OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER DAY
Maundy Thursday – Divine Service, 7:30 P.M.
Good Friday – The Liturgy of Good Friday, 7:30 P.M.
Easter Even – The Easter Vigil and the First
Divine Service of Easter Day, 7:30 P.M.
Easter Day – Festival Divine Service, 11:00 A.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Since last Easter our country and the world have endured a year unlike any other in our lifetime. More than a half million of our fellow Americans have died, other thousands have been taken sick, some here in our own congregation, and the lives of us all have been disrupted in many ways. I remain convinced that through this tragedy the merciful God is calling wayward humanity to repentance and newness of life. Is that call being heard? I wonder. But what matters is that you and I hear that call and come humbly to the throne of grace, confessing our many sins of thought, word, and deed, and then rejoice in the pardon given through God’s only and eternal Son, the true Paschal (Passover) Lamb, who by His death has overcome death and by His glorious resurrection has opened the way to new and eternal life. In the words of the Easter sermon attributed to Saint John Chrysostom (AD 347-407), “Let no one grieve over his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the tomb!” Apart from the resurrection of the Lord Jesus there is no salvation. Christ’s resurrection is the salvation of the world. “Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast!” (I Corinthians 5:7,8)
Because Holy Week and Easter Day are the heart of the Christian Year, I hope that all of you who can will join in the worship of these blessing filled days. On Maundy Thursday we go in spirit to the upper room where the Savior instituted the Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood. In the stripping of the altar at the end of the Divine Service we remember how, at Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane, all the disciples “forsook Him and fled” and of how Pilate’s soldiers stripped Him of His garments before they crucified Him. On Good Friday we stand at the foot of the cross and hear the Passion history according to Saint John which has been read on Good Friday since ancient times and we pray for all for whom Christ died in the Bidding Prayer which also comes to us from the early Church. The liturgy of Easter Even, the Easter Vigil, marks the transition from darkness to light, from death to life. As usual, our good friend Pastor Roy Axel Coats of Redeemer Church in Irvington will be with us. The Easter Vigil begins with the lighting of the Paschal Candle (symbol of the risen Lord) in the darkened church and then the ancient Easter proclamation, the Exsultet, is sung. Readings from the Old Testament, which point forward to our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection, follow. We renew our baptismal vows and then sing the Church’s Litany with its petitions for the whole church and the whole world. The first Divine Service of Easter is then celebrated in which our risen Lord truly comes to us in the Holy Mysteries of His Body and Blood. On Easter Day we celebrate the Festival Divine Service.
The Adult Bible Class will not meet on Easter morning. Easter Day is for celebration! We continue our study and conversation on the Sunday following Easter Day. If you have not attended this Sunday class, you might want to give it a try. It is quite informal and questions are especially welcome. We are at present approaching the end of a study of the history and the biblical grounding of the Divine Service of Word and Sacrament, its text and its music.
Do remember that Easter Day is only the first of the forty days of the Easter season in which we continue to rejoice in the Lord’s resurrection. The Easter season ends with Ascension Day, the fortieth day after the resurrection, when the risen Lord withdrew His visible presence from His disciples.
Since these lines are being written on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday, I am still unable to say with certainty whether or not this year’s Saint Mark’s Conference will in fact take place on April 19/20. We will know when the office of the President of Synod contacts us on Monday in Holy Week. We hope that the chief pastor of our Synod, Dr. Harrison, will be able to be with us as he will be the main speaker on this year’s theme: The Life and Work of the Rev. Dr. Hermann Sasse (1895-1976). Dr. Sasse was a powerful confessor of the truth of the Gospel during exceedingly troubled times. In our own time, when it so often seems as if much of the world is drowning in a sea of lies, we need more than ever to hear Dr. Sasse’s witness that we in fact live by truth and die by lies. Definite notice of the Conference will be posted on Our Saviour’s website as soon as plans are firmly in place.
Judy Volkman tells us that the first Free Flea Market of this year will be held on Saturday, May 8th, 9:00 A.M.-12:00 Noon. We are in need of plastic bags so that our visitors can carry home the items they choose. Perhaps more than ever we need to share our bounty with needy people. And do remember to bring food items for the GEDCO food pantry. The need is great. You can place them in the boxes just inside the door to the education building. And remember to bring items needed by the guests of the Helping Up Mission. men’s toiletries etc.
The project to restore the mechanism which rings the bells in our tower continues. Mary Techau has done so much to push this forward. We are awaiting yet another estimate on the cost of these repairs. We have approximately ten thousand dollars in hand for this project. We also await an estimate on restoring the original doors of the main entrance of the church. A representative of a firm involved in historic restoration – they recently were involved in restoring the old mansion in Clifton Park – inspected the original doors and assured us that they are well worth restoring. They are very solidly built and, like the two remaining original doors, have some very fine wrought iron work.
I want to thank everyone who helped with the clean-up day last Saturday. Among other things, some rather sad old shrubbery was removed and new dividing lines painted on both our parking lots. I am truly thankful that our congregation seems to be blessed with a spirit of happy cooperation. Long may it be so! I am also happy to note that our people have continued during these months to support the Church’s work with their offerings.
During these pandemic days, I seem to conclude every monthly newsletter in the same way. Thanks to Richard Brown, all our services continue to be livestreamed at Our Saviour Baltimore Facebook. This is such a wonderful help for the many who still are not able to come to church. I continue to bring the Sacrament to members who remain at home. If you want me to bring you the Sacrament, you need only call me at (410) 554-9994 or email me at email@example.com. Remember that sermons can be heard by calling (XXX) XXX-XXXX. And I am always available to hear private confession in accord with the Fifth Chief Part – The Office of the Keys and Confession – in Dr. Luther’s Small Catechism. In private confession and absolution, the penitent hears Christ’s sure word of pardon individually addressed to him or her. You need only contact me to make an appointment for this means of grace.
I very much look forward to seeing you during Holy Week and at Easter. Let us continue in prayer for one another and for the whole Church and the whole world. I wish you a blessed and joyous Easter!
Affectionately in our Lord,