January 24, 2021 AD
Listen to the service:
January 24, 2021 AD
Listen to the service:
January 17, 2021 AD
Listen to the service:
January 10 2021 AD
Listen to the service:
January 6, 2021 AD
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Second Sunday after Christmas, January 3 – 11:00 am
The Epiphany of Our Lord, January 6 – 7:30 pm
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There is perhaps a sense of relief at the passing of the year 2020 and hope that the new year will prove to be less difficult. But we would be guilty of the sin of ingratitude if we did not thankfully remember how our merciful heavenly Father has in fact sustained us through all the days. As I look back on the year now ended, I am very grateful as I remember all the many kindnesses, the outpouring of love when I was convalescing after my fall this past February. And what can be happier than to know that one is loved? There come to mind some words of John Keble (1792–1866):
New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought
Restored to life and power and thought.
New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us as we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
The first Wednesday in January (the 6th) is the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord. Epiphany means revelation, a shining forth, an appearing. At Christmas God appears as Man in the world; at Epiphany this Man appears as God and Savior of the whole world. The coming of the Gentile wise men is both a fulfillment of the prophecy that “the Gentiles will come to Thy light” (Isaiah 60:3) and itself a prophecy of the ingathering of all nations in the Church of Jesus. In the Western Church (of which we Lutherans are a part) the coming of the wise men, led by the miraculous star, has always been the focus of this Feast, but in the Eastern Church the baptism of our Lord is celebrated. But also in the Western Church the Epiphany festival includes the baptism of Jesus and also His first miracle at the wedding in Cana, changing water into wine. You can see that this is so by looking at two Epiphany hymns—one by Coelius Sedulius in the 5th century and one by Christopher Wordsworth in the 19th century—found both in our present Lutheran Service Book (hymns 399 and 394) and in The Lutheran Hymnal (hymns 131 and 134). Both these hymns speak of the coming of the magi, the baptism of Jesus, and His first miracle at Cana. A portion of the ancient liturgy for Epiphany speaks of these three events:
Today the Church is joined to her heavenly Bridegroom;
because in Jordan Christ has washed away her offences:
the wise men with their offerings hasten to the royal marriage,
and the guests are regaled with water made wine, Alleluia.
If you are able to do so, do try to come to Divine Service on Epiphany; it is a beautiful culmination of our Christmas celebration. We will sing familiar carols: The First Nowell, What Child is This, We Three Kings of Orient Are, and that wonderful Epiphany hymn, As with Gladness Men of Old. In my opinion no Epiphany service can be complete without that wonderful hymn, so simple and yet so lovely.
The Epiphany season is the culmination of the Christmas Cycle of the Church Year: Advent-Christmas-Epiphany. On the last Sunday in this month the Easter Cycle of the Church Year begins: PreLent-Lent-Holy Week-Easter-Ascension-Pentecost. There was a time when it was customary, after the reading of the Gospel on Epiphany, to announce the dates of the Church Year:
“Beloved brethren, as we have recently rejoiced over the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, now through the mercy of God, we must tell you about the happiness that will stem from the resurrection of that same Lord and Savior:
January 31 will be Septuagesima Sunday,
February 17 will be Ash Wednesday,
On April 4 we will joyfully celebrate the holy feast of Easter, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May 13: the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May 23: the feast of Pentecost
November 28 will be the first Sunday of the Advent season of our Lord Jesus Christ: to Him be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
We continue to livestream our services which can be found at Our Saviour Lutheran Church – Home | Facebook. And here I must thank Richard Brown for making all of this possible. You can also call (410) 587-0979 to hear the sermon. For those of you who cannot yet come to Divine Service I can bring the Holy Sacrament to you at home; simply call me at (410) 554-9994 and we can arrange a convenient time. The Sacrament of our Savior’s Body and Blood is the spiritual food and drink of Christians—it is provision for the way on our journey through the wilderness of this world to the heavenly fatherland.
There is no doubt that the worldwide pandemic still continues to affect all our lives in so many different ways. We all eagerly hope for its end! The remarkable development of vaccines is certainly a sign of hope—but the end is not yet. We must continue in our prayers for the sick and the dying and the bereaved, also for all those who are so selflessly caring for them. We also need to be alert for opportunities to be of help.
I wish to thank you for your Christmas cards and gifts. Let us continue to keep one another in our prayers as we enter this new year.
Affectionately in our Lord,
Although there will be more stimulus checks coming, there is still hunger in America. We are collecting canned goods to pass on to CARES to give to needy families. Please put your donation in the boxes in the side hallway so we can share the bounty the Lord has given us with those who need it. Thank you!
