April 2014


Our Easter Victory

Easter is on April 20th this year. It is our greatest church festival, for on that day we celebrate our victory over death.

     But why is death such a problem? Isn’t it just a natural part of life – with benefits, for it actually puts an end to sin (Romans 6:7) – for as Luther notes, “no one beholds an adulterer or a miser running about after he has died” (Luther’s Works 28:136)? So why call it the last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26)?

    Well, it has to do with punishment – for the “sting of death is sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56). Sin stings because, in the first place, it’s what caused death, being our punishment for sinning (Romans 6:23), and, in the second place, it is what makes death frightening because it is at death that we are punished, for judgment follows on the heels of death (Hebrews 9:27).

     But Christ was punished for our sins (1 Peter 2:24) and so he destroyed death (Hebrews 2:14) – breaking the stinging link between death and punishment. Therefore when Jesus was raised from the dead, “as the first fruits” of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:20), a resurrection to be shared with all who believe in him (2 Corinthians 4:14), he proved that death had been defeated, for it couldn’t keep him, or us, in the grave. Alleluia!  

    This is what we’re mindful of at Easter. This is what makes Easter great. Alleluia!

 Pastor Marshall


What a Relief to Read Luther


Kierkegaard’s Love for Luther’s Sermons


By Pastor Marshall


Kierkegaard loved Luther’s long 1522 sermon on Matthew 2:1-12 about the magi adoring the Christ child (Luther’s Works 76:71-180). He believed it was “worth reading again and again, especially the first part” (Kierkegaard’s Journals 3:2485).

     Close to the end of this first part of the sermon, we read: “[Reason] and nature… go no farther than they can feel. If they no longer feel, they at once dare to deny God…. [Therefore the] light of nature and the light of grace cannot be friends. Nature wants to perceive and be certain before it believes. Grace believes before it perceives. For this reason, nature does not go further than her own light. Grace joyfully steps out into the darkness, follows the mere word of Scripture, no matter how it appears; whether nature holds it true or false, grace clings to the Word…. So it is always

with the Christian.  After affliction has been endured, God becomes so sincerely dear to him and is so near and clearly seen that he not only forgets his anxiety and affliction but also obtains a desire and a love for greater affliction, and further becomes so strong that he no longer so easily takes offense at the insignificant, unattractive life of Christ. For now he experiences and realizes that this must happen to anyone who wants to find Christ: it must appear as if he would find nothing but disgrace” (LW 76:102-103).

     These words must have been foundational for Kierkegaard who believed deeply in the offense of Christ (Kierkegaard’s Writing 20:123-44) – as well as in the venture of faith, which he thought was like leaping out over seventy thousand fathoms of water (Kierkegaard’s Writings 23:214; 12.1:204).

     May we learn from Luther, as Kierkegaard did, how salutary faith is precisely because of its intellectual uncertainty.




Never Enough


Following up on last month’s stewardship article regarding the church lead staff, it is interesting to think about how and why we pay certain members of our community a living wage, others a part-time wage, and others an honorarium. There are also many members who volunteer time and talents to First Lutheran who are not paid and would not want to be.

     Starting with the volunteers, too numerous to mention, they include the service team members, the Choir, the Scrappers, the Sunday school teachers, the acolytes, and those who contribute manual labor to maintenance of the church and property. We can never thank them enough for their service to the community of First Lutheran. Their livelihoods are made outside of the church, and this volunteer work is time over and above their usual workdays.

     Those who receive an honorarium include our financial secretary and treasurer, and our bell choir director. The small token they receive recognizes the weekly skilled work that is required to carry out these important tasks. Our acolytes also receive honoraria for weddings and funerals.

     Our cantor is employed part-time in this parish. This leadership position requires many hours of specialized work per week. A prerequisite for the high level of work we receive is graduate study. This position requires vision and a very strong commitment to the mission of First Lutheran, to do whatever it takes to prepare for weekly worship. Because this job requires so much time, it provides part of the livelihood for the person who has it.

