Category Archives: Worship

Holy Week Info – Updated

Thank you to all who joined the LAF hosted Maundy Thursday bible study on Zoom.  This year is a bit different.  Our passion services normally tend to follow the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark or Luke).  This year we have been following John.  John’s difference on Maundy Thurday was that the mandate was not “do this in remembrance of me” but “a new commandment I give to you, love one another just as I have loved you.”  One of the other differences between the Synoptics and John tends to be that Jesus in John is never less than the divine Word.  If in the synoptics we experience the human Jesus and right along with the disciples come to realize that this one is more than that, in John Jesus is always God (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.)  Reading the Passion from John on Good Friday hits all the same events, but the focus on the divine Word puts the Good in Good Friday.  This is Jesus overcoming the world.  The world, the darkness does not understand this, but this is the light shining.  It streams forth from Calvary.  Come join us.  The online info to do so is below.  

Good Friday @ 7PM – Online and at church

I’m not doubling the service times.  Based on historic patterns I don’t think that will be necessary.  We are making some appropriate changes to accomodate the online folks.  This  is one service I think should translate rather well.  (Replaning Holy Week on the fly has been an experience.) You might want to stream this from a dim room for the full effect.

This link is the Good Friday Service Bulletin to participate online,

Easter @ 9AM and 11AM – Online and at church (just as per the previous two Sunday’s)

This link is the Easter Service Bulletin to participate online

Online Info

Here is the link and the info to join the zoom space online.

https://zoom.us/j/6458485288

Meeting ID: 645 848 5288
Contact me for the password, or check you email, you should have it there.

Holy Week Info

Sorry for the delay everyone. Here is the schedule for Holy Week as it stands right now.  

Maundy Thursday @ 7PM – A LAF hosted Zoom

The traditional MT emphasis on the Lord’s Supper doesn’t work this year.  But there is good news.  First, the Gospel of John, which is where the Maundy in the name comes from, records the focus of the night differently.  Second, you are invited to explore this difference along with the LAF study and join in some online song, prayer and conversation.

This link is the study material for the evening

We hope to see you all there.

Good Friday @ 7PM – Online and at church

I’m not doubling the service times.  Based on historic patterns I don’t think that will be necessary.  We are making some appropriate changes to accommodate the online folks.  This  is one service I think should translate rather well.  (Re-planing Holy Week on the fly has been an experience.)  I will post the worship materials and send the link out hopefully tomorrow.

Easter @ 9AM and 11AM – Online and at church (just as per the previous two Sunday’s)

I’m aiming to post service materials at the same time as the Good Friday ones.

Online Info

Here is the link and the info to join the zoom space online.

https://zoom.us/j/6458485288

Meeting ID: 645 848 5288
Contact me for the password, or check you email, you should have it there.

Pastoral Note #4 – Friday, March 27th

I’ve seen some of you this week.  I’ve talked to more.  There has been some sadness; the Bayer’s neighbor passed away.  There as always in such times has been some fear and anger.  It is amazing the small things that can be an excuse to let it rip.  We should attempt to kind when someone is at tilt, because we are going to hit that point as well sometime.  But it has also been a time of some honest reflection I feel.  Not much from anything going by the word “news”, but by individuals.  It feels a bit like what the word apocalypse originally meant – a revelation.  The veil that we often keep over our deepest thoughts, the ones that we only half know ourseves, has been lifted a bit.

Meditation

This coming Sunday is Lent 5.  The texts for the week and the Introit are lit.  (The link to the service for those online is below.)  A valley of dry bones.  Lazarus from the tomb.  In other words death.  Yea! In the midst of plague, a week of dead things. (/Snark off.) But there is an important spiritual insight that this helps us think about.

