We of course understand that weekly worship is critical for Christian people, and we assemble every Sunday for just that reason, Sunday being the best day on which to do it because that is the day on which Jesus rose from the dead.
And some of us take advantage also of Wednesday evening masses here at St. Paul’s, a second opportunity in the week to hear the word and receive the Blessed Sacrament.
But Christian habits pertaining to the necessity that the Word of God should always be on our hearts, in our minds, and on our lips need to take it further than that, as also every Christian should know.
It is critical to send time every day paying heed to the Word of God, as the Psalmist also says, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:117), and again, “Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever” (Psalm 145:2). There is also an entire Psalm—the 119th—that dedicates eight lines to each of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and drives home how high and noble and worthy of continual meditation is the Word of God. There the Psalmist waxes eloquent about the value of the Word, repeating the point in a myriad of ways: “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. . . . Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. . . . I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. . . . My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. . . . How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! . . . I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. . . .” The Psalmist goes on and on about the inestimable value and riches of the Word of God.
That is why, in practical terms, Christian people need to form some good habits that have them returning daily to the Word of God and prayer. Sundays only are not nearly enough.
So, as I have put forth on other occasions some simple orders of family prayer to use at home, the most traditional being a simplified order of Matins or Vespers that is found in the hymnal. One person alone may follow the order, or a family together.
Or, here’s another idea: this is a basic outline that
plays off the Morning and Evening Prayer section we find in the catechism. There we simply have this:
In the morning, when you get up, make the sign of the holy cross and say:
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the [Apostles’] Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may also say this little prayer . . .
And then follows what is commonly known as “Luther’s Morning Prayer.”
Evening Prayer is identical, except that the little prayer at the end is “Luther’s Evening Prayer.”
In addition, once a day, either of these simple forms can be expanded.
At our home, Carol and I sit down every morning and expand the Morning Prayer, by inserting after the opening invocation the words of a Psalm, a section of Scripture, and one of the meditations in my book Every Day Will I Bless Thee, which provides an appointed psalm and reading (copies are available for purchase at church).
Or you could simply add to your prayers a chapter of the Bible every day, following the chapters in order.
You may also add a hymn. Choose, for a suggestion, the Hymn of the Day from Sunday and sing that, right out of your home hymnal.
It’s important to choose your order and follow it every day, because that way you get in the habit; we are all creatures of habit. So let’s cultivate the best of habits in our daily prayers.
For, as the Psalmist says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
+ Pastor Eckardt
All Scheduling Tentative, Pending Pastor’s Test Results and Scheduling
Due to the pending results of Pastor’s MRI procedure, we will await confirmation of all scheduled events in September. As most of you know, the initial diagnosis is of a pinched sciatic nerve, the result of which is impaired ability to walk. At this point we are unsure of whether there will be a need for surgery, and if so, what the scheduling will look like.
Our hope and expectation, and prayer, is that the condition can be corrected, but we do not know whether, if there is surgery, there may be a weeks-long recovery process.
Special Voters Assembly
The Council has scheduled a Special Voters’ Meetijng for Sunday, September 10th, as the first portion of Bible Class hour, to decide on the matter of the church’s sign.
Our Ushers: Jim Hornback, Tom Wells, Steve Kraklow.
9/18/1976 Tom and Sue Ann Wells
9/19/1993 Jeff and Tara Wagenknecht
Wednesday Evening Masses
We observe Holy Cross Day (September 145h) on Wednesday, September 13th; and St. Matthew’s Day (September 21st) on Wednesday, September 20th.
Wednesday masses are scheduled every Wednesday at 7 pm.
Sources of Western Culture
By Stefan Gramenz, at Gottesblog (www.gottesdienst.org) August 11, 2023
I think it’s a fairly common occurrence for anyone who has spent a great deal of time and energy in a particular field — any field, really — to wonder, after a while, if he has really just been wasting his time. When you focus intently on something so seemingly minute for so long, it can be quite difficult to see how it fits into the broader world and the wider scope of reality. After spending years sifting through sometimes nearly indecipherable documents with frustrating lacunae and unspoken underlying assumptions, and subsequently comparing lectionary and textual traditions across countries and centuries, the whole endeavor of liturgical scholarship can seem a bit feeble in the face of the daunting challenges in front of us, both within the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and in the Church and world at large.
But then you stumble across something like this:
“The history of medieval liturgy must be treated as one of the main sources of western culture." This judgment, by eminent contemporary liturgists, must be endorsed by all who deal with the medieval world. Christian civilization and devotion were based on and inspired by the liturgy: the development of chivalry and ethics to some extent stems from the 12th-century growth of Marian worship. 'The clergy ... absorbed all the functions of a literary class’ since the arts of drawing, writing, and painting were confined almost exclusively to liturgical books prepared by clerics, and since medieval writers examined the principles of thought, language, speech, and grammar through the exegesis of liturgical texts. The influence of the Franciscans on poetry, at least in England, has been widely explored; largely unknown is the influence of truly liturgical poetry in such genres as the prosa and rhymed office. Education began with the Psalter, and readings and chants were carried into daily life to inspire love songs and epics: computation, formula, and calculation derive from work with problems of the calendar. From the need to explain and summarize the increasing complexity of the services, the principles of organization, abstraction, and generalization were worked out. Whether cloistered or not, man ordered his day by the services and the church bell signalling them, and his year by the succession of church feasts, and he examined all his actions and related them to his religion.” (Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: A Guide to their Organization and Terminology by Andrew Hughes, par. 10)
The western world, as we know it, finds much of its origin in not only a generic Christian faith, together with a conscience informed by that faith, but also in the lived reality of that faith, ordered and structured and governed as it was by the liturgical life of the Church. And while this could lead simply to a nostalgia for “a loveliness irreparably lost,” it is also, I think, a reminder of what could be. I don’t expect that the 21st century western world will suddenly turn on its heels and once again order its life around the ebb and flow of the Church’s life, but I do think that Christian life and culture, lived in their fullness, can have an extraordinary influence on the course of the world once again, even as we have seen in the past.
The end of all liturgy is to do just this — to bring people to Christ, to open up for the people of God His saving works, and then to order their lives according to this faith, whether in the daily rhythms of the Divine Office, the weekly ritual of the Sunday mass, or the times and tides of the Church’s year. To put it quite simply, the telos of the liturgy is making Christians and preserving them in the faith. That is why, of course, we have such battles over the liturgy and various forms and manners of worship — because we all know implicitly that Prosper of Aquitaine’s maxim is true, and that the real concern is never really what kind of songs we are going to sing, but what kind of Christians we are going to form and what kind of lives those Christians will lead. The foundational question is finally not about what we are going to pray, but about who we are going to be. That, as Hughes makes rather clear, is the outcome of all the church’s worship, whether we realize it or not.
Pastor and Carol to Family Reunion September 6-9
An Eckardt family reunion in Wisconsin is planned, meaning that Pastor and Carol will be away from Wednesday September 6th to Saturday September 9th. there are no activities Wednesday, and no Bible Class on Saturday.
September Elders, Vespers
First Tuesday Vespers and Elders is scheduled for September 5th, with Vespers at 6:45 (for anyone who wants to attend) and the meeting following.
Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield; Jewneel Walker, at Kewanee Care; Bea Harris and Jim Watson, from time to time, at home.
St Michael Conference
The annual St. Michael Conference is scheduled in Detroit on Monday, September 25th. Rev. Dr. Karl Fabrizius is to be the keynote speaker, speaking on “Water Flowing from the Temple: Bringing Life to Every Creature” Fr. Fabrizius will explore and expound on the importance of Ezekiel's river from the temple in connection with your preaching. The preacher should not be content with the stagnant pools at the edge of the river of life, but swim in the rushing currents that bring life to the nations. As usual, our pastor is scheduled for a workshop as well, leaving Sunday afternoon the 24th and returning on Tuesday.
Catechism is canceled on Tuesday, the 26th.
Sundays in September are all GREEN.
September 7th, GREEN
September 13th, RED (for Holy Cross Day)
September 20th, RED (for St. Matthew’s Day)
9/1 John Ricknell
9/10 Jan Schoen
9/19 Jaclyn Kraklow
9/19 Jamie Kraklow
9/20 Derrick Baker
September Council Meeting
The September Council meeting is set for the third Wednesday (as usual), which is September 20th, at 5:30 p.m.
In Our Prayers
Our list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists below. To update the lists please inform pastor.in our parish:
Sharon Hartz, Bea Harris, Don and Sue Murphy, John Sovanski, Sandra VerPlaetse, John Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Jewneel Walker, Emmy Wear, Jim Watson, Bill Thompson and Father Eckardt
and beyond our parish:
Jude Clapper, Anna, Katie, and Jodi Rutowicz, Julie Ross, Elizabeth Godke, Oneida Hendrickson, Janice Hart, Tim Newman, Theresa Moore, Kathy Boeger, Allison Leezer, Shannon Watson, Karen Parker, Richard Heiden, Brock Tumbleson, Jeanna Moore, Deloris Bitting, Jane Mueller, Jessica Wetzel [Kris Harden’s Daughter], Megan Rowe [Linda’s daughter-in-law], Pastor Justin Kane
in the military:
John Eckardt, Richard Heiden, Eli Wetzel, Traven Wetzel, Eric Verplaetse, Jake Mahaffey, James and Ann Lee Armstrong, Marcus Prentice
unborn children in danger of abortion; Debra Reeves’s children Rae Beth and Drew Wayne, that they may be reunited; those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Pakistan, Belarus, China, North Korea, and elsewhere.
PAKISTAN: Mass Violence After Blasphemy Accusations
24 August 2023
On August 16th, thousands of people stormed a Christian colony in Jaranwala, a town located in the Faisalabad district of Punjab. Angered by allegations of blasphemy, and spurred on by urgent announcements that had been broadcasted over mosque loudspeakers, the incited mob either damaged or utterly destroyed up to 26 church buildings and as many as 400 homes. Thankfully, there were no reports of casualties following this recent attack. Please take the time to view the informative video alert that VOMC released the next day, which includes footage of the actual attacks.
This incident was sparked after two Christian brothers, named Rocky Saleem Masih and Raja Amir Saleem Masih, had been burning waste paper. Accusations that they were desecrating pages of the Quran ensued. Three local men also produced a letter that allegedly contained blasphemous comments about Muhammad. The brothers have been detained and charged under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
Members of the military and police force were called in to stop the rampage, and their emergency intervention eventually settled the protestors. While the violence had abated in the days that followed, underlying tensions remain. The government has publicly condemned the attacks, and more than 100 warrants of arrest have been issued against the rioters. Governing leaders have promised to help the victims rebuild, but the survivors are sceptical.
BELARUS: More Harassment and Sentences for New Life Church
24 August 2023
For several years, the New Life Church in Minsk has faced opposition from the government, including the complete destruction of their place of worship on June 20th. (For more details, click here.) That act of destruction, however, did not stop ongoing harassment from government officials.
Each summer, the church organizes camps for children. Unfortunately, on July 10th, a bus carrying 50 children overturned on a poorly maintained road. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries nor any
complaints. Even the state-controlled media published a report blaming the poor road conditions for the accident.
However, the next day, the district tax office demanded financial reports from the church, along with any records between the church and the bus company. It is believed that the accident is now being used as an excuse to further harass the church.
On July 25th, the church's website was blocked by the government without warning. It was discovered that the prosecutor has banned the website for six months, alleging that the church was publishing "extremist" information, along with inciting threats to national security. A hearing regarding this case was scheduled for August 25th.
The government's opposition continued on August 14th when Pastor Vyacheslav Goncharenko's house was searched by officers from the Organized Crime and Corruption Department. The pastor, along with his son-in-law, Ilya Budai, who serves as the church's youth pastor, were arrested. The next day, Pastor Ilya was sentenced to five days' detention for allegedly waving his arms and swearing at the police – an accusation strongly denied by a witness. The sentencing for Pastor Vyacheslav's detention was ten days. The authorities gave no explanation for the senior pastor's arrest, but it is believed that his detention may have been extended in order to keep him from attending the August 25th hearing in regards to the alleged publishing of "extremist materials."
CHINA: Infirmed Pastor Handcuffed in Hospital
24 August 2023
Pastor Ru Zongren, who suffers from kidney failure, was in the hospital for kidney dialysis on July 30th when police handcuffed him to his bed. He was detained in the hospital for five hours before finally being released.
Originally from a rural area of Anhui Province, Pastor Ru came to faith in Christ at an early age through the Christian witness of his parents. He eventually went on to study theology, graduating from seminary in 2007, prior to returning to his hometown where he has compassionately served the community since. Through his faithful ministry over the years, the Chengxi Christian Church has grown to establish a membership presently consisting of about 400 believers.
In May 2015, when local urban management officials entered the community, they destroyed the church's building. As Pastor Ru attempted to stop them, he was strangled and badly beaten. His injuries resulted in the permanent kidney damage he is dealing with today. The reasons behind his recent detention in the hospital are unclear.
Over the years, Pastor Ru has frequently encountered harassment from government officials, including added surveillance during times that were considered by authorities as "sensitive."
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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