All posts by OSLC

Misericordias Domini

Misericordias Domini, The Second Sunday after Easter

April 18, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Ezekiel 34:11-16

Epistle: 1 Peter 2:21-25

Gospel: John 10:11-16

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Quasimodogeniti

Quasimodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter

April 11, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Epistle: 1 John 5:4-10

Gospel: John 20:19-31

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Our Saviour Parish News, April, 2021



OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH

3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410.235.9553
APRIL, 2021

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 charlesmcclean42@gmail.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,


Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, March, 2021



OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH

3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410.235.9553
MARCH, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our nation has just passed the half-million mark in the number of fellow Americans who have died during the present pandemic. This is a staggering number, a number so large that it is almost impossible to imagine. I suspect that so many of us had assumed that this type of thing was only a thing of the past or that such things simply do not happen in our country. But now it has happened and, although there are signs of hope on the horizon, the end is not yet. So how should we as Christians respond to this immense tragedy? As I said a year ago: Through this calamity God is calling the world to repentance. We are also being reminded in a way that cannot be ignored of the shortness and uncertainty of human life. The words of the burial service have ceased to be mere words but instead are an expression of inescapable reality: “In the midst of life we are in death,” words that once had a place in the Lenten liturgy. As always at the beginning of Lent we hear the words spoken to Adam after the fall: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). Given all these circumstances, we are called to earnest repentance which includes active compassion and fervent prayer for those whose lives have been touched by this calamity. We are also reminded to do as Christians have done down through the ages: To remember the unknown hour of death and to meditate on our own death both in the light of the judgment to come and of the mercy that flows from Christ’s life-giving cross and resurrection. This is our sure and certain hope, this is why we can and must rejoice in the Lord, come what may. And of course all of this is of a piece with our annual journey through these Lenten days.

It will soon be a year since our dear sister in Christ, Joyce Gillespie, succumbed to the coronavirus. Gabe Purviance and his father Philip have now recovered from the virus and for that we give thanks!

The funeral of our dear sister in Christ, Dorothy Bell, who fell asleep in the Lord on January 28, was held in church on Saturday, February 13. Her mortal remains were committed to the earth at the cemetery of Saint Matthew’s Church in Meherrin, Virginia. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon her and may our merciful Savior comfort all who mourn.

Although private confession and absolution are not obligatory in the Lutheran Church they are available as a means of grace. The fifth chief part of Dr. Luther’s Small Catechism provides instruction about this, and in the Augsburg Confession—that principal confession of the faith of the Lutheran Church—we find these words: “It is taught among us that private absolution should be retained and not allowed to fall into disuse […] The people are carefully instructed concerning the comfort of the Word of absolution so that they may esteem absolution as a great and precious thing. It is not the voice or word of the man who speaks it but it is the Word of God who forgives sin, for it is spoken in God’s stead and by His commandment” (Augsburg Confession, Articles XI and XXV). I am always ready to arrange for times to hear confessions. There is no reason why any Christian should remain troubled in conscience or burdened with the painful memory even of sins committed long ago: Private absolution bestows the joyful certainty of sin forgiven, our pardon sealed in heaven.

On the first three Wednesdays in March we will have Lenten Vespers with the Litany at 7:30 pm. My Lenten meditations will focus on Old Testament types of Christ’s passion: The sacrifice of Isaac, the Passover lamb, the sprinkled blood of the covenant.

The fourth Wednesday in March this year is the Eve of the Annunciation. Exactly nine months before Christmas, this festival commemorates the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary that God had chosen her to be the mother of His Son. With her assent, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38), God the Son took on Himself in her womb the humanity that is yours and mine. This is the actual moment of the incarnation, when “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). This is the beginning of Christ’s journey to His cross and resurrection.

The last Sunday in March is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. As usual there will be Divine Service on Maundy Thursday and the Liturgy on Good Friday, both at 7:30 pm. On Saturday, Easter Even, the Easter Vigil will be celebrated at 7:30 pm. Our good friend, Pastor Roy Coats, will as usual be with us for the Vigil. The Vigil begins in darkness with the lighting of the Paschal (i.e. Easter) Candle, which burns throughout the Easter season. It then continues with the reading of Old Testament lessons which show types of our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection; this is followed by the renewal of our baptismal vows, and the Vigil comes to its climax and completion in the joyful first Holy Eucharist of Easter. This oldest festival service of the Christian Church is truly an Easter celebration which in a very real sense surveys the whole history of our salvation, beginning with the creation of all things, and—because the Holy Eucharist is always the anticipation of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in His eternal kingdom (Revelation 19:6–9)—looks forward with joy to the final coming of the risen Lord in glory.

Palm Sunday is the deadline for ordering Easter lilies. The cost is $11.00, and you may include with your check a list of names of loved ones you wish to honor or remember. As usual Judy Volkman is in charge of all this.

As mentioned in last month’s newsletter we are hoping to have the annual Saint Mark’s Conference on April 19–20. The Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, the President of Synod, will be with us as the keynote speaker at this year’s Conference, which is focused on the Life and Work of the late Rev. Dr. Hermann Sasse (1895–1976), who was almost certainly the greatest confessional Lutheran theologian of the last century. Much information about him can be found online. The COVID pandemic seems to affect everything, and so a decision to hold or cancel the Conference will be made on Monday of Holy Week. Although primarily intended for pastors, the Conference is open to everyone. For members of Our Saviour there is no registration fee.

Remember that our services are now livestreamed: Sunday Divine Service at 11:00 am and Wednesday Lenten Vespers at 7:30 pm. You can also hear the sermon by calling (410) 587–0979. If you are still unable to come to church I am more than willing to bring you the Sacrament at home. Among other things, that is what pastors are for! You need only call me at (410) 554–9994 or e-mail me at charlesmcclean42@gmail.com.

