St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm, Kewanee, Illinois 61443
Volume 35 October 2023 No. 10
The Great King Josiah
From Gottesblog, September 15, 2023
I continue to find extraordinary things to ponder when I read the Bible. Just the other day I reread the account of the good king Josiah and his sweeping reforms (2 Kings 21 – 23). What a spectacular reformation that was! No doubt because his reign began when he was only eight years old, it was begun at an age of the innocence of his childhood, that is, of unfamiliarity with the wickedness of his father Amon. Amon’s wickedness, by contrast, was a continuation of the wickedness of his father Manasseh, whose reputation in Holy Writ is that in his abominations he has done “wickedly above all that the Amorites did, with were before him,” and that he “made Judah also to sin with his idols,” Including the shedding of innocent blood, most especially the blood of his own children in sacrifice to his idols. Like father, like son: Amon was just as bad. But not Josiah; he was profoundly different. He had not been with his father long enough to learn from him the perverse ways of wickedness. Here we note in passing the profound responsibility fathers have in setting an example for their children.
Josiah was determined to do what was right. In his eighteenth year he began to enact some transformational changes. Whether that was when he was 18 years old or when he was king for 18 years is unclear; since his reign in total was 31 years, I’m guessing these reforms began earlier rather than later. His biblical legacy is that there was no king before or after him that turned to the Lord like he did, with all his heart, soul, and might (2 Kings 23:25).
So he ordered the high priest and company to begin needed repairs and cleansing of the temple, and these repairs were to be thorough. And it happened that in the process of cleaning things out, Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the law in the house of the Lord, and brought it to the king. And Josiah was overwhelmed at this discovery and rent his clothes, and became convinced that the wickedness of the people the wrath of God had been kindled against them, “because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book” (2 Kings 22:13). And he sent the high priest to inquire about this among the people, who did so, until he found Huldah the prophetess who came with the Lord’s reply. Perhaps an indication of how badly the people had turned is in this rare instance a prophetess, a female, being used to give the Lord’s reply. And the reply from the Lord was one of mercy toward Josiah “because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD . . . and hast rent thy clothes” (2 Kings 22:19).
And so it was that Josiah in this humility ordered the utter destruction of all idolatrous altars, and high places, and groves, and the killing of the priests of Baal. He even exhumed the bodies of idolatrous priests and burned them to ashes (We note in passing how burial is clearly respect for the dead and cremation is not!). And then followed a great Passover, that was greater than any Passover prior in all the history of Israel (2 Kings 23:22).
All these great reforms happened due to the humble, honest, faithful determination of one young King Josiah, a great example for faith to follow. And in this too, he took no credit for any of it, but instead owned the wickedness reputation he had inherited by rending his clothes.
And why not be humble? For even our Lord Jesus followed this pattern of humility, for He was after all the Son of Josiah, and in a more profound way owned the wicked reputation of all mankind that He inherited, and also more profoundly than in the case of Josiah had His garments torn from Him, and was crucified.
We may also compare the fact that Josiah’s faithfulness was recognizable early in his life, as was Jesus’ faithfulness: recall how the doctors of the law were so impressed with him in the temple at age twelve. And as Josiah barely knew his father, Jesus who is greater, knew no earthly father at all, being virgin-born. And as faith in Israel was rare in Josiah’s day, so also in Jesus’ day: He once declared that He had not seen faith like that of the centurion in all Israel (Matthew 8:10). And as the writer declares that Josiah’s heart was toward the Lord, so Jesus, who is greater, hears a declaration from heaven that God is well pleased with Him.
And He also, in a greater way than Josiah, had a great Passover, namely the greatest of all, by the institution of the Blessed Sacrament.
And in a greater way than the people benefitted from Josiah’s great reforms, the Church of all history benefits eternally from the great deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead.
So in many ways Josiah, whose reign was late in the history of the kings of Israel, was a final and clear harbinger of the coming of the King of kings and His eternal kingdom. For a greater than Josiah is here.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Our Ushers:Jim Hornback, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells
10/4 Linda and Larry Rowe
10/1 Sue Murphy
10/2 Diana Shreck
10/24 Eric Meaker
10/28 Carmen Sovanski
10/29 Svetlana Meaker
10/30 Sharon Hartz
Altar Guild Notes
Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield; Jewneel Walker at Kewanee Care, Pathina Lagerhausen (new Kewanee resident) at Royal Oaks in Kewanee, Jim Watson, occasionally, at home.
Elders and Vespers
Elders meet on Tuesday, October 11th (moved to the second Tuesday this month, following Vespers at 6:45 pm.
The monthly meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 18th at 5:30 pm.
