Thursday, May 23, 2013

June 2013

Volume 25                                   June  2013                                           No. 6

Disasters, Heartaches, Job, 

and the Mercy of God

he news of the tornado devastation in Moore, Oklahoma is hard to take in, but how much harder is it to take in the fact that disasters far worse than this happen around the world all the time.  Japan is still rebuilding from the tsunami that hit in 2011 and killed 15,000, and the people of Haiti are a long way from recovering from the earthquake that ravished their nation in 2010.  Due to the impoverished conditions under which they already lived, the count of the death toll was impossible to take, but it was at least 46,000, and at most over 300,000.  It is impossible to consider rationally these staggering figures.
            What are we to make of it all? Why does it happen?  What’s going on?  Where is God? Such questions are inevitably asked. 
            I just finished pondering the book of Job.  The setting for Job is the same.  In one day he loses his servants, his beasts of burden, his sheep, and finally all his sons and daughters; then he loses his health too, and his wife becomes embittered.  Now to top it off, his three friends come to chide him, as though somehow it’s all his fault.  This is a crude summarization, of course, but I noticed a few things embedded in the story that merit some close attention.  First, the account starts with God conversing with the devil about Job, and boasting to the devil about Job’s faith.  This boast in itself should show the source of that faith, that it is from God.  Second, when the LORD allows Satan to take Job’s riches and family from him, one of the reports still says that what caused some of this calamity is that “The fire of God is fallen from heaven.”  In this we see although God is allowing the devil to do his worst, it is really something that God himself is doing.  But why?  To prove the strength of faith, and its source.  To show the devil to be wrong.  Ultimately, what happens to Job is that his faith waxes stronger in the heat of battle; from the pit of his anguish he cries out, “I know that my redeemer liveth,” the basis of one of our favorite Easter hymns.
There’s something else I noticed too.  There are three “friends” who come to talk to Job and give him no comfort.  Why three?  Is not three the number of God?  Who are these three friends?  They speak no falsehood, as far as I can tell, but we see their error in that they pummel Job when he had need of comfort.  But is this not what the law of God does too?  It always accuses us, always: even when we are in need of comfort.  When we are troubled with affliction and pain, what happens?  We feel guilty!  Why?  Because of the law.  Like Job’s friends, the law does its work, and makes matters worse for us.  But the law itself is from God.
Finally Job receives better correction from Elihu, whose name means “He is my God,” and then from the LORD himself, who answers Job out of the whirlwind (that is, whose Spirit, or breath, speaks).
In the end, Job receives all that he needs for the increase of faith, and so also of life and salvation.  So it is that toward the end of the book the LORD speaks of “leviathan,” the dragon who breathes fire.  This is the devil, who first appeared talking with God in  the beginning of the book.  Job cannot “draw him out” with a hook, but—here is the implication—God himself has done so; he has snagged the devil. 
Here, the result is blessing for Job.  Not only is Job’s faith strengthened, but he is blessed with greater riches than at the beginning, and with seven new sons and daughters to replace those he had lost, and 140 more years of life.
In all this, Job is himself a type of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For the Father boasts to the devil of Jesus as well, and the devil takes everything from him.  And like Job, Jesus does not curse God, but trusts in him.  And like the three friends, the Father treats Jesus poorly: he abandons him on the cross.  And what is the result?  Leviathan is snagged in the divine hook.  The devil loses by the very trap he set; and Jesus gains greater riches than he had before: now he ascends to his Father in the flesh, and so takes with him the guarantee that we also shall rise to the Father and everlasting life.
The message of Job is the answer, then, to the struggles and heartaches and tragedies of life.  This life does not provide eternal peace or rest; but eternal peace and rest has been gained by him who snagged leviathan.  In him we gain them, and shall have no mere 140 years of life, but eternal life, in the uncountable myriads of the family of God.
+ Pastor Eckardt

June Ushers: Alan Kraklow, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells, Bob Bock

June Anniversaries:
6/17/1967 Robert and Mary Beth Jones
6/18/1960 Sandra and John Verplaetse
6/18/1977 Fr. Burnell and Carol Eckardt
6/18/1966  Don and Sue Murphy
6/19/1977 Dana and Carol McReynolds
6/19/1966 William and Judy Thompson
6/24/1989 Tony and Mindie Fisher
6/27/1954 Monroe and Lucille Kemerling
6/27/1981 Steve and Gail Peart
6/28/1958 Dale and Anna Baker

June Birthdays:
6/5 Mirilda Greiert     
6/5 Linda Rowe         
6/15 Jill Powers
6/16 Berniece Harris
6/29 Jim Watson

First Tuesday

First Tuesday activities will be held as usual, on the 4th of June: Altar Guild, Vespers, and Elders will be held on June 12, beginning as usual at with Altar Guild at 6 pm, Vepers at 6:45, and Elders at 7:15.

