Some Thoughts on the Lenten Fast
The season of Lent has become less noticeable in our day than it was in previous generations, which is unfortunate in many ways. While we admit that there are many historic customs that are not Biblically mandated, we also contend that this fact does not necessarily discount their use. There are very many customs whose absence has left us culturally poorer. More importantly, this is true of many Christian customs, whose use was beneficial for Christian faith and life. Lent is full of such customs.
There was a time when everyone knew, to take one such custom, the importance of the Lenten fast, and people were instinctively aware it served as a kind of bodily preparation for Easter.
Of course fasting is not commanded of us in Scripture, though it is assumed. Jesus fasted, and so did his disciples. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared, “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (St. Matthew 6:17-18). Jesus did not say if you fast, but when.
But why? What is the benefit of voluntarily fasting?
For one thing it helps us to become aware that the spiritual nature of our faith does not discount the fact that it is also a bodily faith. Sometimes it is falsely supposed that since the faith is a spiritual thing it cannot therefore be material. But this is to forget that our bodies have been made by Almighty God, and are therefore to be respected. So we engage in worship in many bodily ways: for example we bow our heads and fold our hands when we pray, we sometimes kneel and sometimes stand. We even confess in the Apostle’s Creed that we believe in “the resurrection of the body,” because we know that at the Last Day our bodies will be wholly renewed and reunited with our souls (this is also why, incidentally, Christians bury their dead). There are many laudable bodily customs that are ways of showing appreciation to our bodies’ Maker.
Fasting is one such custom. It is not only a good physical discipline, as health professionals can attest; it is a subtle self-reminder that while we live in this fallen world, we are, because we have been baptized into Christ’s church, pilgrims on our way to new heavens and a new earth.
And during this pilgrimage we must be prepared to endure affliction; fasting is in fact a way of preparing.
Perhaps best of all, when we fast during Lent and then break the fast at Easter, that great day with its glad season becomes all the more exciting, as we rejoice, in part by bodily feasting, in the bodily resurrection of our Lord from the dead.
Our culture has drifted from its moorings, most of which were Christian customs. Now we live in a post-modern society which has largely forgotten and set aside Christianity altogether. Thus, people don’t know that we are all sinners in a sinful world; and people who don’t know this cannot possibly know the meaning of forgiveness and salvation through faith in Christ. It is important for us Christians to understand that our very lives are at odds with the trends of culture in many ways; and therefore, there are also subtle ways in which we can remind ourselves of this. One such way is the Lenten fast.
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 the country from the 10th until the 21st, not returning to Kewanee until Sunday the 22nd. The following articles reflect these changes.
First Tuesday meetings on March 3rd.
As usual, meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday in March, which is the 3rd: Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15.
3/19/1977 Jeff and Diana Shreck
Allan Kraklow, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells, Jim Hornback
To Rome with Love
I guess that’s the name of a movie, but in our case it’s also an opportunity. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has been offered to Pastor and Carol: a trip to Rome this month. Our son Michael is a financial advisor for Edward Jones, and sometimes he gets offered trips to various places around the world for a week’s vacation, on which he can take one guest. He’s taking his parents on this trip to Rome, and one of us has all expenses paid. To make the trip of greater benefit, Carol and I are leaving a few days ahead of the week in Rome. On March 10th we fly there, and plan to take a train to Florence for a few days ahead of Sunday the 15th when we’ll return to Rome to meet up with Michael for the week of the 15th.
A scheduling snafu has developed since we began planning this trip. We return to Chicago on Saturday the 21st, but I didn’t notice at first that the arrival would be a bit after 10 pm, meaning that in order to make it home to celebrate Mass on the next day, I’d be driving from Chicago in the middle of the night, with jet lag, not returning to Kewanee until 3 am or so. That’s a recipe for disaster, so I have arranged for supply preaching also on Sunday the 22nd. Supply preachers are now scheduled for services here both on the 15th and the 22nd.
While I am gone, if you need emergency pastoral care, you may contact Pastor Barry Long in Peoria (309-369-3573) or Pastor Steven Mueller in Geneseo (989-928-6603), either of whom will be glad to assist.
In Our Prayers
The afflicted, in our parish:
Emilie Ricknell, John Ricknell, Linda Rowe,
Emmy Wear, Sue Murphy, Don Murphy, Dick Melchin, DeAnne Anderson, Bea Harris, Allan Kraklow, Jim Watson, Dana McReynolds, Sandra VerPlaetse
and beyond our parish:
Anna Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Katy Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Jody Rutowicz [Harrises’ daughter]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Elizabeth Godke, Sharon Field’s mother
Brandt and Oneda Hendrickson [Ricknells’ relatives]
Helen Woods [Sue Murphy’s sister]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells’ grandson]
Dennis Hoag [Adam Shreck’s father-in-law]
Sue Harris [Steve Harris’s sister-in-law]
Nancy Callahan [Don Murphy’s sister]
Rachel Smith [Emmy Wear’s cousin]
Yvette Baker [Dale’s daughter-in-law]
Warren Williams [relative of the Kemerlings]
Bud Harfst [Sue Murphy’s brother]
Tony Stoner [friend of the Murphys]
Dylan Harden [Chris’s grandson]
Theresa Moore [Ricknells’ niece]
Carol Grigsby [friend of Jewneel Walker]
Tim Newman [Kemerling relation]
Pastor Brian Feicho
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]
Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson]
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, disease, and imprisonment in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, India, China, Vietnam, North Korea, and elsewhere.
