November 1st is All Saints Day. It falls on a Sunday this year, and so it takes precedence and is observed. This is a day that is often misunderstood. We 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, one day later. At St. Paul’s we will observe All Souls on the following Wednesday evening this year.
The Gospel for All Saints is particularly appropriate to martyrs, especially that part of the Beatitudes that reads, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This means that those who made the good confession of Christ and His righteousness (the Holy Gospel gives this righteousness to us) may take comfort in knowing that despite their persecution they shall gain paradise. So also, immediately after these words, Jesus continues, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (St. Matthew 5:10-12). It is undeniably clear that this Gospel is intended for the commemoration of those who have suffered for the Gospel.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Offerings to date for Oktoberfest: $2882. Our expenses are estimated at $680, which gives us a net estimated gain of $2202. Our volunteers wore themselves out while putting this on, but here’s a tangible result, in addition to the many positive remarks we received from people in attendance. Well done, volunteers!
Our numbers were a little lower this year, due to conflicts with other conferences; next year we expect the numbers to rise again, as we move back to our formerly scheduled Columbus Day and the days on either side of it.
A hearty thanks to all who have been working tirelessly to help our congregation, volunteering time, donations, and effort.
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.
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 (price of available books is listed nearby).
Altar Guild News
Notes for November:
The first Sunday in November is red, for All Saints. Then it turns to White for All Souls (Wednesday, November 4th). Then the color changes to green, until we observe Thanksgiving on Wednesday night, November 25th. Color for Thanksgiving is White. Following this service, the color is changed to violet for Advent: the First Sunday of Advent is November 29th. Then the color turns to Red for St. Andrew’s Day, which we will observe the following Wednesday.
Our November meeting will be November 3rd at 6 pm.
Mourning a Miscarriage
We mourn with Pastor Peter Eckardt and his wife Allison who miscarried her baby at 11 weeks. We trust in the mercy and goodness of Almighty God toward the little one, and we pray for his comfort upon the newlyweds. Martin Luther once wrote a tract entitled “Comfort for Women Who Have Had a Miscarriage.” It is available online at the Synod’s www.lcms.org web site. Type the title in the search box to access the file.
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.
in our parish:
and all of our shut-ins.
Anna Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Jill Matchett [at request of Diana Shreck]
Lorene Foglesong [at request of the Kraklows]
Cathy Van Wassenhove [re Sandra Verplaetse]
Shelly DeBord [at request of the Watsons]
Liam Hampton [at request of the Murphys]
Jackie Hampton [at request of the Murphys]
Maria Thorndike [at request of the Murphys]
Annie Eastman [at request of Svetlana Meaker]
Keith Ruggles [Barb Kraklow’s brother]
David Fowler [at request of the Murphys]
Robin Hampton [at request of the Watsons]
Melissa Hayword [at request of the Kemerlings]
Emily Corzine [Sarah’s sister]
Dennis Hoag [at request of Diana Shreck]
Nancy Popejoy [relative of Sharon Hartz]
Jeff Autery [friend of Chris Erickson, with cancer]
John Molburg [friend of Sandra Verplaetse]
Dave Colgron [friend of Tom Wells]
George Medernech [Jan Schoen’s father]
in the military:
Donny Appleman [re Ricknell]
Thomas Kim [re Shreck]
Michael and Katherine Creech [re Murphy]
Richard Heiden [re Eckardt]
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, Laos, North Korea, and elsewhere.
and our own church
Epiphany Day of Reflection on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016
This winter (tentatively), a day of reflection is planned for Epiphany Day, which is a Wednesday. Although it is a weekday, it is our appointed day when a good group normally come for worship, so the following schedule is proposed:
1:00 p.m. Opening mid-day prayer service
1:30 p.m. Seminar (day of reflection):
The sixteenth retreat in the Theological Reflection series is entitled,
“PONDERING THE VISIT OF THE WISE MEN”
At this retreat, we’ll take an in-depth look at St. Matthew 2.
4:00 p.m. break for dinner
7:00 p.m. Epiphany Mass
7:45 p.m. Wine and Cheese reception
Mark your calendar!
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 Exodus). It’s open to all, and is recorded and aired on
on the Air every Sunday morning 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
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 7th, at around 9:00 a.m.!
November’s First Tuesday events will be held on November 3rd: Altar Guild at 6 p.m. Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders meet at 7:15.
As usual, our Thanksgiving Mass will be held on Wednesday evening prior, at 7:00. All members are encouraged to come.
The Lighter Side
What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth Rock
If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? Pilgrims
Why can't you take a turkey to church? They use fowl language.
What do you get when you cross a turkey with a banjo? A turkey that can pluck itself!
What did baby corn say to mama corn? Where's popcorn?
If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for? Their age
Why do pilgrims pants keep falling down? Because their belt buckles are on their hats!
What's the key to a great Thanksgiving dinner? The turKEY
What happened to the Pilgrim who was shot at by an Indian? He had an arrow escape
Why did the turkey cross the road? It was the chicken's day off
What’s a pilgrimage? It’s how old a Pilgrim is.
If the Pilgrims came on the Mayflower than what does the teacher come on? The scholarship.
What would you get if you crossed a turkey with an evil spirit? A poultrygeist
What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? Pumpkin pi.
Who are we?
[a question asked in the brochure we provide to inquirers]
“We are a Lutheran parish of Christian people who rejoice in our salvation, and in having the Word of God among us.
“When we hear the Gospel our hearts rejoice and are glad. We sing, and our choir sings, and our liturgy expresses our unspeakable gladness in the solemn dignity that befits holy joy.
“The Lord Jesus Christ here lavishes us with His eternal gifts and mercy. The Master serves the servants, and this wondrous mystery delights and humbles us in His presence.
“We welcome you to share this joy with us.”
This, according to our brochure, is the reason we gather, and the reason we are a parish of Christian people. There is really no other reason. We don’t have a mission statement, like many companies and associations do; we don’t state objectives for progress. That’s because we are a congregation of hearers. We come together to hear the word of God, which is preached in our midst.
It’s important to remember this, especially when we consider, as virtually all congregations do, what to do about financial shortfalls and budget woes. We are not a business, and we are not incorporated. The designation “not-for-profit” truly applies, because we aren’t interested in making money. We do need to make ends meet, and we always struggle to come up with ways to do that, but of course, that’s not an end in itself. We exist as a parish for only one reason: to hear and receive the gifts of God, and to rejoice in them. For this reason, the most appropriate thing to do, in the interest of the welfare of the parish, is to pray that God in His mercy would bless us.
That, admittedly, isn’t much of a “stewardship” sermon; and it would probably have stewardship advisors shaking their heads. Indeed there are many stewardship programs we could purchase (for a pretty penny) which may well give us plenty of “success” if we followed their directives. But unfortunately their directives are generally contrary to what’s at the the heart of our existence. Put plainly, we do not exist in order to teach people how to give, but in order to instruct people as to what they have received. The former objective would make us a law-oriented parish, while the later is oriented toward Christ and His Gospel. It’s a tricky thing to keep straight, but critically important.
So of course let’s all remember to do our part in giving (actually most of our membership does, and without even needing much encouragement by way of reminders), but let’s remember first of all that we must learn to be as Mary of Bethany was, sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing His Word.
(reprinted from November newsletter 2006)