Monday, March 25, 2013

March 2013

Moving through Lent to the Easter Vigil



ost people are unaware that there are levels of Lent.  To know the levels is to appreciate and benefit from Lent all the more.
The first part of Lent shows a kind of thematic progression moving from the Gospels of the first three Sundays.  That is, on the first Sunday in Lent we hear of Jesus and the devil in the wilderness.  On the second Sunday, we are told of the Canaanite woman whose daughter was demon-possessed, and how Jesus ignores her at first. In effect this is faith with the devil, in the wilderness.  Then on the third Sunday in Lent we hear of Jesus casting out demons.  The cumulative message here is that Jesus defends us against all demons and evil, because he has bound him, being stronger than “the strong man.”   
Then we reach the oasis of Lent, on the fourth Sunday.  Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday lightens the Lenten load a bit.  Some churches even have rose paraments in stead of the violet.  And the Gospel concerns Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 in a place where there was much grass.  This suggests an oasis in the wilderness, and also reminds us of the 23rd Psalm: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”  Ultimately, we think of the Holy Supper, which is our oasis in the midst of life.
Next we move on to the deeper level of Lent, called Passiontide.  Up until now the emphasis has been on the struggles of faith in a fallen world.  So it’s really only at this point, with just two weeks left in Lent, that we begin in earnest to consider the suffering of Jesus.  Thus we also veil the images now, immediately after the Gospel is read, which concludes saying that Jesus hid himself from his enemies.  So we hide the images of him. 
Then the last week of Lent, Holy Week, brings us to the heart of our Christian faith.  Be prepared to listen carefully to the readings of the Passion histories of the Evangelists during this week.  On Palm Sunday, the triumphal entry is read prior to the opening procession, and the Gospel is the St. Matthew passion—two entire chapters.  Then on Wednesday the Gospel is the entire St. Luke passion.  And on Good Friday we have the entire St. John passion. Time for reflection and prayer.
Maundy Thursday at evening is the beginning of the Triduum Sacrum—the three holy days—and after communion there is the stripping of the altar.  The organ falls silent, and is not used at all on Good Friday. 
Then comes Holy Saturday, with the Great Vigil of Easter.  If you can’t take advantage of any other special emphasis of Lent, at least try to come to this, and make it a regular part of your annual devotion.  Dating to the early church, the Great Vigil is a four part ceremony that begins outside, where the Paschal Candle is lit, and all process to the church, at which point everyone’s hand-candle
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is lit.  Then, at long last, we hear the pastor intone the great Exultet once again, the ancient majestic hymn of praise for the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. The service moves on through its parts—from this service of light through the service of readings and the service of Baptismal remembrance, until the last part, which is the actual entry of Easter-tide: the lights are turned up, the bells are rung, the acclamation “Christ is risen” is heard, and all reply, “He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!”  and all sing the Gloria in Excelsis as the organ springs back to life.  To those who know the meaning of Lent, and its culmination in Easter, this is a marvelous thing for faith.
+ Pastor Eckardt



Our newly constituted youth group, under the direction of Jennifer Madsen, met twice this year, the most recent time on Saturday, February 16, from 10 am until noon.  This time seems agreeable, so we aim to continue to meet biweekly on Saturdays at the same time.  So our next meeting is scheduled for Saturday morning, March 2, from 10 until noon (right after catechism).  All young people (or even the young at heart!) are welcome, and you may bring friends.  This next meeting we will be looking at preparing Easter decorations, possibly including artistic Easter eggs.  We’ll also be helping to decorate for Easter on Holy Saturday.  Join us!  And thanks, Jennifer!

Spring Cleaning Scheduled

Your trustees have set Saturday, March 16, as a spring clean-up day, beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers are sought! It will be a busy day, as we prepare also for the beginning of Passiontide the next day, with veils for the images.

