ON SAYING AMEN
From the September 1997 Newsletter
We have all learned the meaning of this word from the catechism, namely, “Yea, yea, it shall be so.” The word is actually a Greek word, which simply means “Truly.” When Jesus says, “Truly, truly I say unto you . . .” what is there being translated are the Greek words “Amen amen ego hymin.” The “amen” at the end of a prayer therefore means that we are not in doubt that God will hear our prayers and will grant us what we need for Jesus’ sake.
The congregation at worship has numerous opportunities to utter this important word, as a way of being involved in the service. Since we, according to the Apostle, desire that all things be done decently and in order, we therefore say Amen at set, appointed times. Such times, when it would be appropriate to say Amen are
1) after the Invocation (“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
2) after this formula is spoken at any time, whether at the confession and absolution—”. . . I therefore forgive you your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”—or if the sermon opens or closes with these words. At such places, the congregation is saying, in effect, Yes, we agree that this absolution is God’s own word, or that we expect this sermon to be the word of God, and we desire that it be so.
3. After the benediction.
4. At the conclusion of any hymn which has as its last stanza a doxology to the Holy Trinity (whether or not this is printed out in the hymn).
5. When the pastor, after the words of Institution, turns to face the people, and says “The peace of the Lord be with you always,” and they respond “and also with you,” then he declares, raising the elements aloft, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Then, it is good for all to say loudly and clearly, Amen! Here, you are saying, Yes, I believe this, that these humble elements are indeed Christ’s body and blood; therefore this is indeed the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
6. When you have received the Sacrament, and hear the blessing: “The body and blood of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ strengthen and preserve you in the true faith unto life everlasting.” This is something each communing group receives as it kneels at the altar, so it would be appropriate for each group to say Amen when this blessing is heard. Here, it means, Yes, I believe that this is the body and blood of Christ, and that is shall strengthen me, etc.
So, whenever it would be appropriate to say (or sing) Amen, whether or not it’s printed out, feel free to go ahead and do it. Go ahead! Try it! This is a good way to be actively a part of good Christian worship, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
. . . (here, you say) Amen!
Announcing the Fourteenth Annual
Third Annual Liturgical Seminar
St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Kewanee, Illinois
October 11-13, 2009 (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday)
Conference theme: Not a Matter of Indifferent Things
This year we are pleased to welcome as our guests the three men who have most recently joined the staff of Gottesdienst as our online editors.
Reverend Frs. Heath Curtis, Larry Beane, and Rick Stuckwisch will be joining us for a discussion of the Divine Liturgy of the Church, to provide their insights on the questions which arise in connection with the ongoing debates concerning why certain styles and elements may or may not be counted as permissible in worship, and what is at stake in the worship wars of the 21st century. Fr. Curtis is the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Edwardsville, Illinois, and Trinity Lutheran Church, Worden, Illinois; Fr. Beane is pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Gretna, Louisiana; and Fr. Stuckwisch is pastor of Emmaus Lutheran Church, South Bend, Indiana.
Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. is our Autumn Choral Vespers, followed by our annual bratwurst banquet (if you haven’t had our award-winning Sheboygan brats, it’s high time you did!). On Monday morning, following Holy Mass at 9:30, the Oktoberfest seminar runs until 3:15 p.m.
On Tuesday, matters raised in the Monday discussions will be considered further in a roundtable liturgical seminar designed to seek uniformity in our worship practices. Informed Lutheran clergy are particularly invited to provide input and exchange of ideas, although all are invited to stay for the day.
Lodging: AmericInn, 4823 US Hwy 34. 800-634-3444
Super 8 Motel, 901 S Tenney (Rt 78). 309-853-8800
Aunt Daisy’s B&B, 223 W Central Blvd. 888-422-4148
Kewanee Motor Lodge, 400 S Main St. 309-853-4000
Days Inn, I-80 & Rt 40, Sheffield. 815-454-2361
Holiday Inn Express, I-80 & Rt 78, Annawan. 309-935-6565
REGISTRATION: $25 per person* (students $20) $40 per couple — includes Sunday banquet and Monday continental and luncheon; no charge for children with parents.
