A Reminder: The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Mary is on February 2, a Wednesday, and will be observed with mass at 7 pm. Also called Candlemas, because of the sublime custom of distributing, blessing, and lighting of candles during the service, this service is one of the more beautiful at St. Paul’s.
Every member is encouraged to come to this beautiful and dignified ceremony and Mass. February 2nd is the fortieth day from Christmas, which makes it the day when any woman who gave birth was required to come for her rite of purification. Thus the Blessed Virgin Mary came, and when she came she presented her first born Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as she was also required to do by the law.
When Jesus was presented in the temple, the priest Simeon also came in and declared, in the words of the Nunc Dimittis,
Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.
This declaration of the Christ Child as a Light is the reason for the ceremonial use of candles at this Mass. The use of these lights in connection with the Blessed Sacrament emphasizes the analogy of Simeon’s exultation on receiving the Child with our own reception of Christ at the altar. This connection is made at every Mass, of course, in our own recitation of the Nunc Dimittis. At Candlemas, the connection is highlighted because the Gospel appointed for the day is this very Gospel.
The name of this Feast, Candlemas, also subtly provides a link to the Feast from which it springs, that great feast of forty days earlier, namely Christmas.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Septuagesima February 20
Since Easter falls on April 24th, practically as late as is possible, Septuagesima Sunday is not until February 20th, following a long Epiphany season. On Septuagesima we bid the Alleluia farewell, and begin to turn our gaze toward Lent, Passiontide, Holy Week, and Easter.
This pre-lent or Septuagesima season includes the three Sundays prior to Lent. February 20th is Septuagesima Sunday, February 27th is Sexagesima Sunday, and March 6th is Quinquagesima Sunday. These names mean seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth, respectively, and indicate the anticipation of Easter by as many days, approximated on the Sunday that falls nearest to the seventieth, sixtieth, or fiftieth day before Easter.
Annual Voters’ Assembly
is set for Sunday, January 30st, during the Sunday School hour (10:30 a.m.).
2/2 Mindie Fisher
2/4 Joshua Kraklow
2/5 Tom Wells
2/17 Monroe Kemerling
2/18 Ashton Powers
2/23 Carol McReynolds
2/24 Ruth Snider
Otis Anderson, Scott Clapper, John Ricknell, Bill Thompson
Mary Hamilton at home; Ruth Snider at home; Mark Baker and Anna Baker at home. Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care. Ila Scaife and Lillian Freeburg at Courtyard Estates. Elva Garrison at Abingdon Nursing Home.
The New Testament in His Blood
Some copies of my new book The New Testament in His Blood: a Study of the Holy Liturgy of the Christian Church are available for purchase at the reduced rate of $15.00. –
Private Confession is always available to anyone between 6 and 6:30 pm on these Wednesdays (and also, as always, by appointment).
Pastor is usually available as well on Saturdays, from about 4 pm until Mass.
Altar Guild Notes
At our January 10 meeting we discussed the following:
• Parament color is WHITE throughout January.
• We return to oil candles on February 19th (Septuagesima, when the parament color changes to VIOLET.
• Effective immediately, we will put out three purificators on all Sundays and two on all Saturdays.
• During upcoming months help is needed for doing the laundry. If you can help please let Pastor know as soon as possible.
Next meeting is February 7th.
First Monday Vespers, etc.
February 7th, Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15, as usual.
On the Lookout for Visitors
Don’t be shy about inviting visitors to join you when you come to church. Brochures are available in the hallway to give friends, associates, relatives, etc. If you think someone might be interested but is hesitating, offer to pick him up and bring him with you. Offer your assistance if the liturgy is unfamiliar.
Chaplain Michael Frese in Afghanistan
We include Chaplain Frese’s name in the prayer list here every Sunday. This correspondence, received late January, is from his wife Janet, who is living with their children in Kansas.
Michael arrived at his base, called Andar, sometime in the last few days. He has the next 5 days to spend with the Chaplain who has been there for the last year, learning as much as he can from him about the base, safety, and how things run. He tells me that it is a shock being there, seeing how remote it really is. It is so remote that there are no toilets, not even port-a-johns. This is the reality of what the soldiers will endure for one year. Michael says that showers are iffy, working about 50% of the time, with hot water for only half of that time. He also says, “The chapel tent is a game room for guys playing video games. I have to change that immediately. There is no quiet place to pray yet.” The most important part of staying sane in this environment is keeping a regular daily devotional life of prayer and reading the Scriptures. Well, in any environment this is important, but especially in highly stressful situations. Michael will be the only Chaplain on this base, and he is planning to have frequent, if not daily, services offered for the soldiers. I cannot imagine trying to endure a wartime environment and all of its physical and emotional challenges without hope in eternal life and assurance that Christ has redeemed us and forgiven us.
Robin Sighting Contest Over before It Starts
Barb Kraklow saw these robins in her yard on Sunday, January 17th, before we even had time to put up the contest for first robin sighting in spring. Who knew that when robins “fly south for the winter” they were only flying as far south as Toulon?
