DCE Intern Molly Gowen – Our new DCE Intern will be Molly Gowen from Concordia University Chicago. Molly will be arriving at St. John’s on June 1 and will be installed on June 2. Please keep her in your prayers!
Palm Sunday, March 24
We begin with celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, but then our attention shifts to the cross and the passion of our Lord. (Worship may begin in the Faith Chapel if weather permits)
Maundy Thursday, March 28
We commemorate the Lord’s Last Supper and His gift to us in Holy Communion. Communion Services at 1:00 and 7:00 PM. The evening service will also be first Communion for those who have recently completed the Communion preparation classes.
Good Friday, March 29
We commemorate our Lord’s love for us in laying down His life for us on the cross. Worship at 1:00 and 7:00 PM. The 7:00 PM service will be a Tenebrae service, with a gradual darkening of the church as we meditate on the saving work of Christ.
Easter Vigil, March 30
Liturgically, Easter begins at sundown on Easter Eve, following the Jewish custom of beginning the new day at sundown. We begin our Easter celebration with this beautiful service of Light at 8:00 PM on Saturday. We re-affirm our new birth in Baptism, receiving the sign of the cross in water upon our foreheads, a forgiving counterpart to the ashes of repentance on Ash Wednesday. (Worship may begin in the Faith Chapel if weather permits)
Easter Sunday, March 31
The holy people of God are a joyful people because resurrection is the final word. No matter what troubles may confront us, Christ has overcome, and in Him we rejoice. There will be Communion on this Sunday at both the 8:30 and 10:15 AM services.
Those are the words that the Father speaks about Jesus at His baptism (Matthew 3:17). The Father loves the Son and is “well pleased” with Him. What’s interesting about this is that at this point in His ministry, Jesus hasn’t really done anything. He’s just beginning. And yet the Father announces that He takes delight in Him and is in fact proud of Him. It is a picture of grace. The Father’s “well pleased” pronouncement isn’t based on Jesus’ accomplishments. It’s based on the love of the Father.
Jesus’ baptism is a model for our own. Although to all appearances our baptisms aren’t as dramatic as Jesus’ – we don’t see the heavens torn open, see doves flying down, and audibly hear the Father’s voice – the same pronouncement is made regarding us: “Here is my son. Here is my daughter, whom I love. With him, with her, I am well pleased.”
Maybe you are beginning to make plans for a new year, resolutions to improve what you do, habits that lead to greater health, or practices that improve your growth in other areas. That’s all well and good, and may God bless you in those endeavors. But one thing that we can’t make a resolution to improve on is the amount of love that we receive from the Father. His pronouncement of love, His taking delight in us isn’t based on what we have accomplished, or what we resolve to accomplish in the new year. But rather it is based solely on His love for us.
So as you head off into a new year, may you step off from this foundation. You are a child of the Father, who loves you, and He is delighted in you, as He always will be.
Advent Conspiracy doesn’t mean no gift giving. But it does call us to consider two aspects of Jesus’ giving:
Instead of presents, give presence. As Jesus gave us Himself, so we can give of ourselves to others. Isn’t this more meaningful and lasting after all? Go to www.rethinkingchristmas.com for ideas.
One of the reasons to spend less on Christmas gifts is so that you can give more where it is truly needed. With so much need in this broken world, there is no lack of worthy causes. We are focusing primarily on Lutheran Malaria Initiative at St. John’s this month. As mentioned elsewhere, we will have special offerings throughout Advent for this. But there are many other opportunities to be a blessing through giving. Here are a few that we encourage you to consider. Instead of buying someone a gift they don’t need, how about making a donation in their name?
Compassion, International (www.compassion.com)
Share your love, prayers and support with a boy or girl who lives in poverty.
Colorado Spring, CO 80997
International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org)
A human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.
PO Box 58147
Washington, D.C. 20037
Living Water International (www.water.cc)
Dedicated to providing clean drinking water to those in need.
Living Water International
PO Box 35496
Houston, TX 77235-5496 USA
- The Table
- Napa Food Bank