May 2016


The Holy Spirit & Pleasing God

Jesus tells us to believe in God and in himself (John 14:1), and that the Holy Spirit will help us do both (Hebrews 9:14; Luke 11:13). On the Feast of Pentecost this year – May 15 – we will celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit to make us new and turn us into believers. Martin Luther preached on this very theme in 1544, two years before he died:


The Spirit came, poured Himself upon their hearts [in Acts 2], and made them different people who loved God and gladly did what He wanted. This is nothing else than the Holy Spirit Himself, or at least the work that He does in our hearts. He writes nothing but fiery flames into a heart and makes it alive, so that it breaks out with fiery tongues and busy hands and becomes a new man who feels that he has a completely different understanding, spirit, and mind than before. Everything – understanding, light, courage, and heart – is now alive and burns with desire for everything that pleases God. That is the true distinction between the written and the spiritual law of God, from which we see what the work of the Holy Spirit is (Luther’s Works 77:326–27).


     May the flames of the Holy Spirit enliven us anew that we might serve the Lord with all of our heart, mind and soul (Matthew 22:37).


Pastor Marshall



President’s Report… by Earl Nelson


It has been an interesting and satisfying First Quarter this year.  This Sunday while we were singing the Offertory, I was thinking with gratitude of the Quarterly Pledge Report.  Of the 43 members who pledged, 38 either met or exceeded their pledges.  We often lose financial ground during the first two months of the year, but this year we have gained ground.  To the delight of the Church Council, we have made up some of the ground we lost last year in our monthly transfers to savings accounts for such things as Major Maintenance.  A council member who has been observing this much longer than I have said that this is an exceptionally positive report, particularly for the first quarter.  Allow me to quote the text of the first two sentences of the Offertory:

Let the vineyards be fruitful, Lord, and fill to the brim our cup of blessing. Gather a harvest from the seeds that were sown,
that we may be fed with the bread of life.


    Compared to last year at this time, we are indeed gathering a harvest.  Last year at this time, Council was beginning to exhort those who are able to give at a higher level, and many did raise their giving and are now sustaining it.  I was particularly mindful of this and thankful for it as I celebrated the Eucharist in our beautiful church last Sunday.  I thank the Congregation on behalf of the Council.  May we all be properly thankful to God for His many blessings to us in this church. 

     This First Quarter report probably represents a change that has occurred in the pattern of our giving.  Though there are fewer of us than in the past, we are giving both more and more regularly as a Congregation.  If this continues, Council may actually have an easier time than in the past coordinating monthly expenses which are not variable (such as payroll and utilities) with monthly giving that has usually varied considerably in the past.

     Council decided to replace the refrigerator in the Fellowship Hall kitchen this month.  It was raining inside the old one!  Rather than throw good money after bad, we decided on a new one from a local restaurant supply house.  It comes with a warranty and should be easier to maintain and repair through the supplier.

    There is also much stirring in the Library.  We have a rather extraordinary collection of books for a church, and more have been coming in over the last few years, but the software and computer needed to be upgraded.  Uncatalogued books were piling up.  We are finally getting the needed software and hardware upgrades – thanks to Dale Korsmo for helping with this.  Fortunately we can use the old data in the software upgrade.  We expect to form a Library Committee composed of volunteers from the Congregation and a representative from Council.  Please speak up to anyone on the Council if you are interested in participating.  


Stewardship 2016


                                                  Month (March)           Year to date (Jan-March)

Budget                            $22,627                          $61,601

Received                         $20,304                          $68,003









Listen to the Word




Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will.            Romans 12:1-2 NIV




The Word of God instructs us on how we are to give. We receive His gift of grace and forgiveness of our sins. We receive spiritual gifts according to the grace given us. It is up to us to use our God-given gifts to meet the needs of others according to our ability. When considering how we will share our gifts in service to our church, we consider gifts of teaching, sharing our faith with others, encouraging one another, and serving in leadership. We are to serve humbly, generously, and cheerfully (Rom. 12:3-8). We should be both willing and generous in our giving and should be willing to give more than a tithe of ten percent giving if we can. Because we are under grace, our giving is to be done as we discern in our hearts both willingly and generously as cheerful givers, not reluctantly or grudgingly out of obligation, duty, or requirement. (2 Cor. 9:5-14).

