From the Pastor :: April 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In my personal library I have a book entitled, What Luther Says. This book is a collection of some of Martin Luther's more famous quotations on a large variety of topics. Recently, I was reading through his quotes concerning Christ and I came across several regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus. Since both of these events are celebrated this month in the church, I share two here with you for your consideration.

Christ's Suffering Atoned for Sin Why does Christ suffer? He is a fine, good fruitful Tree and has not deserved so stern a sentence; but He suffers it for our sake. He is now undertaking this journey in order to carry out His office as Priest; and He intends not only to pray for sinners but also to sacrifice His body and life on the altar of the cross so that God will be appeased through this sacrifice and poor sinners will be freed from the wrath of God and be heirs of eternal life. That is why it hurts the Lord to see that we weep at the sight of His suffering. He wants us to be glad, praise God, thank His grace, extol, glorify, and confess Him; for through this journey we come into the possession of the grace of God. By it we have been freed from sins and death and have become God's dear children.

Christ's Resurrection Certified Our Redemption The death of Christ is the death of sin, and His resurrection is the life of righteousness; for by His death He has made satisfaction for our sin, and by His resurrection He has bestowed righteousness on us. His death, then, does not merely signify but actually makes the forgiveness of sin, as a completely sufficient satisfaction. And His resurrection is not merely a pledge of our righteousness but actually effects it in us, if we believe it, and is its cause. (What Luther Says, CPH, pp. 180-181)

Holy Week is the most somber time of the Church Year and historically, the Church has set aside time each day to observe and commemorate the suffering and death of Our Lord. The week begins with the Sunday of the Passion (formerly known as Palm Sunday). On that Sunday, we will hear a major portion of the Passion account as recorded by St. John. The full Passion of our Lord recorded in John's Gospel account will be read on Good Friday.

As we heard in the liturgy on Ash Wednesday, "From ancient times the season of Lent has been kept as a time of special devotion, self-denial, and humble repentance born of a faithful heart that dwells confidently on His Word and draws from it life and hope."
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week, you are invited to join me at St. James to hear the Passion of Our Lord, written in the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew (Monday), St. Mark (Tuesday), and St. Luke (Wednesday). Following the reading each day, we will pray the Litany. This Holy Week observance will take place each day at 4:00 pm. If you are not able to join me at church, copies of the Litany will be available for you on the Sunday of Holy Week.

"Let us pray that our dear Father in heaven, for the sake of His beloved Son and in the power of His Holy Spirit, might richly bless this Lententide for us so that we may come to Easter with glad hearts and keep the feast in sincerity and truth." (Ash Wednesday Liturgy)

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Dehning