Church Picnic

Our annual church picnic is scheduled for the last Sunday in June, that is, June 30th, at the shelter house at Northeast Park. We’ll head out there right after church for brats etc. as usual, and a day of frolicking in the sun and some good times together. Bring your Frisbees, your tennis rackets, your bats and balls, or whatever else you’d like to bring, to have some fun.

The Kermit Gosnell Verdict: Implications for Pro-Life Lutheran Christians
A statement by LCMS Life Ministries
May 13, 2013
After a nine-week trial, which included weeks of graphic testimony, a Pennsylvania jury found Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty of three of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of babies who were born alive, but who died after their spinal cords were severed in procedures Gosnell called "abortions." He was acquitted on the fourth murder charge. Gosnell also was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the botched abortion death of one mother. He faced 258 counts total, including 24 counts of performing abortions after 24 weeks gestation, which is illegal in Pennsylvania, and hundreds of charges of violating Pennsylvania's informed consent and 24-hour waiting period laws. The jury is now in the penalty phase.
Gosnell's murder trial became the subject of much debate nationally after pro-life activists and others criticized the mainstream media for ignoring the trial early on.
As pro-life Christians devoted to the biblical understanding of the sanctity of human life, we grieve over the tragic loss of these lives and the thousands of other children and mothers who die daily as a result of abortion. Today's conviction of Gosnell brings justice for the many victims of this horrific abortion facility and demonstrates that abortion is clearly a slippery slope that seeks to deprive the most helpless of their basic human right: life.
The LCMS develops and promotes resources and support for pregnant women so they can avoid seeking abortions. Abortion doesn't solve — but only masks — problems many women face and leaves many of them grieving the death of a child.
The Gosnell case generated a larger debate and rightly caused people to consider the philosophical issue of why an abortion procedure performed in utero is legal, but also how a similar act a few minutes later, outside the womb, is considered homicide.
Clearly, the case was about the death of five persons and no one can argue against the personhood of these four smaller humans. This case has exposed the ugly underbelly of the pro-abortion movement and it has brought the humanity of unborn children before the public conscience.
We call upon legislators and citizens to examine the brutality of abortion, which takes the lives of 1.2 million children every year, and the mothers who die as well. (The Center for Disease Control reports that about 400 women have died as a result of legal abortions since 1973, and 12 died in 2008, the last time such research was gathered.)
Our church aims to be a place of forgiveness, mercy and healing for all people as we continue to proclaim Christ's comfort and truth in love. As we move forward following this ruling, we offer up our prayers for women and children in need, for families, that those still participating in the abortion industry would stop, and for our nation.
For more information, contact: Maggie Karner, director, Life Ministries The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod 888-THE LCMS (843-5267)

 Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Mark Baker at home; Anna Baker at home; Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care; Ruth Snider at Hillcrest Home in Geneseo; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield; Bob Bock at a nursing home in Oshkosh, Wisconsin (Bob hopes to return home later this month).

Altar Guild notes

·        No mass on Wednesday, June 19th.
·        No mass on Saturday evening, June 29th.
·        Altar color is WHITE for the Octave of Trinity (June 9).
·        After Sunday mass June 9, Altar color changes to GREEN, for weekday mass that week, and for Sunday, June 16th and the week following.
·        Altar color Sunday June 23rd remains GREEN, but changes to WHITE for our observance of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist at Midweek Mass (June 26th).
·        No mass on Saturday evening, June 29th. Sunday, June 30th we observe the Feast of SS Peter and Paul, and the altar color is RED.
·        No Mass during the week after June 30th, as Pastor and Carol will be away.  The altar color reverts to GREEN after mass on June 30th.

Council Meets Second Wed.
Due to scheduling conflicts, the Church Council will meet the second Wednesday this month.

Pastor and Carol to visit Pastor’s mother the first week in July

Pastor and Carol will be away from July 2nd through the 5th, to spend some time with his mother at her 92nd birthday. No midweek mass that week.

New Ordos Coming Soon

The new ordos I have been working on for some time are in the final stages of proofreading, and should be in the pews very shortly.  They contain the propers with their musical settings.  Permission to publish has been received by Concordia Publishing House, so we are ready to proceed in making these available to others as well.  The ordos have been divided into two volumes, for ease of handling.  The first volume covers Advent through Lent, and the second, Easter through the end of the church year. 
The cover for the second volume portays an icon of the Old Testament Trinity (pictured nearby).  This is a famous icon painted by St. Andrey Rublev, created sometime between 1408 and 1425.  The icon is sometimes called the Hospitality of Abraham, because it is a depiction of the appearance of the three men to Abraham at Mamre  (see Genesis 18:1-15), a mystical appearance of the Holy Trinity to Abraham and Sarah.  This image type goes back to Early Christian art and has remained the most common Eastern depiction of the Trinity. 
By an examination of the three men, one can note that the figure on the left is likely the Father, to whom the other two are looking.  The one in the center is the Son, with the tree (the oak of Mamre, but also a depiction of the cross) behind him.
+ Pastor

In Our Prayers
Our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following.  To update the list, please inform pastor. 
In our parish:
Emilie Ricknell, Linda Rowe, and our shut-ins: Mark Baker, Ann Baker, Ruth Snider, Mary Hamilton, Emmy Wear, Bob Bock.

