Monday, March 25, 2013

April 2013

The High Feast of Easter

Who will roll away the stone? the women wondered.  The stone was to them an obstacle imprisoning the dead body of Christ, and as it imprisoned the Redeemer of us all, therefore it really imprisoned us all; for if Christ is dead, and cannot escape from the prison house of death, then we are all dead in trespasses and sins.  If no one can roll the stone of death away, then we must be eternally imprisoned in death and hell.  But the stone was rolled away; it could not contain Him.  It could not contain His death, and so could not contain our death either.  And we who are in Christ by Baptism are freed from the prison house of death and hell.  For behind that stone was the Rock of our salvation; Christ our Rock is greater than the stone of death, and has crushed it.  Hear the angel: Do not be alarmed. Christ is risen! He is not here.  Where is He not?  He is not behind that stone; the grave is empty. So shall the graves of all the saints of Christ become empty, on the great eternal Easter of His return. X (Meditation for Easter Day, from Every Day Will I Bless Thee: Meditations for the Daily Office, Pastor Eckardt’s published prayerbook.)

Easter Changes Everything
By Rev. Jason Braaten
At Gottesdienst Online (

Easter is a moveable feast. Easter isn't on the same calendar date every year in the way that Christmas is always celebrated on December 25. The date for Easter each year always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox (March 21). And once you find the date of Easter, everything else finds its place. Once you know the date for Easter, you the know the date for Good Friday and Maundy Thursday, you know the date for Ash Wednesday and the Transfiguration, you know the date for the Ascension of our Lord and Pentecost.
All this is a long way of saying that Easter determines everything. Easter defines everything. It orders not only the entire church year, when this feast or that is to be celebrated, but it orders our very lives. It defines and gives meaning to our lives, as well to the things that happen in our lives. For since Easter defines everything, that means it changes everything too. It redefines who we are and where we stand with God and with one another.
Easter changes everything. For without Easter, death would still reign, we would still be in our trespasses and sins, and our faith and hope would be in vain. For without Easter, Jesus is not raised from the dead. But Jesus is raised from the dead. Therefore, darkness is overcome with light. Wrath with peace. Fear with hope. Angst with rest. Sadness with joy. Hatred with love. Sin with righteousness. And death with life. Easter changes everything, redefines everything, determines everything.
And yet, why is it the case that it doesn't always seem that way? Why do our loved ones still die? Why do we still sin? Why are we still afraid of our future and tormented by our past? Why are we still filled with angst and sadness? It is because we, like the women who go to the tomb searching for Jesus, are looking in the wrong place. And so the angel says to the women at the tomb: "You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. . . . Why do you seek the living among the dead?" It is as if the angel said: "You are searching for the right thing, but you are looking in the wrong place." "Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise. And they remembered his words."
Our problem is that in our search for the right things, we look in the wrong place. We ask the wrong questions, and therefore, we get the wrong answers. We look to our works, our experience, our feelings, our history as the keys that hold the answers to our future. But the answers to our deepest questions are not to be found in us. This is the wrong place, perhaps even the wrong questions.
The answers are to be found in the Lord's Words. Remember how he told you. Remember what he said and how he promised. This is what is sure and certain and true. Only in light of the Lord's Word do we find the right answer. And what does the Lord say? "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." Those who trust in the Jesus, who cling to His Word and His Work, have the answers. He is the resurrection and the life. Though he was crucified and died, yet does He live. And everything He said is now seen in light of that, in light of the fact that He is raised from the dead. Easter changes everything, defines everything, determines everything.
And so it is that the Temple that was torn down has been rebuilt in three days. The sign of Jonah has been given. The bright Morning Star, with healing in His wings, has risen on high. He, who was crucified for our transgressions, has been raised for our justification. The Father has accepted the sacrifice. Heaven and earth are reconciled, God is at peace with mankind. It has been declared publicly that we are redeemed, reconciled, pure, innocent and perfect in Christ. The words spoken in death ring out with life, “It is finished.” Indeed, it is finished! Easter changes everything because Christ is raised from the dead.
The mouth of death, that is, the tomb, is empty. It’s been silenced and there is now no one left to accuse you. The First-born from the dead has come forth. The pledge and promise of your own resurrection has been given. The chains of sin and the bonds of death are broken and you are set free. The devil is your slave master no more, for he has met his own Master. The stronger man has come and overpowered him. Freedom, peace, and life are here. Easter changes everything because Christ is raised from the dead.  
On the cross Jesus was clothed with your sins, wrapped with your wickedness, but those grave clothes are left in the tomb, your sin is buried and remains in the tomb. All of God’s anger is spent on Jesus. There is now no more for you: No more wrath, no more destruction, no more threats, no more punishments, no more condemnation. All of that is spent on Jesus. All of it, gone. Easter changes everything because Christ is raised from the dead. 
           Christ is raised from the dead. Death is dead, and your sin is no more, as far from you as the East is from the West.  And today, the Son of man who is crucified but risen, is delivered into the hands of sinful men, and not just into their hands, but also into their ears and their mouths. Remember what He told you. Take eat; take drink, My Body and Blood to take away your sins, to give you eternal life and everlasting salvation. What is true of Him is true also of you. For He is in you and you in Him.  He is the resurrection and the life. Christ is raised from the dead. And so also shall you. For Easter changes everything, determines everything, defines everything. Easter changes and defines you.


