St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm, Kewanee, Illinois 61443
Volume 34 April 2022 No. 4
O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
This sermon was preached by Pastor Eckardt at the Easter sunrise in 2017 and published in the Easter 2018 edition of Gottesdienst
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Answer me! You, O death, who have paraded yourself and boasted that you were unstoppable, whom no one could undo, for whom no one had an answer, and thus you have brought anguish and grief to the hearts of many and unassuageable tears to their eyes; you, O death whose grim pall has been cast over all mankind, who have laughed in our faces, for we have been helpless and pitiful in your sight. Where are you now, O death? Where are you today? Or have you not yet heard that Christ is risen? But we have heard! And we know it! Christ is risen from the dead! O death, what do you say about this? Have you no reply? Have you lost your voice? Perhaps you are busy. Perhaps you are napping and must be awakened. No reply to this, O death?
And grave, what of you? You were supposed to be the final resting place, the end of life, you were so sure you had the last laugh. But you are wrong! For Christ is risen from the dead! And your treasury has been emptied; you, O grave, have been robbed by our victorious Thief in the night; your victory has been snatched away from you, and today you have lost everything.
You, O death! You, O grave! Today, you are utterly vanquished! And you are the ones who must languish while we celebrate. Today the pall is cast over you, and your power is taken away. And today, the victory we have gained is in fact eternal and impossible to undo. Just as you had made us helpless, now you are helpless and pathetic in our sight, and you have no answer; and our tears are being wiped away, and it is we who sit with our resurrected Lord in the heavens and shall laugh. We shall laugh in your face. For Christ is risen from the dead! O death, you ugly, detestable, deplorable thing: begone! Be forever gone!
The sting of death is sin, which is to say, sin is death’s great weapon. For all have sinned, and there is none who is righteous. Therefore all are guilty and all must die; all are mortal. That’s what death had on us, this undeniable truth, that we have sinned and are therefore not only mortal, but under the wrath of God. All of us, that is, except for one: our Lord Jesus Christ was without sin, and he, for us, not only entered our mortal state—even from the point of his conception, he not only became incarnate, but became mortal; not only mortal, but actually suffered death, even
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death upon a cross. Death swallowed him up. Death, like a great sea monster with an insatiable appetite and mouth wide open swallowing everything in its path, also swallowed him: such a tender morsel, a delightful worm. Down the hatch he went. But in that worm was embedded and hidden a great divine hook, and the hook was set, and our Lord by his own divinity raised himself from death, and death was suddenly stopped in its path, and yanked, surprised, from its intention. And the predator had become the prey.
Beloved, have you lost someone? Have you been mournful? Does your heart ache in the face of death? Here is immeasurable balm and healing for the mournful, and for the sick at heart: Christ is risen from the dead. For death is vanquished not only in Jesus’ case, but also in ours. Because he is our Brother, the bearer of our own flesh. In Christ, we have gained this victory: Thanks be to God, says the Apostle, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let these words sink into your ears. Claim this! Seize it! Believe it! Be steadfast and unmovable. You are free now to mock death, and to laugh at the grave.
But what if you doubt? What if you cannot bring yourself to this point? I am not calling upon you today to summon your will to believe, or to talk yourself into denying any doubts you might still harbor. Rather, here is what must be done with all such doubts and fears. Collar them and drag them to the tomb of Christ. Force them to look there. What do they see? He is not there. He is risen, as he said. Next, drag these fears to the upper room, and show them what is there. Put their nose in that scene. What do they see there? Jesus himself standing, saying, Peace be unto you, showing his hands and his side. Your doubts and fears must be taken to the evidence that demands to be seen and heard. They must hear these Gospel tidings. And in this way, let them be driven away.