     As we celebrate these weeks of Easter, let us continue to support our church through financial giving in thanksgiving for the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us, when we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8). Let us be ever aware of the needs of one another within our church and the greater community, and share our gifts accordingly to bless others.

                                                                                                Janine Douglass, Church Council


May Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, May 24th

The book for May is Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life (2014), by the best-selling author, Eric Metaxas. This book is a defense of Biblical miracles against their naysayers. He defines miracles as a “transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition” of God (p. 12). He modifies this definition in two ways. First he says that even though laws of nature might be violated at the beginning of a miracle, once it begins it then abide by the laws of nature (pp. 27–28, 74, 76, 79). The other modification is that the purpose of a miracle is to disclose the goodness of God (which is what distinguishes true miracles from mere coincidences) (pp. 15, 17, 21, 262).

     A copy of this important book on miracles is in the library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss how and why God performs miracles among us.



Pope Francis on Self-Love


     “101. We have repeatedly said that to love another we must first love ourselves. Paul’s hymn to love, however, states that love “does not seek its own interest,” nor “seek what is its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). This same idea is expressed in another text: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). The Bible makes it clear that generously serving others is far more noble than loving ourselves. Loving ourselves is only important as a psychological prerequisite for being able to love others: “If a man is mean to himself, to whom will he be generous? No one is meaner than the man who is grudging to himself” (Sirach 14:5-6).

     102. Saint Thomas Aquinas explains that “it is more proper to charity to desire to love than to desire to be loved;” indeed, “mothers, who are those who love the most, seek to love more than to be loved” (ST II-2, q. 27, art. 1, 2). Consequently, love can transcend and overflow the demands of justice, “expecting nothing in return” (Luke 6:35), and the greatest of loves can lead to “laying down one’s life” for another (see John 15:13). Can such generosity, which enables us to give freely and fully, really be possible? Yes, because it is demanded by the Gospel: “You received without pay, give without pay” (Matthew 10:8).

     103. If the first word of Paul’s hymn spoke of the need for a patience that does not immediately react harshly to the weaknesses and faults of others (1 Corinthians 13:4), the word he uses next – paroxýnetai – has to do more with an interior indignation provoked by something from without (Corinthians 13:5)! It refers to a violent reaction within, a hidden irritation that sets us on edge where others are concerned, as if they were troublesome or threatening and thus to be avoided. To nurture such interior hostility helps no one. It only causes hurt and alienation. Indignation is only healthy when it makes us react to a grave injustice; when it permeates our attitude towards others it is harmful.”


[Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love, An Apostolic Exhortation, April 2016.]


The Office of verger:

A New Program


A New Opportunity


We worship in the ancient, historical patterns of Christians that have been handed down through the centuries.  We celebrate the Lord’s Supper at both of our Sunday morning liturgies every week.  This is the way Christ wanted us to remember him on the Lord’s Day.

    Our prayer together is always liturgical, following the historical forms of the church.  We read Holy Scriptures as they are appointed in the Lectionary.  The sermon explains those readings in terms of Law and Gospel.  In this we rely on Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) understanding of Christ’s mission and life. 

    Our hymns reinforce the scriptures read, proclaimed and prayed in our worship.  This supports the solemnity of our praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Vestments and traditional rituals also contribute to the richness of worship.  All our corporate worship is offered within the consecrated walls of our church which is deemed God’s holy and sacred house of prayer.


A NEW PROGRAM: The Office of verger

At their October meeting in 2013, the Church Council established a worship assistants guild to be made up of men and women who would be instructed in how to perform a series of liturgical acts as prescribed by historical protocol and The Manual on the Liturgy – Lutheran Book of Worship, Philip H. Peatteicher and Carlos R. Messerli; Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1979. 

     This group would be known by the historic title of Verger. 


