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
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.
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
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)?
We praise you,
O God, our redeemer, creator;
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
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
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
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
I close this missal
by quoting verse 3 of Hymn 241……
With voices united our praises we offer.
gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
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?
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
By Pastor Marshall
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
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.
HOLY EUCHARIST –
Thanksgiving will be observed with Holy Eucharist on November
26th at 7 pm, in the chapel.
need of Christmas gift items for their housing centers for both
men and women.
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
sweatshirts (L, XL, XXL sizes with the tags on),
underwear, flip-flops, hats, scarves and gloves (in dark
toiletries in small sizes are always needed. Please
leave your donations at the office. The items collected
will be delivered after Sunday, December 14th.
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.
There are still a few spaces left for Christmas
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.
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
And for information on the Verger Guild, see the November 2013
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
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
On Sunday, November 2nd come celebrate
All Saints’ Sunday:
8:00 am Holy Eucharist
10:30 am Festival Eucharist
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
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
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
ST. NICHOLAS FAIRE
Sunday, December 7th
4pm to 7pm
The feast day of St. Nicholas is
coming soon and preparations are moving full steam
we need is
and your friends and family to come and enjoy the
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
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
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
See you Sunday, December 7, 2014 from 4 pm
to 7 pm!
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).
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
love, as well as
Matthew 4.9 noting the words
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
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
Read again James 4.12 noting the word
judge. Who is this?
On this read John 5.22 noting the words
Son. What will Jesus
judge about? On this read John 12.25 noting the two words
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
denial. Read also in
this regard Galatians 6.14 noting the word
crucified. And read
as well Matthew 10.39 noting the words
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
increase. Does that
help focus the other verses? If not, read 2 Timothy 3.2-5 noting
the contrasting lovers.
What puts self,
religious form on the
wrong side of love? What puts religious
God on the right
side? For a clue read 2 Corinthians 3.18 noting the words
degree. Does that
help? IF so, how?
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
least. Why is this a
problem? On this read Philippians 2.3 noting the words
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
darkness. What pushes
us in this dire direction? On this read Jeremiah 17.9 noting the
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,
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?
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
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
world, as well as
Colossians 3.2 noting the words
above. Anything else?
Read also Romans 8.17 noting the words
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
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
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
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.
All the Saints (ALPB,
1994-1996) 4 vols., IV:1158, altered]