Tuesday, January 27, 2015

February 2015

The “Gesima” Season
ur liturgical preparation for Easter takes place through three distinct periods or steps. The first is the Gesimas. These three Sundays before Lent are mainly focused on the grace of God and examine that grace from three perspectives:
Septuagesima (meaning “about 70 days”)—Grace is undeserved.
The collect for this Sunday implores God to graciously hear us, who are justly punished for our sin, so that we may be delivered by His goodness. The goodness of God is emphasized in the parable of the vineyard workers in the day’s Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16. All the laborers receive the reward because of the goodness of the landowner and not because of their own labor or merit. We prepare for Easter by remembering what is good, Christ, who has borne the heat and burden of the day for us so that we might have that goodness for free.
Sexagesima (meaning “about 60 days”)—Grace is passively received.
In the collect for this Sunday we pray that God would see that we put not our trust in anything that we do and that He would mercifully defend us by His power. The parable of the sower is read from Luke 8:4-15. The seed of God’s Word is passively received. It transforms bad soil into good and bestows noble hearts upon sinful men. We pray that this would happen also to and for us.
Quinquagesima (meaning “about 50 days”) —Grace is not easily understood.
On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday we hear in the Gospel, Luke 18:31-34, Jesus predicts His passion, death, and resurrection. We also hear that the disciples “understood none of these things” and “this saying was hid from them, and they did not grasp what was said (34).” We pray that God would be gracious and patient with us and grant faith and understanding to us despite our many sins.
The three Gesima Sundays take on the character of Lent, but mildly. The “Alleluias” and Greater Gloria are dropped. This grace-focused season provides a gradual progression and gentle easing into the more intense ceremonies and denials of Lent and Passiontide.


The Feast of Candlemas is set on February 2nd, which is a Monday. To accommodate more members, we will be observing it on Wednesday, February 4th.                         
             When Jesus was presented in the temple, the priest Simeon also came in and declared, in the words of the Nunc Dimittis,

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.

This declaration of the Christ Child as a Light is the reason for the ceremonial use of candles at this Mass.  The use of these lights in connection with the Blessed Sacrament emphasizes the analogy of Simeon’s jubilation on receiving the Child with our own reception of Christ at the altar.  This connection is made at every Mass, of course, in our own recitation of the Nunc Dimittis.  At Candlemas, the connection is highlighted because the Gospel appointed for the day is this very Gospel.
             The name of this Feast, Candlemas, also subtly provides a link to the Feast from which it springs, that great feast of forty days earlier, namely Christmas

+ Pastor Eckardt

Ash Wednesday February 18th

On Ash Wednesday, February 18th, the will be two opportunities to come to Mass, at 7 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. Different readings and sermons will be heard, if anyone wishes to come to both. The rite of imposition of ashes precedes the Mass.

February Anniversaries


The season of Lent is a season of emphasis on penitence, in preparation for of Easter.  Its span is forty days, like the forty days in which Jesus fasted in the wilderness, in fulfillment of the fast of Moses and Elijah on Mount Horeb.

The Apostles themselves left the specific manner of observance to Christian liberty, saying, Let each be convinced in his own mind.  Leaving aside the question of what things one should fast from (whether sweets, or meats, or milk products, etc.), what is clear is that the custom of fasting itself is quite biblical.  If Moses, Elijah, and Jesus himself fasted, certainly it must be a good practice.  Indeed, on Ash Wednesday we hear Jesus saying, When ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, etc.  Luther’s Small Catechism also declares, “Fasting and other bodily preparation is indeed a fine outward training.”  Therefore we conclude two things: first, that fasting is a good thing, and second, that it is a matter left to Christian liberty.

Liturgically the Church fasts during Lent (as Israel fasted forty years in the wilderness). The color is penitential violet.  Alleluias are not sung, and there is less music; flowers are absent, and weddings are not to be scheduled.

During the last two weeks of Lent, statutes, images, and crosses in the churches are veiled, and no Glorias are sung at all, except in the Gloria in Excelsis on Maundy Thursday.

In the midst of this penitential mood there is joy, at Laetare, the fourth Sunday in Lent( ‘rejoice’). The entire penitential season is not to be sad, but joyful.  For true joy of heart, born of the suffering and resurrection of Christ, transcends all parts of Christian life, even the deepest of sorrows, as we confess with David that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  Thus the forty days of Lent is followed by a contrastingly festive forty-day season from Easter until Ascension Day, the time period during which Jesus appeared to his disciples.

Robin sighting?

The first-robin-of-spring sighting contest is on. 

Tell Pastor the date on which you see one, on your honor. Last year’s winner was Michele Keehner.

Gloom, Depression, Woe

Though certainly of no major concern to fans of the Chicago Bears, and likely even to the sheer delight of some of them, Pastor has been in a Serious Football Funk ever since the Green Bay Packers lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the N.F.C. Championship game January 18th.  Pundits have reported that his team, with a 12 point lead, having just intercepted the ball and therefore on offense, with some three minutes left on the clock, had a 98.2% chance of winning the game. What must be repeated often these days is that it is only a game. It is only a game. It is only a game. Right.


St. Matthias’ Day

We will be observing St. Matthias’ Day (February 24th) one day late, with Holy Mass on Wednesday the 25th at the regular 7 p.m. time.
First Tuesday Vespers, etc.

February 3rd, Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15, as usual.

February Ushers

Otis Anderson, John Ricknell, Bill Thompson, David Ricknell

Council Meeting

As usual, the council is scheduled to meet on the third Wednesday, which is February 18th, at 5:30 pm.

Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Anna Baker at home; Dale Baker at home; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield.

Altar Guild Notes

Parament color is VIOLET throughout February, except for two Wednesdays.
·        Wednesday the 4th, we will be observing Candlemas. For that day the color is WHITE.
·        Wednesday the 25th, we will observe St. Matthias’ Day. For that day the color is RED.

Septuagesima, the beginning of pre-Lent (February 1st this year), is also when we revert to the use of oil lamps instead of tapers.

Next meeting is Tuesday, February 3rd.

February Birthdays

2/2      Mindie Fisher

2/4      Joshua Kraklow

2/5      Tom Wells

2/17    Monroe Kemerling

2/23    Carol McReynolds

Private Confession and Shrove Tuesday

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.
    On Shrove Tuesday, February 17th, Pastor will make a special point of being available all afternoon for confession, on this day traditionally intended for this use in preparation for Lent.
    From the Catechism:

What is Confession?
Confession has two parts. First, that we confess our sins, and second, that we receive absolution, that is, forgiveness, from the pastor as from God Himself, not doubting, but firmly believing that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven.
What sins should we confess?
Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even those we are not aware of, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer; but before the pastor we should confess only those sins which we know and feel in our hearts.
Which are these?
Consider your place in life according to the Ten Commandments: Are you a father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, or worker? Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, or lazy? Have you been hot-tempered, rude, or quarrelsome? Have you hurt someone by your words or deeds? Have you stolen, been negligent, wasted anything, or done any harm?

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 list by addition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.

Sick or infirm:
in our parish:
Sarah Corzine, Jean Russell, Emilie Ricknell, Linda Rowe, John Sovanski, Ann Baker, Dale Baker and our shut-ins.

And also:
Anna Rutowicz [re Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Caleb Cleaver [re Ricknells]
Madison Lindsay [re Andersons]
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]
Emily Corzine [sister of Sarah]
Shelly DeBord [re Watsons]
Lois Hopkins [re Kemerlings]
Liam Hampton [re Murphys]
Anthony Strand [re Murphys]
Troy Kelly [re Murphys]
Cindy Davenport [re Kemerlings]
Ben Brown [re Eckardts]
Pastors Don Chambers [Manito]
            Glenn Niemann [Pekin]
in the military:
John Eckardt
Donny Appleman [re Ricknells]
Thomas Kim [re Shrecks]
Michael and Katherine Creech [re Murphys]
Richard Heiden [re Eckardts]
Carter Wills [re Thompsons]
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]

in trouble:
any unborn children in danger of abortion, and
those suffering persecution in Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Nigeria, North Korea, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

Persecution details

VIETNAM: Pastors Attacked in Broad Daylight
Two pastors were brutally attacked by five men near their Bible college on the afternoon of January 18th. Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang and his associate pastor were assaulted with bricks and rocks and, after collapsing to the ground, were kicked relentlessly. Both men were taken to the emergency department of the hospital. Pastor Quang sustained broken ribs, as well as facial wounds, including a broken nose and injuries to his teeth and jaw. He was later transferred to a local hospital for further treatment and observation. Thankfully, VOM Australia has provided the necessary funds to cover his treatment costs. At last report, no arrests have yet been made. Pastor Quang and his Bible college have been targeted multiple times within recent years. In an attack that took place just this past November, nearly 300 assailants threw stones and other objects at the school building.
INDIA: Christians Arrested for Allegedly 'Forcing' Conversions
On December 28th, ten Christian workers and three young girls (under the age of six) were arrested in the central region of India and charged with "deliberate and malicious acts intended to hurt religious feelings." Hindu nationalists, who pressured police to arrest the Christians after a healing celebration, accused them of forcing conversions and insulting the gods and goddesses of the village. However, police have stated that they have no evidence of forced conversions. At last report, three of the Christians remain in prison while the others have been released on bail.

PAKISTAN: Sharp Rise in Attacks on Christian Girls and Women
On November 28th, two Christian sisters (ages 14 and 16) were attacked in a village located within the Jaranwala district after they went out into the field to use the washroom. The girls' family alleges that three males assaulted the sisters repeatedly overnight, and that they have since been threatened by the perpetrators with warnings not to press charges. They also claim that the police have obstructed attempts to gather medical evidence. Ministry partners of VOMC's sister mission in the United Kingdom are ensuring the girls receive the medical care and legal assistance they need.
Elsewhere in Punjab, a 14-year-old girl was abducted on November 26th in Thatha Gondal. It is believed that she has been forcibly converted to Islam and married to her kidnapper. Local Christians and Muslims have been involved in negotiations to return the girl to her family.
Meanwhile, a pregnant mother of four from Rana Town was reportedly attacked after resisting a ruthless woman's attempts to make her convert to Islam. The Christian mother was then brutally attacked, stripped, and disgracefully paraded in public, then robbed and finally beaten to the point of unconsciousness. Local police initially refused to register a case.
Sources: VOM Australia, VOM USA, Morning Star News, Release International

Lenten Suppers?

There are no definite plans as yet for midweek Lenten soup suppers, but if they materialize as usual, the pattern has been to have supper at 5 pm on Wednesdays, and the first of these would be on February 25th, one week after Ash Wednesday. Any announcements about this will be in the bulletin. Volunteers would of course be needed to take Wednesdays; this can be discussed at Sunday Bible class.

St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
   109 S. Elm Street

   Kewanee, IL 61443

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