THE NEWSLETTER THE GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH
From the Pastor
September + In the Year of Our Lord + 2011
Why Do You Practice Closed Communion at The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church? This is a very honest and legitimate question deserving of a thoughtful and truthful answer. I hope to share in this letter the biblical and theological reasons that support our practice of closed communion here at The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Inglewood, CA. In doing so, I seek to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) as we discuss a most important aspect of the Christian faith. Anytime we consider the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, we are contemplating a precious and wonderful gift the Lord Jesus Christ has given to His church. It’s a gift that carries with it amazing promises and blessings from God revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. It’s also a majestic treasure of the church to which the Scriptures ascribe strong words of warning. We’ll look at both of these matters in this letter. Closed Communion as Opposed to Open Communion Before we can actually address closed communion, there is, necessarily, an implied difference between it and open communion. Therefore, we should define these terms and how they apply in the context of the Divine Service of our congregation. Practicing open communion is generally understood to mean the members of a local congregation invite and encourage all of the participants in their public worship services to partake of the Sacrament of the Altar whenever it is offered. This invitation is inclusive of all individuals participating in the worship service regardless of their understanding of what the Sacrament is or their own personal beliefs in what the Sacrament does. The practice of open communion is understandably viewed as being very loving and generous by virtue of the fact that nobody is excluded from Inside this issue: the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Indeed, the perception is created that in this 2 sacred act, all of the participants “are in full communion with God and with each PERICOPES AND H YMNS other.” A person’s own understanding or misunderstanding of what is actually occurring in this very holy activity is of no consequence. I must respectfully state that FEAST OF THE 5 despite this appearance that open communion may seem loving because of its inclu- HOLY CROSS sive characteristics, it is in reality quite the opposite: It’s a prac- PICNIC INFO 6 tice that leads to great harm. The Bible speaks of this danger (and we shall consider this matter further). Closed communion, as the LCMS NEWS 7 name suggests, is a restrictive and, I believe, much more responsible and caring approach to celebrating the Sacrament within BIRTHDAYS/ 8 the context of the local congregation. Closed communion is our HOMEBOUND practice here at The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. CALENDAR 9 Despite the appearance that closed communion is a “screening” WEEKLY process in which the elders and pastor set (cont’d on page 3) OPPORTUNITIES
September 2011 This Month’s Pericopes and Hymns Please use the following readings and hymns during the week to prepare yourself for worship
September 4—Proper 18
Ezekiel 33:7-9 Romans 13:1-10 Matthew 18:1-20 902—Lord Jesus Christ, be present now 820—My soul, now praise your Maker 920—Forth in the peace of Christ I go
Law and Grace, Lucas Cranach the Elder, woodcut, 1529/1530
September 11—Proper 19
Genesis 50:15-21 Romans 14:1-12 Matthew 18:21-35 719—I leave all things to God’s direction 501—Come down, O Love divine 793—Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven
September 18—Proper 20
Isaiah 55:6-9 Philippians1:12-14, 19-30 Matthew 20:1-16 705—The man is ever blessed 688—”Come follow Me,” the Savior spake 742—For me to live is Jesus
September 25—Proper 21
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 Philippians 2:1-18 Matthew 21:23-32 538—Praise be to Christ in whom we see 655—Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word 857—Lord, help us walk Your servant way 2
From the Pastor, continued
themselves as “arbiters” who decide who can and who cannot partake of the Lord’s Supper, the truth is that in practicing closed communion we earnestly desire for everyone to have a thorough knowledge and accurate understanding of what we, as Lutherans, believe – not only about the Sacrament of the Altar, but other basic doctrines of the Christian faith. We firmly believe in the supreme importance of the individual communicant truly being able to examine himself properly before partaking of this Holy Supper. A flawed understanding of the Sacrament (knowing what it is and what it does) can only lead to a flawed self-examination before the Sacrament. The Scriptures clearly warn of the danger in not properly discerning the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 27Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. These are very strong words from St. Paul. And they certainly carry with them the premise that as we consider the Sacrament of the Altar, we indeed consider a most important aspect of the Christian faith. The Sacrament is a holy gift God has given to His church that we regard with the highest care. This is very serious business. The pastor of the local congregation has a critical role to play as he has been called to officiate in the celebrating of the Sacrament. The pastor is not simply a “facilitator” or “ring master” to see that the process of administering the Sacramental elements occurs in an orderly and reverential manner. He is, in fact, responsible for every single person who comes forward to the altar to receive the bread and wine. The Scriptures speak to this aspect of the pastoral office. Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. Regarding his office as pastor, Martin Luther wrote: “I have the commission and charge, as a preacher and a doctor, to see to it that no one is misled, so that I may give an account of it at the Last Judgment.” For the pastor to properly carry out his responsibilities in his congregation means he has a pastoral relationship with the members. It means he genuinely loves his people. He preaches to and teaches them true doctrine. And he knows what the members of his congregation believe regarding the Lord’s Supper as well as all other doctrines of the faith. For the pastor to be faced at the altar by a (cont’d on page 4) 3