     And finally the full-time lead positions include our deacon, church secretary, and pastor. These positions provide the livelihoods for these three individuals, and require full-time specialized work. In the case of the pastor, graduate study and ongoing scholarship is required. Again, these positions require vision and a very strong commitment to the mission of First Lutheran. The hours provided per week to prepare for worship and to carry out the programs of the church are uncountable.

     Some might say why can’t all service to the church be volunteered? Couldn’t those who work part-time or full-time have other jobs and just come in on Sunday morning to serve the church? We at First Lutheran have said ‘no’ to that, but at the same time, are we willing to adequately financially support those staff who put in countless hours week in and week out to do this highly specialized work? St. Paul writes “Who serves as a soldier at his own expense?” And “The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel” (I Cor. 9:7, 14).   

   It would be a conflict of interest for me to advocate for a higher salary for our pastor for obvious reasons. But allow me to advocate for our other staff that are both full and part-time.

     So let us have two plans for this year when it comes to our stewardship. First let us strive to meet our budget. And then, as our Challenge Plan, let us move beyond it by 20%. In that way we can increase the work we do as a congregation here and throughout the world, and also increase the compensation we provide for our staff.

     So if you pledged $2,000 dollars to the church this year, try upping it by 20%. If you do, rather than giving around $38 per week, you will be giving around $46 per week instead. If that seems impossible, remember Luke 18:27: “Whatever is impossible with men is possible with God.”

Jane Harty, Church Council


President’s Report…by Larraine King

My song is love unknown, my Savior’s love to me,

         Love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be…..is how Hymn #94 begins, a text by Samuel Crossman (1624-1683).  Continued reading of these words reveals a poignant and difficult summary of our Lord’s final days.  We praise Him, yet we cry “Crucify!”  Jesus healed many, yet they demanded that a murderer be saved.  Let us strive to be faithful to the last verse of this hymn by staying and singing about this story of love and sacrifice that was our Lord’s life, given to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil. 

     Financially, we were a little short of budget projections in February, but March has started strong.  It is the regular planned and executed giving that makes paying our bills possible.  Please remember to fulfill your pledge.  The council is counting on that.

     Various projects for the church facility are underway.  The windows in the parsonage are being replaced as weather and scheduling permits thanks to the work headed up by Alex Ceaicovschi.  A new safe and parament cabinet are being planned for the sacristy.  Tilden School has repainted the parish hall.  These are all great upgrades to our building.

     The food drive for “Fasting during Lent” is slowly collecting non-perishable items for the Food Bank.  For the first 3 Sundays in March we have only collected 114 items.  There have been about 300 people attend services at the church during that time, so it looks as if less than half of those attending are remembering to bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank.  We can do better than this.  Reading the parable of the Good Samaritan this week really hit home that Jesus commands us to go and be like the Samaritan. 

     Our Food Bank serves over 800 families a week!  And now they are starting to put together boxes of food for neighborhood children who won’t have enough food over the weekend to keep them from being hungry!!!  Let’s choose to share with those who are struggling.  It doesn’t have to be a lot – just one can of food for each time you come to church.  One of the parts of worship is giving thanks to God for all His benefits to us.  The offertory prayer that we pray together every Sunday focuses our priorities.   Try making it your daily prayer, or make it your mission statement, or your daily goal.  But most important of all, remember those who aren’t as fortunate as we are and share your wealth with them.  They are our neighbors, and it is horrific to think of people in our neighborhoods going hungry, especially school children.  Remember HUNGER TAKES NO VACATIONS!!!! So give often – make it a regular part of your shopping.  Donate to help our neighbors in need.


My Mother, Eva

By Pastor Marshall

At His Investiture, August 19, 1979

First Lutheran Church of West Seattle


My mother, Eva, died in Christ, on March 6th, of lung cancer, at the Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community, with some dozen family and friends standing around her. A few days before, my sisters, Doreen and Denise, had sung hymns at her bedside for an hour – much to her delight. She was 93 years old when she died. Her pastor had just said the last prayers for her. She was calm and sleeping and then just quit breathing – falling asleep in the Lord (John 11:11-13).

     A couple days before she died, I had one of the last conversations with her. She was so tired and weak that it was hard to hear her. I leaned over her as she was lying in bed, and put my ear close to her mouth and could barely make out her saying, “What’s happening to me?” I told her we thought she was dying. She said back, “Why?”

     My Mom was a practicing registered nurse for fifty years and a US Army veteran of WWII, serving in a general hospital in Llandudno, Wales, in the orthopedic ward, from January 1944 until the end of the war – and she could be very clinical. So I told her that her pulse and temp were quite elevated, only one lung was barely working, she hadn’t eaten much for three weeks, she could hardly open her eyes, and she couldn’t get out of bed any more. She said back, “That isn’t good.” I then hastened to add that her fingers and toes were still nice and pink. She responded, “That’s good.” Then she asked how we were, and I told her we were fine and were there to make sure she was comfortable. She then asked me what she could do to help. (My Mom was a workaholic to the end!) I told her, “Mom, you’ve been baptized. You believe in Christ. You’ve done your good works. It’s now time to rest in the arms of the Lord, and go home.” She had been a little agitated up to that point. She then seemed to relax – but said nothing back in response.

     The Lord blessed me with a good Mom. I will never be able to thank him enough for her. On mother’s day, 2010, I wrote in my card to her: “You were the one who helped me become a Christian by teaching me in word and deed to say my prayers daily, read the Bible reverently, go to church weekly, and sing hymns fervently.” I then added that she also helped me become a decent citizen by teaching me in word and deed “to work hard and be responsible, enjoy family and friends, help out our neighbors, and laugh and have fun.” I ended it by saying: “Over the years I have also learned about philosophy and theology, history and psychology, politics and economics, art and music. But none of this would have been of any help if I hadn’t first learned what you taught me.”
   Mom’s remains will lie in repose in our Chapel on Friday, April 11th, with prayers at 10 am and 7 pm, and then will be entombed in the Columbarium at our Chapel of the Resurrection, on April 12th, at around 3 pm, after her 11 am funeral at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Tacoma – her home church for the last fifty some years. You are all welcome to come. Requiescat in pace – May she rest in peace. (Mom loved Latin – studying it in high school and nursing school in order to master technical medical terms.)


Holy Week &

Easter Schedule


Plan to join us for our Holy Week and Easter Festival Liturgies, the listing of times and places are on the back of this page.


Also, note that we will be having our Easter Brunch, Easter morning, 9 to 10 am, sponsored by the April service team. 


$5 general and $12 for families.


Remember the food bank!  Bring a can or bring a bag.

April 13    Sunday of the Passion

                           8:00 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           9:00 am    Church School Passion Faire

                         10:30 am    Holy Eucharist – Procession with Palms

                           8:00 pm    Compline

April 14    Monday in Holy Week: Jesus’ Cleansing of

                             the Temple

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           7:00 pm    Vespers

                                            The Great Litany - Chapel

April 15    Tuesday in Holy Week: Anointing Jesus for Burial

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           7:00 pm    Vespers

                                            The Great Litany – Chapel

April 16    Wednesday in Holy Week: The Betrayal of Jesus by Judas

                           9:30 am    Matins - Chapel

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           7:00 pm    Vespers

                                            The Great Litany – Chapel

April 17    Maundy Thursday: The Last Supper

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           7:00 pm    Solemn Eucharist

                                            Stripping of the Altar

April 18    Good Friday: The Crucifixion of Our Lord

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                                               (Reserved Sacrament)

                           7:00 pm    Office of Tenebrae

                                            A Liturgy of Lessons, Hymns and Prayers

                                               (Reserved Sacrament)

April 19    Holy Saturday: The Burial of Our Lord

                         11:45 am    Liturgy of the Burial – Chapel

                  Easter Vigil

                           7:00 pm    Liturgy of Light, Readings, Baptism

                                            and Holy Eucharist

April 20    The Resurrection of Our Lord – Easter

                      9:00 to 10:00 am Easter Brunch in the parish hall.

                    10:30 am     Festival Eucharist

                      8:00 pm     Compline



Psalm 118:18

Monthly Home Bible Study, April 2014, Number 254

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).