A Short History

The office of verger has its roots in the monasteries of Europe during the middle ages (12th century), sharing certain similarities with the Minor Orders of Porter and Acolyte.  Historically, vergers were responsible for the order and upkeep of the house of worship including the care of the church building, the furnishings and sacred relics, preparations for the liturgies, conduct of the laity and the burial of the dead.  This practice eventually spread beyond the walls of the monasteries and into the churches and cathedrals throughout Europe. 

     Today the Office of Verger continues to function throughout Europe and Canada.  In America vergers are used in Episcopal Churches and Cathedrals.  In other denominations the work of the verger has been dispersed among a variety of service groups, i.e. acolytes, altar guilds, ushers and maintenance staff.


Vergers at First Lutheran Church

Here the verger’s role will be ceremonial only.  Their function will be to support and augment the Acolyte Guild whenever needed, particularly at major festivals and other liturgical celebrations when a larger number of assistants are needed.  It is important to state here that it is not our intent to replace the acolytes in their duties, only to augment the acolyte guild whenever needed. 



To be a member of this guild will require four (4) classes of instruction.  The work of the verger will include:  crucifer, torchbearer, thurifer, bookbearer, lighting candles, assisting with communion distribution, receiving the offering, and ceremonial escort.  These responsibilities DO NOT include that of lector or worship leader, that work will still be assigned to the deacon or subdeacon. The verger, like the acolyte, will serve under the direction of the deacon.


Vergers will be vested in cassock and cotta. 


Why Vergers

Over the years the number of acolytes available to serve has varied greatly.  The current number of acolytes to draw from is small, limiting us as to what we can do for major celebrations when many are needed, for example Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, St. Mary’s and All Saints.  Having a group of men and women able to perform a variety of liturgical acts will enable us to function at full capacity for all occasions. 


    First Lutheran Church of West Seattle has a long tradition of worship using the historic liturgical forms of the church.  Establishing the Office of Verger enables us to continue in that long tradition of supporting the solemnity of our praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, by contributing to the richness of our worship. 



If you are interested and would like to participate in this program please call the church office (935-6530) and sign up.  Instruction will begin as soon as possible. 

     If you have any questions please call the church office and ask for Dean. 



Martin Luther King, Jr.

on Church Music


“[One] must decide to either play gospel music or rock and roll music. The two are totally incompatible. The profound sacred and spiritual meaning of the great music of the church must never be mixed with the transitory quality of rock and roll music. The former serves to lift men’s souls to higher levels of reality, and therefore to God; the latter so often plunges men’s minds into degrading and immoral depths. Therefore, I would say that you would be giving your life to a more noble purpose if you concentrated on the music of the church rather than rock and roll. Never seek to mix the two…. [Note also that] Christianity is more valid than the tribal religions practiced [in Africa. For] at the center of Christianity stands the Christ who is now and ever shall be the highest revelation of God. He, more than any other person that has ever lived in history, reveals the true nature of God. Through his life, death, and resurrection the power of eternity broke forth into time.”


[The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr.,

 vol. 4, “Symbol of the Movement”

 (January 1957–December 1958),

ed. Clayborne Carson with Susan Carson, Adrienne Clay, Virginia Shadran, Kieran Taylor (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000) pp. 392–93, 472.]


Martin Luther

on True Christians


“When we have received grace and blessedness, been baptized in Christ, and believe, He then wants us to live accordingly, to be obedient to God and to do what He has commanded us in the Ten Commandments…. Not only does He want this preached or spoken with the mouth but also done from the heart and in actions…. [So] if you earnestly do the will of God, gladly listen to and believe God’s Word, and live in obedience to Him in order to honor Him and benefit your neighbor – even if you sometimes stumble, but get up again, and not impenitently continue to defend your sins, oppose God’s Word, or shamefully persecute your neighbor – then you can boldly and cheerfully say before God: ‘Lord, Lord!’ and take comfort in the kingdom of heaven given to you by God…. Compare those who babble and boast about their spirituality to [this word], to see whether they agree with the sure teaching of the Ten Commandments and faith in Christ. When I did not find this, then I quickly rejected them, and… boldly passed sentence on these wicked, worthless fruit and condemned it as an evil tree [Matthew 7:17].”


