Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 2013

St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm, Kewanee, Illinois 61443
Volume 24                                   November 2013                                       No. 11

The historian in me thinks it’s odd that I should even have to address this question, since no one ever questioned the sanctity of marriage as the joining of a man to a woman, since the beginning of the world.  To put that in perspective, we’re talking about thousands of years of human history.  Although there have been some changes in what has been culturally acceptable—most especially the move away from polygamy—there has never been a hint that marriage ought to be something allowed between two people of the same sex.   Never.
            In Old Testament times, we can see evidence that men sometimes had more than one wife, even in Israel.  Even Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel; King David too, and King Solomon.  In Solomon’s case, the fact that he married some foreign wives got him into some serious trouble, from the perspective of faith.  Polygamy was never expressly permitted, though; it’s just that God never expressly condemned it either.  It’s in the New Testament that we see the clearer pattern of one man and one woman emerge, much as all of the fullness of God’s revelation emerges there, with the coming of Christ.  Now we see not only that the ideal is marriage of one man and one woman, because it is a picture of Christ and His Church.  According to St. Paul, wives are to submit to their husbands “as to the Lord,” ands husbands are to love their wives, are “as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her”; we are “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephesians 5:22-32).  This passage shows that the Apostle is drawing his awareness of what marriage is both from the words of Jesus—particularly his references to the “Bridegroom” in parables—and from the Genesis account, in which Adam exults in the creation of Eve: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man: (Genesis 2:23).  And so we see that the meaning of the creation of man and woman reaches its pinnacle in the joining of Christ to his Church.
            Now we face a culture, however, which for the first time in recorded history wants to destroy the very fabric of our created flesh as male and female, and the foundational substance upon which our redemption through the Incarnate Lord rests.
            Particularly in Illinois the state government will possibly have acted on the matter by the time you read this; they are in session as of this writing.  A number of states have already enacted same-sex marriage laws.  The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage law enacted in California, opening the door for more homosexual activism.
            How the Church responds to this perversion of nature is of critical importance, and will likely be a very difficult matter to handle.  For starters, we must all have some clarity of understanding about what marriage is and what it is not, and why this is so very important for Christians to understand.
            It’s all about reality, creation, and Jesus.
+ Pastor Eckardt

November Anniversaries
11/5 Steve and Berniece Harris
11/10 Gayle and Phil Beauprez

November Birthdays
11/13 Shannon Peart
11/16 Jennifer Madsen
11/19 Steve Kraklow
11/20 Jewneel Walker
11/30 Charlene Sovanski

(Note: Richard Madsen’s birthday Oct. 16 was missed. Oops!)

Pastor on Vacation
In consultation with the elders, I have decided to take some vacation time during November, starting Sunday afternoon November 3rd (after Mass and Bible Class) until Saturday the 9th.  Much of this week will include a road trip with Carol visit son Johnny and his wife Alissa at Whiteman AFB in Missouri.  I plan to return in time for the following Sunday (November 10th), so no pulpit supply will be necessary; however, there will be no midweek activities on that week’s Wednesday, nor any catechesis on Saturday.  Saturday evening mass is also cancelled for November 9th. Since this involves the first Tuesday of the month, all first Tuesday meetings are moved to the second Tuesday.
Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Anna Baker at home; Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield.

November Ushers Otis Anderson             John Ricknell, Bill Thompson, David Ricknell

October funerals We bid farewell  to our dear faithful member Mark Baker and Ruth Snider who went to their heavenly rest during October. 
R. I. P.

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 addition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.

Ann Baker
Sara Bidni
Emilie Ricknell
Linda Rowe
Sharon Hartz
John Sovanski
Jean Russell
And all of our shut-ins.

And also:
David Dakin [re Harris]
Anna Rutowicz [re Harris]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknell]
Christian Johnson [re Kemerlings]
Madison Lindsay [re Andersons]
Tom Fornoff [Jean Russell’s brother-in-law]
Rev. Don Chambers [Manito]
Rev. Brian Feicho [E. St. Louis]
Stacie Liese [wife of Rev. Michael Liese]
Michelle Steuber [re Fischer]
Marilyn Johnson [relative of the Kemerlings]
Jill Matchett [re Shreck]
Michele Dador [d’-door] [friend of Kemerlings]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Rick Nelson [Ricknells’ son-in-law]
Tammy Johnson [Kemerlings’ daughter]

in the military:
John Eckardt
Brent Matthews [re Fishers]
Michael and Melinda Fisa [re Kemerlings]
Michelle Steuber [re Fishers]
Donny Appleman [re Ricknells]
Thomas Kim [re Shrecks]
Jaclyn Harden Alvarez
Michael Creech [re Murphys]

in trouble:
any unborn children in danger of abortion

Those suffering persecution in Egypt, Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Khazakstan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, China, the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, and elsewhere.

