Upcoming and Past Worship Services

Upcoming and Past Worship Services

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Service

During Lent, Christians worldwide fast, pray and turn our attention back to God. Ashes are an ancient Biblical signal of repentance and confession. Small packets will be distributed for home use as part of our Ash Wednesday service at 7pm by Zoom. But for those who desire an in-person service, the church will be open from 10am-noon and 2pm-6pm. At each hour and half-hour, the pastors will lead a short ceremony of confession, prayer and the imposition of ashes. No…

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Powerful or Vulnerable?

Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us online Saturday, January 30 at 5:30 pm for a prerecorded online only service (Facebook Premier) and on Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 10:00 am via Facebook Premiere! This special service of Morning Prayer and song will be online only due to the impending winter storm and potentially unsafe travel condition.  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. Join…

Third Sunday after Epiphany

‘The Miraculous Draught’ of Fishes, art by John Reilly, UK Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us online Saturday, January 23 at 5:30 pm for a prerecorded online only service (Facebook Premier) and on Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 10:00 am via Facebook Livestream!   Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. Join your prayers with the…

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Second Sunday after Epiphany / Lectionary 2, Year B Sunday 10:00 am Traditional Service Watch Service Here Readings and Psalms: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20]Psalm 139:1-6, 13-181 Corinthians 6:12-20John 1:43-51 Sermon On finding greater things and being found by the Great One Sermon for the 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B; January 17, 2021 (Covid, FB live only)1 Samuel 3:1-10; Psalm 139:1-14; John 1:43-51Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Warrenton, VA. The Reverend Terri E. L. Church “Eureka! Eureka!” “I’ve found it!…
Baptism of Christ by David Zelenka,

Baptism of Our Lord

Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us online for worship on Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 10:00 am via Facebook!   Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. Join your prayers with the community! During the live stream of the service, you are invited to type into the Facebook chat any prayer requests for those you want…

The Word Became Flesh
2 Christmas

Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us online for worship on Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 10:00 am via Facebook!   Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. Join your prayers with the community! During the live stream of the service, you are invited to type into the Facebook chat any prayer requests for those you want…

The Presentation of the Child
1 Christmas

Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us online for worship on Sunday, December 27 at 10:00 am via Facebook!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. Join your prayers with the community! During the live stream of the service, you are invited to type into the Facebook chat any prayer requests for those you want included…

Christmas Eve and Day Worship Services

Christmas Eve Worship—Thursday, December 24 Family Worship @ 4:00 pm Click here to access the online bulletin for this service.) Sermon I Love your more than Toilet Paper; thus, it’s the Best Christmas Ever! Sermon for Christmas Eve 2020, 4pm Drive in WorshipLuke 2:1-20; Covid-19 Coronavirus ResponseOur Saviour Lutheran Church, Warrenton, VA. The Reverend Terri E.L. Church Do you suppose Jesus could have had colic? That’s what snobby little Alice Wendleken wondered in that classic tale by Barbara Robinson, The…

What Exactly Does Emmanuel Mean?
4 Advent

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B Readings and Psalms: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16Luke 1:46b-55Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 (alternate)Romans 16:25-27Luke 1:26-38 Sunday 10:00 am Traditional Service What exactly does Emmanuel mean? Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Advent, Year B. December 18, 2020Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:46b-55; Luke 1:26-38Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Warrenton, VA. The Rev. Terri E.L. Church Picture the scene… A group of young people are telling stories and singing around a campfire. They may look typical enough, but these kids…

Build Up the Ancient Ruins
3 Advent

December 12-13 Third Sunday of Advent, Year B Readings and Psalms: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11Psalm 126Luke 1:46b-55 (alternate)1 Thessalonians 5:16-24John 1:6-8, 19-28 Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, December 12 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, December 13 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who…

Prepare the Way of the Lord
2 Advent

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, December 5 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, December 6 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. Join on Facebook For those who prefer to stay safer at…

Apocalypse Now
1 Advent

First Sunday of Advent, Year B Readings and Psalms: Isaiah 64:1-9Psalm 80:1-7, 17-191 Corinthians 1:3-9Mark 13:24-37 Saturday 5:30 pm Contemporary Service  Sunday 10:00 am Traditional Service Altar Flowers are on hiatus throughout December but will resume the first weekend in January 2021. If you would like to donate flowers in memory, honor or celebration of a loved one or special date, please sign up on the chart in the church office hallway or call the church office at (540) 347-3224…

Thanksgiving Service (Online)

This year’s Thanksgiving Service will be different. Our Pie Fest has been re-imagined as a chance to provide pies and baked goods as well as turkey dinners for people in need. Look in the news for how to help our local neighbors in advance of the service. The worship service itself will be completely online and interactive at the link below. Let us gather online to share what we are thankful for and to celebrate God’s blessings in the past,…

Who’s the King?

The 25th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A Readings and Psalms: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24Psalm 95:1-7aEphesians 1:15-23Matthew 25:31-46 Saturday 5:30 pm Contemporary Service Sunday 10:00 am Traditional Service   Altar Flowers were loveling donated by the children of Jim and Sharon Wood – Jeremy, Carriann and Kevin – in honor and celebration of their parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations Jim and Sharon! And wishing you many more years together in wedded bliss and good health!   Liturgical material © 2017 Augsburg Fortress; used by…

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

24th  Sunday after Pentecost November 14-15, 2020 Scripture Readings Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18Psalm 90:1-8 [9-11] 121 Thessalonians 5:1-11Matthew 25:14-30 Sermon: The Gift That Keeps On Giving Sermon for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A; November 14-15, 2020Our Saviour Lutheran Church of Warrenton, VAThe Reverend Terri E. L. Church What could YOU do with half a million dollars?  I hope your eyes grew wide and your minds are already racing with ideas! What about a new car?!Would you pay off that…

Keep Awake: The Parable of the Mean Girls

The 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Year A November 7 and 8, 2020 Readings and Psalms: Amos 5:18-24 Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16 (alternate) Psalm 70 Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20 (alternate) 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Matthew 25:1-13 Saturday 5:30 pm Contemporary Service Sunday 10:00 am Traditional Service Liturgical material © 2017 Augsburg Fortress; used by permission of Augsburg Fortress, #SAS009239. Copyright Acknowledgments (CCLI License # 2800659 and One License # 710443-A) for print and broadcast.

All Saints Day: Olga Warrior Princess

All Saints Day, Year A October 31 – November 1, 2020 Readings and Psalms: Revelation 7:9-17 Psalm 34:1-10, 22 1 John 3:1-3 Matthew 5:1-12 Watch the recorded service from Saturday, October 31, 2020 Watch the recorded service from Sunday morning, November 1, 2020. Altar Flowers have been donated by Fred Koozer in honor and loving memory of all four of his grandparents.  If you would like to donate flowers in memory, honor or celebration of a loved one or special…

Reformation Sunday, Year A

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, October 24 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, October 25 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. Worshipping…

The Power to Love

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, October 17 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, October 18 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. Worshipping…

Sermon: The Feast Is Ready to Begin!

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, October 10 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, October 11 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. Worshipping…

We Love to Win

18th Sunday After Pentacost, Year A Readings and Psalms: Isaiah 5:1-7 Psalm 80:7-15 Philippians 3:4b-14 Matthew 21:33-46 Watch the recorded service from Sunday morning, October 3, 2020. Watch the recorded service from Saturday, October 4, 2020 Liturgical material © 2017 Augsburg Fortress; used by permission of Augsburg Fortress, #SAS009239. Copyright Acknowledgments (CCLI License # 2800659 and One License # 710443-A) for print and broadcast.

Jesus — Changing Hearts, Minds and Lives for over 2,000 Years!

