Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 2011

Lenten Disciplines

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednes-day, March 9th. A number of items are worth remembering and planning for during this holy season, that you may benefit most from it.

First, there is Ash Wednesday itself. Mass is offered twice that day, at 7 am and 7 pm, with the imposition of ashes.

Second, there will be mass daily throughout Lent. The most excellent way to benefit from Lent is through worship. In addition to Sundays, the schedule has mass every morning except for Wednesdays and Saturdays, because on Wednesdays the mass is at 7 pm, and on Saturdays it is at 5:30. There will be no mass on Tuesday, March 22nd, because of District Conference. All this is on the calendar.

Third, if your schedule does not permit you to take advantage of daily mass, perhaps at least an added effort to make it to Wednesday evening mass would work for you, as it does for some during this season.

Fourth, there is the Lenten fast. A marked feature of the fast is that it is voluntary, which is to say that no one imposes this on you. It is you who make the determination to abstain from certain foods, and thereby you also learn to appreciate the wisdom of St. Paul, who said already in the Epistle for Septuagesima, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (I Corinthians 9:27). The reasoning goes that if it’s good enough for Paul, it should be good enough for us. The Lenten fast traditionally has meant abstention from meats and dairy products on Fridays (the day of crucifixion), or on Wednesdays and Fridays, although an older custom was to abstain from meats and dairy products throughout all of Lent (from that custom arose the blessing of the Easter Egg, and the Easter breakfast). Some choose to abstain from all sweets, desserts, and eating between meals.

In addition to the dietary fast, there is the fast of the eyes and ears, particularly noted in worship. Flowers are gone from the chancel, weddings are not scheduled, and alleluias are not sung.

Finally, private confession is an excellent Lenten discipline, and is always encouraged.

Lent is hard. Hard on the schedule, hard on the stomach, hard on the body. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s the learning of spiritual discipline, much like the physical training of an athlete. Elsewhere in this newsletter you’ll find an article called “Weakness made strong; my confession of faith,” a poignant letter from a woman who died years ago from a painful disease. She explains the benefit that pain brings to faith. It’s worth reading.

+ Pastor Eckardt

March Anniversaries

3/19/1977 Jeff and Diana Shreck

March Birthdays:

3/1 Barbra Kraklow
3/2 Joseph Eckardt
3/3 Kerry Sovanski
3/7 Amber McReynolds
3/8 Carol Kegebein
3/16 Ila Scaife
3/25 Carol Eckardt

March Ushers

Allan Kraklow, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells, Bob Bock

Regional Youth Conference

“The First Book of Moses: Genesis”

Who: Jr. High youth + freshmen, their pastors, and parents/youth group leaders; Sr. High youth may also attend as either participants or helpers

What: A one day Conference including: Worship, Presentations by local pastors and laymen, sports, games, and of course...lunch and dinner

When: Saturday May 7th, 9:00 am to 6:30 pm

Where: Zion Lutheran Church, Lincoln, IL

Why: So the youth of our churches can learn more about the Lord and His Word, deepen their faith, and get to know other Lutherans in their area

Cost: $10.00 per person

Call or email Pastor David Ramirez at:
Zion Lutheran Church: (217) 732-3946 or (217) 737-8650 (cell)
Email: david.p.ramirez@gmail.com

Please Register ASAP by calling or emailing Pastor Ramirez by May 1st.

A Little Story about Bowing and Kneeling

The following tale is told about a coarse and brutal lout. While the words “And was made man” were being sung in church, he remained standing, neither genuflecting nor removing his hat. He showed no reverence, but just stood there like a clod. All the others dropped to their knees when the Nicene Creed was prayed and chanted devoutly. Then the devil stepped up to him and hit him so hard it made his head spin. He cursed him gruesomely and said: “May hell consume you, you boorish ass! If God had become an angel like me and the congregation sang: ‘God was made an angel,11 would bend not only my knees but my whole body to the ground! Yes, I would crawl ten ells down into the ground. And you vile human creature, you stand there like a stick or a stone. You hear that God did not become an angel but a man like you, and you just stand there like a stick of wood!” Whether this story is true or not, it is nevertheless in accordance with the faith (Rom. 12:6). With this illustrative story the holy fathers wished to admonish the youth to revere the indescribably great miracle of the incarnation; they wanted us to open our eyes wide and ponder these words well. Luther’s Works, Sermons on John,Vol. 22, p105)

First Monday Vespers, etc.
March 7th, Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15, as usual.

