Justification by Faith
According to Martin Luther and the 16th century reformers with him, the article on which the Christian Church stands or falls is justification by faith. This is also a hallmark of the Reformation. The major article in the Augsburg Confession, which is the chief document in the Lutheran Confessions, is Article IV, On Justification. It reads as follows:
“Our Churches teach that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God through our merit, work, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God out of grace for Christ‘s sake through faith when we believe that Christ has suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness in his sight, as St. Paul says in Romans 3 and 4.”
It should be understood without question that our salvation does not depend upon anything that we do, because it depends upon everything that Christ has done.
To deny that a sinner is justified before God only by faith in Christ is to deny Christ himself, for whoever denies this is saying that justification happens some other way. What other way? By works? By love? By merit? Any of these put forward as that by which we are justified obscures the works and merit of Christ. He who denies justification by faith is saying that Christ did not need to atone for the sin of the world by his sacrificial death.
The Reformation—which is really all about justification—has been observed annually since sometime in the 17th century, and it is right that we do it, because it was a watershed time in the history of Christianity. The Church had veered off course in such a dreadful manner that a reformation was long overdue, and God saw fit to order it so in the early 1500s.
But it isn’t just nostalgia or mere history that we celebrate. It’s the heart of what we believe. It’s the article on which the Church—the Christian Church on Earth--stands or falls: that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God out of grace for Christ‘s sake through faith when we believe that Christ has suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Oktoberfest Total receipts
have not yet been tallied, but we have hearts of thanks to God for another successful festival, and thanks to all who have been working tirelessly to help our congregation, volunteering time, donations, and effort.
Phase Three of our renovation (the Chancel) began when we moved the altar rail below the steps and removed the canopy.
As previously reported, now that Oktoberfest is over, we are looking toward completion of the chancel. Currently we are waiting for our key volunteers, who are farming, to finish their harvesting work, likely by some time in November. Our plaster and paint man, Bob Harrison, is ready. When we begin, we expect to remove of all the chancel furniture and set up scaffolding, while moving our worship to the gym for several weeks, as we did for the work we did on the nave in 2016.
The organ was tuned just before Oktoberfest, but our tuner has indicated that he needs to fix some areas, which will involve his return some time soon.
As previously reported, we are looking to have the chancel walls be the color of the nave ceiling, accented by the tan color of the pillars. A dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit will be painted on the wall above the cross (rather than in the ceiling as now). The ceiling is to be a dark blue hue, intended to bring out the fact that the ceiling itself is an architectural canopy over the altar.
Twelve shields with the symbols of the Apostles are to be placed up in the great arch (above the chancel steps). Sharon Hartz has drawn some sample shields with color considerations, and they have temporarily been taped on the walls of the doorway between the church and the school for viewing.
Of course we need to keep raising money, and figuring out how to do all this as inexpensively as possible. As we have been blessed thus far, we pray that God continues to provide us with our needs.
Otis Anderson John Ricknell, Bill Thompson
11/5 Steve and Berniece Harris
11/10 Gayle and Phil Beauprez
11/13 Shannon Peart
11/19 Steve Kraklow
11/20 Jewneel Walker
11/30 Charlene Sovanski
Mary Hamilton at home; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield; Emilie Ricknell at home; Joyce Long at home; Dick Melchin at Hammond Henry extended care in Geneseo; Bea Harris, often homebound.
For daily prayer in the homes of members, the following helps are offered:
As a minimum, when you rise in the morning and go to bed at night, follow the catechism. That is, repeat the invocation (In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen), say the Apostles’ Creed, and Say the Our Father. If you wish, you may add Luther’s morning or evening prayer.
It’s a good practice to set aside some time to read your Bible every day as well, at least a chapter.
You are encouraged to use your hymnal for a richer daily prayer. The order of matins (morning) or vespers (evening) is easily adoptable for personal use.
The hymnal is also a good resource for a schedule of daily readings. See page 161. These readings correspond with the material in Every Day Will I Bless Thee: Meditations for the Daily Office, my book of meditations for daily use); to purchase a copy, see me. – Pastor
Since August, the editorial staff at Gotttesdienst has been hard at work. This quarterly Journal of the Lutheran Liturgy, currently finishing in its 26th year of publication, is owned by St. Paul’s, and is headquartered right here. The financial part of the enterprise is entirely separate, but your pastor is editor-in-chief, and several members of St. Paul’s volunteer with mailings. The journal is widely known and influential in Missouri Synod circles. Ten pastors make up the editorial team, and four new online bloggers, also pastors, have recently been added. Every time another issue comes out, free copies are available in the narthex.
The editors have recently begun to make some rather massive expansion efforts. For over two decades we made our presence known primarily by means of this print journal, but when the Internet came of age, we began to realize that we would need to keep up or go the way of so many other print periodicals and newspapers. Finally, in August of this year, we had an editorial board meeting at a retreat center in Racine, Wisconsin. We had come together with some definite items in mind. First is our new blogging traffic and format. Earlier this year, thanks to the able help of our new website designer Sarah Ludwig Rausch, we had reformatted the entire website and brought the blog under its umbrella. Now we have begun some serious blogging.