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, September 26 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, September 27 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. 17th Sunday after…

“Good Thing Nobody Listens to Jesus”
(The third in a three-week sermon series on reconciliation)

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, September 19 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, September 20 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. 16th Sunday after…

Forgive 70×7
(The second in a three-week sermon series on reconciliation)

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, September 12 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, September 13 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. 15th Sunday after…

The Keys to the Kingdom
(The first in a three-week sermon series on reconciliation)

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, September 5 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, September 6 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. 14th Sunday after…

Sermon for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, August 29 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, August 30 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. 13th Sunday after…

The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, August 22 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, August 23 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. 12th Sunday after…

Lord Save Me

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, August 8 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, August 9 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us…

Something to Eat

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, August 1 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, August 2 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us…

More Than Conquerors Through Christ Jesus

Worship Together Live & In-person — Indoors! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Sanctuary on both Saturday, July 25 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, July 26 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details including how to reserve your spot, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay…

Weekly Worship – July 18-19, 2020

Worship Together Live & In-person — Indoors! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Sanctuary on both Saturday, July 18 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, July 19 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details including how to reserve your spot, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay…

Was Jesus a Time Traveler?

Come Worship Together Live & In-person! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Nave and Sanctuary on both Saturday, August 15 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, August 16 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. 11th Sunday after…

Weekly Worship – July 11-12, 2020

Worship Together Live & In-person — Indoors! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Sanctuary on both Saturday, July 11 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, July 12 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details including how to reserve your spot, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay…

Weekly Worship – July 4-5, 2020

Worship Together Live & In-person — Indoors! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to have you join us for live in-person worship back inside the Sanctuary on both Saturday, July 4 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, July 5 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details including how to reserve your spot, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible. For those who prefer to stay…

Weekly Worship – June 27-28, 2020

Worship Together Live & In-person — Indoors! Our Saviour is incredibly pleased to hold our 1st live in-person worship back inside the Sanctuary on Sunday, June 28 at 10:00 am!  Please click the “Read More” button below to get all the details including how to reserve your spot, which will help ensure all who wish to worship together in person stay as safe as possible.   For those who prefer to stay safer at home, join us on Facebook live. 4th Sunday…

Weekly Worship – June 20-21, 2020

Worship Together Live & In-person Our Saviour is excited to hold our 2nd live in-person worship on Sunday, June 21 at 10:00 am — Father’s Day — rain or shine!  The worship service will take place outside of Our Saviour’s building on the lawn and parking lot. Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets, or you can stay in the safety of your own car. We will broadcast the service through speakers onto the property through our new FM radio transmitter.…

Weekly Worship – June 13-14, 2020

Worship Together Live & In-person Our Saviour is excited to hold the first live in-person worship since early March on Sunday, June 14 at 10:00 am — rain or shine!  The worship service will take place outside of Our Saviour’s building on the lawn and parking lot. Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets, or you can stay in the safety of your own car. We will broadcast the service through speakers onto the property through our new FM radio…

Weekly Worship – June 6-7, 2020

The Feast of the Holy Trinity After he had risen from the dead, Jesus sent his followers out to make disciples in every nation, baptizing them “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The name Jesus taught us, which we call the Holy Trinity, reveals the profound mystery of a single God who is at the same time a model of equality and community. Our special guest preacher, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of…

Weekly Worship – May 30-31, 2020

This weekend, on the Feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the moment God sent the Holy Spirit to be a permanent presence of God on earth. The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a dove or as flames of fire, which comes from this weekend’s reading. This weekend at Our Saviour, we remember the gift of the Holy Spirit with gifts of music, gifts of languages, and, on Sunday, a special video honoring our Confirmation students. We are especially grateful to…

Weekly Worship – March 29, 2020

Sunday, March 29 at 10:00 am Worship Bulletin Click here to download the Weekly Worship Bulletin for Sunday, March 29, 2020. Sermon Lazarus was dead. There is no doubt about that whatever. Old Lazarus was dead as a doornail – although, as Charles Dickens once wrote in a similar context, I don’t know what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. But that is our old beloved figure of speech, and in these changing times we must hold on to…