The Lighter Side
Since the Packers beat the Bears to get to the Super Bowl, Packers fans provide herewith a list of top ten consolations for Bears fans:
10. It’s ok to have cheese at your Super Bowl party.
9. Your neighbors to the north won’t be as likely to get ticked about the toll roads greeting them whenever they drive to Illinois.
8. You can start looking for a new quarterback early.
7. Recipies for making Packeroni on Super Bowl Sunday for the first time since 1998 are available at the church office.
6. Rooting for the Cubs will now have greater consistency.
5. Maybe they’ll think more seriously about getting better sod at Soldier Field.
4. President Obama will not be clogging traffic in Dallas by attending the Super Bowl.
3. Chicago was spared the possibility of wild drunken reveling in the streets.
2. Disappointment builds character.
1. At least your pastor is happy. :)
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 does the Salutation precede the Collect?
Immediately before the Collect in the Mass, the pastor turns to face the people, and says, “The Lord be with you,” to which they reply, “And with thy spirit.” This, along with the Collect itself, is in preparation for the hearing of the reading of the Word of God. The pastor’s words, “The Lord be with you,” are an adaptation of the words of the risen Christ to His disciples, “Peace be with you.” Some traditions retained the latter formula when spoken by a bishop. These words, which are the first words Christ said to the disciples when He appeared to them in the upper room, indicate the putting away of their sins, even as the Resurrection itself demonstrates this. When the pastor says the words of the Salutation, he is repeating the pattern set by Christ Himself. These are the first words he says to the people as pastor (since the preparatory service is not part of the Mass itself). As the first words from the mouth of Christ’s ambassador to His people, they reestablish the fact that their forgiveness has been obtained by His resurrection and is therefore rightly granted at once.
When the people reply, “And with thy spirit,” they are not merely responding in kind, but are praying for their pastor, that the Holy Spirit may rest upon him, for now he will speak to them as bearer of the office of the Holy Spirit. Therefore grace is required, that the pastor may be faithful in the carrying out of his duty, that is, that that all of the words he speaks, including the words of the sermon, might be words fitly spoken as coming from God’s ambassador to them.
Why does the pastor say the Collect by himself?
After the Kyrie and Gloria are sung, the Collect is chanted. This is the prayer for the day, and is called a collect because it is the prayer of the collected faithful. It is prayed with one voice, by the pastor alone, to signify the unity of the faith. This is the prayer of the whole Church, collected into a unity. It is not only those collected in one particular church building that pray here, but the whole Christian Church. Even the saints triumphant pray with us here, are collected with us here. The pastor, chanting alone, is praying in the stead of the whole Church, with a single voice. Then, all respond with Amen, to indicate our agreement in unity of the Christian faith.
Why do the Readings always include Epistle and Gospel, in that order?
As it was with the sacred Scriptures in Israel’s day, so today there are two parts to the Scriptures of the New Testament. Then, there were Moses and the Prophets. Now, there are the Gospels and the Epistles. And yet, as the books of Moses (the first five books of the Bible, called the Pentateuch) were the foundation upon which the Prophets were laid, so also, the Gospels are the foundation upon which the Epistles are laid.
This is the reason the Gospels appear first in the New Testament, and it is also the reason the Gospel Reading is given last. In order of placement in the New Testament, the Gospels are given the most prominent position, that is, first, and in order of public reading they are also given the most prominent position, which in the case of oral utterance is last.
Moreover, it is also fitting that an Old Testament Reading regularly accompany these two Readings, to show that the New Testament arises out of the Old, and that all the sacred Scriptures are a unity.
Why is the Bible carried from the right to the left side as one faces the altar for the reading of the Gospel?
During the Mass, there are ordinarily three Readings: the Old Testament, the Epistle, and the Gospel. All three are worthy of our special attention, of course, since they are words from the sacred Scriptures, and therefore words of God. But of those, the Church has traditionally regarded the words from the Gospels as being the greatest, since the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are the accounts of Christ in the flesh and His holy ministry among us, and they contain also His very words. This is why all rise for the reading of the Gospel, even as the members of any assembly customarily rise for the entrance of a president, king, or other dignitary. Since we believe that through the Gospel Christ Himself comes and dwells with us, therefore it is fitting that we rise and sing Alleluias to acknowledge His entrance to sit in the midst of us when the Gospel is about to be read. Moreover, the Gospel is meant for all the world to hear; and therefore from ancient times there has been a movement of the reader toward the north, in the churches (which generally faced the east). For the heathen dwelt mostly to the north. This movement of the reader thus formed a vector of sorts, an arrow. By this ritual, then, an understanding obtains that this Gospel is for all, even the heathen “in the north.” In the Mass, everything moves toward the “north”: the lighting of the candles, the Bible, the Readings, the reader, even the Altar Book.
Sometimes, at higher feasts and festivals, the movement of the reader and Gospel book toward the “north” is highlighted also by a movement first into the nave, to stand directly in the midst of the congregation. This is to depict the coming of Christ into the flesh, to dwell among us. So let us with ready and willing feet rise alertly for the reading of the Gospel, and see the movement of the book and its reader as a holy illustration that the Gospel pertains to the incarnation of God, to dwell among us, and that it is meant for all the world to hear.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443