April 2017


Don’t Touch Me, Brothers


The First Easter Message


These famous, brief words from Jesus, “don’t touch me,” are, according to Martin Luther, “the first sermon which the Lord Christ preached after His resurrection, and without a doubt [are] the most comforting, even though preached with few words, but with exceedingly kind and cordial words” (Luther’s Works 77:23).

     And why aren’t we supposed to touch him? Was it because he was still sore from the crucifixion? No, it’s because he is ascending to be with his Father in heaven and so we no longer need to touch him, serve him, wait on him and anoint him. Instead we are to tell the good news to our brothers in the faith that Christ has triumphed. Being called brothers is “the kindest and most glorious name.” The comfort in that name will last our whole life long because it “is too great and the joy too high, and the heart of man too small and narrow to attain it” fully (LW 77:24).

     And why are they so glorious? It is because they make certain what Jesus once said: “because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19). Those few words are worth taking all the way to the grave with you! “Because I live, you will live also.”

     Let, then, the seven weeks of Sundays, that the Church calls the Easter Season, be fully taken by this first Easter message. Alleluia!

Pastor Marshall 


President’s Report…by Bob Baker


When people join FLCWS they receive a copy of The Book of Concord. Ever wonder Why? Why a copy of The Book of Concord? One response can be found in chapter 2 of the Constitution of FLCWS. There it says that “this congregation accepts,” besides the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, “the other confessional writings in The Book of Concord…. Included is a document called “The Smalcald Articles.”

     The second item on the agenda of the Council Meeting is a study led by Pastor Marshall of a section of The Book of Concord. Currently we are working our way through The Smalcald Articles. At the Council meeting this month we discussed section VI, The Sacrament of the Altar.

     I appreciate these studies because they help clarify how we are in agreement with some other Christians and also how we differ from some denominations. We agree with the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics that the true body and blood of Christ Jesus are present in the elements of the bread and the wine because God says so in His words of institution. Denominations such as the Methodists, the Presbyterians, and the Baptists say the body and blood of Jesus is only really present if the receiving person believes that is so.

     On the other hand, we disagree with the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics over how the body and blood are present. Here the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation was contrasted with the Lutheran teaching that simply says the body and blood are present because the Word of God says so. You want to know more? Well, Lutherans say, the body and blood are present in, with, and under the elements of the bread and wine. It is a matter for faith to believe, not for worldly reason to dissect and decipher.

     A good discussion took place regarding such considerations as at what age a baptized person may receive communion, and who should make the decision for infants and young children about when they may commune. At FLCWS, any baptized person may receive the bread and the wine, and the timing initiative rests with the parents. One guiding principle is that what happens should not be done in a way that frightens the child.

Motion to Change the Bylaws

   The only motion acted upon at the March Council Meeting was the passing of a motion to submit to the congregation at the 2017 mid-year meeting a motion that would bring the Bylaws in line with the practice for more than the past 15 years, namely that the Pastoral Review is completed every two years rather than every year.


     So regarding Bylaw B13.01.09, the Motion is to replace the words “an annual” with “a”, and insert “at least once every two years” after the word “pastor” at the end of the first sentence. The first sentence of B13.01.09 would then read: “The Executive Committee is responsible to conduct a review of each pastor at least once every two years.” (Italics used to indicate changes.) The effect of this motion would be to give the Executive Committee the discretion to conduct a review every year or every other year as they deem appropriate.


From The Luther Bible of 1534 (complete facsimile edition).


