Week of the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

Dear Friends in Christ:

Even amidst the pandemic’s ongoing, persistent disruptions of our routines at home, at work, at school, and at church, we also persist in leaning into a greater sense of normalcy in our congregational life together. Today, I want to invite your reflections with me on some upcoming momentous occasions in our congregation of significance for particular members and families in our congregation.

Funeral for Martha Simpson

The funeral for long-time member, Martha Simpson, will take place at Resurrection Church this coming Saturday, October 23 beginning at 2:00 pm. A reception will follow in our fellowship hall. Martha’s family kindly invites Resurrection members who knew Martha and their family to be present to support them in this time of grief, but also thankful remembrance of life in the light of the gospel. A former pastor at Resurrection, David Schafer, will offer the sermon and otherwise assist at the funeral liturgy. It would be great if our members returned in number to see and greet one of our former pastors, along with Martha’s family to support them at this time. Funerals are occasions not just for family members of the deceased, but for our whole congregation as we remember a life, but also celebrate the good news of Christ’s ultimate victory over death and the grave. Please consider yourself strongly encouraged to attend the funeral this Saturday.

First Communion

On the Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, this coming Sunday, October 24, Ethan Kramer will receive Holy Communion for the first. He will be joined at the communion rail by his mother, Abigail, and his grandfather. Again, this occasion is not just special for Ethan and his family, but for our whole congregation. A First Communion invites us all to consider the wonder and mystery and grace given when Christ’s very self is made known to us in the breaking of bread. I invite you even now to remember your own First Communion. How old were you? What do you remember about that day? How has your experience of the Eucharist changed or stayed the same of the course of the years and decades? Bring these reflections with you to the table this Sunday as we celebrate with Ethan.

Confirmation

A week later after on October 31, two of our youth will affirm their baptism in the rite commonly known as Confirmation. This will take place on the day that we will observe as Reformation Sunday, giving thanks for our own particular Lutheran heritage, but also praying for the day when Christ’s church will be visibly more united for the sake of our reconciling witness to the world. Here again, affirmation of baptism is significant not just for those making their affirmation, and being confirmed. This is an occasion of significance for our whole congregation, for it takes the whole Christian community to raise up persons in faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Together, with those affirming their baptism, we will all communally confess our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed. Together, we will promise to support those making affirmation and pray for them in their life of faith. Together, we will rejoice with those confirmed: “we rejoice with you in the life of baptism. Together we will give thanks and praise to God and proclaim the good news to all the world.” (Affirmation of Baptism rite in ELW pew edition, p. 236). Think about what you’re pledging to do with and for our confirmands in our communal life as a congregation.

And I invite to think about the day of your own confirmation, when you affirmed your baptism. I, too, was confirmed on a Reformation Sunday in 1976, the year of our nation’s bicentennial celebrations. It was a glorious fall day in my small, Midwestern hometown. The sun beamed brightly in the nave, and the stained-glass windows illuminated the red-colored altar and pulpit paraments in the brilliance and richness of their color. In that room multiple generations of my family were baptized and confirmed, married and buried. In my mind’s eye is see the link of continuity between my baptism, my confirmation, and my ordination to word and sacrament ministry which also took place in that space. You have your own confirmation stories to tell. Remember them. Tell them!

I also invite you to stay after church on October 31, when members of our Education Committee have a special occasion planned for our confirmands during coffee hour time to help them celebrate the day.

All Saints Sunday

I am told that All Saints’ Sunday has been a very special day at Resurrection Church, especially musically, when our usual excellence in worship music has been enhanced the more with special musical performances. While we will not enjoy any extra musical offerings beyond our usual musical routine this year, we will observe All Saints by remembering in prayer those who among our church membership and families who have died in the past year. Kindly offer names of those whom you wish to be remembered on All Saints’ Sunday, November 7 by emailing me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Barbara Verdile, Our Regular Music Director!

Finally, it’s my privilege to announce officially that our Congregation Council voted at their October meeting on a search committee’s recommendation that Barbara Verdile be hired as our regular Director Music at Resurrection Church. Thanks be to God, and to Barbara who has accepted this invitation. While we have known Barbara and her musical gifts for two years now in her capacity as interim music director, the search committee did engage Barbara in shared discernment about the call we and she sensed for her to serve as our regular church musician. Indeed, we are thankful for this outcome, another expression of our persistence in claiming some normal routine amidst the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

With these vignettes, it should be clear that the usual momentous routines of our Christian life together proceed and insist even during an ongoing crisis season of challenge to those very routines that we hold dear. Thanks be to God for these normal, but profound occasions in our life together.

For Jesus’ sake,

Pastor Jonathan Linman

A copy of the worship bulletin and a recording of the Service of Holy Communion from 10:00am on Sunday, October 17, 2021, the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, are now available.

 

Pentecost 21/Lectionary 29B, Mark 10:35-45

James and John, sons of Zebedee, also known as the sons of thunder, came to Jesus with a bold, perhaps thunderous, request: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

That’s quite something, but you know what? I applaud their shameless honesty. Because if we are honest with ourselves, many of our prayers can end up sounding like “Lord, please do for us whatever we’re asking you to do.”

Such prayers understandably emerge often from the circumstances of our acute suffering. If that’s the case, pray those prayers. God will sort it all out. But purely self-centered prayers can also come from our lesser angels, for we enter into the life of faith with many mixed motivations informed by the old, sinful Adam in us. We sinners are prone to a tit for tat kind of spirituality driven by what faith in God can do for us.

Again, let’s be honest with ourselves – some of what motivates our church attendance has a lot to do with our expectations of what we personally might get out of being here.

Pastors are not exempt from this dynamic. In fact, pastors might be more prone to self-serving professional motives than many. Given our fallen state, we enter into pastoral ministry and other forms of leadership in the church in part so that we can be personally fed and egotistically puffed up in one way or another. Religious leadership is very seductive in these ways and can attract a lot of the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

Which brings us back to James and John, among the circle of the closest disciples and leaders. Jesus asked the sons of thunder what they wanted. Again, they were shamelessly honest and asked something over the top in keeping with their nickname. “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

That’s quite a request indeed, again revealing the glory seeking that is often behind the motivations to go into public religious leadership.

Jesus was also shamelessly honest in his reply to James and John: “You do not know what you are asking.” Jesus then basically asked them in response: are you able to suffer the things that I am about to suffer?

James and John offered an impetuous, unthinking response: “We are able.”

Jesus then prophetically responds in essence, yes, they’ll undergo suffering in Jesus’ name, but it’s still not Jesus’ authority to grant them to sit at his right or left in glory.

This whole exchange provoked the ire of the other ten disciples who took offense at James’ and John’s pompous request.

In response, Jesus then claimed another occasion to teach the disciples. He said, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers are domineering and lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.”

Gentile rulers, namely the Roman emperors and their governors, were indeed ruthless in their exercise of raw power. They were truly tyrants. Jewish people in Jesus’ day knew this full well from their communal first-hand experience under Roman imperial oppression. Jesus knew tyrannical rule from his time on the cross, a tool of deadly humiliation by those in power.

We’ve seen tyrants throughout human history. And it’s shocking to me today to see how many people in populist, nationalist movements are attracted to authoritarian leaders, so-called strongmen – and yes, they are almost always men….

Jesus, of course, teaches about a different way of leadership. In contrast to the Gentile rulers lording it over their subjects as tyrants, Jesus says, “But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.”

Then in reference to himself, Jesus concludes: “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life [as] a ransom for many.”

What does this servant leadership look like in particular? In the case of Jesus of Nazareth, this leadership has the shape of a cross. That Mark refers here to Jesus giving his life as a ransom for many is yet another pointing to the Passion, the last days of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the atoning effects of Jesus’ self-offering on the cross in love.

But we also see poetic expressions of such servant leadership in the servant song in today’s first reading from Isaiah, passages made famous to many of us by Handel’s Messiah. “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5) Reading aloud these words, I cannot help but hear the music of Handel which adds to the depth, poignancy, and gravitas of Isaiah’s prophetic vision of the suffering servant.

The author of Hebrews, today’s second reading, also reveals the nature of Jesus’ servant leadership, conceived in terms of the priestly nature of Jesus’ ministry, where it reads: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” (Hebrews 5:7) Christ, as our high priest, a mediator between God and humanity, interceded and intercedes on our behalf, and did and does so with empathy, in suffering with us, expressed in loud cries and tears.

This is what it means for Jesus to exercise servant leadership.

But today’s encounter with Jesus in Mark does not end with what Jesus did. No, Jesus calls James and John and the other disciples – and ultimately us – also to the life of servant leadership.

Here’s what Mark reports that Jesus said to James and John: “The cup [of suffering] that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism [of martyrdom] with which I am baptized, you will be baptized….” These words echo through the centuries to us today, we who claim to follow Jesus.

Here’s the thing, engaging again in a moment of reality therapy: How can broken, sinful people who are still beguiled by the ways of worldly power and glory ever hope to be imitators of Christ in servant leadership in how we go about the business of leadership in the church and in the world?

We, of course, cannot do it on our own. That’s the bad news. The good news is that in Christ, we have help. Jesus endured the baptism of his death on the cross which was transformed into the reality of resurrected life. When we are baptized, we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, and thus receive as a gift Christ’s power in en-Spirited sacramentality, to take up the cross to follow him. In short, Christ Jesus leads the way to and opens the door for the possibility of our servant leadership.

Moreover, when we drink from the sacramental cup, we take in what Christ did when he drank the cup of his own suffering. Because Christ drank this cup, we are emboldened to drink from this cup as well, empowering us when we suffer in Jesus’ name. Likewise, when we eat the bread, which for Jesus was bread of tears on the eve before his death on the cross, we receive from Christ what enabled him and us to persevere through a vale of tears.

Think about what happens when we eat and drink at our meals. Whether it’s meat or vegetable, we take into ourselves in dead form what was a living organism. We ingest all of its nutrients, everything that made for its life and vitality. We cannot live without consuming, eating and drinking, that which once also was alive, even if we are vegans. In meat and vegetable, we consume the energy of the sun in the form of carbon, the energies of which make all of life possible.

Eating and drinking, therefore, even commonly understood in our ordinary, everyday life experience, shares in dynamics that parallel and suggest death and resurrection.

How much more so when it is Christ’s very self that we consume. Christ is the cup from which we drink. In drinking from this cup, we take on the energy of the Son – not the solar entity, s-u-n, but the Son, s-o-n, of the living God.

Wow. That is quite something. So, we are not left without the means through which we can be empowered to engage in servant leadership in our ministry and mission.

Another way of putting it is perhaps this: We are what we eat. When we eat and drink Christ, we incorporate his very presence and power which makes it possible for us, even feebly, to offer ourselves to others in loving service.

Still more, that which is foreign to us, alien to us, apart from us, in drinking and eating, we take in, incorporating that otherness into ourselves to become what had been foreign to us, and then to do what is foreign to our nature, namely, to serve and not to be served.

In this sacramental case, it is God’s alien righteousness, a righteousness not our own, which is Christ’s gift to us, that which we eat and drink.

It’s a marvel. So it is that we proclaim, “for as often as [we] eat this bread and drink the cup, [we] proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26)
Then we also proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Thus, through sacramental means in being bathed in the water of baptism, and in eating and drinking in Holy Communion, we can approximate becoming in fits and starts the servant leaders Christ calls us to be precisely because we take on, incorporate Christ’s very powers, his very dynamism, into ourselves so to do. Again, we are what we eat. Or we become what we eat – as Luther said, little Christs for the sake of the world.

Thus, in the length and breadth of Christian history, countless saints immersed in word and sacrament have offered to the world their servant leadership in Jesus’ name, servant leader saints like Martin Luther King, Jr, prophet for justice and martyr; Elizabeth Fedde, Lutheran deaconess who served the downtrodden in Brooklyn; Perpetua and Felicity and companions, martyrs; Oscar Romero, martyr; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyr; Jan Hus, martyr; Bartolome de Las Casas, servant of justice for indigenous people; Florence Nightingale, servant in nursing; Dag Hammarskjold, servant in diplomatic service – to name just a few of those whom we commemorate in our Lutheran calendar of commemorations, persons who offered themselves in loving service in Christ-like fashion.

Thus, too, in Christ, and in communion with countless servant saints, we go out into the world enabled, empowered by word and sacrament to lead in our own fledgling versions of serving. Thanks be to God. Amen. 

Sunday Worship at 10:00 am! See you in church as you are able.

Proposed New Banners Discussion after Coffee Hour This Sunday

Pastor Linman’s Midweek Message this week featured a proposal for a new set of banners for the second-floor windows of our church at the Washington Blvd. entrance. The Congregation Council and Pastor seek your response to this new banner proposal. In addition to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to offer your feedback, you are most cordially invited to a group discussion of the banners proposal this coming Sunday, October 17 after coffee hour at approximately 11:45 in the fellowship hall. Please join us, as your thoughts and opinions are crucial for the sake of our life together.

We Urge You to Bring Vessels from Home for Communion Wine

We have noticed that more and more people are using the disposable plastic cups to receive the wine of Holy Communion. The gift of the Eucharist calls us to be thankful and faithful stewards of God’s good creation. Plastic is among the most grievous causes of many kinds of environmental degradation, and plastic waste is a danger to many animals. Because paper receptacles are not widely available for purchase in our experience, you are urged to bring a reusable receptacle with you from home for use during Holy Communion – an easy way to practice faithful stewardship of the earth!

Collection of Food Items for AFAC, Sunday, October 24

We will receive donations of food items for AFAC on Sunday, October 24 in conjunction with our return to worship indoors.

CROP Walk 2021 on October 16

The annual Church World Service CROP Walk to end hunger will be held on Saturday, October 16. Resurrection’s Social Ministry Committee is convening a group who plan to walk a route together in person in our local neighborhoods. The Resurrection group will convene at the church at 9:30 am on the day of the walk. After we pray together, we’ll begin our journey at 10:00 am, walking down Washington Blvd. on the sidewalks through Westover, and then turning onto Patrick Henry Drive to cross over I66 and turning back via the bike and walking pathways, returning to the church via Ohio Street. Bring your face mask! If you plan to walk with us as a group, please contact Social Ministry Committee Chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., to register. Of course, you are welcome to walk on your own, or simply to contribute. Here is a link that will give still more information about the CROP Walk.

Funeral for Martha Simpson on October 23

We reported in previous announcements that long-time member, Martha Simpson, died. Martha’s funeral will be held at Resurrection on Saturday, October 23 at 2:00 pm, followed by a reception in our fellowship hall. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. The Simpson family will be glad to greet members of Resurrection at the funeral and reception. Former Resurrection assistant pastor, David Schafer, will serve as homilist and otherwise assist during the funeral.

Regular Office Hours Return

On site in person office hours have resumed at Resurrection Church. Regular office hours, when Office Administrator, Monika Carney, and/or Pastor Linman will be in the church office, are Monday-Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00. Because there may be contingencies like running errands, attending meetings, or being called out on emergencies, it would be a good idea to call or email before you stop by just to be certain that Pastor and/or Monika will be available to you.

Altar Flowers Sign Up

In keeping with RELC’s custom prior to the pandemic, we will resume ordering flowers for the chancel, beginning on Rally Day (September 12, 2021). If you would like to participate in flower dedications, please sign up on the calendar, which will be placed in the hallway just outside of the kitchen. Please be sure to inform the church office for whom the flowers should be dedicated to, preceding the Sunday that you have assumed responsibility for the embellishment of the Nave. There will be recognition of your dedication in the church bulletin. Please also note that you will need to submit a $40 check to the church office for the flowers. The check should be paid to the order of Resurrection Lutheran Church, and should include a memo which identifies that the donation is for the church flowers. Sending great thanks to all who partake in serving and glorifying God and RELC, through your gifts of flowers during the worship service.

Caring for our Church Facilities

It has been such a joy for us all to return to Resurrection for in-person Sunday services – not only for the opportunity to reunite with friends but to come back into the sanctuary and facilities that feel like part of our home. There’s a natural inclination to notice where some repairs and improvements could be made, and we are blessed with members in our congregation who are willing to increase their offerings to the church to accomplish those things. But we need to bear in mind that there’s a process for evaluating these renovations to our church facilities to make sure any projects are prioritized, fit within the church’s overall budget and plans for advancing our visions for mission and ministry, and don’t unduly impact other programs or activities. If you see a repair that’s needed or an improvement that should be made, before you think about “just doing it,” please talk with Pastor Linman, Property Committee chair Ted Mortensen, or Council President Glen Mason so that we know about it in advance and have a chance to ensure that it fits with other plans and renovations.

October Financial Update

The below chart is a summary of RELC’s finances for the year to date as of September 30, 2021. The columns titled “(a) YTD Giving,” “(b) YTD Expenses” and “(c) Giving minus Expenses” provide key data for our three primary financial funds.

This data shows that our general fund is currently running significantly below our actual expenses for the year and below our giving levels for this time last year. This trend has been worsening during the first nine months of 2021.

Please continue to donate during our newly reestablished weekly service or send in your contributions through Simply Giving, by using the “Donate Now” button on RELC’s website or by sending your contribution check to the church office in the US Mail.

Please prayerfully consider what this information means to you as we work together to support RELC’s ministries..

  (a) YTD Giving(b) YTD Expenses(c) Giving-Expenses(d) Giving as %
of Budget
(e) Change from
2020 Giving
General Fund 250,368 305,547 (55,179) 65% (11,146)
Benevolence 46,929 37,274 9,655 66% (2,718)
Renovation 11,773 2,500 9,273 98% (3,882)
TOTAL 309,070 345,321 (36,251) 66% (17,746)

 

Helpful Tips for Our Young Families During Worship

For families who feel the need to step out of the Sanctuary, we do have our lounge. Speakers in the space allow you to hear the service so you won’t miss anything. You will find a changing table and a couple of couches, which may be a welcomed sight for nursing mothers.

Worship Videos

For those still unable to worship with us in person, we are creating videos of our Sunday morning worship at the church making them available later in the day on YouTube with links sent via a Constant Contact message. The Sunday bulletin will also be available electronically in the message as well.

Faith Formation Calendar

Click below for the current faith formation calendar that includes activities and resources for all ages:

pdfRELC Home Pentecost Faith Formation Calendar 5/23/2021 - 9/12/2021

Monday Evening Bible Study on Themes of Justice in the Bible

This Bible Study continues on Monday evenings at 6:30 and will meet for several weeks. This series focuses on how themes of justice variously appear in the Bible, in both Hebrew and Christian scriptures. If you are interested in participating, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All are welcome to join in!

For Your Prayers at Home

In addition to our usual prayers of intercession in our home worship, we encourage your prayers throughout the week for the following:

  • Jeanne Broyhill
  • Ellie Barnes
  • Janette Wray
  • Sandy Lindamood
  • Judy Frank
  • Joana Plerpa
  • Effie Stallsmith
  • Malcolm Stark
  • Barb Jensen
  • Charlotte Boeck
  • Lynn Kiewel
  • Phillip Swingler
  • Maria Liwski
  • Tucker Dean
  • Irene Belcher
  • Sharon Kravetz
  • Dipankar Ghosh
  • Analyse, Ramon, and Nicky Villatoro

For those whom you know, consider sending a card, or an email, or make a phone call. These additional expressions of prayerfulness can make a big, healing difference in people’s lives and promote their sense of well-being. For current contact information, if you don’t have it, kindly reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Prayer Requests

Should you desire to make prayer requests for persons you care about, or desire prayer for other concerns, please contact Pastor Linman with those requests: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 703-972-2076. Pastor will make certain that the names you provide will be included in the Prayers of Intercession for Sundays, and for your prayers throughout the week. Making your requests known to Pastor Linman will allow him to follow up with you directly – as your requests for prayer help set the agenda for our Pastor’s ministry at Resurrection Church.

Arlington County Covid-19 Response

Click here for the latest updates on our county’s pandemic response as well as official and current information concerning vaccinations.

Current Routine for Worship Indoors

We continue our worship indoors this Sunday at 10:00am. To alleviate any concerns and to help prepare you for your return, here is what you can expect:

First, out of loving concern for young children and others not yet able to be vaccinated, we ask that ALL worshipers wear facial masks. Secondly, we will maintain physical distancing, erring on the side of caution. These two basic practices serve as the foundation for safety and guide all other practices.

Upon arrival: kindly find your seats promptly on arrival to avoid congregating in the narthex. Every other pew will be available for seating. Please do not try to sit in pews taped off. Ushers will be available to assist you with seating options.

Offering: your offerings will not be collected. However, offering plates located near the front of the church are available for your use. When you come forward for communion, you may place your offering in one of the plates on stands near the chancel.

Communion: Holy Communion will be offered in both kinds, with bread being dropped into your hands, palms facing up, and wine administered from a pouring chalice into a container you bring from home. Intinction, dipping bread into the cup, is not permitted for reasons of hygiene. Communion will be continuous, with worshipers forming one line in the center aisle to receive both bread and wine at the direction of ushers. One side of the church will commune first, and then we’ll move to communing the other side. Return to your seats via the side aisles closest to you.

Upon Departure: kindly leave the nave promptly at the direction of ushers and avoid once again congregating in the narthex. If you wish to remain on church grounds for conversation, and we hope you do, please adjourn to the fellowship hall downstairs or outdoors beyond the Washington Blvd. entrance.

Misc. Considerations: Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers on stands are available for your use in several locations in the church building. If you forget your face mask, we have extras for you, and likewise small paper cups if you forget a container for communion. Worship indoors will be very similar to that which we have been doing outdoors, a simplified, somewhat shorter version of Resurrection’s normal worship practice.

We very much look forward to seeing you in church!

The best ways to contact Pastor Linman

Here are the best and most direct ways to contact Pastor Linman. The email address given for his professional and pastoral use is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Pastor Linman’s direct dial phone number in the church office is: 703-972-2076. Please leave a message there if Pastor does not answer. He monitors and responds to his messages throughout the day even when he's not in the office. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Other Announcements?

Should you have announcements that you wish to communicate in this weekly message as committee chairs or those responsible for other ministry initiatives at Resurrection, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by late Wednesday mornings for inclusion in the message for the coming Thursday. Thanks!

Friday, 08 January 2021 14:01

The Events of January 6, 2021

Dear Friends in Christ:

On Wednesday morning, the day of Epiphany, I recorded and uploaded my sermon for this coming Sunday, the Baptism of Our Lord. Then Wednesday afternoon happened. What a difference a few hours can make in what I might address in a sermon! Nonetheless, my sermon for Baptism of Our Lord has a relevant and important gospel message for the particularities of our time in the life of the world. Thus, I offer this special message to you concerning the events that occurred on the afternoon of the festival of Epiphany. Consider this message an anticipatory addendum to my Sunday sermon, or even an additional sermon in and of itself.

A popular saying is actually from the prophet Hosea: “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7a) Words that form speech are carried on the winds from our lungs. Words matter. Words do things; they have enormous power. Words can generate storms. Here’s how the writer of the letter of James (the study of which is the focus of a new congregational Bible Study) says it: “5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.” (James 3:5-10)

Consider the power of a word, the N word, and the social taboo against uttering it. In that word is cruel power to degrade and dehumanize, so much so that people of good will guard against giving voice to this word.

Some might say words are just words. What’s the harm in speaking our minds without editing our speech and choosing our words carefully? Well, we saw the power of words and of speech and their ill effects in visceral, raw, violent display on Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill, when mobs of people, incited by speech from various leaders and on various media, stormed the Capitol building and put a temporary stop to other forms of speech that focused on the peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of democracy. It was an astonishing and dangerous display, the bitter fruit of months and years of forms of speech that glorified grievance, anger, fear, racism, and more, all forms of speech that serve to destroy, desecrate, to tear down, to end in the ways of chaos and death. Words that deal in desecration and death carry spirits, energies of powers and principalities that are sourced in darkness and evil, in diabolical spirits of deception and false accusation.

But, thanks be to God, that’s not the whole story. Words also serve to create, build up, to nurture life. The first reading for this coming Sunday consists of the first verses of the first creation story in the book of Genesis where “the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2a). A “wind from God swept over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2b). This wind carried the voice of God, the word from God: “‘Let there be light;’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) Once again, words made things happen. In this case, divine words brought light where there was only darkness, order where there was a void of chaos, and ultimately the beautiful created world we inhabit. Such words were full of the creative, life-giving energies of God, that is to say, the Spirit of God.

That same Spirit was active when Jesus was baptized by John in the River Jordan, the gospel reading for this Sunday from Mark. The Spirit there, “descending like a dove on [Jesus]” spoke a word from God: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10b-11) As at the creation, this word from God served to proclaim and embody and give full expression to sacrality, love, relationship, good pleasure and ultimately the world’s salvation, its healing balm in Jesus Christ, the word of God made flesh.

Again, words matter. They have consequences. Words can serve to deal in death. They can serve to give and to nurture life. Words can tear down. They can build up. Spiritual energies are carried in words and in speech. Those spiritual energies can be demonic. They can be divine. Words resulting in ideas and policies ultimately give shape to realities all around us, realities that can degrade, and realities that make for well-being.

What are we to do in response to what unfolded on Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill? The forces of darkness at work there are not going away. Those forces have been around for centuries, but until more recently these energies inhabited more the fringes of society. Now, it’s as if these forces have been unleashed much more in the mainstream of public speech and popular media. Time will tell the extent to which the forces unleashed on Wednesday will persist and spread or retreat back into shadowy corners. So, again, what are we called upon to do and how are we to respond? As individuals? As disciples of Christ? As a congregation? As a nation? It may be too early to tell and to name concrete, specific actions. Let us be in conversation and communal discernment about the emergent particulars.

But in the meantime, there is some clarity. I believe that we are called upon to use our words and speech to name and call out language that emanates from dark and diabolical places, and to do so boldly and publicly. Too many people of good will have been passive and silent for too long, having the effect of appeasing those whose speech runs roughshod over norms of civility, giving the language of violence free reign that results in deeds of violence.

We can attend to our language and the speech of others at home, in the workplace, in places of commerce, at school, on social media, and yes, in church, nurturing in our own speech and in calling out the speech of others, language that makes for life and sacredness, words that are dimensions of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, namely, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22b-23a)

Vigilant attention to the words we choose is no small thing. It can be hard work, especially when the unseemly spirits in us are inclined to lash out in kind at others whose speech demeans, degrades and desacralizes. Moreover, holding others accountable for their speech also is profoundly difficult and requires a great deal of courage. But it is a sacred calling to take seriously the power of language and its effects for good and for ill. For again, speech results in behavior, in actions, in realities that make for life and for death.

