This year November 2nd falls on a Sunday, so we will be observing All Souls Day, also called the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed. It’s not uncommon for this to be confused with All Saints’ Day, November 1st, since Lutherans tend to think of all the faithful departed as saints; and indeed in an important respect, of course they are saints. They are translated to the Church Triumphant, with all the company of heaven.
Traditionally, however (dating to the seventh century), All Saints was a day on which to commemorate especially those saints of yore whose lives were marked by a special confession of Christ unto death; that is, who were martyred. Many of those martyrs have days appointed specifically for them on the Western Calendar, such as the Apostles, or
St. Laurence (August 10), or the Martyrdom
of St. John the Baptist (August 29). There are in fact many post-biblical
martyrs whose days are on the full Western Calendar. But there are many more, who
never had dates attached to their martyrdom in any calendars, so All Saints was
a day meant for commemorating all of them. That is why the more traditional
color for All Saints is red, not white. In the Roman Catholic Church it is officially
called the Solemnity of All Saints or Hallowmas or All Hallows (from which, of
course, the evening before derives its name: Halloween).
And that is also why the day for commemorating all of the faithful departed is not November 1st, but November 2nd. Incidentally, in recent years The Catholic Church has, like many other churches these days, also dropped the specific distinction of martyrs for All Saints, and remembers all the faithful who are in the Church Triumphant. The way they then distinguish between All Saints and All Souls is to count All Souls as those who are still in purgatory and have not yet achieved the beatific state of having been purified of all sins and arrived in heaven. We Lutherans, of course, have always firmly condemned such nonsense as not only contrary to Scripture, but contrary to the merit and worthiness of Christ: He alone is our Purifier. There is no such thing as purgatory.
Providentially, ironically, and most fittingly, we have traditionally observed the Festival of the Reformation on the Eve of All Saints, October 31st. The Reformation was for us a recovery of the Gospel in its purity; so it is right then, that we note in an evangelical way the difference between All Saints and All Souls as something other than the folly of purgatory. We rejoice in the confession of martyrs unto death on All Saints, and in all the faithful departed, who are in the Church Triumphant, on All Souls. The color for that day is historically black, and a requiem mass is said (though again, requiems ought never be said among us in according to the false view that our prayers help souls fly from some imaginary purgatory). Since as most parishes do not have black paraments, white is used to emphasize the Church Triumphant, from which, in glory, the faithful departed all await the resurrection of the body at the Last Day.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Oktoberfest a Great Success
Offerings to date for Oktoberfest are $4610. Our expenses are estimated at $1055, which gives us a net estimated gain of $3555, which is badly needed. Our financial picture is fragile, as our members should know by now. Oktoberfest has become a fundraising event for us in addition to its being a splendid occasion for a free conference.
Our volunteers wore themselves out while putting this on, but this news presents a tangible result, in addition to the many positive remarks we received from people in attendance. All who volunteered may be encouraged to know that their efforts were very well received, and that they contributed financially to our congregation’s needs.
It came at a good time, because of the repairs we recently had on our bell tower.
A hearty thanks to all who have been working tirelessly to help our congregation, volunteering time and
Copies of books still available (Christmas gift ideas?):
The New Testament in His Blood $15.00
Every Day Will I Bless Thee $16.00
The Lutheran Propers (complete) $22.00
Why? – A Layman’s Guide to the Liturgy $10.00
11/5 Steve and Berniece Harris
11/10 Gayle and Phil Beauprez
11/13 Shannon Peart
11/19 Steve Kraklow
11/20 Jewneel Walker
11/30 Charlene Sovanski
Mary Hamilton at home; Anna Baker at home; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield.
November Ushers Otis Anderson John Ricknell, Bill Thompson
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 order 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.
November’s First Tuesday events will be held on November 4th: Altar Guild at 6 p.m. Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders meet at 7:15.