[Luther’s Works 78:301.] 



1 John 3.15

Monthly Home Bible Study, May 2016, Number 279

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall


Along with our other regular study of Scripture, let us join as a congregation in this home study. We will study alone then talk informally about the assigned verses together as we have opportunity. In this way we can "gather together around the Word" even though physically we will not be getting together (Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV translation.)


We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851 Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is "an extremely dangerous book.... [because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a prodigious scale" (For Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that "we all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved in the Bible" (Opening the Bible). Indeed this word "kills" us (Hosea 6.5) because we are "a rebellious people" (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans, however, we are still to "abide in the womb of the Word" (Luther's Works 17.93) by constantly "ruminating on the Word" (LW 30.219) so that we may "become like the Word" (LW 29.155) by thinking "in the way Scripture does" (LW 25.261). Before you study, then, pray: "Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen" (quoted in R. F. Marshall, Making A New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12). And don’t give up, for as Luther said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for all eternity” (LW 75:422)!


Week I. Read 1 John 3.5 noting the line has eternal life abiding in him. What is this like? On this read John 17.3 noting the line this eternal life, that they know… the only true God. How is this knowledge eternal life? On this read John 6.68 noting the line you have the words of eternal life. What is it like having these words in you? On this read 2 Thessalonians 2.16–17 noting the words eternal, comfort, hope, hearts, establish, work and word. How are such established hearts, grounded in the right works and words, a source of comfort? On this read 1 John 5.20 noting the words understanding, true and in. Why does the truth matter so much? On this read Hebrews 3.13 noting the word hardened. What does this hardening do to us? On this read Ephesians 5.10–16 noting the words unfruitful, darkness, wise and most. So the truth matters because our behavior matters. How is that so? On this read James 1.22 noting the words doers and deceiving. Is that it?


Week II. Read again 1 John 3.5 noting again the line has eternal life -abiding in him. Now how does that truth from last week guide our actions? On this read Isaiah 1.6 noting the phrase no soundness. How bad is this? On this read Romans 7.18 noting the line nothing good dwells within me. What’s the effect of this corruption? On this read John 3.19 noting the line men loved darkness rather than the light. Where does that leave us? On this read John 6.44 noting the words come and draws; as well as 15.16 noting the play between the words choose and chose. What do these two verses say about our capacity to follow Christ on our own? On this read Romans 9.16–18 noting the words depends, mercy and hardens. Is our salvation out of hand then? On this read Philippians 2.12–13 noting all three occurrences of the word work. Are they all equal, or does one control the others? On this read 1 Corinthians 3.7 noting the word only. How’s that?


Week III. Reread 1 John 3.15 noting again the words has eternal life abiding in him. Is there anything else to say about the truth from last week? On this read John 8.12 noting the words light and world. Why does the world need light? On this read Philippians 2.15 noting the words crooked and perverse. Read also 1 John 5.19 noting the line the whole world is in the power of the evil one. And how does light come from Jesus alone? On this read John 10.30 noting the line I and the Father are one. What does Jesus pass on to us from the Father? On this read Exodus 3.2–6 noting the words fire and burning; and Habakkuk 3.3–4 noting the words brightness, light, flashed and power. What does this divine brightness manifest? On this read John 1.29 noting the words lamb and sin. How does Jesus put an end to sin? On this read Hebrews 9.26 noting the words sacrifice and himself. How does this sacrifice help? On this read 1 John 1.8–2.2 noting the words forgive and advocate. Is that all the light we need? On this read 1 Corinthians 15.26 noting the line death is… the last enemy; and Romans 6.23 noting the words death, sin and wages. What could be better?


Week IV. Read 1 John 3.5 one last time noting again the line has eternal life abiding in him. Is there any other word about eternal life? On this read John 14.2–3 noting the words house, place and where. What is this place like? On this read Revelation 21.10–23 noting the words city, wall, gates, pearl, street and gold; Revelation 21.3 – 4 noting the words dwell, death and former; and Revelation 19.6–10 noting the phrase marriage supper. Is this an actual place? On this read Luke 16.19–31 noting the words carried, to, bosom, between and place. Note also the two occurrences of the word place in John 14.2–3. Read as well Matthew 25.34 noting the words prepared and kingdom. Note also the line in 2 Peter 3.13 about waiting for new heavens and a new earth, as well as the word entrance in 1.11. These verses all point to eternal life as a place. Do you agree? On what grounds?



