OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
in the City of Baltimore
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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