Our Saviour Parish News, April, 2024


3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
April, 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

No one can doubt that we live in a broken world and that we are all in various ways broken human beings. Our Lord’s disciples, fearfully gathered behind locked doors following His death and burial, were very broken indeed. All their hopes were ended and their hearts were filled with fear that they might suffer the same fate as their beloved Teacher and Friend. But then on the evening of that first Easter Day, unhindered by those locked doors, “Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” The risen Lord’s word of peace means more than the absence of conflict, it conveys a sense of wholeness, of restoration of what has been broken and out of joint, of God’s unmerited grace and favor toward broken, mortal sinners. And the risen Savior’s word of peace to His broken disciples is His word of peace to this whole broken, sorrowing, death-bound world. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

No wonder the Church continues to celebrate Christ’s glorious resurrection throughout the forty days following Easter Day and indeed on every Lord’s Day which is the weekly celebration of His triumph! Since singing better expresses our Easter joy than does the spoken voice, we will be singing the Nicene Creed throughout the Easter season and on other festivals of the Church Year. In the old Lutheran Church the Creed was always sung: either the actual text of the Nicene Creed was sung in German or in Latin or Luther’s wonderful paraphrase of the Nicene Creed, “We All Believe in One True God” (Lutheran Service Book 954, The Lutheran Hymnal 251) was sung as it always was in German services in our Synod’s churches. And on every Sunday during the Easter season we sing the hymn “Christ is Arisen” which had already been sung long before the Reformation of the 16th century. The forty days of Easter end on Ascension Day, which this year falls on May 9th, when we will celebrate a Festival Divine Service at 7:30 P.M.

Saturday, April 13th, will be a Work Day here at church from 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 Noon. Various outdoor and indoor chores need attention as we prepare for this year’s Saint Mark’s Conference which takes place April 22nd and 23rd. Information about the Conference can be found at our church’s website (2024 St. Mark’s Conference | Our Saviour Lutheran Church (oursaviourbaltimore.org)). Although intended primarily for pastors, everyone is welcome to attend the services and presentations.

On Saturday, May 11th, the First Free Flea Market of this year will take place beginning at 9:00 A.M. Judy Volkman reminds us that we have been blessed with clothing for women and lots of household items. We are lacking in jewelry and in men’s clothing. If you have any of these items you would wish to donate, please call Judy at (443) 425-3437. And volunteers are always needed to greet and assist our visitors. Judy asks, Who knows what will happen because of these interactions? Help to someone in need? A new member?

And do remember to bring items for the GEDCO Food Pantry and for the Helping Up Mission. Boxes for both are found inside the door from the parking lot north of the church. The need remains great!

Remember in your prayers all those for whom our prayers are desired: Bridget Bauman, James Bauman, Christopher Bell, 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, Chris Mokris, Marion Rollins, Julia Silver, Robert Siperek Jr., Lawrence Smallwood, George Volkman, Dennis Watson, Gary Watson, Julie 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.

Do remember that as we see such terrible suffering in so many parts of the world, such as in the ongoing wars in the Holy Land and in Ukraine, we can provide help through our Synod’s LCMS World Relief and Human Care. You can give online through this secure website: lcms.org/givenow/mercy or you can call Synod’s Contributor Care Line: (888)930-4438, 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.

The familiar prayer that is prayed after we have received Holy Communion, based on the old Latin liturgy, was written by Dr. Luther for his German Mass of 1526 and has had a firm place in the Lutheran liturgy ever since. It is found in both the liturgies we use (Lutheran Service Book, pp. 166, 201; The Lutheran Hymnal, p. 30).  In this prayer we ask that God would through the Holy Sacrament of His Son’s body and blood “strengthen us…in faith toward [Him] and in fervent love toward one another.” And so we see that the fruit of receiving Holy Communion is the strengthening of faith in the Lord who has so loved us as to offer Himself for us and also the increase of “fervent love toward one another.” It therefore goes without saying that, in coming to the altar, we repent of the weakness of our faith and the coldness of our love. We cannot seek the mercy of God if we are unmerciful toward those who may have offended us in some way. We cannot seek the peace of Christ if we refuse to be at peace with others. We all need to ponder the words of this prayer and take them to heart. How we pray shows what we believe.

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!


The Lord’s people are in the Lord’s house at the Lord’s own service every Lord’s Day.

