Advent: a Time to Refresh Your Daily Prayers
There are always plenty of opportunities to receive Christ at St. Paul’s, as everyone here knows. But how many of us know – or are convinced – of the importance of daily prayer and meditation?
In the Large Catechism Luther says this:
“It is most necessary . . . to exhort and incite people to prayer, as Christ and the apostles also have done. And the first matter is to know that it is our duty to pray because of God’s commandment. For thus we heard in the Second Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain, that we are there required to praise that holy name, and call upon it in every need, or to pray. For to call upon the name of God is nothing else than to pray. Prayer is therefore as strictly and earnestly commanded as all other commandments: to have no other God, not to kill, not to steal, etc. Let no one think that it is all the same whether he pray or not, as vulgar people do, who grope in such delusion and ask, Why should I pray? Who knows whether God heeds or will hear my prayer? If I do not pray, some one else will. And thus they fall into the habit of never praying, and frame a pretext, as though we taught that there is no duty or need of prayer, because we reject false and hypocritical prayers. . . .
But praying, as the Second Commandment teaches, is to call upon God in every need. This He requires of us, and has not left it to our choice. But it is our duty and obligation to pray if we would be Christians, as much as it is our duty and obligation to obey our parents and the government; for by calling upon it and praying the name of God is honored and profitably employed. This you must note above all things, that thereby you may silence and repel such thoughts as would keep and deter us from prayer.”
Clearly, daily prayer and meditation is an imperative for every Christian! But how?
Let us start simply, as the Small Catechism bids us by at the very least saying the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer every morning. From there we can move into something more conducive to the active and daily maintenance of our faith.
Here’s a suggestion: Take time every day to pray every day, either alone or with other members of your family, using the order of prayer you will find on the next page.
It is something every Christian ought to be doing, and if it is done routinely, it reaps the great benefits of filling your heart and mind daily with the abundant mercies of Christ.
+ Pastor Eckardt
An Order of Daily Prayer
O Lord, open Thou my lips.
And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me.
Make haste to help me, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen. (omit for Lent V and VI)
II. PROPER FOR THE DAY
A Psalm (or portion thereof) and a Lesson are read aloud. If desired, a meditation and/or a Hymn may be used following the lesson. Pastor’s book Every Day Will I Bless Thee is a good resource for Lessons and Meditations, or The Lutheran Hymnal (p. 161ff) can be consulted for a list of daily readings, or even, simply, a chapter of the Bible every day. Generally, only one Psalm (or portion) and one Hymn (or portion) is used per week, to be repeated each day. This is in order to aid in familiarization, and to encourage meditation.
III. CLOSING PRAYERS
Collect for the Day
Luther's morning or evening prayer may be said.
Particular petitions may be offered.
Bless we the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Whether praying alone or as a family, it is best to have a special place set aside in the home, and if possible, a small family altar can be arranged against a wall, with two candles on it, and a crucifix hanging on the wall above. Family or personal prayer is best said at the same time every day, in order that a good habit may thus be formed and followed regularly.
The sign of the holy cross is traced with the right thumb on the lips, while singing “open Thou my lips.” The full sign of the cross is made at “make haste, O God, to deliver me.” The head is bowed whenever the Trinitarian name (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) is said, whether in the Gloria Patri or in the last verse of certain hymns. The sign of the cross is made also at the closing response, “Thanks be to God.”
Decorating During Advent
As is our custom, we decorate the church little by little during Advent, until finally all is complete for Christmas. The day on which volunteers are needed help put up the tree is Saturday, December 11th, beginning at 9 am. Please help!
St. Andrews Mass Dec. 1
St. Andrew’s Day is actually Tuesday, November 30th, and we will have mass at 8:30 a.m., but to enable more members to attend mass, we will observe it again on the following Wednesday, at our regular 7 p.m time. Join us!
12/13 Michael Eckardt
12/13 Lynn Woller
12/16 Lillian Freeburg
12/20 Peter Eckardt
12/20 Rachel Rowe
12/25 Robert Melchin
12/30 Matthew Woller
Allan Kraklow, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells, Bob Bock
December Anniversaries None
Mary Hamilton, Carole Sanders, Mark Baker, and Anna Baker at home; Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care; Ila Scaife at Courtyard Estates; Ruth Melchin at Hillcrest Home; Don Clapper and Ruth Snider at Royal Oaks; Elva Garrison at Avon Nursing Home.
First Monday Meetings Dec. 6 St. Nicholas Day Mass at 7 pm
On Monday, December 6th, Altar Guild meets as usual at 6 pm, and Elders at 7:30 pm. Between them we will celebrate mass at 7 pm to observe St. Nicholas’ Day. All members are invited to attend.
In Our Prayers
In addition to our shut-ins, our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following. Anyone wishing to update the lest by addition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.