OUR THANKS to all those who made the Holy Week and Easter services possible. 

BOOK DISCUSSION date from April was changed from Saturday, April 23rd to Saturday, May 7th, 3-5 pm.  Meet in the lounge.

SUMMER HYMN SCHOOL is scheduled for Wednesday, June 29th, Thursday, June 30th and Friday, July 1st.  Mark your calendars and watch for updates. 

Compass Housing Alliance needs bath towels.  We are still collecting them this month.  Donations can be left at the office.

PASTORAL REVIEW for 2014-2015 is available for your study upon request.  The Executive Committee has compiled this information over the past few weeks and filed it in the church office.   

WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK suggested donation for May is bar soap and toiletries. 

PRAYER REQUEST:  Please contact the office during the week or Pastor Marshall before the liturgy if you have a prayer request.

WEST SEATTLE HELPLINE’S “Taste of West Seattle”, Thursday, May 26th at the Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave. SW, from 6-8:30 pm.  Tickets can be purchased online. 




This great feast of the Easter Season, the Ascension of Our Lord, follows Easter by 40 days.  On Thursday, May 5th, the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 11:45 am in the chapel.  Study Luke 24:50:     

 Then he led them out as far as   Bethany, and, lifting up his hands,

he blessed them.  While he was  blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.



    On Sunday, May 15th at the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist, we will celebrate Pentecost.  This day celebrates the "outpouring of the Spirit" and the birth of the Church, according to the chronology and theology of the book of Acts of the Apostles.     



On Sunday, May 22nd we will honor the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.  On this day we will confess that our God is named Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This is Christ's command in Matthew 28:19 when he says to us: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  It is this name that our faith requires us to adore – for God is in this name!



    Holy Eucharist will be celebrated on the Feast of the Holy Visitation, Tuesday, May 31st, in the chapel at 11:45 am. 

    On this holy day we give thanks to God for the blessed words between Saint Mary and Saint Elizabeth.  We also give thanks for the honor paid Saint Mary by the still unborn Saint John the Baptist, when he moved in the womb of his mother, Saint Elizabeth. 

    To prepare for this festival, study Luke 1:39-47 and Isaiah 11:1-5.




Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

June Wittman, Hannah Weyer, Mariann Petersen, Evelyn Coy, Melanie Johnson, Chuck Prescott, Mary Goplerud, Peggy & Bill Wright, David, Eileen and Michael Nestoss, Ion Ceaicovschi, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Luke Bowen, Tabitha Anderson, The PLU Faculty, Celia Balderston, Mike Harty, Asha Sagmoen, Ken Sharp, Mike Granger, Denise Alvord, Jim Thoren, Dee Grenier, Justin Schumacker, Kineta Langford, Ellen Marie Schroeder, Shirley Eaton, Clark Johnson, Marie Collins, Dorothy Chase, Misty & Jill Karakash, our presidential election year, and those infants and families affected by the Zika virus, the great migration from the Near East into Europe and other parts of the world. 

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: C. J. Christian, Florence Jenkins, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Elmer & June Wittman, Peggy & Bill Wright.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Brian Kirby Unti, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our deacon Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called.

     Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of Stewardship.  Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances.  Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways.

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this May.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress. 

     Pray for our sister congregation:  El Camino de Emmaus in the Skagit Valley that God may bless and strengthen their ministry. Also, pray for our parish and it's ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints: St. Philip and St. James, Apostles; Monica, mother of Augustine, 387; and John Eliot, missionary to the American Indians, 1690.


A Treasury of Prayers


O Lord God, may your Spirit abide in me to keep me from falling into unbelief and unrighteousness; to teach me to live according to your will; to help me do the work you have given me to do; to comfort me in my trials; to give me the power to endure; and finally to bring me to everlasting life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                              [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) IV:20, altered]