April 2012

Conquering Death


The Victory We Share in Christ



Every year we celebrate together the great victory over death proclaimed at Easter. We cherished the words of our Lord Jesus Christ – the Risen One, over whom death has no dominion Romans 6:9) – “Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19)! Alleluia!


    So even though death is the last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26), which we fear and lament, we, with St. Paul, also count our death in Christ as “a gain” (Philippians 1:21)! What a miracle!


    Because this claim is so weird, we need to explain the advantages in it. Revelation 21:4 explains how at the end all pain, crying and dying will be over. Romans 6:7 explains how at the end all sin comes to an end. And Matthew 24:30 explains how at the end blaspheming of Christ will finally cease. So dying and going to heaven has its distinct advantages for the faithful and also for our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!


                                                               Pastor Marshall

President’s Report… by Matthew Kahn



On March 9th of this year Reuters published an article about the aftermath of the housing credit bubble and how it related to a record number of Church foreclosures. According to the article in the 2000s there were very few churches that had defaulted on their loans. Now the number of parishes losing their buildings has reached all-time highs. The following is the first couple of paragraphs in the article titled, “Banks foreclose on churches in record numbers: The Bible preaches forbearance, but Mammon turns a deaf ear.”  

Banks are foreclosing on America's churches in record numbers as lenders increasingly lose patience with religious facilities that have defaulted on their mortgages, according to new data.

    The surge in church foreclosures represents a new wave of distressed property seizures triggered by the 2008 financial crash, analysts say, with many banks no longer willing to grant struggling religious organizations forbearance.

   Since 2010, 270 churches have been sold after defaulting on their loans, with 90 percent of those sales coming after a lender-triggered foreclosure, according to the real estate information company CoStar Group.

    In 2011, 138 churches were sold by banks, an annual record, with no sign that these religious foreclosures are abating, according to CoStar. That compares to just 24 sales in 2008 and only a handful in the decade before…

   We must thank God for his blessings that we are not in this situation! Later in the same article the writer describes churches that took out balloon type loans in which the entire principle was due after a few short years. Additional congregations embarked with other fancy financial tools! FLCWS may have a loan outstanding but we had a wise enough council to take out a simple interest loan that we pay the same payment each and every month, on time, until the balance is paid off. This loan was used to restore the exterior of the building several years back and currently we have whittled it down to only $41,392.75! This is down from $100,000.

    Total General Budget Income for February was $18,335.83 as compared to a budget of $19,653 or just over $1000 short for the month. However we also continued to keep our expenses low. We had anticipated in spending $20,910 for the month of February but only spent $19,676.67. Unfortunately, as the numbers reflect, we spent slightly more money than we took in. We need to turn that around!

    With God’s help members of FLCWS can continue to maintain our congregation so that we can continue to spread His word in our community! This can only happen with your generous giving and sacrifice.  In this time of Easter, please remember to be happy and eager to give to the Church; as it says in 2 Corinthians 9:7,

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

    Have a joyous and blessed Easter!



Easter will soon be here!  Thanks be to God! 

“Our Lord is risen, He has risen indeed!”

    These are words we will soon here and can be thankful for.  The Bible teaches us this and we, as Christians, know it to be true.  In these next few days Jesus will have been crucified, died and soon rise.  Thanks be to God!

    The season of Lent which precedes his suffering and death is a time of reflection, fasting, praying, and possibly giving up something we normally enjoy and think we could not do without – most often a food.  The question always is should I give “it” up?  Will I give “it” up?  Can I give “it” up?  It should not be an inner conflict each year but a resounding “yes” I should give it up.  “Yes” I can give it up with God’s help, and “yes” I will give “it” up. By giving up this item I feel it draws me closer to God in preparing me for the pain, suffering, and sacrifice that I know he went through for me.  It is also the very least I can do for all I have been given from God – blessings of baptism, steadfast love and forgiveness for all my sins.

    The hymn “Jesus calls us; O’er the Tumult” comes from our Lutheran Book of Worship.  The last verse:

Jesus calls us! In your mercy,

Savior, make us hear your call,

Give our hearts to your obedience,

Serve and love you best of all.

