St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm, Kewanee, Illinois 61443
Volume 34 February 2022 No. 2
The Feast of Candlemas is upon us again, so-called because of the custom of distributing, blessing, and lighting of candles during the service. It is one of the more beautiful occasions we celebrate at St. Paul’s.
Set on February 2nd, this year it falls on the first Wednesday of February. February 2nd is the fortieth day from Christmas. A woman who gave birth to a son was required by Levitical law to come for the rite of purification. Thus the Blessed Virgin Mary came, and when she came she presented her first born Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as she was also required to do by the law.
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.
Hand-candles are used twice in this service. First, at the opening, in a procession toward the altar and back to the pews, all the while singing the Nunc Dimittis (the song of Simeon). Second, the hand-candles are re-lit, when the Sacrament is consecrated.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Also called Groundhog’s Day
The reason for the legend of the groundhog who comes out, sees his shadow, and goes back into hiding for another six weeks off winter, is probably the fact that we are nearing the season of Lent, which is also (roughly) six weeks long. But that’s just trivia. More seriously, this year we begin pre-Lent on Septuagesima, February 13th. So Ash Wednesday will fall on March 2nd.Easter comes on April 17th.
Septuagesima February 13st.
On Septuagesima Sunday we turn our gaze toward Easter, though liturgically it is still off in the distance. This Sunday marks the first day of pre-Lent (also called the Septuagesima season), a period of preparing our minds for the coming of Lent. A few liturgical matters are noted: we bid the Alleluias farewell, for we will not sing them again until Easter. The choir sings The Depositio, which is a “farewell to the alleluia” at the opening of the service. In addition, and we have changed the color to violet, also the color for Lent. The Septuagesima season is observed in three Sundays: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. These Latin terms mean 70th, 60th, and 50th, for we pass, roughly, the 70th, 60th, and 50th days before Easter. Following Quinquagesima comes Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40 days of Lent. Lent itself was once called Quadragesima, which means 40th.
In the middle ages Septuagesima Sunday was also seen as New Year’s Day, because of this shift in our focus: we had been living, as it were, in the wake of Christmas, since the Epiphany season is an extension of the Christmas season.
On Septuagesima Sunday we live in the first stages of preparation for the coming of Easter.
Shrove Tuesday March 1st
A good opportunity to make confession privately in preparation for Lent. Pastor is available Tuesday afternoon until 5 pm and, as always, by appointment.
Ash Wednesday March 2nd
On Ash Wednesday, February 17th, we will congregate at 7:00 pm to mark the beginning of Lent. The rite of imposition of ashes precedes the Mass.
The season of Lent emphasizes penitence, in preparation for 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.
Then, the last two weeks of Lent are designated as “passiontide,” when 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.
But in the midst of this penitential mood there is joy, especially at Laetare, the fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare means ‘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.
Annual Voters’ Assembly Set for February 6th
After several weeks of unforeseen delays, we finally have a scheduled date for the annual voters’ assembly, namely the first Sunday of February, which is February 6th. As usual, this meeting will take the place of Bible Class during the hour from 10:30 to 11:30 am.
A Day of Theological Reflection February 12th
Our annual Day of Reflection had a hiatus last year. We haven’t had one for two years, but now at last we are scheduling another. On Saturday afternoon, February 12th we will be having a seminar. This marks the 22nd year we have done this. This year’s theme is “THE NATIVITY, EARLY YEARS, AND CALL OF SAMUEL”
We will open with midday prayers and continue into the afternoon with the seminar.
Here is the schedule:
12:30 pm: Midday prayers
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Seminar (day of reflection)
The nineteenth retreat in the Theological Reflection series is entitled,
“THE NATIVITY, EARLY YEARS, AND CALL OF SAMUEL”
Samuel is a pivotal figure in the history of Israel, being both the last of the judges and the one to anoint the first king. What is the significance of his nativity and childhood, and what do the details of his call signify? Questions like this will all be discussed and addressed.
.+ Pastor Eckardt
Choir rehearsals will be starting again this month, beginning on Wednesday, February 2nd. Since the 5:30 hour seemed to work well late last year, we’ll schedule it that way again. We will only be able to meet three times in February, since Pastor will be gone the fourth week. Then we will resume in March. But let’s get started; see you there!
2/2 Mindie Fisher2/4 Joshua Kraklow2/5 Tom Wells2/23 Carol McReynolds
February Anniversaries None
The first Tuesday events (altar guild, vespers, elders) will be held, God willing, on Tuesday, February 2nd. Altar Guild at 6 pm; Vespers at 6:45; Elders at 7:15. All members are always encouraged to join us for First Tuesday Vespers, as you are able.
No February Council Meeting
As is customary, the church council does not meet in the month of our annual voters’ assembly. Since voters will meet on February 6th this year, there is no need for the council also to meet.
Jim Hornback, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells
The Bible on Trial in Finland
The case of Païvi Räsänan and Bishop Juhana Pohjola is being tried in a Finnish Court. Dr. Räsänan, who is a physician, is on trial for hate speech because she, who is a sitting member of the Finnish Parliament, wrote a pamphlet in 2004 about the Biblical view of marriage between a man and a woman, and has since then been criticized for insensitivity toward the LBGTQ community for nothing other than her view that the Biblical view is correct. She received the Sabre of Boldness from the Gottesdienst editorial board last week and has communicated with us her gratitude for our support, which joins a widespread international voicing of dismay over the persecution she and her compatriot, Bishop Juhana Pohjola, who also received Gottesdienst’s Sabre award in 2009, have suffered. The trial goes on throughout February and may be decided by early March.
Dr. “Räsänen has claimed that the Finnish church has ‘elevat[ed] shame and sin to a point of pride’, according to the indictment. According to Euronews.com, “Prosecutors say that her remarks are an ‘affront to the equality and dignity of homosexuals’ and have called for the MP to be fined up to €13,000. . . .
“The landmark case on hate speech and religious freedoms has been described as ‘shocking’ by Finland's Christian community. The former minister has denied the charges and says she acted in the name of ‘freedom of expression and religion’.
She remarked on the first day of the trial, “I hope it will be clear today that I do not wish to offend any group of people, but that it is about saving people for eternal life.”
We will keep her and Bp. Pohjola in our prayers.
Robin Sighting Contest
Who can find the first robin of spring? Call Pastor if you see and can verify one. This is the ninth year of the contest. The eligibility is limited to people in Illinois extending as far south as Peoria.
The winner of the contest gets a check for $10,000 a month for the rest of his life. Maybe.
2021 Andy Eckardt
2020 Michele Keehner
2019 Steve Kraklow
2018 Steve Kraklow
2017 Barbra Kraklow
2016 Judy Thompson
2015 Carol Eckardt
2014 Michele Keehner
2020 Michele Keehner
2019: Steve Kraklow
2018: Steve Kraklow
2017: Barb Kraklow
2016: Judy Thompson
2015: Carol Eckardt
2014: Michele Keehner
A sign of spring, the robin may also help us think of the approach of Easter!
In Our Prayers
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:
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, and 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 [relatives of Kris Harden]
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 Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, Madagascar, Iran, Iraq, Syria, India, China, Vietnam, North Korea, and elsewhere, also Paivi Rasanen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola of Finland, who are on trial and face possible conviction and imprisonment for their confession of faith.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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