Last Month's Newsletter

  Last Month's Newsletter  
FEBRUARY 2024
 

The Season of Lent
 
Dear members of St. John’s and Our Savior,
 
Lent comes fairly early this year, with Ash Wednesday falling already on St. Valentine’s Day. Our parishes have called a new pastor and are now patiently waiting for the Lord’s will to be done. Even if he accepts our call, it’s not likely that he will arrive before Easter. If he does not accept, the wait will be longer. Meanwhile, we are soon to enter the Lenten season, in preparation for the Resurrection of our Lord. It might be helpful to review what Lent is, what are its emphases and disciplines, and how we might use it to prepare ourselves.
 
The word “Lent” comes from the Old English word lengten, meaning “spring” (the season when the days lengthen.)
 
History. Very early on, Christians began to prepare for Easter with a 2-day, then a 7-day fast. By the 4th century the fast of Lent had become 40 days long, because our Lord fasted 40 days in the wilderness. (From Ash Wednesday until Easter is actually 46 days, but the 6 Sundays, “little Easters,” are oases in the wilderness of penitence and are not counted as part of this season. They are Sundays “in,” not “of” Lent.)
 
Purpose. In the early church, when new converts were streaming in, Lent was chiefly a time of instruction and preparation for those who were to be baptized on Easter Eve. This preparation included fasting. Later, when the Roman world had been christianized, the 40 days of Lent turned into a time of fasting and repentance for the whole church.
 
Themes of Lent. Catechesis (instruction). This was the original purpose of Lent. It is still a good time to review the main teachings of our faith in the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments. The cross. The entire season of Lent is spent in meditation on Christ’s cross and what he did for us. Repentance. In the cross’s shadow, we remember that repentance is an ongoing part of the Christian life. We all need to repent of our sin and trust anew in Him who died to free us from sin. Prayer. A fruit of repentance is the deepening of our prayer life, both as the church and as individuals. Fasting. Although this is rather a lost discipline, it too is a fruit of repentance and is commanded by our Lord. (See the Ash Wednesday Gospel, Matt 6:1–6.) Lent is a good time to rediscover this discipline. It can be practiced in various ways. Almsgiving. Giving to the poor is another fruit of the repentant life, which flows out of hating our selfishness and receiving the Lord’s free forgiveness, then giving as He has given to us.
 
Colors. The main color for the season of Lent is purple, the color of royalty and of repentance. In some churches black is used on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Scarlet, the color of blood, may be used during Holy Week. White, the liturgical festival color, is used on Maundy Thursday.
 
Special Days of Lent. Ash Wednesday. Originally this was a day to restore those under church discipline. Ashes were sprinkled on their heads as a sign of repentance. Later this custom was adopted by all the faithful as a reminder of their mortality and a sign of repentance. Palm Sunday-Sunday of the Passion. The ancient custom of using Palms represents hope, life, and victory, anticipating Jesus’ kingly triumph over death. Then joy gives way to the sober reading of Jesus’ Passion from the Gospels. Maundy Thursday. The word “maundy” is related to our word “command” and refers to Christ’s new commandment to love one another (John 13:34). Its themes are the institution of the Lord’s Supper and the celebration of the love among Christians. Good Friday. This marks the dreadful climax of Jesus’ sufferings. The theme is not only sorrow over our sin and over a crucified Christ. It includes joy over His triumph on the cross and anticipation of His resurrection. Easter Vigil. In the early church, the night of Holy Saturday was the time when the catechumens were baptized. A vigil was also held by the faithful, who awaited the dawn of resurrection morn. Our current hymnal provides for a service of Easter Vigil, which we shall be observing at Our Savior.
 
Liturgical Lenten customs. During Lent as during Advent, the Gloria in Excelsis (“Glory to God in the Highest”) and “This Is the Feast” are omitted. Because Lent is a more solemn season than Advent, the word “Alleluia” (meaning “praise the Lord!”) is neither spoken nor sung. The readings and hymns will reflect the themes of the Lenten season.
 
May Lent be more to us than just a “dunno why; this is how we do it.” May God use this season to lead us to deep repentance and firm trust in our crucified Savior. As much as your schedule allows, I encourage you to participate in the services and disciplines of Lent. Easter joy will be all the more sweet.
 
Pastor Ludwig
 

Our Savior 
February Birthdays
   
                                  
  1  David Hales              21  Troy Tschappat
  3  Jackson Dahme        22  Caleb Siebert
  3  Brian Dockter           22  Michelle Wendt
10  Addison Person        23  Marianne Klipfel
13  Leroy Neuhardt        23  Jasper Nehlich
14  Anna Hofer               24  Brenden Salfrank
19  Evelyn Grieben        27  Steve Grieben

Anniversary
14  Larry & Sandra Grieben
 
Meetings in February
Board of Elders – Thur Feb 8th at 5:15 pm
Church Council – Thur Feb 8th at 6:30 pm
Nursery Circle – Sun Feb 11th after the service
Board of Education – Sun Feb 18th after the service
 
 
Elders for February – Douglas Klipfel & Don Hoops
 
Acolyte Schedule –
Feb. 4 – Teigan McKown & Caleb Siebert
Feb. 11 – Tucker Brick & Tristan Tschappat
Feb. 18 – Rhylan Tschappat & Dalton Lee
Feb. 25 – Ally Johnson & Cassie McKown
 
Annual Reports – A reminder to the chair persons of all boards and circles: please turn in your group’s annual report for 2022 to the office or email it to oursaviorlutheran@nvc.net as soon as possible. Thank you!
 