Altar Guild News
Notes for November:
The first Sundays in November is white, for All Souls. Then the color changes to green until our observance of Thanksgiving on Wednesday night, November 26th. Color for Thankstiving is White. Following this service, the color is changed to violet for Advent.
Our November meeting will be November 4th at 6 pm.
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.
And all of our shut-ins.
Anna Rutowicz [re Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Caleb Cleaver [re Ricknells]
Madison Lindsay [re
Jill Matchett [re Shrecks]
Barb Fornoff [re Russells]
Lorene Foglesong [re Kraklows]
Corbin Gonzales [re Russells]
David Wexell [re Verplaetses]
Cathy Van Wassenhove [re Verplaetses]
Carl Hepner [re Kraklow]
Duane Kraklow [brother of Allan]
Shelly DeBord [re Watsons]
Lois Hopkins [re Kemerlings]
Liam Hampton [re Murphys]
Anthony Strand [re Murphys]
Troy Kelly [re Murphys]
Patricia Shreck [Diana’s mother-in-law, cancer]
Pastors Don Chambers [Manito]
Glenn Niemann [
and Adam Jacobsen [
in the military:
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]
any unborn children in danger of abortion; those suffering persecution in
Iran, Sudan, Nigeria,
Laos, , and elsewhere. North Korea
Fulani militants recently attacked several Christian villages in the Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State. Twelve villagers and a soldier were reportedly killed in the assault.
Meanwhile, the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram recently abducted more than 40 people, a number of whom are Christians. Among those seized on September 30th were a mother and her newborn twins. (Boko Haram was also responsible for the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in April..)
Earlier in September, a group of bishops in the country called the government to do more to protect the lives and properties of citizens. Their statement included the following remarks: "As
tragically bleeds and burns, we bishops are alarmed at the scale of human and
material destruction, and at the disruption of village and community life with
increased levels of hatred and the potential for more conflicts in the nation.
While Muslims are sometimes targets of these destructive attacks, Christians,
churches and non-Muslims in general are the principal targets for
extermination, expropriation and expulsion by the Boko Haram insurgents, the
perpetrators of all this destruction." Nigeria
Two Hmong Christian men, "Tou Ly" and "Fai Cho," were recently forced by relatives to leave their homes after refusing to renounce Christ and return to the community's tradition of ancestor worship. The two believers were then arrested by local authorities and detained for two weeks. After their release, on August 25th, the men rented a place to live outside of the village community.
Their struggles were only compounded when Fai Cho's father died on September 27th. Local authorities issued the family a large fine, claiming they had not obtained the proper burial permit. Thankfully, the two men are receiving help from their church toward the cost of the fine; however, they have little to no food or clothing, and remain in desperate need.
New proposal for Epiphany Vespers: Monday evening, January 5th, then Epiphany Day of Reflection on Tuesday
Very tentatively, a Monday night is being considered for our annual winter Vespers: January 5th, 2015, at 5:00 pm. This is the eve of Epiphany Day. The size of our choir is rather depleted, so we do not know how much of a contribution it can make, if any. Perhaps holding the event on a Monday and Tuesday will generate interest among people who might have been unable to attend on a weekend. This could, and probably will, change, but the proposal is under consideration: not only on a Monday night, but at a new time: 5 pm rather than 7 pm. Our traditional wine-and-cheese reception, another annual tradition. Would be on Tuesday January 6th, our Epiphany Day of Theological Reflection, would begin with Holy Mass at 9:00 and go until 3:00 in the afternoon.
Remember First Saturdays!
As you may recall, our elimination of the janitorial position for financial reasons has increased the need for volunteer help. We have some people who have been spending time every week doing vacuuming and dusting and general cleaning. It’s a labor of love, a recognition that our little parish needs volunteers.
This also means that the first Saturday morning of every month is especially set aside for extra volunteers to come help with some of the things that get missed or need extra work. We’re all in this together: your trustees have been putting in countless hours on large and small projects, from repairs to windows and bell tower to some deep cleaning in areas that don’t get looked at very often.
So, what about you? Could you spare a little time on the first Saturday of the month? It could be any time, actually, but when volunteers assemble to work together, it does tend to make the load seem a bit lighter. There’s encouragement in numbers.
Next up: Saturday morning, November 1st, at around 9:00 a.m.!
Back to First Things: Online
Every Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., we hold an instructional course on basic Christian teaching (the catechism, with special emphasis on the opening chapters of Genesis). It’s open to all, and is recorded and aired on
Paul's on the Air every Sunday at 7:30 CDT on WKEI, AM
radio 1450 on the dial.
It is also podcast every (following) Wednesday at Pirate Christian Radio (www.piratechristianradio.com)
at 9:00 am CDT, as, by the way, are many other fine Lutheran programs you might want to check out.
It is also available on demand, through a facebook page: www.facebook.com/backtofirstthings. The recordings are all there, and can be accessed at any time through the Internet.
St. Paul’s and Friends Online
Speaking of online things, if you do have access to the Internet, you should also seek to find “
and Friends” at Facebook. It’s a closed group, so you need an invitation. Just
ON LITURGICAL THANKSGIVING
It is no accident that the term Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving,” is a term commonly applied to the Holy Mass. Some actually object to the term, since it seems to turn the Supper into something done by us, an act of our sacrifice toward God, rather than as it is quite evidently meant in the very Words of Institution themselves, something given to us by Christ: “He gave it to them,” etc. Lutherans have rightly been very sensitive about turning the Mass on its head by this shift.
Martin Luther himself was adamant on this point, insisting that the Pope had changed it in just this way. One of the greatest ways in which the Church needed a Reformation was that it needed a realignment of its understanding of the chief thing in the Sacrament. Sacrament is gift, from God to man; it is not an act of sacrifice, from man to God.
Rome had been routinely
talking, for centuries, about the sacrifice of the Mass, and Luther rejected
On the other hand, the Mass does of course contain none other than the elements of Christ’s sacrifice for us, and as such can be seen as sacrifice, or more properly, as the sacrifice of Christ now given to us. It is entirely gift, however: we receive herein the bery fruits of His sacrifice: His crucified Body and His shed Blood.
But does this merit the name Eucharist as applied to the Sacrament? Actually, it may not have been for this reason that the term was applied. Rather, the term is likely to have arisen in the same way as many rites and canticles arrived at their names, namely by reference to something in the first part of the rite. For example, the Lord’s Prayer is routinely called the Our Father because these are its opening words. So too, Eucharist may have arisen as a term out of the fact that before Christ spoke the Words of Institution over the elements of bread and wine, we are told that he “gave thanks.” If this is the origin of the usage, then the term eucharist is the result Jesus’ giving of thanks. Now this is no insiginificant thing. In His giving of thanks, he fulfills what is required of us. He pleases His Father by this Thanksgiving, in an infinitely greater way than we ever could. Indeed we could not please God in any way, and it is only His obedient life which brings to us salvation. This obedience is manifested here in His giving of thanks. He stands in for the human race in His giving of thanks, and then gives to His Church the fruits of His sacrifice.
In addition, the Church which is now in Christ also desires to follow His command, especially in connection with the Supper. For He said, This do, in referring to the following of His way of speaking over the elements and giving them to the people. Since the first thing He did was to give thanks, therefore it is proper for the Church, in
remembrance of Him in the Holy Mass, also to do what He did first, namely to give thanks. It so happens that our liturgy is so constructed to do just that. Just prior to the Words of Institution we sing the words of the Preface, the Proper Preface, and the Sanctus. These words include the following: “Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God. It is meet and right so to do. It is truly meet right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks, etc.” Why especially here are we giving thanks? Because we are following His command, This do. Our giving of thanks here is indeed acceptable to the Father, precisely and only because of Christ’s sacrifice of His Body and the shedding of His Blood, that is, the Holy Sacrament which we receive. (reprinted, November newsletter 2004)