From the Pastor, continued
person he does not know who intends to receive the Lord’s Supper is to cause him to seriously compromise his pastoral responsibilities. In concluding this section of my letter, I need to state that the practice of closed communion is not a recent innovation in the Lutheran Church. It is a practice that is clearly taught in the Bible. Again, St. Paul’s language is strong: Romans 16:17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. The Scriptures do not allow for varying interpretations of the meaning and purpose of the Sacrament. They teach one very clear and succinct doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. St. Paul writes: 1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. If you would like to consider this very important and wonderful doctrine further or to discuss it with me, I certainly stand ready to visit with you anytime and at anyplace. As the Elders here at The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church can say, I love to talk about the Lord’s Supper. Please call or write. My number is 559-285-8972, and my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org What are the responsibilities of the congregation in regard to our practice of closed communion? Very simply let me state that you are not the “communion police.” It is not your responsibility to “judge” whether someone is worthy to receive Holy Communion. However, if you have friends and/or relatives who will be attending church with you who are not members of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, you do have a responsibility to inform them of our practice of closed communion. This does not have to come across as a “mean” statement or one that makes it an “us vs. them” situation. It is also not a practice for which you have to apologize. We are following the Word of the Lord and the will of God, not man’s will or interpretation. If you have someone who is visiting who would like to know more about the Sacraments please have them contact the pastor. This does not mean they should do so just prior to the Divine Service on Sunday morning. Have them call prior to coming to church and the pastor will gladly and willing explain to them what we believe, teach, and confess in regard to the Lord’s Supper. If this is not possible, and you feel uncomfortable leaving your friend or relative “alone in the pew,” by all means, you may refrain from partaking of communion on that day. The Sacrament is a gift offered – not one that is forced upon any person. Note, however, that by partaking of the Sacrament you are being a witness as to both its importance and its necessity. You can explain to your friends/relatives of your need to receive the precious gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation which come to you through the Body and Blood of Christ. Just a few cautions which, I pray, will be a help rather than a hindrance. If someone attended school at 4
From the Pastor, continued
the Good Shepherd Lutheran School, even if they went through confirmation class at a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church and have since left the LCMS, they are not automatically served at the altar. They should speak first with the pastor. If someone whom the pastor does not know approaches the altar they will be asked if they are baptized and will receive a baptismal blessing. So please, if you have visitors who are LCMS members, introduce them to the pastor prior to the service. In the next month we will have brochures available in the Narthex that explain Holy Communion, Confession, Worship, etc. There will also be laminated cards in the pews further explaining our communion practice. We do this, not to separate ourselves from others, but in love, with the desire that all may know the wonderful gifts that are offered to us through the Means of Grace. If you would like to preview these brochures, please check out The Good Shepherd’s page at www.facebook.com/#!/thegoodshepherdinglewood
In His service,
Pastor von Hindenburg
Notes for Holy Cross Day, September 14 Christians “exalt” (raise on high) the cross of Christ as the instrument for our salvation. Adoration of the Cross is, thus, the adoration of Jesus Christ, the God Man, who suffered and died on this Roman instrument of torture for our redemption from sin and death. The cross represents the One Sacrifice by which Jesus, obedient even unto death, accomplished our salvation. The cross is a symbolic summary of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ—all in one image. The Cross—because of what it represents—is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. It has inspired both liturgical and private devotions: for example, the Sign of the Cross, which is an invocation of the Holy Trinity; the “little” sign of the cross on the head, lips and heart at the reading of the Gospel; reverencing the Processional Cross. Placing a crucifix (a cross with Christ’s body, or corpus) in churches and homes, in classrooms of Lutheran schools and other institutions, or wearing this image on our persons, is a constant reminder—and witness—of Christ’s ultimate triumph, His victory over sin and death through His suffering and dying on the cross. We remember our Lord’s words: “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt 10:38,39) Meditating on these words we unite ourselves—souls and bodies—with His obedience and His sacrifice; and we rejoice in this in estimable gift through which we have the hope of salvation and the glory of everlasting life. As Rev. William Weedon, pastor at St Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel, IL states, “The purpose of this feast is to glorify the wisdom and power of God in choosing what appears to us to be the foolish and weak cross upon which to defeat our enemy and bring us an everlasting salvation.” 5
September 2011 Mt. Calvary Lutheran, Beverly Hills invites you to the
1- 4 p.m. Held at Our Savior Lutheran 6705 W. 77 St. - Westchester - 90045
Mt. Calvary will provide: Hot dogs/condiments Watermelon Chips Water
Please bring: A dessert to share Softball glove and equipment Favorite table/board game Sunblock Friends!
