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
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
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
Thank God for this stellar life that has been given to us to
look forward by way of Holy Week and Easter.
“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
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
More Than Money
O Lord our God, maker of
Through your goodness you have blessed us with these
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
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
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.
lives to the care and redemption of all that [God
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
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.
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
God demonstrates his love for us through these
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
Kari Ceaicovschi, Church Council
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,
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.
FELLOWSHIP luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23rd at
noon, in the parish hall.
Sign up on the list in the lounge.
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
READ THE KORAN IN FOUR
Thursdays, 7-9 pm,
April 4th – April 25th. If
you are interested in joining this class, talk to Pastor
Marshall for more information.
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
WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK
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.
by Ali Richardson
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
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
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”
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
So pray especially
during this season of Easter that God’s people are
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
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
most of the collection just stays on the shelf gathering dust!
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
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).
Read Ezekiel 16.42 noting the word
angry. What is God
angry about? On this read Ezekiel 5.6-11 noting the words
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. 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
earth. Finally read
Hebrews 11.1 noting the words
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
blindness in John
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,
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
food; and Genesis
1.28 noting the words
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?
Reread Ezekiel 16.42 noting the words
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,
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
gathering images in
Matthew 3.12. Is that the way you think of Jesus? Why or why
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
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
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
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
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:
painter, 1528; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, teacher, 1945; Saint Mark,
Evangelist; Catherine of Siena, teacher, 1380.
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.
All the Saints (ALPB,
1994-1996) 4 vols., 1:1060, altered]