OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
in the City of Baltimore
Thursday, May 30
FESTIVAL DIVINE SERVICE
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This month of May finds us in the Easter season of the Christian Year. Our celebration of the Lord’s resurrection does not end on Easter Day but continues for forty days. And that is why we continue to sing Easter hymns and why the Paschal – Easter – Candle burns at all the services as a sign of the presence of the risen Lord.
During the forty days following His resurrection our Lord appeared to His disciples in the splendor of His risen body and opened to them the meaning of the Scriptures of the prophets as bearing witness to Him. And then on the fortieth day He ascended into heaven. And so the fortieth day after Easter Day is Ascension Day, one of the great festivals of the Christian Year. We will as usual celebrate the ascension of our Lord with a Festival Divine Service at 7:30 P.M. “I go to prepare a place for you,” Jesus said, “and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-4). At the end of the reading of the Holy Gospel on Ascension Day the Paschal Candle is extinguished as a sign that in His ascension our Lord withdrew His visible presence from us. Weekday services provide an opportunity for those who must work on Sunday to hear the Word of God and receive the Holy Sacrament.
Before His ascension the risen Lord instructed the disciples to remain in Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit. Ten days after the ascension, on the Day of Pentecost – Pentecost means fiftieth, the fiftieth day after Easter Day – the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples with the sound of a rushing mighty wind and appeared like tongues of fire resting on each one of them. Emboldened by the Holy Spirit, Saint Peter and the others proclaimed to the people gathered in Jerusalem the saving death and resurrection of Jesus calling them to repentance and faith in the Savior. Three thousand people were baptized! Pentecost is the birthday of the Church and is, together with Easter Day and Christmas Day, one of Three Great Feasts of the Christian Year. This year Pentecost falls on Sunday, June 9. I hope that everyone will make a real effort to attend the Divine Service on Pentecost. Only through the work of the Holy Spirit do we know the Lord Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer.
The Sunday after Pentecost is always kept as the Feast of the Holy Trinity. From Advent Sunday through Pentecost we celebrate what God has done for our salvation. On Trinity Sunday we celebrate the mystery of who God is: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: one God. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is that God is one but not solitary. He is Himself – in a way the mind cannot fathom nor words ever fully explain – communion in love. You and I are made in the image of this God who is one but not solitary. Made in that image, we human beings are called to live as a communion of love. All the sadness and misery of this present world is rooted in contradiction of that mystery. And so we who have been baptized in the name of this triune God are called to repentance and new life. God works this in us through His Gospel and Sacraments. And that is why neglect of Gospel and Sacraments is such a sad and serious matter.
I want to thank everyone who helped to make possible the Saint Mark’s Conference held at the end of April: Mary and Paul Techau, Quilla Downs, Bernie Knox, Julia Silver, Richard Brown, and Jake Mokris. I was happy that Trent Demarest was able to be with us. I will be leaving to visit him and his family on the evening of Sunday, June 2, returning to Baltimore on June 6. It will be a real treat to see Maritza and their three young boys: John who is now three years old, Thomas who is two, and my namesake Charles who just turned one. Another child is expected in November. Trent is now serving as Headmaster of the classical Christian day school of Trinity Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
On Saturday, May 4th, I attended the centennial celebration of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church which since 1919 has worshiped in the building which from its founding in 1892 until 1919 was our congregation’s church home. I was again delighted to see the large and wonderful painting of the risen Lord with His banner of victory which adorned the altar when our congregation worshiped there and continued to grace Holy Trinity’s altar for the next fifty years. It can still be seen. Since May 4th was Saturday in the week of Orthodox Easter, the Divine Liturgy was filled with resurrection joy. A delightful festive dinner followed worship. It is good to know that the building which once was our church home continues to be used for the worship of the Holy Trinity who has saved us.
I also attended the Church Workers Conference of our Southeastern District which was held in Roanoke May 6-8. Dr. Leopoldo Sanchez of our Synod’s Saint Louis Seminary spoke of the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification. It was good to see old friends and new.
The spring Voters Meeting will be held this coming Sunday after Divine Service. Any member of Our Saviour Church, eighteen or older, is eligible to participate and I encourage you to do so.
Charles Dowdy and Ethlyn Gosnell were recently hospitalized but now have returned to their homes. Remember them in your prayers together with all those whose names appear in our Sunday bulletin. Queenie Hardaway now lives at Augsburg Village.
Please let me know if you must go to the hospital or if there is some other need in your life for pastoral care. You may call me at any time: 410.554.9994. If I am not there, simply leave word on my answering machine and I will get back to you as soon as I can. And do not hesitate to let me know if there is someone who is not one of our members but who needs a pastor.
Wishing you joy in our risen and ascended Lord, I am
ABOUT THE FREE FLEA MARKET
The first Free Flea Market was held on May 11th and we need to stock up on some items for the remaining happenings. We need: men’s & ladies shoes, men’s jeans, household items, jewelry and plastic bags (to carry items home). All items should be in fairly good condition (gently used). You can place your items in the storage room down by the Multi-Purpose room, and let Judy Volkman know about your contribution.
– Judy Volkman