*NOTICE: Members of St. Paul’s special rate: $15.00 per person, $25 per couple (children free), includes all meals. (and special funding is available if you can’t afford that)
Circle days you can attend: Sunday Monday Tuesday
Offer to help (please circle): volunteer set up volunteer clean up
provide food donaton ______ other_______________
On Sunday, October 4th, from 2:30-3:30 pm, in Peoria, the Peoria Area Lutherans for Life will again stand in the Life Chain that stretches from the abortion clinic on North University to Northmoor to Allen road and ester House (which makes the shape of a letter “J” for “Jesus”). We will gather at redeemer Lutehran Church, at 2:30 pm and quietly stand along the street, holding the signs provided by Central Illinois Right to Life. This will be the 21st annual observance of the Life chain, which is not unique to Peoria, but occurs simultaneously in ot her cities across the nation. Members of St. Paul’s are encouraged to attend, and join in standing for the lives of these little ones who cannot defend themselves.
Steve Peart, Grant Andresen, Larry Campbell
10/1 Richard Melchin
10/1 Clara Murphy
10/2 Diana Shreck
10/3 Matthew Fisher
10/5 Michael McReynolds
10/9 Mary Ann Hamilton
10/9 Kevin Thompson
10/10 Stanley Janik
10/10 Paul Rowe
10/15 Dennis Schoen
10/20 Ed Woller
10/24 Robert Jones
10/24 Corey Peart
10/28 Carmen Sovanski
10/28 Collin Van Stechelman
10/30 Sharon Hartz
10/31 Marjorie Lamb
10/4 Linda and Larry Rowe
10/23 Otis and Deanne Anderson
Pastor to present at St. Michael Conference in Detroit
Following mass on Sunday, September 27th, pastor travels to Detroit for the St. Michael Conference at which he is leading a workshop, held on Monday, September 28th. For details see http://www.ziondetroit.org/index.php?page=conference.
He returns on Tuesday evening.
Pastor and Carol to Visit Son John
John Eckardt’s graduation from basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, is to be on Friday, October 2nd. Pastor and Carol plan to be in attendance, with Alissa Hammons, John’s fiancée. Sunday, October 4th, a guest preacher and celebrant, Rev. Glenn Niemann (who has been here many times) will fill in here on Sunday. Since Pastor will be gone until Monday night, the following events are cancelled:
There will be no mass on Saturday night, Oct. 3rd
There will be no Altar Guild, Elders, or First Monday vespers on Monday, October 5th. Altar Guild and Elders are cancelled for October.
Altar Guild Notes
In lieu of the Altar Guild meeting, here are some reminders of events we discussed in September.
Oktoberfest is Oct. 11-13. Sunday, Oct. 11, the color is still green for morning mass. It changes to red for the Choral vespers Sunday evening and for Mass on Monday, Oct 12 (votive mass: Beheading of St. John the Baptist). Following Monday mass (which is at 9:30), the color returns to green, for midday prayers. The color stays green for Tuesday and following.
On Saturday and Sunday, October 24th and 25th the color is Red (Reformation). It stays red throughout the week. Wednesday is SS Simon and Jude. Saturday and Sunday, Oct 31 and Nov. 1, we observe All Saints, which is also Red. On Monday the color changes to White, for All Souls, and stays white through Wednesday mass. Following mass on Wednesday November 4th, the color changes back to green.
Our Radio Broadcast
"This is St. Paul’s On the Air: a radio program brought to you by St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Kewanee, Illinois, where you know you’ve been to church: no gimmicks, no compromises, the talk is straight, and we feast on sacred things. We’re glad to have you with us. I am your host: Rev. Fr. Burnell Eckardt, pastor of St. Paul’s here in Kewanee, Illinois. I’m sitting with a small panel of listeners around a couple of microphones carefully positioned to help you get into the room with us and listen along. We’re here to talk about the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the things that matter most to us."
