Ponderings from Pastor Juli
Light of the Cross Lutheran Church
A friend and I recently attended a funeral for a mutual friend of ours. The funeral happened to be in a Catholic church and, as is tradition in the Catholic church, this funeral mass included the celebration of holy communion. At the conclusion of the service, my friend commented on the difference between the Lutheran church funeral and the Catholic church funeral. My friend was struggling with some of the rituals of the service. For example, incense was used to bless the altar, and was also used to bless the urn. A special bell was rung at the time of the consecration of the bread and wine. The priest washed his hands in a small basin before beginning the communion portion of the service. For my friend, who is of Lutheran background, all of these rituals were confusing and didn’t seem to make sense but for the Catholics who were present, these rituals were very meaningful.
We talked about this after the funeral. Were these things necessary? Did it add anything to the service? What did it mean for the Catholics present at the service whether incense was used or that the priest washed his hands before communion? I began to think about our own worship services. Are there things we do in worship that seem strange, that don’t make sense? I know that for some people, especially for younger people, the formality of worship can be a turn-off. What do the liturgy, and the rituals add to worship? Why are they important? Or are they? Maybe you’ve asked the same questions.
I love the liturgical traditions of our church. For me, they are very important to my experience of worship. But I don’t think we’ve done a good job in teaching people why these rituals and liturgy are so important. What do they mean? Now, I can’t write everything I want to say in a short newsletter article, but let me just mention a couple of things that are so meaningful to me in worship.
First, what I mean by liturgy are the elements that shape our worship – things like the Kyrie (“In peace, let us pray to the Lord…Lord have mercy”) and the Hymn of Praise (“This is the feast of victory for our God…”), the Alleluia verse, the Proper Preface (“It is indeed right, our duty, and our joy..”) and the Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”).
All of the liturgical elements in our worship are based in scripture. A good example of that is the Alleluia verse: “Alleluia. Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Alleluia.” These words are from John 6:68 and are spoken by Peter to Jesus when some disciples found following Jesus too difficult and left off following him. Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they also wished to depart, to which Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” We sing the Alleluia verse to welcome the gospel – to remind ourselves that we are about to hear the words of Jesus – and we acknowledge that what we are about to hear are words of eternal significance, words of comfort and challenge, words of eternal life as we have come to know it in Jesus.
Another part of the liturgy that is so meaningful to me is in the words of the Proper Preface at the beginning of the communion service. The Proper Preface changes seasonally or for specific Sundays like Transfiguration or Holy Trinity Sunday. These words are not from scripture per se, but they unite us in the larger celebration of the eucharistic feast. The Proper Preface, no matter which Sunday, concludes: “And so, with all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn: “Holy, Holy, Holy” (from Isaiah 6:3). As a college professor explained – we, for a moment, join with the angel choir which is constantly singing around the throne of God. Our song intersects with the eternal song and we join, as though with one voice, to praise our God. The “foretaste of the great banquet” which we participate in here on earth is marked with a “foretaste” of heavenly music as well.
Now I know, much of this, if we learned it at all, we learned a long time ago. And on any given Sunday, the liturgy moves by so quickly we might miss its significance. From time to time it is good to think about it – not as some worthless time-filler, but as vital to the full experience of worship. I hope these couple of examples will help you to think again about what we are doing in worship. And if you are wondering about something in particular, I hope you’ll ask me about it! The very act of worship recognizes the “worth-ship” of our God – the worthiness of our God to receive “blessing, honor, glory, and might” (from the Hymn of Praise and from Revelation 8:12). I hope this little refresher will help to enhance your own worship experience as you give praise and thanksgiving to God for all good things.
Thank You All
Updating Friends and Family Picture Board.
- Thanks to everyone who helped out for Play Days. Whether you baked, priced, set-up, sold, cleared, washed, cleaned, poured, cut, made change, or tore-down your work was greatly appreciated. You helped to make Light of the Cross an integral part of the Play Days celebration!
- Thanks to everyone who has made our property look so beautiful this summer. You have faithfully kept the grass cut, the flowers and trees watered and the weeds pulled.
