April 2013



What Heaven Will Be Like


Playing With the Sun and the Moon


Holy Week and Easter are about God’s victory in Christ Jesus over sin, death, the devil, hell, the wrath of God and the Law (Luther’s Works 23.404). This victory we are told opens up heaven for us (Acts 7:56; Hebrews 12:22-24). Alleluia!


But what will heaven be like? What exactly does this victory bring about? The two fullest passages in the Bible tell us that it will be a place that is free of suffering (Luke 16:23; Revelation 21:4). But is there any more to say than that? Can we get beyond 2 Corinthians 9:15 which says that heaven is basically indescribable?


Well, one more thing we can say is that our bodies in heaven will be spiritual ones (1 Corinthians 15:44). But what’s that like? Luther puts it this way: 


When it is called a spiritual body, this does not imply that it no longer has physical life or flesh and blood. No, then it could not be called a true body. But when it is called a spiritual body, this means that it will have life and yet not be a body that eats, sleeps, digests, but a body that is nourished and preserved spiritually by God and has life entirely in Him. And then when the body thus lives spiritually with God, it will sally forth into heaven and earth, play with sun and moon and… be delighted by this (Luther’s Works 28:189-190).


Thank God for this stellar life that has been given to us to look forward by way of Holy Week and Easter.

Pastor Marshall


President’s Report…by Larraine King


            “Oh, worship the King, all glorious above,

                        Oh, gratefully sing his power and his love;

                                    Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,

                                                Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.


So begins Hymn #548 (LBW)!  And it goes on to enumerate how all creation praises the Lord, our God.  It is majestic and filled with beautiful images of gratitude, praise, and adoration.

     Worship, defined by Webster as paying divine honors to our God, reverencing with supreme respect and veneration, adoration, and praise, is one of the responsibilities of church membership.  Attending and participating in worship is a way we show our love and obedience to the commandments that Jesus gave to us – to love the Lord with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and our neighbor as our self.

     We come to worship to offer praise, thanksgiving, and prayers for the body of Christ.  With joy and gratitude we sing hymns, listen to the Word, partake of the Eucharist, offer our tithes, and pray for the church, its members, those who assist with worship, and the work of extending our ministry.  So worship is no small thing to be taken lightly or casually.  You might say it is ‘front and center’ in our Christian life and the most important responsibility of membership.  We need to be sure we make it an integral part of our life.  Pray for the integrity, continuance, and faithfulness of our worship.  Pray that the membership will be regular and constant in our worship, giving, and praise.  Pray that we will all be strengthened and inspired by worship.  We are the body of Christ – His presence in the world and His witness to the world.  Pray to be this every day, at all times, in all the various parts of our busy lives, but specifically when we worship together.

     Unfortunately we did not make our budget projection in February.  We were short by about $1,000.  The good news is that year to date we are only behind by about $450. However, the first few Sundays in March are looking a little lean as well.  While in the big picture, these are small numbers, we need to be aware of any trend, and be vigilant about fulfilling our pledge commitment. 

     Remember the West Seattle Food Bank when you grocery shop.  Buy something extra for the hungry.  It doesn’t have to be big, just try to remember them regularly.  Hunger doesn’t stop even if we forget.  Our food drive during Lent was reduced from last year, so we have work to do in caring for the poor in our neighborhood.  Don’t forget to put Sunday, April 21st on your calendar for the “Bake Sale” to support the West Seattle Helpline to help with utility bills of those amongst us who can’t afford to pay those bills.  We will have wonderful cookies, cakes, and other yummy goodies.  We hope to sell these items during the education hour and after the 10:30 am liturgy in Room C.  Come and buy something delicious and support a great cause.





More Than Money


O Lord our God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts.  With them we offer ourselves to your service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that you have made, for the sake of him who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


This is our offertory prayer during the time of Lent.  We say this prayer in conjunction with the act of giving of our monetary blessings in order both to acknowledge God’s gifts to us and to dedicate them to the church.  Many of us follow the Biblical example and tithe according to our income and maybe we even give a little extra to meet a particular need of the congregation or church.  It is easy for us to think that we have fulfilled the injunction and that in tithing alone we are demonstrating good stewardship. 

