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Newsletter of Augustana Lutheran Church of Andover

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“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.” –Psalm 118:17
 

 
This verse has been on my mind. This was considered Martin Luther’s motto from his favorite Psalm. I actually preached on Psalm 118 for the Friday Lenten Series being put on by the Orion Area Churches this year.*

We are in the season of Lent now. Every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday we will get in the zone of focusing on our own faithfulness. We are called during Lent to really center ourselves on God and to try to live extra devoted lives. In the midst of all this focus it is also important to remember what we will be worshiping on the last Sunday, March 28. We will gather in the sanctuary and at our homes to witness Palm/Passion Sunday. Palm Sunday begins with such a wonderful positive story of people welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem. The service then ends with the story of the death Jesus suffered once he got there. “Hosanna in the Highest!” from the crowd quickly changes to “Crucify Him!”

Jesus died on the cross for our sake, but we will also hear the good news on Easter Sunday of what happened three days later. In that resurrection is the promise that we will not die as the world does. Instead, thanks to the resurrection of Jesus Christ we can know that we will live eternally with God. Armed with this realization that we shall live eternally with God we are called to live in the here and now for God’s sake. We are called to share to others the love of God that seeks to help and the truth of the good news that Jesus died and rose for the sake of the world.

All of these words are nothing new, but Psalm 118:17 has been on my mind because it says it simply and straightforward. As you look out into this world and try to figure out what it means to be a Christian. I hope you can also find comfort, wisdom, and peace in these words: I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.

*You can find all the Friday Lenten service by the OAC on their website: www.orionareachurches.org
Liturgical Nerd Notes
Why 40 days in Lent?
 
 
There are many seasons of the church year. Lent is the season that follows the ‘Time after Epiphany’ and precedes ‘Easter’. Lent is commonly considered a 40 day season. It is the same length every year, but when it begins is always based off when Easter will be that year. (I wrote on how to calculate when Easter will be on a 2020 Spire.) So why the 40 days?

It is a simple answer. We heard on our first Sunday in Lent that upon receiving the Holy Spirit Jesus is driven out into the wilderness. Other gospel accounts of this moment concur that Jesus wandered in the wilderness for 40 days while fasting and being tempted by Satan. Lent is 40 days because that’s how long Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. It is also why there is a common practice of adding a spiritual practice or fasting from something during Lent. This is done not only to focus more on God, but also to emulate Jesus’ own 40 day journey.

Another interesting fact: Lent extends from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter. If you check your calendars that is actually 46 days. The 6 Sundays are omitted from this 40 day journey. You will notice that the Sundays during Lent are labeled as ‘in Lent’ rather than ‘of Lent’. This is why it is common practice for some people to break their fast on Sundays and resume it again the next day.
March 21, 2021
Congregation Meeting Concerning the Church Parsonage

Following worship on Sunday, March 21, Augustana Lutheran Church will be having a congregational meeting concerning what to do with the church parsonage. This meeting will be a chance for anyone to ask questions and lift up concerns. Before the service we hope to hand out a fact sheet to help answer the big questions we think people will have.
Please note: It is the suggestion of the Church Council to sell the church parsonage and big lot altogether in one package. While this is the suggestion, an official decision will be done by a congregational vote at this meeting.
Easter Collection for Orion Food Pantry

The Orion Food Pantry is collecting monetary donations to provide Easter meals for families in our area. Similar to Thanksgiving and Christmas, the food pantry is asking for money donations instead of food donations. We will have a box out in the Narthex for anyone that would like to give extra offering this month for the cause. If you are using a check please make it payable to ‘Augustana Lutheran Church’ and put ‘food pantry’ in the memo line. We hope to write one check on behalf of the whole church for this opportunity.
EMAIL/TEXT PRAYER CHAIN & CHURCH ALERTS
 
We have updated our technology to make our prayer chain and church alerts as quick as possible. If you would like to be on the prayer chain please e-mail: 
pastor@andoverlutheran.org
or call the church (309-521-8127) to give a cell phone number or email address that you would like added to the prayer chain and/or church alerts. When you are added you will be asked to register to be on the chain.

Easter Lilies
 
For this year we are planning to order Easter lilies in honor of loved ones as we have done in years past. The April Spire will be mailed out early with an order form to get Easter Lilies ordered and in the sanctuary for Easter Sunday, April 4th.

March Birthdays
02      Morgan Engnell Watson
04      Betty Josephson
11      Thomas Newman
12      Dennis Larson
14      Jennifer Hutchison, Zach                    Zurcher, Katie Angelos
17      Madison Farr-Schroder
19      Donald Norberg
24      Joey Foley
26      Mindy Poppy
27      Chuck Bizarri
28      Conner Riddell
29      Christopher Gray
30      Jacob Dobbels
 
Coming this April: Free Meal in the Park
The outreach committee will be leading a free meal for the Village of Andover and surrounding areas. More details concerning date and menu will be in next month’s Spire. This meal is meant to serve anyone who comes with a hot meal to bring home and enjoy.
Readers for March:
March 7: Jeanine Lees
March 14: Rocky Atwell
March 21: Kathy Atwell
March 28: Passion Story – Pastor Reed needs 6 volunteers to help read the Passion story out loud for Palm/Passion Sunday

March 2021
Sally Rehn
Kathy Atwell

Midweek Lenten Series: Prayers in the Bible
 
For the sake of continuity and safety, the Wednesday Lenten services for this year will be online. Pastor Reed will begin each video with a short presentation followed by a recording of a brief discussion with members from church about the topic. All people who watch the videos are invited to continue the discussion with friends, family, and/or the comments section of the Lenten video on our Facebook group. The videos will be posted on our church website, Facebook group, and YouTube every Wednesday.
 
Themes:
Week 1 (Feb 24): Moses Prays for Help (Exodus 4:10-16)
Week 2 (March 3): Hannah Prays for a Son (1 Samuel 1)
Week 3 (March 10): Hezekiah Prays for Deliverance (2 Kings 19)
Week 4 (March 17): Anna, the Faithful Prayer (Luke 2)
Week 5 (March 24): Jesus Prays for His Disciples (John 17)
Easter Sunday Worship Schedule

Easter Sunday is a special celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection. This is the Sunday where we have our largest attendance. With our current 50 person limit on attendance due to COVID the Worship Committee is working on a plan so that all who wish to attend in person have the chance to. 
A message from the Stewardship Committee from Martin Luther’s Large Catechism

“What does “to have a god” mean, or what is God?”

Answer: A “god” is the term for that to which we are to look for all good and in which we are to find refuge in all need. Therefore, to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one with your whole heart. As I have often said, it is the trust and faith of the heart alone that make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true one. Conversely, where your trust is false and wrong, there you do not have the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God. Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God.Martin Luther

 
 
 






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Augustana Lutheran Church · PO Box 157 · 628 6th Street · Andover, IL 61233 · USA

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