Palm Sunday 2015

 

 

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Palm Sunday 2015 is this weekend.  We will have worship on both Saturday night at 6 p.m. and Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m.  Plan your weekend around making sure you are at worship this week for the beginning of Holy Week.

At both services we will do the following things:

*Remember the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  We will wave palm branches as they did nearly 2000 years ago.  We will give thanks to God for the fulfillment of his prophecy about the coming Messiah and eternal King of Israel.

*We will begin our Holy Week observance.  Click here for the full schedule.

*We will dedicate the Lutheran World Relief quilts and kits.  See the photo above for an image of what we did last year at this time.

 

You are invited to make this the beginning of a very special week as we relive and experience the joys and sorrows of this most important week in human history.

 

Holy Week is Coming Soon

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The centerpiece of the church year is the season of Lent and the events of Holy Week.  We invite you to be part of our revisiting of these core events in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Click over to our Lent & Holy Week Schedule to find out more.  It is all listed on our recently updated main church page:  Here is the Link.

VBS Bar Soap Challenge Report

 

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The results are in for the Vacation Bible School (VBS) Bar Soap Challenge.

The students of the 2014 VBS at MLLC collected 246 individually wrapped bar soaps.  These were collected during the week of VBS: August 21-27.

During the 2 weeks following that the congregation was challenged to meet this total.  The congregation collected 198 bars of soap.

VBS students:  246

Congregation:  198

Grand Total:  444

 

For the sake of those in need around the world we will continue to collect these individually wrapped bar soaps through Resurrection Sunday 2015 – April 5, 2015.  We will also receive monetary donations to cover the cost of shipping these items.  Most importantly, please remember to pray for the ministry of Lutheran World Relief, and for those individuals who will eventually receive these items.

The real winners in this challenge are our neighbors around the world who will get to use the soap for personal hygiene.  The soap will be passed along to Lutheran World Relief for distribution to people in need around the world.

Thank you to everybody who participated in this special project.  We look forward to the continued collecting  of bar soap for the months to come.

Triple Baptism – April 19

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At the Great Vigil of Easter – Saturday, April 19, 2014, we welcomed three new Christians into God’s family:  Tonia, Ally and Judd.  Each of these received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at the Vigil.  We are very thankful for God’s gift of faith and the work he is already doing in the lives of these three.  As newly baptized Christians they are also new members of MLLC.  Ally and Tonia also received the Sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time as Christians at this service.  It was a joyful evening for all involved.

Check out this page to learn more about our Great Vigil of Easter.

 

The Great Vigil of Easter is the ancient time when New Christians have been baptized.  Every year, including 2014, thousands of people are baptized all over the world at  Great Vigil of Easter services such as we had at MLLC.  Many congregations also use this special service to receive new members into the congregation.  My own son was baptized at the Great Vigil of Easter in 2004 at the congregation I served in North Liberty, Indiana, at that time.

 

Here are some more photos from the baptisms of Tonia, Ally and Judd on April 19.

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The Biggest Night of the Year – the Vigil of Easter

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This is the Night when we gather for the Vigil of Easter. It is an ancient special service of the Church.  It is very different than anything else we do throughout the year. We gather at 7 p.m. on Saturday Night, April 19.  We look forward to seeing you at the Great Vigil of Easter.

Here is the rest of our Holy Week Schedule:  Click link.

Here is a perspective on this day from Deaconess Jennifer Clark Tinker, who is a member at Martin Luther Lutheran Church:  click this link for Jen’s Reflection.

Here is the introduction to this day as we will have it in our service bulletin:

An Introduction to the Vigil of Easter
Like the children of Israel who watched and waited through the night for the Lord of the Exodus, we too come together this night to watch and wait for the Lord of the Resurrection. We come, as Christians have come since the first century, to keep vigil and to prepare ourselves for the arrival of the Bridegroom who is chief host and guest at the Resurrection feast to come.
First, we must break the darkness of the night. Like the virgins in the parable, we must light our vigil lights. Our light will be a very special light, for it is the light of Christ which burns atop the Paschal candle and which dispels the darkness — of night, of sin, of death. Our light will be a constant reminder of the Resurrection victory during the coming season, at every baptism and at every funeral. But for now, it will burn in vigil as we await the Bridegroom.
When we have settled into our pews for the watch, we hear the storytellers among us sharing the stories of our faith — the stories of God’s salvation history and the covenants which he made with our people. These are our “family” stories. We listen. We sing. We watch. And we wait for the feast to come.
After hearing our stories, we make our last minute preparations to meet our Lord. All must be right for the feast. On some years those among us who have not yet joined us are brought into membership with us this night, making all who are here part of the family, which is the Church and the Bride of Christ. Each year, so that the whole family is prepared, each of us renews our baptismal vows. As we interact with the water and the Lord, we hear and we feel that grace which was given to us through our baptism.
We are nearly ready. The time is close. We prepare the room and set the table for the Feast of Victory, the First Holy Communion of this greatest festival day of all. And then at last He comes! The Resurrection victory is won! The Bridegroom has come through the darkness to claim his Bride, the Church, to be his own. This is the feast of victory! In the end flowers and banners must adorn the space, for our time this evening and tomorrow will be a feast to remember.