Week I. Read Psalm 118.18 noting the word death. What death is this that we escape? On this read Hebrews 9.27 noting the phrase die once. So if we don’t escape our physical death on earth, what is the other death about that God does rescue us from? On this read Revelation 20.6 noting the category of second death. If this is the death that believers in God escape, what is it like? On this read Matthew 25.41 noting the category eternal fire. If this death is hell, what is it like? On this read Luke 16.23 and 28 noting the line place of torment. What sort of torment is this? On this read 2 Thessalonians 1.9 noting the line exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. What is that like? On this read James 1.17 noting the words every, good and gift. What is it like to be without this goodness? On this read Mark 7.21 noting the word defiles. What makes such defilement so repulsive? On this read Philippians 4.7-11 noting the words peace and content. Because we long for such tranquility, and defilement keeps it from us, we are repulsed. Do you agree? If not, why not? 

Week II. Read again Psalm 118.18 noting again the same word, death. If this second death is so repulsive because of the defilement it’s based upon, why does it threaten us? On this read Hebrews 12.11 noting the words painful and peaceful. How can the one lead to the other? Note the word trained in that same verse. How does what’s painful train us for a peaceful life? On this read 2 Corinthians 5.14-15 noting the words love, controls, convinced, died and themselves. Why do we have to die to ourselves if we are going to help others out? On this read 2 Timothy 3.2-5 noting the words lover, self, proud and inhuman. How bad is this? On this read Ephesians 2.2 noting the line we were by nature children of wrath. What does this wrath include? On this read Galatians 5.19-21 noting the words licentiousness, enmity, strife, anger and carousing. How are we going to be at peace if we are like that – with all the strife, enmity and carousing? Only if we deny ourselves. Right? Do you agree? Why or why not?

Week III. Reread Psalm 118.18 noting the line chastened me sorely. What is this like? On this read Luke 22.31 noting the word sift. What is that like? On this read 1 Corinthians 11:19 noting the words recognize and genuine. Read also Hebrews 4.12 noting the line piercing to the division of soul and spirit. Why do we need to be sorted out in this rough way? On this read John 3.19 noting the words darkness and evil. Why do we employ these methods? On this read 1 Timothy 4.1-2 noting the words deceitful and liars. How is this to be overcome? On this read again Hebrews 4.12 noting this time the words word and sword. How does the word break through our deceit? On this read Jeremiah 23.29 noting the words hammer, breaks and rock. What does it feel like when the word hammers us? On this read Luke 11.28 noting the words hear and keep. These short, punchy words – and many others like them – leave us no wiggle-room. They shove us toward righteousness. Is there any other way to get there? Explain.

Week IV. Read Psalm 118.18 one last time noting again the same line chastened me sorely. Why is the word sorely added? On this read Hosea 6.1 noting the words torn and heal. Why does God have to hurt us, tear us, if he’s going to heal us? On this read Romans 7.13 noting the line sinful beyond measure. Because of this severe degradation, all that will work on us is to be chastised sorely. What’s an example of this? On this read Acts 9.1-19 noting the words murder, suddenly, fell, told, sight, drank, must and suffer. How rough was Jesus with Paul? On this read John 6.44 noting the word draws. How rough is that? What if it is through a small knot hole, rather than through a wide open gate? On this read Matthew 7.14 noting the words narrow and few. Why are there so few being dragged through the knot hole? On this read 1 Corinthians 4:10-13 noting the words fools, refuse and off-scouring. Are there any other tough requirements? Try out the word hate in Luke 14:26? 




Did you know that the West Seattle Helpline was started in 1989 by an individual who owned the Thriftway on Queen Anne?  He pledged $1,000 to help those in need in West Seattle.  His work was supported by various businesses, churches, and interested individuals.  Staffed almost exclusively by volunteers, the Helpline has now grown to helping 3,500 clients a year.  They say for every person they can help, they are unable to help two others.  In the fiscal year 2012-2013, over $42,000 was given to help with rent and utilities, as well as serving 1,300 clients at the Clothesline, redistributing over $100,000 worth of clothing.  Add to that the $10,000 that was allotted for bus tickets given to clients and you can easily see that their presence has been needed.  The assistance that is provided is for those employed that have had short term financial difficulties, and been unable to pay rent or utility bills.  These are one-time emergency gifts for the working poor in our community. 

