Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Evening Prayer, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.

The livestream may be found here.


EVENING PRAYER    Vespers

on the eve of St Michael and All Angels

(Lutheran Book of Worship, page 142)

 As All Saints’ Day (together with All Souls’) is a reminder of the size of the one church in heaven and on earth, so this feast of Michael and the angels is a reminder of the breathtaking size of creation, seen and unseen. The feast teaches an understanding that there are aspects of reality beyond what can be grasped with the senses. Angels, like mortals, are children of the infinite imagination of God. They are a higher order of beings, whose service of God is nonetheless joined with ours (see 2 Kings 6:15-17), and the function of the Preface in the Eucharist is to join mortal songs with the perpetual praise offered by the angelic choirs of heaven.

Following Judaism, Christianity (followed in turn by Islam) speaks of an order of heavenly messengers, the angels, created by God to do his bidding and differing from humans by having a fully spiritual nature and no physical body. They are mentioned by Jesus as watching over children (Matt. 18:10) and rejoicing over penitent sinners (Luke 15:10), and there are numerous references to them throughout Scripture. Michael the archangel is mentioned in the books of Daniel, Jude, and Revelation, as well as in apocryphal literature.  Philip Pfatteicher

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Evening Prayer, August 17, 2022, 7 p.m.

 The livestream may be found here.

EVENING PRAYER (Vespers)

Stephen, King of Hungary, 1038 (transferred from August 16)


(Lutheran Book of Worship, page 142)


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Evening Prayer: August 10, 2022, 7:00 p.m.

  The livestream may be found here.

EVENING PRAYER (Vespers)

Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr at Rome, 258

Lawrence (or Laurence) was born, perhaps of Spanish parents, in the early part of the third century. While still a young man he came to Rome where Bishop Sixtus (Xystus) II ordained him deacon, and he was made the chief of the seven deacons of Rome, responsible for the distribution of the charities of the Church and the care of its properties.


In 257 the Roman emperor Valerian began a vigorous persecution of the Church, aimed primarily at the clergy and laity of the upper classes. All the properties of the Church were confiscated, and assemblies for worship were forbidden. On August 4, 258, Sixtus II, who had just become the Bishop of Rome the year before, and his deacons were apprehended at the cemetery of Callistus where they were celebrating the liturgy, and all except Lawrence were summarily executed and buried in the same cemetery. The Roman calendar commemorates them on August 7 as "St. Sixtus II. Pope, and Companions, Martyrs." Lawrence, who knew of the location of the Church's treasure, was tortured and then executed three days later, August 10.


The traditions that have come down to us concerning the martyrdom are unreliable, but they are nonetheless amusing. When the prefect of Rome demanded the treasures, Lawrence is said to have gathered together a great number of the blind, the lame, the maimed, lepers, orphans, and widows of Rome, brought then to the prefect's palace, and declared to him, "Here is the treasure of the Church.' It is said that the behavior of Lawrence in prison was such as to have led to the conversion and baptism of his jailer Hippolytus and his family. Lawrence was, tradition says, condemned to die slowly and painfully by being roasted on an iron grill. Even there Lawrence's courage and humor were apparent, for he is reported to have said to his executioners at one point in the procedure, "I am done on this side; turn me over." (More probably, Lawrence was beheaded, as was Sixtus, as was customary with Roman citizens.)


St. Lawrence met his death August 10, 258, and his feast is listed in the martyrologies as early as the fourth century. During the reign of the emperor Constantine, a church was built over his tomb in the catacomb on the Via Tiburtina. I: was enlarged by Pelagius II (579-590) into the basilica now known as St. Lawrence outside the Walls (San Lorenzo fuori de Mura) and became one of the seven principal churches of Rome and a favorite place for Roman pilgrimages.


The torture and execution of a Roman citizen by Roman authorities made a deep impression on the young Church, which was stunned by such hostility, and his martyrdom was one of the first to be commemorated by the Church.

- Philip Pfatteicher, New Festivals and Commemorations                                                


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Evening Prayer, August 3, 2022, 7 p.m.

 The livestream may be found here.

EVENING PRAYER (Vespers)

Joseph of Arimathea (transferred from August 1)

Joseph of Arimathea is the disciple of Jesus who is remembered for his brave act of generosity. After the crucifixion he asked Pilate for the body of Jesus and 'wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb. Matthew says that Joseph was a rich man and that it was he who rolled the great stone to the door of the tomb; Mark describes Joseph as ‘a respected member of the council [the Sanhedrin] who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God,’ and adds the detail that Joseph bought the linen burial cloth. Luke notes that although Joseph was a member of the council ‘he had not agreed to their plan and action’ and makes it explicit that no one had ever been put in the new tomb; John indicates that Joseph was a ‘secret’ disciple of Jesus and associates him with Nicodemus. Nothing further is known of him.

