The Canadian Lutheran March/April 2020

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Volume 35 Number 2 - March/April 2020

Feeding the Faith at Home Devotional resources for you during the pandemic


204-694-5602 1-800-661-2597

Contents Features Volume 35 Number 2

March/April 2020

Concerning the Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Statement from the President of LCC LCC Congregations Reach Out: Online Ministry During the COVID-19 Crisis The Death of Christ is Our Life Lutheran Spirituality Lord, Teach Us to Pray

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Devotional Resources

Cover Art by Alex Steinke

The Canadian Lutheran is the national publication of Lutheran Church–Canada, published in Winnipeg six times per year: January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/ December under the auspices of the Board of Directors (Committee for Communication and Technology). ISSN #0383-4247 Member: Canadian Church Press

Luther’s Small Catechism on Daily Prayer Praying the Lord’s Prayer in a Pandemic: An Extended Prayer in Response to COVID-19 A Brief Guide to Home Devotions Using the Lutheran Service Book

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Departments Table Talk

A Long Lent


West Regional Pastor

In the Sure and Certain Hope of the Resurrection

Editor: Mathew Block Design: Alex Steinke


Central Regional Pastor

Advertising: Marlene Mohr Subscriptions: $20/yr E-mail:

He Will Not Forsake You


East Regional Pastor All material and advertising should be in the office of The Canadian Lutheran five weeks prior to publication date. Advertising rate card available upon request. The Canadian Lutheran 3074 Portage Ave. Winnipeg, MB R3K 0Y2 Telephone: 204-895-3433 FAX: 204-897-4319 E-mail: Materials published in The Canadian Lutheran, with the exception of Letters to the Editor, news reports, and advertising, receive doctrinal review and approval before publication. Contents of supplements are the responsibility of the organization purchasing the space. ©2020 Lutheran Church–Canada. Reproduction of a single article or column for parish use does not require the permission of The Canadian Lutheran. Such reproductions, however, should credit The Canadian Lutheran as the source. Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

@thecanadianlutheran @lutheranchurchcanada

No Easter?


Presidential Perspective

Of First Importance


Additional Resources Devotional Resources from LLL-Canada Online Resources from LCC Tune in to The Lutheran Hour




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Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada Growing in Faith, Sharing God’s Son, Serving God’s People


Who is LWMLC?


Are You Prepared? “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world� John 16:33 The world is in a lot of tribulation right now. All of the uncertainty may cause you to think about those you love the most. Are you prepared for unforeseen circumstances? As a result of the current pandemic, you may be more aware of the need to update your estate plan (will, healthcare directive, Power of Attorney, etc.) to ensure your wishes are exactly what you want them to be. Having these things prepared and up to date almost always brings peace of mind, regardless of circumstances you may not be able to control. A properly prepared estate plan ensures your loved ones are taken care of and the difficult decisions have already been made. More than that, you become a blessing to your family. At the same time, you can also be a blessing to your congregation or other ministries by including a charitable gift within your plan. Lutheran Foundation Canada can assist you with tools, resources, wording, and even a checklist to see if you have covered all the bases. To learn more visit our website. 4


Table Talk

A Long Lent

by Mathew Block


hances are you’re facing difficult times right now. As a result of COVID-19, many people are afraid, either for themselves or for loved ones. Perhaps you are struggling with loneliness. Perhaps you are grieving the loss of a job. Perhaps you are sick. Perhaps you are afraid of death. I share your concerns. My wife is a physician, and we have said more than one worried prayer about the situation. The whole thing can leave you feeling anxious and tired. By the time the physical version of the magazine reaches you, we will be several weeks into the season of Easter. And yet, the joy typical of this time of the year may be in short supply where you are. The necessity of social-distancing, self-isolation, and even quarantine can leave you feeling like we’re still stuck in Lent—still stuck in a season of selfdenial and sorrow. It is a remarkable coincidence that the word “quarantine” literally means “forty days,” since that is the same length of time allotted for Lent. But forty days have come and gone, and yet here we are still waiting. We may well remember this year as the Long Lent of 2020. But if we are to live in this extended Lent, it’s worth remembering that Lent—while hard—is good for us. During Lent, we follow Jesus on His road to the cross. And as we do so, we are called to take up our own cross as well (Matthew 16:24). During Lent, many Christians seek to follow Christ more closely by giving up some pleasure for a time. In doing so, they hope to gain a renewed appreciation for the infinitely greater sacrifice of Christ. This year, our Lenten sacrifice—our cross to bear, if you will—has been chosen for us by the pandemic; we are fasting from in-

person fellowship, from face-to-face worship in our own congregations, and from regular reception of the Sacrament of the Altar. These are difficult fasts and not ones we would choose on our own. It’s tempting, as a result, to grumble over just how much we have been asked to give up this Lent. But Lent is not just about giving things up. It is also an opportunity to take up new things—to pursue spiritual growth through regular devotions, through prayer, and through the study of God’s Word. “Draw near to God,” St. James counsels, and “He will draw near to you” (4:8). God so often works good from ill; let the good He works for you in this time be a closer walk with Him. You will notice that this issue of the magazine is a little bit different. We have temporarily cut our news sections in order to make space for additional devotional resources. We want to equip you with devotional tools for your walk with Christ during this season in which regular church services are suspended. In these pages, you will find a guide on holding home devotions (page 21); a walk-through on praying Luther’s morning and evening prayers (page 19); and encouragement from the Lord’s Prayer when facing a time of pandemic (page 20), among other resources for home devotions. Our feature articles this issue are also geared towards supporting you in your spiritual walk. Rev. Esko Murto writes on Lutheran spirituality, reminding us that a healthy faith life must remain grounded in repentance and the reception of the forgiveness of sins (page 13). In “Teach Us to Pray,” Rev. Dr. Thomas Winger reminds us that prayer is something we learn to do, providing us with helpful

guidance on how to develop a more intentional prayer life (page 16). God-willing, these devotional resources will be a help to you during the Long Lent in which we find ourselves. But do not let this overlong Lent distress you. Take heart: Easter still comes. It comes with power and the promise of resurrection. It comes for you wherever you are, whatever your sorrows. It comes bringing peace in the midst of grief. The good news of Easter remains true even when we are forced to celebrate the holiday in our homes and not in our churches. It is the very heart of our faith, whether we are privileged to worship with other Christians or forced to worship in isolation. As we seek to follow God more closely in our personal lives, then, let us look for Him where He has revealed Himself most clearly: at the cross. To help us consider anew the centrality of the death and resurrection of Christ, we include in this issue an Easter reflection from Johann Gerhard’s classic devotional work Sacred Meditations (page 11). May it—as well as the regular columns from our synodical president and regional pastors—be a comfort to you as you follow God in this time of hardship. Our Jesus is not dead; He is alive. In Him we find the answer to our fears and our worries. So take up your cross and follow Him. The cross is indeed hard—but it gives way at length to the empty tomb. It gives way to life. Take hold of your Risen Lord and trust in Him. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” – Psalm 42:5






ear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Those words of Holy Scripture came to mind as I was contemplating what to write to you... the preachers and hearers of the Word in the congregations of Lutheran Church– Canada (LCC)... in light of the uncertain, confusing, and volatile times which have fallen upon us, our nation, and nearly all the nations of the world. On March 18, 2020, the President’s Ministry Council, along with some of our communications people and the chairman of the



Commission for Theology and Church Relations, met via a conference call to discuss and address various matters concerning the coronavirus pandemic. One result of that meeting was the recommendation that LCC congregations temporarily suspend normal and ordinary worship services and other group events. This, I would point out, is a recommendation and not a mandate; the reason being, as Article VII of our Synodical Constitution states: “The Synod is not an ecclesiastical government exercising legislative or coercive powers, and with respect to an individual congregation’s right of selfgovernment, the Synod is advisory.” As we seek to respond to this matter, I would call to your attention four of the Ten Commandments which are especially applicable to

the current situation in which we find ourselves. First, the Fourth Commandment deals with the obedience we owe the governing authorities whom God has placed over us for our good and welfare. Since the federal, provincial, and various local governments have issued statements urging and requesting the closure of large group events, including worship services, we are bound to obey those directives. These directives, I would point out, have not been made to silence the proclamation of the Gospel, nor does such constitute a persecution of Christ’s church; rather, they have been made in the interests of the safety and welfare of all the people. At the same time, the various governments across our country have recommended diverse

Word and so receive the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation which Christ offers and bestows through that Word apart from our ordinary and normal public worship services. Moreover, if there is any time when we are all especially in need of those gifts, it is certainly in these present and trying times. The following are some suggestions which pastors and c o n g re g a t i o n s m ay c o n s i d e r implementing: Pastors are encouraged to have regular office hours so that individual members and families may come to church and find solace, absolution, and receive the blessed Sacrament. Encourage members to phone or email in advance to make an appointment, so as to maximize social distances. Copies of the congregation’s Lutheran Service Book may be given (after wiping the exteriors down with a sanitizer) to members for home use during the suspension of worship services, along with a copy of synod’s new “Brief Guide to Home Devotions.” Pastors (along with the assistance of the elders and others) are encouraged to contact all members to inform them of the protocols put in place by the congregation, “These directives, I would point opportunities for home devotions out, have not been made to and/or services silence the proclamation of the over the internet, and so forth. Gospel, nor does such constitute This could well be an excellent a persecution of Christ’s church; opportunity rather, they have been made in to contact each member of the the interests of the safety and congregation, welfare of all the people.” even those who have not attended worship services for some time, and encourage them “We should fear and love God so with prayer and fraternal discussion that we do not despise preaching of “the one thing necessary” (Luke and His Word, but hold it sacred 10:42). and gladly hear and learn it.” This Congregations may establish is the primary challenge before alternate forms for times and location us—namely, providing various new of worship services; as well as Bible ways for our people to hear God’s courses of action on this matter. Congregations should, as such, be mindful of what is currently being ordered, directed, or suggested in their particular locality and act accordingly. Second, the Fifth Commandment tells us, as the Small Catechism puts it, “that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.” We all thus need to be mindful of the various protocols issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada— reducing contact with others, social distancing, proper hygiene practices, and the like. In addition, with the need for many to self-isolate, the care for the physical welfare of members and neighbours is even more pronounced and urgent. Third, the Second Commandment enjoins us to, as the Catechism again states, “call upon [God’s name] in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.” How necessary that all of us spend more time on our knees in prayer at this time! We have just put together “A Brief Guide to Home Devotions” to assist you in your prayers (see page 21; the full pdf is available on synod’s website). Fourth, the Catechism explanation of the Third Commandment states:

studies, catechesis, and the like via social media, YouTube, and other electronic means of communication. Our Communications Committee is in the process of providing additional guidance in this area. In conclusion, I would share with you the following for your hope and comfort and assurance during these dark days. Martin Rinckart was a Lutheran pastor serving in the town of Eilenburg during the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War, which experienced a great famine and epidemic that broke out in 1637. It is reported that he often conducted funeral services for as many as 40 to 50 people a day—nearly 4,500 in total. Following the death of his own wife, he returned home and wrote the following prayer for his children: Now thank we all our God With hearts and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, In whom His world rejoices; Who from our mothers’ arms Has blest us on our way With countless gifts of love And still is ours today. Oh, may this bounteous God Through all our life be near us, With ever joyful hearts And blessed peace to cheer us And keep us in His grace And guide us when perplexed And free us from all ills In this world and the next! All praise and thanks to God The Father now be given, The Son, and Him who reigns With them in highest heaven, The one eternal God, Whom earth and heav’n adore; For thus it was, is now, And shall be evermore. - LSB 895 May God bestow upon all of you an extra measure of His grace and mercy and peace. Rev. Timothy Teuscher, President Lutheran Church–Canada






cross the country, Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) congregations are united in a quest to deliver the Word to those who need to hear it in a time when gathering together in person is risky, and, in most places, currently banned—not because of religious persecution but because of the potential to share a dangerous virus with vulnerable members of our community. At present, the best way to continue worshipping together without spreading the virus is virtually, and many congregations are making good use of technology that wasn’t available to Martin Luther in his day. Grace Lutheran Church in Drumheller, Alberta, was one of the first LCC congregations to cancel in-person worship services and begin livestreaming. A small town with an outspoken epidemiologist who warned residents to prepare for a crisis, Drumheller cancelled townoperated events of more than fifty people on March 13, 2020. Grace held its first live-streamed worship service on March 15, and the video has since been viewed more than 700 times. Rev. Scott Gamble, pastor of Grace Lutheran, says that “people



are hungry for hope and an anchor,” and that while worshipping virtually is new for most people, “we can be the church in lots of different ways and in lots of different places.” Their live-stream setup is low-key: a cell phone and Facebook Live, with Rev. Gamble suggesting that “frequency is better than formality.” Rev. Clint Magnus, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, has been recording sermons for about the past six years. He began when the wildfires

devastated the community of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and the president of the LCC congregation there asked Rev. Magnus to provide recorded sermons for their worship services. On March 22, 2020, after in-person worship services were suspended, he changed the format of the videos slightly to include all the readings, the sermon, a Creed, prayers, the Lord’s Prayer, and a benediction.

That first video now has nearly 2,000 views. “It is in a time of crisis that people turn to the Lord,” Rev. Magnus explains, “and that is when we must be bold and courageous to proclaim God’s love in Jesus Christ.” He encourages all congregations to post sermons and devotions online, regardless of the number of viewers. “Even if one person watches and is blessed, it is worth it,” he said. “It is the Lord’s work that we do, and it is He who works through us.” In Simcoe, Ontario, Rev. Dan Abraham, pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, is using Zoom to live-stream Sunday worship. An affordable conference call program, Zoom allows members to see each other and visit before and after the service. It also allows for the sermon to be recorded and posted online later. Aleta Abraham, whom Rev. Abraham calls a “techno guru,” set up the program, and they are pleased with the results. It’s user-friendly, making possible a number of different ministry opportunities, including “Bedtime Stories with Pastor Dan,” so that even the youngest members of the congregation have some personal contact with their pastor. Livestreaming is also allowing some homebound seniors to reconnect,

and re-involving young families who haven’t been to worship in a while. Meeting together in a conference call setting at the same time as the usual service encourages people to keep up the habit of worshipping together, and its ability to reach people who would not have been there

otherwise is something they hope to continue. Zoom is also being used on the west coast, where the Greater Vancouver Circuit Counsellor Rev. Laverne Hautz is holding regular Zoom meetings with circuit pastors for mutual encouragement and support. He sets one day a week with several times that he’ll be online, and the other pastors are invited to join in as their schedules allow. His own congregation, Hope Lutheran Church, is live-streaming Sunday worship on Facebook. On Mondays he posts a Bible verse called “Hope for Today,” and on Wednesdays he posts a brief encouragement video. On Fridays, they share prayer requests and suggestions. The church also has a phone circle and a prayer team at work. Va n c o u ve r I s l a n d C i rc u i t Counsellor Rev. Fraser Coltman reports that for their March 19 Winkel, pastors met using Microsoft Teams. “The meeting was a real help to the active pastors of the circuit, who needed the

opportunity to compare thoughts and plans with each other,” he said. The circuit is also home to four retired pastors, and “one of them, who

cares for his wife at home, was able to join us and participate in the meeting for the first time in many months.” This was such a blessing that they hope to continue involving pastors who cannot travel by using Microsoft Teams in the future as well. In Ottawa, Rev. Dr. Bryan J. King, pastor at St. Luke Lutheran Church, is using Zoom for Bible studies and meetings, and YouTube to live-stream Sunday and Wednesday services, as well as a daily devotion. He reports that “‘since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ this has been a wonderful way to keep God’s people focused on God’s Word and prayer.” Each member of the church counsel has also been given a list of congregants to call, which will keep them in regular contact, and allow them to “keep the idea of ‘congregation’ alive in times of isolation.” Rev. King had already been posting sermons to YouTube for the past two years, so the switch to livestreaming was easier than it might otherwise have been. Still there is a learning curve; the biggest issue he has encountered so far has been producing quality audio—something which can be remedied with a good microphone. Rev. Glenn Worcester, one of the pastors at Peace Lutheran Church in Winnipeg, reports that his church is

live-streaming worship services and holding virtual meetings and Bible studies. “Because we’re spending less time with people, we’re spending more time learning how to be with them online,” he says. “We’re all learning how to do things, and that can be time-consuming, depending on how fancy you want to get.” And even when the technology works just fine during testing, issues can still pop up during a live-stream. On the other hand, the technology is a blessing, as Peace has seen people from across the world joining them in worship. “It has been able to bring us together, even though it’s not face-to-face,” he says. “And knowing that this has been able to reach people that we haven’t reached, it’s something that will be able to last in the future, even when things go back to ‘normal.’” Rev. Worcester points out that while “it’s easy to see what everyone else is doing that and say we should be doing that too,” he encourages congregations to consider what will “be utilized by the people you are trying to serve,” as each parish is unique in its needs. As for issues that can come up during a live-stream, Rev. Timothy Schneider, pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Amherstburg, Ontario, reported that one Sunday “the audio of our recording cut out right around the start of the sermon and I didn’t know it until I was finished and had sung the Offertory. My wife ended up packing up the kids in a flash and doing the five-minute drive to church to let me know and try to fix it.” However, despite the technical difficulties, live-streaming “has also allowed some people who would not have attended such things as Wednesday Lent services to hear the Word of THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2020


God. I have also had discussions about continuing to live-stream even after the lockdown is complete... In this way it has been a great blessing.” Rev. Aaron Astley, pastor of a two-point parish in the Hamilton Circuit (Ontario), is pre-recording services and uploading them to YouTube in order for them to be as easy to access as possible, even though it requires a bit more work to produce than a live-stream. Rev. Astley says that “in order to try and capture a bit of the sense of community that live-streaming provides, I asked members to try and watch the recording of the service at or around 10:00 a.m. It has been neat to see people who haven’t attended church f o r quite some time, and members eagerly sharing the recorded services with their friends and family members. These are blessings that make it all worth it!” I n D r yd e n , O n t a r i o , where Rev. Alex Timm is pastor of a three-point parish, and in his first year of ministry, “ s w i t c h i n g t o s t re a m i n g services and phone calls has made things easier with less travel and minimal visiting, but it is not the same as the regular in-person interaction with the people.” Still, Rev. Timm believes it’s a blessing that so many churches have improved their online presence saying: “It is a gift from God that our technology is at the point where things such as video streaming, easy website design, and so forth have allowed for the continual proclamation of the Gospel to our own people and also to those who are searching for the hope that only Christ Himself can provide.” He hopes that “this forced ‘Lenten fast’ from the company of one another leads all people to realize how much they value gathering, and


strengthens our Lord’s Church in the time ahead.” Rev. Alex Klages, pastor of a two-point parish in the Portage Circuit (Manitoba), is pre-recording services, and alternating between which of the two sanctuaries he records in. One of the locations has no internet at all, he notes, so live-streaming from there isn’t an option. For Rev. Klages, the decision to record services in both buildings rather than just one is a way “to honour both congregations and their unique properties.” In Alberta’s Elk Island Circuit, Rev. Vince Moore (Christ Lutheran Church, Fort Saskatchewan), and Rev. Jeff Dul (Bethany Lutheran Church, Fort Saskatchewan and B e t h l e h e m Lutheran Church, Bruderheim) have teamed up to provide

o n e pre-recorded service for the three congregations each Sunday and at mid-week. Bringing together their different skills and technical equipment allows them to share the work. They alternate for each service who is serving as preacher and who is serving as the liturgist. Rev. Moore reports that the approach has been well-received. “Our plan is to continue for the duration of the quarantine,” he says, “and hopefully we will be able to grow a bit in what content we can offer.” Shirley Keller, a member at Zion Lutheran Church in Dashwood,


rejoiced that “pastors are finding a way through all the technology to reach us right in our homes with God’s Word.” “God is showing us new methods to take the message to the people via a very popular and accepted tool at a time when we are most ready to receive it,” she continued. “This technology has the potential to revolutionize ministry, and it may even revitalize the church.” Another member of Zion, Kathy Birkett, reflected on how this online outreach has blessed her. “As someone who has socially isolated for the second winter in a row because of my weak immunity, I have been very pleased to see all the options for worship services online,” she said. “I watched my own church’s live-stream and it brought me to tears to feel a little closer to my brothers and sisters in Christ whom I haven’t seen since October, and to hear my pastor live.” Worshipping online is certainly not a replacement for worshipping in person— the sacraments and faceto-face fellowship are missing, as is the great congregational singing. But one blessing coming out of this situation is that the internet has never seen so much regular LCC content, as churches work to overcome technological challenges and share the Word with the online world. There are clear opportunities for outreach in the future. In the meantime, congregations are providing real comfort to those who need it now. Michelle Heumann is Regional News Editor for The Canadian Lutheran magazine.