And this is no idle talk. This is the truth: Christ is risen from the grave! He stood before his disciples and showed himself alive. He declared peace to them. He talked with them. He ate with them. He proved to them that he was alive. And since he is alive, death is dead. Since he lives, not only is his own grave empty, but the graves of all his saints must give up their victims. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise, and we shall be changed. And all because Christ’s flesh is our flesh, his sacrifice is our sacrifice, his death is our death, and his resurrection is our resurrection.
So today let us feast. Let us receive Christ here at the altar. This bread is his living flesh; this cup is his life-giving blood. If you need any further evidence—and we always do—that his resurrection is your resurrection, then be partakers in it here.
And today let us rejoice. Set sorrow aside. This is the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord. This is a time for a great celebration, than which none could be greater. This is a victory celebration which shall have no end.
And today, let us mock. Let us laugh. Let us deride: O death, where is thy sting? Where are you now? Christ is risen! O death, what is your reply? Nothing to say? Has your mouth been stopped? Truly, you are gagged and silenced forever this day. And we confess the life everlasting. O grave, where is thy victory? Your coffins have been emptied and your coffers have been cleaned out; your victory has been turned into utter defeat, snatched away from you forever, and you have lost your prey. So get lost. You are nothing.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Passion Readings during Holy Week
As is our usual custom, there will be readings of the Passion accounts from St. Matthew on Palm Sunday, St. Luke on Holy Wednesday, and Good Friday. These readings involve the participation of the congregation, which is reminiscent of a common choral practice during Reformation times. The subdeacon reads the narrator’s part, the pastor reads the part of Christ, and the congregation reads the parts of groups or crowds of people. These readings are found in special booklets which are handed out with the bulletins.
Holy Week and Easter Masses
Holy Monday through Good Friday, 7 p.m.
Great Vigil: Saturday, April 16th, 7 p.m.
Easter Sunrise Mass: April 17th, 7 a.m. (Easter breakfast following)
Easter Midweek Mass: Wednesday, April 20th, 7 p.m.
Emilie Ricknell at home; Dick Melchin at Hammond-Henry extended care in Geneseo; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield retirement home; Dale Baker at home; Grant Andreson, at Friendship Manor in Rock Island.
Our First Tuesday events are scheduled for April 5th: First Tuesday Vespers between them, for all to attend, and Elders at 7:15 pm.
The Triduum Sacrum
The Triduum Sacrum (holy three days) are the deepest point of Lent, giving way all at once to Easter. It starts on Maundy Thursday with mass at 7 p.m. There is no benediction for this service, as it is understood to continue on Good Friday and until the Great Vigil. As soon as the last part of the Maundy Thursday mass is sung (the Benedicamus: V: Bless we the Lord. R: Thanks be to God), the pastor and subdeacon remove their sacramental vestments while the choir sings a psalm. They then strip the altar, pulpit, and lectern of all their paraments, remove the reserved Sacrament, take out the torches, and leave the sanctuary bare. Following the congregational singing of another psalm, all depart in silence. On Good Friday, there is an opportunity to pray the Litany at 12 noon, the hour of crucifixion. Then at 7 pm is the Good Friday Solemn Liturgy with Holy Communion. On Holy Saturday, the third day, the Great Vigil commences at 7 p.m. with a newly lit fire outside (near the kitchen doors), from which the new paschal candle is lit. The congregation follows into the church in procession. The Vigil is in four parts, the first three of which anticipate Easter: the Service of Light, the Service of Readings, the Service of Baptismal Remembrance. And then comes part four, when the lights go up, the pastor wears his white chasuble, and he announces, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” to which all robustly reply, “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” This is an ancient versicle and response dating to the early church. It is still used around the world, in virtually all languages.
4/13/2002 Steve and Sheri Kraklow
New Bible Class
A new weekday Bible Class is tentatively to be scheduled Tuesday afternoons, beginning April 26th. The topic of this class is yet to be decided. The time of the class will probably be at 1:30 pm. Pencil it in on your calendars. Details should be coming in bulletins soon. Stay tuned!
