“Beneath the Cross of Jesus”
Our Lenten journey together begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, as we embark on what it might have been like to stand with others “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” on that horrible Friday when Christ was crucified.
Listen to the first verse of the hymn we are focusing on to see what we will be encountering in the next few Sundays leading up to our resurrection victory on Easter Sunday:
“Beneath the cross of Jesus, I long to take my stand;
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land,
A home within a wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat and the burdens of the day.”
With that in mind, here is what the preaching series will highlight, based on the seven last words that Jesus spoke from the cross:
On March 1, the sermon title is: “Father, Forgive Them For They Know Not What They Do,” – as Jesus, in His physical agony, cries out to God in asking forgiveness for those who have beaten, spit, whipped, mocked, and nailed His body to the tree.
On March 8, the sermon title is: “Truly, Truly, I Tell You, Today You Will Be With Me in Paradise,” – as Jesus promises the repentant thief crucified with Him at Calvary.
On March 15, the sermon title is: “Behold Your Son, Behold Your Mother,” – as a dying Jesus turns over the care of His mother, Mary, to His beloved disciple, John. We will be looking at the Gospel narrative found in John 19: 26-27 on this Sunday.
On March 22, the sermon title is: “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” as Jesus cries these agonizing words from the cruelty of the cross.
On March 29, the sermon title is: “I Thirst,” and we will contrast the physical thirst of Jesus with His offer of Living Water” to sinners and His command to “Take and Drink” as He instituted Holy Communion.
On April 5, the sermon title is: “It Is Finished,” as we look at how Jesus completed His mission on earth.
On Good Friday, April 10, the sermon title is: “Father, Into Your Hands I Commend My Spirit” as we learn how Jesus took command over death and willingly died to redeem us from our sins.
On Easter Sunday, April 12, the sermon title is: “Truly This Was The Son of God,” as we bask in the Resurrection Son-light even as the Roman Centurion at the foot of cross makes the first declaration of the victory of our Conquering Lord.
Plan to attend these thought-provoking worship experiences as we weave our prayers into the fabric of those who have pondered before us. It might seem like a tragically awful journey to take. But remember, our God promises “We Will Never Walk Alone” and that a rainbow awaits us on the other side.
“Help Us Meet the Basic Needs of Survivors of Violence”
Salem Lutheran Church is a designated drop-off site for a Basic Needs Drive hosted by the Washburn County Coordinated Community Response Team (CCR). Throughout the month of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, donated items that include Ladies’ Sports Bras, Socks, Underwear, Deodorant, Tampons and Maxi Pads, are being collected. These items are often needed by victims of domestic violence – they are all essential needs of many survivors who are left without them when they leave an abusive relationship. You can donate these newly purchased, unopened items and drop them off in Pastor Sue’s office at Salem Lutheran Church.
Pastor Sue has been a member of the CCR and “Embrace” teams for several years. As a partner in this effort, she has completed two intensive educational training sessions — one for several days in Chicago – and meets regularly with other team members from the county medical, police, and social services communities.
Last April, the people of Salem Lutheran Church hosted a special event that addressed child safety as part of Child Abuse Awareness Month. On Sunday, April 7, from 10:30-12:30 p.m. in the Salem Fellowship Hall, we teamed up with “Embrace” of Washburn County to present an awareness program entitled “Darkness to Light.”
The program is an evidence-based prevention training that teaches people how to prevent, recognize and react to child sexual abuse. The “Darkness to Light” organization is based in Charleston, South Carolina, and focuses on five steps to protecting children:
- Learn the Facts – in over 90% of the child sexual abuse cases reported, the child knows the perpetrator. Statistics show that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday
- Minimize the Opportunity – more than 80% of child sexual abuse incidents occur when children are in isolated, one-on-one situations with adults or other youths
- Talk about it – Open conversations with children about body safety, sex, and boundaries is one of the best defenses against child sexual abuse
- Recognize the Signs – The most common symptoms of child sexual abuse are emotional or behavioral changes
- React Responsibly – Intervening when boundaries are crossed or reporting abuse when suspected is critical to protecting all children from sexual abuse
Although teaching children about their bodies and boundaries is important, protecting children is an adult responsibility. The “Embrace” presentation at Salem included a video that featured survivors who lived through child sexual abuse and experienced its immediate and long-term effects. They were eventually able to find healing.
The people of Salem Lutheran also hosted a learning event for our confirmation students and their parents, also led by our county “Embrace” staff. Pastor Sue has also toured a “Time-Out Family Abuse Shelter” in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. The shelter houses Washburn County family members as well as people from other communities. A facility Crisis Line is open 24 hours a day at 1-800-924-0556.
For more information about our Basic Needs of Survivors of Violence efforts in October, call Pastor Sue at 1-612-229-8885.
A History of Salem Lutheran Church
Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Salem Church, now known as Salem Lutheran Church, was established in Shell Lake, Wisconsin on December 22, 1888 by a Swedish circuit pastor, John D. Nelsenius and 14 Swedish settlers. To meet their increasing needs, a new Swedish Lutheran Church was built at the corner of 8th Avenue and 2nd Street in the town of Shell Lake in 1895. The name of the church was officially changed to Salem Lutheran Church in 1953.
In 1967 the Heart Lake and Salem congregations merged into Salem Lutheran Church in Shell Lake, and in 1969 Salem built a new parsonage in the Ridgeway addition of Shell Lake. Groundbreaking for a new Salem Lutheran Church began in 1981 and a formal dedication of the new church was held on September 19, 1982; its’ location very nearly in the footprint of the old church at 8th Avenue and 2nd Street in Shell Lake.
The build-up to the 1988 Centennial of Salem Lutheran Church began in 1987 with A World Day of Prayer on March 6; the Heart Lake Pilgrimage on August 30; the Santa Lucia Breakfast on December 12; and the New Year’s Eve Watch on December 31. The official year of the 1988 Centennial Celebration began with the presentation of a Historical Quilt on January 3; Recognition Sunday on May 15; Midsummer Festival on June 25; the Bell Tower was erected on August 3; and culminating in the 100 years of history Centennial activities August 12 – 14, 1988.