With those words our weekly radio broadcast begins every Sunday morning at 7:35, on WKEI radio (AM 1450) in Kewanee. If you’d like to hear past broadcasts, you may log on at http://stpaulsontheair.blogspot.com.
If you’d like to join us for the recording session, it’s normally on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m.
It’s also podcast on Pirate Christian Radio every Wednesday morning at 7:30 Central Time, at www.piratechristianradio.com.
Go ahead, have a listen!
Keeping the Feast: A Study of the Holy Liturgy (continued)
The History of the Liturgy
In 1912, Roman Catholic historian Adrian Fortescue published an admirable study on the history of the liturgy, under the unassuming title The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy. His meticulous attention to historical data makes the modest size of the work deceiving, and demonstrates the intensity of his desire to show that his work is all carefully documented: “Nothing is more useless or irritating than a vague allusion to early use or medieval practice, without a reference to control it” (Fortescue, x).
What Fortescue proceeds to show beyond all doubt is that the early liturgies were not created out of sheer cloth. The church was the outgrowth of the synagogue, and did not arise in a vacuum. Pentecost was not really the birth, but the transformation of the church.
What is especially informative about his accounts of the liturgy from Rome, Gaul, Africa, Alexandria, and Antioch, is that they all show a remarkable uniformity, at least to a basic structural outline containing first a ‘synaxis’, i.e., a ‘synagoguing’, or gathering for worship, based in a synagogue service and containing readings,psalms, hymns, prayers, almsgiving, profession of faith, and kiss of peace. Then followed a ‘Eucharist proper’, including a prayer of thanksgiving, the blessing of bread and wine, prayers of remembrance, and the eating and drinking. “The details developed naturally, the prayers and formulas, eventually the ceremonial actions crystallized into set forms. But the service is always the same. Different arrangements of subsidiary parts, greater insistence on certain elements in various places produced different liturgies; but all go back eventually to this outline” (Fortescue 6-7).
Fortescue quotes St. Clement (d. 101) to demonstrate that the first century prayers “that everyone admits to be full of liturgical forms . . . a regulated order for the worship of God.” He quotes from Clement’s well-known First Epistle to the Corinthians, written about a.d 98:
We must do all things that the Lord told us to do at stated times, in proper order. For he commanded that the offerings and services should be performed, not rashly nor in disorder, put at fixed times and hours. And he himself by his most high will arranged where and by whom they should be celebrated, so that everything should be done piously according to his command and should be agreeable to his will. Therefore those who make their offerings at the appointed times are well pleasing and blessed; they follow the command of the Lord and do not err. To the high priest his own services are appointed; a special place is given to the priests, and levites [i.e. deacons] have their offices. The layman is commanded by lay laws. Each of us, brothers, should please God honourably in his own place with a good conscience, not transgressing the appointed order of his services. (Chapters 40-41, quoted in Fortescue, 11-12).
What may be noted about this remarkable passage is that in Clement’s commendation of good order (Gk: taxis), there is an easily discernable echo of the counsel of the Apostle St. Paul, who also exhorted, “Let all things be done decently and in order (kata taxin, I Corinthans 14:40), and who spoke of “joying and beholding your order” (taxis, Colossians 2:5). The former reference is set within an unmistakably liturgical context.
(Incidentally it is also clear that for Clement a kind of hierarchy is already in place—not only the distinction between clergy and laity, but even a distinction between various ranks of clergy. A hierarchical arrangement seems in some way to be part and parcel of what good order meant to one writing less than fifty years after St. Paul. The purpose for the hierarchy was in any event clear: to contribute to the good order of worship.)
The evidence presented by Fortescue serves to dispel the notion that the liturgy of the apostolic age was one in which liturgical life was free-flowing and without form. The Church’s liturgy was essentially that of the synagogue, though now with its fulfillment and completion in view. As the name and revelation of God were incomplete until Christ came, so the liturgy of the faithful was incomplete until His arrival. From the days of His resurrection, therefore, these Jews who worshiped Him now began to do so from a new perspective.