The fancy word is atonement.  You were probably taught in confirmation that atonement is at-one-ment, how we are made at one with God.  And the theory of the atonement that we normally work with is substitutionary.  The wages of sin are death.  Because humanity sinned, death came into the world.  A payment had to be made against that.  A payment that none of us sinners could pay.  So Jesus, the sinless Son of God, made that payment on the cross.  It is a Good Friday centric understanding.  It is also a simple historical understanding.

I don’t know how many of you are Sci-Fi or Star Trek fans, but one of the tropes of that genre is that the future can be a cause of the past.  I’m not commenting on the reality of that trope, but there is a psychological reality to it.  Hebrews 2:14-15 turns the causality around for a second.  Instead of sin bringing about death, it is death that brings about sin and our state.

Because God’s children are human beings– made of flesh and blood– the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (Heb. 2:14-15 NLT) 

Did you catch it?  Because of our fear of death, we have lived as slaves, slaves to sin.  Because we feared death, we reached for everything possible, as if the one who dies with the most toys wins.  Or more likely, like our Silicon Valley folks today, we think mystically if we’ve got all this stuff we can buy off death.  Even back in the garden in that innocent state it is our very dependence upon God that causes fear.  Eve, God is not a good guy, he wants to keep you down.  Take the apple now, before you don’t have the chance.  It is our fear of our contingency, our fear of dying, that drives much of our actions.  The ones we keep under the veil.  

It is to this fear that Lent 5 speaks.  Can these bones live?  The theory is Christ the Victor.  My favorite line expressing this comes from an Advent hymn, Hark the Glad Sound LSB 349.  He comes the prisoners to release/in Satan’s bondage held/the gates of brass before Him burst/the iron fetters yield.  I’m jumping the gun.  This is the theory of Easter.  Sheol’s gates have been wrecked from the inside as Christ kicked them open.  We no longer need fear death, because the eternal welcome of our God has been displayed in flesh and blood.  God himself died, and God himself rose, and our brother Jesus has given us the victory.

Our victory over death is not an excuse to ignore good advice, but it is a call to put down the worry.  To stop grabbing for every last thing here.  Beacuse everything here is going away.  Some sooner and some later.  But there is a far country, one holding a victory celebration.  And everything we need has already been prepared.

Church Information

Maybe getting the handle on things. So this is the plan right now.

  1. I will be at church on Sunday at 9 AM and 11 AM.  I will stream those services at the same place as this past week ( https://zoom.us/j/6458485288 ).  I will also be attempting to improve the audio, I think I’ve got it. 
  2. Nobody is required to be at church.  If you are in a high risk category, please stay home.  Please join us online.  But if you are healthy and wish to join me at church, that is also fine.  We should be under 10 in each.  Everyone will have their own pew.
  3. The liturgy will be Responsive Prayer 2 (LSB 285).  Here is the link to the service, so if you are online you can participate instead of watching. https://www.saintmarkslutheran.org/wp-content/uploads/services/March%2029%202020%20Service.pdf
  4. If you have prayer requests, we will collect them during the service, but I’d also request that if you can please email or text them to me.
  5. I encouraged folks who didn’t have a hymnal at home to borrow one from the pews and take it home with them this past week.  Likewise if you don’t have one, and you would like one to follow along with, please stop in and grab one for the time being.
  6. I am in the offfice roughly 10AM to 5 PM.  Any time during those hours I will be available for private confession and communion.  My cell is 585-524-7909 if you want to check beforehand.  If you would like outside of those hours, just contact me and I’m sure we can work it out.  (I can also come out, but I thought we might all be tired of our walls, and need another place.)

2017 Christmas Services

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

Service Schedule
Christmas Eve – 7 PM – Lessons and Carols
Christmas Day – 9 AM – Divine Service

Come and Worship. Worship Christ the Newborn King.