     Volunteers at the Helpline are residents in West Seattle who have taken seriously that as a community we should help our neighbors in need.  This philosophy is part of the Helpline’s mission statement  working to improve our community through acts of “neighbors helping neighbors.”  In addition to helping those in need, that attitude strengthens a community, by showing that we all can depend on each other if needs arise. 

     On April 21st in recognition of their 25th anniversary, the Helpline will sponsor a special “Founder’s Day” dinner to honor the founding members of the West Seattle Helpline.  (Pastor Marshall is one of those founding members so he will be among those honored.) In addition they are asking for donations to help start an Endowment Fund to provide financial stability for the work of the Helpline.  They hope to raise $25,000.  We can help them do that by making an additional contribution to the Helpline.  Make your checks out to First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, and note that it is for the 25th anniversary Helpline fund.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could raise at least $1,000 as a contribution toward this valuable and necessary work that their organization provides our community?  Let’s be part of “neighbors helping neighbors.” 

                    ─The Extended Ministry Committee



April Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, April 26th

The book for April is Word Made Global: Stories of African Christianity in New York City (2011), by Mark R. Gornik, director of City Seminary of New York. This book begins by saying: “If you want to know something about Christianity, you must know something about


Africa” (p. 3). And all you have to do to do that is visit New York City where many Africans have migrated to – or, for that matter, Washington, DC, Houston, Dallas, Detroit or Los Angeles. But this book focuses on New York City. And what it learns about Christianity is that “it is the experience of God, the transforming power of the Spirit, that most profoundly shapes [these] communities…. As it did for the early Christians, the experience of salvation stands at the forefront of African Christian belief and practice. They believe God has freed them from the spiritual forces, continues to protect and deliver, and leads them to live in Christ-filled ways in every sphere of life. Through the Spirit they experience signs and wonders, and have authority over all forces that block their way” (pp. 13-14).
    A copy of this intriguing 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 this matter of transformation and how it fits with the power of God’s Word to save.



SCRAPPERS will meet the last week in April, Tuesday & Wednesday, the 23rd & 24th.  If you are interested in helping stop by and see all they do.    

READ THE KORAN IN FOUR WEEKS:  Thursdays, 7-9 pm, April 3rd, 10th and 24th, and May 1st. If you are interested in joining this class, talk to Pastor Marshall.

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

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.

WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK BENEFIT:  The 7th Annual Instruments of Change Benefit Dinner is planned for Friday evening, May 2nd, this year.  There will be a Game Room with a Spin the Wheel, Wine Toss, Photo Booth, Silent Auction, and dinner with a dessert dash.  This fundraising event is at the Hall of Fauntleroy, 9131 Calif. Ave. SW.  Tickets: $85.   Also, get your tickets in advance on the Helpline web page to the very fun West Seattle Helpline 9th Annual Taste of West Seattle on May 15th.   



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Mariann Petersen, Nora Vanhala, Natalie Nesvig, Mary Goplerud, Holly Petersen, Michael Nestoss, Donna Apman, Cynthia Natiello, Leah Baker, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Peggy & Bill Wright & Wendy, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke Bowen, Tabitha Anderson, Max Richardson, The Jones Family, Kyle Bogie, Anna & John Bertelsen, Kurt & Jenny Alfano, Robin Kaufman, Rosita & Jim Moe, Dean Herrick, Asha Sagmoen, Dano, Karen & W. Erick, The McGinnis Family, Dave & Sheri Wheeler, Sandy  & Ron Weiss, Mark Sponheim, Sandee, Christine & Kristophor Marshall, Delores Grenier, Isabella Wain, Brian Mangan, Ginny Montgomery. 

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

    Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved one:  Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts:  Pray for Pastor Marshall and family on the death of his mother, Eva Marshall.

     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


My God and Father, I ask only that I may have the strength to endure what I must. But then, may I ask as well, to put my trust in you that you will mercifully grant me life beyond death? In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., I:1007, altered]