January 26, 2020 AD
January 12, 2020 AD
January 6, 2020 AD
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Let me begin by thanking you for your Christmas greetings and gifts. It means a lot to be kindly remembered! Let me also thank everyone who helped decorate the church for Christmas. Many hands make light work, and as usual we completed this happy task in little more than an hour.
The first Monday of this month and of this new year is the bright Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord when the Church remembers and celebrates the coming off the wise to worship the infant Savior. The word Epiphany means appearing, revelation, showing forth. At Christmas God appears in the world as Man, at the Epiphany this Man appears as God. The coming of the wise men is both a fulfillment of prophecy and itself a prophecy of all nations coming to faith in the Lord Jesus as God and Savior of the world. At the Divine Service of the Epiphany we will sing familiar carols which speak of the visit of the magi: The First Nowell, What Child is This, and We Three Kings of Orient Are. Epiphany immediately follows the Twelve Days of Christmas and is a joyful conclusion of our Christmas celebration.
By now most of you will have heard that our organist, Marie Herrington, will be moving on to a new position after the first Sunday in January. We are truly sorry to see her go because she has contributed so much to our worship. Those of you who were in church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day know just how true this is! We are all the beneficiaries of her faithful — and thoroughly competent – service. We have come to cherish Marie and we truly wish her well in all her endeavors. She may from time to time be with us to play the organ. We have engaged a substitute organist for most of the month of January; the Church Council and I are looking for someone to fill this position. Pray for God’s guidance and blessing on this endeavor.
Remember in your prayers Merton Masterson who mourns the death of his father. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon him and may the risen Lord comfort all who mourn his departure.
We continue to work on the project of restoring the mechanisms which play the bells in our church tower. We recently received a generous gift of a thousand dollars for this purpose. Do be on the lookout for individuals who might be interested in helping with this project. The playing of the bells before the Divine Service has been a lovely custom and the bells are in fact a witness to the presence of Christ’s church here in our neighborhood. The bells have been here since 1934, just four years after the dedication of this church building. We look forward to the day when they will ring out again! By the way this new year brings the 90th anniversary of the dedication of this church building.
I doubt that anyone will disagree with me when I say that we begin this new year in a deeply troubled world. For one thing, it seems that so much is unsettled! How then shall we live? What are we to make of all this? Well first we need to remember that “the world, the flesh, and the devil” are not only the clear teaching of Holy Scripture; they continue as a fearsome reality in this fallen world and will continue until the Lord Jesus comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. And since that is so, we Christians are – as Saint Peter addresses the recipients of his first Letter – “sojourners and exiles” (I Peter 2: Il) in this world; as Saint Paul says, “our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus” (Philippians 3:20) and “we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4: 18).
In a deeply troubled world this teaching most certainly doesn’t “solve all our problems” but it makes it possible for us to keep things in perspective: to do what we are able to do in addressing its problems, but also to remember that we are finally only on a journey through this world to that home which will be home indeed.
If you need a ride to church, please do not hesitate to contact me by telephone (410.554.9994) or email (charlesmcclean42 a, tnailecom). If I am not myself able to give you a ride, I will make every effort to see that you get one. And please do not hesitate to contact me if you should be sick or simply wish to talk. Among other things, that’s what pastors are for!
Wishing you a truly happy new new, I am
Thanks to your generous donations of food items, 5 crates of food were delivered to CARES. They were running low on items and we had a good stock, so we were able to assist them at a crucial time. Now we need to restock for them!
As you return to the normal day to day routine, remember that we need items for the Free Flea Market. We need to completely restock with new items in order to keep up the interest in our outreach. Clothing for warmer weather is most appropriate for us. We don’t get many requests for children’s items. Household items, books, games, etc. are also welcome. Please make sure the items are clean and gently used. Donations can be left in the room downstairs, across from the Multi-Purpose room. Thank you for your continued support. We will start up again in May.
February 10, 2019 AD
January 6, 2019 AD
This charming picture of the birth of our Lord is by the German artist, Martin Schongauer (1430-1491). We see the Christ Child in the manger and His blessed mother kneeling in adoration. We see the angels and also the shepherds approaching the stable. But why are the cow and donkey there, gazing at the Christ Child? It seems that Christians long ago were impressed by some words of the prophet Isaiah:”The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib…” (Isaiah 1:3). And so in John Mason Neale’s familiar paraphrase of one our oldest and best-loved carols, In dulci jubilo (Now Sing We, Now Rejoice) we sing, “Ox and ass before Him bow, and He is in the manger now, Christ is born today!” The One who lies in the manger is not only our truly human Brother born of the Virgin Mary but also God the Father’s eternal Son and Word “through whom all things were made” (John 1:3), the Lord of all creation and so the Creator come to save this ruined race and bring us to the joy of the resurrection and the life of the world to come.