The Reformation at 500


A Precarious Legacy


By Pastor Marshall


Our fourth installment on the significance of the Reformation, comes again from Diarmaid MacCulloch’s award-winning book, The Reformation: A History (New York: Penguin, 2003) p. 698. At the end of his book he describes an unforeseen outcome of the Reformation:

So much of the story [of the Reformation] has not been about unbelief at all, but sincere and troubled belief. When children of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and children of the Jewish Diaspora, turned on the religions which had bred them, they mostly sought not to abolish God but to see him in a clearer light. That was the project of the many groups in the Netherlands, England and beyond who… made it their goal to produce a more rational Christianity…. Such interests coalesced with a renewed Protestant mysticism and personal religion which to begin with, the ‘magisterial’ Reformation had held at bay. All that too found its way into the Enlightenment, and it meant that much of the Enlightenment was not anti-Christian at all: it was able to alter Christianity and open it to ways of reformulating the questions and answers which made up Christian belief. That is why to look at the eighteenth-century Enlightenment in England, Scotland or Germany is to see a movement which was as much an ally of Protestant Christianity as its supplanter.
During this anniversary year, this passage is a good warning about the mixed legacy of the Reformation. It’s also a warning about our ability to size up God’s work among us. So we must beware of the personal responsibility that the Reformation championed, for it can easily turn, as it did, into secular self-determination.




Take Heed and Give


In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. The man is a farmer and God blesses him with a plentiful harvest. But instead of using the excess to help those around him, the man builds bigger barns to store all of it. His plan is to live a life of ease off his windfall. Yet things don’t go well for him. In verse 20 God curtails the man’s plans, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things that you have prepared, whose will they be? So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

     In this parable and other teachings, Jesus warns us about the proper use of our wealth. In verse 15, just prior to this parable Jesus says, "Take heed and beware of all covetousness, for a man's life does not consist of the abundance of his possessions". We are not to covet the possessions of others, but we also need to beware of not having a covetousness attitude toward the things that we normally assume are ours. We should not regard our wealth strictly ours, but use it to benefit others. Give money to the church to help it continue in its proclamation of the Gospel. Give to charitable organizations locally and abroad that are doing good things to help those in need. Give to educational organizations so they can fulfill their mission. Let us all prayerfully work towards being good stewards of the things we have been given with an attitude that is rich towards God.

                                                                                                        Peter Douglass, Church Council


Stewardship 2017


                                 Month (February)     Year to date (Jan-February)

Budget                   $20,513                          $39,706

Received                $18,183                          $41,703



April Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, April 29th

The book for April is Death Comes for the Deconstructionist: A Novel (2014) by Daniel Taylor, university professor, author of many books, and stylist for the New Living Translation of the Bible (2006). This award-winning book for Christian literature (2016) is a tragicomic mystery, a detective story – exploring whether or not truth is something we create rather than discover. In that way it is an elaboration of John 8:32 – you will know the truth and it will make you free.

     A copy of this intriguing novel is in the library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss the function of truth in our life together.




WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK BENEFIT:  The 10th Annual Instruments of Change Benefit Dinner is planned for Saturday evening, May 13th, this year.  There will be a Happy Hour with games, Liquor Tasting and great items in our Silent Auction, then enjoy a 3-Course dinner by Tuxedo and Tennis Shoes with a dessert dash.  This fundraising event is at the Seattle Design Center, 5701 6th Ave S.  Tickets: $100 or $1,000 for a table.  

WEST SEATTLE HELPLINE:  Get your tickets ASAP on the W.S. Helpline web page to the very popular and 12th Annual Taste of West Seattle on Thursday, May 25th.  This is a true taste of what West Seattle has to offer in food, wine and brews.

FOOD BANK DONATION suggestion for April is baby food and infant formula.  Formula is expensive for young families and much appreciated.  Cash donations are always welcome.  Designate your check to FLCWS with West Seattle Food Bank.

Compass Housing Alliance needs new or lightly used bath towels.  Donations can be left at the office.



Check out the church's webpage at www.flcws.org

There are many sections to our webpage – some of them also include pictures and artwork.  You may find a good deal of interest in these sections, and some of them change regularly. 

     This webpage is the internet “face” of our congregation.  Tell your friends about our webpage.  It is a good way to introduce them to our church. 