March Ushers

Allan Kraklow Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells, Bob Bock

March Anniversary

3/19/1977 Jeff and Diana Shreck

March Birthdays:
3/1      Barbra Kraklow
3/2      Joseph Eckardt
3/8      Carol Kegebein
3/25    Carol Eckardt

Robin Sighting Contest

As usual, the Kraklows came out of the gate announcing that they had seen a number of robins already early in February.  Pastor saw his first on Ash Wednesday while walking the dog.  Andy Eckardt, who lives in Oregon, Illinois, sent us a picture of “a thousand” robins congregating in his backyard.  Maybe they never got the memo that they were supposed to go south for the winter.  Or maybe they thought this was south.  In any event, the robins are here.  Welcome, spring!

Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Mark Baker and Anna Baker at  home; Bob Bock (temporarily) at home; Ruth Snider at Hillcrest Home; Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield.

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.

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
John Ricknell
Emilie Ricknell
Bob Bock
        And all of our shut-ins

and also (outside our parish):
David Dakin [re Harrises]
Anna Rutowicz [re Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells]
Pam Mansnarus [Ricknells]
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 [formerly of Manito]
Rev. Glenn Niemann [of St. John’s, Pekin]
Rev. Brian Feicho [of Granite City, Illinois]
Lisa Gustafson [with Thyroid cancer - Harlow]
Crystal Stoll [former member, in hospice in Wisc.]
Linda Peterson [re Kemerlings]
Michelle Steuber [re Fischers]
Pat Shreck [Diana’s Mother-in-law]
Mildred Russell [Chuck’s mother]
Marilyn Johnson [relative of the Kemerlings]
Michelle Loesch, niece the Clappers, whose cancer has returned

    In the military
John Eckardt
Michael Fisa [re Kemerlings]
Donny Appleman [re Ricknells]
Thomas Kim [re Shrecks]
Jaclyn Harden Alvarez
Michael Creech [re Murphys]

Those who are in trouble:
especially any unborn children in danger of abortion, and those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Laos, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and elsewhere.  Details:

LAOS: Three Christian pastors in southern Laos have been arrested and subsequently detained for allegedly spreading Christianity by reproducing a DVD of a Christian film.  The accused pastors had taken a DVD copy of the film to a shop at the Phin market to make three copies. After the copies were made, the owner of the shop, along with the three pastors, tested one of the DVDs by viewing the film. While this was taking place, a police officer came into the shop and noticed them watching the film. The pastors were arrested.  The shop owner was released without charge but the pastors were imprisoned.

SAUDI ARABIA: While attending a worship service in the private rented home of a fellow believer, 53 Ethiopian Christians were arrested by Saudi authorities in Dammam, the capital of the country's Eastern Province. The incident, which took place at about 10 a.m. on February 8, 2013, included the arrests of three church leaders. During a hearing in an Islamic court, authorities alleged that the leaders were converting Muslims to Christianity.

In an annual 2012 report, published recently by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, is the following statement which accurately summarizes the country's overall situation: "The Saudi government persists in banning all forms of public religious expression other than that of the government's own interpretation of one school of Sunni Islam; prohibits churches, synagogues, temples, and other non-Muslim places of worship; uses in its schools and posts online state textbooks that continue to espouse intolerance and incite violence. . . ."

AZERBAIJAN: Denial of Church Registration Causes Mounting Pressures
Source: Release International

Many churches in Azerbaijan are facing further challenges due to the government's tough new regulations and, as a result, denial of official registration. To make matters worse, Christians who refuse to give or take bribes struggle to survive in a country where corruption is endemic; a struggle that's further compounded by discrimination while seeking employment.  One pastor served 18 months behind bars after complaints by Muslim leaders. When 30 police officers and other officials turned up at his house, he was warned that it was illegal to spread the teachings of Jesus in Azerbaijan, even though freedom of religion is guaranteed under the constitution. Another pastor describes a police raid on his unregistered church: "They confiscated all our literature and our Bibles.... They sentenced me to a year's imprisonment. It's very hard to be in prison in Azerbaijan."

Taking Pains  reprinted from a regular column in Gottesdienst

Praying Hands

The folding of hands is, traditionally, the placing of hands palm to palm (as opposed to the interlocking of fingers). As the hands are held flat against each other, the thumbs are placed right over left so as to form a cross. The celebrant and attendants at the Mass hold their hands this way whenever their hands are not otherwise occupied. People at prayer or approaching or leaving the altar may also fittingly have hands folded palm to palm.

