November 2014



Luther’s Best Student


On November 16th we will commemorate Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) who probably appreciated Martin Luther more than anyone during his own lifetime [Thomas Cahill, Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World (2013) p. 173].

     Now just what was it that Kierkegaard saw in Luther? Well, in the word of one of his pseudonyms: “Open [Luther’s] books. Note the strong pulse-beat of appropriation in every line; note it in the vibrant forward thrust of his whole style, which continually seems to have behind it that thunderstorm of terror that… created [him]” (KW 12.1:366). This is what inspired Kierkegaard because the one who wrote this also believed in the absolute necessity of grace for faith (JP 2:1143, 1862, 1902; 3:2898). Even so, Kierkegaard sees in Luther that the whole doctrine of grace is to “lead to the battle of the anguished conscience,” and “to exert [oneself] all the more” (JP 2:1486, 1482). This is his greatness. And because Kierkegaard saw this, that makes him Luther’s best student.

     On November 9, 1986, I started a Sunday morning class here on that very topic – exploring some 45 passages from Kierkegaard on Luther. I’ve been working on this ever since, long after that eight week class ended. May you also be so blessed by Kierkegaard’s love for Luther.


Pastor Marshall

Thank God

for Luther

By Pastor Marshall

More volumes of Luther’s writings are being translated for the first time into English. The latest is volume 68, sermons on Matthew 18-24 from 1537-40. Among my favorite passages are the following: “If a husband and wife [are] at odds with each other, they should not divorce on that account” (12); “A good marriage is rarely to be found” (13); “We must not brew together faith and reason” (24); “Reason wants to become the master of Holy Scripture and outthink [uberklugln] it, but reason is much too blind to be able to judge and decide about Holy Scripture” (26); “What God does and says is certain” (30); “Christ wants to have…. poor sinners, weak, fragile, and unable to boast of much good” (35); “The Scriptures are full of such testimony – ‘He has borne the sin of many’ [Is 53:12]” (38); “Christ…. tells me what I should do, so they say, ‘I can do it.’ Not by a long shot, my dear fellow!” (39); “A husband always wants another woman. And if he gets her, he soon grows tired of her too” (43); “To love your neighbor as yourself means to… seek your neighbor’s benefit… before your own benefit [and] leave it behind for the benefit of [your] neighbor…. [Therefore we] should not have any regard for our life” (44); “Wealth is God’s gift [therefore] thank God for it and use it in a Christian manner” (53); “It is impossible to be saved by human ability or powers. God’s hand must reach in” (55); “Whoever is full… and is prepared to part with everything rather than provoke God’s wrath, truly he is genuinely… sad in great joy” (59); “Neither you nor I nor anyone else should rule Scripture according to our thoughts” (67); “The temple…. is where God Himself would listen to all who would call on Him” (88); “Sheer need – that is what we bring before…. Christ” (96); “God has shown us where life is, namely, in His Word” (97); “From [vainglory] stems the thought: ‘I must preach something…. special and new,’ so that the people marvel and say:… ‘Never before have I heard anyone say it like that.’ Then he gets all puffed up… and thinks he is an ox, though he is hardly a toad” (102); “[When it] concerns God’s honor,… every Christian must be proud,… but especially the preacher…. Here he must stand firm like a wall” (106); “The foolishness of our reason is enormous” (107); “The Word of God is what established the church” (109); “More Christians go to heaven from the gallows than from the church cemetery” (110); “Anyone who does not want [Christ, the cornerstone] differs from God like winter from summer. God, the master builder, rejects them, since they want to be rejected and reject themselves as a result of having rejected the stone” (120-21); “Preaching…. is called the office of builder” (126); “It is better for you to fall on top of [Christ] the stone than for it to fall on top of you. For if you fall fittingly, the shards become part of the building, but if it falls upon you, it crushes you, so that you have righteousness neither on earth nor in heaven” (129); “[The ungodly say that] conscience is a hideous beast that makes a person sad and pits him against himself. [So they say] away with conscience!” (137); “[The ungodly read God’s Word] superficially, as a maiden sweeps a room” (139); easy work to make someone who was dead alive again…. As to how this all happens, reason can neither see nor comprehend” (140); “I should set my trust in Christ, not in myself,… Christ alone must reign therein” (147); “Everything depends on the nature of one’s heart” (152); “We were not created to live for ourselves, but to promote God’s honor and to be useful to other people” (152); “Where things are preached one way in one church and another way in another,… discordant preachers each capture a following, though they are supposed to point to Christ alone” (155); “A preacher should not take notice of whether people berate or laud him” (157); “[Being] part of Christ’s kingdom [calls us] to sing a song to God day and night” (157); “I preach my shame, so why would I want to seek my honor here?” (157); “If you want to be something special over and above other people, that is a sign that you are jumping out of the Church” (158); “God established the preaching office so that people might be saved from hell” (162); “[Don’t] read into Scripture [your] own interpretation” (162); “A false preacher…. is the worst person on earth” (163); “We may find fault with the Jews [even though they remain] fine, reasonable people, and not as asinine as we are” (177); “No one can offer resistance to the devil except one whom God’s Word has enlightened” (180); “God [doesn’t have] any great need for you” (188); “The world suffers from severe blindness” (188); “The world courts the Babylonian whore when she preaches that good works save” (190); “If you do not [love your neighbor as yourself], you may be good before the world, but before God you are condemned” (193); “When what used to be vices become right and customary and are no longer called sins, there is no more help” (194, 216); “Christians… bear in mind that this life must have an end, we learn [this] so that we… await a better life, where everything will be better than it was in this life” (198); “Do not think that you are pure before God, even if you are unsullied and irreproachable before the world” (198); “Burial should be kept beautiful and honorable for the sake of the article of our Christian faith, since we know that we will rise again” (202); “In the estates instituted by God, man see only dead people’s bones and filth, but Christians see what lies underneath – gold and gemstone” (205-206); “Christ is a friend of the truth and an enemy of lies” (209); “Where there is no contrition or repentance, there is also no forgiveness of sins” (216); “Divine grace… cannot help if someone says, ‘I do not need grace’” (216); “We can never make satisfaction for our sins…. Rather, Christ must do all of this” (218); “Anyone who wants to win [the world] over and attract it will by no means remain with God’s Word” (227); “If the devil were to make something new,… we would long and throng for it” (229-30); “The dear world [is a] beautiful, darling little brat” (233); “[Bad] preaching [can] not even… lure a dog out from behind the oven” (234); “Read the Scripture day and night” (236); “The one mark of the Christian Church… is following and obeying the divine Word” (244); “Where people hear God’s Word, that is where God’s Church is, even if it were in a cattle stall like where Christ was born” (245); “[It’s wrong to] say that we have to hear the holy Christian Church above the holy Word” (245); “If someone were to preach the Gospel in a whorehouse, it would still be the Church” (245); “No matter how filthy a place is, if only His Word is heard there, it would still be the church” (246); “Where [God’s Word] is absent, the devil shits into that church” (246); “The apple [from Eden] is still stuck in everyone’s throat because man is still inclined to be perpetually displeased with what God does…. This apple gives us a stomachache and rattles in our throat as we try to cough it up” (254); “I am better off not knowing what God has not wanted to reveal” (254); “[God] has given me His Son; with that you have enough to study” (254); “‘I do not need to know why’…. That is what to answer when someone asks about the secret, hidden will of God, because if you sharpen yourself with these thoughts, the questions will grow worse as time goes on, and there will be more of them than there is sand by the sea” (254); “Apart from [the Son of Mary], God has closed and hidden His heart and will” (255); “It is true that [the Messiah] brought peace, but it is a spiritual peace. So the Lord preached entirely contrary to the thought of the Jews,…. who believed that all would be calm and tickled themselves with such sweet dreams” (259); “It is nothing great when God merely… fills my belly… as with sows” (260); “No one is so crude or wild as not to ponder at least once how he might escape death” (261); “Taking away death… shall be done by Christ alone” (262); “The Church is not seen by outward peace, but by the Word and Sacraments” (265); “The veins of a beautiful maiden are also full of pus and impure blood” (270); “Reject all compromisers as… heretical Christians, for they… obscure the doctrine of Christ while seeking how they might hold out [until] Christ would be totally blotted out” (297-98); “Let Christ alone be the compromise [or Mediator]” (299); “I find God nowhere but in Christ alone” (300); “I thought I could not do wrong, but as soon as God withdrew His hand, there I stood like a helpless little man” (308); “[Imprudent Christians] think the teaching of the Gospel hovers somewhere up above and will not touch the ground” (315, 309); “Now we know how we must die, where we are going, and how to escape death and the devil; we know who has redeemed us and how we are to obtain these great treasures. We learn it from this book of Holy Scriptures alone” (318-19); “[Christians are ridiculed] because [they] believe in the scorned, deceased Christ, who is a rotten, dead carcass that hung like a rogue on the gallows” (322); “Holy Scripture is God’s Word” (324); “Christians will be a meager little bunch” (334); “The more we preach, the less they pay attention” (338); “You have to understand the words ‘take place’ [Matthew24:34] differently, so that they… mean ‘begin to take place’” (340). Shouldn’t we all then, with Kierkegaard, “Praise God for Luther!” (JP 4:4549)?


