God truly does provide! Our Saviour is blessed to be able to offer a “Virtual Church” experience during COVID-19. This is a way for us to come together in worship while remaining safe and healthy at home. And starting this week, there will be a Saturday evening contemporary service (with Voices of Praise!) in addition to the Sunday morning traditional service.
Saturday 5:30 pm Contemporary Service
Saturday Potluck (via Zoom) 6:30 pm
After service, tune in to be strengthened by fellowship and conversation while enjoying your dinner at your own home with one another. “Zoom” with us!
Sunday 10:00 am Worship Service
Virtual Coffee Hour (Zoom, 11:15 am)
After service, tune in to be strengthened by fellowship and conversation with one another. “Zoom” with us!
…or call from any phone: (301) 715-8592 and enter Meeting ID 732 534 989.
What a Difference a Moment Can Make
Sermon for the 7th Sunday of Easter, Year A; May 24, 2020; Memorial Day Weekend
Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
Our Saviour Lutheran Church of Warrenton, VA. The Rev. Terri Elaine Luper Church
You had mere seconds to make the mental calculations—the enemy fighter’s range, its speed and path of attack, and the weather—to then line up your weapon and sights on your guns and shoot. During all this you prayed that the guns wouldn’t jam, and the barrels would not melt! That World War II bomber was depending on you, not to mention your country back home. 
That’s a description I read of aerial gunners in battle. You’ve probably seen movies with gunners firing off rounds at their targets or you’ve imagined the trajectories of bullets and bombs in the midst of a war zone, but have you ever wondered who taught them how to do it? I hadn’t, at least not until I looked into one particular marine from that era. Virginia P. Jordan, mother of our own Tom Jordan, held the title of aerial gunnery instructor.  Yes, she was a marine during that first wave of women serving our nation as enlisted women and officers! Tom is proud that his mom and dad both served our nation—besides his mom, his dad served in the Coast Guard, patrolling for German U boats. Well, I don’t blame him one bit for being proud! Thinking back to that description of an aerial gunner, where an entire attack could last only seconds, think about what a difference a moment can make.
I first learned about Tom’s mom in a different sort of moment a few years back. Our senior adult ministry took a moment to help residents at Warrenton Manor make patriotic wreaths out of clothespins. The next weekend our youth used the extra supplies to make up a few more wreaths to give to Veterans or their families. Tom was delighted to receive two of those wreaths, and he took a moment to explain why—two parents, and mom in the Marines during World War II! He shared the photo of the moment he laid one on her grave. A moment in service to seniors, a moment at the grave of a marine and a sailor, a moment for young people and their pastor to learn about women in the Marines in World War II. What a difference a moment can make. These are wonderful moments, but moments we don’t get to take this year.
This is Memorial Day Weekend, and it can normally be a bit too easy to think of it as the beginning of summer, a fun time with family and friends, and lots of patriotic decorations. However, all the way back to just after the Civil War this day has held a special place in time. It has stood for a moment for a grateful nation, a moment to say thank you to those who died to allow us to hold those fun memories and celebrations. A moment to remember our unity as a nation.
In normal years it might be too easy to forget who and what matters, much less caring for those who died to protect our freedoms! This year, however, is not a normal year. And it is not so easy to forget those who serve. Are we not all a bit more aware of the sacrifices people make on our behalf? Do you find yourself especially grateful for doctors, nurses, scientists, possibly Congress or other elected servants, or even your hairdresser? I know I do! It is not a normal year, but maybe that lack of normal can help us.
This is a perfect year for that Bible reading from First Peter. It reminds us that our faith in Christ does not make us immune to scorn from others nor from any other calamity or danger. However, when we suffer, we are connected to Christ who suffered, and to others who suffer. It draws us closer. It binds us together.
I love two sentences in the fifth chapter of I Peter:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
That’s what Memorial Day is really about, isn’t it? It is a moment for humbling ourselves and thanking God for those who humbled themselves for us. It takes humility to remember. It takes discipline. The Bible goes on to say that the devil is prowling like a roaring lion, trying to lead us astray, away from humility and gratitude, and toward sins and actions that separate us from God, from each other, from peace. “Resist him!” cries St. Peter. Resist the distractions. Resist the arguments. Resist the judgment. Be humble and give thanks.
Not that it is easy to resist the devil. It is not even easy to remember to be grateful or to be humble. Be careful, my friends, that you take time to listen to one another. Remember that we did not know anything about this mysterious virus even six months ago—we certainly don’t have all the answers now. Be humble. Listen. Breathe. When you get anxious, remember that next verse: “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”
It is not easy, but we are not alone in our efforts, for the Holy Spirit came to live and work permanently among us. We have been filled with power to change the world! And we have been given power to pause a beat, to forgive each other for all the things we get wrong, to love, and to receive and share the peace of Christ. We have been given the power to humble ourselves before God and one another. It may not be easy to do, but God helps us!
And with that power of God flowing through us, perhaps we can remember to pause and be grateful this year. Could we each take time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country? Perhaps, we might even use the National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day. It is Monday at 3:00 in the afternoon. While we’re at it, I hope we also take a moment to humble ourselves and be grateful for all the different people who have given their own moments in this current Covid-19 virus response: those who have patiently stayed home to keep others safe, those willing to risk going out, those who speak up, those who keep quiet to listen, those who are doing the research to find treatments, and especially for those who put their lives on the line in hospitals, for anyone else YOU think to be grateful for.
Could you commit this weekend to be grateful? If not the whole weekend, perhaps that one minute on Monday afternoon? We’ll help you out. Look on our Facebook page on Monday afternoon at 3pm for a special video to help you remember and be thankful. Or look for a moment to serve someone else in Jesus’ name. Whatever you do, trust that the Spirit of God is within you, and you will see what a difference a moment of remembrance and gratitude can make: peace for you, for others, for the world.
Finally, remember to cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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