- Thank you to everyone who helped me pull off a surprise proposal! Juli likes to think she’s in control of things – and we just jostled her world a little. A special word of thanks to Hannah, Bobbie and Linda who provided so much help to keep this secret. I couldn’t have done it without you! – Paul Borgstrom
- A gratitude of thanks to all who sent cards, gave memorials, or for words of sympathy to me and our family after the death of husband, father, and grandfather, Mel Doll. It is greatly appreciated. – Mardy Doll & family
It has come to our attention that our picture board is in need of refreshing and updating. Normally we would do this by making a new pictorial directory but that is a time-consuming and costly process. Our board contains a number of people who are deceased, or who have transferred to other churches, or moved out of the area. There are also a few pictures of youngsters who are now “all grown up”.
Over the next several weeks, we will be encouraging you to update your picture. Our Office Coordinator, Hannah Sheppard, has offered to take your picture on a Sunday morning before or after the service. We’ll be using a blue background (actually the back side of a quilt) so you can plan your attire accordingly. If you would like to print your picture for your own use, we would charge a nominal fee to cover Hannah’s expenses (not yet determined exact cost). We’ll have a sign up sheet available at the round table so you can sign up for a particular Sunday. We strongly encourage snowbirds to be among the first to respond to this request. If you need further information about this, please direct your questions to Hannah.
Summer Worship Schedule
We have a few special things planned for worship for the remaining Sundays in August and into September. Check out these worship opportunities:
August 14 We have a special treat with the Headin’ Home Quartet from Iowa joining us
for worship. This group is performing on Saturday night in Malmo. They will have
tapes available for purchase. A freewill offering will be received to support their
August 28 Parking Lot Service and Church Picnic! When covid hit, we pivoted to
worship from our cars in the parking lot. We found this to be a fun way to worship – so we’re bringing it back for one Sunday. Bring along lawn chairs and sit outside of your vehicles. The annual Church Potluck Picnic follows the service. If the weather is threatening, we will relocate in the church building.
The church potluck picnic follows the service. Please bring a dish to share and
plan to stay after the service as we wrap up an awesome summer!
September 18 Churchyard makes their annual visit to our congregation. You’ll hear
more about this in August, but put the date on your calendar now. You won’t
want to miss it!
Former Pastor Chris Hill is retiring
We received the following notice from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Cloquet:
Pastor Chris is retiring. We are Our Savior’s are celebrating with him and Sandy on Sunday, September 11th
. It would be a wonderful surprise if anyone from your church would like to show up. If you would like to send back any well wishes, they will go into a binder to be presented to Pastor Chris. Please send your well wishes to this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or snail mail them to: Connie Reinke, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 615 12th
Street, Cloquet, MN 55720. If you have pictures to share, they will be included in a slide show. Thank you for sharing in this special celebration for Pastor Chris and Sandy.
Interested in Membership?
We are beginning to formulate plans for another New Member Sunday. If you have been thinking about joining, please let Pastor Juli know so that she can include you in the next “class” of new members. If you feel that this is “where you belong”, let us help you make it official!
Recipe for Indoor S’Mores
This recipe was served at a recent coffee hour that Pastor Juli hosted. Since there were many requests for the recipe it seemed the newsletter would be a good place to include it. This is a no-bake recipe for a quick and tasty treat.
6 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
1/3 cup light corn syrup 1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
6 tbsp. margarine or butter 1 tsp. vanilla
8 cups Golden Grahams cereal
5 cups marshmallows (reserve the remaining cup of marshmallows), the corn syrup, margarine and chocolate chips in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat Stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in large bowl.
quickly until completely coated with chocolate. Stir in remaining 1 cup marshmallows
squares by pressing mixture evenly in buttered 9 X 13 rectangular pan with buttered back of spoon Let stand at least 1 hour, or refrigerate if a firmer bar is desired Cut into 2-inch squares. Makes 24 squares.
School Supplies are being gathered
One of our special projects at LOC is the gathering of school supplies for some of our area schools. We know that there are some students who are unable to afford even the basic supplies for school – and teachers often pick up the slack. When you provide school supplies – your gifts really help out both students and teachers. Right now, school supplies are available in the stores. Why not add a couple of items to your shopping cart? Place your donations in the box in the narthex area at church
. And don’t forget to smell the crayons to take you back in time to your own school days! Thank you for your outstanding generosity!
*WELCA will also be gathering school supplies for the Fall Conference Gathering on September 24. We will send these with our guest speaker, a teacher from the Onamia school. Some items to consider for these gifts are packets of construction paper, Kleenex boxes, Chlorox wipes, dry erase markers (items to be used by teachers more so than students). Please do not
place these donations in the box at church. Reserve
these for September 24!