons and Carols.
Those of you who remember Pastor Jason Wolter (who served as vacancy pastor at Our Saviour 2006-2007) will be happy to hear that he will be in the Baltimore/Washington area later this month for the annual March for Life and will be joining us for the Divine Service on Sunday, January 20th. He tells me he loved his time in this congregation and looks forward to seeing you.
When Our Saviour Church — then known as Jackson Square Church because of its location – left its old building near John Hopkins Hospital in 1919, the building was purchased by Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church which still uses it as its place of worship. This year they are celebrating their one hundredth anniversary and have been in touch with us asking for information about the old building. They have also sent us a copy of a page from The Lutheran Witness describing the dedication of the Jackson Square Church in August 1892 and together with that they included a wonderful full color picture of the painting which hung over the altar at Jackson Square and which our congregation then gave to Holy Trinity in 1919. I had never before seen this painting of the risen Lord; I think it is a wonderful painting. Ever since I became pastor here at Our Saviour I’ve wanted to arrange for members who are interested to visit the old building. But now that I have seen a photograph of this wonderful painting I am even more eager to arrange for that visit! Do let me know if you would be interested (410.554.9994 – email@example.com).A suggestion has also been made that we have an artist make a copy of the painting for use here in our present Church building.
I want to take this opportunity to thank members for their Christmas cards and gifts and also thank the congregation for its Christmas gift to me. I also must thank all those who decorated the Church for Christmas and also our organist Marie Herrington who arranged substitute organists to play here while she was visiting her family for the Christmas holidays. The substitutes were John Igoe, Sergey Morozov, Kathleen Bird, and David Sexton. Marie returns on January 13th.
Do remember in your prayers all those whose names appear in the Sunday bulletin and indeed remember all members of our congregation and those the Lord God will send to us. Queenie Hardaway is now living at what used to be called the Augsburg Lutheran Home and now is known as Augsburg Village. I always come away from a visit with her in very good cheer because she is a cheerful person. God bless her and God bless us everyone!
THE BELLS OF OUR SAVIOUR
You may have noticed that our lovely tower bells have not played recently. We have attempted to have the bells repaired, but the mechanism is 60 years old and is in need of a complete renovation. McShane, the company that installed our bells, has given us an estimate of about $20,000 to do the work. We are continuing to research approaches for the renovation, but in preparation, we have begun a special fund for the repairs in order to return the cherished bells to working order for decades to come. Please mark your donation for “Tower Bells.”
– Mary Techau
ANNUAL MARCH FOR LIFE
THE 46TH ANNUAL MARCH FOR LIFE will be Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.
This year’s theme is ‘Unique from day one.’ Join ‘Lutherans for Life’ at 1:00pm as the group marches up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court and Capitol Building. It’s an opportunity to meet other Lutherans from around the country and enjoy singing hymns and supporting life. www.lutheransforlife.org for more information.
– Mary Techau
WORKS OF MERCY
Regarding our Christmas food drive for needy families, donations from the congregation exceeded our goal of $330. This means that we did not have to tap into the church general fund, as the Counsel was prepared to do. We did not receive any outside funds. To our faithful and generous church members, many, many thanks for the outpouring of monetary gifts which enabled us to purchase the food gift cards, Eleven, $30 cards were purchased from Aldi’s supermarket. On Thursday, December 19, the cards were presented to the social worker at Waverly Elementary/ Middle School, where they were presented to the head of the designated families. The cards allowed the families to supplement their usual food items with a few extras of their own choosing. Hopefully, their Christmas was made merrier because of your gifts. As stated above, the giving exceeded our goal, this blessed position will give us a starting point for future Thanksgiving and Christmas giving.
Helping Up Mission: We did not make a delivery to Helping Up Mission during Christmas because there were so few grooming items since our fall delivery. It is hoped that we will have a healthy supply of items when we make our planned spring delivery. I believe that we all are aware of the stellar reputation and high success rate of this Christian based residential men’s recovery program. Towards that end, the need is ongoing for socks, underwear, washcloths, tooth paste, shaving cream, lotion, deodorant, foot power, etc. Thank you for remembering these men by continuing to provide them with a few essential items on their needs list. Because of your care and compassion this program will continue to count its successes.
– Quilla Downs