The Reformation of Incitement
Soren Kierkegaard (1813–55) had a good sense for
Luther’s reformation which we will commemorate on
October 30. He says about it that it rediscovered that
God’s Word wasn’t some dry doctrine originally, but
rather a few words, tossed off “with matchless agility…
to keep the congregation on the move.” Originally they
were “incitements,” where “everything is invested, where
every day it is matter of winning more believers and
caring for those won” (Journals
Luther indeed believed this earnestly. Kierkegaard was
right about that. And so in Luther’s lectures on Isaiah
As it is Christ’s business always to forgive, so it is
our business, as we are engulfed by daily cares, to be
converted day by day. Therefore we must toil and
urgently strive to be converted. This is properly the
task of pastors to convert the people by the Word and
build them up and bring them to God the Forgiver (Luther’s
May this Reformation, this incitement, this urgent
striving for conversion, take hold of us all!
Avoiding the Ordinary
An Argument for Linguistic Mystery
By Pastor Marshall
In of all
places, the September 10, 2016 issue of
magazine says that in a time when science is challenging “many
religious beliefs, some defenders of religion seek refuge in the
argument that faith has a special status where the arguments of
science do not apply. A language of sacred mystery could be seen
as a sign of that special status – or as an admission that
letting the faithful interrogate the doctrine in plain language
can be a dangerous thing” (p. 72). That appeal to sacred mystery
reminds me of the
Arkandisziplin that Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–45) didn’t
want to give up in the name of being relevant and making
Christianity more easily understandable [Dietrich
Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 8 (2010) p. 365]. It also says
something for preserving the old English of the King James
version of the Bible (see my series on the KJV in all of the
issues of the 2011
Prayer & Persistence
So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and
you will find.
Often we have not, because we ask not.
Perhaps you know someone who gave generously to his or
her church or some cause because someone was brave enough to ask
him or her to do so.
Surely, not everyone who is asked to give responds by
giving. And some
people give without being asked.
Nonetheless experience indicates that the best way to
maximize gifts of resources needed for ministry is to ask others
to help meet the need.
Prayer and persistence are good partners in this work.
Generous God, thank you for hearing us when we pray and for
supplying what we need, through Christ.
Melanie Johnson, Church Council
In the opening address of
Galatians Paul describes himself in this way: “Paul, an
apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ
and God the Father...”
“Apostle” means one who is sent forth: Paul is sent from
God, and through God, that is, with His power and support, not
Paul’s. Later in
the same letter (1:10) he expands a little on what it is like to
be an apostle: “Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?
Or am I trying to please men?
If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant
of Christ.” Paul
has what you might call a real “attitude!” Does he not care
about people? It
might seem so, but Paul’s attitude fits like a glove the first
commandment to love God with all our being.
There is no danger to people in such love for God, for
God’s second commandment is to love the neighbor.
The trouble comes when people want to be loved first, for
what we fancy to be our own merits, as if we were little
As it came to pass in the Garden, and was in Paul’s time, so it
The full Council met in September for the first time since July.
The budgetary news is much the same: we emerge from
summer on budget for the year!
That is unusual in our Congregation’s history and a very
different picture from last year at this time.
God is blessing us, and probably challenging us as well.
The blessing reminds us not to worry, and maybe
challenges us not to become complacent.
Besides being on budget, we have a substantial, undesignated
gift of $9,000 from this summer still to tend to.
With part of this, the Council has replenished the Rainy
Day Fund, which is used, not surprisingly, to help pay the bills
when there is a cash-flow shortfall, or when there is an
unexpected need. I
believe it has been close to two years now that the Rainy Day
Fund has been empty.
We are still considering how best to use the remaining
considering various projects, either in maintaining and
improving the Church building and property, or for something
else to do with our church’s mission as a faithful voice for
You may have noticed activity in the Church Library recently.
The Church is blessed with a large collection of books
that have been donated over the years, but without current
software they have gone uncatalogued and unused.
This summer we purchased the current version of the old
software and installed it on a current (refurbished) pc.
We now have a volunteer Librarian, Connie Baker, who is
learning the software and starting to catalogue the new books.
Connie is a trained and experienced professional
will no doubt be more visible changes in the Library, as
Connie’s activities bear fruit.
Come visit the Library, and check out a book!
Don’t forget that December 11 is now the date for St. Nicholas
Faire. This is the
time to bring in those last items for the Faire, so they can be
readied for the big day.
Year to date (Jan-Aug)
the Mind: Readings
in Contemporary Theology
pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, October 22nd
The book for
October is Not Just Good,
But Beautiful: The Complementary Relationship Between Man and
Woman, ed. S. Lopes, H. Alvaré (2015). This book is a
collection of essays presented at a conference in 2014 sponsored
by the Vatican. In it Pope Francis sets the tone: “In our day,
marriage and the family are in crisis. We now live in a culture
of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply
giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in
manners and morals has often flown under the flag of freedom,
but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to
countless human beings, especially the poorest and the most
vulnerable” (pp. 3–4). Some of the essays are written from the
Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Taoist points of view.
A copy of this unique book on our societal sexual
convictions 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 this controversial issue.
By Pastor Marshall
of Luther’s writings are being translated for the first time
into English. The latest is volume 57 – sermons from the 1530s.
Among my favorite selections are the following: “We must cling
to the Word; otherwise there is no aid or help” (6); “[Those who
die as martyrs] are living saints without any sin. They are
alive and do not die in their dying…. Reason cannot understand
this” (6); “I know very well that I am still a student even
though I have made many masters who want to be masters too soon
and suppose that, once they have heard a sermon and read a book,
they understand it completely” (11); “We should strictly follow
the Word of God.... However it may match up with reason, I will…
simply say, ‘God said it’” (13); “What Christ is… cannot be
completely learned all at once” (15); “Here [Christ’s kingdom]
is supposed to be a kingdom of strife [and it] is ever in
strife” (17); “Remain a student” (18); “The
Gospel… is not preached to us for the sake of this
worldly existence and life, but so… we might be helped to
eternal life” (25); “[People who] do not sincerely believe [in
eternal life] are baptized in vain” (27); “We have not been
baptized for this life, but that we should wait for another
life” (29); “In name we are Christians, but in deed we are
nothing but sows” (33);
“No one can… make sense of… this present life… unless he is a
Christian” (40); “[If one is] uncertain of eternal life [then]
his life must become bitter and difficult [and] he cannot be
content or patient” (41); “[The world] persecutes us so
terribly, driven by the devil, and despises us so shamefully,
showing so much insult, blasphemy, derision, ingratitude, and
poisonous, bitter hatred and evil malice; and so also within us
and among ourselves we have to suffer so many false, lying, evil
people, and suffer daily from so much sin, mischief, stealing,
and theft that there is no more discipline, honor, fear, nor
punishment” (49); “Neither preaching, calling, admonishing,
threatening, nor pleading can help the world anymore” (49); “If
you are caught in wretchedness and feel it, [the Our Father]
will become really sweet for you so that you can pray it with
all your heart” (54); “Christ is a different master who can talk
differently about things and console better than we can” (58);
“The Gospel… tells us only to hold out the sack and let the gift
be given to us” (69); “Everything that you have not done
[Christ] will forgive you, and all that you cannot do He will
give to you” (76); “Adam did not find Eve nor the other way
around. But God Himself brought her to Adam” (81); “[Marriage]
brings all blessedness with it,… and, on the other hand, it also
brings with it all misfortune” (85); “We must preach [God’s
Word] for our sake, no matter how few there are who believe it
as God’s dear children” (96); “The Word… will not enter my head
in the same way that I can comprehend with my reason that two
plus five are seven, and no one can show me differently. Yet if
[God] said from above: ‘No, it is eight,’ I should believe it
against my reason and perception” (100); “We do not want to be
absolutely nothing or admit that Christ alone has done
everything. We constantly want to have our hand in the broth… so
that God must regard us and forgive us and be gracious for that
reason” (108); “The preaching office and the proper
understanding of Christ still remain someplace, and this is not
due to human power or ability but is due only to the power of
[our Lord]” (113); “We must have someone else [like Christ] who
suffered an innocent, pure death for us and thereby paid God so
that such wrath and punishment might be taken from us” (123);
“All faiths [when] the only Savior is out of the heart,… belong
to the devil” (124); “[Christ’s] resurrection is ours” (136);
“In appearance God’s Word and work are very insignificant and
despicable” (143); “No man... ever rose who dared to step before
God and could quell His wrath” (171); “No one is saved except he
who is first righteous and holy” (175); “[Christ] does the true
works that deserve to be extolled as works of God: blotting out
sin, driving off death, extinguishing hell” (176); “Faith will
be based and built on Baptism” (183); “God does not change for
our sake and will not alter His Word and works, or let them
weaken, through our belief or unbelief” (183); “Being baptized
and remaining in sin do not go together” (187); “True faith does
not permit you to be impatient and to do harm” (193); “No one is
so dangerous to me as I am to myself; therefore, make the sign
of the cross before yourself” (196); “Let each one be suspicious
toward himself” (197); “We are the…. lord’s ladle” (204);
“[Pray] that the Lord would govern the ministers” (210); “We
must not snore in this pernicious world” (212); “Pastors preach
as they please” (216); “God has placed a cover over [marriage]”
(227); “Christ… bore the sin of the whole world” (236);
“Certainly, says flesh and blood, it is loathsome always to
fiddle on one string. Something new! Otherwise a person gets
bored, No, says Christ, on the contrary; think on Me” (243);
“The Word of God is the kind of sermon of which one can never
hear nor learn enough” (244); “No one is saved unless he is
reborn” (249); “Redemption… cannot help or avail unless one
believes it and thus perceives it in the heart” (250); “Pastors
and preachers… gradually became lazy and secure [and] lost the
proper understanding of Scripture and fell into strange and odd
questions about how this or that could be true, etc. They began
to criticize the articles of faith according to their own
opinions and to bring Scriptures in agreement with them” (262);
“Heretics… interpret [God’s Word] as it pleases them, so that it
must mean for them what they want it to mean…. They invent for
themselves their own faith without God’s Word and construct or
form for themselves a different God, not the one Scripture
portrays, but one according to their own thoughts” (263);
“Christ… won heaven for you through His death” (274); “We
benefit only from the precious payment and merit of Christ,
purchased and given to us out of His unfathomable, inexpressible
love, if we hold to it with firm faith” (283); “We will not
finish with learning [the Gospel] before the Last Day” (284);
“The law must be preached so that the people come to a
recognition of sins” (285); “Preachers convert and enlighten no
one from their own powers” (316); “I should leave it to God to
worry about how the Word works and brings fruit” (316); “The
unbelievers and godless… have an unreconciled, wrathful God”
(328); “Forgiveness and cleaning out are two different things”
(335); “Fortune makes fools” (344); “In the Church nothing other
than the Word of God shall be heard” (347).
ST. NICHOLAS FAIRE
Sunday, December 11
4:30pm to 7:30pm
are well underway.
Sign-up sheets identifying how you can help purchase prizes for
the ring toss game, assist the night of the Faire, and bake
sumptuous desserts to be served
will be posted toward the end of October .
RIGHT NOW, the most important action is to
MARK YOUR CALENDAR –
YOUR FRIENDS AND
it will be a spectacular party with good food and
beverages, creative and practical gift baskets you could
give as presents, prizes to win at the wine toss game,
and wine tasting courtesy of Maryhill Winery. A super
way to start off the holiday season supporting our local
charities, and having an awesome experience, all at the
the best response yet to “Christmas in July and August,”
and all but five ornaments were taken from the tree.
If you haven’t already brought your “ornament”
item to the church, I will be giving you a reminder
need all of the items as soon as possible to begin
assembling the silent auction baskets.
are interested in helping purchase items to complete the
themed gift baskets, or items that need to be bought
fresh, please give me a call (Larraine 206-937-6740) or
talk to me at church.
Plus you can always donate money.
That will help cover the cost of any other
expenses that we may have.
money we raise with your help from the St. Nicholas
be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank and the West
Help us make this event fun, memorable, and
Monthly Home Bible Study,
October 2016, Number 284
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
Read Ezra 3.12 noting the words
joy. Why are there
these two opposite responses to the building of the new temple?
On this read Psalm 30.5 noting the words
joy – correlated with
the words tarry and
morning. Read also 2
Corinthians 6.10 noting the line
sorrowful yet always
rejoicing. Why doesn’t the joy displace the sorrow? How can
these two be combined? On this read John 16.33 noting how the
words tribulation and
cheer go together by
way of the two uses to the same word
world. So as the
world changes, tribulation then gives way to cheer or joy. What
changes in Ezra 3? On this read Ezra 3.10 noting the word
temple. So the same
temple is what elicits the two opposing responses. Why is that?
On this read Ezra 1.3 noting the word
rebuild. This tells
us there had been another temple before this rebuilt one. Why
did they want to rebuild the temple? On this read Ezra 3.2
noting the words altar,
offerings. Why were
burnt offerings needed? On this read Exodus 20.24 noting the
word bless, 24.5
noting the word peace,
29.18 noting the word
pleasing, and 29.42 noting the word
speak. So the temple
provides benefits that are lost without it. Is that important?
Read again Ezra 3.12 noting the same two words
joy. Why respond in
such contradictory ways to those benefits? The joy is obvious –
but how about the weeping? On this read Ezra 5.12 noting the
words angered and
Lord. So the weeping
is over the disobedience that made the Lord so mad that he
destroyed the temple as a punishment. Anything else? On this
read Haggai 2.3 noting the words
glory. Because that
glory is lost, there is also grief. Why is that so? On this read
Psalm 50.2 noting the phrases the
perfection of beauty,
and God shines forth.
Such magnificent losses are worth weeping over for they have to
do with the goodness of God. On that correlation read also
Psalms 27.4 and 96.6. Do you agree? Does beauty really matter to
Reread Ezra 3.12 noting the word
house. What did Jesus
think of this house? On this read John 2.13–22 noting the words
raised. Why does
Jesus compare the temple to his body? On this read Hebrews 9.26
noting the words sin
and sacrifice. Does
Jesus think that he replaces the sacrificial function of the
temple with his own sacrifice? On this read 1 Corinthians 5.7
noting the line Christ,
our pascal lamb, has been sacrificed. Read also 2
Corinthians 3.10 noting the word
surpasses. And note
the word obsolete in
Hebrews 8.13. Why does this transference from Judaism to Jesus
take place? On this read Romans 8.3–4 noting the words
walk. Are these
deficiencies real? On this read Romans 3.28 noting the words
faith. Why does faith
alone bring about this justification? On this read Colossians
2.14 noting the words
canceled and cross.
Why does God only respond to that cross? On this read Romans 5.9
noting the words blood,
wrath. Does that
explain it? On this read John 10.17–18 noting why God
loves Jesus. Tie that
in with the two uses of the word
love in John 14.23.
Read Ezra 3.12 one last time noting again the word
house. Are there any
other important implications to the word house? On this read 1
Peter 2.5 noting the words
sacrifices are believers to make? On this read Psalm 51.17
noting the words
and contrite. Is
there anything else besides this humility and self-condemnation?
One this read 1 Peter 4.13 noting the words
Christ. And what are
they again? On this read John 15.18–19 noting the words
chose. What does this
add up to? Being unliked, unpopular and marginalized. Is there a
word for that? Try out
aliens in 1 Peter 2.11. What do you think?
Its time to complete and turn in your Stewardship Pledge Cards.
The pledge cards
plan for next year.
The pledge card drive makes the whole congregation an active
part of the budget making process.
Without your help the
not be able to prepare a realistic budget.
Please return all pledge cards by:
Sunday, October 23rd.
The organ will be heard in a 40th anniversary recital played by
Andrew J. King, on Sunday, November 6, at 3:00 pm.
The program that day will include music from both the
inaugural and 25th anniversary recitals.
Organ works of Bach, DuMage, Pergolesi, Mendelssohn, and
David P. Dahl will be performed.
NEW MEMBER CLASSES
will be starting on Sunday, October 2nd at 11:45 am in room D.
If you are interested in becoming a member please let
Pastor Marshall know.
A four-week guided reading of the Koran begins October 6th at
206-935-6530 to register or
FOOD BANK DONATION
suggestion for October is tuna and mayonnaise.
West Seattle Helpline
has been approved to participate in the Thrivent Choice®
program. West Seattle Helpline will be added to the Thrivent
Choice online catalog within the next week.
For detailed information about this program, please visit
the Thrivent Choice
page on Thrivent.com.
Bruce & Eddie Help the Food Bank!
The West Seattle Food Bank was very grateful to the Bruce
Springsteen & the E Street Band for allowing them to solicit
donations at their “River Tour” concert March 24th at the Key
volunteers with WSFB logoed signs and buckets infiltrated the
arena and with a plea by Bruce on stage, the Springsteen fans
answered with a total of $24,000!
At the encore,
Bruce introduced West Seattleite, Eddie Vedder from
Pearl Jam, up on stage to sing “Bobby Jean” with
generously offered to match whatever was donated that
brought the total to $48,000!!
Plus, a week
later they received a surprise check in the mail from
the E Street Band’s production company for another
$10,000! It is with once in a lifetime opportunities
such as this one with Bruce Springsteen & the E
Street Band, Eddie Vedder & Pearl Jam, their fans and
Food Bank volunteers
that keep the
West Seattle Food Bank growing and strong.
Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your
brothers and sisters through baptism.
Marlis Ormiston, Linda Olson, Mariann Petersen, Evelyn Coy,
Eileen Nestoss, Tabitha Anderson, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Ion
Ceaicovschi, Celia Balderston, The PLU Music Faculty, Mike
Harty, Linda Hagen, Leonard Richter, Esther Ko, Tim Chadwick,
Linda LeGrande, Heidi Anderson, Shirley Domery, Matt Anderson,
Jordan Corbin, Sheila Feichtner, Angel Lynn, Linda Anderson,
Josh Carling, Curtis Storbakken, Taylor Toth, David Pete, Jim
Olson, Margeen & Chris Boyer, Rick Collins, those infants and
families affected by the Zika virus, the great migration from
the Near East into Europe and other parts of the world, our
presidential year, and our police forces.
Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them
joy: Florence Jenkins, C. J. Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma
Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora
Vanhala, Elmer & June Wittman, 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.
for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this Fall.
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 Frances of Assisi, renewer of the Church, 1226;
Saint Luke, Evangelist; Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles.
A Treasury of Prayers
great God, our heavenly Father, help me abandon myself
to you whom I have offended, because you love in me your
only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior. You see him
in me, you embrace him in me, because he has willed to
identify himself with me by the love which brought him
to death for me on the cross. In his blessed name I
[For All the