I ask you to keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

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

Invocavit Midweek Vespers

gate-of-heaven-violet-1024x1024Invocavit Midweek Vespers

February 21, 2024 AD

Psalm 40
Matthew 26:30–56
Wednesday after Invocavit 2024

In our Lenten services this year we will be meditating on the passion of our Lord as recorded in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. Last year we meditated on the Passion as recorded in Saint Luke’s Gospel. And of course all four Gospels tell of our Lord’s Passion in considerable detail. Now WHY God has given us not just ONE but FOUR Gospels which tell of the life and death and resurrection of His Son, we simply do not know though it may well be that just one telling of this story couldn’t possibly unfold all the riches of Christ’s saving life and death and resurrection.

The chosen FOUR combine;
While each HIS OWN commission
Fulfills in EVERY line.

And so THIS year we consider the Passion according to Saint Matthew,-who was one of the Twelve Apostles and so had in fact been an eye witness to the public ministry, passion and resurrection of the Lord.

As we begin these meditations on the passion, we might well remember the words Moses heard when the angel of the Lord called to him out of the burning bush: “Put off your shoes from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Now all of Holy Scripture is holy ground – because in all of Holy Scripture the Holy Spirit is pointing to Christ – but the story of Jesus’ Passion is in-a real sense Scripture’s “Holy of holies” because there as nowhere else we catch a glimpse of “what no eye has seen nor ear heard-nor the heart of man conceived,” that love of God beyond understanding, the lengths to which that love will go to reclaim the human creatures who have taken up arms against Him; here we see what it cost God to redeem and save us – each and every one.

And what did it cost our Maker to redeem and save us? We catch a glimpses of that cost in the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane: “My Father, if it be possible, lei this CUP pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will.”

And what is that cup? We read in the 75th Psalm: “It is God who executes judgment… for in the hand of the Lord there is a cup… and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.” And there are many similar passages in the Old Testament in which the word “cup” speaks of God’s judgement, God’s wrath, “a cup… all the wicked of the earth shall drain, down to the dregs” Yet here the holy Jesus who knew no sin, who is Himself the Light and Life of God, Himself pure overflowing love which knows no end, faces the terrible prospect of draining the “cup prepared for the wicked’ – the cup of God’s wrath against sin.

Now God’s wrath is not like yours and mine! There is nothing in it of pettiness, of spite, of vindictiveness, of pleasure at the misery of one who has offended us, who has become our enemy; yet it still is wrath, the reaction of the altogether holy and loving God to the sin which disfigures and destroys His beloved human creatures. Because in His baptism the sinless Son of God had taken His place among sinners under the judgment of God, He now must – though Himself holy and sinless – drink the cup of wrath prepared for the wicked, drain to the dregs that bitter cup.

No wonder Jesus prays that this cup may be taken away from Him! But his prayer really is prayer, not a demand; He doesn’t set His own will over against the will of His Father, for the wish He expresses depends completely on the will of the Father: “Father, if it is Your will to take this cup from Me; nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.” Jesus never ceases always to pray in perfect union with the Father will and willingly goes – to the cross.

Preaching on the passion only months before his own difficult death from cancer, Dom Gregory Dix had this to say:

The spiritual agonies of the passion – the final grappling with the iniquity of sin by the soul of Jesus – is something we cannot hope to understand, because we are sinful and He, though tempted in all things as we are, was entirely sinless. We can only connect this dreadful inner conflict with the statement of Saint Paul, “God made Him to be sin who knew no sin so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

“What no eye has seen nor ear heard nor the human heart of conceived,” the lengths to which the love of God will go to reclaim the human creatures who have taken up arms against Him! The Son of God takes on Himself all that is ours that He might give us all that is His – the “happy exchange” so often spoken of by the-ancient fathers and by . Luther. The incarnate Son of God drains the bitter cup of wrath so that He might give you and me and all poor sinners the blessed cup – of salvation.

Saint Matthew tells us that, before Jesus and His disciples left the upper room to go to Gethsemane, they “sang a hymn.” And since it was the Feast of Passover that hymn was almost certainly the so-called Great Hallel of the-Psalter, Psalm 111 through Psalm 118 in which we find this verse, “I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” Jesus had that very night taken in His hands the cup, had given thanks, and had made of the wine in that cup His blood, and then on the cross poured out His blood in death so that just as the angel of death passed over the homes of the Israelites marked with the blood of the Passover Lamb, so the cup of wrath might pass from us who by baptism and faith are washed in the blood of the true Passover Lamb.

“I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord!” Because of that cup of salvation, in which our sins are dead and nevermore remembered in all eternity, we have the absolute assurance that when the cup of suffering does pass our lips, as it surely must for each and every one, there is nothing in it of wrath or judgement but only a means whereby we are more fully conformed to the image of Him who suffered the judgement we deserve under the wrath of God, our merciful Savior, who through the cross – both His and ours – leads  us to our joyful resurrection.


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