This year’s robin sighting contest is in the books, and the winner is Michele Keehner of Peoria, who retakes the crown she won in 2014. She reported a sighting of five robins sitting in a row at the botanical garden in Peoria. The Kraklow dynasty is broken. And the winner this year gets an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii! Or not. Our list of winners:
2020 Michele Keehner
2019 Steve Kraklow
2018 Steve Kraklow
2017 Barbra Kraklow
2016 Judy Thompson
2015 Carol Eckardt
2014 Michele Keehner
3/1 Barbra Kraklow
3/25 Carol Eckardt
March 25th, at 5:30. This is the fourth Wednesday of the month.
Altar Guild Notes
· The paraments color for the entire month of March is VIOLET, except
· Wednesday, March 25th the Feast of the Annunciation: WHITE
Next meeting is Tuesday, March 3rd.
Choir rehearsals again
In preparation for special music during Holy Week and Easter, choir rehearsals are starting up again, beginning Wednesday, March 4th. Check the calendar. We will skip the next two weeks, and resume Wednesday, March 25th. Tune up your voice and join in!
March 22nd is Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday in Lent. It is near the middle of the season, which is why it is customary to adorn the altar with roses, representing an oasis in the midst of a desert: in the midst of Lent the brightness of roses reminds us that in all our sorrows there is hope in the Lord.
Judica and Passiontide
March 29th is Judica Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, because it is the beginning of Passiontide, the last two weeks of Lent. The images are all veiled until Easter.
There are only three remaining catechism hours left on the schedule for this season. They are
Saturday, March 7th, 9 am.
(No class Saturday March 14th )
(No class Saturday March 21st)
Saturday, March 28th, 9 am
Saturday, April 4th, 9 am
The Annunciation is on March 25th, because that is nine months before Christmas: the celebration of the day which the angel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. This is the day on which he was conceived in her womb by the Holy Spirit. We will celebrate the Annunciation with Holy Mass on Wednesday, March 25th, at 7 pm. Make a special effort to come!
Reading: St. Luke 1.26-38
Meditation: Nine months before Christmas we observe the annunciation, when the angel hailed Mary as highly favored and blessed among women. Now the mystery of the Incarnation is most mysterious and hidden, for not only does God veil His godhead in flesh, but veils also His flesh within flesh. For Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the blessed Virgin's womb, where eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God has prepared for His people. Therefore faith must rejoice this day in the unseen, in the hidden, for Christ Himself is now hidden within His mother. But true faith knows well to find God where the eye cannot see. Thus faith trusts His word even when there is nothing in the experience to verify it. So did Mary trust the angel's annunciation to her, saying simply, Be it unto me according to thy word. Let us follow the example of blessed Mary, mother of our Lord and God, and trust in His word even where we have no sight or experience; and notwithstanding such hiddenness from the eyes, believe in the true Light.
+ James Armstrong +
Our beloved brother James Armstrong has passed into the arms of the Savior. James was baptized here at the Vigil of Easter, April 4th, 2015, and was received as a communicant member the following year, also at the Vigil of Easter, March 26th, 2016. He died at the hospital in Terre Haute, Indiana, on February 17th, after suffering a series of strokes. He leaves behind his wife Michelle (nee Thompson) and six children from a prior marriage. Plans for a memorial service in Kewanee are pending.
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
R. I. P.
Lent Midweek Masses
When Pastor is away, Midweek Masses will be canceled, which is unfortunate because it is Lent. Midweek Masses are cancelled for March 11th and 18th. The only Midweek Lenten services to be held will be (following Ash Wednesday) on March 4th, March 25th (the Annunciation), April 1st, and the days of Holy Week.
There are no Lenten suppers scheduled this year.
Statue of St. Paul en Route
At the time of the writing of this newsletter, we were informed that our statue of St. Paul is complete and has been scheduled to be shipped via FedEx the week of February 17th. This makes it possible that the statue will have arrived by Sunday the 23rd, or by Sunday March 1st. Upon its arrival and placement in its new location—the area where the Baptismal font used to stand, to the right of the chancel—we will be having a rite of dedication at the opening of Sunday’s Mass. We will now have symbols for all the twelve Apostles in the great arch, and the statue of St. Paul, for whom this congregation is named. This is the final piece of our renovation project begun in 2016. Thanks be to God!
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443