Is your congregation unable to offer a worship service online? Visit covid-19/ for video services and devotions from LCC President Timothy Teuscher and Mission Executive Mark L. Smith, as well as for other devotional resources.


Editor’s Note: First published in 1606, Johann Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations quickly became one of the great devotional classics of the Christian Church. At the time of the book’s publication, Gerhard was a young Lutheran pastor, just 23 years of age. And yet his words—so deeply moving and theologically profound they are—continue to be a wonderful resource for Christian prayer, reflection, consolation, and growth to this day. The following article is the eleventh meditation in Sacred Meditations, and is there titled “The Satisfaction for our Sins.” The text has been lightly updated from C.W. Heisler’s 1896 translation. For those wishing to read more of Sacred Meditations (and I encourage it), you can find Heisler’s full translation online for free. A more recent translation by Wade R. Johnston is also available from Magdeburg Press, and can also be read for free online.


ome to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28); these are the precious words of our Saviour. Truly, my dear Lord Jesus, I am burdened beyond measure, and I groan under the awful weight of my sins. But I hasten to You, the fountain of living waters. Come unto me, O Lord Jesus, so that I may be able to come unto You. I am coming to You because You have first come to me. I am coming to You, my dear Lord Jesus, and I desire You most ardently, because I can find no good in myself at all; if I could find anything good in me, I would not so anxiously long for You. Truly, O Lord Jesus, I “labour and am heavy laden.” I dare not compare myself to any of Your saints, nor even to any repentant sinner—unless, perhaps, to the penitent thief on the cross. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, You who showed Yourself so merciful to that repentant criminal!

Wretchedly, wretchedly, have I lived; my life has been one of sin. But, oh, how I desire to die the death of the godly and the righteous. But godliness and righteousness are far from my heart, and so in Your godliness and in Your righteousness I take refuge. You gave Your life, O Lord Jesus, as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28); let that come to my aid in my distress. Your most holy body You gave up to be scourged, to be spit upon, to be beaten, to be lacerated with thorns, and to be crucified—and all for me; O let that come to my help in my distress. Let Your most precious blood, which You shed so freely in Your bitter sufferings and cruel death upon the cross, and which cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7), be my help. Let Your most sacred divinity come to my assistance in my distress—that divinity which sustained Your human nature during Your passion, which refrained from the exercise of its glorious power while the wonderful mystery of my redemption was being worked out, and which gave THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2020


infinite value and merit to Your suffering for sin, so that God might ransom me—me, a miserable sinner—with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Your bleeding wounds are my only remedy; let them sustain me. Let Your most holy passion be my defence. Let Your merit, my last refuge and the only remedy for my sins, be my comfort and my support. W h a t Yo u h a v e suffered, O Christ, You have suffered for me. What Your sufferings have merited, they have merited for me, and are set over against my unworthiness. God therefore “shows His love for us in this”— and it is confirmed by the testimony of all men, indeed, it eve n s u r p a s s e s t h e comprehension of the angels—“in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Who is there who does not wonder at this? Who is not struck with deep amazement, that unasked by anyone and even hated by men, the most merciful Son of God intercedes for sinners and for His enemies? And not only intercedes, but renders a perfect satisfaction for their sins to divine justice, by His poor and humble birth, by His holy life, and by His most bitter sufferings and cruel death. O blessed Lord Jesus, You who interceded for me, who suffered for me, who died for me, before I ever showed any desire for Your merit and passion, and before I ever asked You to pay the ransom for my redemption... could You now cast me away from Your face? Could You deny me the blessed fruits of Your holy passion, when I cry to You out of the depths of my sin (Psalm 130:1), and with tears and groans appeal to You for mercy? I was Your enemy by nature; but since You have died for me, I have become Your friend, Your brother, Your child, through grace. You had regard for me while I was yet an enemy and before I ever uttered a prayer to You. Could You now

disregard me when with tears and prayers I come to You as Your friend? No, if I come to You, You will not cast me out (John 6:37), for Your Word is truth itself. You have spoken to us in spirit and in truth, and we have received from You the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Give ear, O my soul, and take courage. Formerly we were sinners by nature, but now we are justified by grace. Before, we were His enemies; now we are His friends and brothers. At first, our help was in the death of Christ; now it is in His life—for once we were dead in our sins, but now we are made alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5). Oh, the immeasurable love of God! Oh, the exceeding riches of His grace, through which He makes us to sit together in the heavenly places through Christ Jesus. “O, the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Daypsring has visited us from on high” (Luke 1:78)! Now, if the death of Christ has brought justification and life to us, what shall His life secure for us? If the Saviour by His death paid such a precious ransom for us, what will He accomplish for us by His life and active intercession? For Christ lives and dwells in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:17); if only we cherish in us a lively remembrance of His most holy merit. Draw me, O Lord Jesus, that I may possess both in deed and in truth that to which I look with an unwavering hope. Let me be with You as Your servant, I pray You, and let me behold Your glory, which the Father has given You (John 17:24). Let me at length come to dwell in that mansion which You have gone to prepare for me in Your Father’s house (John 14:2). Blessed are they that dwell in Your house, O Lord; they shall praise You forever and ever (Psalm 84:4).

Your bleeding wounds are my only remedy; let them sustain me. Let Your most holy passion be my defence.




Is it sensible to ask whether there is something particularly “Lutheran” about Lutheran spirituality?


s it sensible to ask whether there is something particularly “Lutheran” about Lutheran spirituality? On the one hand, we might say no, realizing that devotion and piety have always been areas where grass root ecumenism has made great successes. Lutherans, Catholics, Anglicans, and other Protestants happily borrow hymns and prayers from one another, read the same devotional classics, and admire similar pieces of art. On the other hand, the Lutheran Reformation was deeply devotional in nature from its very beginning. The popular narrative of a personally anguished monk seeking a merciful God is not altogether wrong. Many explanations have been offered to the question of why the writings of Martin Luther spread like wildfire, but the most obvious, credible, and

true is this: Luther’s preaching of the Gospel met the deep spiritual need of ordinary Christians. The Lutheran Reformation did not remain merely an academic project; it broke out of the Wittenberg lecture halls and into parish churches and the prayer chambers of private homes. Seeking clarity in matters of salvation and finding peace of conscience have always been central to Lutheran faith and spirituality, and they remain so in our day as well. The Lutheran insistence on certainty of salvation—certainty that Christ was crucified and resurrected for you—has sometimes been criticized as neurotic, but such criticisms fail to understand the gravity of the alternative: condemnation for sin and eternal damnation. What therefore characterizes Lutheran spirituality more than anything is

the centrality of repentance and forgiveness.

Godly Grief

St. Paul speaks of grief that leads to salvation as “godly grief,” writing: “I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us” (2 Corinthians 7:9). God wants His creatures to be happy, but in order to secure their eternal happiness He allows them to experience temporal grief in this life. The idea that Lutheran, Gospelcentred faith would have no room for grief over sin, or that all grief is simply a sign of lack of faith, must be rejected. Grief in itself has no merit in the eyes of God. No one should imagine that by grieving over sins they can



somehow obtain forgiveness. The popular idea that “the Law drives us to Christ” is not strictly speaking true, not if one speaks of the Law alone. If left unchecked, guilt and grief eventually cause only despair and hatred against God, as Luther points out in Smalcald Articles. Repentance, terror of conscience, and grief over sin benefits man only through negation. They force him out of the illusion of self-sufficiency and hypocrisy that has until then allowed him to think that he somehow manages his life even without God, or that he in some manner can stand before God trusting in himself. Wounding of the conscience is, following Luther’s language, “God’s alien work.” In other words, God doesn’t trouble consciences just for the sake of troubling consciences; but the Holy Spirit must wound consciences in order to rouse sinners out of their false sense of security. Once that has been achieved, terrors of conscience serve no purpose anymore. In Lutheran language, a great difference exists between “security” of salvation and “certainty” of salvation. The former is a false sense of sinful complacency where sinners turn their backs to God and still believe themselves to be safe; the latter is instead the sure certainty that God is truly merciful in Christ and that His promises in the means of grace hold true. Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses state that “the entire life of a Christian should be one of repentance.” Repentance does not mean, however, that Christians ought to have constantly bruised consciences before God. Lutheran spirituality is very gentle and understanding towards people with burdened hearts, but

such sorrow is not idealized as the whole purpose of Christian faith— something that sometimes happens in certain legalistic Pietistic groups.