Let us make good use of this Lenten season for the renewal of our life in Christ. Let us continue in prayer for one another and for all whom God’s love has called out of nothingness into being.

Affectionately in our Lord,


Pastor McClean

Works of Mercy

On February 10, Judy Volkman delivered five crates of canned goods to CARES. They were well stocked at that point, but they almost certainly emptied out their stores quickly. And we need to restock; the boxes are empty!

Also delivered were eight knit hats and twelve hand-knit scarves to help keep people warm in this cold weather.  Bounty shared!

– Judy Volkman

Laetare – The Fourth Sunday in Lent

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The Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 14, 2021 AD

Old Testament:  Exodus 18:2-21

Epistle: Galatians 4:21-31
Gospel: John 6:1-15

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Oculi – The Third Sunday in Lent

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The Third Sunday in Lent
March 7, 2021 AD

Old Testament:  Exodus 8:16-24
Epistle: Ephesians 5:1-9
Gospel: Luke 11:14-28

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Reminiscere – The Second Sunday in Lent

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The Second Sunday in Lent
February 28, 2021 AD

Old Testament: Genesis 32:22-32
Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7
Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28

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St. Matthias the Apostle

St. Matthias the Apostle

February 24, 2021 AD

Epistle: Acts 1:15-26

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

 

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On the night when He was betrayed, after the last supper, in His sublime great high priestly prayer, the Lord Jesus prayed for His disciples saying, “Holy Father…While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name which Thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scriptures might be fulfilled.”

At the last supper Jesus said to His troubled disciples: “Truly, truly I say to you, one of you will betray me.” John the beloved disciple, prompted by Peter, then asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” and Jesus replied, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” And when Jesus had dipped the morsel He gave it to Judas. Saint John tells us that after Judas had received the morsel Satan entered into him and that Judas then “immediately went out and it was night.” “And it was night” – night not only in the sense that the sun had set, but night in the sense that all the powers of darkness aided among others by Judas now gathered all their strength to destroy, as Saint John writes, the true Light that enlightens everyone coming into the world. There are those chilling words of John: “And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” This describes not only what was happening on that dark night, but it is in a real sense a summary of the long history of humankind’s love for the darkness and rejection of the light culminating in that night when the Lord of Light and Love was betrayed by Judas who had shared the intimate fellowship of that last earthly supper of the Lord. Long centuries before the psalmist had prayed as in the psalm we prayed this evening, “Even my close friend, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”

What Judas did on that dark and doleful night was in a way only the culmination of what he had already been doing for a long time. He was, you might say, the treasurer for Jesus and those who followed Him, and Judas had already been in the habit of stealing. Finally he agrees with the High Priest’s council to betray his Lord for thirty pieces of silver. In this sad case of Judas we see how habitual sin steadily becomes worse and at a point known only by God can finally make repentance impossible. But the fact is that Judas still was not completely blinded by sin. After he had betrayed his Lord the voice of conscience still spoke. Judas came to realize what he had done and tried to give back the money to the temple authorities but they would not have it. Then, as we heard in the Epistle from Saint Luke’s Book of Acts, we learn that Judas then used the money to buy a field and that having bought the field “fell headlong, burst open in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.” Saint Luke tells us that this became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that that field became known as Akeldama which means field – of blood. Saint Luke also sees in all of this the fulfillment of some words spoken long before by the psalmist: “Let his habitation become desolate and let there be no one to live in it” and “His office let another take.”

As it in fact happened Judas’ office, his work, his position of one of the twelve apostles was not TAKEN by another. Rather God Himself filled that office in this way.

During the ten days between Jesus’ ascension into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Saint Peter led the eleven remaining apostles in filling the office, telling the eleven that one of the men who had been an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry from His baptism to His ascension must be chosen to fill the vacant place.

Two men were nominated: one who was named Joseph who was called Justus, the other one Matthias. Then they prayed saying, “Lord, You that know all hearts, show us which one of these two YOU have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” Then they cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias and he was numbered with the apostles. In THIS way GOD chose Matthias to be an apostle.

More than this we do not know with certainty. But early tradition tells us that Matthias later worked in Cappadocia which is an area of present day Turkey bordering on the Black Sea, and that he perhaps also preached in the country of Georgia. And finally sealed his witness to the Saviour with his own blood.

Be all that as it may, we remember Matthias with thanksgiving because he was an apostle. And what is an apostle? An apostle is one who was sent by Jesus to be a witness to His life and death and resurrection and ascension. The word apostle comes from a verb which means ‘to send.’ The apostle is one sent by Christ to preach and teach with authority. And what the apostles in fact taught is found in the Holy Scripture: the New Testament is but the WRITTEN deposit of the apostles’ teaching and to that teaching the Church of Christ is bound until He returns in glory.

At the last supper the Lord Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit would bring to the apostles’ remembrance all that He said and had done. That promise was wonderfully fulfilled in the teaching and preaching of the apostles beginning with Saint Peter’s wonderful sermon on Pentecost. The sermon St. Luke records in Acts 2. And that teaching was then written down by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The task assigned by the Lord Jesus to Matthias and all the apostles continues today as the pastors of the Church hand down the apostles’ teaching through their own preaching and teaching. And if a pastor does not do that or contradicts the teaching of the apostles, he walks not in steps of the holy apostles but of Judas who betrayed the Lord. And that is why in the Collect or “appointed prayer” for Saint Matthias’ Day we pray:

Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve. Grant that Your church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen


Invocavit – The First Sunday in Lent

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The First Sunday in Lent
February 21, 2020 AD

Old Testament:  Genesis 3:1-21
Epistle: II Corinthians 6:1-10
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11

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Listen to the service: