As we enter the most important week of the Christian year, I’d like to share some thoughts and announcements with you regarding worship.
First, a big thank you to Doug Raddemann, Rachel Morton, Jacob Johnson, and all of our musicians who so quickly turned from all that they would do on a typical Sunday morning to filming, editing, and producing both our digital worship experiences and also the mailer that goes out each week to those who do not have access to the internet. St. John’s has been blessed by your faithful labors for the Lord and His people.
Second, we will be preparing worship experiences for both Maundy Thursday and Good Friday that will be distributed via the same means that we have been (App, E-Letter, etc.) Maundy Thursday worship will be available starting at 3:00 PM this Thursday, April 9. Good Friday worship will be available at 3:00 PM on Friday, April 10.
Third, Easter worship will be available starting at 5:00 PM on Saturday April 11.
Fourth, regarding the Lord’s Supper. We have heard from many inquiring if or when we will make the Lord’s Supper available in some way. What has been great about these inquiries is that it demonstrates that many of you hold the Lord’s gift of Holy Communion in high regard and treasure the benefits offered through it. Praise God! As we wrestle through this issue, the Pastoral team is trying to keep in mind both Christ’s command to administer the sacrament faithfully and also the Fifth Commandment, which compels us not just to avoid harming our neighbor but also to seek his welfare in body and soul. Given what we know about the pandemic, we have not yet determined a solution that allows us to be faithful to Christ’s command and keeps the Fifth Commandment given the logistics of a congregation the size of St. John’s. Please know the conversation is being had, and pray for the Spirit’s guidance for your pastors.
This brings me to my final point. For those who have been through our “Promises of Grace” course, you may remember that the fourth week is focused on the word of God. In that class, we remind you that Jesus is the Word of God, and not just the scriptures, and that there are other forms of the word of God that the Lord gives his church. Some of these include the preached word, brought to you by called pastors who speak the Lord’s word to you. There is also the words of forgiveness spoken to one another as we confess and forgive as brothers and sisters in Christ, and the same form of this word spoken corporately in our worship by a pastor set aside to forgive sins on behalf of the church. There are the scriptures themselves, the word of God given to His people through the ages for our benefit so that we might know more of Jesus. In short, our Lord does not leave us on our own, but still daily and richly provides all that we need for this body and life. Even as we are not able to commune together for a time, the Lord has still provided means by which our faith is strengthened right in our homes. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to pull out that Bible that has been on the dusty bookshelf in your basement. Perhaps start by reading the last three chapters of one of the Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John this Holy Week. Gather with your household around the Lutheran Hour Ministries devotions that are available on the App. Pray for one another out loud. Let this be a time where spiritual practices are strengthened at your kitchen table and in your living room, so that “the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:14).
In all of this, our Lord does not leave us abandoned, even though we may not gather corporately for a period of time. He is still at work in our midst, and we know that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).
Journeying with you from a proper social distance this Holy Week,
Pastor Stephen Reynolds
Deliver Us: Jesus Sets Us Free – “A Time for Joy!“
Throughout the weekends of the Lent season, we will partner with Lutheran Hour Ministries in both daily devotions and weekly worship around the theme “Deliver Us: Jesus Sets Us Free.”
In “Deliver Us: Jesus Sets Us Free,” we remember our Savior’s triumphal act of redemption in Israel’s exodus from captivity in Egypt. Just as Moses led Israel to the Promised Land, Jesus won victory for us through His life, death, and resurrection. In both events, God saves His people. But, through Jesus, God saves completely. In “Deliver Us: Jesus Sets Us Free,” you will see God’s love in action, working His purposes through human affairs, and drawing us into a relationship with Him.
Lutheran Hour Ministries provides wonderful daily devotions throughout the season of Lent. You can reach them through our e-letter, app, and lhm.org. St. John’s has taken these devotions and planned our own worship series that follows the weekly narratives and leads us ultimately through Holy Week and into Easter Sunday.
Look for your free devotion through the St. John’s App worship or even open the app listen to the audio option. The discussion questions are great tools for family or life group discipleship conversations.
April 9 – Maundy Thursday, “Saved By His Blood”
April 10 – Good Friday, “Free at Last”
April 12 – Easter Sunday, “Do Not Be Afraid”
Lent Worship – 4/1/20 – Eyes on Jesus
Weekend Worship – 3/28/20 – Deliver Us: Jesus Sets Us Free
Thanks be to God for the birth of a daughter, Lucille Priscilla, to John & Melissa Ehlke on March 31. May the Lord continue to bless this family with amazing gifts.
Members in treatment, at home, or recovering: Sandy Lovato, Larke Mor , William Bremser, David Vernon, Marcelle Donaldson, Doug Zarling, Erwin Wergin, Darrel Hegy, Carla Kinkel, Pastor Cal Seban, Carrie Kuehl, Andy Bollen, Delores Fischer, Darlene Daley, Robert Polivka, Evelyn Wornardt, Leatrice (Lea) Strupp, Gloria Kohn, Joseph (Tom) Augustine, Paul Johnson, Ken Endlich, Brandee Michels, Cindy Doers, Marion Schoenbeck, June Wilke, Verna Kissinger, Lois Lewinski, James Zimbal, Sharon Stenschke, Barbara Moritz, Donna Menzel, Bill Wilke, Jerry Jung, Elmyra Martin, Mary Plaskey, Gary Woodward, Al Schaetz, Arlene Goebel, Gladys Hron, Mary Ann Yahr, Lois Gauger, Barb Yahr, Ellen Frank, Cheryl Eberhardt, Charles Frank, Lucille Seil, Nancie Purskey, Norma Warnkey.
Non-Members: Steve Williams (Rick Dusenbery’s brother-in-law), Cheryl Walsh (Carmen Kuntz’s daughter), Ben & Lucy (Mark Cassidy’s friends), Phillip S. (Jeff & Tina Noren’s neighbor), Betty Moskler (Mark Cassidy’s friend), Carol Johnson (Robb Johnson’s mother), Doug (Mark Cassidy’s friend), Ashlyn Roecker (Carol Roecker’s great-grand niece), Sherry (Kathy Sitzberger’s friend), Ashley Doll (Cathy Schimmel’s niece), Rich Buss, Emory Benner (Kathy Benner’s grandson), Mickie Wagner (Tom & Peggy Bruce’s friend), Don & Ruth Cooper (Cindy Midtbo’s parents), Audrey Fellenz (Lynn Fellenz’s mother-in-law), Scott & Val and family (friends of Susan Mueller), Duane (Jerry & Terri Buettner’s friend), Mary Ours (Janet Haliburton’s friend), Mason Jan (Jenny Wolf’s sister), Jack (Melede Meinzen’s friend), Tom Hall (Kandi Mentch’s uncle), Nancy Brakebush (Clara Guse’s friend), Danielle Hayburn (Paul & Charlene Otto’s daughter), Bridgette Finster (Norm Finster’s mother), Stephan & Martha Garmon (friends of Rachel Morton), Kris Kraase (Evelyn Wornardt’s granddaughter-in-law)James Oelhafen (brother of Audrey Weiland), Richard Davies (father-in-law of Nicole Davies), Shane Nault (grandson of Carmen Kuntz), Mary (friend of Bruce & Denise Biendarra), and Steve Strehlow (brother of Melede Meinzen).
Easter Lily Order
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, sometimes in these very unsettling times God sends bearers of His love and presence in the forms of everyday people. These people are gifts not only to our congregation, but also to our community. Our florist, Sonya, knows that St. John’s has been collecting orders for Easter lilies, and in the midst of this pandemic, she wants to give a gift to the people of St. John’s. If you place an order and pay through the St. John’s App, or by clicking HERE, she will deliver a lily (or lilies) to your doorstep when the flowers come in for no extra delivery charge! While her storefront is closed for business, she is still doing curb-side drop-offs for flower arrangements. She hopes to continue to use her business to brighten people’s homes and lives during the Easter season. Thank you Sonya, and thank you Lord for the gift of beautiful Easter lilies!
Do you feel God’s Calling to Become a Pastor or Deaconess?
Concordia Seminary exists to prepare the next generation of church leaders. We are here to support you as you consider being trained to become a pastor, deaconess or scholar, to ultimately contribute to the church with deep commitment to Lutheran theology and practice, and in a spirit of servant leadership.