The Blessed Exchange

The true heart of Lutheran spirituality is faith in Christ as the one who forgives sins and causes the justification of the ungodly. The grace of Christ is received through faith, and, as Lutherans understand it, this faith is no work of man. In theological terms, faith’s role in salvation is called an ‘instrumental cause’ (causa instrumentalis), which means

this one commandment: “believe.” But Heaven is not opened through something man does or has. Faith is central to man’s salvation because through faith he becomes Christ’s own, and therefore comes to enjoy and even possess all the holiness and forgiveness Jesus Christ has won for mankind through His holy death and resurrection. Luther agreed with mediaeval writers in describing the connection between Christ and the sinner in terms of marriage. The marital imagery does not simply describe the love of Christ, but goes beyond that, bringing in the legal side of the marriage contract. In The Freedom of a Christian, Luther speaks of Christ as the completely holy, undying, righteous person who “by the wedding-ring of faith takes a share in the sins, death, and hell of his wife, nay, makes them his own, and deals with them no otherwise than as if they were His.” Christ commits Himself to the believer and takes upon Himself her sins, suffers the punishment for them, defeats the enemies of death and the devil, and attains righteousness in the eyes of God and life through His resurrection. The believer receives in turn from Christ blessedness and grace, which truly become hers—just like a wife truly becomes a co-owner of the property of her husband. Thus the believing soul, by the pledge of its faith in Christ, becomes free from all sin, fearless of death, safe from hell, and endowed with the eternal righteousness, life, and salvation of its husband Christ. This is called a ‘blessed exchange.’ Luther puts it this way: “By a wonderful exchange, our sins are no longer ours but Christ’s and the righteousness of Christ not Christ’s but ours. He has emptied Himself of His righteousness

It is the correct doctrine and preaching of the Word that warms the heart to

prayer; it is the life of devotion, prayer,

meditation, and frequent use of the sacraments that makes doctrine to be more than mere theorems and preaching

more than a mere inspirational message.


that faith ‘transmits,’ ‘enables,’ or ‘communicates’—whatever word one might use—something man requires for salvation. But faith does not itself cause salvation; it receives it. Philipp Melanchthon summed it up in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession when he writes that “faith does not justify or save because it is a worthy work in itself, but only because it receives the promised mercy.” It would be completely wrong to assume that faith (even when received as a gift from the Holy Spirit) somehow saves through its own merits; faith is not a human action which somehow pleases God and outweighs the guilt of man’s sin. If that were so, all the commands of the Law would be replaced by


that He might clothe us with it and fill us with it. And He has taken our evils upon Himself that He might deliver us from them… [I]n the same manner as He grieved and suffered in our sins, and was confounded, in the same manner we rejoice and glory in His righteousness.”

Heart and Head

W h a t i s c h a ra c t e r i s t i c o f Lutheran spirituality is the way in which unites both head and body, mind and heart, understanding and mystery—or, to say it in plain terms, the Word of Scripture and the Holy Sacraments. Lutheran spirituality can be described as a blessed middle between mystic ritualism and doctrinal clarity. To borrow Wilhelm Löhe’s image, it is not merely a golden “middle” but

rather a warm, glowing hearth in the middle of a house which gathers others around it. In practical terms, Lutheran spirituality cultivates the Word of God, through Scripture reading of course, but also through hymns, art, and rich devotional literature: these are the green shoots that spring from the ground once the Word falls upon it like fresh rain (Isaiah 55:11). More than the members of any other denomination, Lutherans bring remembrance of their baptism into daily devotion, following Luther’s advice on how baptism ought to be practiced daily by drowning the sinful deeds and desires and allowing the new, God-pleasing life to grow. Christian spirituality consists of both what is believed and how that belief is put into practice in Christian

devotion. Neither can survive without the other, and when both are based on the life-giving Gospel of Christ, they only strengthen one another. It is the correct doctrine and preaching of the Word that warms the heart to prayer; it is the life of devotion, prayer, meditation, and frequent use of the sacraments that makes doctrine to be more than mere theorems and preaching more than a mere inspirational message. It is in the reality of spiritual life that the wondrous truths of the Gospel are made present in the lives of Christian people.

Rev. Esko Murto is a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, a partner church of Lutheran Church–Canada.






esus’ three-year earthly ministry was saturated with prayer. He regularly escaped from the crowds to commune with His Father in prayer. It seems quite remarkable to us that one who fully knew the mind of God, as the second Person of the Trinity, nevertheless dedicated copious amounts of time to praying. For God’s Son, such speaking with His Father was only natural. And for one who took on the form of a slave, prayer was an act of submission to the will of the one who sent Him (Hebrews. 5:7-8). Jesus’ praying teaches us that prayer is not fundamentally about “getting stuff,” but is a personal act that exercises one’s relationship with God.


Jesus also prayed with His disciples gathered closely around Him. As they watched they were led to ask, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). This, too, is remarkable, as these are bornand-bred Jews who have attended synagogue and Temple their whole lives, and prayed with their parents from the cradle. But in Jesus they see something they have never seen before. It makes them think they need to start all over again. And thank God for their question, for it leads Jesus to give the greatest prayer of all: the “Our Father” (Luke 11:3-4; Matthew 6:9-13). What’s so new about the Lord’s Prayer? There is a refreshing


directness and warmth about it. It was uncommon for Jews to address God in prayer as “Father”; but Jesus calls Him “Abba” (“Daddy”) and invites us into the same intimate address as fellow sons of God (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15). But what was truly new was that they were learning to pray in Jesus. “Our Father” means not just “yours and mine” but “ours and His.” By praying Jesus’ own words we learn that our prayers are His prayers. We never approach God’s throne directly, but always through and in Jesus (Ephesians 2:18). The Father hears us not because we use the right formula or speak many words

(Matthew 6:7), but because Jesus has His ear.

Don’t Speak Until You’re Spoken To

Now, as we are God’s children, it is certainly true that He listens attentively to anything we say. But the disciples’ question to Jesus reminds us that we can and should still learn how to pray. He gave them the words, and they learnt to repeat them back. So also we need to hear God speaking to us before we speak to Him. In this way we learn to ask not for the things we think important—for our desires are always blackened by sinful selfishness and a preoccupation with this life. By listening first to God’s Word, we learn who God is, what matters to Him, what He has promised to give. Certainly prayer can be a spontaneous act. As we experience joys and pains throughout the day we instinctively voice words of thanks and petitions for help. The Holy Spirit moves and supports our praying heart even when we cannot come up with the words (Romans 8:26). But when we set aside time for prayer, it is important to begin by reading the Scriptures. There we hear of God’s great acts that not only lead us to praise and thank Him, but also encourage us to voice our cries for help. And through those holy words the Spirit ploughs the hard ground of our heart and prepares it to receive God’s gifts. The Psalms hold a unique place in this pattern. When we read the Psalms, God not only teaches us the way He has acted among the saints of old, but He gives us the very words to voice our prayers back to Him. The Psalms are instruction, praise, thanksgiving, and petition all rolled into one. Most importantly, they are the very voice of Jesus (Son of David), who is not only the theme of so many Psalms but also, ultimately, the one who sings them all. So when we pray the Psalms, we pray with Jesus. It is a marvellous discipline

to include at least one Psalm in every daily devotion.

“Collect” Your Thoughts

There is a special form in Christian liturgical tradition that can help us learn the pattern of Godpleasing prayer: the “collect.” In the divine service we have the “Collect of the Day,” and in the daily offices the “Collect for Grace” (Matins) and the “Collect for Peace” (Vespers). Collects usually follow this scheme: (1) the holy name of God; (2) an appeal to a quality or promise of God; (3) a petition for help; (4) the benefit or result we seek; and (5) concluding words of Trinitarian praise (doxology). The collect pattern teaches us to think first of who our God is and why we think He will answer us. So first we express our relationship with Him as loving Father before we even think about what we need. Then we learn to ask for what He wishes to give us, not simply what we think we need. In this way our prayers become less selfish. By considering the goal of our prayers, we learn to focus on abiding needs rather than passing fancies. And finally, the collect

teaches us the joy of praising God, for prayer is so much more than just a transaction of goods. The hymnal provides collects for just about every occasion. Using them can teach us how to pray. But once you get the hang of it, you can form your own prayers in this pattern. Following a simple pattern like this can help break down barriers to prayer.

“Pray” the Catechism

It is said that the Small Catechism binds together Lutherans around the world in the way that the Book of Common Prayer binds Anglicans. We tend to think of the Catechism as a textbook of doctrine, to be learnt in Confirmation class and put on the shelf. But Luther meant it as a prayer book—which is why it is in our hymnal (LSB 321-30). The original printings of the Catechism were posters meant to be hung above the family dining table. At the end of the Small Catechism Luther provides a set of “Daily Prayers” that give discipline and rhythm to the family’s devotional day: morning, mealtimes, and bedtime. These mini orders of service teach



us to use God’s Triune name, pray the Psalms and Our Father, and say an appropriate collect. But Luther really intended us to pray the whole Catechism—not his questions and answers, but the basic texts of the Decalogue, Creed, and Our Father. In his marvellous booklet, A Simple Way to Pray (1535), Luther describes for Peter his barber how to do this. As you speak each commandment, petition, or article, ponder how it can serve you as instruction, and then prompt your own words of thanksgiving, confession, and petition.

Pray with Help

Prayer is at the same time surprisingly simple and maddeningly difficult. We can pray what our Spirit-moved heart desires, but often we don’t know how to say it. In Lutheran tradition the hymnal has been designed to help. There is a section of prayers for all occasions and needs (LSB 305-18). These


can help us to think about how those closest to us need God’s help. We cannot possibly pray for everything in the world—though we do so in general terms. But God has placed us into a family, church, and community that we know intimately. And so our prayers should focus on those near us, according to our various callings. The hymnal also provides simple orders for personal and family prayer. Responsive Prayer 1 and 2 lay out the pattern (LSB 28287). They begin with God’s Word to us in Scripture readings and Psalm versicles; they give us the foundational prayer language of the Kyrie, Our Father, and Creed. Finally they provide one or two brief collects to prime the pump for our personal petitions. And then there are four even briefer patterns for morning, noon, early evening, and close of day, which include suggestions of what to pray for on each day of the week (LSB 294-98).


Certainly not all prayer needs to come from a book. But as the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, so we can learn daily how impoverished our own thoughts may be in comparison with the richness of God’s Word and His Fatherly generosity. Much of this richness is deposited in prayer patterns of Christians who have gone before us and are still leading us. When we “pray with help,” we pray not just with a book but with the whole communion of saints on earth and in heaven, whose hearts and voices sustain us in our weak and faltering efforts. And uniting this whole company of pray-ers is the One Mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:5), who lives to stand before His Father’s throne and make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). Rev. Dr. Thomas M. Winger is President of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (St. Catharines, Ontario).