2015 Children’s Christmas Pageant

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tomorrowland, Mad Max and Liturgy

TomorrowMadMax

So Tomorrowland had a bad opening. Tomorrowland was the Disney produced move staring George Clooney that you can roughly guess the story from the title. (Admission, I also did not see it. I am going on reviews and trailers.) It has something to do with a rosy optimistic futurism that might be best captured by Walt himself and a nostalgic view of the race to the moon. The only troubles this futurism can admit to are either those of bad people holding back the future or speed-bumps on the way to greatness. Mad Max: Fury Road in its second week almost met Tomorrowland. Max of course is the flipside of Tomorrowland, a pessimistic futurism. A world where the sane are mad holding on to hope and escaping trouble today just means your road ends tomorrow.

As a liturgist one of our forgotten truths is that we embed our greatest truths in ritual. We all have ritual, even you atheists and Baptists. About a year ago our family took part in one of those rituals – the grandparents took us to Disneyworld. Disneyworld is the Vatican of that Tomorrowland futurism. It’s a great trip. Don’t take this as a complaint. Every American child really should go once – like on the Hajj. It is part of being American. Part of the American experience and birthright is the idea that we can do this. From the Pilgrims on the Mayflower to failure is not an option. Disneyland is the architectural realization of that ideal every bit as much as Chartres is of medieval Catholicism. But as my oldest child warmed my heart by saying when asked if she wanted to come back, “no, it’s all fake”. That might have been the harsh judgment of youth, but she parsed truth from a half-truth. The truth of we can do this in Disneyworld is hidden behind the half-truth of it is easy if we just clear the path and keep everything clean. Clearing the path and keeping everything clean in tomorrowland takes massive injections of outside funds. And even then “it’s all fake”.

I’ve been trying to think of the ritual expression of Mad Max and I think I know it now, the social welfare state. That state might have started out as an expression of Tomorrowland, but now it is simply an expression of power. When the sane observe that it doesn’t work and might have made things worse they are met with cries of cold-hearted bigot. The outcome of the ritual is not important. It is the fact of the ritual and our heart’s intentions. We mean to make life for the poor better. We have the right belief. Government is the only thing we do together, the ultimate ecumenical expression. Yes, we lost the war on poverty, but government goes on. Your road might end tomorrow, but the government will survive and keep on the fight. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. What are you, mad?

Tomorrowland and Mad Max are alternate expressions of the progressive worldview. And Satan could care less which rituals you want to take part in, because both are false and half-truths. He wins when you are led astray. What he doesn’t want you to see is the truth embedded in the church’s liturgy. I am, we all are, the bad people standing in the way of Tomorrowland. The bad people are not some others, but ourselves. I am “a poor, miserable sinner”. “I have sinned in thought, word and deed, by what I’ve done and what I’ve left undone.” The admission that we are by nature sinful and unclean takes care of that “it’s all fake” problem. We can still do great things, but it is going to take a massive injection from outside of us. Which we hear in the absolution. “Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all of our sins.” That is not fake but as real as a cross.

Likewise contra Max, this road is going somewhere. “This is the feast of victory for our God. Worthy is Christ the lamb…the lamb who was slain has begun his reign.” We believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. The intersection of this life and death is found in that highest ritual, the Lord’s Supper. We admit the gritty reality a Max. It took flesh and blood. It took sacrifice. But that sacrifice was not madness. That was the sacrifice of a true innocent which covers us. In this supper we have a foretaste of the feast to come. We have a celebration of the marriage feast. We have a glimpse of the end of the road. We are not mad to persevere, because in our flesh we will see God.

We all have ritual or liturgies. And those liturgies form us and how we see the world. Be careful of the yeast of Tomorrowland or Mad Max.

Holy Week Services

Holy Week Worship

Maundy Thursday @ 7PM – Last Supper Commemoration
Good Friday @ 7PM – Tenebrae Service (St. Mark’s Reading of the Passion)
Easter Sunday @10 AM (8:30 AM Potluck Easter Breakfast)

Out of the Oven – King’s Cake after Epiphany Vespers

A couple of pictures can’t capture the smell though…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Christmas Worship

Christmas 2013 postcard