March 2019 Ash Wednesday and Lent
109 S. Elm, Kewanee, Illinois 61443
Volume 31 March 2019 No. 3
The season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, has for centuries been a season of emphasis on fasting, penitence, and preparation for the celebration of Easter. The definition of the fast has changed over the years. There was a time not so long ago—and there still is in some parts of Christendom—in which the fast involved a putting aside of all meat, dairy products, and eggs. It was out of this tradition that the Easter egg arose, for the coloring of eggs was a celebration of the ending of the fast.
The custom of fasting 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. So Luther’s Small Catechism declares, “Fasting and other bodily preparation is indeed a fine outward training.” Therefore we conclude that fasting is a good thing, though the particulars or degree of the fast is a matter left to Christian liberty.
The purpose of the fast is disciplinary; as the Apostle says in the Epistle for Septuagesima Sunday (which serves as a preparatory explanation, two and a half weeks prior to Lent): “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (I Co. 9:27).”
The fast is the opposite of self-indulgence or self-gratification. The heaping up of pleasures is a dangerous thing for the Christian, and self-indulgence is certainly not desired behavior; therefore the fast is a means of training the body to be content with less than it desires.
The span of the fast is forty days, like the forty days in which Jesus fasted in the wilderness. By Jesus’ forty-day fast the word of Sacred Scriptures was fulfilled, saying that Moses was with the LORD on Mount Sinai forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread nor drink water. So also, to the same Mount Sinai (which is also called Horeb), Elijah came, when he had eaten and drunk, and he went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights. So these two were seen with Jesus on his mountain, the mount of Transfiguration, just before his suffering in Jerusalem. How fitting, then, that for the first Sunday in Lent, the Gospel centers on Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, the first part of his ministry, in deep humiliation.
The Church also observes a liturgical fast during Lent, even as Israel fasted forty years in the wilderness. This is why the color for Lent is the penitential violet. Alleluias are not heard during Lent, and there is less music (fasting of the ears); flowers are absent, and, during the last two weeks of Lent, statutes, images, and crosses in the churches are veiled (fasting of the eyes). No weddings are traditionally permitted during Lent, as feasting would be in principle contrary to the fast. As the season moves on toward Easter, the fast becomes deeper in stages. The traditional season of pre-Lent merely hints at the fast to come; then Lent itself begins; then come the last two weeks of Lent, called Passiontide, during which no Glorias are sung at all (canticles and psalms are sung without them); and within that span comes Holy Week, and finally within Holy Week the Triduum Sacram, that is, the Sacred Three Days: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
Yet in the midst of our fast we still have joy, which is always right for Christians. Thus even the fourth Sunday in Lent—in the midst of Lent—is called Laetare, which means “rejoice.” For we always expect and know the joys of Easter and eternal feasting in the life of the world to come.
As usual, Mass will be offered twice on Ash Wednesday, at 7 am and 7 pm, with the imposition of ashes immediately prior.A Scheduling checkerboardDuring March a number of scheduling conflicts will require a close look at the calendar, as there have been some necessary changes (for this month only). The reason for these changes is that Pastor plans to be out of town twice during the month: first, for doctor’s appointments at Mayo Clinic on March 4th and 5th; second, for a trip to the east coast from March 13th to the 19th. The following articles reflect these changes.
Lent Midweek Masses
Usually when Pastor is away, Midweek Masses are simply cancelled. But since we will be in Lent, when more members make it a point to attend for midweek, the elders approved moving one of the Midweek Masses from March 13th to March 12th, a Tuesday. It will be preceded by a Lenten Supper. Make sure your calendar is clear: No Mass on Wednesday, March 13th; instead, Mass on Tuesday, March 12th. Same time, 7 pm.
We will begin our Lenten soup suppers during the first full week of Lent. They will be held on Wednesday evenings except for the first one. Since Pastor and Carol are planning a trip out east beginning on March 13th, the midweek service and supper are moved to Tuesday the 12th. In the following weeks we will be having suppers as usual on Wednesdays: March 20th and 27th, and April 3rd and 10th. There will be no supper on Ash Wednesday or during Holy week. Hence a total of five suppers, all on Wednesdays except the first, on Tuesday March 12th. All suppers begin at 5:30 p.m. Lenten masses follow, at 7:00. This gives roughly one hour for fasting before mass.
First Tuesday meetings moved to March 26th.
Since Pastor will not be back in town in time to make first Tuesday meetings on the 2nd, and since the following two Tuesdays are also unavailable, the Altar Guild and Elders’ meetings are scheduled for March 26th. As it happens, this should work out well, since the weather did not permit our February meetings until February 19th anyhow; and we will also not have to have the April meetings until after Easter, on April 23rd. March 7th, Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15, as usual.
The weather has wreaked havoc on our catechism schedule this year, so we can’t afford to lose any more times. The class talked it over on February 19th, and the following changes were agreed upon.
Tuesday, February 26th, 5 pm as usual
Thursday, March 7th, 5 pm; no class on Tuesday the 5th because Pastor will be away.
No class the week of March 10-17.
Thursday, March 21st, 5 pm; no class on Tuesday the 19th because Pastor will be away.