PRESIDENT'S Larraine King

We praise you, O God, our redeemer, creator;  In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.

We lay it before you; we kneel and adore you; We bless your holy name; glad praises we sing.

This is how one of the great hymns (#241) of thanksgiving begins. What an inspiring text to use as a prayer for this harvest season. We are so blessed. We must be so thankful for all that our Lord has done and continues to do for us. I remember as a child singing the wonderful song, “Bless This House” with my mom and grandma, and thinking how special it was to specifically give thanks for all the little things that make up a house. Gratitude is a practice that opens our hearts to receive more of God’s blessings.

     On a more sober note, we have been running behind financially since June, and the month of September was especially bad. At the end of September we are behind by over $7,000 for the year. And the offerings for October so far are mirroring the giving patterns that seem to have become the norm over the summer. The council’s hope was that it was because of “summer vacation” that giving was running behind the budget, but it appears that is not the case. Please pray about your giving. It is important!

     The third quarter pledge report shows that there has been a decline in giving as well, as the number of members that have given short of their pledge has increased by 2, totaling 10. The number of members that exceeded their pledge is also down by 2. Steady as she goes are the 13 members who have met their pledge. I certainly understand that items to meet daily needs cost more than they used to and it requires careful planning and budgeting. Please prayerfully remember the work that the church does for us as well as what it contributes to the community. If we could all give just a little extra, that will make the difference.

     The pledge card drive ended October 19th and not even half the cards were returned. Even if you do not intend to pledge, your pledge card still needs to be returned. The council uses the total dollars to help them create the budget for 2015. In case you are worried, the council has no access to who pledges, or how much any individual has pledged. We only know the number of cards sent out, returned, and the total amount pledged. No personal information is included, so you need not worry that the council has access to your giving record. All we have is the total dollars pledged, on which we base the budget.

     Extended Ministries is asking for regular donations to the Food Bank for the next two months to help the hungry in our community celebrate the upcoming holidays. The St. Nicholas Faire preparations are going well. Baskets have been organized and the parish hall will be decorated this month.

     Just over a year ago the council considered a proposal for the formation of small groups. Two have emerged. They meet every couple weeks at the homes of Valerie and Scott Schorn, and Bob and Connie Baker. In addition to dessert and time for conversation, a study time completes the evening. Currently they are studying D. Bonhoeffer’s contribution to the Lutheran Church. Sign up sheets are posted in the lounge if you are interested in joining. The groups are a good way to get to know some of our members a little better, while also learning about key individuals in the Lutheran church. Check them out!

     Various facility projects have been underway at the church. The largest has been the replacing of the floor in the parish hall. It looks great and we thank Tilden School for seeing that project through to completion and paying for it as well. There have been additions of a cabinet and a wall vault in which to store our communion ware in the sacristy. And the parsonage is being painted.