     Here listed are the sections from our webpage:


      X 500th Year Reformation Celebration Bulletins

      X A Critique of Evangelical Lutheran Worship

      X Baptism

      X Bible Class Schedule

      X Bible Study

      X Bookstore

      X Building-Windows

      X Charity-Service

      X Certus Sermo

      X Columbarium

      X Cowper - Schalk Hymn

      X Directions

      X Education—Acolytes

      X ELCA—2015

      X Endowment Fund

      X Festival Liturgies & Announcements

      X History of the West Seattle Food Bank

      X Icons

      X Kennedy - Schalk Hymn

      X Kierkegaard Bicentennial

      X Luther

      X Mission Statement

      X Movie Reviews

      X Music

      X Staff-Government

      X Photo Gallery

      X Prayers

      X Publications

      X Reading the Koran with Pastor Marshall

      X Sermons

      X The Messenger

      X Weddings

      X War & Peace

      X Worship




Ever Consider Being a Priest ?

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

     That is a lot to consider. It would be easy to pass over what is unfamiliar. Like Priesthood. What is that “Priesthood” notion all about?

     Glad you asked, says Martin Luther, whose comments include the following:  

     Thus it fares with a Christian: through faith he is so highly exalted above all things, that he becomes spiritually lord [king] of them all…. But further, we are priests, which is more than kings, for priesthood makes us worthy to stand before God and to pray for others. For it behooves none but priests to stand before God. Christ gained this privilege for us, so that we might stand and intercede for one another in spirit… (italics added).

     Thank you, Martin. So we can pray for others. But why do it? Look at the conclusion of the Statement of Mission for FLCWS. It says, “we bear one another’s burdens, so that we can provide help in times of trouble”?

     We pray for others so that we bear one another’s burdens and provide help in times of trouble.

     But I usually just pray for myself and my own family. Who else should I pray for?

     Another good question! Look at the Parish Prayers in the Messenger. Here are the names of people in need of our prayers. These are more than just names. These are people with burdens and troubles. These people are our family, sisters and brothers in Christ.

     We priests pray:

     Oh Holy Father, I come before You to pray for my sisters and brothers in need. Strengthen their faith, and mine, so that as burdens and troubles increase, we may be reminded that true peace and comfort comes, not from the passing things of this world, but rather from the redemption you have accomplished for us through Christ Jesus our Lord in Whose Name I pray. Amen.                                                                  —Bob Baker


Job 1.12

Monthly Home Bible Study, April 2017, Number 290

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall


Along with our other regular study of Scripture, let us join as a congregation in this home study. We will study alone then talk informally about the assigned verses together as we have opportunity. In this way we can "gather together around the Word" even though physically we will not be getting together (Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV translation.)

We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851 Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is "an extremely dangerous book.... [because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a prodigious scale" (For Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that "we all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved in the Bible" (Opening the Bible). Indeed this word "kills" us (Hosea 6.5) because we are "a rebellious people" (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans, however, we are still to "abide in the womb of the Word" (Luther's Works 17.93) by constantly "ruminating on the Word" (LW 30.219) so that we may "become like the Word" (LW 29.155) by thinking "in the way Scripture does" (LW 25.261). Before you study, then, pray: "Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen" (quoted in R. F. Marshall, Making A New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12). And don’t give up, for as Luther said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for all eternity” (LW 75:422)!


Week I. Read Job 1.12 noting the line in your power. Martin Luther thought that these words were about evil coming to us by God’s “permission” in order to humble us so that we might obey him (Luther’s Works 13:135). But was Luther right? On this read Revelation 12.12 noting the words woe, earth and wrath. Does God send an enraged devil down to earth to torment us? On this read Matthew 4.1 noting the line tempted by the devil. Why would God allow this to happen to his only begotten Son? Shouldn’t he have a better life? On this read Hebrews 2.17–18 noting the words merciful, expiation, suffered, tempted, able and help. How does this work? On this read Hebrews 4.15 noting the word sympathize, which implies shared experiences. So if Jesus floated above the turmoil of life he wouldn’t have cared enough to help us with it. But because he knew what we were going through, he cared – he sympathized with us. But why the tribulation in the first place? On this read Ecclesiastes 9.18 noting the line destroys much good. So when we fall short of God’s glory in Romans 3.23, tribulation follows.