Weekly Worship – May 23-24, 2020

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…

Weekly Worship – May 10, 2020

God truly does provide! Our Saviour is blessed to be able to offer a “Virtual Church” experience during the stay-at-home order issued previously. This is a way for us to come together in worship while remaining safe and healthy at home. 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: (646) 876-9923  and enter Meeting ID 732 534 989. Sermon…

Weekly Worship – May 17, 2020

God truly does provide! Our Saviour is blessed to be able to offer a “Virtual Church” experience during the stay-at-home order issued previously. This is a way for us to come together in worship while remaining safe and healthy at home. 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.…

Weekly Worship – May 3, 2020

God truly does provide! Our Saviour is blessed to be able to offer a “Virtual Church” experience during the stay-at-home order issued previously. This is a way for us to come together in worship while remaining safe and healthy at home. Sunday 10:00 am Worship Service Virtual Easter Coffee Hour (Zoom, 11:00 am) After service, tune in to be strengthened by fellowship and conversation with one another. “Zoom” with us! or call from any phone: (646) 876-9923  and enter Meeting ID 732 534 989.…

Weekly Worship – April 26, 2020

God truly does provide! Our Saviour is blessed to be able to offer a “Virtual Church” experience during the stay-at-home order issued last month. This is a way for us to come together in worship while remaining safe and healthy at home.   Worship Bulletin Virtual Easter Coffee Hour (Zoom, 11:30am) After service, tune in to be strengthened by fellowship and conversation with one another. “Zoom” with us! or call from any phone: (646) 876-9923  and enter Meeting ID 732 534 989. Sermon  …

Weekly Worship – April 19, 2020

God truly does provide! Our Saviour is blessed to be able to offer a “Virtual Church” experience during the stay-at-home order issued last month. This is a way for us to come together in worship while remaining safe and healthy at home. To join the service at 10:00 am on Sunday, click here Worship Bulletin Click here to access the worship bulletin for Sunday, April 19, 2020 Virtual Easter Coffee Hour (Zoom, 11:30am) After service, tune in to be strengthened by fellowship and…

Easter Sunday – April 12, 2020

Bulletin  Click here for Easter Sunday worship bulletin. A special thank you to Brad Stewart for his video recording and editing work which made this special presentation possible.  Virtual Easter Coffee Hour (Zoom, 11:30am) After service, tune in to be strengthened by fellowship and conversation with one another. Kids could show off Easter Baskets! Ladies could wear their Easter bonnet! We can’t wait to see and/or hear you! “Zoom” with us! click https://zoom.us/j/732534989 or call from any phone: (646) 876-9923  and enter Meeting ID…

Good Friday 2020

April 10, 2020 Click here for the Bulletin   Liturgical material © 2017 Augsburg Fortress; used by permission of Augsburg Fortress, #SAS009239. Copyright Acknowledgments (CCLI License # 2800659 and One License # 710443-A) for print and broadcast.

Maundy Thursday 2020

Thursday, April 9, 2020 Communion Service Pray along as we recall the Last Supper, consider what it means to love and serve the world. Click here for the Maundy Thursday worship bulletin.   Liturgical material © 2017 Augsburg Fortress; used by permission of Augsburg Fortress, #SAS009239. Copyright Acknowledgments (CCLI License # 2800659 and One License # 710443-A) for print and broadcast.