By the fourth century, legends about Joseph were in circulation. In the middle of the thirteenth century appears the story of his being sent by St Philip from Gaul to be a missionary to Britain. He took with him, the legend says, the chalice used at the Last Supper, the Holy Grail, containing the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. At Glastonbury Joseph struck his staff into the earth and from it grew the Glastonbury Thorn. The thorn was hacked down by a Puritan but the thorn that grows there to this day came from a shoot of it. Glastonbury was long honored as the holiest place in England.

A still more curious story is that Joseph was a tin merchant, and long before he was sent by Philip to preach the Gospel, he came often to the tin mines of Cornwall. Joseph, the legend says, was an uncle of the Virgin Mary and brought the young Jesus on one of his voyages. William Blake with delicate questions refers to this legend in his lines that are still sung as a hymn,

And did those feet in ancient time/walk upon England’s mountains green?

And was the holy Lamb of God/in England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine/shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here,/among those dark Satanic mills?

These stories, lovely as they are but without any historical foundation, were given wide credence and made Joseph of Arimathea a greatly loved figure in England.

- Philip Pfatteicher, New Festivals and Commemorations                                                


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Evening Prayer, July 27, 2022, 7 p.m.

 The livestream may be found here.


EVENING PRAYER (Vespers)

Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750; Heinrich Schuetz, 1672; George Frederick Handel, 1759; Musicians

(Lutheran Book of Worship, page 142)

These three German-born musicians have done much to enrich the life of the church. Sch├╝tz was an early master who focused on settings of biblical texts. Bach wrote over 300 cantatas along with works for organ and instrumental pieces, and has been called the "fifth evangelist" for the way he proclaimed the gospel in music. Handel's great work, Messiah, is a setting of scriptural texts.


Monday, July 18, 2022

Sermon - July 17, 2022: Luke 10:38-42, Colossians 1:15-2:8

'Some people have a strange term or expression for what’s going on here today. The expression is ‘worship service.’ What can that mean? What is the service that takes place at a service of worship? Who is serving, and who is being served?'

Monday, July 11, 2022

Sermon July 10, 2022: Luke 10:25-37

 What’s so wrong with such an innocent question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ But after the first serpentine question, ‘Did God really say?’ there are indeed no completely innocent questions about God’s will. We can’t go back to a state of grace where our sinful assumptions and desires don’t in some way infect even our most innocently-meant questions about God’s word.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Holy Communion on the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, July 10, 2022, 9:30 a.m.

 The livestream may be found here. 



This picture was taken inside a replica of a typical nineteenth-century Swedish schoolhouse at Skansen, an open-air museum of history and culture in Stockholm. Posters to illustrate Biblical stories were common in these schools, as in American schools of the time. The depiction might have been especially memorable in a world without television, color photography, or even easy access to books. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Evening Prayer: July 6, 7 p.m.

 The livestream may be found here.


EVENING PRAYER (Vespers)

Jan Hus, Martyr, 1415

(Lutheran Book of Worship, page 142)

Hus was a Bohemian (present-day Czech Republic) priest who spoke against abuses in the church, and was seen by Martin Luther as his predecessor in the reforming movement. He was found guilty of heresy by a council of the church, and burned at the stake.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Sermon - July 3, 2022

 'One’s earthly freedoms, Jesus seems to say, can and often must be limited or given away completely for the sake of others.'

Monday, June 20, 2022

Sermon 06.19.2022 - Luke 8:26-39

'Now from what we know of Jesus, we believe he will instantly grant the man’s request and allow him to come with him. Jesus loves people, and he loved the man so much as to cleanse him from evil spirits. Plus, he wants more disciples. But instead we are told that Jesus ‘sent him away.’ Why would Jesus do this seemingly non-loving, non-welcoming thing?'

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Evening Prayer, June 15, 2022, 7 p.m.

 The livestream may be found here.


EVENING PRAYER (Vespers)

Macrina, Basil, Gregory of Naziansus, Gregory of Nyssa

(Lutheran Book of Worship, page 142)


Monday, June 13, 2022

Sermon June 12, 2022 - Trinity Sunday

 Who, or what, is Jesus of Nazareth?

A very religious man?

An avatar or manifestation of God, or one of the gods?

What do we believe about Jesus?

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Evening Prayer, June 8, 2022, 7 p.m.

The livestream may be found here.


EVENING PRAYER (Vespers)

Sealth (Seattle), Chief of the Duwamish Confederacy, 1866 - transferred from June 7 

(Lutheran Book of Worship, page 142)



Monday, June 6, 2022

Sermon for Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 2022

'For people of Northern climates, the story of Jesus

as experienced in the liturgical year

is mirrored so perfectly in the coming forth of light from darkness

over the six months from December to June

that it seems that Nature herself echoes the Gospel story

proclaimed in Scripture and hymn and sermon.'