Week II. Read again Job 1.12 noting the same phrase in your power. What’s that like? On this read 1 John 5.19 noting the line the whole world is in the power of the evil one. Read also 2 Corinthians 4.4 noting the line blinded the minds of the unbelievers. What is it that we can’t see? On this read Luke 4.5–8 noting the line all the kingdoms of the world… have been delivered to me, and I give them to whom I will. Does that make all the centers of power in the world evil? On this read Matthew 13.22 noting the line the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word. Read also Luke 16.15 noting the line what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. Where does that leave us? On this read Matthew 5.3–12 noting the words mourn, meek, hunger and persecuted. These are all maligned designations. On this read 1 Corinthians 1.26–29 noting the words foolish, weak, low and despised. Note also the disparaging of worldly standards in that passage. Link this with the phrase the refuse of the world in 1 Corinthians 4.13. Where does that put us? On this read 1 Peter 2.11 noting the world exiles and aliens. How far out on the cultural, societal edge is that? Read also John 15.18–19 noting the line chose you out of the world. According to John 17.15 this doesn’t mean being taken out of the world. It just means not being of the world. That means not sharing in the dominate value system of our shared, common life. And what is it made up of? On this read about acquiring the image of God in Colossians 3.5–10 by casting off fornication, covetousness, idolatry, anger, malice, slander, foul talk and lying.


Week III. Reread Job 1.12 noting that same line in your power. If we were to live our lives striving to avoid the devil’s powerful lines of influences, how would we do that? How would we put off the old nature from last week and replace it with the image of God? On this read Luke 9.23 noting the phrase deny yourself… daily. What’s that like? On this read John 12.25 about not loving your life. What’s an example of that? On this read Philippians 2.3 noting the line count others better than yourselves. But what if it isn’t true? What then? On this read John 9.39 noting the phrase become blind. How does that work? Ignore the differences.


Week IV. Read Job 1.12 one last time noting that same line in your power. Are there any other ways that we can steer clear of the devil’s might? On this read Ephesians 4.32 noting the line forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. This is a tall calling to say the least (Colossians 3.13). It’s also in the parable in Matthew 18.28–35, and the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.14–15. So what do you think? Nearly impossible, wouldn’t you say? What’s left, then? Only self-interest – so if you don’t forgive as you’ve been forgiven, you’ll lose it. Sound right? On this read Hebrews 2.1–4 noting the line neglecting so great a salvation. Therefore follow Romans 12.9 and hold fast to what is good – keeping John 15.5 in mind all the way, of course.



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Dorothy Ryder, Mona Ayer, Dean Walter Hard, Marlis Ormiston, Evelyn Coy, Eileen Nestoss, Leah Baker, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Tabitha Anderson, Celia Balderston, The PLU Music Faculty, Jordan Corbin, Margeen & Chris Boyer, Linda Hagen, Iris Hansen Tate, Nell & Paul Sponheim, The Rev. Kari Reiten, The Rev. Paul Smith, John Matthiesen, Therese Mannella, Ion & Galina Ceaicovschi, Nathan Arkle, Myra Woody, Judy and Dick Earle, David Dahl, Gloria Cackette, Ellen Juhl, the Alaska House in West Seattle, those infants and families affected by the Zika virus, the great migration from the Near East into Europe and other parts of the world and the mass killings in London. 

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: Florence Jenkins, C. J. Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Elmer & June Wittman, Bill Wright.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Brian Kirby Unti, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our deacon Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called.

     Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of Stewardship.  Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances.  Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways.

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this 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


Glorious God, give me grace to amend my life, and to have an eye to my end without begrudging death, which to those who die in you, good Lord, is the gate to a heavenly life. Give me a firm faith, O Lord, and a love of you incomparably above the love of myself. Give me a longing to be with you, neither to avoid the calamities of this world, nor to attain the joys of heaven, but simply out of love for you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                                       [For All the Saints III:1144, altered]