Holden Evening Prayer – April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020 Although we all are not able to gather together in body this evening, we can still join together in spirit!  Please click the link to access the Holden Evening Prayer booklet.  Watch it live on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm throughout lent on Facebook Live. (It is NOT necessary to have a Facebook account to view these services.) Additionally, past worship service videos can be accessed on Our Saviour’s Facebook page using this link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/oslcwarrenton/videos/.   Used by permission: ONE…

Palm Sunday – April 5, 2020

Sunday, April 5 at 10:00 am Remote Worship While we are all being asked to refrain from group gatherings, we can still worship together. We ask that if you can join the live service, please do. We will all be joined together in prayers and in support of each other, our community, our church and the world. Click here to watch a video of the service. Worship Bulletin Click here to download the Weekly Worship Bulletin for Palm Sunday, April…

Holden Evening Prayer – March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020 Although we all are not able to gather together in body this evening, we can still join together in spirit!  Please click the link to access the Holden Evening Prayer booklet.  Watch it live on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm throughout lent on Facebook Live. (It is NOT necessary to have a Facebook account to view these services.) Additionally, past worship service videos can be accessed on Our Saviour’s Facebook page using this link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/oslcwarrenton/videos/.   Used by permission: ONE…

Weekly Worship – March 22, 2020

Sunday, March 22 at 10:00 am Remote Worship To view a recording of the service, click here: https://www.facebook.com/oslcwarrenton We had a little technical difficulty half way through the service, so note that there are two separate links. The first half of the service is just below the second half. Worship Bulletin Click here for this weekend’s worship bulletin. Sermon There IS a Lesson in Everything Sermon for the 4th Sunday in Lent, Year A, during a time of social distancing; March…

The Eleventh Hour: A Sermon for Veterans’ Day

The first time I visited France, some thirty-five years ago, I noticed a curious sign posted on the Paris subway. In each car, next to a couple of seats, it said: “Reserved for disabled ex-servicemembers.” Well, that’s the translation. Really, the seats were reserved for mutilés de guerre, literally those who had been mutilated by war, who had lost limbs or eyes or organs. Those simple signs were a sobering reminder of the fact that there were, all around us in…

Shameless Prayer

Who changed the Lord’s Prayer? That’s a question that many people ask pastors when they get us alone. At first, it used to confuse me. But I think, nowadays, I have some sense of what they mean. Most of us grew up saying the Lord’s Prayer in one particular form, with all the archaic verbs and pronouns – Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, all the way down to the kingdom, the power and the glory,…

The Book of Nature

On a summer night just before the first grade, my mother woke me up and led me downstairs. My younger brothers and my sister must have joined us, but I don’t remember. I do remember that my father had made cream puffs, my favorite dessert, but that on this particular might he insisted that we call them Moon Puffs. And I remember sitting in front of our small black-and-white TV, with tin foil on the antennas, struggling to make out…

The Valley of the Uz

Let the dead bury their dead, says Jesus. And I thought of this a few months ago, when the battle erupted over a graveyard in Transylvania. In the part of Romania where I used to live, there are whole counties that do not think of themselves as “Romanian” at all. Before the First World War, they were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and they sometimes think they still are. The people speak Hungarian, their children are schooled in Hungarian; if…

National Day of Prayer – 2019

Sunrise Service Prayers from All the World and from All Our Voices, United in Love by God Matins, Psalm 95; Matthew 6:25-34; The Day You Gave Us, Lord, Has Ended (ELW 569) Listen to the birds of the air—they don’t plant seeds or harvest grain and save it in barns, but God takes care of them!  So, Jesus, that wise teacher, reminded us that God will take care of us. Let us listen to them cry out in praise to…

Of Eggs and a Whispered Name and Passing on the Story

The Great Vigil of Easter, Year C; April 20, 2019 Vigil lessons and John 20:1-18 Mary of Magdala is special. She was a wealthy supporter who traveled with Jesus, sharing in the good news that the Kingdom of Heaven was coming near.  She was there, following him to the cross and at his feet when he died.  And, as we just heard, she was the first person to see him after he was raised.  (Granted, she mistook him for the…

Let’s Kill Jesus!