Vespers on Sunday night, January 5th, then Epiphany Day of Reflection on Monday

Tentatively, our annual winter Vespers is scheduled for Sunday night, January 5th, 2013, at 7 pm. This is the night of Epiphany Day.  The size of our choir is rather depleted, so we do not know how much of a contribution it can make.

Nevertheless we hope to have it followed by our traditional wine-and-cheese reception, another annual tradition.  Then on Monday January 6th, we’ll have an Epiphany Day of Theological Reflection, beginning with Holy Mass at 9:00 and going until 3:00 in the afternoon.

The next day’s fifteenth retreat in the Theological Reflection series is entitled,

“st. luke’s subtle confessions of Jesus’ divinity”

This retreat (January 6th) will focus on several passages in the Gospel according to St. Luke that subtly show the divinity of Jesus.  While the overt references to Jesus in this Gospel are hard to miss, the subtle ones provide further insight into this evangelist’s keen awareness of who Jesus is.
            If there is inclement weather, a snow date for Vespers is scheduled for Wednesday night (January 8th) at 7 pm.

First Tuesday
Novembers First Tuesday events are moved to second Tuesday due to Pastor’s vacation.  Altar Guild and Elders meetings will be held on November 12th. Altar Guild at 6 p.m. Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders meet at 7:15.

Daily Prayer
For daily prayer in the homes of members, the following helps are offered:
As a minimum, when you rise in the morning and go to bed at night, follow the catechism.  That is, repeat the invocation (In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen), say the Apostles’ Creed, and Say the Our Father.  If you wish, you may add Luther’s morning or evening prayer.
You are encouraged to use your hymnal for a richer daily prayer.  The oder of matins (morning) or vespers (evening) is easily adoptable for personal use.
The hymnal is also a good resource for a schedule of daily readings.  See page 161.  These readings correspond with the material in Every Day Will I Bless Thee: Meditations for the Daily Office, my book of meditations for daily use, available at the church office for $16.00.

The Lighter Side

The pastor went bear hunting, but when a big black bear was in his sights, he suddenly fell off a cliff and broke both his legs.  Meanwhile the bear began to lumber down the hill towards him.  So he prayed, “Lord, let this be a religious bear!”  When the bear arrived, he said grace.   Hat tip – Carol Kegebein

Altar Guild News
Notes for November:

All the Sundays in November are green.  Last Sunday of the church year is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
            Thanksgiving is observed Wednesday night, November 27th.  Color is White. 
            Our November meeting will be the second Tuesday of the month (November 12th), because Pastor will be on vacation the first Monday.

The New Testament in His Blood
This series contains brief liturgical explanations which appear in Pastor Eckardt’s book The New Testament in His Blood (Gottesdienst, 2010).

Preface and Sanctus

The Preface opens with a Salutation, in which the celebrant says “The Lord be with you” and the people respond, “And with thy spirit.” This is the final preparation for the greatest event of the day, and indeed the greatest thing in all of life, the giving and receiving of the Blessed Sacrament. By this prayer, the celebrant petitions the Lord to be in the hearts and minds of the people who are about to receive this great Gift, that is, that He may grant them abundant faith. Their response, “And with thy spirit,” here as well as in other places, is a petition that the spirit of the celebrant and the Holy Spirit would be the same, that is, that the celebrant would be entirely faithful and true, by the Holy Spirit’s power (which incidentally is why the more recent “and also with you” is unfortunate, to say the least).
Next, a verse is said responsively, the celebrant intoning, “Lift up your hearts,” and the people replying, “We lift them up unto the Lord,” calling to mind a penitential section from the book of Lamentations: “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned” (Lamentations 3:40-42). That is, we lift up our hearts for cleansing here, begging for mercy, in a brief word reminiscent of the Kyrie we had uttered earlier.
And then, as if in immediate response, our faith rises in remembrance of the Lord’s mercy, and gives thanks. In fact, the thanks we give for His mercy is not merely in the next words, the celebrant’s invitation, “Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God,” and the reply, “it is meet and right so to do,” but more robustly in the great Sanctus, which is itself the actual giving of thanks prescribed in the Preface.
Returning to the idea introduced above (page 48), that the Preface and Sanctus are said in response to Jesus’ own command and rubric, it is worthy of emphasis that the Sanctus is also said in response to the holy words of our Lord. His institution of His Supper contains the command, This do. What does He mean by “do”? He did not merely command, “This say,” which in fact would have left us without a Sacrament. Dutiful obedience to “This say” would have resulted in the mere repetition of the words and nothing necessarily more. “This do,” by contrast, pertains to the continuation of the Sacrament and its
distribution into perpetuity.
“This do,” taken simply, is a command to participate in what Jesus was doing here. What was He doing? Certainly He spoke His words over the elements and distributed them, but first He gave thanks, a detail we should not overlook.
In the first place, the fact that Jesus would give thanks, who is Himself Maker of all things, is a marvel. This should not be construed as a denial of His divinity, but rather, as an affirmation of His humanity. He gives thanks as man, and actually in the stead of all men. Not merely to set an example does He give thanks here; rather, He gives perfect thanks, as He is perfect man. But what is it to give perfect thanks? It is not merely saying thanks, but submitting oneself, offering oneself, in thankfulness to the giver. Here Jesus does just that. He offers Himself. For this, as the very Words of Institution tell us first of all, took place “on the night when He was betrayed.” His giving of thanks is His humble and free offering of Himself to the Father, in order that the Father may do with Him what He will. And as the Father wills that the Son suffer crucifixion for the sin of the world, so the Son suffers. The self-sacrifice of the Son of God is the very means whereby the world is restored to God. Earth’s curse is lifted from the ground and placed, in thorns, on the bloody head of Christ. All this is encompassed in Jesus’ giving of perfect thanks, His perfect presenting of Himself to the Father here, in the stead of all humanity, and because of it all humanity is reconciled to God.
Historically the Church has not overlooked this detail, for in fact it is the foundational rationale for our saying of the Sanctus. In short, since Jesus said, “This do,” it is right for us as well, in the administration of the Holy Sacrament, to give thanks. Thus the proper preface contains the words, “It is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O Lord,” etc. This is said first of all in response to Jesus’ command.
The less informed might wonder why we say “all times” and “all places,” when at the Sacrament we are especially concerned with this time and this place. But here we recognize that all times and all places have been renewed and restored, as far as God is concerned, to the status once known to Eden. Thus the Supper has sometimes been called Eucharist (literally, “Thanksgiving”), which is certainly fitting, provided we understand that it is Jesus’ thanksgiving and not ours that makes this Sacrament what it is. With this awareness, however, we are given great cause “at all times and in all places” to give thanks, even for the continued existence of all times and all places. By Christ’s atonement the cloud of God’s wrath has passed over and left the world intact. Most importantly therefore ought we to sing the great Sanctus here, at the Supper, for here are the very elements by which this atonement was wrought, and they are given us to eat and drink.  Every table prayer is but a dim reflection of the Sanctus, which is the Great Thanksgiving of faith, sung simultaneously on earth and in heaven, or, in the words of the Proper Preface, “with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven.” Thus we sing “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God of Sabaoth!” For not only were these words first chanted by the seraphim in Isaiah’s vision, and not only does “Sabaoth” (literally, “hosts”) refer to the heavenly hosts, the armies of God’s angels, but most importantly, all redeemed and restored creation in heaven and on earth sing this together in gratitude to the Christ who has wrought so wondrous a salvation for us. All creation bends, as it were, toward the altar on which Christ sits, to acknowledge its restoration in Him.
         It is worth noting as well that the way in which this thanksgiving is said does not even give reference to the ones saying it. For while the words “we give thanks” are certainly an acceptable and even Biblical way to express gratitude to God, any time the giving of thanks removes altogether the first person (“I” or “we”) from the utterance, there is less opportunity for the speaker to take any credit for the fact that he is the one giving thanks, and consequently more glory implicitly expressed to God who is being thanked. This is the intentional basis for the common expression Deo gracias (Thanks be to God), or, again, in the words soli Deo gloria (to God alone be the glory). The speaker does not even appear in the expression, so fully is all glory directed to the One being thanked. So also throughout the Sanctus: “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory! Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!” These words, which combine Isaiah’s vision with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, provide us with two captivating images which, taken together, declare Jesus as Lord of Hosts coming to bring salvation to His people.
After the Preface, when the celebrant turns toward the altar for the Sanctus, the Mass re-presents the Passion of our Lord and His resurrection. The celebrant does not turn again  to the faithful until after the Verba are said. He now enters, as it were, into the secret of the sanctuary, there to treat alone with God, much as Moses did on the mountain, or as the high priest would do in the temple, or ultimately, as those instances foretell, as Jesus did in His Passion. The celebrant now says the Secret, a private prayer, so-called because he says it in a low voice, in imitation of Jesus in the Garden of Olives, when He moved a stone’s throw away from His disciples, in order to enter into the silence of recollection and prayer.

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

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