    However, the prayer does not say that our monetary blessings are the only things that we offer during this time.  We also dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that [God has] made.  Indeed, this is a hard teaching because it tells us that giving of our monetary blessings is not enough. We must not abdicate our responsibility to act beyond tithing.  We must look to Christ as our example who, when tempted by Satan in the desert, did not consider his own needs above the needs of the world which had been given to him by his Father, but chose to die for the very world Satan would have had him exploit.  

    So in considering Jesus as the model of the godly life, we learn how to be good stewards too.  God has indeed put us in charge (as stewards) of many things and expects us to be active in our stewardship as is shown in the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30) and the Parable of the Faithful or Unfaithful Slave (Matt. 24: 45-51). 

    The question for us is how to be good stewards not only of the monetary blessings and possessions, but also of the other good things God gives to us.  Indeed, we may even have difficulty identifying the other good things.  Luther’s Large Catechism can help us with this.  It identifies God as the source of “everything we possess, and everything in heaven and on earth besides” (The Book of Concord, ed. T. Tappert, 412:19), and urges us to not act as the world does “drowned in blindness, misusing all the blessings and gifts of God solely for its own pride and greed, pleasure and enjoyment” (BC 413:21). Blessings are all those things that sustain body, life, and soul: such things as food, shelter, and clothing meet our basic needs; husbands and wives, children, friends, pastors, and teachers bless us with company and love; a means of support and a good government provide security; the sun, moon, and stars, the earth and the animals of the earth provide sustainable life on this planet (BC 412:13-15).  God demonstrates his love for us through these blessings.  We, in turn, as stewards and Christians must not despise these blessings and use them to our own damnation, but “to [the] glory and praise [of God]” (BC 413:24). 

                                              Kari Ceaicovschi, Church Council


April Book

With the Mind: Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, April 24th

The book for April is Desperation: A Novel (1996), by Stephen King – born in 1947 is one of the best selling author in the world, with over 350 million copies sold of his over 50 books! Most of them are in the horror genre – but he is still regarded as a serious writer. In 1995 he won the prestigious O. Henry Award for his short story, “The Man in the Black Suit,” which he says he wrote in homage to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown” (1835).

    Of all King’s writings, Desperation is regarded as his book with the most Christian themes in it. It’s about demon possession and divine intervention – modeled somewhat after the exorcism episode in Mark 5:1-20, where the demon says his name is Legion, then leaves the boy it possessed, to enter a herd of 2000 pigs, which stampedes off a cliff. In Desperation, when the demon has reigned down its furry on many, its victims cry out to God for help. Thus prayer dominates much of this book. The minister, Gene Martin, notes the struggle in praying for help: “As always at these times when he felt really in need of God, the front of his mind was serene, but the deeper part, where faith did constant battle with doubt, was terrified that there would be no answer” (p. 365).

    A copy of King’s 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 how one struggles to pray even in times of greatest need.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23rd at noon, in the parish hall.  Sign up on the list in the lounge. 

SCRAPPERS will meet the first and last weeks in April.  Tuesday & Wednesday, April 3rd & 4th and 24th & 25th.  If you are interested in helping stop by and see all they do.    

READ THE KORAN IN FOUR WEEKS:  Thursdays, 7-9 pm, April 4th – April 25th.     If you are interested in joining this class, talk to Pastor Marshall for more information.
Compass Housing Alliance
needs bath towels.  Every year they go through hundreds of towels at their facilities, especially in the Pioneer Square Hygiene Center, where 150 people get a free shower every day.  Donations can be left at the office.

FOOD BANK DONATION suggestion for April is non-perishable baby food and formula.  Formula is a very expensive and much needed item at the Food Bank. 

WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK BENEFIT:  The annual Food Bank Benefit Dinner is planned for Friday evening, May 3rd, this year.  There will be a social hour with live music, a special guest speaker (Kristen Corning Bedford), and dinner with a dessert dash.  This fundraising event is at the Hall of Fauntleroy, 9131 Calif. Ave. SW.  Tickets: $85.