 

Thanks to Pr. Thomas L. Weitzel, ELCA.  This introduction was adapted from his original work.

Introduction to Good Friday

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As part of our Good Friday service bulletin we include this introduction to the service.

We gather to worship the Crucified Savior tonight at 7 p.m., Friday, April 18, 2014.

 

An Introduction to Good Friday – Tenebrae

We begin our liturgy as we ended the Maundy Thursday Liturgy: in silence. What was begun then continues this day as we journey with our Savior from the Last Supper, the stripping and humiliation, to the cross and tomb. Good Friday is the second day of the Triduum, the “Three Sacred Days” of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday with its Vigil of Easter.

 

The Good Friday Liturgy is marked with austerity, silence and reflection. The chancel itself is bare from the Maundy Thursday stripping. There is no organ music except to accompany the hymns and sung musical pieces. Everything focuses on our adoration of the crucified Christ, reigning from the throne of the cross.

 

The service of Tenebrae is an ancient Holy Week devotion which began in the 7th or 8th century, or possibly earlier. The name “Tenebrae” means shadows. The service takes its name from the ceremony of extinguishing in succession all the lights in the sanctuary, casting it into total darkness which is symbolic of the disciples’ desertion of our Lord, and of his death and burial.

 

The purpose of the Tenebrae Service is to aid us in realizing the total impact of the darkest day in the history of the world, the day Jesus died on the cross.

 

The opening portion of the liturgy includes no praise. It proceeds directly to the Prayer of the Day. It is a simplified version of our Sunday Liturgy of the Word. The chief acts are the reading of the Passion of St. John and the Bidding Prayer for the needs of our world. After each section of the Passion of St. John is read, there will be a time of silent meditation. Lights will begin to be extinguished or dimmed more after each reading and meditation until the sanctuary is in darkness.

 

A large cross, which vividly and dramatically portrays the events of this day, is then brought into the church in solemn procession to become the focus of our adoration of the crucified Christ. Placed upon at the front of the chancel, the crucifix is central to our meditations in word and in silence. The words of meditation are the ancient Reproaches. The words of reproach are those of God directed to us, his people, who have crucified the Savior of the world by our sin. The Reproaches expand upon the words of the prophet Micah (6:3-5) and burn in our hearts. The liturgy does not end on this note of reproach, however. The closing versicles and prayer emphasize the triumph and redemption that comes through the cross.

 

After the lights are all extinguished, the congregation will stand as the Paschal Candle is carried from the sanctuary reminding us of the burial of Jesus. A loud noise, made by the closing of a Bible, will remind us of the closing of the tomb as well as the fulfilling of the Scriptures and the completion of our Lord’s work on the cross for us.

 

The Paschal Candle (called the Christ Candle during Advent/Christmas) will not return until the beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. On Good Friday we recognize that Jesus was fully dead and was placed in the borrowed tomb.

 

Note: The return of the Paschal Candle moments after the loud noise is a form of the Good Friday service designed to be used in those congregations which do not have the Great Vigil of Easter.

 

All will leave in silence to return tomorrow as we wait in vigil and then celebrate our Lord’s resurrection at the Great Vigil of Easter. At the Vigil tomorrow evening we will have the first Holy Communion in celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Triduum we will continue our celebration on Sunday morning with the Sunrise service at 7:30 at the Carmine Cemetery, breakfast in the fellowship hall at 8 a.m. and the Festival Service at 9:00 a.m. Around 10:15-10:30 a.m. we will have the Resurrection Egg hunt and party for the children.

Click here to see the first post in this series about Maundy Thursday.

 

Thanks to Pr. Thomas L. Weitzel, ELCA.  This introduction was adapted from his original work.