Note that on Christmas Eve The Holy Night Communion will begin at 10:30 P.M. For several years our Christmas Eve worship has begun at 7:30 in the evening but, at the recommendation of the Church Council, the Voters have agreed to return this year to what had in fact been the practice here for many years. If you need a ride to church on Christmas Eve, please call me at 410.554.9994 or email me at email@example.com and I will see to it that someone will pick you up and bring you safely home. Driving at night is difficult for some of us. I know how that is: it was in fact a bit difficult for me until my cataracts were removed! As we all know, the word “Christmas” means “Christ’s Mass,” “Mass” being the Divine Service of Word and Sacrament. It goes without saying that all Christians will be eager to celebrate our Savior’s birth at “Christ’s Mass,” receiving in our Christmas Communion the Body born for us this night of Mary. The Real Presence in the Sacrament is not only on Christmas night but always cause for wonder and joy!
The Church’s Christmas celebration goes on for twelve days, and so the Sunday Divine Service on December 30th is a Christmas service as is also the Divine Service on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve not only marks the turn of the year but is also the Eve of the church festival of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus. Eight days after His birth the Christ Child was circumcised and given the holy name of Jesus which means Savior (Luke 2:21) The New Year’s Eve Divine Service is at 7:30 P.M.
Because of the Savior’s great love for us we are eager to show kindness to those who are needy. At the end of this newsletter Quilla Downs and Judy Volkman tell us about our efforts to share with the needy. We all realize that the need in our world is simply immense and all of us must do what we can to address this crying need.
Looking ahead, on January 27 we will be having an Epiphany Service of Lessons and Carols at 4:00 P.M. followed by a reception. We will have as guest organist, Matthew Machemer, who is the Associate Kantor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. There will also be a quartet that will include: Marie Herrington (our organist and Paul Techau (our cantor). Plan on attending and invite your friends!
Helen Gray was briefly hospitalized this past month but is now again at home. As of this writing Queenie Hardaway has been in Johns Hopkins Hospital for several days. Remember them in your prayers.
I hope that we will all use the Advent season – these four weeks before Christmas – to prepare for our yearly celebration of Christ’s Coming in lowliness and also for His Coming in glory at the Last Day. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!
WORKS OF MERCY
The closing Free Flea Market was held on November 10th, distributing 187 items to 20 people. This included winter clothes and Christmas items. The Free Flea Market has been reaching out into the community for 5 years now, and we have made a considerable impact. We have had 835 people attend, and they received 5633 items for free! All this was made possible through the generous donations from church members, Orphan Grain Train, and community donations. We are now giving back to Orphan Grain Train 8 bags of clothes to be distributed to others in need. Of course, this couldn’t have been done without faithful volunteers; they were present to hand out items 232 times. So many thanks to all who supported this outreach and shared the bounty that God has given us.
– Judy Volkman
For a number of years, Our Saviour has partnered with Waverly Elementary/Middle School during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to needy families in our community. We intend to continue the holiday food giveaways because the need is great. Food items have come from donations from generous church members, but most items are purchased with funds collected during our Lenten soup suppers. In the past, we delivered the baskets to the school, and earlier still, we made deliveries to homes. Of late the baskets have been picked up at our church. However, it is difficult for some families to pick up their food due to lack of transportation and conflicting work schedules. In addition, we do not have the necessary manpower re shopping and distribution to accommodate all of the circumstances in the chain of distribution. This Thanksgiving we had to repurchase some turkeys due to thaw on the lower shelves of the refrigerator. We repurchased due to concern for health and liability. I believe the church and the families would be better served with gift certificates. I am asking the council to consider the purchase of gift certificates at one of the food chains such as ShopRite or Aldi’s where food purchases would go further and the families would have the dignity of making their own food choices. We have never accommodated more than 11 families. If this request meets with the approval of council, I will facilitate follow through with the grocery merchant and the school social worker. Many thanks for your continued support and concern for those who are in need.
– Quilla Downs
January 21, 2018 AD
January 14, 2018 AD
January 7, 2018 AD
January 5, 2018 AD
Vicar Matthew Schettler, Guest Preacher
January 6, 2017 AD
Rev. Aaron Bueltmann, Guest Preacher
OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
in the City of Baltimore
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Here we are at the beginning of the year of our Lord 2017 which is both the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the 125th anniversary of Our Saviour Church. I write these lines on December 28th which is the fourth day of the Twelve Days of Christmas and also the Festival of the Holy Innocents when the Church remembers the little boys of Bethlehem who perished in King Herod’s futile attempt to destroy the infant Savior (Matthew 2:13-18).