We have taken on four new Gottesbloggers, whose opening posts have been brilliant. The editors of Gottesdienst welcomed these four Gottesbloggers: Rev. John Bussman, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Cullman, Ala.; Rev. Sean Daenzer, Peace Lutheran Church, Barney, ND and Trinity Lutheran Church, Great Bend, ND; Rev. Anthony Dodgers, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Charlotte, IA; and Rev. Stephen Preus, Trinity Lutheran Church, Vinton, IA.
Within the first month of their blogging and ours, our new blog posts have suddenly gone viral in the Lutheran world, with 12,000 readers of whom nearly 9,000 reacted in some way. Since then we have been blogging close to every day, and our posts usually reach over 1000 readers apiece.
Second, we’ve also added a new feature called The Gottesdienst Crowd, a Podcast that comes out every Wednesday for on-demand listening, hosted by Rev. Jason Braaten. He interviews one or two of the rest of us, and sometimes we even have a debate. These too have reached about a thousand listeners apiece.
All of this is free for the readers and listeners, but subscribers have responded with generous donations that have contributed mightily to making this possible.
Check it all out at www.gottesdienst.org.
Altar Guild News
The last Wednesday in October is red, to observe All Saints (which is November 1st). Then it turns to green for the rest of the month except for Thanksgiving, which we observe on Wednesday night, November 21st (color for Thanksgiving is white), and the following Wednesday night, November 28th on which will observe St. Andrew’s Day (color for St. Andrew’s is red). Following St. Andrew’s the color changes to violet for Advent, which begins the first weekend in December.
November meeting is November 6th, at 6 pm.
November 1st, All Saints Day, will be observed on Wednesday, October 31st, at 7 pm.
November’s First Tuesday events will be held on November 6th. Altar Guild at 6 p.m. Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders meet at 7:15.
Copies of Pastor’s new book available (Christmas gift ideas?):
Leave It Alone. You’ll Break It. Liturgical Observations $20.00
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:
Anna Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Katy Rutovicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Jodi Rutowicz [daughter of Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Bud Harfst [Sue Murphy’s brother]
Harold Woods [Sue Murphy’s brother-in-law]
Dick Heiden [Carol Eckardt’s father]
Pastor Kenneth Wegener
Elizabeth Godke, Sharon Field’s mother
Brandt and Oneda Hendrickson [Ricknells’ relatives]
Teresa Robertson [Carol Eckardt’s niece]
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, who had a heart transplant.
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 Sri Lanka, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kenya, Sudan, Nigeria, China, Vietnam, North Korea, and elsewhere
Persecution details on the back page
Council Meeting Date
The Council meeting is set for Wednesday, November 21st, at 5:30.
As usual, our Thanksgiving Mass will be held on Wednesday evening prior, which this year is November 21nd, at 7:00. All members are encouraged to come.
St. Andrew’s Day
November 28th we will be observing St. Andrew’s Day (Wednesday evening at 7 pm.), though St. Andrew’s Day itself is on November 30th.
The choir has begun rehearsing again: Wednesdays after mass, about 8 p.m. All singers come!
Persecution Details From prayer list above SRI LANKA: Violence Against Christians
Source(s): Morning Star News, Release International
Date: 25 October 2018
The church in Sri Lanka has been facing increasing violence and discrimination in the past year. Contributing to the problem has been a recent rise in Hindu extremism taking root alongside the long-time Buddhist aggression.
IRAN: Rapid Growth Despite Intense Persecution
Source(s): VOMC Date: 25 October 2018
Iranian Christians are witnessing one of the fastest growing underground church movements in the world. Yet, along with this exponential growth are the fires of intense persecution. Any form of evangelism committed by Christians is considered illegal and, therefore, can even lead to the death penalty. Faith in Christ results in serious consequences and converts from Islam face arbitrary arrest and detention. In addition, they are often forced to divulge information on other Christians.
KENYA: Two Teachers Killed in Bombing
Source(s): VOMC Date: 18 October 2018
Two Christian teachers in Kenya were killed when al Shabaab militants threw an explosive device at the house in which they were living. The two victims were staying in a home specifically for non-local teachers of the Arabia Boys Secondary School located in Mandera County near the border with Somalia.
VIETNAM: Church Faces Shutdown Order
Source(s): VOMC Date: 18 October 2018
As believers met for worship on the morning of October 7th in Cuor Dang Commune, Daklak Province, local authorities entered the home where they were meeting, demanding that they stop all religious activities. Those present refused to leave, saying that any action would have to wait until after they were finished. Because the home was crowded, the officials were forced to wait outside.
NIGERIA: Aid Worker Killed; Leah "Slave for Life"
Source(s): VOMC Date: 18 October 2018
"Islamic State West Africa Province" (ISWAP), the Boko Haram faction currently holding 15-year-old Leah Sharibu, has released a statement claiming to have executed a second Red Cross aid worker during the past month. In the statement, the group claimed that Hauwa Leman, along with Saifura Ahmed (who was killed in September), were apostates because they joined the Red Cross.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443