    I close this missal by quoting verse 3 of Hymn 241……

With voices united our praises we offer.  And gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.  With you, Lord, beside us, your strong arm will guide us.  To you, our great redeemer, forever be praise!




Happiness Is a By-Product of Giving

What kind of a gift would make you feel truly appreciative?  No doubt most of us would be happy to receive a gift from a giver who is motivated by love rather than by a sense of duty or obligation.  When it comes to giving, motive matters.  It matters to us.  More importantly, it matters to God.  Read and consider the words of the apostle Paul recorded in 2 Corinthians 9:7.  Why did Paul write those words?  He wanted to encourage the Corinthian Christians to support the relief work for their needy fellow believers in Judea.  Did he try to force the Corinthians to give?  No.  He wrote, “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”.  Paul notes two types of giving that have no place among true Christians – reluctant and forced.  God loves a cheerful giver – once a Christian decides to give, he should do so cheerfully, or with joy, says Paul.  Happiness is a by-product of giving that is properly motivated. 

A cheerful giver touches our heart.  He also warms God’s heart. 

                                                                                                Maxine Foss, Church Council

God Has Blessed Me and My Family through FLCWS

By Earl Nelson


God has blessed my family and me through First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, and for this we are deeply grateful to the staff because God has worked through them to bless us. We are grateful for the beautiful and faithful music and singing, for the beautiful and faithful liturgy and for the faithful preaching that rightly dares not always to be beautiful, as the truth requires.

     I am also grateful to everyone here in the pews and to other supporters of this church who are not present at the moment, because without your and their support of this church and its staff, they would not be here and we would not have been blessed in the ways that we have been blessed.

     I must also be grateful to many who have gone before in this church, parents of some of you who are here, and all those who have been instrumental over the years in leaving the legacy of this church. Without them there would not be this beautiful and faithful building, by which I am always impressed when I enter. There would not be the beautiful and faithful paraments that I love to see on high festival days. People I have never known have blessed me through this church.

    In short, my family and I are the beneficiaries of much giving and sacrifice by many over a long period of time, and so we really must give also, of our time and of our possessions, for the sake of others now and in the future. 

The giving we do for our Church is no small matter. It concerns the well-being not only of this Church, but of the Church as a whole, which is the body of Christ. God is heavily invested in the Church, having given his only Son. We also must be invested in the Church. It cannot exist without our sacrificial giving.



in church,






What We’re Supposed to Be


Shakespeare on Being Human


By Pastor Marshall


A prestigious university professor has confessed: “Perhaps I am emblematic of everything that is wrong with elite American education, but I have no idea how to get my students to build a self or become a soul” (“How to Break from the Flock,” The Seattle Times, September 10, 2014). To combat this malaise in American education, the church should remind our country – out of love for it (Jeremiah 29:7) – to promote in our secular, public schools, the Christian ideas in William Shakespeare (1564-1616) about what it means to be a human being. These ideas have been wonderfully collected and explained by the famous Yale University professor, Harold Bloom, in his 750 page book, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (1998).

     Last month I looked at Hamlet and the importance of our internal struggles. This month I want to note Shakespeare’s contrasting character (pp. 280, 287), Falstaff. For Bloom, Falstaff is “exuberance,” being “rammed with life,” as he says (p. 10) – even “ageless in his exuberance” (p.299)! This trait fits well with the “boldness,’ “urgency,” and “zeal” of the New Testament (Acts 4:31, 19:8; 2 Timothy 4:2; Romans 12:11). “Courage in Falstaff,” Bloom writes, “finds expression as a refusal to acknowledge rejection” (p. 272). And so too Jesus (Luke 13:31-33) – who goes full steam ahead! (contra pp. 280, 290, 305). No wonder Falstaff sings out: “Give me life, which if I can save, so: if not, honour comes unlooked for, and there’s no end” (Henry IV, Part I, V.iii.62-64)! Bloom also thinks there’s a keen intellect in this exuberance (pp. 283, 287, 295). In contrast to Hamlet, then, Falstaff doesn’t “beat up upon” himself, but displays instead the contagion of “cheerfulness” (p. 313), as he flips on its head the dark parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16 (pp. 309-12). This defiant playfulness (pp. 282, 297-99) is another part of being human.

