From the Pastor – December 2016

“My soul  proclaims your greatness, O God, and my spirit rejoices in you; you have looked with love on your servant here, and blessed me all my life through. Great and mighty are you, O Holy One, strong is your kindness evermore. How you favor the weak and lowly one, humbling the proud of heart.”

– Luke 1:46-50 as translated by Marty Haugen for Holden Evening Prayer

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

The words above come from Mary in response to Elizabeth’s greeting declaring that she knew that the child Mary would birth would be the son of her Lord. Earlier Mary had received and eventually accepted an astonishing message from the angel Gabriel. He declared her to be favored by God and therefore was chosen to bear Jesus, the son of God. Now Mary visits her elder relative Elizabeth, who is also miraculously with child because of God’s action. Upon Mary’s arrival, Elizabeth already knows that God has blessed her and made her the mother of Jesus. There’s no getting around what God is doing in Mary and Elizabeth’s lives. Continue reading From the Pastor – December 2016

A Slice of Infinity – From Whom?

The four lines of what is commonly known as the Doxology have been sung for more than three hundred years:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

It has been said that the Doxology, which literally means words or saying of glory, has done more to teach the doctrine of the Trinity than all the theological books ever written. To this day, when I sing those powerful lines, I recall the colorful lesson of my first grade Sunday school teacher. With something like cookie dough and bologna magically falling down on the table before us, she read us the story of a God who made the heavens rain bread and quail so that God’s grumbling people might live and know that God is God. I was impressed. And when we sang the Doxology at the end of the service, I thought it immensely helpful that I knew a little more of what it means when we sing that God is a God from whom all blessings flow. Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – From Whom?

Follow the Christmas Star!

A FREE Christmas Event for Children and Their Families
from Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, December 4th 2016

Looking for a great way to start the Christmas/Advent season with your kids? On Sunday afternoon, December 4th, children dressed as sheep will join their parents (dressed as shepherds) and flock to “Bethlehem” to witness the birth of Jesus, as they participate in a dramatic re-telling of the Christmas story, acted and narrated by Shepherd of the Valley adults and youth. The children will also enjoy singing Christmas carols, making star-shaped Christmas ornaments, and munching star-themed goodies. Continue reading Follow the Christmas Star!

From the Pastor – November 2016

“For in Christ Jesus… the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” – Galatians 5:6Luther Rose

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

Although I’m a Lutheran pastor, I must confess that I have not read all that much of Martin Luther’s writings. With the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation, whose beginning is marked by the nailing of the 95 Theses on the doors of the church at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, there’s been a flurry of activity around learning more than usual about these and following events. Even at SOV we are planning to kick off the year leading up to the anniversary by watching a movie together after worship on October 30 depicting the life of Martin Luther. There are also plans in development to mark this occasion by learning and worshipping with our Roman Catholic neighbors and friends. Continue reading From the Pastor – November 2016

A Slice of Infinity – Images of Things

I was on hold the other day trying to schedule an appointment for a haircut. As I waited for the receptionist, I half-listened to the obligatory recordings. The announcer asked me to consider scheduling a make-over with my upcoming appointment and to make sure I leave with the products that will keep up my new look. (Apparently, when you have a captive audience of customers “muzak” is hardly strategic.) But then I was caught off guard by a question: “What do the local communities of Chad, Africa, mean to you?” The answer he offered was as immediate as my inability to think of one: “Chad is a leading producer of organic acacia gum, the vital ingredient in a new line of products exclusively produced for and available at our salon.” Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – Images of Things

From the Pastor – September 2016

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” – Jeremiah 29:11

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

If you made it to the end of my letter from August that was on the SOV website and Facebook page, you may recognize the above passage from Jeremiah. If you were part of VBS at the end of July, you may remember this being a daily verse and have the tune of the accompanying song stuck in your head as well. If you were part of the SOV Capital Campaign five years ago, you may recall that the last page of the beautiful booklet of Our Journey in Faith contained these prophetic words as well. If none of these apply to you, may you still find encouragement and meaning in them. Continue reading From the Pastor – September 2016

A Slice of Infinity – Our Finest Hour?

Winston Churchill was responsible for some of the most striking and memorable speeches ever delivered. The strong rhetoric he often deployed during the Second World War was of course partly out of necessity, as the country desperately needed inspiration, at a time when the conflict was very much in the balance. One of the most famous messages he ever gave was in 1940, as he sought to prepare the British citizens for the looming Battle of Britain. During it, he stressed that the very future of Christian civilization was at stake and that the country needed to be ready to face the ‘fury and might’ of an enemy that wanted to sink the world into the ‘abyss of a new dark age.’ Whether or not they would succeed was uncertain, but he reiterated that if they succeeded it would be judged by history as ‘their finest hour.’ Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – Our Finest Hour?

SOV’s Congregational Picnic – Aug. 21st

SOV’s Congregational Picnic is August 21st

It’s hard to think about the end of summer before it’s even begun, but here’s a date to set aside: Sunday, August 21st (1:00 PM – 4:00 PM) will be a church picnic at Mirror Lake in Devens, MA.

Come spend an afternoon of relaxation and conversation with the beautiful Directions to Mirror Lake, Devens MAMirror Lake as a backdrop, and you can swim if you wish!

This is a simple event: bring a chair, a sandwich and a drink. If you wish, you can also bring fruit, snacks such as chips or pretzels or a dessert to share.