Outside our parish:

David Dakin [re Harris]
Anna Rutowicz [re Harris]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Caleb Cleaver [re Ricknells]
Pam Mansnarus [re Ricknells]
Christian Johnson [re Kemerlings]
Madison Lindsay [re Andersons]
Tom Fornoff [Jean Russell’s brother-in-law]
Rev. Don Chambers [from Manito]
Stacie Liese [wife of Rev. Michael Liese]
Lisa Gustafson [with Thyroid cancer - Harlow]
Crystal Stoll
Michelle Steuber [re Fischer]
Marilyn Johnson [relative of the Kemerlings]
Richard Day [re Harden]
Jill Matchett [re Shreck]

in the military:

John Eckardt
Michael Fisa [re Kemerlings]
Donny Appleman [re Ricknells]
Thomas Kim [re Shreck]
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 Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, and elsewhere.

Here are the details. Website:

TANZANIA: Two Killed and Over 50 Wounded in Church Bombing

St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania's northern city of Arusha was bombed on Sunday, May 5th. At least two people are confirmed dead as a result of the blast. As many as 50 people were wounded, 44 of whom received serious injuries and have been rushed to nearby hospitals. The church was bombed during its official opening, with the bomb thrown into the building from someone on a motorcycle.
"When it exploded there was a stampede, people running in all directions, walking over each other, children were screaming and women crying," a witness told Al Jazeera. "I saw a dead woman trampled; I think even her two children were killed in the same way," another witness added.
Tanzania's president, Jakaya Kikwete, has condemned the bombing as an "act of terrorism," and has vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

SRI LANKA: Religious Persecution Intensifies

Christian persecution in Sri Lanka has intensified due to the rise in the country's Buddhist nationalism. Extremist Buddhist groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Strong Army) and the Sinhala Rawaya (Sinhala Echo) have incited religious disharmony and carried out malicious attacks, targeting both Christian and Muslim minorities in the country.
In a wave of violence, around 30 churches have come under attack this year alone. In 2012, there were 52 reported incidents of persecution. Quite alarmingly, these attacks have occurred with impunity, and with little or no state action to prosecute those responsible.
In addition to the rising violence, churches are also facing restriction in the form of forced closure by the authorities. For instance, local governments and police have ordered many churches to close down, claiming that they are not authorized by the state.
In a recent incident in the Hambantota district, authorities called on certain evangelical churches to confirm their legality, warning church leaders that failure to do so will result in the closure of churches.

INDIA: Pastor Beaten During Church Service

A pastor in Uttar Pradesh state was recently attacked and beaten during a church service. Near the end of the service, a group of Hindu men attacked Pastor "Caleb" by tying him to a tree and beating him. The attackers, who apparently were directed by Hindu leaders in the village, broke Pastor Caleb's arm during the beating.
VOM partners are helping to provide him with medical treatment, while also urging police to prosecute the attackers. Pastor Caleb's church had been threatened in the past by high caste families. It is understood that about five Christian families who have faithfully remained with the church had angered villagers by refusing to offer a gift to a Hindu goddess.
A group from the village also became angry when the Christian families refused to help with the wedding of a high caste family's daughter. Despite the recent attack, Pastor "Caleb" plans on continuing his ministry service in this volatile community. To learn more about the challenges faced by believers in this part of the world, please go to the India Country Report.

IRAN: God's Presence Evident in Evin Prison (Pastor Saeed's case)

“Saeed's family got to visit him at Evin Prison today since he has now been released from solitary confinement. He said he felt many praying, and the time in solitary was a time of intimacy with God. He said when he came out, the other prisoners said he was glowing! He was filled with more joy and peace after solitary than going in!!! All of the prisoners were shocked at the change! This is because of your prayers! Thank you! I will provide more updates as I get them. Please continue to pray for his health and his internal bleeding. He has not been treated yet."

Concordia Catechetical Academy

The Concordia Catechetical Academy is holding its annual conference at Waukesha, Wisconsin, June 20-22.  Pastor and Carol will be away for the two-day event, so there will be no mass hereon Wednesday the 19th. Anyone interested in details for this fine conference (which many lay people attend) log on at or consult pastor.

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