OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
in the City of Baltimore
HOLY WEEK & EASTER SERVICES
Palm Sunday — 11:00 A.M. Divine Service with Distribution of Palms
Maundy Thursday — 7:30 P.M. Divine Service and Stripping of the Altar
Good Friday — 7:30 P.M. The Liturgy of Good Friday
Easter Eve — 7:30 P.M. The Easter Vigil and First Holy Eucharist of Easter
Easter Day — 11:00 A.M. Festival Divine Service
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am glad to say that our Wednesday Lenten Vespers this year have been well attended and the soup suppers which precede Vespers certainly much enjoyed. Many thanks to everyone who had a hand in preparing these enjoyable meals!
As this newsletter is sent out we are approaching the concluding days of the Lenten season. The first Sunday in April is the Fifth Sunday in Lent, sometimes referred to as Passion Sunday, the Sunday when it was customary in many places to cover the crosses and crucifixes in purple veils for the last two weeks of Lent. The reason for this veiling is that in Christ’s passion His glory was hidden from human sight. There is some reason to think that the Fifth Sunday in Lent was chosen as the time to do this because of the concluding words of the Gospel (John 8:46-59) which from ancient times has been read on this Sunday: “So they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple” (John 8:59).
Every Christian knows that Holy Week and Easter are the heart of the Christian Year: the death and resurrection of our Lord are the ground of all our life and hope. Unless hindered by illness or by the need to care for someone or by the requirements of an employer, everyone should make the effort to be present in God’s house on the day of the Savior’s death for our salvation. Here at Our Saviour the Liturgy of Good Friday is as usual celebrated at seven-thirty in the evening. But if you wish to attend a service during the day, you can go to the Tre Ore Service (12:00 Noon-3:00 P.M.) in Bethlehem Church at 4815 Hamilton Avenue. Pastors of our Synod’s churches will preach on the seven last words of Jesus. No one is expected to remain for the whole three hours; come when you can and leave when you must. But do make the effort to join your fellow Christians on Good Friday in pondering and giving thanks for your Savior’s costly love!
Although the Easter Vigil, celebrated on Easter Eve, remains a somewhat unfamiliar service, it is in fact the oldest Easter celebration of the Church. In ancient times Christians gathered in the night before Easter Day for the baptism of converts to the faith, their baptism being preceded by readings from the Old Testament Scriptures which all point forward to the Lord’s resurrection to which we are joined in the waters of baptism. Saint Paul writes: “You were buried with (Christ) in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him” (Colossians 2:12). Because this service was held during the night it began with the kindling of fire and the lighting of the Paschal (Easter) Candle which then burns throughout the Easter season until on Ascension Day it is extinguished following the reading of the Gospel which tells of how in His ascension the risen Lord withdrew His visible presence from us. The Vigil concludes with the celebration of the first Holy Eucharist of Easter in which the risen Lord truly comes to us in the Sacrament of His life-giving Body and Blood. Our good friend Pastor Roy Axel Coats of Redeemer Church in Irvington will as usual be with us as the celebrant and preacher. Beginning in darkness, the Vigil moves forward into the light and joy of the Day of Resurrection.
When the forty days of the Easter season are completed the Paschal Candle is placed next to the baptismal font and lit whenever there is a baptism. At funerals it burns near the casket as a sign of the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
I believe that the visit to our former church building on Saturday, March 9th was much enjoyed by everyone who participated. From its founding in 1892 until 1919 our congregation worshiped in this building which since then has been the home of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church. We were graciously welcomed by several members of Holy Trinity and their pastor, Father John Vass, who explained the teachings and practice of their church. For me the highlight of the visit was seeing the large and wonderful painting of the risen Lord which hung over the altar of the church throughout the time our congregation worshiped there. When our congregation moved to its present location, the painting was given to Holy Trinity. We learned that it in fact continued to hang over their altar until 1975. Holy Trinity this year celebrates its centennial; I have been invited to attend its centennial celebration on Saturday, May 4th. It is interesting to note that our old church building is just one block east of what was at one time Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church where Don Weber, our organist emeritus, grew up and learned to play the organ.
On Saturday, April 13th, we will be having a Clean Up Day from 10 0’clock until 12 noon to prepare the church for Holy Week, Easter, and this year’s Saint Mark’s Conference which takes place on April 29th and 30th. “Many hands make light work” – so do join us if you are able! Information about the Saint Mark’s Conference can be found on our church’s website.
Palm Sunday is the deadline for sending in money for the Easter lilies together with the names of those you wish to be honored or remembered.
I look forward to seeing you every Lord’s Day and especially on Easter Day when we shall again with great joy celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. Let us continue to remember one another in our prayers!
WORKS OF MERCY
On April I, 2019, Mary Techau and I delivered socks, underwear, deodorant, body power, shaving cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other assorted grooming items to Helping Up Mission. The gifts were purchased by individual members, and other gifts were purchased from monies collected from the two poor boxes. While we have always asked for grooming gifts for men at Helping Up Mission, we have just learned that the Mission also operates a 20-bed, 3- month, recovery facility for homeless and alcoholic women. The women’s facility is housed at a separate location. In addition, the Mission is in the process of expanding its outreach to vulnerable women and their children. The Mission informed us that plans are well on the way to build a Women and Children’s shelter in the immediate vicinity of the present location.
Fund raising started with the launch of the “Inspiring Hope Campaign” with a fund-raising goal of $61,OOO.OOO; the construction goal has already reached the half way mark. The building is expected to be up and operational in the next 2 years. In the meantime, we will continue to provide essential grooming items for the 580 plus men, and now women. The small gifts which we give from our plenty, will go a long way in uplifting hope and building confidence in the spiritual recovery of those who are the least of these. Thank you for helping the Mission to save and change lives in the City of Baltimore.
Men who have completed the one-year Spiritual Recovery Program will celebrate the occasion at The Annual Graduation Banquet on Sunday, April 28, at Martin’s West on Dogwood Rd. in Baltimore. The program will feature a meal, stories of hope from the graduates and music from the HUM Choir. Tickets are available at $85 per person
– Quilla Downs