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Evening Prayer not live-streamed tonight

Due to a school concert which I must attend, there will be no live-streamed Evening Prayer tonight. 

May God bless you and keep you this night under the shadow of his wings.

- Pastor Frontz

Sunday, May 29, 2022

No livestream this morning

 Regular Sunday morning live-streaming will resume next week, June 5, at 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Sermon - May 1, 2022 (Third Sunday of Easter)

'But if you come to worship and call yourself a Christian, and you say you believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, and then you don’t know what it is, whose fault is that? That’s my fault.'

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Sermon - April 24, 2022

'It is only in this way, Jesus knows, that Thomas can be convinced – not because Thomas is a particularly suspicious person who won’t believe without proof, but because his innocence has been stripped from him, torn cruelly from him by the violence visited upon Jesus, and the only way he can regain it is to know and see for himself that the guilty world has not been able to destroy the one in whom he had so trustingly believed.'

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Holy Communion on Easter Day, April 17, 2022, 10:30 a.m.

The livestream may be found here.

OPENING MUSIC                                 

        Welcome, Happy Morning - Charles Ore

 

Choir                                                                                                Spring Bursts Today                         Text/ Christina Rosetti; Music/ Sam Batt Owens

 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday. April 14, 7:00 p.m.

The livestream may be found here. 


OPENING MUSIC    The Passion Chorale/ O Sacred Head

I.                    J. S Bach                                                                                                    II. Jean Langlais

Stand

W HYMN             Chief of Sinners though I Be                            Green LBW 306 

 

Maundy Thursday Service is at 7:00 p.m. - please join us!

 


Monday, April 11, 2022

Holy Week Services 2022

Please join us for our services of worship this Holy Week.

Maundy Thursday     April 14, 2022, 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday              April 15, 2022, 12:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The Vigil of Easter    April 16, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Day                April 17, 2022, 10:30 a.m.

      Feel free to join us for our Easter breakfast from 8:30 - 10 a.m.!

Read about our Walk for Water on Sunday, May 15!

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Wednesday night bible study is back!

 


ZOOM Bible Study - Wednesdays at 7:30 PM.

Focus:  The prophet Amos.  The prophetic word both judges the infidelity of the people Israel and proclaims God's continuing faithfulness.

 Please email Pastor Frontz at pastor@ststephenpittsburgh.org for your Zoom invitation.  Everyone is welcome to attend!




Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Evening Prayer: April 6, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

The livestream may be found here.


 Hymns: 

ELW  563 (WOV 728)  O Light Whose Splendor Thrills and Gladdens

ELW 233 Let My Prayer Rise Before You

LBW 112, Part VII (st. 19, 20, 21)  Jesus, I Will Ponder Now

ELW 251 (WOV 730) My Soul Proclaims Your Greatness


Some of these texts are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced here. Should you need an LBW or WOV for home use, please contact me and we will get you a copy free of charge.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Sermon: Lent 5C, April 03, 2022

'Sometimes ‘just’ listening is what people need. (Why do we say ‘just’ listening as if listening is somehow not really important? Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that the first service we owe to others is to listen to them.)'

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Evening Prayer: Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 6:30 pm

 The livestream may be found here.


 Hymns: 

ELW  563 (WOV 728) O Light Whose Splendor Thrills and Gladdens

ELW 233 Let My Prayer Rise Before You

LBW 112, Part III (st. 7,8,9)  Jesus, I Will Ponder Now

ELW 251 (WOV 730) My Soul Proclaims Your Greatness


Some of these texts are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced here. Should you need an LBW or WOV for home use, please contact me and we will get you a copy free of charge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Sermon, March 27, 2022 (Lent 4C)

 

'The extravagant gesture of the father, beyond any semblance of proportion, explodes the world the brothers live in, the world we live in. Deserve; owe; earn; but the father instead is full of joy.'

Monday, March 21, 2022

Sermon March 20, 2022 - 3 Lent

'(I)t should be obvious that Isaiah 55 is not really talking about junk food. It’s junk ideas – and they usually attack us when we’re unfocused, when we’ve been working and dealing with all of the stuff life brings to us, and then the junk idea gets us. Junk ideas about God get in and fill our exhausted brains.' 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Lenten Minute - Thursday, March 17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Did you know that he was not Irish, but English? Then why is he the saint of Ireland? Let us know in the comments.