Extended Ministries… by Ali Richardson

Thank you everyone for your generous donations of food during this Lenten season. We have collected nearly 500 non-perishable goods to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank, and there is no reason to let Easter signal the end of our giving! In that spirit, the FLCWS Extended Ministries Committee is highlighting a new initiative championed by the West Seattle Helpline that we can all help with.

     Tara Luckie, the director of the West Seattle Helpline, has recently made inroads with the Seattle Public Utilities. She, along with several others, are working to find a way to reduce the devastating impact of a power and water shut-off for families who are already working to recover from a financial emergency. The Extended Ministries Committee has set a goal of raising $340 (the price of an emergency assistance credit for a family who has received a notice of a water shut-off) to help with this initiative.

     How will we do this, you ask? Never fear! We’ve devised a master plan…



April 21st after the

8:00 and 10:30 am services 


     Sign-ups will be posted in the church lobby for those wishing to donate baked goods. Items can be dropped off at the church office on Thursday the 18th and Friday the 19th.

     If you, like my husband, would rather sit in traffic with a broken radio than bake, just bring your appetite and a few dollars! And if buying copious amounts of baked goods just won’t satisfy your need to give, remember, everyone is welcome to make monetary donations throughout the month specifically designated for The West Seattle Helpline.

     If you would like more information on the West Seattle Helpline, please visit their website at www.wshelpline.org. Also, please take a moment visit the display board in the lounge to read a recent article run by the Seattle Times elaborating on this project.

     In the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed those St. Nicholas Faire magic bars will magically reappear!




Better Than Life


Bonhoeffer on Psalm 63:3


By Pastor Marshall


The famous German Lutheran pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) wrote many sermons – even though he mostly worked as a theological professor. His 1931 sermon on Psalm 63:3 has recently been translated anew [Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (vol. 11) 2012]. It’s about collision – “Your steadfast love, O Lord, is better than life” – a collision between “the world of human beings and the world of God.” Bonhoeffer believed that this verse “never lets go of anyone who has once understood it.” That’s why he also thought that this verse initially “seems to be shining so gently, but on the inside is hard and flashes out fire” (401).

     This little verse, therefore, rips open something inside of us, Bonhoeffer notes. It does that by granting that most think that life with God “makes people happy and harmonious and calm and content.” But if the truth be told, as Bonhoeffer wanted to do, “for God himself, the living God, it is not true, but the very opposite” (402).


     Bonhoeffer concludes that Christianity doesn’t enliven us as it should, because we shirk God! And so he prays in his sermon: “O God, because we don’t know you anymore, because we do not seek you anymore, because we no longer know what madness it is to live and not to think of you, you who stand at the beginning and the end of our life and hold judgment over us for eternity…. In doing this we banish God’s loving-kindness from our life” (407).

So pray especially during this season of Easter that God’s people are enlivened.


Library News……….

I am extremely happy to report that Janine Douglass has offered to help with the Library!!!!!   She is a very willing worker, quick learner, and a great help.  I am grateful.  We will finally be getting many new books, cd’s, and dvd’s ready to lend.  I know there will be many children’s books that are new.  So come in and see what titles appeal to you.

     We hope to go through all of the Library’s titles and update the collection.  There will be more on this in the months to come.  We will also be sending out overdue emails/notices.  So take a little time to look around your house for any items that may belong to the church library.  There are quite a few titles that need to be returned.

     Lastly, if there are any books or movies that you would like to see in the Library, let us know.  We want to stock things that are appropriate for a church library, but we would like them to be of interest to the members.  Currently, most of the collection just stays on the shelf gathering dust! 

Larraine King



Ezekiel 16.42

Monthly Home Bible Study, April 2013, Number 242

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-Examina-tion). 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 Ezekiel 16.42 noting the word angry. What is God angry about? On this read Ezekiel 5.6-11 noting the words rebelled, statutes, rejecting, abominations, defiled and sanctuary. What does this rebellion amount to? On this read 1 Samuel 8.7 noting the line they have rejected me from being king over them. How serious is this? On this read Hosea 8.4 noting the line they made kings, but not through me. This pattern therefore extends well beyond Saul in 1 Samuel 8. Does it even expand beyond kingship in ancient Israel? On this read Romans 1.25 noting the demonic switch, or flip-flop, between Creature and creature. How is this corrupt exchange the basis for all our wickedness and waywardness? On this read 2 Corinthians 4.18 noting the contrast between seen and unseen. Read also Colossians 3.2 noting the same sort of contrast between above and earth. Finally read Hebrews 11.1 noting the words faith, not and seen. So if the seen and the unseen are mixed up, wicked-

ness and waywardness quickly set in! Do you agree? If so, what do you make of the complex sorting of seeing and blindness in John 9.39?


