Holy Week & Easter Day:
Maundy Thursday: Divine Service, 7:30 PM
Good Friday: The Liturgy, 7:30 PM
Easter Even: The Easter Vigil, 7:30 PM
Easter Day: Festival Divine Service, 11:00 AM
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The season of Lent has ﬂown by and we are now about to enter the Holy Week of the Lord’s Passion. Easter Day is almost here. This Lent we restored the old custom of veiling the crosses and cruciﬁx in purple for the last two weeks of Lent which are called Passiontide. The veiling of the crosses is a sign that in His sufferings Christ’s divine glory as the F ather’s eternal Son was hidden. On Good Friday the crosses are veiled in black.
I think we have had a good Lenten season with a number of visitors at the Wednesday Lenten Vespers and soup suppers. Judy Volkman writes:
The Soup Suppers on Wednesdays in Lent were a great success. 100 people attended over 6 suppers and $213.50 was collected for the turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many thanks to the cooks who shared their culinary talents: Mary and Paul Techau, Maritza and Trent Demarest, the ushers, Julie Watson and Quilla Downs, Judy Volkman, and Helen Gray.
I must also thank Helen Gray for providing a delicious luncheon for the seminarians from our Fort Wayne Seminary who were here recently to see something of the life of our Baltimore city churches.
As most of you know by now, Maritza Demarest gave birth to a little boy on Thursday March 3rd. And so we congratulate Maritza and Vicar Trent in their happiness. The baby will be baptized on Saturday, March 19th, at noon. Everyone is invited. He will be named John Chrysostom which is the name of one of the great fourth century teachers of the Church who was given the name “Chrysostom” which means “golden mouthed” because of his eloquent preaching. Vicar Trent and Maritza were delighted by the baby shower and luncheon on February 21th.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. It goes without saying that Christians will wish to follow our Lord in His passion. I hope that each one of us will make a sincere effort be in God’s house on Good Friday. If the evening hour is not possible, one can attend some part of the Tre Ore Service which every year is held from 12 noon until three o’clock at Bethlehem Church, 4815 Hamilton Avenue. Although the Easter Vigil is a less familiar service, it is in fact the Church’s oldest celebration of the Lord’s resurrection. In the ancient Church Christians would gather on Easter Eve to hear the story of salvation from Holy Scripture, converts to the faith would in Holy Baptism be made one with the Savior in His death and resurrection, and then receive the Body and Blood of the risen Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar. The whole service begins with the Lighting of the Paschal Candle which then burns at all services during the Easter season until Ascension Day. It is then extinguished following the reading of the Gospel which tells of how the risen Lord in His ascension withdrew His visible presence from His disciples. During the rest of the year the Paschal Candle is placed at the baptismal font as a sign that through Baptism we are joined to Christ’s resurrection. It also stands near the body of departed Christians during the funeral service as a sign of the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.
You may have noticed that the Paschal Candlestick here at Our Saviour is a beautifully carved piece of work. I recently discovered in The Home Visitor of April 22, 1963 that it was in fact given to Our Saviour congregation by Pastor and Mrs. Stiemke:
It was designed and hand carved by Mr. Herbert Read of Exeter, England, who also did the credence shelf and the font cover in our church. Mr. Read is probably best known in America for the beautiful memorial screen found in Washington Cathedral. . .The Candlestick is placed as a humble tribute to all who have found true peace in the Risen Lord and gained joy in serving their Master through love and faithfulness; although the tasks performed seemed almost unnoticed they receive our risen Redeemer’s commendation, ‘Well done!’
As members of Our Saviour we owe an immense debt of gratitude to Pastor Stiemke who took leadership in the building and furnishing of this wonderful church in which we are privileged to worship.
The end of April brings the Saint Mark’s Conference on April 25th and 26th. April 25th is Saint Mark’s Day in the calendar of the Church Year. Although primarily intended for pastors, anyone may attend. It goes without saying that members of Our Saviour will not be expected to pay the conference fee! I hope members will be here to welcome our guests.
There will be four speakers. Pastor David Petersen of Redeemer Church in Fort Wayne will speak on Preaching and the Liturgy. Pastor Eric Andrae of First Trinity Church in Pittsburgh will speak on the witness of Bishop Bo Giertz. (During his long life Bishop Giertz (1905-1998) was the leader of faithful Lutherans in the Church of Sweden; he was in fact one of the great leaders of Lutheranism in the last century.) Our good friend Pastor Roy Axel Coats of Redeemer Church in Irvington will speak on the relationship between doctrine and preaching as seen in the work of Johann Gerhard (1582-1637), one of the greatest of Lutheran theologians. Dr. Leo Mackay, who is a member of Immanuel Church in Alexandria, a trustee of the Fort Wayne Seminary, and corporate vice-president of Lockheed Martin, will give a layman’s point of view concerning Liturgy and Preaching. Although the conference will be focused on preaching, it will also be concerned with the Church’s liturgical heritage. Divine Service will be celebrated on both days and Vespers will be sung on the 25th. The services will include some liturgical practices which were once common among Lutherans but were lost as the Church passed through many struggles both in Europe and here in North America. This Conference is an attempt to put together an “east coast” version of the Saint Michael’s Conference which has been meeting for a number of years at Zion Church in Detroit. In the next week or so I will be asking for volunteers to help with various tasks.
Wishing you a blessed Holy Week and joyous Easter, I am
Affectionately yours in Christ,