October 2016


The Reformation of Incitement


Daily Conversion

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 4781).

Luther indeed believed this earnestly. Kierkegaard was right about that. And so in Luther’s lectures on Isaiah he writes:


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 Works 17:117).


May this Reformation, this incitement, this urgent striving for conversion, take hold of us all!

 Pastor Marshall




 Avoiding the Ordinary



An Argument for Linguistic Mystery


By Pastor Marshall


In of all places, the September 10, 2016 issue of The Economist 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 Messenger).



Prayer & Persistence


So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find.

                                                               Luke 11:9


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.  Amen. 

Melanie Johnson, Church Council


PRESIDENT'S REPORT....by Earl Nelson


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 self-creating gods.  As it came to pass in the Garden, and was in Paul’s time, so it continues today.

     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 $6,000.   We’re 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 historic Lutheranism.

     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 librarian.  There 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.


Stewardship                                              Budget                        Received

            Month (August)                            $18,864                       $19,298

             Year to date (Jan-Aug)                 $162,533                     $168,431


October Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 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.


Some New Luther Sermons

By Pastor Marshall


More volumes 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).



Sunday, December 11

4:30pm to 7:30pm


Preparation 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




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 same time!!!


We had 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 call.  We need all of the items as soon as possible to begin assembling the silent auction baskets. 


If you 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.


Remember that the money we raise with your help from the St. Nicholas Faire, will  be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  Help us make this event fun, memorable, and successful!



Ezra 3.12

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 75:422)!


Week I. Read Ezra 3.12 noting the words wept and joy. Why are there these two opposite responses to the building of the new temple? On this read Psalm 30.5 noting the words weeping and joy – correlated with the words tarry and comes, night 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, burnt and 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?


Week II. Read again Ezra 3.12 noting the same two words wept and 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 former and 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 God?


Week III. 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 whip, drove, overturned, Father’s, zeal, destroy, body and 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 weakened, could, condemned, just, fulfilled and walk. Are these deficiencies real? On this read Romans 3.28 noting the words justified and 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, saves and 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.


Week IV. 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 yourselves, built, house, sacrifices and Jesus. What sacrifices are believers to make? On this read Psalm 51.17 noting the words sacrifice, broken and contrite. Is there anything else besides this humility and self-condemnation? One this read 1 Peter 4.13 noting the words share, sufferings and Christ. And what are they again? On this read John 15.18–19 noting the words hates, own and 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 help the church council plan for next year.  The pledge card drive makes the whole congregation an active part of the budget making process.  Without your help the church council would not be able to prepare a realistic budget. 

     Please return all pledge cards by:

Sunday, October 23rd.

Coming up!


40th Anniversary

Organ Recital

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.

KORAN CLASS:  A four-week guided reading of the Koran begins October 6th at 7:00 pm.  Interested?  Call 206-935-6530 to register or email deogloria@foxinternet.com.  

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 Arena.  Fourteen 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 him.  Eddie generously offered to match whatever was donated that evening!  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.

    Pray 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


O 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 pray. Amen.


[For All the Saints II:227, altered]