Tuesday, April 20, 2010

May 2010

The Day of Pentecost

Every year at Pentecost we hear of the tongues of fire resting on the heads of the apostles as they sat in the upper room. They began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. The Apostle St. James also refers to the tongue in his epistle, saying, that the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. “See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6).

So there are two kinds of tongues, and two kinds of fire here. There is, first, the tongue of the Word of God, whose fire is the Spirit of God: see, in the visions which rested on the heads of the apostles, tongue and fire are one, even as the Word of God and the Spirit of God are one. Second, there is the tongue set within our members, which is is a world of iniquity, set on fire by hell. Tongue and fire are one here too, even as iniquity and hell are one. But as the Spirit of God is opposed to iniquity, so these two tongues are opposed to one another, in spite of their similarity in appearance.

What does this mean? We ought not be deceived by the sweet sounds of so many lies. It is written that the devil disguises himself as an angel of light. Jesus’ greatest enemies were the Pharisees, who by appearance were the holiest of men, filled with words seeming to be godly. The Psalmist said it long before: they bless with their mouths, but they curse inwardly. So we ought not be deceived by the outward appearance of things, for both the tongue of God and the tongue of the devil are tongues of fire.

What is ever needful is an ear for the truth. First, this means that those who think they can get along without regular worship in word and truth are sadly deluded. The devil is too crafty for our feeble minds. Every time you will to stay away from church, you are saying you are strong enough to get by without it; and you have forgotten the deceiving nature of the devil’s tongue.

Second, it means that simply to be in church is not enough. One must pay attention well to the words of Sacred Scripture, as they are read, preached, sung, and prayed. For the place of worship is not that which will defend us against the wiles of the devil, but only the Word of God which is preached there.

Third, it means even daily vigilance in prayer and supplication. When we daily pray the Our Father, we repeat the words, “lead us not into temptation.” Here we are praying that God, who tempts no one, would guard and keep us, so that the world, the devil, and our flesh would not seduce nor deceive us into misbelieve, despair, or other great shame and vice, and though we be assailed by them, we may finally overcome and win the victory.

For by the Word of the Lord we shall overcome them well. The tongue of God is an eternal flame, which none can extinguish. The tongue of the devil is deadly, but the tongue of God is immeasurably deadlier against it. Pay heed, Christian! For the Word of the Living God is your defense against all evil. + Pastor Eckardt

May Anniversaries
5/17/1959 Allan and Barbra Kraklow
5/19/1979 Chuck and Jean Russell
5/22/1976 Ed and Lynn Woller
5/27/1961 Duane and Carole Sanders
5/28/1982 Christine and Garry Erickson
5/28/1977 John and Charlene Sovanski

May Birthdays:
5/2 Sheri Kraklow
5/6 Emilie Ricknell
5/10 Bill Thompson
5/16 John Eckardt
5/17 Jeffery Boswell
5/26 Preston Powers

May Ushers Otis Anderson, Scott Clapper, John Ricknell, Bill Thompson

First Oktoberfest planning meeting
Wednesday, May 5, 2010, at 3:30 pm. Anyone interested in helping is welcome to come. Pastor’s studay.

LCMS World Relief and Human Care
sent us a note onf March 12, 2010, thanking us for our gift of $100.00 to earthquake relief.

First Monday Vespers

The schedule for May 3rd:
6 pm Altar Guild meets in Conference Room
6:45 Vespers (open to all)
Following Vespers: Elders meet

Important Events

Ascension Day
Thursday, May 13th, 7:00 pm
NOTE: there is no Mass on Wednesday evening this week.

Pentecost and Its Vigil

Pentecost is on Sunday, May 23rd.
The Vigil of Pentecost will be observed on Saturday, May 22nd, at 5:30 p.m.
Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday falls on Sunday, May 30th. This arrangement of Feasts highlights the fact that the three Great Feasts of the year have now been celebrated, namely Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. At Christmas, the Father revealed His only Son to the world; at Easter the Son rose again from the grave; at Pentecost the Spirit came to the Apostles and the Church. Thus, as soon as all three events are complete, the Church celebrates Holy Trinity. Thus Trinity Sunday follows immediately after Pentecost.

St. Phillip and St. James, Apostles
Saturday, May 1st at the regular 5:30 time for mass.

The Humanity of Sympathy

The death of a dear loved one often leads people to ask why, especially when it is one so young and sweet, as was our dear Megan. Her picture-perfect marriage to our son was such a glad occasion only three months before she was diagnosed with cancer. Little did I know, when warning them in the wedding sermon that they would undoubtedly be facing challenges together in Christ, just how great and how near these challenges would loom. And so it is natural to ask why.

And yet, strange as it may seem, in the aftermath of funeral and burial, the question does not haunt us as it does those who have no hope.

The question in fact has many answers, first of which perhaps is this: all is vanity, saith the Lord. Weddings, as beautiful and happy as they are, can easily make us forgetful of this fact, and mislead us into thinking that it is in this life that we have hope in Christ. Certainly Megan did not think so. We look for the life of the world to come.

Further, when tragedy and death visit, I have no second thoughts about why I entered this holy calling; I have no doubt that this will also be embedded in the mind of my son when he receives his Holy Orders. For in the end, what can be more valuable for the world than the preaching of the Gospel? All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever.

And there's another thing. So many have expressed their heartfelt sympathy to us in recent days, leading me to think on the matter of sympathy. From the Greek syn + pathos, it means to suffer together, to share in the sorrow. And somehow, mysteriously, the sharing of sorrows makes them a bit easier to bear than for one who must sorrow alone.

Sympathy is also a very human thing. All kinds of people can sympathize. People who didn't even know you can sympathize. Sometimes even enemies have been known to set their enmity aside, if only for a time. Yet beasts do not sympathize. It is, I think, a residual part of man's creation in the image of God, who is Himself compassionate and kind to His people. Sympathy in itself, even if it isn't specifically Christian sympathy, is a good thing. It helps define us as the princes of God's creation.

Our thanks to all who have sympathized, and with that the reassurance that, as I intimated above, we do not sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Christus resurrexit! Vere resurrexit!

+ Pastor Eckardt, from www.gottesblog.blogspot.com

High School Juniors or Seniors
should remember contact Pastor when deciding on a college. He can give recommendations for church or college chapel at or near the campus of your choice.

Sometimes special scholarships become available. For example, scholarships from the Beta Sigma Psi Fraternity at the University of Illinois in Champaign are being offered to Lutheran men (see http://alpha.betasigmapsi.org/housingscholarship.htm). Others may be available on other campuses.

Shut ins
Mary Hamilton at home; Ruth Snider at home; Mark Baker at home, and Anna Baker at home. Mirilda Greiert at Courtyard Estates; Ila Scaife at Courtyard Estates; Lorraine Mohr at Courtyard Estates; Elva Garrison at Roseview Nursing Home.

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