    This is our prayer.  Thanks be to God!!     

-Church Council 

Stewardship                               Budget                  Received

Month (February)                       $  19,653               $  18,403

Year to date (Jan-Feb)               $  38,041               $  39,151



April Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, April 28th.


The book for April is Christian Zen, Third Edition (1997) by William Johnston, and Irish Jesuit scholar living in Japan. This first edition of this book was published in 1971 and was widely acclaimed as a significant investigation into what Christianity has in common with Zen Buddhism. Now in its third edition, Johnston has amplified his argument in favor of a rapprochement between the two religions.

    In this book Johnston writes that Zen offers Christians “a direct experience of reality without the baggage of analytical thinking and discursive reasoning. This [has been] very attractive to Western people [who have] felt that their culture was too entangled in words and protests, while Zen promised silent wisdom and inner peace …. For Christians, Zen was at first an enemy and then a rival. But at the Second Vatican Council [1962-1964] we were asked to see the work the Holy Spirit in all religions … [So] Christians learned from Zen to sit in the lotus and to breathe from the abdomen … and enter into deep awareness …. This wisdom is the gift of the same Holy Spirit who breathes through the Bible …. [So] I have found Zen in the Bible [where it says to] live in the here and now! Get rid of anxiety! ‘Do not be anxious for tomorrow … (Matthew 6:34)’” (pp. iii-v).

    A copy of this important on inter-religious dialogue 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 whether what Johnston argues for is true or not.



ANNOUNCEMENTS:  GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25th at noon, in the parish hall.  Sign up on the list in the lounge. 

READ THE KORAN IN FOUR WEEKS:  Thursdays, 7-9 pm, March 29th - April 26th.  If you are interested in joining this class, talk to Pastor Marshall for more information.

FOOD BANK DONATION suggestion for April is non-perishable baby food and formula.  Don’t forget our goal of collecting 750 items for the Food Bank in March & April. 

A HOT EASTER BREAKFAST will be served between 9:00 and 10:00 am, Easter Sunday morning, in the parish hall.  Plan to attend this festive occasion.  The suggested donation this year is $5 per person with a $12 maximum for families. 

WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK BENEFIT:  The annual Food Bank benefit dinner has slid out of April to Friday evening, May 4th.  There will be a social hour with live music, a special guest speaker (Ron Sims), and dinner with a dessert dash.  This fundraising event, at the Hall of Fauntleroy, 9131 Calif. Ave. SW, ensures the organization’s role in our area.

ANNOUNCEMENT: PASTOR MARSHALL’s sermon, “Do Your Duty,” preached on March 4, 2012, has been published at Lutheran Forum Online, posted April 2, 2012 with the new title, “Learn from the Lilies.”




A Forgotten But Powerful Voice:

Dr. Kent S. Knutson, 1924-1973

By Pastor Marshall


I continue to select passages from Dr. Knutson’s most famous book, The Shape of the Question: The Mission of the Church in a Secular Age (1972) in this column honoring his work. Here is more on what he says about “preaching Christ” (Romans 10.17):


[Since] “faith comes from what is heard” [Romans 10:17], clearly “hearing” is a biblical model. God speaks. We listen. Faith comes. [Normally] the phenomenon of hearing is a unity, that is, when we speak or listen to others speaking we use words without thinking about the difference between the sounds we hear and the thoughts they communicate …. However, when we reflect about what has happened, we can become conscious of the difference between the words and the thoughts which they transmit …. [So] at the level of event, we have unity. [But] at the level of analysis and reflection we have duality. [So] it is possible to hear words without receiving the meaning, or receiving a different meaning. We must have “ears to hear” [Matthew 11:15] what is meant to be said – what the “Spirit is saying.” Jesus is God’s Word to us. Those who hear in faith hear not only what he says in words, hear not only what he is as Jesus of Nazareth, a man of Palestine, but hear what he means, that is, what God is saying through him. The hearing of faith hears a revelation of God and not just the words of a man …. [So] those who wish to hear all that is said must hear at two levels through one thing said …. I believe [this] is a universal human experience. We all know what difficulty we humans have in achieving full communication …. We have to listen again – and again – we have to have ears to hear. [So] every secular man should be willing to admit the possibility that he has not properly heard Jesus the Word …. [For we need to] penetrate the words to “hear” what he claimed. It is our faith as Christians that these words themselves have power and authority to communicate God in such a way as to elicit a response of trust which does not depend on a philosophy of reality as a prior understanding or commitment (pp. 90-92).  