This folding of the hands is admittedly somewhat unnatural, for it is a rather ostensible indication that one is praying, and prayer is a spiritual, as opposed to a natural, discipline.  Yet this posture should not appear stilted, mechanical, or uncomfortable; it is the position of repose.  It is a visual way of indicating a serene and humble receptivity to the word of the Gospel.  Folded hands are manifestly not working hands; they are resting hands, which are doing nothing. In that we fold our hands palm to palm, we indicate that we are trusting in the grace of God alone rather than in our own works or accomplishments; we are resting in the works which Christ has accomplished for us.

To say that it is fitting to fold the hands palm to palm whenever the hands are not otherwise occupied means more for the celebrant than it does for the layman, since the hands of the celebrant will of necessity be more frequently otherwise occupied than will the hands of the laity.  The laity will usually need to hold a hymnal, yet someone who is familiar enough with the liturgy that he does not need to follow the hymnal to sing the parts of the ordinary may wish to do so without holding one, and thus will be free to fold hands palm to palm, though of course while taking care to draw no attention to himself.

Altar Guild Notes

·        Parament color is VIOLET throughout March until the Easter vigil, except for Wednesday, March 20th (St. Joseph, transf.), for which the color is WHITE.
·        Preparation of veils will take place on Saturday, March 16th, and the veiling of items in sacristy, vestry, etc.
·        A couple altar guild ladies will be needed at the sacristy door to receive the paraments during  the altar stripping after the Maundy Thursday Mass.
·        Saturday, March 30th, for the Easter vigil, all veils are removed, lilies placed, and color changed to WHITE.
Next meeting is Tuesday, March 5th.

Granddaughter Baptism

The due date for the granddaughter of Pastor and Carol (Burnie and Amanda’s baby, who is to be named Beverly Joan) is February 28th.  The Baptism will be scheduled for a Saturday evening in March (at their 5 pm service), so that Pastor can perform the Baptism, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Davenport on a Saturday evening in March.  Members are invited.  As a result of that service, regular Saturday Mass here will probably be cancelled on March 2, 9, or 16, to accommodate the Baptism. The schedule change will be announced as soon as it is known.

The Lighter Side
From the groaners department –

    England doesn't have a kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool
    A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
    A cardboard belt would be a waist of paper.
Progress on the Ordos

I’ve been working on our new ordos for some time now, and the end is in sight.  When completed, they will contain all of the propers for the entire sanctoral cycle under one cover, as well as the hymns we have had in our old seasonal ordos, which in many cases are falling apart.  One of the features of the new ordos is the musical notation for the propers, which the congregation will be encouraged to sing, along with the choir.  The reason for this is twofold.  On the one hand, our dwindling choir is sometimes hard-pressed to have enough vocal power to sing the propers alone.  On the other hand, it is always good to encourage singing.  As an aid to this, our organist Ryan Van Wassenhove has begun playing along with the singing of the propers, but until you get the new ordos in your hands with the notes, you could only sing along by listening and following (which you are certainly encouraged to try!).  In any case, you may expect to see these new ordos soon! 

+ Pastor Eckardt

First Tuesday Vespers, etc.

March 5th, Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15, as usual.

Sunday School

Candi Johnson has been teaching Sunday School this year, and it has been a great year so far.  The children are learning Bible stories and having Pastor’s catechetical lessons reinforced.  Thanks, Candi!

Lenten Masses

Daily mass is scheduled throughout Lent. The most excellent way to benefit from Lent is through worship. See the calendar for the schedule. 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.

Lenten Suppers

We are again having Lenten soup suppers every Wednesday in March except for Holy Wednesday, currently at 5 pm, though there was a suggestion made to move to 5:30.  Stay tuned, and join your family of the faithful for this time together.  It’s a convenient time too, just prior to midweek Lenten masses.

Hats Again?

Ladies, if you can, remember to wear your hats for Easter!  They’re not necessary, of course, but a nice addition to the festivities.

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