Cross of Christ Lutheran Church - Welch, Minnesota -
Ministry Notes                                 April 2019

April is a busy month!  We have Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, first communion, a baptism, and this year, we will have communion every Sunday in April…  We will have the regular communion on the first and second Sundays of the month, communion on Easter, and communion at the contemporary service, and then communion again for the first and second Sundays of May. 

In other words, we will have communion six Sundays in a row.  This was discussed at the worship and music committee and it’s just how it works out for this year.

In the small catechism, Luther describes how we receive God’s forgiveness through partaking in the sacrament.  And as Luther points out, we are commanded to “Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”  When Luther is asked how often we should partake in communion, he says we should be running to the altar every day to receive God’s forgiveness.  Because where there is forgiveness, there is life.
I grew up in a tradition that practiced communion a couple times a year.  It was different…  I remember it as a sacred time, but also with some peril.  As I remember it, if it was received with an impure heart or in the wrong way, it was an act of condemnation. 

Of course, we believe differently.  We acknowledge we are in bondage to sin, and as we receive communion, we receive forgiveness.  In the small catechism Luther says, “…the essential thing in the sacrament, and whoever believes in these very words, has what they declare and state, namely, “forgiveness of sin.”” It’s common practice now for many Lutheran churches to have communion every week. 

So, it will feel a little unusual for us, but it’s just how it works out with the calendar, and we will certainly receive God’s forgiveness and experience His grace.

Kris and I traveled to Clarksdale Mississippi last month on a little bit of a music pilgrimage.  I visited the grave sites of BB King (Riley B King) and Robert Johnson. 

It was a moving experience for me to go through the BB King museum in Indianola, Mississippi.   In many ways his life paralleled the civil rights movement.  Though BB King was not a big civil rights advocate, his music transcended racial barriers and even he was surprised by how his music was received.

I think it goes to show how authenticity is recognized and shared.   People can have completely different experiences and opinions about a great many things, but when we speak from the heart, when we are completely transparent, people respond with compassion.  Humanity might not agree on all things, but we do find common ground in the human soul for pain and suffering. 

I remember a theologian once saying that the only way to transformation is through prayer, and another way is through suffering.  There is something about suffering that changes us.  This year as we go through passion week, we will experience the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Suffering and transformation; death and resurrection… There’s a pattern here that moves our souls.

I pray you have a wonderful April, full of resurrection promise…
Deacon Todd Portinga

Church Phone: 651-388-3464 
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