Week II. Read again Ezekiel 16.42 noting this time the line I will satisfy my fury on you. What is that like? On this read Ezekiel 14.21 noting the words sword, famine, beasts and pestilence. Read also Ezekiel 13.13 noting the word storms; Isaiah 30.30 noting the word hailstones; Number 11.1 noting the word fire; and Numbers 16.31-32 noting the word earthquake. Why does God use natural disasters for punishments – hurling his anger at us? On this read Genesis 2.7 noting the words man and ground; and Genesis 1.29 noting the words plant and food; and Genesis 1.28 noting the words earth, subdue, dominion, every and living. These three verses not only tie us closely to the earth but also put us in an adversarial relationship with it. This makes us vulnerable – especially when nature erupts in one way or other. Does that help explain the line that God’s way is in whirlwind and storm in Nahum 1.3?


Week III. Reread Ezekiel 16.42 noting the words satisfy and calm. Why does God’s anger need to be satisfied and calmed down? On this read Isaiah 61.8 noting the line I the Lord love justice. What does his love do to his concern for justice? On this read Exodus 34.14 noting the line my name is Jealous. What does this odd expression mean? On this read Exodus 20.5 noting the words jealous, visiting and iniquity. So justice isn’t sentiment alone. It’s also active – and punitive action in part. So why not let justice function just as a distant, abstract ideal, and that alone? Wouldn’t that be enough? Not if God loves justice, as we’ve seen. But why does he love it? On this read Isaiah 30.18 noting the line the Lord is a God of justice. If this attribute of justice, then, takes on divine qualities by being part of God’s nature, does that explain why God loves it? On this read John 14.21 noting the implication that God loves whoever loves Christ. So does God love justice because it’s Christ-like? On this read John 5.22 noting the words judgment and Son. Note also the burning and gathering images in Matthew 3.12. Is that the way you think of Jesus? Why or why not?


Week IV. Read Ezekiel 16.42 one last time noting the word depart. How does this anger depart from God? Where does it go; or does it just dissolve into thin air? On this read Hosea 11.8 noting the words heart and recoils. What does this mean for God? On this read Philippians 2.7 noting the word emptied. What is emptied out in God? On this read Romans 5.9 noting the words blood, saves and wrath. In this case the wrath stays in God in such a way that it isn’t inflicted on sinners anymore. Is that the saving life spoken of in John 3.36. If so, what follows?




Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.


Sam Lawson, Cynthia Natiello, Jim Coile, Connor Bisticas, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Rosita & Jim Moe, Amy and Tyler Tabor, Kelsey Ensey, Cameron Lim, Paul Sampson, Al and Robin Berg, Ron Combs, Ion Ceaicovschi, Olivia DeCroce, Luke Bowen, June Whitson, Don Kahn, Jim and Ruth Shaovaloff, Grant Donnellan & Family, Sharon Cooper, Dano, Karen & W. Erick, Mary Lou Jensen, Annette Grubisich, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, MN, Walter Braafladt, Lee and Lisa Newman, Pastor John Reitan, Chris & Margeen Bowyer, Christina Johnston, Karen Granger, Anna and John Bertelsen, Amy West, Ken Sund, Jennifer Alfano, Alice Paege, Duncan Sturrock. 

   Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Pat Hansen, Donna Apman, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Anelma Meeks,   Olive Morrison, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler, Peggy Wright.

     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 April.  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


Forgive me, Lord, for my faith is blighted with doubts, withered with worry, and tainted with sophistication. Make me childlike without being childish – giving me a simple faith that is willing to trust in you even though I cannot see what is coming ahead. May I lay aside all egotism and conceit so that I can see vanity for what it is – an empty show. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                                                                          [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., 1:1060, altered]