Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What's the Deal on Imposition of Ashes?

The following is an excerpt from a set of Frequently Asked Questions published by the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

What is the significance of Ash Wednesday and ashes on the forehead?
Q: Would you please explain the significance of Ash Wednesday. I've seen some people in the past with black ash crosses on their foreheads.
A: Lutheran Worship: History and Practice, a commentary on Lutheran Worship, one of our Synod's hymnals, says this about ashes on Ash Wednesday: "Other customs may be used, particularly the imposition of ashes on those who wish it. This ancient act is a gesture of repentance and a powerful reminder about the meaning of the day. Ashes can symbolize dust-to-dustness and remind worshipers of the need for cleansing, scrubbing and purifying. If they are applied during an act of kneeling, the very posture of defeat and submission expresses humility before God."
The use of ashes on Ash Wednesday is a more recent custom among most LCMS congregations, although some have done it for decades. The ashes are usually derived from the burned palms from the previous Palm Sunday. Experience will show, however, that in obtaining ashes this way, it doesn't take many ashes to "ash" a whole congregation. Like sin, they are very dirty and go a long way. One palm leaf will produce enough ashes for several years.
Usually the pastor takes the ashes on the end of his thumb and makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each worshiper, saying these words: "Remember: you are dust, and to dust you shall return." This follows most effectively prior (or as part of) the Service Corporate Confession and Absolution on pp. 290-291 of Lutheran Service Book.
For more information, read the Frequently Asked Question about Lent (see page 10).
Usage: We urge you to contact an LCMS pastor in your area for more in-depth discussion.
Published by: LCMS Church Information Center
©The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
888-843-5267 • infocenter@lcms.org • www.lcms.org/faqs

Sunday, February 12, 2017

46.5% Off Arch Books to Engage Young Children in Lent and Easter

The Arch® Book series tells popular Bible stories through fun-to-read rhymes and bright illustrations, published by Concordia Publishing House. This well-loved series captures the attention of children, telling scripturally sound stories that are enjoyable and easy to remember.
In time for the coming season of Lent and Easter, Concordia Publishing House is offering a sale on a nice collection of six favorite Arch Books. Share the stories of Easter with the Best-Loved Easter Stories Arch Book, a 50th anniversary edition that includes six complete Arch Book favorites:
  • Jesus Enters Jerusalem
    This book retells the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem on what has become Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-38, and John 12:12-19).
  • The Week That Led to Easter
    This book retells the events of Palm Sunday through Easter day (Matthew 21:1—28:10; Mark 11:1—16-8; Luke 19:29—24:12; John 12:12—20:10).
  •  Good Friday
    This book tells the events of Holy Week until Jesus' body was placed in the tomb (Matthew 21:1—27:61, Mark 11:1—15:47, Luke 19:28—23:56, and John 12:12—19:42).
  •  Barabbas Goes Free
    This book retells the story of Barabbas, his life and his release by Pilate during Jesus' trial (Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, and John 18:20).
  •  The Resurrection
    A favorite for more than four decades, Arch Books captivate children with colorful pictures and creative poems. Each book presents a complete Bible story in a fun-to-read way children ages 5-9 will understand and remember.
  •  My Happy Easter
    This book retells the story of Jesus' burial through the encounter with Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Jesus after his resurrection (Matthew 27:57—28:10).
Let’s take a look at the savings. The regular price for one Arch Book is $2.49. For the impact these books have, that is a good price. If we were to buy one set of these six books individually at regular prices, that would be $14.94. The regular price for this six book collection, however, is $9.99. And, right now, this collection is on sale for $7.99. That is 46.5% off the individual book pricing! Even compared to the usual quantity discount pricing offered by CPH, that is a better deal for quantities in scale for small to medium congregations to give the collection to all their children.
One last thing. While I am not big on knickknack stuff, what CPH is offering with this on orders of $79 or more is actually something spiritually useful, Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer Canvas Print. Check the Free Gift Offer link for information about the item and how to claim it.