Most of those at worship won’t even notice, but we have made a slight alteration in the lectionary beginning this year. (The Lectionary is the appointed readings for the year). We will no longer be observing the ‘Michaelmas skip’ which, beginning on September 29th (Michaelmas) skips a number of Sundays depending on how long the Trinity season is in any given year. The reason for this was published in the Christmas 2022 issue of Gottesdienst: The article explaining it follows here:
A Change in the Calendar
Burnell F Eckardt
Since the year 2008, Gottesdienst has been providing annually a sanctoral calendar for Sundays throughout the year for our readers. Every Christmas issue since then, a calendar has been made available for the following year. As those who have used the calendar are aware, we have observed what’s called the “Michaelmas skip” when coming to the Sundays after Michaelmas, September 29th. But recently new evidence has come to light that has led to a change for 2023. Exhaustive research has been done by Fr. Stefan Gramenz and Fr. Evan Scamman, representatives from the Lutheran Missal editorial board, leading toward the production of a new Lutheran Missal, and the results of this research were presented at the St. Michael Conference at Zion in Detroit this year. We learned from them that there was a much greater consensus among dioceses of Western Christendom than previously thought regarding the lectionary for the church year. These men, with whom I spoke the next day, also indicated to me that they found no authority for the Michaelmas skip anywhere among the historic sources, a consensus of which instead simply count the Sundays after Trinity in order until the last, when finally a skip to Trinity 27 is made. In addition, the editors of Gottesdienst share a desire that it’s helpful to move toward uniformity in such matters, and inasmuch as a great number of our churches have never included the skip, we thought it would be prudent for us at this time to discontinue it as well. The calendar provided in this issue does not make the Michaelmas skip, though readers who wish to continue using it will find an asterisk where it would take place; of course they will need to find their own information for some of the Sundays. In addition, we are recommending that the Festival of the Reformation be observed on its day, October 31st, though the option of observing it on the last Sunday of October, an American custom, is also indicated with an asterisk.
[note: at St. Paul’s we will continue to follow the option of observing Reformation Day on the last Sunday of October]
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:
Sharon Hartz, Bea Harris, Don and Sue Murphy, John Sovanski, Sandra VerPlaetse, John Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Jewneel Walker, Emmy Wear, Jim Watson, Bill Thompson and Father Eckardt
and beyond our parish:
Jude Clapper, Anna, Katie, and Jodi Rutowicz, Julie Ross, Elizabeth Godke, Oneida Hendrickson, Janice Hart, Tim Newman, Theresa Moore, Kathy Boeger, Allison Leezer, Shannon Watson, Karen Parker, Richard Heiden, Jeanna Moore, Deloris Bitting, Jane Mueller, Denise VerPlaetse [Sandra’s daughter-in-law], David Ricknell, Sarah Massey [Larry Campbell’s daughter], Becca Adler, Glenda Miller, Wayne Becker, Sue Berg [wife of Pastor Peter Berg], Pastor Justin Kane
in the military:
John Eckardt, Richard Heiden, Eli Wetzel, Traven Wetzel, Eric Verplaetse, Jake Mahaffey, James and Ann Lee Armstrong, Marcus Prentice
any unborn children in danger of abortion
Debra Reeves’s children Rae Beth and Drew Wayne, flood victims in Libya, those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Pakistan, Libya, China, North Korea, and elsewhere.
Pastor Eckardt’s Health - update
I’ve been dealing with a pinched sciatic nerve for the past several weeks. I also have spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that leads to this kind of thing.
Not too long ago I was under the impression that this was all a rapid increase in Parkinson’s, but that turned out, thankfully, not to be the case. What I must deal with instead is this sciatica, caused by an extruded disk, which is essentially a slipped disc that can’t go back where it should be. Often this sort of thing requires surgery.
But in the middle of September I met with a surgeon who advised me that the kind of surgery that would correct this impingement is a great risk for Parkinson’s patients. He spoke to me about two patients he had, who were in the early stage of Parkinson’s (as I am) but who came out of the surgery suddenly finding themselves in a greatly advanced condition. It has become clear to me that this is not a risk I am prepared to take, and the surgeon himself advised against the surgery.
Instead, I have been directed to a pain specialist who is prepared to give me a cortisone injection to help with the symptoms of the impingement. It is possible that over time the disk extrusion I have will be absorbed into my body as I heal. There is also the further hope that by taking care not to lift heavy things and get some core strengthening exercises I’ll be in much better condition.
If that happens, it will be a very good thing indeed that I didn’t have the surgery! Won’t have needed it, perhaps!
In the meantime, as I await the injection (scheduled for the first week in October), I have already noticed some great improvements in my mobility. I am very thankful for that, and also convinced that your prayers played a big role in it.
Thank you all for your prayers and concern. God is good!
A Women’s Lunch Group Is in the Works
Carol Eckardt would like to see if something regular can be arranged, whether monthly or bimonthly, at a time and place most convenient for everyone. The tentative place for the first gathering is Co Co’s in Kewanee, at 12 noon on Wednesday, October 4th. To discuss further or share ideas, talk to Carol or call her at 309-852-2460.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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