Let’s kill Jesus. That’s an ugly sentence. Jesus, who hurt nobody and loved even the most wretched. How could we hurt him? How could anybody, but much less his followers? But: Let’s kill Jesus. It’s what one of his followers – one of his closest, one of the Twelve Apostles — came away muttering, just after the events of today’s Gospel reading. They were at Bethany, a few miles from Jerusalem. Mary, not his mother but the sister of Martha…

The Counterinsurgency Paradox

Ol’ Blue Eyes, Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra, was a good friend of Mr. Jack Daniels. Nor was he unacquainted with the occasional martini. He renewed these friendships on regular occasions in barrooms nationwide — gallivanting with the Rat Pack, drinking until all hours. Sinatra was such a beloved regular, in fact, that he had his own tables and barstools reserved for him, whenever he might show up, in nightclubs all across America. Which is not to say that he did…

Love Comes to Life

I was in talking to an atheist the other day. (Pastors meet more atheists than you might imagine.) This fellow had a question – “What should I expect, as an unbeliever, if I go to a church for the first time?” Without saying it directly, he was a little apprehensive. He was afraid, I think, of being judged, or mocked, or simply told “You aren’t welcome.” I told him not to worry. “Remember,” I said, “that you are going to…

I Am a Lutheran

Testimony for Reformation Sunday, October 27-28, 2018 Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36 I am a Lutheran, but I wasn’t always a Lutheran. I started off as a devout Southern Baptist, raised to love God, trusting that I was a part of God’s family, the church, because I had decided to follow Jesus. I loved the children’s ministries and the fun games we played and those summer mission camps. I loved the youth choirs and handbells and all…

An Execration of Pews

Wouldn’t it be great if, when you came to church, you could always sit in your favorite spot? I mean, most of us do have a favorite spot. The one we prefer, the one we sit in if nobody gets there first. Wouldn’t it be great if that seat were always reserved for you, ready and waiting? If you could leave your stuff in it from week to week – your Bible, your reading glasses, your package of Tic-Tacs, and…

A Scary Place – Easter Sunday, 2018

My life, I sometimes think, really began when I was twenty-three years old. I was working a desk job in the city, living a life of quiet desperation. One day I quit, stuffed some clothes into a backpack and flew to the Caribbean. Not one of the nice islands, either. I went to Haiti, the poorest and most violent nation in the hemisphere, the land of voodoo and secret police. I had no friends; I didn’t speak the language; I…

Upside Down – Palm Sunday, 2018

There was a game that people used to play, back in the Middle Ages. On certain days, they would reverse their roles. Kings might dress up like peasants, and vice-versa. One version of this game was called “The Boy Bishop.” On the Feast of the Holy Innocents, in some places, a choirboy would be chosen as bishop for the day; he would be given a peaked hat and a shepherd’s staff, he would enter the cathedral and even lead some…

How Will You Die This Week?

I saw a pizza truck at the grocery store. On the side, it said, “It’s not delivery – it’s DiGiorno.” But it was delivering the pizzas. So was it really DiGiorno? I met a man once who always told lies, who never told the truth. How did I know this? Why, he told me so himself. These are paradoxes, logical games beloved of philosophers and grade-school students all through the ages. (Will Achilles ever catch that tortoise?) A paradox, say…

This Creature – Transfiguration, 2018

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” That piece of bad poetry comes from an otherwise wonderful movie called The Wolf-Man, released in 1941, starring Lon Chaney Jr. It’s about a man name Lawrence Talbot, who moves home to his family’s estate in Wales, but carries with him a dark, dark secret. You can guess the secret. It’s in the title.…

Quilts, a Cup of Cold Water, and a Community of Love

Sermon for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost/Lectionary 26/Proper 21, Year B; September 26-27, 2015 “Blessing of the Quilts” Weekend Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; Psalm 19:7-14; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50   Wow! It is an amazing treat to come to worship on this particular weekend each year! I mean, when else do we see the place adorned so beautifully, feel the comfort of padding behind our backs, and sense—truly feel—the presence of God working through so many different hands during the…