Greeters Needed! Help welcome people to church at the entrance of the sanctuary for about 10 minutes before Sunday services. The Board of Public Relations has a sign-up sheet in the narthex.
 
The Senior Potluck will be Tuesday, February 13th at noon.  Join us for good food and fellowship!

Midweek Lenten Services for both congregations will be combined at Our Savior beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 14th, at 6:30 pm, preceded by a potluck meal beginning at 5:30 pm. There will be Communion on Ash Wednesday. Catechism class will continue to meet at 5:00 pm, and will have time for supper between class and the service.
Theme for this year’s Lenten midweek services: “Lord, Who Has Believed Our Report?” The Gospel according to Isaiah
More than 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah foresaw His passion, resurrection, and exaltation with astounding clarity. This year, on the five Wednesdays between Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, our meditations will be based on Isaiah 52:13–53:12, where the prophet describes the suffering of our Lord, its purpose, and its outcome.

Saturday Bible Study – February 10th  9:00-11:00 am at Our Savior – The Role of Tradition in the Church – We often hear the phrase Sola Scriptura, “Scripture alone.” What does this actually mean? If it is Scripture alone, is there any place for traditions that aren’t commanded in the Bible? If it is Scripture alone, why do we observe such things as the church year and the liturgy and have candles and vestments and other traditional things in the church? What functions do they serve? Is there a limit? The basis for this study will be the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, Article XV, and a few other places in the Book of Concord.

Super Bowl Subs – The youth group will be making Super Bowl subs again this year as a fundraiser. They will be 6-inch meat and cheese subs, with veggies on the side, for free-will donation. If you would like one (or more!) please sign up in the fellowship hall by Wednesday, February 7th, and the subs can be picked up after the service on Sunday, February 11th.  If you have any questions, call Eric Johnson at 605-216-6701. 

Game Night – The PR board would like to host a game night on Friday, February 23rd beginning at 6:30.  The board will provide beverages including punch, hot cocoa, and tea.  Anyone who comes is welcome to bring a snack to share.  If you have a favorite game, please bring that along as well to share with our church family in fellowship. 
 
Bowling Party – The Board of Education will host a bowling party on Sunday, March 3rd at 2:30 pm at the Village Bowl. Shoe fees and lane rental fees will be covered by the Board.  No snacks will be provided by the Board.  If kids want snacks, they are asked to bring money to purchase these.

Bible Bowl – The youth 6th grade and up have begun studying for Bible Bowl after Sunday services, until about 1:30. If you’d like to provide them with a lunch, there is a sign-up sheet on the kitchen window counter.  Bible Bowl will be at Faith Lutheran Church in Pierre on Saturday, March 23rd.  Topics will be Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Psalm 118, and the Apostles’ Creed. All questions come from the ESV translation (specifically the Faith Alive Student Bible, copyright 2011 from CPH).

In-House Congregational Bible Bowl – We plan to have an “In-House” Bible Bowl again this year. Gather a team of 3 or 4 individuals and sign-up with a "team name". Even if you can't get a team together, plan to come and enjoy the fellowship on Sunday, March 17th at Our Savior after the service. If you have any questions about Bible Bowl, contact Eric Johnson at 605-216-6701.

Coffee & Confessions – Everyone is welcome on Tuesday mornings at Our Savior at 6:30 am. We are reading the Lutheran Confessions from the Book of Concord.

Staff Devotions – Anyone is welcome to join us for a devotion on Wednesdays at 9:00 am in Pastor’s study.

Vespers – A short service of Vespers is offered on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm at Our Savior.

Wednesday Bible Study – We are studying 1st Corinthians on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm at Our Savior. All are welcome!

Check Out Our Library and See What’s New!
If you haven’t browsed through the church library lately, you should do so!  There are many of Concordia Publishing House’s latest titles about a variety of topics.  There is a clipboard on the bookshelf where you can sign out a book, and return it when you are done.  Make use of this wonderful resource that is free for you!

Prayers – Please keep Pastor Andreasen and his family in your prayers, as he begins his new role as a missionary. They will be leaving for Romania around June.
Please also pray for Rev. Daniel Suelzle (pronounced selz-lee) and his family as he contemplates our call. He is currently the campus minister at Wittenberg Chapel at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

St. John’s Columbia
February Birthdays

               2  Doris Dennert
               4  Ray Larson
             12  Lloyd Dennert
             17  Heidi Bandt
             19  Tyler Kampa
             22  Connie Rose
             26  Isabelle Podoll
             27  Briggs Eichler
 
Usher List
          Feb. 4       Dean & Lorie Ringgenberg
         Feb. 11     Lyle & Cathi Podoll
         Feb. 18     Logan Ringgenberg & John Bisbee
         Feb. 25     Brent & Barb Miller
         Mar. 3      Josh Larson & Anna Bisbee
         Mar. 10    Roger & Sharon Zastrow
         Mar. 17    Tony & Amanda Bisbee
         Mar. 24    Mic & Jen Daggett 
         Mar. 31    Ray & Cyndy Larson
 

Click on the "Calendar" tab on the website to see the February Calendar.