Messenger Newsletters

Messenger Newsletters

The Messenger: July 2021

Keeping It Weird Like many Millennials, Rachel Held Evans was raised in the Christian faith; and like many of our children and grandchildren, she abandoned it in young adulthood.  Later, when she found her way back, it was not to the Evangelicalism of her childhood, but to a branch of Christianity deeply shaped by ritual and tradition, by sacraments and a sense of mystery.  Reflecting on this, Evans wrote: “[A] church can have a sleek logo and Web site, but…

The Messenger: August 2021

Revival     ◊     Renewal    ◊     Renaissance    ◊     Restoration    ◊     Rebirth It is time for a change.  COVID-19 forced many unwelcome changes upon people of faith. Gatherings have been difficult and rare. Although we at OSLC have managed to continue the bare bones of our ministry — weekly worship, community service, even some Bible study — this has been a dark age for our church. But after the darkness comes light. As vaccination rates…

The Messenger: June 2021

On the Feast of Pentecost, we heard the wonderful story of the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples of Jesus, and giving them the power to proclaim the Gospel in every language.  That story is a sign of the essential unity among all Christians.  Whether Greek or Jew, as Saint Paul says – or Phrygian or Cappadocian, or American or Korean, Lutheran or Presbyterian – we are all one in Christ. Over the past year, we have been separated by…

The Messenger: April 2021

THE TOMB IS EMPTY.  This is the first and most basic statement of the Christian faith: that the tomb in which Jesus was laid is empty, because he is no longer dead, but lives. The Cross is easily the most recognizable symbol of our faith – the instrument of death by which Jesus surrendered himself for our sake. But if empty tombs were easier to draw, it is almost certain that we would identify ourselves by drawing those instead.  After…

The Messenger: May 2021

YOU ARE WORTHY.  That is not a message that the world gives many of us. On the contrary, most of us have been told, in one way or another, that we are not worthy: not good enough, or pretty enough, young enough or thin enough. That, for whatever reason, we do not deserve to be loved. To this message, the Resurrection of Jesus gives a resounding “NO.” “Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain,” we sang on Easter Sunday,…

The Messenger: February 2021

“…FEBRUARY MADE ME SHIVER,” SINGS DON MCLEAN IN HIS CLASSIC SONG AMERICAN PIE.  “With every paper I’d deliver – bad news on the doorstep.” It has been a difficult year for many Americans, as our lives have been disrupted by COVID, by our nation’s politics, or by the emotional and spiritual challenges personal to each one of us. Sometimes, it does seem like every morning brings more bad news. (There’s even a word for searching your Internet news feed for…

The Messenger: March 2021

WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD.  Not literally, thank heaven, with cars whizzing by at full speed. That’s a scary place to be. We are in the middle of journey through Lent.  The middle, that is, of our 40 days of fasting, prayer and alms-giving – a much safer place than Route 66. But there are dangers even for spiritual travelers. As Hebrews says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”…

The Messenger: January 2021

NEW YEAR’S DAY IS A SIGN OF HOPE FOR PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD. That is why we wait with eager anticipation for the clock to strike midnight and the ball to drop; why we kiss with joy and raise a toast when the hour comes: because we need hope to live. Curiously, our church calendar identifies January 1st as a lesser festival dedicated to “the Name of Jesus.” On one hand, it makes sense to dedicate each new year…

The Messenger: December 2020

ADVENT — TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF CHRIST The first mechanical clock on record was built for Dunstable Priory, a monastery in England, around the year 1283. The monks used it to announce the hours for daily prayer. Christianity has always been interested in marking the passage of time. In the 1600s, four church buildings were the best solar observatories in the world. Built to fix the date of Easter, they also housed instruments that threw light on…

The Messenger: November 2020

WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR? We Americans ask that question every November, on our national Day of Thanksgiving. The answers are familiar: our family and friends, our church, our nation and its blessings. Even in the midst of this year’s chaos, most of us are still holding on to those things with gratitude. The Lutheran calendar of Festivals and Commemorations reminds us the Christian heroes to whom we owe so much. In the days just before Thanksgiving, we recall: Miguel…

