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Welcome to Trinity Lutheran Church
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod - Norman, Oklahoma
"In grateful response to God's grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities, and the world." -LCMS Mission Statement
Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ!
From the Pastor
Dear Fellow Redeemed,
This month we are in both the season of Epiphany and of Lent.
The Transfiguration of our Lord - The Shining of Jesus in bright Light on the mountain. God's Beloved Son who shines and is transfigured in glory on the high mountain, is also the true Man. We celebrate this on Sunday March 2nd with both 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Services of Holy Communion.
The Epiphany theme is found in hymn "Songs of Thankfulness and Praise" LSB 394. The last verse summarizes our waiting for his last great epiphany when Jesus returns in glory:
Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,
Present in Thy holy Word-
Grace to imitate Thee now
And be pure, as pure art Thou;
That we might become like Thee
At Thy great epiphany
And may praise Thee, ever blest,
God in man made manifest.
Then the 40 Days of Lent begin. Join us on Ash Wednesday March 5th at 7:30 p.m. for a service of Corporate Confession and Absolution, the Imposition of the Ashes, Lenten Liturgy and Service of Holy Communion. At 6:30 p.m. there will be a Soup and Salad Supper before the service.
The First Sunday in Lent will be March 9th with communion at both services. We will distribute the Lutheran Hour Ministries Lenten Devotional booklet entitled, "My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?"
The Holy Week Services will be in April.The six Wednesday Lenten Vespers Services are March 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, April 2nd and 9th with the theme: "Cross of Jesus, Cross of Sorrow." The services begin at 7:30 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m. there will be a Soup and Salad Supper provided by various members of our church and its boards.
The first verse of LSB 428 sets the tone for the whole season of Lent:
Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow,
Where the blood of Christ was shed,
Perfect Man on thee did suffer,
Perfect God on thee has bled!
The Holy Week Services will be in April.
We encourage you to attend the worship services taking us to the Cross of Calvary and the Empty Tomb.
The 40 days of Lent are a time for prayer, fasting and repentance over the sin of taking God's gifts for granted. Instead, do not neglect your holy obligation to be present among the saints in receiving God's gifts to us and offering your bodies as living sacrifices to God, holy and pleasing in His sight! Be with us for all of our Lenten services! Please read about these services in this newsletter.
In our Lord Jesus Christ,
From the Vicar
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are entering the season of Lent, where we hear and ponder the suffering and death that Christ underwent to save us from our sins. This season has some of the richest hymnody, as we express our repentance for our sins and recognize the great lengths that God went to save us.
One very common practice in the Old Testament, in Jesus' time, and in the Church's history is the practice of fasting. The purpose of a time of fasting is to examine oneself and to repent of one's sins to God. The limiting of the body serves as a physical reminder of the repentance of one's sins- it should remind one to pray and to learn to rely on him and his Bread of Life, Christ and his Word. The connection between our physical body and our spiritual soul is not as clear-cut as we might think; bodily fasting can help us realize our outward and inward sins and our need for God in both body and soul. Therefore, fasting during Lent can be a wonderful way to remember the perfect obedience of Christ and His sacrifice for your salvation.
And yet fasting has been misused over the years, even in ancient Israel. Isaiah points this out in chapter 58 of his book, "Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high...Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?" The fasting of the Israelites was done only in lip service to God and did not lead them to repentance and faith. It led them to pride and sin rather than to faith in God and to good works for one's neighbor.
Jesus also says this about fasting, "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18).
It should be noted that Jesus does not say "If you fast," but rather "when you fast." And so if we fast in repentance without trying to earn merit or righteousness before God or before others, it is commendable. But should you choose to fast, please recognize the warnings of Jesus not to be like the Pharisees. Do not brag about whether or not you are fasting, lest it becomes what should be killed in the time of fasting: a source of pride before God or others.
Nevertheless, I encourage you to fast. Certainly it has been typically understood as not eating or eating less at one or more times of the day, and instead spending that time in prayer. That is probably the best form, but whatever the means of fasting, let it be a time of personal repentance and prayer with God. Lent is a good time to come back to God in prayer and to look at one's sins and to ask for forgiveness. Understood rightly, fasting can be a good discipline for us in our prayer life.
Yours in Christ,
Vicar Joshua Woelmer