Our Saviour Parish News, March, 2024


3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
March, 2024

Holy Week and Easter

Palm Sunday – Distribution  of Palms, Procession and Divine Service, March 24, 11:00 A.M.
Maundy Thursday – Divine Service and the Stripping of the Altar, March 28, 7:30 P.M.
Good Friday – The Liturgy of Good Friday, March 29, 7:30 P.M.
Easter Eve – The Easter Vigil and the First Holy Eucharist of Easter, March 30, 7:30 P.M.
Easter Day – Festival Divine Service, March 31, 11:00 A.M.
Bible Class will not meet on Easter Day

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The last day of March is Easter Day, the glad feast of the Lord’s resurrection. The joy of Easter is so wonderfully expressed in the great Easter hymn of Saint John of Damascus (A.D. 657-749):

Now let the heavens be joyful,
   Let earth her song begin,
Let all the world keep triumph
   And all that is therein.
Let all things, seen and unseen,
   Their notes of gladness blend;
For Christ the Lord hath risen –
   Our joy, that hath no end!

In the resurrection from the dead of His only and eternal Son we see God’s purpose for the whole creation. As Vladimir Lossky (1903-1958) memorably said: “An infinite ocean of light flows from the body of the risen Lord.” Christ’s resurrection is the foundation of our faith, Christ’s resurrection is the foundation of the Church for there would be no Church had not the crucified Lord conquered death and the grave. And as the resurrection of the Savior is the foundation of the Church, so also is it the Keystone of the Church Year. For the light that shines at Christmas and Epiphany and Pentecost, the light that shines on every Sunday of the year and in all the festivals of the saints is none other than the light of the risen Lord, the cause of our eternal joy! How I wish that we 21st century Christians could recover the spirit of the ancient Church which had such a vivid sense of every Sunday as the weekly celebration of the Lord’s resurrection! If we would but realize that every Sunday is a “little Easter,” we would be very eager to join our fellow Christians to meet the risen Lord as He comes to us Sunday by Sunday in that Sacrament which the ancient fathers called “The Medicine of Immortality.” Yes, “Christ the Lord hath risen – our joy, that hath no end!”

From ancient times the Church’s celebration of the Lord’s resurrection has begun on Easter Eve with The Easter Vigil. Beginning with the lighting of the Paschal (Easter) Candle – symbol of the risen Lord with His five glorious scars, we hear the story of God’s loving purpose beginning with the story of creation and continuing with the flood and Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea in both of which our baptism into Christ crucified and risen is prefigured. Baptism follows or, if there are none to be baptized, the renewal of baptismal vows. The Litany is sung and the Vigil comes to its climax in the joyful first Holy Eucharist of Easter.

But before we come to Easter there is the Holy Week of the Lord’s passion. On Palm Sunday we join the crowds that went to greet the Savior, bearing palm branches and singing His praises as the promised Son of David who comes in the name of the Lord. Every celebration of the Holy Eucharist is a participation in that first Eucharist celebrated by the Savior in the upper room on the first Maundy Thursday. At the end of the Maundy Thursday Eucharist the altar is stripped and left bare. Since the altar is itself a symbol of Christ, the stripping of the altar reminds us that, when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, “all the disciples forsook Him and fled.”

On Good Friday we go in spirit to Golgotha and worship the Lamb slain for the sins of the whole world, “God’s own sacrifice complete” (Hymn 436). From ancient times the Passion according to Saint John has been read on Good Friday, the Passion history which emphasizes the victory won through the Son of God’s passion and death. It is Saint John who records our Lord’s “last triumphant cry” (Hymn 420): “It is finished!” We also join in praying the Bidding Prayer which since ancient times has been prayed on this day. In it we pray for all for whom Christ died, the whole Church and the whole world.

My hope is that we will all make an effort to be present as we remember these mighty acts whereby we have been given pardon for our sins, life and immortality. In addition to the evening Liturgy of Good Friday here at Our Saviour there will also be the customary Tre Ore Service at Bethlehem Church (4815 Hamilton Avenue) from 12:00 noon-3:00 P.M. Baltimore pastors will preach on the Seven Last Words of Jesus. If you are hesitant to go out after dark, this service is an opportunity to keep Good Friday. Few people stay for the whole three hours: come when you can, leave when you must.

The Concordia University Nebraska A Capella Choir will sing at Immanuel Church, Loch Raven and Belvedere, on Thursday, March 7th, at 7:00 P.M. They will be joined by the choir of Concordia Preparatory School in Towson. The Concordia Nebraska Choir is on a concert tour of the east coast.

Remember the Lenten Vespers which will be held on March 6, 13, and 20. Vespers with the Litany begins at 7:30 P.M. There is a soup supper at 6:30 P.M. Donations made at the soup suppers will help us provide gifts cards for needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year we have been having a good attendance at these midweek services and suppers. If you need a ride to church on Wednesdays or on Sundays, please do not hesitate to email me at charlesmcclean42@gmail.com or call me at (410) 554-9994. And please do not forget to let me know when you or a loved one is sick or in need of pastoral care. That’s what pastors are for!

Our dear brother in Christ, Gregory Dixon, fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday, February 22nd. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon him and may the risen Savior comfort his family and all who mourn with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. His funeral will be held here on Tuesday, March 19th, at 10:30 A.M. with visitation beginning at 10:00 A.M.

As we approach Holy Week and Easter we are painfully aware of the devastation of the on-going wars in Ukraine and the Holy Land and in other parts of the world. Let me remind you that you can provide help through our Synod’s LCMS World Relief and Human Care. You can give by calling Synod’s Contributor Care Line 888-930-4438 or you can give online at lcms.org/givenow/mercy or you can send a check to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, PO Box 66861, Saint Louis, MO 63166-6861. Make your check payable to The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and write LCMS World Relief and Human Care on the memo line. And do remember to support the GEDCO Food Pantry and the Helping Up Mission. Boxes for donations can be found just inside the door which opens on the parking lot north of the church.

Remember in your prayers all those for whom our prayers are desired: Bridget Bauman, James Bauman, Louis Bell, Dana Carmichael, Timothy Doswell, Quilla Downs, Bunny Duckett, Steve and Joyce Eaves, Albert Ford, Frank Ford, Iris Ford, Yolanda Ford, Sean Fortune, Sherry James, Gloria Jones, Althea Masterson, Christ Mokris, Marion Rollins, Julia Silver, Robert Siperek Jr.,Julia Silver, Lawrence Smallwood, George Volkman, Gary Watson, Juliana Watson, Dennis Watson. Yolanda Ford remains at Future Care, 1046 North Point Road, Baltimore, MD 21224. Louis Bell remains at Autumn Lake Healthcare, 700 Sudbrook Road, Pikesville, MD 21208.

Here is a prayer which can be used as we approach Holy Week and Easter.

Assist us mercifully with Thy help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts whereby Thou hast given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast!
(I Corinthians 5:7)

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean