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Thanksgiving for Baptism

By Vicar Lisa

Welcome from Houston. As some of you may know, I am in Texas this week to perform a memorial service for my sister-in-law Rosanne. I have had some interesting conversations with my niece Madison as we made our plans. I sent her a couple of examples of services based upon Lutheran liturgy and of course, she had questions. First off, she asked, “do we have to include all of these parts in there?” and “I know my mom had her Catholic roots but all of my time knowing her, we were non-denominational.”

Excellent questions from my sweet 22-year-old niece. So, I looked at the liturgy from a different perspective. The typical Lutheran service starts with the gathering, thanksgiving for baptism, a greeting, prayer of the day, the reading of the word, a sermon, a hymn of the day, the creed, prayers of intercession, the Lord’s prayer, and the sending, including the commendation.

What did I believe, as a Lutheran Vicar, must be included. And what were her Catholic relatives going to be expecting? I thought that hitting them with a woman leading the service in an ELCA Lutheran Church would be jarring enough and I didn’t want them to feel we had not done a true and complete tribute. What should I include?

So, I looked at it from my perspective as an ELCA Vicar. What was critical, what was not. I settled on an opening prayer, thanksgiving for baptism, reading of the word, a few songs, some time for sharing personal stories, the Lords’s Prayer, and a commendation. It was still a Christian service with hopefully enough of liturgy to be comfortable for the Lutherans and Catholics but not so liturgical that it will scare off everyone else!

I did have to think a bit about the Thanksgiving for Baptism. Why do we do it? I found a neat write up in a blog. It said “In the Lutheran tradition, we often start worship with either Confession and Forgiveness or Thanksgiving for Baptism.

I think that any time we can acknowledge our messiness and imperfections in church is good. It is such a relief to start worship knowing I’m in a room full of imperfect people who also are sinners and have made mistakes. Publicly sharing that together is a great way to start our time with God. It is great to understand how messy we are, how the world hurts us, and that we need God in our lives.”

I thought, how fitting. Roseanne wasn’t perfect. I am certainly not perfect. We are all messy and imperfect and the world hurts us all. And we all need God in our lives. And the Thanksgiving for Baptism gives us the promise that since “Christ was raised from the dead by the Glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with Christ, we shall certainly be united with him in resurrection. That, dear people of God, is good news worth sharing!

Sunday, 24th Sunday after Pentecost, -- Nov. 12

10 a.m. Worship

Flowers – Given by Kathy Nicolai for the love of Zion’s Lutheran!


  • Reminder: Church council meets on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 11:30 a.m. in the fellowship hall. All are welcome to attend.
  • Congregational Meeting: Our constitution requires that we give at least 30 days’ notice prior to a vote to amend the constitution or by-laws. This gives the voting members time to review the proposed changes and comment. We had to cancel our congregation meeting on Sunday, Oct. 29, due to the weather. You will receive another revised constitution and by-laws document sometime during the week of Nov. 13-19 and we will reschedule the congregation meeting to vote on the changes for Dec. 17. Please contact Julie, or any other council member if you have any questions.
  • Coat Drive: We have extended the deadline for collecting coats and warm clothes, and socks for those in need. Please bring to the fellowship hall.
  • 30th Annual Community Thanksgiving: Work is underway for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. This ministry requires support from many people starting now. Monetary donations are helpful and can be given electronically through Zion’s donation website via the Tithely portal. Checks can be written to Zion’s Lutheran with a note in the memo line “Thanksgiving” and mailed to the church or placed in the offering plate.

Time and food donations also are needed. Please reach out to Norine Hazen to volunteer time, to make an in-kind donation, or to request someone to pick up of your monetary donation.

The Thanksgiving Team also is working to identify individuals who may need meals delivered. If you know of someone who needs a Thanksgiving meal, please share that information with Norine Hazen, Peggy Gustafson, or Jo Moss.

E-formation – 24th Sunday after Pentecost

The readings appointed for the Sundays in November deal with the end: the conclusion of the liturgical year, one’s own death, the end of the earth as we know it, and even the “dying” of vegetation around those of us who live in the northern hemisphere. At the end of everything is God, and in the readings, we encounter this God already arriving for us, with the promised feast begun in our meal of bread and wine.

Matthew 25:1-13

For millennia humans have told disaster stories about the end. Christians too speak of the coming of the end of things. Yet Christians also see in the resurrection of Jesus Christ already the end of the old and the beginning of the new. Thus, we are already the bridesmaids who enjoy the feast, for when praying in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-46), Jesus kept awake for us.

Amos 5:18-24

The Amos passage is chosen to emphasize Matthew’s repeated call for justice. Amos’s imagery of being chased by wild animals contrasts with Matthew’s imagery of the wedding banquet: throughout the Bible, God is known for both justice and mercy.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The lectionary’s appointing 1 Thessalonians during November brings Paul’s eschatological predictions to the same Sunday as the parable of the bridesmaids. We who no longer accept a three-tier universe can use this description as a metaphor for the total transformation of the entire cosmos at the arrival of God. Life from God will conquer death.

Zion's Lutheran Church