Who knows what the coming days, weeks, months, and years will bring and require of us? Again, time will tell. But we are not left alone in these days and in the sacred work to which we are called. The Word and the Spirit that were present at creation and which were present at the Baptism of Our Lord are also present with us to this very day, at our own baptisms, in our own study of and engagement with sacred words of scripture, in words of forgiveness, in our holy conversations with each other. The Word from God, the Spirit of God, give shape and expression to the words we are beckoned to choose, and to the loving, life-giving speech we are compelled to offer for the sake of the world and its healing. In short, God in Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit is with us, leading us all the way in our holy calling for such a time as this, come what may.

God in Christ help us, our nation, and our world,

Pastor Jonathan Linman

Recognizing our high school seniors of the class of 2020!

Dear Friends in Christ:

I want to let you all know that we just received confirmation that my son's surgery is indeed scheduled to take place tomorrow, Good Friday. This will be major surgery to correct the vascular malformation in Nathan's brain that first caused his stroke. Thus, Nathan, his mother, and I covet your prayers for effective, uncomplicated outcomes to this procedure.

Needless to say, my observance of home worship during this Holy Week will focus on my keeping vigil at my son's side, even as I also intend to share with you in using our congregation's worship resources to mark these Three Days. With Nathan's surgery in mind, I created video files of all of my Holy Week and Easter sermons early, so they are all uploaded and ready to go.

I don't know how many days Nathan will be in the hospital—it all depends on how the surgery and his recovery go. While attending to my son is my first priority in the coming days, I also intend to engage in my pastoral responsibilities as well, keeping abreast of church-related emails and phone messages and also preparing sermons for the next Sundays in Easter.

Thanks in advance for your prayers for us, and may you all have blessed and holy Three Days during these most trying and unprecedented times in the life of our congregation and in the world.

Sent with my own prayer for all of you in our life together.....

In Jesus' name,

Pastor Jonathan Linman

Regular Worship Service

Service of Holy Communion will once again be held in the Sanctuary at 10:00am. Everyone is asked to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, and to maintain social dinstance out of respect for those who cannot receive or who have chosen not to receive a Covid vaccine. Please bring a small juice glass, so that you may receive wine with Communion.

 

The Stained Glass Windows in the Nave at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church

Dr. Melvin S. Lange, pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church from 1958 to 1971, prepared the theological material for the artist, Roy Calligan, of the Hunt Stained Glass Studios in Pittsburgh, PA. The meaning of each of the seventeen windows is indicated by a Bible verse. The theme begins with the window to the left of the lectern (when facing the altar) and proceeds around the nave toward the back, and then forward on the opposite side toward the last window to the right of the pulpit.

Stained Glass Windows Information

 

 

We are a church that strives to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). We do justice by serving our community through our social outreach activities and through contributions of finances and member’s time to local programs, including, for example, Lutheran Social Services. We provide opportunities for a rich Christian education to our members and to the community. Many of our members are active in synod activities and in ecumenical activities with other Christians.

We love kindness in the Christian work we do, often quietly but resolutely, for our members and for the community. Benevolence has always been a priority for our church, and we are a significant donor both in our financial resources and, perhaps more importantly to us, our member’s time. We are active with food assistance programs in the Arlington area and to other social service organizations.

We strive to walk humbly with our God in our worship services. We take liturgy, prayer, and music very seriously in our church as a path through which our parishioners can experience the word and sacrament in their lives. Finally, we are excited about offering the sacrament of communion to our parishioners at every Sunday service and believe it is important that we continue to do so.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Metropolitan Washington DC Synod (ELCA)