When thinking about Dr. Knutson’s explanation of Romans 10:17 and the problems in listening to Christ in the Scriptures, it would also help to keep John 3:19 in mind about how we have received the light but loved in the darkness instead! That verse will help explain why so many don’t understand Christ.




Lutheran World Relief Health Kits


In addition to bringing food every time you come to church to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank during the month of April, our extended ministries project will help with the Sunday School project – Lutheran World Relief Health Kits. We will be collecting very specific items (outlined below) to be assembled by the Sunday School and their teachers on April 22nd  to be ready for shipment on May 4th. These kits are a very important part of relief efforts in countries around the world for refugees and victims of disasters who do not have access to essential personal hygiene items.  If you are donating items, please be sure that you only include things specifically on this list. Anything else cannot be used in these kits. If you wish to make a monetary contribution, simply note “Health Kits” on your check to First Lutheran and the Sunday School teachers will see to purchasing the essentials needed to complete the kits. There will be a box in the lounge where you may place your donated items. Thank you for your generous support of our extended ministries projects and our Sunday School.   


ü One bath-size towel (approximately 52” x 27”) –

          dark color

ü Two bath-size bars of soap (4-5 oz), any brand,

          still in original packaging

ü One adult-size toothbrush in its original packaging

ü One sturdy comb without its packaging

ü One metal nail clippers removed from packaging


REMINDER: Only these items can be included in the kits. The assembly of the kits must follow a specific protocol which the Sunday School students and their teachers will attend to.

   ─Larraine King


Habakkuk 1.5

Monthly Home Bible Study, April 2012, Number 230

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).


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 Habakkuk 1.5 noting the line not believe if told. Why is that? On this read Habakkuk 1.10 noting the words kings, scoff, laugh and fortress. Is the point, then, that their enemy is too tough for the Lord to vanquish? On this read Habakkuk 1.11 noting the line whose own might is their god. How mighty would that be? On this read Ruth 1.20-21 noting the words Almighty, bitterly, empty, afflicted and calamity. Does the Almighty then know no limits? If so, isn’t that a bit too much power to attribute to this enemy of Israel? On this read Habakkuk 1.8 noting the line press proudly on. Would that line suggest an inflated sense of power and might on their part? On this also read Habakkuk 1.7 noting the line their justice and dignity proceed from themselves. What does that say about the enemy? On this read Revelation 3.17 noting the two contrasting lines I need nothing and not knowing. Does this mean that the proud are delusional? If so, why do we fear them?


Week II. Read again Habakkuk 1.5 noting the word work. What work is it that God will be doing? On this read Habakkuk 1.6 noting the words rousing 

and Chaldeans. What will this rousing amount to? On this read Habakkuk 2.8 noting the word plunder. How can this take place if Israel fears their enemy the Chaldeans? On this read Habakkuk 2.8 once again noting the word all. Does that make a difference? Is there strength in numbers? On this read Habakkuk 2.20 noting the line but the Lord is in his holy temple. But what difference does that make – in addition to the strength already established in the vast number of victims taking out their revenge on the Chaldeans? Does God help out in any way in the plundering of the Chaldeans? On this read Habakkuk 3.19 noting the line God … makes my feet like hinds’ feet. What is this enhancement about? On this read Habakkuk 3.16 noting the words trembles, quiver, rottenness, totter, wait and trouble. How does this strength (wait) and weakness (rottenness) go together? On this read Deuteronomy 8.17-18 noting the words my and gives. Do we see here how power increases only by depending on God? If so, is that how our feet become enlarged? What do you think?