Your email please
Your elders are seeking to obtain email / facebook information for all members, so that we may communicate with you better. Please provide us with this information if you have an email address and/or are on facebook. A sign-up sheet asking this information is in the narthex, or you may simply send an email to me at Eckardt@kewanee.com - Pastor

Items needed in Afghanistan

Our friend Chaplain Frese has provided a list of items the soldiers could use in Afghanistan. The list is provided here; items can be collected in the conference room for a care-package mailing.

Baby wipes (work well in lieu of showers)
Washcloths, towels (but toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, and shampoo are not needed)
Coffee grounds and filters
Beef jerky or dried meat
Sunflower seeds, nuts, trail-mixes, dried fruits
Chocolates, candy bars
Board games, chess, checkers (cards are plentiful and not needed)
Batteries (AA and AAA) and flashlights that use those (flashlights that use D batteries are too big)
Mailing address:
CH (CPT) Michael Frese
HHC, 2-2INF, 3/1 BCT
TF Ramrod
FOB Andar
APO AE 09364

Robin Sighting Contest Back On?

Robins were everywhere in early February, but now they seem to have vanished again. Who can find the next?

“Weakness made strong; my confession of faith”

By Suzanne Schroeder, a 41 year-old woman in my former parish in Berlin, Wisconsin, who died of a rare form of diabetes in 1990. I had ministered to her during her illness, and in the year before she died she wrote this confession of faith which was published in the church’s newsletter after her death. I ran across it the other day, and find it as encouraging now as many did then. – Pastor Eckardt

May 1989 Berlin, Wisconsin

I would like to tell you, fellow Christians, what my suffering has done to me, how my suffering has changed me. What would I say to a fellow Christian who must undergo suffering? I would say there’s really nothing to fear, because it brought me so much closer to the Lord. It has taught me that He’s always there; always with me.

When my suffering first began, I was asking, “Why me?” But now that my suffering has brought me closer to the Word, and a greater understanding of the grace of Christ, I am asking, “Why me?” – that is, why should I be so blessed, so loved? Why should He single me out as one to whom to show His mercy?
What I wish to get across to you, fellow believers, is the message of my life; how my weakness is changed into something so strong in my faith. I hope people can see exactly what this (my sickness and suffering) has done to me. It’s unbelievable how something, when you’re sick, can make you so strong in your faith.

I can better understand now how our Lord has suffered for us – not only whv he suffered, but how – why he suffered the way he did is beyond me, because He did it without any pleading or complaints. He did it just for me, because He loves me. And now I know better how much He loves me, when I can understand better what He went through. And that’s so true.

I’d like to have people remember what I went through and how I felt when I went through it, that is, how I changed from a complainer, one who was always questioning God, to one who now sees what He’s doing, and that He is good.

Woodpecker Inspires Designers, Knocks Evolution
by Brian Thomas, M.S.

When boring into wood in search of food, a woodpecker exerts so much force with each strike that its beak should crumble, its skull should crack, and its brain should be reduced to mush. However, a suite of design features absorbs the shock and ensures that these tragedies do not happen. How are these features able to provide such effective protection?

Scientists have examined woodpecker design strategies to find the answer. In a study published in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, Sang-Hee Yoon and Sungmin Park of the University of California Berkeley analyzed what makes the woodpecker’s shock absorbers work so well. They discovered a set of four essential features, which were described in a New Scientist article:

These are its hard-but-elastic beak; a sinewy, springy tongue-supporting structure that extends behind the skull called the hyoid; an area of spongy bone in its skull; and the way the skull and cerebrospinal fluid interact to suppress vibration.

The research duo set out to copy each of these features. They mimicked the beak’s resistant structure with an exterior metal cylinder. Inside that was a layer of rubber, inspired by the woodpecker’s hyoid, and then an interior layer of aluminum to imitate the interaction of the skull and cerebrospinal fluid. In the woodpecker, the nearness of the beak to the skull reduces vibration.

The cylinder was packed with beads in an arrangement intended to mimic the way the bird’s porous bone material absorbs impact energy. Yoon and Park nestled sensitive electronics within the beads, and then the whole device was fired from an air gun at an aluminum wall to see how well the electronics were protected.