The statement ‘We go to church to meet God’ raises the question, ‘Do I have to go to church to meet God?’
Yes, God is present everywhere in his creation: in nature, in the joy of family, in the togetherness of the national community, in the privacy of prayer. In that sense, one can be with God anywhere. And it is appropriate to remember that, especially at times when one is prevented from gathering with other believers.
But Martin Luther was very fond of reminding us that God is ‘God for us’ only in Jesus Christ. Nature can be destructive. The family or the nation can become oppressive. The private prayer unformed by the Word can become unhinged (think Tammy Faye Bakker and her prayer for an RV).
So we cannot use ‘God is present everywhere’ as an excuse for not attending worship. Christ is encountered in the community of believers gathered in his name. This is how he came to his disciples after the resurrection; when they were gathered together (even in a group of as few as two!) he appeared to them. Even when he appeared to one person alone (Mary Magdalene in the garden, Paul on the Damascus road) the appearance led them to the community of believers, to witness to what they had seen and heard.
If we use ‘God is present everywhere’ as an excuse to stay away from worship, we cut ourselves off from hearing what Jesus has to say to us and what he has to give to us. We also cut ourselves off from the other people that God has given us to serve. If you have used this phrase as an excuse for neglecting church, let this be your wake-up call. If you regularly attend worship, this is a call to be attentive to what God is doing in the service, how he speaks, what he gives.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Evening Prayer - Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

The livestream may be found here.


 Hymns: 

ELW  563 (WOV 728) O Light Whose Splendor Thrills and Gladdens

ELW 233 Let My Prayer Rise Before You

ELW 345 (LBW 115) Jesus, I Will Ponder Now

ELW 251 (WOV 730) My Soul Proclaims Your Greatness


Some of these texts are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced here. Should you need an LBW or WOV for home use, please contact me and we will get you a copy free of charge.

Lenten Minute - March 16, 2022

‘The God of the universe loves me and invites me to meet with him? Amazing.’

This comment on yesterday’s ‘Lenten minute’ neatly encapsulates why we go to church. We go to church to meet God.
To say that, however, is to open up even more questions. Some of them are tongue-in-cheek: Shouldn’t meeting God be more exciting than my regular weekly Sunday church service? More to the point – can’t I meet God anywhere, at any time? Do I have to go to church to be with God, or to speak with him, or to hear him? And how does God meet us in church? How does he speak to me, or communicate with me there in a way that he doesn’t anywhere else?
But first, let’s define what it means to ‘go to church.’ Most of us call the building we assemble in the church. But it is the assembly of believers for worship that makes the building a church building. The word which we translate ‘church’ is the Greek word ecclesia, which means ‘assembly.’ It’s a pretty vanilla word in English, but it is the ‘assembly’ that is church. So when we say go to church it is not the building we mean, but the gathering, or assembly, of the Christian people to meet the risen Lord Jesus, which has been happening since the very first Easter.
What other questions or thoughts are raised by the statement ‘We go to church to meet God?’ And have you thought of ‘church’ primarily as ‘building’ or ‘people?’

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Lenten Minute - Tuesday, March 15, 2022


Why Go To Church?

 

In the past, people went to church without thinking about it. They went because most people went. They went because there was nothing else to do. They went because their parents and their pastor (or priest) implied they’d go to hell if they didn’t.

 

But people rarely do anything without a reason anymore. And truth be told, we should be giving reasons for any expectations. Pastors should be explaining why Christians are expected to go to church. To simply say, ‘Do this,’ is not enough.

 

And so, for the next few weeks, I’d like to explore this question. Why do we go to church? Do we get any benefit from it? Is it important to be in God’s presence each Lord’s Day and on Holy Days? Is it rather like taking cough medicine, which you don’t like to do but need to do, or is it a joy to be in God’s presence?

 

Obviously, you can guess what some of my answers are going to be. But think about them for yourselves. If you go to church, why do you go to church? If you don’t go to church, why don’t you go to church? Are these the only questions we can ask, or do you have your own questions?

 

I look forward to exploring the questions with you.

 

Yours in Christ,                                                                              Pastor Frontz

Monday, March 14, 2022

Sermon March 13, 2022 - The Second Sunday in Lent

'Wouldn’t it have been nice if I would have just preached a nice short sermon about Abraham and his faith and how we should be like him? But it wouldn't do any good unless we consider how far we’ve fallen from the ‘living, daring confidence in God’s grace’ that Luther described as the content of faith?'

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Sermon, March 6, 2022: First Sunday in Lent

The First Sunday in Lent

March 6, 2022

The Rev. Maurice C. Frontz III

 

‘Live not by lies!’[1]

 

On February 12, 1974, the day on which he was arrested by the Soviet government, the Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitysn released a text urging his countrymen to adopt this attitude towards life. He knew that public protest was impossible in the USSR, and that armed revolution of the same kind that had created the Soviet state was to try to accomplish noble ends by despicable means.