     Be sure to share these thoughts from Shakespeare with your friends . . . and any public school teachers you may know.



Plumbing the Depths


Robert W. Jenson’s Metaphysics

By Pastor Marshall


Christianity’s proclamation is basically simple (Matthew 22:36-40; John 20:31) – but when it comes to explaining it (1 Peter 3:15), difficulties arise (2 Peter 3:16). Unfortunately we usually give up on those, thinking that they go against the Christian faith. In Robert W. Jenson’s new book, Theology as Revisionary Metaphysics: Essays on God and Creation, he, to the contrary, helps us plumb those difficulties and depths (Ephesians 3:18), seeing benefits where many do not.

     Last month I looked at his section on how the Bible allays Christian mystery (pp. 70-71). This month I want to explore how he thinks prayer works (p.101).

     Jenson says that prayer is “the appropriate utterance of a creature to the Creator,” for it marks our dependence on him (Matthew 6:11-13; John 15:5; James 5:14-15). But because God is in charge and controls all things (Psalm 115:3; Matthew 10:29), is the content of our prayers “irrelevant to its benefits?” It would look like it is, for who are we to tell God what to do (Job 42:1-3; Matthew 6:10)! But if that’s the case, then prayer becomes “a pitiful delusion,” according to Jenson.

     To overcome this, he argues that prayer doesn’t require God’s history with us to be “laid out on a straight time-line,… without phrasing or melody or development.” No, words like “already” and “before” are different “when used of God’s time with us.” For in prayer two things take place at once: God’s “determination precedes my prayer, and… my prayer precedes his determination.” This apparent contradiction is forced through because we pray in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14), who makes it all happen. Jenson therefore concludes: “We address [the] Father… in unison with the One who by birth has that right [to address him], and who is himself one of the eternal Trinity whose joint knowledge and decision determine the event” – whether it be for healing or some other sort of rescue. So while we can’t tell God what to do, Jesus can because he is one with the Father (John 10:30), and so through him alone are prayers get through – and without being out of place because they are offered in his name. So praying in the name of Jesus is absolutely crucial!



November Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, November 23rd

The book for November is The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer That Tunes the Heart to God (2009), by Frederica Mathewes-Green, an Eastern Orthodox author and pastor’s wife living near Baltimore. This book studies the 1500 year old Jesus prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner” (76, xii). This prayer has been used as a way to follow the charge in the New Testament to pray always (3). It’s short enough (35) and important enough (10) to fill the bill. While it is mainly for private use, it can also be said out loud together (161). Its goal is to help us become as aware of Christ as an unborn child is of its mother in the womb (148). Consequently this prayer “is like a lamp, illuminating all that shadowy realm [within your own tangled psyche], enabling you to recognize and reject everything that separates you from Christ” (143). This “soreness of heart” will increase “grace in prayer” (123).

     A copy of this wonderful little book is in the church library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss this important little prayer and its ramifications for the Church.



ANNOUNCEMENTS:   HOLY EUCHARIST – THANKSGIVING EVE:  Thanksgiving will be observed with Holy Eucharist on November 26th at 7 pm, in the chapel. 

COmpass Housing Alliance is in need of Christmas gift items for their housing centers for both men and women.

Listed here are the items we will be collecting over the next couple of weeks: gift cards in $5 to $25 increments for fast food restaurants, coffee shops, Target and grocery stores; new sweatshirts (L, XL, XXL sizes with the tags on), underwear, flip-flops, hats, scarves and gloves (in dark neutral colors). New toiletries in small sizes are always needed. Please leave your donations at the office. The items collected will be delivered after Sunday, December 14th.

Sign up for the Bartell Drugs Scrip program and designate First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  4% of your purchases will be automatically donated to the church. 

FLOWER CHART:  There are still a few spaces left for Christmas flowers.  Are you able to share the cost this time? 

FOOD BANK COLLECTION suggested donation for November is holiday foods: canned yams, turkey, gravy, cranberries, stuffing and pumpkin. 


Service Opportunities





Verger Guilds

This coming January, classes will be available to train for the Acolyte and Verger Guilds. If you have interest in either of these, please contact the church office. For information on the Acolyte Guild, see the October 2014 Messenger. And for information on the Verger Guild, see the November 2013 Messenger.

     There is also a need in the Altar Guild for new members. If you are interested in serving the congregation in this capacity, please contact the church office.


X    All Saints’ X


Join us this year on All Saints’ Day, Saturday, November 1st, for our Columbarium Liturgy.  Plan to attend this solemn occasion at 11:45 am in the chapel. 


On Sunday, November 2nd come celebrate All Saints’ Sunday:

8:00 am Holy Eucharist

10:30 am Festival Eucharist



Extended Ministries

Imagine what it would feel like if you didn’t have enough money to purchase food regularly.  Now imagine how it would feel if the holidays are approaching and you long to be able to prepare a special meal for your family and loved ones, but you just can’t afford to buy those extra items.  This year, for the months of November and December, the Extended Ministry committee would like everyone to donate holiday food items for the Food Bank to share with our neighbors in need.  Let’s be generous so our community can enjoy the upcoming holidays with joy and celebration.  We have been blessed; let’s share our wealth with others who have needs. 

     Like we have done during the Lenten season, every time you attend a church service, bring a non-perishable holiday food item to put in the Food Bank box.  Items like stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, etc. are great contributions.  But if this doesn’t inspire you, go for products you would like to have and give those.  But give something every time you come to church to worship.  During these two months there are nine Sundays, with three services each Sunday, 26 mid-week services and two special Christmas services.  Lots of opportunities exist to donate food items, plus being enriched by attending church.  There are over 50 church services in the next two months.  Let’s make seven hundred our goal number of items to be collected before January 1, 2015! 

     Remember, hunger takes no vacations or time off, so be generous and caring this holiday season.

The Extended Ministry Committee



Sunday, December 7th

4pm to 7pm

 By Larraine King

The feast day of St. Nicholas is coming soon and preparations are moving full steam ahead.  All we need is YOU!!! and your friends and family to come and enjoy the festivities.  The cookies are going to be baked, the pies and cakes will be prepared, and we will all have to walk just a little farther the following week, but it will be such delightful fun.  So plan to join in the celebration.

     We have gift baskets to bid on – breakfast, coffee, fancy tea, boy and girl activity books, puzzles, Italian, wine, baking, and Seahawks gear – just to highlight a few. And we have a couple dozen gift cards for purchase, always a good idea for that person on your list who has everything.  Plus a wine toss game and wine tasting. [I heard a rumor that there will be a small number of Maryhill Winery’s award winning reserve varietal wines available to purchase.]  

     Admission is $5 per person or $15 per family if each attendee brings a can of food, and $10 per person and $25 per family if you do not contribute a can of food for each person. Sign-up sheets are now posted in the Parish House on the bulletin board between rooms C & D.  As in past years we are asking for donations of homemade baked goods, apple cider, wine for prizes for the wine toss game, and help in the kitchen and at the event.  It takes a lot of people to make the St. Nicholas Faire a success.  Your willingness to help and support this is very much appreciated.

     Remember this is a fund raiser for the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  Every dollar that is raised will be given directly to these two deserving extended ministries.  But it will not be a success unless you come and have a good time.

See you Sunday, December 7, 2014 from 4 pm to 7 pm!


James 4.12

Monthly Home Bible Study, November 2014, Number 261

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).

Week I. Read James 4.12 noting the word one. What’s so important about there being only one true God? On this read Deuteronomy 6.4-5 noting the words Lord, one and love, as well as Matthew 4.9 noting the words worship, only and serve. So do many gods ruin our allegiance, loyalty and obedience then? On this read Matthew 6.24 noting the line no one can serve two masters. Why can’t we have divided loyalties? On this read Exodus 34.14 noting the line the Lord, whose name is Jealous. Because God disallows divided loyalties, is he petty? On this read Psalm 119.160 noting the line every one of thy righteous ordinances endures forever. How does that make multiple gods impossible? On this read Isaiah 44.6-8 noting the question Who is like me? Read also Isaiah 40.18 noting the words liken and compare. How does this asymmetry block polytheism? Is it the lack of celestial harmony? On this read 1 Corinthians 14.33 noting the word confusion. Does that settle it?

