3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Pentcost, June 5, 2022
Festival Divine Service, 11:00 AM
for the Rev. Gary L. Fisher
Pastor of Our Saviour 1989-2006
Saturday June 11, 2022 12:30 PM
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
During this past month our country has yet again been horrified first by the killing of African Americans in Buffalo and then by the killing of little children and their teachers in Uvalde, Texas. Included with this newsletter is a statement following the Buffalo tragedy by the President of Synod, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison. Although words can never be enough in responding to this kind of evil, I urge you to read and to ponder what he has to say. These killings are occurring with mind-numbing regularity. Each of us must, according to his or her particular role and place in society, do what we can and also pray for an end to these intolerable events. Surely God is calling us all to repentance.
Saint Peter called to repentance the large crowd gathered in Jerusalem on that first Day of Pentecost. In response to his preaching, about three thousand people were baptized. Together with Easter and Christmas, Pentecost is one of the Three Great Festivals of the Christian Year. On Good Friday the Savior finished His redeeming work, on Easter His victory was revealed, on Pentecost the Holy Spirit came, Christ’s victory was proclaimed and the Church was born. And since that first Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit has continued through the preaching of the Word of God and the administration of the Holy Sacraments to bestow eternal life. For the Holy Spirit is, as we confess Him to be in the Nicene Creed, both “the Lord and Giver of life.”
Everyone is invited to the Memorial Service for Pastor Gary Fisher on Saturday June 11 at 12:30 PM. Pastor Fisher served as pastor of this congregation 1989–2006. Be sure to let your friends who may have been members here during those years know about this service. Pastor Fisher’s children will be present.
On the cornerstone of this church building, following the name of this church, we find the letters “U A C,” which stand for Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the confession of faith which was presented by the Lutheran princes and cities to Emperor Charles V in the City of Augsburg on June 25, 1530. And so on the last Sunday in June we commemorate the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. This is the principal confession of the faith of the Lutheran Church. So important is this Confession that there was a time when the Constitution of Our Saviour Church and of other churches required members to know not only Luther’s Small Catechism but also the Augsburg Confession. The text of the Augsburg Confession can easily be found online. We also have a number of paper copies available for the asking.
At the Voters Meeting on May 15 we approved the budget for fiscal year 2022–2023 and elected members of the Church Council: Bernie Knox, Merton Masterson, Ben Orris, Gabe Purviance, Mary Techau, Paul Techau, Gary Watson. As pastor, I am very grateful for the faithful and willing service of these leaders in our congregation. I do not take them for granted; they often go far above and beyond the call of duty!
Two people are attending a membership class on Saturday mornings at 10 o’clock. Anyone wishing to be a member of the church may attend, as well as anyone wishing to review the essential Christian teachings. This will continue through the month of August.
The first free flea market of this year was held on May 14, and the next one will take place on Saturday, June 11, 9:00 AM–12:00 PM. The Ednor Gardens/Lakeside Association held a yard sale on our parking lot on May 21 and will hold an Ice Cream Social on Saturday, June 11, at 4:00 PM.
Please remember to pray for all those for whom our prayers are desired: James Bauman, Louis Bell, Dana Carmichael, Lucille Carmichael, Maggie Doswell, Quilla Downs, Albert Ford, Frank Ford, Iris Ford, Yolanda Ford, Sean Fortune, Helen Gray, Queenie Hardaway, Gloria Jones, Althea Masterson, Julia Silver, Robert Siperek, Lawrence Smallwood, George Volkman, Dennis Watson, Gary Watson. Maggie Doswell remains at Cadia Healthcare, 4922 LaSalle Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782. Yolanda Ford remains at Future Care, 1046 North Point Road, Baltimore, MD 21224. Louis Bell remains at Autumn Lake HealthCare, 7 Sudbrook Road, Pikesville, MD 21208. Queenie Hardaway has been living at the Augsburg Home for some time now: 6825 Campfield Road, Baltimore, MD 21207.
I continue to bring Holy Communion to members who are unable to come to church. If you want me to visit or bring you the Sacrament, call me at (410) 554–9994 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are in need of transportation to church, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be glad to make arrangements for that purpose.
Let us continue to remember one another in prayer and to pray for peace and tranquility both in our own country and throughout the world. And let us each and every one follow the example of the Church in the days after that first Pentecost, as described in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers… And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42, 47).