Introduction to Maundy Thursday

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We gather this evening at 7 p.m. for Worship on this Maundy Thursday.

Here is the introduction to this Sacred Day which we use at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine.

An Introduction to Maundy Thursday
The Maundy Thursday service is one of endings and beginnings. What was begun on Ash Wednesday is brought to a close here today. What begins today does not end until the Day of Resurrection. It is the ancient Triduum, “The Three Sacred Days,” which lead us to the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
The theme is love, our Savior’s love for us, expressed in the washing of the disciples’ feet, in giving himself in bread and wine, in dying upon the cross. An invitation to confession is given. The focus is on forgiveness. On Ash Wednesday, we began Lent with a major act of confession and ashes, but we did not receive a strong statement of forgiveness in the absolution. That bold announcement of forgiveness comes now, “In the mercy of almighty God,” and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” at the service celebrating Christ’s love.
The lessons of love are read. A new command derives from it: “Love one another.” The name “Maundy” comes from the first word of the Latin form of John 13:34: “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”). This self-giving love is demonstrated in the washing of feet. The prayers are said. The table is made ready. The time of the Lord’s Supper arrives, and our Lord is revealed in bread and wine as once he “revealed himself to his disciples.” It is a solemn moment, but we cannot linger here. Nor could the Lord, for His betrayal was imminent.
Before we know it, the markings of betrayal are seen before us. The symbol of Christ in our midst, the altar, is stripped bare. Christ is stripped of his power and glory. Good Friday is inescapable. The powers of darkness work upon him.
In silence, we depart without benediction. The Three Sacred Days continue with the Good Friday service tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. We will also gather on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. for the Vigil of Easter.

 

Thanks to Pr. Thomas L. Weitzel, ELCA.  This introduction is adapted from his original work.

 

First Communion is on Maundy Thursday at MLLC

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As part of our Holy Week observance we celebrate the First Holy Communion for our youth.  This year we have one youth who will begin participating in this wonderful Sacrament of the Church.  He has participated in First Holy Communion classes during Lent this year.  This included Bible Study, discussions, a “field trip” to the Sacristy (the room where the communion is prepared, and the communion vessels are stored), decorating a chalice for receiving his First Communion, videos and bread making.

The Junior High Sunday School class helped the student with the bread making.  Much of the bread used for Holy Communion at MLLC is made by our youth, as well as other church members.  Above is a photo of the students and their teacher preparing the bread on Palm Sunday 2014.  This recipe makes a flat bread, and it is cooked almost like a pancake.  Thank you Esther for teaching our youth how to make this bread for this special day.  Very tasty and important ministry.

 

Here are the youth and the First Holy Communion student after they have sampled the finished product.  Our candidate for First Holy Communion is in the red/white plaid shirt, 2nd from the right.

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As part of worship on this Maundy Thursday the student will also receive a Bible from the congregation.  This he will use for personal reading, Sunday School, Confirmation Class, and the like.  We partner with parents in helping them to fulfill the vows they made at their children’s baptism.  There is a line in the liturgy of Holy Baptism which reads, “place in their hands the holy scriptures…” At the Maundy Thursday service a Bible will be given to the parent, and then that Bible will be placed in the hands of the student.  It is a loving ritual form of fulfilling this promise.  Here is a photo of the Bible, next to the Baptismal Font, and  with our Holy Communion banner in the background.

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Click here to read more about First Holy Communion at MLLC.

Click here to see our Holy Week Schedule for 2014.

Holy Week Message from our Presiding Bishop

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Photo from the Flossenburg Chapel, as noted in the Good Friday Message.  This photo is from this blog site:  click

 

We are in the midst of Holy Week 2014.  We have moved from the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and we remember that he is headed to the cross.  As we follow in the way of Jesus we reflect on the truth of the cross.  Here is a powerful message from our ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.

Click this link for the Good Friday Message

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Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) – the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton

This was first published in “The Lutheran” magazine, and comes to us through our Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod web site blog.

Welcome to Holy Week 2014

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The central events of the life and ministry of Jesus will be celebrated this coming week.  From Palm Sunday weekend through Resurrection Sunday (Easter Sunday) we will be revisiting the most important events in the history of humankind.  Through prayer, God’s Word, Sacraments and faithful action we will be reconnecting with the greatest things which God has done for us.  Plan on gathering with the people of God at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine this coming week.  Click here for a link to our Holy Week Schedule.