SIGN OF THE HOLY CROSS “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Lord’s Prayer & APOSTLES’ CREED Kneeling or standing, say the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed. Morning Prayer OR EVENING PRAYER “I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”

“I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”





Praying the Lord’s Prayer in a Pandemic An extended prayer in response to COVID-19 | Written by Mathew Block

Our Father who art in heaven,

O God, You call us all to be Your children. Be a

Father to us now in our distress. Hallowed be Thy name.

O God, in Your name is mercy and salvation. Teach

instead seek the salvation of all. Draw all people to Yourself in this time of increased awareness of human mortality, that we would find in Your Son, Jesus Christ, forgiveness for our sins and the hope of eternal life. As we forgive those who trespass against us,

us to honour that name in all things, and to call upon it

in every trouble.

Make us conduits of Your love and Your grace, showing

Thy kingdom come.

to others the forgiveness and reconciliation You have first

O God, You rule heaven and earth. Bless the work

of the Church, that Your kingdom would continue to be proclaimed even in this time of upheaval and disruption. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

shown to us. And lead us not into temptation,

O God, You do not shift like shadows, neither are

You wearied by the changes and chances of this life. Be our

O God, Your way in all things is perfect. Enliven

soul’s anchor in this trial. Befriend the lonely; comfort the

us with Your Holy Spirit, that we would willingly walk

sick; and console the dying. Defend us from the temptation

in the way of your commands. Teach us to love You with

to despair of Your love. You are our fortress; let us not be

heart, soul, and mind. Teach us to love our neighbours as


ourselves, ministering to them in every need of body and spirit. Give us this day our daily bread,

But deliver us from evil.

O God, against You no foe can prevail. Spare Your

people, O Lord, and bring an end to the disease which

O God, provision for all our earthly needs comes

threatens. Guide those in authority, that they might

as a gift from You. Remember those facing financial

diligently work to protect the nations. Equip physicians

uncertainty and hardship in this crisis, and grant them

and healthcare workers with knowledge and resources to

every needful thing. Soften the hearts of Your people, that

care for the afflicted. Our times are in Your hand, O Lord;

we would share freely with those who have less.

rescue us from danger.

And forgive us our trespasses,


O God, Your mercy is over all that You have made.

O God, You desire the death of no person, but



thine is the kingdom, and the power, and

the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


following a routine is a helpful way to make new devotional practices last.


In light of the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, and in response to guidance from the federal and provincial governments, Lutheran Church–Canada has called on its congregations to suspend all worship services and group events for the time being. The following guide has been developed as a tool to assist you w i t h h o m e d evo t i o n s d u r i n g this difficult period. While these resources are no replacement for the blessings of receiving Word and Sacrament in the context of your local congregation, they are intended to ensure you continue to be fed with God’s Word during an interruption to regular church services. Lutheran Church–Canada congregations have been encouraged, where it is safe to do so, to allow congregants to take home with them the hymnals they regularly use during worship. Your hymnal is a great treasure, full of resources for personal devotions, ranging

from brief services, Psalms, a Bible reading plan, prayers, Luther’s Small Catechism, and of course hymns. In the event your congregation’s regular worship times are interrupted, your hymnal will ensure you have regular access to a rich library of devotional resources. In fact, even apart from the current crisis, learning to use the hymnal for personal and family devotions is a practice well worth pursuing. [In the event your congregation is unable to offer a hymnal for home use, you can print off the “Orders of Daily Prayer,” which Concordia Publishing House has recently made available for free online at www.communication.]


In order to help you make the best use of your hymnal, LCC has developed this brief guide to assist you in finding the resources within the Lutheran Service Book quickly. Be sure to set aside a regular period of time for devotions each day, as

1. Orders of Daily Prayer for Individuals and Families (Pages 294-298) These brief, one-page-long services provide a simple form of prayer that individuals and families can use to structure their daily home devotions. 2. Daily Lectionary (Pages 299-304) This lectionary suggests brief readings from the Old Testament and the New Testament each day for personal study. A table of suggested readings for the Psalms is also provided. 3. Prayers (Pages 305-318) The hymnal provides a list of suggested prayers which you can use during daily devotion. During this time of sorrow and confusion, you may wish to pray especially the prayers “For the nation” (page 313), “In times of affliction and distress” (page 317), and “Time of disaster” (page 317). 4. Hymns of Trust, Hope, and Comfort (Pages 708-765) While the hymnal is full of thoughtful hymns, those dealing with trust (pages 708-739) and hope and comfort (pages 740-765) may be particularly meaningful to people in times of crisis. Specific hymn suggestions also appear later in this guide under the heading “IV. Suggested Hymns.” If you’re looking for a particular hymn, you can find an alphabetical index of first lines beginning on page 1017. If you’re looking for a topical index of hymns by subject or church season, see the index beginning on page 993. 5. Luther’s Small Catechism (Pages 321-330) Study anew the basics of the Christian faith with Martin Luther’s



brief guide. Luther’s Small Catechism also includes brief sections on daily prayer, the table of duties, and Christian questions-and-answers. If you are familiar with the services of Matins (page 219), Vespers (page 229), Morning Prayer (page 235), Evening Prayer (page 243), and Compline (page 253), you may wish to incorporate one or all of these into your personal prayer time as well. The service of Matins or Morning Prayer would be particularly appropriate for use on Sunday mornings while your congregation remains closed. Another particularly valuable service is The Litany, an ancient order of prayer which can be found on page 288. Services of Responsive Prayer can also be found on pages 282 and 285. As you plan for devotions on Sundays and holy days, be sure to visit LCC’s website at www.lutheranchurch. ca for the assigned Bible readings for these days, along with Collect Prayers and Suggested Hymns.


The following section highlights additional resources which may be helpful to you as you prepare home devotions. 1. Lutheran Church–Canada A s t h e c u r re n t p a n d e m i c


continues to unfold, Lutheran Church–Canada will regularly offer new materials (both practical and devotional) online. Visit www. and www. regularly for new information, as well as for news and devotional reading. Watch also for LCC’s weekly email newsletter InfoDigest; sign-up by clicking “Subscribe” on the website of The Canadian Lutheran. Lutheran Church–Canada is also posting video services online for congregations who are unable to produce video. Visit www. 2. Audio Liturgy Files Not sure how to sing the music in some of the orders of service in the hymnal, but want to learn? The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has recorded examples of every service in the Lutheran Service Book and made them available to download free online. Visit www. liturgy-audio-files to listen in. 3. Devotions for Times of Distress Concordia Publishing House has released a free pdf of devotions, packaged in its popular Portals of Prayer format. The booklet is entitled Where is God Now? Sixty Devotions for Times of Distress, and you can


download it at www.communication. 4. The Lutheran Hour Produced by the International Lutheran Laymen’s League, The Lutheran Hour is a longstanding radio program which brings the good news of the Gospel to more than a million people in North America each week. You can find a list of radio stations in Canada which carry The Lutheran Hour on page 35 of this issue. You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour online at The Lutheran Hour also publishes daily devotions which you can read online. Additional resources from the Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada are highlighted on page 25 of this issue. 5. Lutheran Public Radio Lutheran Public Radio streams sacred music 24-7, with many of the songs being hymns from the Lutheran Service Book. Tune in to music especially chosen to match the church calendar at www. 6. Your Congregation Your local church may have additional devotional resources, like

the devotional Portals of Prayer, which they are distributing to members. Your church may also be open at regular periods for personal prayer, with congregants required to observe social distancing and with the church being carefully disinfected between visits. Contact your congregation for more information. Your local congregation may also be live-streaming services or sermons; contact them for further information on how to tune-in. In the event your church does not have live-stream capabilities, you can watch services featuring LCC President Timothy Teuscher and Mission Executive Mark Smith at 7. Your Pastor Even if services at your local congregation are temporarily suspended, your pastor is committed to providing spiritual support to you. Pick up the phone and call him, or send him an email. Your pastor may also be offering private confession, absolution, and communion, while observing strict social distancing and disinfection guidelines. Contact your pastor for more information.


When some people pick up a hymnal, they don’t know where to start. Hymns for the current and upcoming seasons of the church year appear in Lutheran Service Book here: Lent (Pages 418-440), Holy Week (Pages 441-456), and Easter (Pages 457-490). Those looking for hymns of consolation and comfort in this difficult time, may wish to especially look at the following. Hymns of Trust (Pages 708-739) and Hymns of Hope and Comfort (Pages 740-765) may be particularly helpful to you, but don’t be afraid to leaf through the book looking for other beloved hymns.

563 – Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness 575/576 – My Hope is Built on Nothing Less 588 – Jesus Loves Me This I Know 604 – I Bind unto Myself Today 615 – When in the Hour of Deepest Need 666 – O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe 679 – Oh, How Blest Are They 685 – Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus 699 – I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say 702 – My Faith Looks Up to Thee 709 – The King of Love My Shepherd Is 710 – The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want 715 – Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me 722 – Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me 725 – Children of the Heavenly Father 733 – O God, Our Help in Ages Past 735 – Have No Fear, Little Flock 740 – I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb

741 – Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense 742 – For Me to Live is Jesus 743 – Jesus, Priceless Treasure 744 – Amazing Grace 745 – In God, My Faithful God 746 – Through Jesus’ Blood and Merit 750 – If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee 752 – Be Still, My Soul 754 – Entrust Your Days and Burdens 756 – Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me 765 – God Moves in a Mysterious Way 770 – What a Friend We Have in Jesus 878 – Abide with Me 918 – Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer


The Bible readings for Sunday worship through the end of April, along with collect prayers and hymn suggestions, are available on LCC’s website. Additional readings will be posted online as necessary. If you wish to see readings from the OneYear Lectionary, visit worship/lectionary-series. Even when your congregation is open, it’s a fruitful practice to meditate on the Scripture readings in advance of the church service. If you do not have a Bible, ask your local church if they can provide one. You can also read the Bible online at