WORKS OF MERCY
A number of people regularly attend our Free Flea Market; this is the story of one of those persons: She is an older lady who is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Loch Raven. She is always looking for school supplies and other items for children, and she also checks out clothing, especially shoes, for adults. At the May Free Flea Market, she had 3 large bags of items to take home; as she travels by bus, that presented challenges for her. So I offered to take her home—I knew she lived off Loch Raven Blvd since I had seen her walking in that area. She accepted my offer, and on the ride home, she filled me in on her background: She is from Jamaica and has lived here for many years. Her mission is to support families who come here from Jamaica and help them learn about the USA. And there are occasions on which she insists on giving us a donation! It is a joy to know that our outreach to the community is helping those in need.
Many thanks to the volunteers who faithfully come out on the second Saturday of each month. We couldn’t do it without your hel
A Word in the Wake of the Buffalo Tragedy
May 18, 2022
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Once again violence saddens our nation. A young man, gripped by the satanic delusion “you shall be like God,” has stolen the precious lives of innocent mothers, daughters, sisters, fathers, sons and brothers in Buffalo, N.Y. In his writings, the perpetrator rejected Christianity and espoused the demonic ideas of racial hatred and violence. Yet each one of the slain was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and each was as valuable as the blood of Jesus (John 3:16).
Acts of evil such as this make us ask, “Is there no reasonable path to preclude the deranged from the legal acquisition of firearms?” “Are threats of violence from such a person free speech?” “Must free speech mean the infinite, unending gush of hatred and filth on the internet, including evil, racist rants with associated threats of violence?” “Is there no stronger pre-emptive remedy available?” We cannot settle for the status quo.
Yet Paul reminds us to persevere in goodness. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). But who of us does not grow weary? Good citizens, loving family and friends, are murdered in cold blood; a heroic retired police officer gives his life for others … again. We pray with the psalmist, “I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God” (Psalm 69:3).
On Nov. 30, 2021, a shooting occurred at the high school my niece and nephew attend in Oxford, Mich. They had attended school with the eventual assailant for years. Their friends were murdered. Other close friends barely survived being shot, including the grandchild of a retired LCMS pastor. The signs were all evident in the young man whose life had become captive to sin, death and the devil, a participant in the demonic. I think of how devastating this incident has been for my sister’s family. I thank God for their resilient faith in Christ and courage in the face of evil, even when answers are not easily at hand.
I now pray for the courage of the victims’ families in Buffalo, that Christ’s merciful love would surround them all and that they would look to Jesus’ cross and resurrection for eternal hope.
Today I think of the beautiful and ever-growing collage of saints in the LCMS. I think of your love and humility. I think of your clear confession and witness to Jesus Christ, a Jew from Palestine, whose racial identity few among us share. He is our precious Savior. I think of His zeal to reach the Jews, the Samaritans and the Syrophoenician woman. I think of Simon from Cyrene, the African who bore our Savior’s cross (Matthew 27:32), and his family who were vital members of the earliest church (Mark 15:21; Acts 11:20; Romans 16:13). I think of my pagan Slavic and German ancestors — apart from Christ and all hope — who were grafted into the family of God when they heard the witness to Jesus. I think of my own precious granddaughter, who has more African genetic material than German. I think of our black brothers and sisters whose hearts have been so won by Jesus and His Word that they hold the Gospel as the greatest treasure and confess the Lutheran faith from deep conviction, despite our many weaknesses and failings.
I thank God that in this dark world of sin and hatred, you are light in Christ. “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness” (1 John 2:9). Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Paul says that “the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:9). Peter reminds the church, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Let us act as good citizens of this world as we demand reasonable laws and strict prosecution of evil doers to thwart evil. “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who
carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. … Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:3–4, 8). It is a good work of love to practice civil righteousness toward our neighbor and to demand justice from our leaders. “Public remedy, made through the office of the public official, is not condemned, but is commanded and is God’s work” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession XVI 59).
Please join me in praying for the saints of our LCMS Eastern District and their president, the Rev. Dr. Chris Wicher, that they would not lose heart, but be greatly empowered in their witness to Jesus, the light of the world.
May the words of Paul and Barnabas continue ever more to mark us: “For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:47).
O Spirit, who didst once restore Thy Church that it might be again The bringer of good news to men, Breathe on Thy cloven Church once more, That in these gray and latter days There may be those whose life is praise, Each life a high doxology To Father, Son, and unto Thee.
(Lutheran Service Book 834:4)
Pastor Matthew C. Harrison President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod