St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm, Kewanee, Illinois 61443
Volume 33 November 2021 No. 11
The End of the Church Year
In November we always come to the end of the church year. This is reflected in the readings and propers for the Sundays approaching the last one, which is the Sunday before Advent. The church year marks its new beginning on the first Sunday in Advent. However, thematically it’s difficult to distinguish the thematic emphases for the last Sundays and the emphases for the Sundays in Advent. Both seasons have a heavy emphasis on the coming of the very last day, the day when Christ shall return in glory, according to his own words.
This is probably because in the Middle Ages there was one unbroken season of preparation for Christmas that was about seven weeks long. This is borne out by the fact that in the Middle Ages St. Martin’s Day, November 11th, was the day of a great carnival, called “Martinmas” just prior to “St. Martin’s Advent,” a period of 43 days of fasting prior to Christmas. St. Martin’s Advent was the pre-Christmas season similar to Lent, which is of course the pre-Christmas fast prior to Easter. (Incidentally, the reason the reformer Martin Luther was so named is that he was born on November 10th and baptized the next day, St. Martin’s Day.)
This explains the thematic connections that can be seen in the propers themselves. Not only do the Gospels seem to have a rather unbroken emphasis on the last things, the collects also do. The “Stir Up” prayers are peppered throughout. The collect for the First Sunday in Advent begins with the words “Stir up, we beseech Thee, Thy power, O Lord, and come.” The Fourth Sunday in Advent begins in virtually the same way: “Stir up, O Lord, we beseech Thee, Thy power, and come.” And the collect for the 24th Sunday after Trinity, the fourth from the last, also begins with “Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord.” It continues, “the wills of Thy faithful people,” but the first seven words are identical.
Further, the Gradual for the Third Sunday in Advent also includes the words, “Stir up Thy strength: and come and save us,” which is from Psalm 80, a prominent Psalm during Advent, used also in the Introit for the Second Sunday in Advent: “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock.”
The Fourth Sunday in Advent contains the words of Psalm 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament showeth His handiwork,” which is thematically similar to Psalm 50:4-6: “He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people . . . and the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself, ” seen in the Gradual for the 26th Sunday after Trinity.
In short, the November Sundays, which use the propers for the 24th through the 27th Sunday after Trinity were once joined to the four Sundays in Advent as a unified preparation for Christmas. A great part of that preparation is the recollection that the coming, or Advent, of Christ was first celebrated when he was born, and will again be celebrated, eternally, at his return in glory. It is now the time to ponder that truth.
+ Pastor Eckardt
What Is a Confessional Lutheran?
by Pastor Karl Fabrizius
Most of us are familiar with the numerous Lutheran denominations in the United States, but since the 1980’s there has also been the rise of “Confessional Lutheranism” within the Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (“Little Norwegians”). Before then, the divisions were between “liberal” and “conservative.” Liberals, such as the ELCA, were those who rejected the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God and only followed the Lutheran Confessions in so far as they agreed with them which led to all manner of departures from the faith. Conservatives had been those who defended the Scriptures as God’s Word and desired to uphold them because they agreed with the Lutheran Confessions. But the conservative side became divided over faithfulness to the Lutheran Confessions on the issues of Liturgy (worship) and the Sacrament of the Altar in particular. Confessional Lutherans argued that true conservatism would preserve the good things of the historic Church while always being faithful to Scripture and the Confessions. The time of COVID has drawn a sharp line between the two factions, even as it points to a growing need for us to work together in the externals against the rising tide of persecution of the Church of Christ. So how should we identify Confessional Lutherans, that is, the real Lutherans?
A good place to begin is with these words from the Preface to the Book of Concord:
In these matters (as we have mentioned earlier), this has always been our purpose: in our lands, dominions, schools, and churches no other doctrine should be proclaimed and accurately set forth except that which is founded upon God’s Word and contained in the Augsburg Confession and the Apology (when properly understood in its genuine sense). Opinions conflicting with these are not allowed. … But we wished indeed to lead our churches and schools, first of all, to the fountains of Holy Scripture, and to the Creeds, and then to the Augsburg Confession (which we have mentioned before). We most earnestly encourage that the young men be instructed in this faithfully and diligently, especially those who are being educated for the holy ministry of the churches and schools. Then the pure doctrine and profession of our faith may, by the Holy Spirit’s help, be preserved and spread also to our future generations, until the glorious advent of Jesus Christ [Titus 2:13], our only Redeemer and Savior.
Confessional Lutherans rely on the fountains of Holy Scripture and will not accept opinions that conflict with the Lutheran Confessions because the Confessions are a true exposition of the Word of God. While conservatives have been influenced by so-called evangelical churches in America, Confessional pastors seek to be faithful to the Lutheran Confessions. For example, we confess that:
Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass. The Mass is held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence. 2 Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, except that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns. These have been added to teach the people. 3 For ceremonies are needed for this reason alone, that the uneducated be taught ‹what they need to know about Christ›. AC XXIV:1-3
To be faithful to our Confessions, it is necessary to conduct the service reverently and we confess that the Lord’s Supper is celebrated every Lord’s Day and on the festivals (Apol. XXIV:1). The ceremonies (genuflecting, bowing, chanting, kneeling, etc.) associated with this are also maintained to teach the people what we believe about Christ and His holy Sacrament. The Liturgy of the Church provides the framework for confessing the truth of God’s Word and teaching us each time we gather as His people. Lutherans do not seek to reinvent the wheel, but desire to learn from the faithful who have gone before us in the Church. Along with the Liturgy, we see the hymnody of the Church as being an essential means of confessing the Truth. We believe that there is a difference between so-called “contemporary” songs and historic Lutheran hymnody. You are what you eat. If your diet is the fluff of lyrics that focus on feelings, you will soon become fat and flabby in your confession. In particular, contemporary American Christianity rejects the truth that Baptism saves and that the Lord’s Supper is the true Body and Blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. The modern American Christian is not taught these things in their hymns and their rejection of the liturgy also destroys these truths.
In [the] month of the Reformation, it is good that we once again realize that the key points of confession in Luther’s day and after his death are still important today. In some ways, nothing has changed for the devil is always attacking the truth of God’s Word. The attack on the true Confession of the Lutheran faith is still centered on the Sacrament of the Altar and the ceremonies. Of course, this is because men reject the Scriptures which so clearly present this doctrine. Confessional Lutherans can never tire of fighting for this truth against the dangerous false teachings that surround us.
Many thanks and kudos
Jeff Wagenknecht painted the church doors with painstaking care and diligence, just in time for the big wedding on October 16th. What great work. Thank you!
Choir Rehearsal Again!
Calling all choir members! We’re going to start meeting for rehearsal again on Wednesday nights, in preparation for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a great time, as members will remember. Want to join us? Please feel free. Wednesday nights after Mass, usually around 8 pm, and finished by 9 at the latest.
Altar Guild Notes
Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield; Emilie Ricknell at home, Dick Melchin at Hammond-Henry Extended Care in Geneseo, Dale Baker at home, Jewneel Walker at Kewanee Care, John Sovanski at home.
Jim Hornback, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells.
11/5 Steve and Berniece Harris
11/11 Tara Wagenknecht
11/19 Steve Kraklow
11/20 Jewneel Walker
11/30 Charlene Sovanski
Novemberfest and a Gottesdienst Conference
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Mattoon, Illinois
Sunday evening and Monday, November 14-15, 2021
Conference theme: Reactions to Persecution
In an age of mounting animosity toward the Christian Church in our society, this conference aims to get pastors and laypeople thinking about how we might respond appropriately to such things.
For the seminar we are pleased to welcome the Rev. Dr. Adam Koontz, Assistant Professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana as our keynote speaker. Dr. Koontz was recently added to our ranks as a Gottedienst blogger. He’ll be speaking on “Reactions to Persecution in the Early Church.”
We’ll also hear from Rev. Jason Braaten, our editor known for producing The Gottesdienst Crowd, our weekly podcast. Pastor Braaten will speak on “Temptations amid Persecution: Distraction and Indifference"
The day-long seminar on Monday will open with Divine Service at 9:00 a.m. at St. John’s.
BONUS: This Conference will be sandwiched between two evenings of Novemberfest: starting Sunday night, when Gottesdienst will be hosting a Picnic, Biergarten, and Gemütlichkeit under a heated tent at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tuscola, a half hour up the road from St. John’s, beginning at 5ish. And then on Monday after Vespers we’ll have a pizza party followed by more of the Biergarten and Gemütlichkeit. Registration is $50 per person — includes picnic, lunch, pizza dinner, and Gemütlichkeit. Log on at www.gottesdienst.org.
In Our Prayers
Our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following. To update the list please inform the pastor
in our parish:
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
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, Shawn Wetzel
Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson]
Jake Mahaffey, Trevor Shimmin, Shad Draminski
James and Ann Lee Armstrong
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, India, North Korea, China, and elsewhere.
INDIA: Pastors Charged Due To Anti-conversion Laws 21 October 2021
Seven pastors were arrested on October 10th in the Mau district of Uttar Pradesh, India. They were accused of violating the state's anti-conversion legislation, and subsequently charged with "illegal assembly."
The pastors had gathered together for a prayer meeting when they were detained. Fifty other Christians were also detained at the time but later released, including two Catholic nuns who were merely waiting at a nearby bus stop and had no connection with the gathering. At last report, the pastors remained in custody, but their lawyer was working on obtaining bail.
Anti-conversion laws have been widely abused throughout India. Hindu nationalists frequently accuse Christians to justify harassment. In the words of one pastor: "Police officials often don't bother to record our complaints. This further emboldens our attackers and we have to bear the brunt."
CHINA: Evangelist released for the sixth time this year 2 Octrober 2021
Chen Wensheng has gained a reputation as a "Gospel Warrior" for his evangelistic work. After this former drug addict came to faith in Christ, he zealously desired to spread the wonderful news of the miraculous freedom he had experienced. Following examples of the disciples in the Bible, he travelled to many towns and cities preaching the Gospel and holding crosses with thought-provoking slogans such as "Glorious Saviour," "Repent," "Believe" and "Saved."
So far, throughout 2021, Chen has been detained six times. On September 26th, officers took him to the police station to prevent him from attending a Sunday service. They hoped he would give up spreading the Gospel, but instead he shared the message with the officers. As a result, he was detained for a duration of 15 days. Upon his release on October 11th, he posted the following social media message: "Hallelujah! Thank You, God, for Your grace and presence. Thank you (friends) for your prayers.... Now I can go out to spread the Gospel again."
Gottesdienst Gets a Business Manager
A few changes have come to Gottesdienst: The Journal of Lutheran Liturgy. As you probably know by now, this journal has been headquartered right here in Kewanee, with your pastor as the chief editor, since 1995, just three years after its inception.
A few changes have been implemented recently, to the benefit of the membership here. The primary change is the addition of a Business Manager, Mrs. Grace Beane, who lives in Gretna, Louisiana. Mrs. Beane will be taking care of subscription and book order matters, enabling your pastor to be free from those things to handle editorial matters more easily.
In addition, beginning with our Easter issue, the first of 2022, we have implemented some new ideas. The font for the name (Gottesdienst) will be undergoing a slight change, barely noticeable. The new font will add to the stylish look of the cover. The cover is already undergoing some improvements, under the capable artistic hands of Mrs. Meghan Schultz, who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Some other changes are in the works too, all toward the betterment of this fine journal.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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