May 2024

“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enables them.”

(Acts 2:3-4)

On the Sunday after Easter, I attended worship.  It was a wonderful experience.  It was my first time attending worship since the beginning of February.  Hearing the Word of God and the message of Christ’s victory over death brought a comfort that lasted for the days that followed, making my week much better than it otherwise it would have been.  Without a doubt, I participate in worship weekly, often multiple times every week.  However, as I do so, I am leading the worship.  It is a rare treat for me to be able to sit in a pew, hear the message of the Gospel proclaimed to me, and simply enjoy singing hymns with the rest of the people in church.

Pentecost stained-glass window from King of Kings Lutheran Church, Little Rock, AR. Designed and produced by Adam Zuleger

If you are living overseas as an expat or as a member of the military, regularly attending worship can be a real challenge.  You may have to go weeks or months without receiving communion due to where you live or to the job that you do.  Going through Catechism class the pastor impressed upon you the importance of attending worship regularly and properly preparing for and receiving Holy Communion.  However, you were probably not taught what to do if you don’t live within a day’s drive of a location at which you can receive Holy Communion, or if you live in a country without a congregation with which you share fellowship.

As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost, one of the great festivals of the Christian Church year, it is a good time to remind ourselves of how we became Christians in the first place and how our faith stays strong.  It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit that we came to faith.  Whether through baptism or the hearing of the Gospel, our faith is a God-given gift worked by the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

The work of the Holy Spirit takes place through the Gospel, no matter the context in which that Gospel is proclaimed.  It is through the Word and the Sacraments that our faith is strengthened.  The message of our forgiveness earned by Jesus brings comfort to us no matter where we are in the world or who happens to be around us.  This Gospel is effective as it is proclaimed in chapels on military bases.  It lifts the burdens of life from our shoulders when we have family devotions in our homes.  It gives us peace when we read the Word of God and are reminded that while we are not perfect, Jesus is perfect.  He lived the perfect life God demands of us and offered the perfect sacrifice to ensure we would be forgiven.

The crowds at Pentecost did not return to their respective homes in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Rome, etc., to find large congregations in which they had many others to join with in worship.  However, those new believers returned with hearts full of joy in the knowledge of forgiveness and filled with the faith that the Holy Spirit had worked within in them.  That same Holy Spirit has worked faith in your heart.  The Gospel feeds our faith and nourishes our souls.  It reminds us that we are not alone in this world.  It encourages us with the knowledge that when we feel overwhelmed in our lives, the almighty God is still with us and has promised to help us.

How, then, should we deal with the challenges of living away from churches or fellow Christians with whom we have fellowship?  The Book of Acts gives us a good outline of what to do.  Quality food nourishes our bodies, no matter how elaborate or simple the plate on which it is served.  So it is with the Gospel.  The message of our salvation in Jesus is powerful and comforting, no matter context in which it is proclaimed.  If you live near a location in which we regularly conduct worship in Europe, come join your fellow believers to hear the Gospel.  Watch services online if you are distant from regular worship locations.  Request a visit from the chaplain to receive Word and Sacrament.  Read the Bible and talk about it with your family.  Reach out to a friend who is having a difficult time and share with them the hope that you have in Christ.

During May we will celebrate both Ascension and Pentecost.  Why not make this the month that you read through the Book of Acts and see how the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of those early Christians who went home to small groups of believers?  Consider those lessons and apply them to your life as you live overseas.  Most importantly, remember that the same God who watched over those early believers is watching over you.  The same Jesus who died for them died also for you.  The very heaven in which those early believers now live is the home to which you will one day go as well.

Until you reach that heavenly home, look at the world in which you live and find those blessings God gives you every day as his redeemed child in Christ.  We are truly blessed to live under God’s grace.  Let us seek to be a blessing to others by sharing that Gospel and the grace it brings.

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were saved.”

(Acts 2:47)

European Catechism Class

Our final Catechism class for WELS children living in Europe was on Sunday, April 28.  One student from our class was confirmed on Easter Sunday in Heidelberg, Germany.  A second student will be confirmed in Spain in the near future.

As we look forward to starting Catechism class again this fall, I would ask those interested in having their children attend class contact me as soon as possible at [email protected] to plan ahead.  An official start date will be established in the near future, but having a general number of who will be in the class and where they live is very helpful.

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss

Fall Retreat 2024

We will hold our Fall Retreat on November 1-3 in Nürnberg.  Our place of lodging is the Jugendherberge Nürnberg, located in the old city city-center immediately adjacent to the Kaiserburg.  Further information on this will be distributed as the Fall Retreat approaches

Worship Time at Ramstein Air Base

Our worship time at the North Chapel at Ramstein is now 1500.  The reason for this change is the renovation work at Vogelweh Chapel, requiring a shift of worship times for the other chapels on base.  Please plan accordingly if you plan to join us for worship at Ramstein.

Worship Schedule for May 2024

  • May 5:  Stuttgart (1600)
  • May 12: Wicker (1100) Ramstein (1500)
  • May 16:  Munich (1830)
  • May 18:  Vilseck/Rose Barracks (1100)
  • May 19:  Zurich (1100)
  • May 26, 2024: Wicker (1100) Ramstein (1500)

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