IN THE SURE AND CERTAIN HOPE OF THE RESURRECTION From the West Regional Pastor, Rev. Robert Mohns


right white light, made brighter still by the freshly fallen snow, envelopes the landscape and greets the little band of followers. The pastor is out front leading, then the casket, then family and friends trailing behind. It was a bitter cold day, with snow blowing down from the trees and falling on the group, adding insult to injury. As they make their way, the words of an ancient hymn are spoken, “In the midst of life we are in death; from whom can we seek help? From you alone, O Lord, who by our sins are justly angered. Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.” Death: the last and greatest of our foes. Let us never attempt to diminish this foe. It’s a fool’s errand to try. I am writing this article during the COVID-19 epidemic, which has now been classified as a pandemic. People everywhere are buying supplies (someone has made the comment that 2020 will be the year of the great toilet paper famine). I have heard people explain that it is a natural reaction to managing things that are beyond our control. At least we can manage toilet paper! The awareness of our mortality has been heightened. Great lengths are being taken to stop, or at least slow down, the spread of illness, and the possible deaths that may come from it. For all the window dressing, beautiful words, and hope that death’s trauma may come to an end by embracing it as our friend, it still remains the enemy. Those left behind endure the trauma and the loss of a loved one. Death continues its work among the living. As great an enemy death is, it is not the end. Far greater still is eternal death. The little congregation comes to a stop. In contrast to the beautiful white snow and brightness of the day, the contrast of the blue sky and white ground, the group is stopped by a brown-black rectangular hole in the ground, awkwardly surrounded by artificial green grass. However much the hole is dressed up, it is still a hole, dark blackbrown, earth. The casket is lowered into it. “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust...” Is this it? Is this all there is? A body returned to the earth, to be tilled, and worked, planted, and sowed?



No! Far worse is the reality of eternal death, which is always and forever held in the pangs and anguish of death because of sin, my sin. It is often described as being trapped in a burning fire from which there is no escape. This is the reality that lies behind the soil walls of the grave. Sin entered into the world and into every human being by the trespass of the one man. And the penalty for sin is death. “Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.” Yes, Satan, that old evil foe, would desire us to harden our hearts and turn away from our only hope and help. He would have the whole of humanity embrace and ever hold fast to death, all of it, physical and eternal, hook, line, and sinker and be caught up in all its bitterness. But God is not slow in answering our humble plea for deliverance. “In the sure and certain hope of the resurrection through Jesus Christ our Lord, who will change our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body by the power that enables Him to subdue all things to Himself.” Here is Easter and the outpouring of the completion of our Lord’s anointing to save lost sinners. In the very midst of death is life. The great exchange is made and Jesus suffers and dies so that sinners might be set free from death. The just punishment for their sins is paid in full by the perfect life, suffering, and death of Jesus. “Because I live you shall live also!” A hand scoops up dirt and lays it on the casket, and soon more dirt is added and the casket is covered. The little congregation departs with tears of sorrow and grief covered with the waters of hope and life that flow from the spear-pierced side of Christ, in the hope of the resurrection through Christ our Lord. God grant to His people true repentance from sin and death to life in Christ!


“We were made for this!” Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Lutheran Laymen’s League has been working alongside you to “bring Christ to the nations and the nations to the church.” As an auxiliary of Lutheran Church–Canada, our goal is to equip individuals and congregations with the tools to share the comfort of the Gospel and the joy of salvation. Now, more than ever, there is an opportunity to be a witness to others. Some of you are reading the Bible, reviewing social media posts from your brothers and sisters on-line and chatting on the phone with fellow believers. Many people, however, are distressed and disturbed by the constant news updates and social isolation. This could be our opportunity to be “like living stones... built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). If you are finding ways to share and “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15), please know that you are not alone: LLL Canada is part of Lutheran Hour Ministries, and what better way to fight a worldwide pandemic than with the support of a worldwide organization! Here are some of the free resources that are always available for you:

The Lutheran Hour

See page 35 to find a station near you. Listen online at or on SiriusXM Channel 131.

Daily Devotions

Lenten devotions (English & French)

LHM Learn portal (Independent & Group Study)



He Will Not Forsake You From the Central Regional Pastor, Rev. David Haberstock

“I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.” - Psalm 37:25-26


his is a moment of great uncertainty. Workers have been sent home. Business is at a standstill. How will you make an income? How will you pay your rent, mortgage, utilities, buy food? Will there be a job to go back to? I don’t know. I do not know what tomorrow will bring. This situation changes day by day. I do know that the Lord provides what you need. I know that the Lord will see you through. Over the years I’ve wrestled with trusting the Lord on this point. I’ve always been quite frugal and lived within my means. Tithed. Saved. And so forth. I can make it through a lot on my own. But now I have a family. Now I have others beyond myself to care for. Now my concern is for them. For my ability to provide for them. A couple of things have helped me with this fear. Firstly, the promises of Holy Scripture. Secondly, the faith of my wife. Psalm 37 is a psalm of David. David was the king of Israel who presided over their golden age. However, if you know David’s story, behind all the battles and glory was great struggle and uncertainty. Yet, David trusted in the Lord. He had that supernatural gift of faith which you have been granted through the Word about Jesus (Romans 10:17). Your faith may not be as bold or strong as David’s, but “a bruised reed He will not break, a smouldering wick He will not snuff out.” That is Isaiah’s description of Christ Jesus (Isaiah 42:1-3). Even if you have merely a smoking-ember-of-a-blown-out-candle of faith, Jesus hangs on to you in this moment, fanning your faith into flame. For He is the One who called you to faith (Romans 10:17). You did not choose Him; He chose you (John 15:16). And He who has called you to faith in Himself is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24). He has called you to produce fruit in Him (John 15:16). For in Christ Jesus, you are righteous. Righteous in faith (Galatians 3:11). Righteous not of yourself, but



through faith in the One who died for your sins and was raised to life for your justification (Romans 4:25) . Blessed with faith in Him you are one of His righteous ones whom He will not forsake (Psalm 37:25). And He has appointed you for this time to bear fruit. The fruit of faithfulness. The fruit of steadfastness. The fruit of peace in this storm. The fruit of supporting others. The fruit of lending a hand to those around you. The fruit of raising up offspring—whether children by blood or children by faith—who become a blessing in the land (Psalm 37:26). You are here for this time. I do not know how the Lord will see us through. I expect it will be hard. But He has called you for this time and this place to be a blessing to others. He will not abandon you. When the children of Israel were led by Him into the desert for 40 years Jesus fed them with bread from heaven and water from the rock. He did not let their clothes or sandals wear out for the 40 years of wilderness wandering (Deuteronomy 29:5). He is able to provide. And He will provide what you need in this circumstance. Seeing the Lord’s promise to provide all over Scripture has strengthened me. But it is also a blessed thing to have the faithful witness of His saints. In particular, the Lord has encouraged me through the wife He gave me. She has often reminded me, when I worry, that the Lord has always provided for us beyond what we need or deserve. Beloved child of God, your Lord will see you through this. When you doubt, turn to the comfort which comes from His Word of promise to you. And turn to your brothers and sisters in Christ in your local congregation. They are there for you. I pray the Lord comforts you with the faithful witness of His Word and His saints in this time of distress.

ONLINE RESOURCES FROM LCC As this suspension of church services continues, Lutheran Church–Canada is actively working to assist congregations in a number of areas, including through guidance on livestreaming church services; the provision of additional prayers for home use; pre-recorded video services; written sermons; congregational helps; and more. Visit for the latest resources.

WHAT’S NEW? Supporting my Home Congregation in Difficult Times with Online Donations - Lutheran Church–Canada has enhanced its website to include the option of giving directly to your home congregation via online donations. When you visit LCC’s website, click on the “Support My Home Congregation” link on the home page. You will be directed to a secure, online giving portal. Help for Congregations and Church Workers in response to COVID-19 - LCC Worker Benefits Services Inc., is offering assistance and accommodations to LCC congregations experiencing serious financial hardships during this time. The Canada Emergency 75% Wage Subsidy Program A letter from LCC Administrator, Dwayne Cleave, regarding The Canada Emergency 75% Wage Subsidy Program can be accessed on our website. The letter was sent out to congregations on April 3, 2020.

For up to date information and resources on Lutheran Church– Canada’s response to COVID-19, visit our website at : THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2020


No Easter? From the Regional Pastor, Rev. Marvin Bublitz


recently had a conversation with Rev. Matthew Fenn of Stratford, Ontario. We were speaking of the possibility of having no services on Easter Sunday, and he reminded me of a quote from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: “always winter and never Christmas.” He remarked that it feels like we will be always in Lent but never Easter. That might well describe the feeling of many as we see people self-isolate, businesses close, and in-person worship services halted. We find ourselves overwhelmed with the feelings of the dark days of winter or the solemn days of Lent. As Easter comes upon us, now what? I will miss the loud cry of “He is risen!” and hearing the response of “He is risen indeed, Alleluia!” But amidst the turmoil of the times, we may well feel like there is nothing worth celebrating. What do we have to rejoice about? How can we be joyful when we see this pandemic sweeping the globe? In a sense, we may describe our feelings much as the disciples could have that first Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Their world, the world as they knew it, was collapsing around them. Things they knew and took for granted were turned upside down. Their Rabbi, who was always with them, was now suddenly locked in a stone-cold tomb in the grip of death. For them it seemed as if it was always death and never life. In fear, they isolated themselves from the world in the upper room. Would there be any relief to their anxieties and doubts? Could they ever know peace again after the events they had endured? The arrest of Jesus, His trial, His conviction, and His crucifixion had all happened so fast. Things had changed so much since a week earlier on Palm Sunday. How could such a short time make such a huge difference? How could one event, one crucifixion, make their world so different? Our world has changed much in the last number of weeks. Our individual lives have been very impacted. Many are out of work. Others are sick. Others are mourning loved ones. When will this end? The turmoil and struggles of this fallen world will only end when the crucified and risen Lord Christ returns to judge the



quick and the dead. Jesus told us, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus did not promise that believers would have no problems in this life. He did not promise us a protective bubble to insulate us against viruses. He did not promise that we would have a life full of only good here. But He did promise us a life full of joy and peace—not in this life but in the life to come. He has freed us from the grip of death for eternity. As He burst forth from the grave, so our grave will not hold us forever. Then it will be always life and death no more. How could one event, one crucifixion, make our world so different? Because He is the sinless Lamb of God sacrificed for us and our salvation. With that promise, we can view the turmoil of this life as something fleeting, not permanent. Trusting in Him who entered the upper room and brought peace to His disciples, we can be at peace in this life no matter what happens. Jesus said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In the midst of this pandemic when we are not able to come to Him in His Holy House, what are we to do? There are many opportunities for members to hear their pastor. Many pastors have put their sermons and services online. I commend them highly for that. There are also devotion materials on the Synod website (www.lutheranchurch. ca) for you. Come to the Lord for strength through His Holy Word. Read and meditate on it. Listen to His words of comfort. Spend time at the foot of His cross in repentance for your sins. Hear His word of Holy Absolution for you. Immerse yourself in His Word until that day we can gather again in His Holy House to hear His Word and receive His blessed Supper. Pastor Fenn remarked that some congregations will have an Easter celebration whenever we can gather next. May our Good Shepherd hasten that day.

Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada Growing in Faith, Sharing God’s Son, Serving God’s People

Who is LWMLC? LWMLC is Christian women serving our Lord by serving God’s people. How? By offering kind times of sharing Christ; with a caring and listening ear; with gifts of kindness to brighten someone’s day. We are women who seek to grow in our faith through Bible study, devotions, sharing personal moments of blessings and sorrows through all of those moments. We continue to grow in our faith by sharing God’s Son with our friends, family and colleagues.

You are! Lutheran women across Canada.

Growing in Faith When I was a young woman in our congregation, I was searching for ways to continue growing as a faithful servant of my Lord Jesus, while sharing the awesome truth of the sacrifice He made for me. My Mom was active with the “Ladies Aid,” and then she started to serve that group by leading devotions (as part of the Christian Growth Committee, I found out later). It seemed that every congregation that I have touched had this group of women so I started to check into what they were doing, almost as soon as I joined the church. The activities and the Bible studies

How can YOU be involved?

were a true blessing, but the most outstanding thing for me was the fellowship—time with women who experienced the same moments of joy as I did—the sharing, the smiles and the giggles sometimes were truly what kept me coming back. As each society is unique, there are special memories from each one—studying God’s word; quilting, both by tying and stitch by stitch; gathering items for missions around the world; sharing special events to learn new skills (like making fascinators, and baking Christmas butter tarts) and creating retreats that

Each society is as unique as the individuals who are part of it. Many times the women, young and old, in our congregations get caught in ”We don’t want to gather items that are not making a difference in our local community.” Wonderful! Then, use the resources offered through LWMLC to gather and collect items for local mission projects, always using the ultimate focus as the measure—is this mission reflecting the face of Christ? There are lots of good causes—if we are fulfilling our mission as Lutheran

offered all of the opportunities to remember we are unique, as we focus on the missions of our organization— Linda Long Mission Grants, Mission Service, and supporting all of that through Christian Growth and Member Development. The times that I am In God’s Word, together with my sisters in Christ, are the times that I know best that, in Christ, I can be the woman God made me to be.

Linda Long – President LWMLC

women who serve God’s people, and then we can diligently support those efforts locally. We are not just a service group—our difference is in our focus on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Some of the distinct joys that societies share is that, no matter the age of the individuals, we all can grow in Christ, sharing our time in retreats, workshops, and any number of activities that bring the family of God together. It is a joy to support each other by listening, working and playing together.

Linda Long, President



Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada Growing in Faith, Sharing God’s Son, Serving God’s People

Sharing God’s Son Why LWMLC?

Making fellowship a priority leads to amazing results

I helped with LWMLC events at my church, but was not really involved. After much encouragement from a member Melissa Henkeof LWMLC, I Lambert become a young women’s rep to go to the national convention in Ottawa in 2009. I had no idea what to expect and quite honestly thought I might be a little bored. I was so wrong, the convention opened my eyes to the great work LWMLC does in mission grants, I loved Bible studies and the great fellowship. There were wonderful ladies there who took me under their wing and showed me the around. Since that experience, I have gotten more involved in various levels of LWMLC and have been enjoying it very much. I look forward to new involvements, rallies, and conventions.

Amy Boudreau

Melissa Henke-Lambert LWMLC Social Media Coordinator

Look for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


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COMING SOON - A WEBINAR - As women of faith we want to heed the “Call to Speak.” We are not always confident in sharing our faith, especially in a culture not always receptive to Christianity. This webinar will challenge us to look at the way we share the Gospel, it will challenge our fear of sharing the Gospel, but most important, it will encourage and support us as we are “Called to Speak” in purposeful conversations of Christ-centred faith. Watch for details.


Our small society meets once every two months over the breaking of bread—or slurping of homemade soup, or munching on finger foods, or eating ooey-gooey pizza! Yes, of course, food is not the only reason why we meet—in fact, our individual schedules are so jam-packed that we could more easily eat at home before the meeting. There has to be something more. The Bible points out that the early followers of Christ would often met in homes of fellow believers. Acts 2:46 states, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (NIV). So how does it work? One woman agrees to be the hostess. We head to her home around 6:00 p.m. where she has prepared a simple meal. The hostess need not fret whether there is enough food—other women will often bring something to add to the meal. We begin with prayer and we eat around the table. Women will share updates, happy moments, desperate concerns and offer helpful suggestions. Over tea and coffee, there

is a Bible study that is usually led by one person. If I lead the study, I will try to incorporate concerns from the earlier conversations into the study. The actual business portion of our LWMLC meetings is kept to a strict minimum for a few reasons. The reading of meeting minutes can be dry—so we often use technology to share this information. Also, we do not want to overwhelm some of our new guests. As well, we decided years ago that our greatest priority for our meetings is fellowship, and therefore, abiding by the strict rules of meetings is simply secondary. We have seen a pleasant growth in attendance since we started conducting our LWMLC meetings in this manner. Women from all walks have joined in the breaking of bread and have eventually joined LWMLC. We did not pressure these women into joining our group, but we welcomed them with open arms, met them where they are, and loved them through our ups and downs.


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Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada Growing in Faith, Sharing God’s Son, Serving God’s People

Serving God’s People LWMLC women carry out motto: “Called to Serve” During the many years I have been an LWMLC member, I have continually been impressed with the display of God-given talents and expertise exhibited by the women at each level of the organization. At the national level, the members of the General Council and their committees allocate the funds for mission grants, design and assemble inspirational materials, publish the award-winning magazine Tapestry, become proficient with the newest communication technology for disseminating league information and organize a triennial convention. The districts are a liaison between the General Council and the zones. Districts have their own mission grant projects and use a portion of Mites collected to fill these grant requests. They also organize retreats and seminars using LWMLC resources. A triennial convention which gives opportunity to elect a board of directors, experience guest speakers, vote on mission grant choices and enjoy Christian fellowship. The zones usually organize two gatherings a year to provide updates on league business, to enjoy local guest speakers and to experience the camaraderie of fellow Lutheran women.

Retreats meet many needs

LWMLC is women coming together to support, serve, and learn and grow in faith. One of the greatest learning and growing opportunities for me is through a women’s retreat. The Each individual congregation usually forms a ladies’ group or society. Here things become very hands-on. The ladies come together for Bible study, organizing church functions, hearing updates of the other LWMLC levels, assembling articles to send to outreach or perhaps sponsoring a

Concordia and Evergreen Zones in Alberta have held an LWMLC retreat for years and the past few years it has been an annual event held at the Star of the North Retreat Centre in St Albert, Alta. As a member of the Retreat Planning Committee it is a wonderful opportunity to serve, as we plan and deliver the sessions, but also a wonderful weekend of supporting our sisters in Christ as we come together to share personal stories as well as grow in God’s Word. The retreat refreshes and renews our women and helps us go back to our lives with inspiration and the support of our sisters. We have women attending who are not Lutheran so it is also an opportunity to witness and reach out to other women of faith. Karen Hildebrandt, VP Communications, LWMLC ABC District

bazaar, a craft sale or a games night for fun and fellowship. LWMLC/Lutheran Ladies, of which I am very pleased to be one, are creative, hard-working, empathetic, love to laugh and are dedicated to their Lord and Saviour Jesus. Lois Munz, VP Communication, LWMLC Ontario District

Check out and the district pages to find a rally, renewal or retreat in your area!

SEMINAR - Whether you feel alone in Prince Rupert, B.C., or Halifax, N.S., the 2020 seminar ONE will teach us we aren’t alone in this vast country of ours. Come meet together, be in His Word, share with new friends, sing songs and show your love for others in need. Watch for ONE, coming to a location near you. DOWNLOAD ON DEMAND - Plans are in the works to make devotions, studies, skits and some of the other resources prepared by LWMLC, available online to download as needed. Details available soon.

Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada Growing in Faith, Sharing God’s Son, Serving God’s People

Supporting Missions LAURENTIAN DISTRICT The voting body of the 2019 Laurentian District convention approved a Mites goal of $24,150. All grants will channel through an opportunities fund. The hope being this will eliminated proposed projects lying dormant.

Help us reach our goal! $130,000 in grants to MISSIONS by April 2021


Youth ministry, Central America - $8,450

National Youth Gathering, Lutheran Church–Canada - $5,000

Rancheria feeding and education program, Nicaragua - $12,600

Circuit rider transportation, Atlantic Canada - $15,000 Evangelists/deaconesses, Nicaragua - $8,450

Technology upgrade, Zion Lutheran Christian School, Prince George, B.C. - $10,500

Evangelism course outreach, CLTS, St. Catharines - $5,000


a magazine for women of Lutheran Church–Canada

Subscribe today! For details ~ visit email call Samantha at 1-519-703-0448

LWML–Canada Resources Tom Sperling/Parasource 1-800-263-2664 Ext. 223



LWML–Canada President Linda Long 1-519-666-3915

Mission and ministry projects, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Moncton, N.B. - $15,000 Mission Opportunity Fund - 20% (chosen by delegates) of total goal ($26,000)

Regional VBS teams, remote congregations $24,000


To learn more about these grants visit

Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada • 3074 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 0Y2 1-888-596-5226 Ext. 220 •


Transitions Rev. Darren Dressler to candidate status. Deacon Dr. Jennifer Frim accepted a call to CLS (Edmonton, AB) to serve as Coordinator of DPS (Deacon) Training Programme.

Church (St. Catharines, ON). Rev. Geoff Johnston from Trinity Lutheran (Churchbridge, SK) to Lutheran Church of Australia. Rev. Peter Van Katwyk to emeritus.

Rev. Peter Gatulak from Outreach Ministry (Hamilton, ON) accepted a call to Pilgrim Lutheran Church (Hamilton, ON).

Rev. David Morton to candidate status.

Rev. Todd Hoeffs currently serving Redeemer Lutheran Church (Winnipeg, MB) accepted a call to Christ Lutheran

Rev. Ward Yunker from Grace Lutheran (Beausejour, MB) to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Rev. Peter Pakrul to emeritus.

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No, not the healing of our diseased bodies, but the healing of our diseased souls. Not getting our finances in order to secure our retirement but the guarantee of our eternal future through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Not an earthly home and things, but heavenly treasures and an eternal home with our Father in heaven. ‘This,’ the apostle calls out to each one of us, ‘is of first importance.’ And although our church buildings stand empty and silent this Easter, in heaven above it is quite a different scene: standing room only as angels and archangels and the whole Church triumphant bask in the light of the glory of God, singing in a loud voice: “This is the feast of victory for our God! Blessing, honor, glory, and might be to God and the Lamb forever.” And since such is indeed the case, I say it to you again: “He is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2020


Presidential Perspective

Of First Importance

by President Timothy Teuscher

“He is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”


t is with those familiar words that I greet you—the pastors, deacons, and members of the congregations of our Synod—this Eastertide. It certainly is an Easter that none of us will ever forget. There was no abundance of Easter flowers adorning our church buildings. There was no Easter breakfast shared in our congregations. There was no sound of those joyous Easter hymns echoing through the walls of our churches. Instead, they stand dark and empty and silent. And since such is the case, I say to you again, “He is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” And why? How is it possible for this joyous Easter greeting to sound forth from our lips when everything around us speaks of doom and gloom, uncertainty and fear, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? The apostle Paul answers that in the appointed Epistle Reading for early Easter morning: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). “I delivered to you as of first importance,” the apostle says. Which begs the question, doesn’t it? What is of first importance? Now, in light of all that we have been experiencing these past weeks as a result of the coronavirus epidemic—church services suspended, schools and businesses closed, sports activities cancelled, travel curtailed, our health care system pushed to the limits both in terms of personnel and


supplies, government officials at a loss as to what to do, self-isolation and social-distancing having become common words in our vocabulary… well, it seems obvious what is of first importance—namely, doing everything and anything possible to treat and eradicate this virus. What is of first importance? When it comes to our personal lives, there are a variety of things of first importance as a result of this epidemic. To the one now out of work, what is of first importance is finding a steady job and providing for his or her family. To the one who is retired, what is of first importance is their shrinking nestegg as a result of the collapse of the stock market. For the person lying on a hospital bed afflicted with this virus, what is of first importance is getting proper medical treatment and being restored to health. In short, what is of first importance to people at this time are those good gifts of God mentioned in the catechism explanation of the First Article of the Creed and the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer—“clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children... being defended against all danger and protected from all evil... good government, peace, health” and the like. And when it comes to our congregations, what is now of first importance? For most, if not all, it is finances, or the lack of them, as a result of this pandemic. No money for the upkeep and maintenance of your church building, no offerings received for the support of your pastor, no funds available for the national and international missions of our Synod. I, and the folks back here in the synod office in Winnipeg, are aware of this, and are ourselves struggling with this reality, doing what we can to assist


you, and praying for you and with you at this time of great distress (see page 27 for how you can support your congregation through online giving). But all this is precisely why we need to hear anew and again what St. Paul says: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” What is of first importance whether it be to us as individuals or to our congregations? Just this: the message of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why is this so? The apostle answers in these words from Romans: “Christ was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Just think about it: all your sins fully and completely paid for by the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. A life with God now and forever—even your own resurrection from the grave—because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. And that, of course, is what Holy Week was about: Christ’s death on the cross on Good Friday and His resurrection from the grave on Easter Day. And since this is of first importance, every Lord’s Day—every Sunday throughout the year—is really a mini-Good Friday and little Easter Day. The day when that which is of first importance is proclaimed to us; as St. Paul again puts it: “I would remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved.” The day when the risen Lord appears to us, just as He did to the disciples on that first Easter evening, showing us His hands and His side in the holy Sacrament of His very body and blood as a foretaste of the eternal, heavenly feast to come. Continued on page 33

Tune in to The Lutheran Hour ALBERTA Calgary/High River: CHRB 1140 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Edmonton: CFRN 1260 AM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Edmonton+ repeaters: CFWE 98.5 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Fort McMurray: CKOS 91.1 FM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Lloydminster: CKSA 95.9 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Medicine Hat: CHAT 94.5 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. BRITISH COLUMBIA Burns Lake+: CFLD 1400 AM - Sunday 11:00 a.m. Castlegar: CKQR 99.3 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Creston: CFKC 1340 AM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Christina Lake+: CKGF-1 93.3 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Crawford Bay+: CKNV-1 91.9 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Dawson Creek: CJDC 890 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Fort St. James+: CIFJ 800 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Fraser Lake+: CIFL 1450 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Grand Forks: CKGF 1340 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Granisle+: CHLD 1480 AM - Sunday 11:00 a.m. Greenwood/Midway+: CKGF-2 96.7 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Hazelton+: CKBV 1490 AM - Sunday 11:00 a.m. Houston+: CHBV 1450 AM- Sunday 11:00 a.m. Kelowna: CKFR 1150 AM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Nelson: CKKC 880 AM Sunday 7:30 a.m. Nelson+: CKNV 103.5 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Oliver: CJOR 1240 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Osoyoos: CJOR 1240 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Osoyoos: CKQR 103.7 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Penticton: CKOR 800 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Princeton: CIOR 1400 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Rock Creek+: CKGF-3 103.7 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Summerland: CHOR 1450 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Trail+: CKQR-1 104.4 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Tumbler Ridge: CJDC 92.7 FM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Vancouver (Blaine,WA): KARI 550 AM - Sunday 11:30 a.m. MANITOBA Altona: CFAM 950 AM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. Boissevain: CJRB 1220 AM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. Steinbach: CHSM 1250 AM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. Winnipeg: CKJS 810 AM - Sunday 12:30 p.m. NEW BRUNSWICK Moncton: CITA 105.1 FM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. Sussex+: CITA-1 107.3 FM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. NOVA SCOTIA Amherst+: CITA-2 99.1 FM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. Halifax: CJLU 93.9 FM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. Wolfeville+: CJLU-1 88.3 FM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. NEWFOUNDLAND St. Johns: VOWR 800 AM - Tuesday 8:30 p.m. NORTHWEST TERRITORIES Yellowknife: CJCD 1240 AM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. ONTARIO Atikokan+: CFOB 1240 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Dryden: CKDR 97.7 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m.

Ear Falls+: CKEF 1450 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Elliott Lake+: CJTK 102.5 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Fort Frances: CFOB 93.1 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Hamilton: CHAM 820 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Hudson+: CKDR3 1450 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Ignace+: CKDR2 1340 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Kenora: CJRL 89.5 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Kitchener/Waterloo: CKWR 98.5 FM - Sunday 7:00 a.m. Little Current+: CJTK 102.1 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. London: CJBK 1290 AM - Sunday 9:00 a.m. North Bay: CJTK 103.5 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Mattawa: KFM 93.9 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Mount Forest: CIWN 88.7 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Ottawa: CHRI 99.1 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Owen Sound: CFOS 560 AM - Sunday 9:00 a.m. Red Lake+: CKDR5 1340 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Pembroke: CHVR 96.7 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Pembroke+: CHRI 100.7 FM - Sunday8:30 a.m. Sarnia: CHOK 1070 AM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Sioux Lookout+: CKDR2 97.1 FM - Sunday 8:30 a.m. Sudbury: CJTK 95.5 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Thunder Bay: CKPR 91.5 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Timmins: KFM 105.5 FM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Toronto (GTA): CHAM 820 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Windsor area: WRDT 560 AM - Sunday 12:00 noon Wingham: CKNX 920 AM - Sunday 9:00 a.m. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND Charlottetown: CIOG 91.3 FM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. Summerside+: CIOG-1 91.1 FM - Sunday 10:30 a.m. QUEBEC Montreal: CKZW 1650 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. SASKATCHEWAN Regina: CKRM 620 AM - Sunday 7:30 a.m. Saskatoon: CJWW 600 AM - Sunday 7:00 a.m. Shaunavon: CJSN 1490 AM - Sunday 1:00 p.m. Swift Current: CKSW 570 AM - Sunday 1:00 p.m. Yorkton: CJGX 940 AM - Sunday 9:00 a.m. YUKON Whitehorse: CKRW 610 AM - Sunday 8:00 a.m. Whitehorse: CIAY-FM 100.7 FM - Sunday 11:00 a.m. Local repeater station with low power signal


Plan To Make A Difference

Are You Prepared?



Is Your Estate Plan Up To Date? In times of uncertainty, our thoughts often turn to how prepared we are if something unexpected was to happen. Proper preparation with respect to your estate means providing appropriately for family. It also enables you to provide for the various LCC ministries you value, through a charitable gift in your will. Do you have a current estate plan, including a will, that provides for all those you care about? If you haven’t updated your estate plan in a while, perhaps now is the time for a review. Lutheran Foundation Canada can help by providing tools, resources, and assistance to ensure your plan accomplishes what you want it to achieve. This is a free service for all LCC members.


Plan today to provide for your loved ones and the ministries you value. Call a Gift Coordinator today

1-877-711-4438 or visit our website at

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