Dear brothers and sisters of Christ at Calvary Lutheran Church, Wellington,
We had a blessed snowy Easter Sunday this year. Now we look forward to Ascension, Pentecost and Trinity Sundays in this time of Easter. We are also coming up on Confirmation Sunday, May 1, when our class of catechumens will be confirmed in their baptismal faith and confess their belief in the teachings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church before the saints here on earth and those in heaven. Confirmation is a joyous occasion in the Lutheran Church. Young people who have studied the doctrine of the church for some years, through Scripture and Luther’s Small Catechism, have been brought to a fuller understanding of what the Christian Church confesses and believes, and how it relates to their lives lived in faith. The hopes and prayers of the parents, pastor, and the whole congregation are that the young confirmands will look at confirmation not as a graduation, another hoop to be jumped through and put behind them but as a milestone in their life of faith. It is not the end of learning about the things of God, but the foundation of a mature understanding of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, on which the Holy Spirit can build an edifice that can withstand the temptations and attacks of the devil, the world and our own sinful nature.
On Confirmation Sunday the catechumens will receive the body and blood of the Risen Lord for the first time, marking their full fellowship into the community of our church, the communion of saints here in Wellington, and with the Christian Church of all times and places. Of course, they have been part of the body of Christ from their baptisms, when they were adopted into God’s family, our family, through the washing of the water and the Word. But the partaking of Sacrament of the Altar with parents and brothers and sisters in the faith will mark their full incorporation into the mystical body of Christ.
We have been spending most of our study time the last few months looking at the meaning of Holy Communion: why Lutherans hold it in such high regard, why we treat the altar, the elements, the liturgy with such respect and reverence. We have studied the Catechism’s explanation of the Sacrament of the Altar, and watched videos by the engaging Rev. Jonathan Fisk on the true presence of Christ’s body and blood, on the church’s practice of closed communion, on the difference between the Lutheran understanding of Holy Communion and that of other church bodies. In these last classes they have been taught that the Sacrament of the Altar is Christ’s gift to us. It is what He does for us, not something we do for Him. He is delivering forgiveness of our sins to us to receive in a concrete, tangible way–a focus for our faith. For faith needs something on which to focus.
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not leave us as orphans when He departed after His resurrection to ascend into heaven. He left us His Holy Spirit, working through His word, and the words of His prophets and apostles, breathed out by that same Holy Spirit. Jesus left us His sacraments, Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. He left us His Church, His mystical body of which He is the head– the gathering of the forgiven around His Word and Sacrament, here on earth and in heaven. And in this Church, in its worship centered on the preaching of the Gospel and on the Word and Sacrament, He keeps us safe our whole lives so that we may be with Him where He is forever.
So pray for our confirmands, that they may trust in the saving Word of God their whole lives, that they may grow as branches of the True Vine, which is Jesus Christ, producing fruits of faith: love of God and their neighbor, repentance for their sins, trust in God’s forgiveness, support of the church with their time, talent, and treasure, and the lifelong habit of daily prayer, personal and family devotional time, and the weekly corporate worship in the church, all of these being crucial to staying in the saving faith. Let us pray for ourselves, also, and for all our brothers and sisters in the church, that we and they may never stop growing in the knowledge of the love of God in Christ Jesus, as found in Scripture, and taught in the church.
There is nothing more important than this in the whole world, for…
Christ has risen!
He has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Adult Bible class is resuming its study of the Augsburg Confession, in preparation for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017.
All are invited to learn about the central confession of the Book of Concord, to which all Lutheran Pastors and school teachers, deacons, and deaconess subscribe. We are a confessing church, and this is what we confess.
I have seen almost all the “Jesus” movies over the years: “The Greatest Story Ever Told, King of Kings, The Robe, Quo Vadis, The Jesus Movie, The Gospel of St. Matthew, The Passion of the Christ, Ben Hur, and I have loved many of them, but all have either taken liberties with the Biblical story, or the production values have been lacking.
However, I recently saw a new “Jesus” movie that I would recommend for everyone to see, those who do not know who Jesus is, and lifelong believers. The movie is called “The Gospel of John” (David Batty, director). It is available on DVD, or streaming on Netflix, iTunes, Google Play Movies, and Amazon. The film is a complete reading of the Gospel of St. John in either the New International Version or King James Version, and enacted by a cast of fine actors. This is the most faithful of all the Jesus movies. The actor who plays Jesus is very good, and believable. The production values are top-notch, and it has a beautiful musical score. You could watch this in segments, as our family did, about an hour at a time.
The scenes of the passion and crucifixion are realistic, but not as graphic as in “The Passion of the Christ.”
Watch this and see why the Gospel of St. John was Luther’s favorite gospel.
Your servant in the Lord,
The LWML will have a meeting Wednesday, April 6th at 7p.m. in the Parish Hall. Please join us!
There are a couple of office chairs in the preschool room available. Take one if you would like. They would be great for a garage.
No Adult Bible Class
There will not be adult bible class Sunday, April 10th. Pastor will be preaching an early service in Derby.
Portals of Prayer are in your mailboxes. There is also a few extra in the Parish Hall on the magazine rack.
Please remember the homebound
Elmer Naasz: 102 W. Botkin
Frances Meyers: 8300 N.W. Barry Road, Kansas City, MO 64153
Otto & Norma Fischer: 750 N. Missouri St. Apt 119 Ulysses, KS 67880-1870