Our new youth group, under the direction of Jennifer Madsen, was busy last month preparing Easter eggs and helping with spring cleaning and preparing for the Easter breakfast.  We now have a name, too: SPY (St. Paul’s Youth). Clever, huh?

We’re planning a BAKE SALE for April 27th, to raise funds for SPY activities.  We’ve already secured permission from Wal-Mart to sell baked goods that day.  Anyone can donate baked goods!  Contact Jennifer about it. 

All young people (or even the young at heart!) are always welcome, and you may bring friends.  Thanks, Jennifer, for all you do!

Now here’s an invitation to our Youth to attend a regional youth gathering:

“Greetings pastors, parents, and youth leaders (especially in the CID, NID, SID, or Iowa East),

“On Saturday April 27th from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm, the congregations of Faith and Zion in Lincoln will be hosting a Regional Youth Conference. The theme is ‘The Holy Spirit and Pentecost’. This spring we will be learning about whom the Holy Spirit is, what His particular work is, and what the day of Pentecost is all about. We will also be talking about problems with Pentecostalism, the importance of the Means of Grace, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, and what ‘speaking in tongues’ truly is. At the conference, presentations and sectionals on these and other topics will be led by local pastors and lay leaders. Also, we are intentionally planning a sectional or two specifically for the Sr. High youth who attend. During the day we will have a healthy balance of worship, learning, and fun; the first half of the day at Zion Lutheran Church and the second at Zion Lutheran School.

Jr. High Youth (6th-8th) and Sr. High Youth (9th-12th): Cost will be $10.00 a person, which will include donuts and juice in the morning, lunch, a Grill-out in the evening, and all activities. Several churches from the Central Illinois District and Northern Illinois District are already planning to attend. Please encourage your Jr. and Sr. High parents to send their children to this conference, and I would especially encourage pastors to attend along with their youth.

High School Helpers: Older high school youth are also welcome to attend as helpers. We are looking for Sr. High youth to help out with activities, sports, and crowd control that day. If you have some older youth who are interested, please call or email Pastor Ramirez.

Chaperones: Make sure that you bring an adequate number of chaperones, at least one chaperone for every 10 youth.

Registration: Please have parents complete the individual registration form. As you get a count of how many are attending, email or call with the number of youth and chaperones attending from your church. (We of course appreciate you telling us ASAP) If you are far away, and you cannot make the 9:00-9:30 registration time, don't worry, you can come late, just inform us and we'll work something out. Same applies if you need to leave early. Remember to bring completed and signed individual registration forms with you to Lincoln.

In Christ,
Pastor David Ramirez
Zion Lutheran Church
Lincoln, Illinois

April Ushers

Steve Peart, Grant Andresen, Larry Campbell

April Anniversaries

4/1/1988        William and Beth Dolieslager
4/13/2002      Steve and Sheri Kraklow

April Birthdays:
4/3      Adam Shreck  
4/19    Luke Wells
4/22    Grant Andreson

First Tuesday Vespers, etc.

April 2nd, Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15, as usual.

Altar Guild Notes

·        Parament color is WHITE for all of April excepting April 25th.
·        Parament color is RED for Wednesday, April 24h, on which we will observe St. Mark’s Day.
Next meeting is Tuesday, April 2nd.

Our Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Mark Baker and Anna Baker at home; Ruth Snider at Hillcrest Home; Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home.  Bob Bock is convalescing at a center in Wautoma, Wisconsin.

Faithful Departed

Christian was accorded Lorraine Mohr on March 9th, and Ruth VerShaw on March 23rd.

Coming Up In May

 The annual Gottesdienst – Chicago event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14th.

“Missing Something?”  