Our happiness on Christmas Eve was increased by the fact that Don Weber, our faithful organist, was able to play for the Holy Night Communion. He has served as organist in this Church since September 1959; this past September he had completed fifty-seven years here! In a day when commitments are hard to come by and people seem to move from one job to another, Our Saviour has been truly blessed to have Don Weber these many years. You realize how long Don has been here when you remember that when he began here Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House – and I had just graduated from City College High School! The Church Council and I truly wish that Don could go on for ever, but age with its infirmities has a way of catching up with us all. And so for reasons of health Don has announced his retirement. He will hold the title Organist Emeritus and he expects to play on occasion when he is able. I must say that as pastor I have been simply delighted with Don’s work: he is truly liturgical organist. He has a deep understanding of the worship of the Church in general and of its music in particular. We now face the challenge of choosing a successor. For the time being we have the services of several qualified organists. The Church Council has addressed all of these matters quite carefully and is certainly willing to receive input from our members. Don will be part of the committee which will look for his successor. We are of course going to have a grand recognition event for Don but that will take some time to put in place. In your prayers give thanks for Don and pray that our heavenly Father would continue to bless and keep him in all his ways.
We Christians celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas through January 5th. The following day is the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord, one of the great festivals of the Church in which we remember the coming of the Gentile wise men (Matthew 2:1-12) to worship the infant Lord. Epiphany has been called the “Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles” and the “Christmas of the Gentiles.” On the evening of Friday, January 6th, there will be a Festival Divine Service at which we’ll sing beloved Christmas carols which speak of the wise men: “The First Nowell,” “What Child is This?” and “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” together with Epiphany hymns. The Rev. Aaron Bueltmann, Pastor of Advent Church in Forest Hill, will be the preacher. The other congregations of our Circuit have been invited and there will be a reception after Service. The Epiphany Festival brings our Christmas celebration to a bright and joyful conclusion.
Sunday, January 1st, is of course New Year’s Day. In the calendar of the Church Year it is the Festival of the Circumcision and the Name of Jesus (Luke 2:21) and also the Eighth of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Should not we Christians wish to begin the New Year in the Lord’s House at the Lord’s Altar? Divine Service will as usual be at 11:00 A.M. but Sunday School and Adult Class will not meet.
Jake Mokris has been studying for a doctorate in physics at Johns Hopkins University. His adviser at Hopkins recently took a new job at the University of Haifa in Israel. And so to complete his doctoral studies Jake must now follow his adviser to Haifa. On Sunday, January 8th, we’ll have a potluck luncheon to wish him well and thank him not least for his faithful carrying out of the duties of worship director following James Gray who served faithfully and well for so many years. Merton Masterson will be succeeding Jake in that capacity.
You may have noticed that the arch over the main door of the church facing The Alameda has recently been painted – thanks to the generosity of a member who prefers to remain anonymous. Such an arch is called a tympanum. It had been showing the wear of the 86 years since the Church’s dedication in 1930.
I must thank Joe Silver and William Hawkins for getting the Christmas trees and everyone who helped to decorate the Church. “Many hands make light work,” and so the whole task was finished in little more than an hour. Judy Volkman as usual took in hand the ordering of the poinsettias and their placement in the chancel. Our Church is always quite splendid in its Christmas finery. The decorations will be taken down on January 8th, the First Sunday after the Epiphany.
I have been remiss in not having thanked Paul Techau for serving as our cantor. He sings the variable parts of the liturgy which properly are sung: the Introit (entrance chant), the Gradual (between the Old Testament Lesson and the Epistle), the Alleluia Verse (before the Holy Gospel). These parts of the liturgy are largely taken from the Book of Psalms and have been in use in the Church for well over a thousand years. They compliment the Scripture readings of the Sunday or Festival. When the liturgy was revised at the Reformation these parts were retained.
I will be away from January 14th through January 20th attending the annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. On Sunday, January 15th, Pastor Thomas Foelber, until his retirement Pastor of Saint James’s Church in Overlea, and now our Circuit Visitor, will be with us. If you need a pastor while I am away, call my home phone (410.554.9994) and there will be a message to help you reach a pastor.
There will be a regular Voters Meeting on Sunday, January 22nd, following the Divine Service. Members of our congregation, 18 years and older, are eligible to participate in the Voters Meeting.