Activities include: Feasting, friendship, fun
Around the Web and Around the World Living Together as Lutherans Read the Summer issue of Caring magazine online to
learn what Lutherans are doing in response to disasters in
Japan and among U.S families battered by spring storms.
As we remember the events from September 11, 2001, we are wise to remember that God is always in charge.
do not seek revenge, but lift our cares to God in prayer. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has provided us with the following prayers to encourage the faithful: Good government Eternal Lord, ruler of all, graciously regard those who have been set in positions of authority among us that, guided by Your Spirit, they may be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution, and unwavering in duty, that under them we may be governed quietly and peaceably; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. For the nation Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties, and give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
In Sunday morning Bible class we’ve been studying President Harrison’s emphasis for the church of Witness Mercy, Life Together. As President Harrison pondered his new role and the task of restructuring the national office, he focused on the work and emphasis for the church. These phrases—Witness, Mercy, Life Together—illustrate how the church lives and works together to proclaim the Gospel and to provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ in our congregations, communities and throughout the world. And in all we do, Christ is at the center, leading us, sustaining us, keeping us focused on our mission. This will never change.
For more information on this, please visit Synod’s WMLT page.
Remember in Prayer Birthdays
15 Melda Schoenbaum
18 Leon & Gayle Tarr
24 Jocella Collins
An anniversary prayer: O, Lord, we give you thanks and bless Your holy name. You created man and woman in your image and blessed their union. Remember __ and ___ today. Protect them and grant that their love may be in the image of devotion and love that Christ has for His Church. Grant their life together be of joy and peace, devoted and forgiving to one another. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Mickey Dwyer A birthday prayer when you remember your fellow congregants: Watch over your child, ___, O Lord, as his/her days increase; bless and guide him/her, wherevers/he may be. Strengthen him/her when s/he stands; comfort him/her when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him/her up if s/he falls. Lead him/her always to the Cross, where forgiveness may be found, and the peace which passes all understanding abide all the days of his/her life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Those at Home Art Dawson - 949-493-5385 Mickey Dwyer— 310-671-5517 Marjorie Haener— 310-891-3348 Jeanette Hedrick— 310-675-5198 Ken Lange— 310-324-2160 Jean Peterson— 310-670-2859 Evelyn Sibbing— 310-973-7590 Adena Yeates—310-643-6546
For the homebound: Gracious Father, You have assured us that we shall receive strength for every day of our lives. Grant Your servant ____, who is homebound, both the desire and will to spend his/her days as an obedient child, trusting in your goodness and remembering with thankfulness Your mercies, which are new every morning; though Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen. Page 8 8
8:30 Bible Class 10 Divine Service
8:30 Bible Class 10 Divine Service
29 St The of StofMichael FeastFeast and All Michael and All Angels Angels
6:30 Hymn Sing 7:00 Bible Class
15 16 9 am Elders Mtg
1 Menâ€™s Breakfast Devotion (see Norm Morton)
6:30 Hymn Sing 7:00 Bible Class
Feast of St Matthew
Holy Cross Day 6:30 Hymn Sing 7:00 Bible Class
8:30 Bible Class 10 Divine Service Picnic in Westchester
20 6:30 Church Council Mtg
6:30 Hymn Sing 7:00 Bible Class
Altar Guild Mtg (See Susie Fritts)
8:30 Bible Class 10 Divine Service
The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
9 am Vanguard
Preaching God’s Word to Inglewood and beyond since 1935
THE GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH 902 S Maple St. Inglewood, CA 90301 310-671-7644 Royce Morton, Administrative Assistant Jay Rogers, Organist
+ Join Us for Liturgical Worship + Reverend Bruce J. von Hindenburg, Pastor Sunday morning Adult Bible Class—8:30 a.m. Sunday Divine Service—10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning Bible class—10:00 a.m. Wednesday Bible Class/Midweek Service—7:00 p.m. Private Confession and Absolution—By Appointment +++
Council and Committee Members President—Norm Morton Vice President—Franklin Tilley Secretary—Mary Flett Treasurer—Clinton Galloway Financial Secretary—Dick Huhn Board of Elders—Leon Tarr, Chair; Franklin Tilley; Jim Weishaar
Board of Trustees—Jim Weishaar, Chair; Leon Tarr
+ Altar Guild—Gayle Tarr, Chair LWML—Royce Morton, Gayle Tarr, CoPresidents
Ushers—Norm Morton, Chair Future Needs—Susie Fritts, Royce Morton, Gayle Tarr
Special Services—Mary Flett, Karina Lindsey
Board of Evangelism—Karina Lindsey, Chair; Royce Morton
Published on Dec 6, 2011
Inside this issue: C ALENDAR 9 P ERICOPES AND H YMNS 2 LCMS N EWS 7 B IRTHDAYS / H OMEBOUND 8 Despite the appearance that closed communion i...