“Going to Church”
A Good Work and a Witness to the World
Dear Saints in Christ,
Last month we read how going to church is a matter of following God’s commands and that this command is so that we would receive His gifts for us which have been won in Christ and are now delivered to us today. This month we will take a quick look at the reality that going to church is actually a “good work” and also that it is and prepares us to give witness to the working of God in the world.
Good works are not something we, as Lutherans, tend to talk about. We hear the mention of “good works” and immediately respond, “cannot save you!”. This is true. Good works, doing the work does not merit or gain a better standing before God for us. No prayer, or perfect church attendance, no good work justifies or makes us right with God. Only our Lord Jesus, by His suffering, death, and resurrection makes us right and only the Holy Spirit works faith in us to hold fast and trust that work was for us. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Still we do believe, teach, and confess that “good works are necessary”; they are necessary in the sense that they necessarily flow from faith. (Formula of Concord Article IV) Faith works! (Ephesians 2:10) In this way we actually find a certain boldness in our lives. In this way the commandments of God are a great blessing.
Perhaps you have found yourself in times when you are not quite sure what to do. When you have to decide between this or that. It may be a small matter or large matter. Still the mere fact that you are stuck having to decide can leave you with some unanswered questions; namely, “did I choose correctly?” When it comes to things that God clearly commands that question is gone! God’s commands actually provided clarity and peace in regard to our decision. No need for questions or doubts about whether it is right or wrong, worthwhile or a waste of time. God has revealed it clearly in His Word so it simply is good! Of course, there are times when our Lord’s commands appear to be in conflict. We will consider these difficult matters next month, but for now it is important to remember that going to church is a good work! It is commanded by God. It is how faith responds to the work of Jesus. We now desire to hear His Word and receive the sacrament. This goes for the other commandments as well. Following them grants a level of peace in our lives to know that when we keep the commandment of God it is a good work. Not merely because we have done it, but rather because God has commanded it! Going to church, attending the Divine Service is such a work, a good work commanded by God.
At the same time going to church also serves as a witness to the world. I don’t think it can be expressed enough these days, that simply going to church and prioritizing gathering together as God’s people speaks volumes to the World around us. The Scripture even clearly states, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26) Living in and prioritizing our Lord’s work among and for us bears witness to the reality of Christ Jesus being Lord and Savior of all.
So, imagine for a moment if all the LCMS members (there were quite a few!) or Christians in general who had youth in the AAU state wrestling tournament had forfeited their matches that interfered with attending the Divine Service?! Imagine if this happened with every sport or event. Going to church is really quite simple to do in our setting; you take a little loss, you aren’t under threat to life, it costs some embarrassment perhaps. But such a simple act would have left a mark. It may not change things. The tournaments and events will still take place on Sunday mornings. But it would certainly cause people to ask you about the hope that is in you! It may even bring unwanted attention, but the kind which Jesus tells us to rejoice and be glad to receive. (Read Matthew 5:11-12!) Remember, our brothers and sisters throughout the World actually do risk their lives simply to gather together around the Word and Sacrament. Christian’s have done so for nearly two millennia now. What does that say about our faith and life that we will so easily exchange receiving our Lord’s gifts for a sporting event, vacation, or little extra sleep? God help us! O Lord, we believe, help our unbelief!
Yet, not only does mere attendance bear witness to the world about God, but the service itself, if we attend to it, will also aid when others ask about this. Here is what I mean. When people accuse you of being “holier” or thinking “you’re better than everyone else”, you can very clearly invite them and calmly point out that we actually believe the opposite. We gather confessing our sins. When people want to know how we can believe in a God that allows such terrible things to happen in the world, we can easily acknowledge this and point out that while he doesn’t tell us why He may allow something, we gather to hear what He has revealed about His grace for us. You see the service itself can be used as a concrete place to anchor our conversations with others as we share the work of salvation.
Going to church may appear to be overly simple or even insignificant, but it is part of our Christian life, it serves as a witness to the World, and a place to grow in our witness of God’s grace in Christ and present work by His Spirit. May God grant to each of us such steadfastness to be confident as we follow His clear commands and also to see that such a simple act gives testimony and provides an opportunity for us share the love of Christ with a world full of false gods.
Peace in Christ,
Palm Sunday is April 2nd, with regular service times. At Our Savior, the Sunday School children will sing at the opening of the service, and have the 3rd grade Bible presentation.
Maundy Thursday – There will be a combined service with Holy Communion at St. John’s in Columbia on April 6th at 6:00 pm. You are invited to stay afterward for pie, coffee, and fellowship. The van will go to St. John’s if anyone wants a ride (contact the church office or Eric Johnson 605-216-6701).
Good Friday – There will be combined services at Our Savior on April 7th: a service of readings and prayer at noon, and the Good Friday Chief Service at 6:00 pm.
Holy Saturday – Our Savior will host the circuit Easter Vigil with Communion on April 8th at 7:00 pm, with Rev. Andreasen presiding, Rev. Jacob Smith of St. Paul’s assisting, and Rev. Kevin Moore of Messiah/Redfield and Redeemer/Doland preaching.
Easter – There will be a Sunrise service with Communion at Our Savior at 7:00 am. The youth group will begin cooking breakfast after the service, and will serve shortly afterward. We will also have Divine Service with Communion at our regular times: 8:15 am at St. John’s, and 10:45 am at Our Savior. There will be no Sunday School or Bible Class.
1 Linda Rauscher 16 Aurian Tschappat
4 Peggy Dennert 18 Phyllis Lassanske
4 Leroy Krage 20 Muriel Pigors
8 Ethan Andreasen 20 Tom Siebert
8 Levi Haar 23 Justin Scepaniak
8 Mitchell Nehlich 27 Mark Wendt
9 Maralyn Hoops 28 Tevin Johnson
14 Cheryl Pietz 28 Charlotte Scepaniak
16 Dorothy Maas
3 Nairn & Joyce Hermansen
11 Paul & Jody Haar
17 Vernon & Anna Korab
24 Dale & Joelle Thone
30 Charles & Morgan Angerhofer
30 Lloyd & Vicki Jerde
Meetings in April
LWML – Sun Apr 2nd at 9:00 am
Board of Elders – Thur Apr 13th at 5:15 pm
Church Council – Thur Apr 13th at 6:30 pm
Voters’ Meeting – Sun Apr 16th at 9:30 am
Board of Education – Sun Apr 16th after the service
The Quarterly Voter’s Meeting will be Sunday, April 16th at 9:30 am. Please make every effort to attend to help conduct the business of the church.
The Church Council will meet Thursday, April 13th at 6:30 pm to prepare for the voters’ meeting.
Elders for April – Douglas Klipfel & Don Hoops
April 2 – Tucker Brick & Rhylan Tschappat
April 9 – Dalton Lee & Teigan McKown
April 16 – Raylee Brick & Abigail Andreasen
April 23 – Jayda Siebert & Briella Klipfel
April 30 – Ally Johnson & Bethany Andreasen
Portals of Prayer for April through June are available in the narthex.
The 3rd Grade Bible Presentation will take place during the service on Palm Sunday, April 2nd. The 3rd graders will recite the books of the Bible and receive a study Bible of their own.
The Senior Potluck will be Tuesday, April 11th at noon. Join us for good food and fellowship!
Saturday Bible Studies – 9:00-11:00 am at Our Savior
April 15 – The Exodus, the Church and Christ – We don’t have to dig too deeply to find connections between God’s work of saving his people in Exodus and His work with His people today. We will take a closer look at some of the particular connections and see how this is a very helpful comparison for us to consider more in our lives and even more importantly how Christ has been and is still at work for His people.
May 20 – The Nuts and Bolts of Liturgy – Why does the pastor turn when he does? Why do we stand? What about kneeling? Making the sign of the cross? Is that too “Roman Catholic”? Why isn’t it more exciting? How do you explain it to friends and visitors? We will take a more “practical” look at the liturgy and see what it teaches, little ways you can improve your own participation, as well as how it can be a witnessing tool.
June 10 – The Formula of Concord – The Formula of Concord was written when Lutheran’s disagreed. What did they disagree about and how did they come to greater clarity and unity? We will take a look at a few of the doctrinal matters that they disagreed about and how they were kept in unity. We will not only learn history, but also benefit from the clear confession of the Scriptural revelation of Christ for our own lives and witness today.
St. Paul’s Ladies Tea – “Weddings Then & Now” – Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 2:00 pm. Join us for: luncheon tea, special music, drawings, style show, and fun! Bring a friend! Tickets are on sale now for $10 per person. Call Jan Mammenga at 605-228-3000 or the church office at 605-225-1847.
Family Game Day & Teacher Recognition hosted by the Board of Education will be Sunday, April 30th. There will be a potluck after the service, followed by Bingo and other games. All are welcome! Enjoy the afternoon with your church family. April 30th is also the last day of Sunday School for this year.
Vacation Bible School 2023 is set for June 4 - 8 this year and our theme is “River of Life”. Water, water everywhere...and through it, we learn of God’s plan for salvation!
Hours are from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, with time for a sack lunch from 5:30 to 6:00. Registration forms will be in the Sunday bulletins soon. Friends, neighbors, and relatives are welcome also!
The Board of Education needs teachers and helpers in all areas. There will be a sign-up sheet in the library area soon. Please consider your talents and how you can help serve.
Located at Camp Okoboji, Milford, Iowa
Sunday, June 18, 2023 to Saturday, June 24, 2023
Registrations for Camp Minneboji are open! Camp Minneboji is our District Youth camp for youth completing grades 4-9 held every year at Camp Okoboji in Milford, IA. This year’s camp dates are June 18-24 and the theme is “Way + Truth + Life = JESUS” from John 14:6. Early bird registration is open now through April 1st and the regular registration closes May 1 or when we are full so register early! We are also always looking for potential counselors and counselor assistants (CA’s) to help us run Camp Minneboji. To register or get more information, please check us out at minneboji.com or on the South Dakota District website.
Read-a-thon – You can still participate in the Our Savior Lenten Read-a-thon! Kids: Check out books from our church library, take them home to enjoy, have parents sign your “Reading Log,” and return that log with at least 5 books logged to our Family Game Day on April 30th for a gift card of your choice! Adults: Check out books from our church library and fill out an entry slip for every book read and place it in the box. Drawings for various Lutheran Christian prizes will be made on April 30th at our Family Game Day.
St. John’s Columbia
2 Desa Larson
10 Easton Larson
18 Jason Podoll
21 William Wolter
22 Jessica Podoll
24 Joann Saunders
26 Cole Kampa
27 David Yeske
29 Katie Moser
St. John’s Usher List
April 2 Collin Eichler & Josh Larson
April 9 Roger & Sharon Zastrow
April 16 Lyle & Cathi Podoll
April 23 Mike & Molly Ringgenberg
April 30 Tony & Amanda Bisbee
May 7 Mic & Jen Daggett
May 14 Roger & Sharon Zastrow
May 21 Dean & Lorie Ringgenberg
May 28 Cole Bisbee & Logan Ringgenberg
Life Issues in South Dakota – A message from Rev. Scott Sailer, President of the South Dakota District – LCMS:
Fellow Servants of Jesus,
In the February District Supplement in the Lutheran Witness, Pastor Chris Navurskis alerted us to a movement by a pro-abortion rights group called Dakotans for Health, which is seeking to collect 60,000 signatures by July 1 to add a pro-abortion amendment to the state constitution, on the 2023 South Dakota ballot. If the group succeeds, the people of South Dakota will get to vote on whether to legalize abortion in our state through the entire pregnancy. Hidden under the cloak of advocating for “women’s health,” such a measure could pass.
I also wrote about this in the Feb. 1 District Email Newsletter. Chris and I are encouraging you to educate your congregations about this and to urge them to “decline to sign.”
In the name of the Author of life,
Rev. Scott C. Sailer
President, The South Dakota District—LCMS
Romans 1:16; 16:25-27
“…not ashamed of the Gospel”
Click on the "Calendar" tab on the website to see the April Calendar.