Modern airplanes are equipped with flight recorders that capture important information. These devices are held in shock absorbers that can withstand 1000g, which is 1,000 times the acceleration force of an object near the earth’s surface. The new woodpecker-inspired shock absorber withstood 60,000g, thus offering possibilities for “remarkable improvement in the g-force tolerance”of man-made devices.

The woodpecker has long been considered a living refutation of big-picture evolution. In his book The Evolution of a Creationist, author and speaker Dr. Jobe Martin tried to imagine a Darwinian scenario whereby the woodpecker might have evolved from another type of bird:

Let’s suppose some bird decided that there must be all kinds of little critters, which would be good for lunch, hidden beneath the bark of trees. This bird decided to peck through the bark and into the hardwood tree. On first peck, this bird discovered problems with the way it was put together. Its beak shattered when it slammed against the tree, its tail feathers broke, and it developed a migraine-strength headache. With a shattered beak, the little bird was unable to eat and so it died.

Of course, a dead bird could not evolve any further.

Each feature that Yoon and Park mimicked includes specified material and arrangements, and all four are required for a woodpecker to effectively drill holes into wood. However, these remarkable structures are still not enough to enable the bird to extract its vital food from beneath tree bark. So, the woodpecker was equipped with an extendible, spear-shaped tongue, stiff tail feathers, and a specialized toe arrangement so that it can cling to a vertical tree trunk.

There is no natural way for a whole suite of required, specified features to just “get together”all at one time. Perhaps unwittingly, these University of California researchers corroborated that the only way to achieve all-or-nothing design is by purposeful intent. Thus, the woodpecker is a testament to the superior engineering skill of its Creator.


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 the Gradual inserted between the Readings?

The Gradual, which consists in the chanting of a psalm or part thereof, is so called because there was formerly a step, called the gradine, on which the reader stood to chant the psalm following the First Reading.

Traditionally there have been four parts of the Mass sung by the choir: Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion. Unlike the other three, the Gradual did not arise from the desire or need to fill up the time during which something else was being done in the Mass, but is probably as old as the Readings themselves. The idea of interspersing a psalm or psalms with the Readings appointed for the day is a practice carried over from the synagogue.

This insertion of a psalm between the Readings helps to provide a stream of faith’s “language,” a mind-set or “zone” of thought springing primarily from the Psalter, in the midst of which the Readings are heard. Introit, Psalm, and Sentence all serve this same purpose. The words of faith’s language flow around and through the Readings, and indicate that the Word of God is itself living and active, like a river or stream.

Why is the Triple Hallelujah sung before the Gospel?

The Hebrew word Hallelujah means “Praise God,” and is carried into the Latin tongue without translation as Alleluia. Its use in the medieval Roman Church was restricted to Eastertide, as an expression of the Church’s highest joy. It was sung with long melismata or neums (long musical phrases on a single syllable), as an expression of joy too deep for words, the joy of the resurrection of Christ.

Our use of the Triple Hallelujah before the Gospel is a related use, since we know that our hearing of the words of Christ in the Gospel is nothing less than a hearing of the Resurrected One speaking among us. Such knowledge gives abiding joy, and thus it is fitting to rise in anticipation of the Gospel and to sing Hallelujahs.

In the Western Church we omit the Hallelujahs from Septuagesima until Easter as an aural fast. There is even an ancient hymn for Septuagesima which bids farewell to the Hallelujah. This serves to make the anticipation for Easter, and the joy of Easter, all the greater. The joy of Christ’s resurrection can scarcely be better expressed than by Hallelujahs.

Why does the Triple Hallelujah have a sentence attached to it?

This sentence is actually called a “Sentence for the Season” and is appended to the Triple Hallelujah as a further preparation for the reading of the Gospel. It is seasonal, which means that its content changes as the seasons of the liturgical calendar change. Its content is also generally a clear reflection of the season in which it is found. This prepares the hearers by implicitly reminding them that the Gospel is tied to the year, and the year to their lives, and their lives to God, who is Himself the “Ancient of Days.” During the penitential season leading to Easter, the Sentence stands alone (called the Tract), since Hallelujahs are omitted.

St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443

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