In Our Prayers
Our list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists below. To update the lists please inform pastor.Bill Thompson, Emilie Ricknell, John Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Emmy Wear, Don and Sue Murphy, Dick Melchin, Bea Harris, Allan Kraklow, Sandra VerPlaetse, John Sovanski, Grant Andreson, Dale Baker, Jewneel Walker, Judy Thompson, Otis Anderson
and beyond our parish:
Anna, Katy, and Jody Rutowicz [Harris relations]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Elizabeth Godke [Sharon Field’s mother]
Oneida Hendrickson [Ricknell relative]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells’ grandson]
Dennis Hoag, Tim Newman [Shreck relations]
Theresa Moore [Ricknells’ niece]
Kathy Boeger [re Harrises]
Allison Leezer [relative of the Kraklows]
Shannon Watson [Jim’s daughter]
Maxine Bitting [Judy Thompson’s sister in law]
Loren Hartz [Sharon’s brother]
Yvette Baker [Dale Baker’s daughter-in-law]
Rosemary Bloome [Don Murphy’s cousin]
Richard Heiden, Carol Eckardt’s father
Troy Kelly [friend of the Murphys]
Pastor Jacob Sutton
Pastor Justin Kane [relative of Diana Shreck]
in the military:
Donny Appleman [at request of the Ricknells]
Richard Heiden [at request of the Eckardts]
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]
Eli Wetzel, Traven Wetzel [rel. of Kris Harden]
Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson]
Jake Mahaffey, Trevor Shimmin, Shad Draminski
James and Ann Lee Armstrong
in trouble: especially
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, Madagascar, Iran, Iraq, Syria, India, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Finland, Canada, elsewhere.
1) Volunteers needed to help with Spring cleaning on Saturdays at 9 am.
2) Extra volunteers needed to help with Easter Breakfast preparations on Holy Saturday, April 3rd, beginning at 9
am. First, we need volunteers to help with preparations on Holy Saturday,
3) Items you are bringing for the breakfast. See the sign-up sheet in the gym. Everybody may bring something, but sign up for something in particular, so we don’t have everyone bringing the same thing.
4) Easter lilies: find a sign-up sheet in the narthex or on the table in the hall. $15 each.
5) Choir members, please make an extra effort to come to any remaining rehearsals.
6) Ladies, remember your hats!
7) Invite your families!
8) Let us know you’re coming!
Judy, Our Volunteer Secretary
Since Judy Thompson broke her leg, she has been out of commission for several weeks, and is expected to be back in early May. The secretarial duties she performs are all the more appreciated. During her absence, Pastor has been taking care of the mail, bills, bank balances, and other of her duties, at least the minimum of what has to be done. It’s a temporary solution, of course, and we are glad to hear she’s on the mend! Three cheers also for Michelle Armstrong her daughter who has been doing a lot of what is needed for her care.
4/3 Adam Shreck
4.14 Emmy Wear
4/19 Luke Wells
4/22 Grant Andreson
4/25 Mason Dooley
There’s a sign-up sheet in the narthex. Cost. $15.00 apiece
Ladies, remember our hats tradition! Easter is the time to wear your best, and if you are able, set it off with a handsome hat! And by all means, leave them on for the Easter breakfast.
The winner of this year’s robin sighting contest is Steve Kraklow, who saw one on Ash Wednesday, March 2nd. This is his third time as winner. The eligibility is limited to people in Illinois extending as far south as Peoria. As promised, as winner, he might get a check for $10,000 a month for the rest of his life. He might. Maybe.
2022 Steve Kraklow
2021 Andy Eckardt
2020 Michele Keehner
2019 Steve Kraklow
2018 Steve Kraklow
2017 Barbra Kraklow
2016 Judy Thompson
2015 Carol Eckardt
2014 Michele Keehner
Jim Hornback, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells
Church Council to Meet Wednesday, April 20th
The monthly meeting of the Council is scheduled, as usual, for the third week of April, which is the 20th. at the usual 5:30
Altar Guild Notes
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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