Week III. Reread Habakkuk 1.5 noting this time the word astounded. What’s so astounding about what God is going to do to make us strong in the face of our enemies? On this read Habakkuk 3.2 noting the words work, fear, years and renew. So what is there about the past that God will repeat in the present? On this read Habakkuk 3.5-15 noting the words pestilence, plague, shook, scattered, writhed, still, fury, trample, crush, whirlwind and surging. Why does God use nature to plunder the Chaldeans? Does it have to do with God being the creator of the world? On this read Exodus 8.20-32 noting the words flies, Goshen, division, land, ruined, sacrifice, abominable, stone, entreaty, removed, hardened and also. Read also Ezekiel 30.12 noting the words dry, Nile desolation and Lord. Note also how God reverses creation in Jeremiah 4.23-26 in order to punish his own chosen people, Israel! Why is this technique used? On this read Numbers 16.31-35 noting the words ground, under, split, swallowed, down, alive, closed, over, fled, cry and fire. Do you suppose God attacks us in this way to frighten us as well? But how effective is this method? On this read Judges 10.6-16 noting the words again, anger, kindled, crushed, eighteen, years, sorely, distressed, cried, deliver, yet, therefore, whatever and indignant. Why does God use fear to motivate his people if it doesn’t always work?


Week IV. Read Habakkuk 1.5 one last time noting the line in your days. Why is it important that God repeats himself in a new time and place? On this read Isaiah 46.8-11 noting the words remember, old, still, will and all. Why is this assurance needed from the past? On this read Habakkuk 2.3 noting the words still, awaits, time, not, lie, seem, slow, surely and delay. Why is it that we deny God when his promises don’t come to pass quickly enough? This is a common problem with us, and why it that? How does knowing what God did in the past help us with this problem?



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Cynthia Natiello, Jeannine Lingle, Connor Bisticas, Dorothy Ryder, Richard Hard, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Teri Korsmo, Bob Baker, Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Margaret Hard, Rolf Sponheim, Tabitha Anderson, David & Kay Thoreson, Joyce Baker, Rosita & Jim Moe, Frank Rowlands, Chris & Margeen Bowyer, Jim Cunningham, Dana Amori, Linda Anderson, Louisa Eden, Helen Barber, Hal Shakerley, Dick Leidholm, Rick Collins, Lori McConnell, Ranaan Taylor, Valerie Blakeslee, Gwen Lyon, Carol Slettebak.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Pat Hansen, Margaret Hard, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler.

     Pray for those who have been recently baptized that they may grow in the grace of God:  Evan and Simon Ceaicovschi in December; and Shirley Woods in February.

     Pray for our new members from this last December that they may all the more rejoice in Christ and serve him with diligence:  Alex and Kari Ceaicovschi, Evan and Simon; and Earl and Carolyn Nelson and Andrew.

     Pray for our bishops Mark Hanson and Chris Boerger, 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 Easter.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.

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

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints: Albrecht Dürer  painter, 1528; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, teacher, 1945; Saint Mark, Evangelist; Catherine of Siena, teacher, 1380.


A Treasury of Prayers


Almighty God, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, we rejoice with unutterable joy in your great power. By your might, O Lord, quicken us also that we might rise to newness of life in this world, and then, at length, by your great mercy, come to everlasting life, with all of your saints in heaven. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


                                                                        [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., III:1060, altered]




On the third Saturday of each month, between 3 and 5 pm, the Sacrament of Penance is offered in the Chapel.  This brief liturgy enables people – one at a time – to confess their sin and receive the blessed assurance of forgiveness.

    This liturgy is ancient but largely neglected in recent years in America.  It is similar to the Roman Catholic confessional, but unlike it, in that this liturgy is done face to face with the pastor.  Copies of the liturgy are available in the church office.

    This individual form of confession is more forceful than the general form used during Advent and Lent in the Communion liturgy.  It allows for, but does not require, listing of specific sinful burdens.  It also provides for specific instructions from the pastor for each penitant.  These additional details make for its greater force in the life of the believer. 

    Martin Luther's critique of confession never included the elimination of individual, private confession.  His critique instead only corrected the way it was being done.

    So we continue to honor his words in his Large Catechism:  “If you are a Christian, you should be glad to run more than a hundred miles for confession.” (BC, p. 460).  Plan to come – Saturday, April 21st, 3 to 5 pm in the Chapel.  Blessings await you.