Week II. Read again James 4.12 noting the word judge. Who is this? On this read John 5.22 noting the words all, judgment and Son. What will Jesus judge about? On this read John 12.25 noting the two words hate and eternal. How stringent a judgment will this be? What will Jesus look for to see if we’ve done it? On this read Luke 9.23 noting the words daily and denial. Read also in this regard Galatians 6.14 noting the word I and crucified. And read as well Matthew 10.39 noting the words lose and life. What light do these last three verses shed on self-hatred? On this read John 3.30 noting the play between the two opposing words decrease and increase. Does that help focus the other verses? If not, read 2 Timothy 3.2-5 noting the contrasting lovers. What puts self, money, pleasure and religious form on the wrong side of love? What puts religious power and God on the right side? For a clue read 2 Corinthians 3.18 noting the words changed, likeness and degree. Does that help? IF so, how?

Week III. Reread James 4.12 noting that same word judge. What other matters will Jesus care about when he judges us? On this read Matthew 25.31-46 noting the words gave and least. Why is this a problem? On this read Philippians 2.3 noting the words selfishness and better. Why are we so selfish? On this read Mark 7.18-23 noting the word coveting. Why are we so defiled? On this read John 3.19 noting the words loved and darkness. What pushes us in this dire direction? On this read Jeremiah 17.9 noting the words desperately, corrupt and heart. Is this the mystery of evil or lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2.7? If so, is that where our inquiry must then stop? On this read 2 Corinthians 4.4 noting the words god, world and blinded. What could this verse add that has not already been said? On this read Luke 22.31 noting the word sift. How disruptive is this attack from outside on us? Why does it matter?

Week IV. Read James 4.12 one last time noting again the word judge. What else will Jesus want to know about us on Judgment Day? On this read Romans 10.9 noting the words heart and lips. What is this verse about? Is it about sincerity and courage? Why should that matter? On this read Mark 8.38 noting the words ashamed and glory. Anything else? Read also Hebrews 9.27-28 noting the phrase eagerly waiting. What does this prove? On this read Romans 12.2 noting the words conformed and world, as well as Colossians 3.2 noting the words set, mind and above. Anything else? Read also Romans 8.17 noting the words provided and suffer. Why is this important? On this read Luke 2.34 noting the word against, and John 15.18-19 noting the word hated. Finally read John 3.36 noting the words believe and obey. Why should obedience matter? On this read Isaiah 55.9 noting the word higher. That should settle it, don’t you think? Why or why not?




Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Sam, Nancy, Kim and Kevin Lawson, Jim Coile, Anelma Meeks, Kyra Stromberg, Nora Vanhala, Mary Goplerud, Michael Nestoss, Cynthia Natiello, Clara Anderson, Leah Baker, Peggy & Bill Wright & Wendy, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke Bowen, Tabitha Anderson, Max Richardson, The Jones Family, Robin Kaufman, Rosita & Jim Moe, Dano, Karen & W. Erick, John Bertelsen, Marie & Rick Collins, Karen Klein, Dee Grenier, The Rev. Bill Hampton, Jeanie Goodwin, Lauren Kinney, The Robert Peters Family, Judy Earle, Jeff & Dolly Shale, the Frank Henderson family, Nicky & Thomas Alvord, Stephanie Riech, Kristine and Ové Varik and those suffering from and fighting the Ebola virus. 

    Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Donna Apman, C.J. Christian, Pat Hansen, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler, 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 November.  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 Emaus 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:  Saint Andrew, the Apostle.

Treasury of Prayers


Dear Lord God, I offer up to you my money. It scares me, for it does not speak about all that it hides in its creases – all the poor fellows who killed themselves for it to have a little pleasure with it. It paid for both a baptismal party somewhere and also the death of a child in some mother’s womb. Thank you, Lord, for all the joy it provides, and grant your forgiveness for all of the harm it has also done. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

[For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., IV:1158, altered]