(This change was added after class discussion; please note)
Tuesday, March 26th, 5 pm as usual
Tuesday, April 2nd, 5 pm as usual
Tuesday, April 9th, 5 pm as usual. Last class.
Saturday, April 20th, 7 pm Great Vigil of Easter: Elizabeth Dooley first communion
3/19/1977 Jeff and Diana Shreck
Allan Kraklow, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells
3/1 Barbra Kraklow
3/25 Carol Eckardt
Council meets Wednesday, March 20th, at 4:30 pm, to accommodate the Lenten Supper at 5:30.
Altar Guild Notes
· The paraments color for the entire month of March is VIOLET, except
· Wednesday, March 20th when we will observe St. Joseph’s Day: WHITE, and
· Wednesday, March 27th when we will observe the Annunciation: WHITE
Next meeting is not until Tuesday, March 26th.
Mary Hamilton at her son’s home in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Joyce Long at home
Emilie Ricknell at home
Dick Melchin at Hammond-Henry extended care in Geneseo.
Emmy Wear at Williamsfield retirement home
Dale Baker has been at home during the winter
St. Joseph’s Day and the Annunciation
Our midweek services during Lent will include observances of St. Joseph, Guardian of Our Lord, on March 20th, and the Annunciation, on March 27th. These important feast days are moved to Wednesday from the 19th and the 25th respectively, to coincide with midweek mass.
Pastor’s Travel Plans
Pastor has doctor appointments at Mayo Clinic on March 1 and 2, and plans to be in the D.C. area from March 13-19. Pastor Jeff Anderson from Bethel in Morton will be filling in on the 17th.
In Our Prayers
The afflicted, in our parish:
Emilie Ricknell, John Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Mary Hamilton, Emmy Wear, Sue Murphy, Don Murphy, Joyce Long, Dick Melchin, DeAnne Anderson, Bea Harris, Allan Kraklow, Father Eckardt, Jim Watson
Anna Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Katy Rutovicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Jodi Rutowicz [daughter of Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Pastor Kenneth Wegener
Elizabeth Godke, Sharon Field’s mother
Brandt and Oneda Hendrickson [Ricknells’ relatives]
Helen Woods [Sue Murphy’s sister]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Ken Hart [Judy Thompson’s brother-in-law]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells’ grandson]
Dennis Hoag [Adam Shreck’s father-in-law]
Shawn Golden [Jim Watson’s son-in-law]
Angela Golden [Jim Watson’s daughter]
Kenneth Hampton [Don Murphy’s son-in-law]
Sue Harris [Steve Harris’s sister-in-law]
Nancy Callahan [Don Murphy’s sister]
Pastor Peter Eckardt
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]
Traven Wetzel [at request of Kris Harden]
Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson]
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kenya, Sudan, Nigeria, China, Vietnam, North Korea, and elsewhere
Voters Approve Pastor’s Mission Trip to Nigeria
In a special voters’ assembly meeting held February 17th, the congregation unanimously agreed to send Pastor to the seminary in Nigeria to teach an intensive two-week course of study in early May. The costs of the trip are covered, except that St. Paul’s will need to cover the cost of guest preachers for the first three Sundays of the month. Sharing Pastor in this way provides the congregation to have a personal involvement with this important mission work.
Renovation Continues: Looking Toward Returning to Worship in the Church
We have been steadily making progress toward completion of the chancel of the church, phase III of our renovation. The walls and ceiling have been repaired and repainted, now featuring a lustrous dark blue canopy built into the architecture of the church. A smattering of stars can be seen in the ceiling/canopy, suggesting the canopy of heaven. Sharon Hartz recently completed the delicate painting on the back wall of the Holy Spirit descending like a dove. This is rich in symbolism, as it is essentially a declaration that the Holy Spirit is operating in this place where the Gospel is proclaimed and the Sacraments are administered. Here is where the Church of Jesus Christ is found, created and sustained by the Spirit through these means of grace.
Soon the shields symbolizing the twelve apostles will be mounted in the great arch that frames the entire chancel. This declares, similarly, that the Apostles’ doctrine, the Holy Scriptures they wrote, is centered in Jesus’ death and resurrection (seen in the crucifix and the risen Christ), and is preached here. Also, by this Apostolic Doctrine, the Sacrament of the Altar delivers to us Christ’s true Body and Blood, the very elements of his crucifixion for us.
The flooring is yet to be determined: when the chancel carpet is pulled back, we will be able to see what we have to work with and proceed from there. The flooring plan does not include carpet in the chancel but a hard surface yet to be determined. This implies an important and subtle feature of our belief in the real presence of Christ’s Body and Blood. If there should ever be a spill—something we take the utmost pains to prevent—we would be able to clean it appropriately and with reverence. In addition, a hard floor in the chancel will bespeak a majestic holy place, and will be a restoration of what was formerly seen in all churches of the Reformation,
We will look to replacing the carpet in aisles of the nave, back, and balcony after we have returned to the church.
Our target date of Easter remains in view, and we are still on schedule.
Two new pillars framing the wall behind the altar will be going up soon, with new capitals on top of them.
Choir rehearsals again
In preparation for special music during Holy Week and Easter, choir rehearsals are starting up again, beginning Ash Wednesday, March 6th. Check the calendar. We will skip next week, and then begin in earnest every week until Holy Week. Tune up your voice and join in!
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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