I suspect that as we enter the new year we are full of hopes and also misgivings. Those hopes and misgivings we place in the hands of Jesus our Savior in the confidence that His forgiving love will sustain us all our days. Pray for this congregation and for me your pastor and for the whole Christian Church on earth with all its pastors and ministers. Pray for our country and for all the nations of the earth that we may continue to serve our Lord and Savior with glad hearts and live quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and honesty.
Affectionately in our Lord,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The calendar year 2016 is now rapidly coming to an end; soon we will enter the year of our Lord 2017 which will be marked by two anniversaries. With Lutherans throughout the world we will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and here at Our Saviour Church will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the founding of this congregation. Both anniversaries call us to remember, repent, and give thanks: to remember all God’s innumerable blessings, to repent of our indifference and ingratitude for those blessings, and to give thanks that God’s mercies are new to us every morning and that through His dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord He daily forgives our sins, sustains us by His Holy Spirit, and promises the light and joy of the world to come. Needless to say, we are beginning to make plans for the celebration of both anniversaries.
Now we find ourselves in the holy season of Advent, a time of self-examination and repentance, as we prepare for the celebration of our Saviour’s first coming in great humility as the Child of the Blessed Virgin Mary and also prepare for His coming again in glory to judge both the living and the dead. I suspect that we are all very much conscious of the devastating effects of human sin together with the wiles of the devil and of the despair which plagues countless human beings. In the light of those realities we Christians know that the hope which never puts to shame is found in the Saviour whose blood cleanses from all sin and through whose death and resurrection the door of heaven again stands open to all who place their trust in Him.
By way of contrast with the Roman Catholic Church the Lutheran Church does not require her members explicitly to confess their sins in the presence of the pastor. But the Lutheran Church does provide opportunity for the blessing of private confession and absolution. We learned in the Catechism: “Confession embraces two parts: one is that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the pastor as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven. Which sins should we confess? Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those which we do not know as we do in the Lord’s Prayer; but before the pastor we should confess those sins only which we know and feel in our hearts” (Luther’s Small Catechism) And we read in the Augsburg Confession: “It is taught among us that private absolution should be retained and not allowed to fall into disuse. However, in confession it is not necessary to enumerate all trespasses and sins, for this is impossible. Ps.19:12 ‘Who can discern his errors?'” (Augsburg Confession, Article XI). Dr. Luther himself regularly went to confession and said that without it the devil would easily have overcome him. The great blessing of private confession is the individual word of absolution. Consciences burdened with the memory of sin find release, peace, and hope. i am always available to hear confession. Since we now have a prayer desk with crucifix in the study we now have a place where confessions can be heard in strict privacy. If you have any questions about confession, do be in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org, 410.554.9994). To prepare for confession one can examine one’s conscience by reflecting on the Ten Commandments and their meaning as found in the Catechism.
At the November Voters Meeting it was decided upon the recommendation of the Church Council that Our Saviour apply for Historic Designation from our City’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. The application process will take a number of months but will almost certainly be complete before the end of the 125th Anniversary year.
Also at the Voters Meeting the Congregation accepted the Church Council’s recommendation for our Christmas services. Because Christmas Day and New Year’s Day come on Sunday this year there will as usual be Divine Service at 11:00 A.M. on both days, but the Adult Class and Sunday School will not meet. The Holy Night Communion of Christmas Eve will be celebrated this year at 7:30 P.M. The New Year’s Eve service will be omitted this year. And Christmastide will close with the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord, Friday, January 6th; there will be a Festival Divine Service at 7:30 P.M. to which all the churches in our Circuit are invited. A reception will follow. There is a practical benefit in having Divine Service on Christmas morning and New Year’s morning. Some people are understandably reluctant to come out at night, so these daytime services provide them with an opportunity for worship. It surely goes without saying that every Christian who is able will wish to be at the Divine Service on the day of our Saviour’s birth: the Saviour once found wrapped in swaddling clothes now comes in the lowly bread and wine of His Sacrament.
Here are two passages from Christmas sermons of Dr. Luther.
“O thou boy, lying in the manger, thou art truly God who hast created me, and thou wilt not be wrathful with me because thou comest to me in this loving way – more loving cannot be imagined.”
“If you would truly love, let him be this way in your heart. If you regard the boy according to the flesh, he means nothing to you’ but much if this little Jesus is your God and Savior.”
Ponder these words of Dr. Luther as you prepare for your Christmas Communion and then come with joy to the Lord’s altar on the day of His birth.
Let us pray for one another, for the whole church, and for the whole world Christ came to save.
Affectionately in our Lord,
January 17, 2016 AD
Old Testament: Exodus 34:29-35
Epistle: 2 Peter 1:16-21
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
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