The Messenger: October 2020

OCTOBER IS A SPECIAL MONTH FOR LUTHERANS. It was in this month that we remember the life of St. Francis, often by blessing animals on the 4th; the birth of the great missionary Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, on the 7th; Luke the Evangelist, Simon and Jude the Apostles, and more. But for most of us, the climax of the month’s remembrances is October 31, or the Sunday before, when we remember the day in 1517 that Martin Luther posted his 95…

The Messenger: September 2020

LUTHERANS CARE ABOUT PEOPLE, AND ESPECIALLY PEOPLE IN NEED. In Wittenberg, during the Reformation, Martin Luther himself helped organize the “Community Chest,” which provided welfare for the poor, zero-interest loans to get impoverished artisans back on their feet, and funds for teachers, church workers and even a physician to care for those unable to afford medical care. In that same spirit, we at Our Saviour are proud to celebrate and support Lutheran World Relief, the global expression of Lutheran charity.…

The Messenger: August 2020

THE MONTH OF AUGUST WAS FIRST CALLED ” SEXTILUS.” In 8 BC, it was renamed after the Roman emperor, who went by the name “Augustus,” meaning Auspicious or Venerable. In the northern US, August is a hot, miserable month when many people take summer vacation.  In the South, it is hotter and more miserable – and we send children back to school. It is also, for reasons nobody truly understands, National Panini Month. And on August 15 each year, Christians…

The Messenger – July 2020

I HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT THE LITTLE graphic on this front page changes from month to month? It reflects the season of the church year: a dove for Pentecost, a triangle for Trinity. And this month, as we plunge into summer, it is the Tree of Life. This is the tree mentioned in Revelation, whose fruit Jesus promises to all who stay faithful during hard times. It is also a symbol of growth, as in summer the trees are full and green. The Tree of Life is a…

The Messenger – June 2020

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! Nearly every service at Our Saviour begins with this invocation. It is the name in which we wash new Christians, and when we hear it, many of us make the sign of the Cross in remembrance of our baptism. Yet, when we pray, how rarely do we address our prayers to the Trinity? How rarely do we call God by this full, revealed name? For…

The Messenger – April 2020

Coming together is an essential part of the Christian life. Every week since the first Easter, we have gathered as a community, sharing a meal and a message of hope, trusting that Jesus is there among us. The Bible drives this home. The New Testament word for “church” is ekklesia, which means “assembly.” St. Paul says that this assembly – this gathering of people in one place – is Christ’s body on Earth. But today, gathering together in one place…

The Messenger – May 2020

  CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! This is the shout of triumph with which Christians greet the feast of the Resurrection. It is a reminder that our fears and hopes lie equally in the hands of a mighty God. This Easter more than most, we need to hear the promise and take it to heart. This is a difficult time. People, especially in hospitals and nursing homes, cannot be together as they would like. Children cannot gather around…

The Messenger – March 2020

I SAID:  I WILL CONFESS MY TRANSGRESSIONS TO THE LORD. Years ago, that verse from Psalm 32 was sung as part of the Brief Order of Confession in most Lutheran churches. It still echoes in many of our ears, reminding us of God’s call to be honest with him and with ourselves, to lay open our hearts. This openness, this unflinching acknowledgment of our own failures, is an important part of Lent, the season of penitence and self-denial. But the…

The Messenger – February 2020

BEHOLD, SAYS THE LORD in Revelation, I make all things new. So he does. As the first apostles were called and immediately left their nets to follow Jesus, so we are called to live a new life when we follow him. Our Saviour has begun a process of congregational renewal called THRIVE. We have good leaders and good ideas. But we need something more – we need help from God, who makes all things new. Each season during this process, we will share a common prayer, for members to use…
60 YEARS

The Messenger – September 2019

60 Years It began in the late 1950s, as a handful of people began to gather, talking about Jesus. The Warrenton Lutheran Group was not yet a church. After years of canvassing the community, talking to the Virginia Synod, and working with a mission developer, Pastor Kenneth Price, the day came: the Service of Organization. On Palm Sunday, 1959, in the Hunt Room of the Warren Green Hotel, the newest congregation of the Lutheran Church in America celebrated its first…