—emphasizing the Holy Sacrament 
and the frequency of its celebration

at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
5259 S. Major Ave
Chicago, IL 60638

Featuring from among our editors:

Rev. Fr. Jason Braaten, MDiv.: “John 6, the Bread of Life, and the Sacrament”
Rev. Fr. Burnell F. Eckardt Jr., MDiv, STM, PhD: “Why the Sacrament? Why Not the Word Alone?”
Panel Discussion: “Every Sunday Communion” with
  • Rev. Fr. Heath Curtis, MDiv, STM
  • Rev. Fr. D. Richard Stuckwisch Jr., MDiv, PhD 
  • Rev. Fr. David H. Petersen, MDiv
Recommended hotel: Sleep Inn $159. 6650 S Cicero Ave, Bedford Park, IL. (708) 594-0001
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 ddition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.

in our parish:
Mark Baker
Ann Baker
Sara Bidni
Don Murphy
Emilie Ricknell
Bob Bock
outside our parish:
David Dakin [re Harris]
Anna Rutowicz [re Harris]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknell]
Pam Mansnarus [Ricknell]
Christian Johnson [re Kemerlings]
Madison Lindsay [re Andersons]
Tom Fornoff [Jean Russell’s brother-in-law]
Nina [nine-a] Hartz [Sharon’s mother]
Rev. Don Chambers [Manito]
Stacie Liese, wife of Rev. Michael Liese
Lisa Gustafson [with Thyroid cancer - Harlow]
Crystal Stoll
Linda Peterson [re Kemerlings]
Michelle Steuber [re Fischer]
Pat Shreck
Mildred Russell
Marilyn Johnson [relative of the Kemerlings]
Michelle Loesch [[re Clappers]
    in the military:
John Eckardt
Michael Fisa [re Kemerlings]
Donny Appleman [re Ricknells]
Thomas Kim [re Shrecks]
Jaclyn Harden Alvarez
Michael Creech [re Murphys]

In trouble: especially any unborn children in danger of abortion, and those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Pakistan, Egypt, Nigeria, and Burma. 

Here are the details Website:
PAKISTAN: Homes Set Ablaze by Mob of Extremists.  Hundreds of homes in a Christian neighbourhood of Lahore were set on fire by thousands of Muslim extremists during two days of violence that began during the evening of March 8th, and then continued again the following morning. The attacks were sparked by yet another incident involving blasphemy allegations against a local Christian.
It all began when a young man by the name of Sawan Masih got involved in a petty dispute with a close Muslim friend. Following the incident, police arrested Sawan who was accused of blasphemy. When the allegations were broadcast from mosque loudspeakers, thousands of Muslims went on a rampage in the community, setting fire to approximately 200 homes. In addition, two churches, a chapel and many shops were vandalized; numerous Christians had been beaten; houses were looted; and hundreds of Bibles purposely burned. Fearing for their lives, nearly all the residents of this terror-stricken region fled, some on the advice of local police.
EGYPT: Hostility Against Christians Escalates. More than one year after the country's 2012 revolution, violence against Christians in Egypt has escalated. On February 15th, a mob of a few hundred Islamic militants threw stones and set fire to St. Georgas Coptic Church, located in the poor village of Sarsena (about 100 km. southwest of Cairo). The church, which was built about 20 years ago, provided ministry to approximately 200 Christian families. Reportedly, the extremists felt justified in their actions, stating that the church was illegal because of its close proximity to their Muslim neighbourhood.
NIGERIA: More Unexpected Attacks During Militant Rampages. More vicious attacks have been made against the peaceful inhabitants of two Christian villages. During the early hours of February 22nd, ten family members were tragically hacked to death and two others sustained gunshot wounds after an unexpected attack took place in Kogwom Village (Vom District in Jos South, Plateau State). The grieving family had gathered together that morning to conduct the funeral of a grandmother when the unfortunate tragedy took place. The second incident happened on February 23rd at about 10 p.m., this time in Aduwan Gida Village (located in Zangon Kataf, Southern Kaduna). Similarly, it occurred when villagers had gathered to mourn the loss of an elderly member of the community. After gunmen fired indiscriminately for about ten minutes, a total of six people were killed (including a nursing mother and her six-month-old baby) and many others injured. All who survived are receiving needed medical care at undisclosed locations.
BURMA: Military Destroys 66 Churches and Assaults Numerous Women. To date, a total of 66 churches have been burnt down in Kachin state, the result of a conflict that reignited in June of 2011 as a religious persecution.  Compounding the seriousness of this situation is the fact that 30 reported incidents of sexual assault, involving 64 women or girls (cases that include gang rapes), have been committed by Myanmar troops. Half of those women raped were killed afterward.

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