Worship Series for April 7 – May 19

What we believed to have been dead has been revealed to be alive.  Like a garden lying dormant, new growth has begun and something wonderful is emerging.  Like a bud bursting into a blossom, a new story is unfolding, right before our very eyes.  

Throughout the Easter season, this worship series explores themes of renewal, reconciliation, and resurrection, echoing the hope of Jesus’ triumph over destruction and death. Through the scriptures we’ll share, the music we’ll listen to and sing, and as the community comes to life, we’ll rediscover our identities as cherished children of God and stewards of creation. As Easter blossoms into Pentecost, let’s be empowered by the Holy Spirit, embarking on a mission to cultivate God’s kingdom here on earth.

Sunday, April 7 | 8:30am & 10:45am Worship – Morning Glory
Text: Acts 1:1-14 – Morning Glory
Preaching: Debbie Jorgen
Morning glories are known for their trumpet-shaped blooms that open in the morning and close in the afternoon. This blooming pattern reflects the idea of ascending towards the light, which can be likened to the Ascension narrative in Acts, where Jesus ascends into heaven.

Just as the morning glory blooms towards the light of the sun, Christians believe in ascending towards the divine and heavenly realms through Christ. The Ascension marks the culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry and his return to the Father, symbolizing the fulfillment of his mission and the promise of eternal life for believers.

Therefore, the morning glory serves as a metaphor for the upward movement and transcendence depicted in the Ascension story, illustrating the journey towards spiritual fulfillment and union with God.

Sunday, April 14 | 8:30am & 10:45am Worship – Lotus Flower
Text: John 20: 19-31
Preaching: Emma Gray, Student Leader, Lutheran Campus Ministry – TC
Musical Guests: MN Boychoir
Jack & Ruby Roe baptized at the10:45am service. The family is hosting a lunch following worship – all are welcome to attend.

In Christian symbolism, doubt can be likened to the muddy waters in which the lotus grows. Despite the doubts and uncertainties that may cloud one’s faith, like the lotus rising from the murky depths, faith can emerge and blossom into something beautiful and strong. Just as the lotus symbolizes purity and enlightenment emerging from darkness, doubt can lead to a deeper understanding and stronger conviction in one’s faith when properly navigated and embraced.

Sunday, April 21 | 8:30am & 10:45am Worship – Thistle
Text: Acts 17:1-9, 1 Thess. 1:1-10
Preaching: Pastor Peter Christ
Zander Schaefer baptized at the 10:45am

Thistles are known for their prickly nature and tendency to grow in difficult or disturbed environments. In Acts 17, the uproar in Thessalonica occurred when Paul and Silas preached the Gospel, stirring up controversy and opposition among certain groups in the city.

Just as thistles can thrive in harsh conditions and symbolize resilience in adversity, the uproar in Thessalonica highlights the challenges and opposition faced by early Christians as they spread their message. The thistle serves as a metaphor for the tumultuous environment and the prickly resistance encountered by Paul and Silas in Thessalonica, yet despite the obstacles, the message of Christianity persevered and continued to spread.

Sunday, April 28 | 8:30am & 10:45am Worship – Rose
Text: Acts 18:1-4, 1 Cor. 1:10-18
Music Experience:  Masterworks – The Rose of Calvary
“The Rose of Calvary is a fairly long cantata but I am planning to cut a few of the pieces. For a Masterworks Sunday we often have an opening hymn, some announcements and prayers and then present the cantata followed by a final hymn. I don’t think we’ll need either a sermon or communion as it stands now.”

The image of a sacred flower, a divine rose, from heaven’s own garden blooming in the shadows of our world is a portrait of hope and comfort.  When translated into music, it becomes a song that speaks to our deepest needs for restoration and redemption.  It sings to us of gardens lost to sin and despair.  It reveals to us a lonely garden where ancient olive trees stand silent witness to the suffering of the savior.  It sings of a garden meant for death suddenly springing to life in a shower of joyful alleluias.  It is God’s tender love song reminding us all that we are children of the garden.  Finally, at its heart, it is the music of one truly perfect Rose, who, choosing grace, died for his beloved thorns.

Sunday, May 5 | 8:30am & 10:45am Worship – Sunflower
Text: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Preaching: Rev. Dr. Steve Thomason, Luther Seminary Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation & Discipleship
Sunflowers are known for their vibrant appearance and their characteristic of turning towards the sun, symbolizing warmth, positivity, and growth. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul emphasizes the supremacy of love over spiritual gifts and actions. He describes love as patient, kind, and selfless, highlighting its enduring and transformative nature.

Similarly, sunflowers represent qualities of warmth, kindness, and growth. They turn towards the sun, symbolizing an inclination towards positivity and light. Just as sunflowers thrive in the presence of sunlight, love flourishes in relationships and communities, bringing warmth, compassion, and growth. The sunflower serves as a metaphor for the transformative power of love, echoing Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

Sunday, May 12 | 8:30am & 10:45am Worship – Easter Lily
Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-26, 51-57
Preaching: Pastor Peter Christ
Special Music:  Men’s Ensemble
The Easter lily is often associated with resurrection, renewal, and purity, making it a fitting metaphor for the themes present in Paul’s message. In 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, Paul speaks of the transformation that will occur at the resurrection, where mortal bodies will be clothed with immortality, and death will be swallowed up in victory.

Similarly, the Easter lily emerges from the earth as a symbol of new life and rebirth, breaking through the darkness of the soil to bloom into a beautiful flower. It represents the victory of life over death, mirroring the victory over death through Christ’s resurrection as described by Paul. Therefore, the Easter lily serves as a poignant metaphor for the hope and triumph found in the resurrection, as articulated in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57.

Sunday, May 19 | 8:30am & 10:45am Worship – Gardenia
Text: Acts 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 12:1-13
Preaching: Pastor Peter Christ
Pentecost & Volunteer Recognition / Music Sunday
The gardenia is known for its fragrant and beautiful white flowers, but what makes it particularly suitable for this metaphor is the fact that it often grows in clusters, with multiple blooms on a single plant. This clustering represents the diversity of gifts and talents within the Christian community that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12. Just as each gardenia bloom contributes to the overall beauty of the plant, each member of the body of Christ brings unique gifts and abilities to the community.

Furthermore, the fragrance of the gardenia is pervasive and intoxicating, much like the way Paul describes the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Just as the scent of the gardenia fills a space, the spiritual gifts of each member of the body of Christ permeate and enrich the entire community.

Overall, the gardenia serves as a fitting metaphor for the unity, diversity, and interconnectedness of believers within the body of Christ, as articulated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:1-13.