Those who are sick:
In our parish:
And all of our shut-ins
Yvette Baker [re Baker]
David Dakin [re Harris]
Anna Rutowicz [re Harris]
Tarah Allen [cancer, friend of Jill Powers]
Kay Nimrick, [friend of Jill Powers with cancer]
Nicole Smith [niece of Jean Russell]
Mildred Russell [re Russell]
Don Loesch [father of Jude Clapper]
Sara Bidni, mother of Svetlana Meeker
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknell’s grandson who has childhood leukemia]
Pam Mansnarus [Ricknell’s niece, who has stage four lung cancer]
Muriel Smith [Kristy Eckardt’s grandmother, cancer]
Teresa Lewis [Eckardts’ niece, who is to have surgery]
Those who are in the military:
Brent Matthews [re Fisher]
Michael and Melinda Fisa [re Kemerling]
Michelle Steuber [re Fisher]
Donny Appleman [re Ricknell]
Timmy Giesenhagen [re Powers]
Thomas Kim [re Shreck]
Chaplain Michael Frese
And Jaclyn Harden [Kris’s daughter]
Those who are in trouble:
Unborn children in danger of abortion
Those suffering from persecution, genocide, and imprisonment in Burma, Nigeria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, and elsewhere
Choir Rehearsals in December
Our Wednesday choir rehearsals during December are especially important as we prepare for our annual Christmas Choral Vespers, which is to be held the Second Sunday after Christmas, January 2nd. Choir members make every effort to attend them all. On Wednesday, December 29th, there is no mass scheduled, so choir rehearsal will begin at 7 pm.
No evening mass on Saturday, Dec 4th (Pastor out of town), Dec 25th, or Jan 1st
Altar Guild Notes
Advent begins the last Sunday in November. The four Advent Sundays’ color is violet. If roses are obtained, they may be placed on the Third Sunday in Advent, December 12th.
St. Andrew’s Day will be observed Tuesday morning, November 30th, at 8:30 and Wednesday evening, December 1st, at 7. Color is red.
St. Nicholas’ Day Mass will be held on Monday evening, December 6th, at 7 pm. Color remains violet (Third Class Feast).
Midweek Advent masses will be held on Wednesdays, December 8th, 15th, and 22nd, at 7. Color is violet.
The three Christ Masses will be held as usual, 7 pm Christmas Eve, 12 midnight, and 10 am Christmas Day. Color is white.
St. Stephen’s Day will be observed Sunday morning December 26th. Color is red.
The Circumcision and Name of Jesus will be observed on New Year’s Eve, Thursday the 31st, at 7 pm. Color is White.
No mass on Tuesday morning December 28th, Wed-nesday evening December 29th. No mass on Sat-urday evening, December 4th or 25th, or January 1st.
This series, containing brief liturgical questions and Pastor Eckardt’s answers, began to appear in 1995, as a regular feature in this newsletter. It was then published, about ten years ago, as a Gottesdienst book.
Why is white the color of Christmas, Epiphany, and Easter?
White is the purest of colors, and therefore the most glorious of colors. It is fitting, therefore, that the color white be used for the feasts of our Lord. Even Pentecost, whose color is red (for the Holy Spirit), was once known as White-Sunday, from which the traditional term Whitsunday comes. Feast days of saints who were not martyred, such as St. John and St. Mary Magdalene, also employ white, signifying the purity of sainthood.
The seasons of Christmas, Epiphany, and Easter are most appropriately adorned in white, for they commemorate the incarnation and the resurrection of our Lord, which are the greatest of all commemorations. These first-class feasts are also feasts of our Lord, who is Himself the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In Isaiah, the declaration of God is, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (1:18). The purity of Christ, therefore, is also to be understood as the purity which becomes ours through faith in Him. For He by His merit and sacrifice has obtained for us this purity which is His own, and He gives this purity to us by the proclamation and distribution of the forgiveness of sins through His name. In this way we become pure and white as He is. Thus it is right to adorn the feasts of Him who is our Lord with white, for they indicate not only His purity, but the purity which belongs by faith to His own faithful flock, received by the means of salvation offered and given in the feast of salvation, the Mass.
Advent for the church is a time of penitential preparation for the coming of Christ. It’s helpful to remember this as we also prepare our households for Christmas. Unlike the commercial and secular world, the Church’s celebration of Christmas begins with Christmas, and runs the twelve days of Christmas, until Epiphany (note, for instance, that our Christmas Choral Vespers is after Christmas). Advent has historically been a season of fasting, though not as profound a fast as in Lent. Some have fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays during Advent, others in other ways. The finest way to prepare for the coming of Christ is by contrition and confession (see the paragraph above this one).
Catechesis moves to Wednesday afternoons
Beginning in December, catechesis will be offered on Wednesdays at 5:00 pm instead of Saturdays. Anyone is welcome to join us.
Mark your calendars!
Christmas Choral Vespers
Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 at 7 pm, followed by a wine and cheese reception,
An Epiphany retreat:
two Days of Theological Reflection
13th in the series:
Monday and Tuesday, January 3rd and 4th, 2011
“LET A DOUBLE PORTION OF THY SPIRIT BE UPON ME”
The Christology of Elijah and Elisha (I Kings 17 – II Kings 13). To prepare, it would be helpful if you read these chapters in advance.
8:30 - 9:00 registration
9:00 Mass: Tenth Day of Christmas
10:00 – 3:30 seminar
9:00 Mass: Eleventh Day of Christmas
10:00 – 3:30 seminar
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443