Saint John the Baptist in Advent
Martin Luther called Saint John the Baptist that “fiery
angel” of the Lord, because of his fierce instance on
repenting thoroughly rather than half-heartedly, with
only a lick and a promise (The
Book of Concord,
ed. T. Tappert, p. 308). During Advent, then, we are
asked to put aside the glorious angel Gabriel, with his
good news to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26–28), and take up
instead this fiery angel John.
Saint John is very hard on us. He thunders down through
the centuries: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to
flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit
repentance” (Luke 3:7–8).
Advent, and most of December, is therefore not a
time to party and be happy with ourselves. No, it
doesn’t matter if all your friends are whooping-it-up
around you. You instead must dwell on repenting and
doing appropriate deeds. That will include being ashamed
of the dishonor we have inflicted on God and his name,
while also making sacrifices so we can help our less
fortunate neighbors get along. May you then have a
Blessed Advent this year – as you struggle with God’s
help to do both of these.
6th from 4pm to 7pm
In a less than a week we will be
gathering in the “transformed” Parish Hall to celebrate St.
Nicholas Day by hosting an event to commemorate the generous
spirit of St. Nicholas.
His many acts of charity are legendary.
All proceeds from this Faire will be donated to the West
Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.
Here’s a sampling of the gift
baskets that will be available to bid on…….
Pasta & BBQ
Plus gift certificates to many
local restaurants and businesses like JAKS, Elliott Bay Pub &
Brewery, Caffe Ladro, Husky Deli, QFC, Safeway, Trader Joe’s,
West Seattle Nursery, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Target,
Bartell’s, Great Harvest Bakery, NW Art & Frame,
Staples, Pagliacci Pizza, Spiros, Amazon, ETC!!!
But in order for it to be a
success, we need every member to participate and commit to
helping in some manner.
The sign-up sheets were in the hall between classrooms C
& D during the month of November.
If you missed them and still are able to help in some
way, please contact me (Larraine 206-937-6740).
We have tried to make contributing approachable and
within reach. There are still a few ways each of us can help-
donations (make checks payable to First Lutheran Church of West
Seattle, and note it is to be given to the St. Nicholas Faire),
and help during the Faire.
But the most
important way to support this event is to come and bring your
family, friends and neighbors, and do your Christmas shopping.
The St. Nicholas Faire has a
dual purpose – it benefits two very deserving extended
ministries, and it allows us to have a “party” together with
family and friends – while supporting our neighbors in need from
our community. Now
that’s a WIN! WIN!
So please plan to come and join
in the celebration.
DON’T MISS IT!!!!!
Join us for Advent
8:00 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel
am Holy Eucharist, in the nave*
8:00 pm Compline, in the
*Liturgy & Holy Eucharist with Choir 10:30 am
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD
Celebrate with us the great Christmas feast of our Lord's
May these days fill your prayers with thanksgiving and blessing.
Thursday, December 24, 2015:
Liturgy of Lessons, Carols, & Holy Eucharist
11:00 pm Holy Eucharist, in the nave
Friday, December 25, 2015:
Festival Liturgy & Holy Eucharist
10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the nave
Saturday, December 26, 2015:
St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr
11:45 am Holy Eucharist,
in the chapel
Sunday, December 27, 2015:
St. John, Apostle and Evangelist
8:00 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel
10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the nave *
8:00 pm Compline
Monday, December 28, 2015
The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
11:45 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel
To end the 12 days of Christmas be sure to join us on –
Wednesday, January 6, 2015
The Day of Epiphany
9:30 am Matins, in the chapel
11:45 am Holy Eucharist,
in the chapel
7:00 pm Vespers & Reserve
Sacrament, in the chapel
California Avenue SW
As we approach the end of the
fiscal year, the Church Council looks with anticipation, as it
does every year, to the month of December, historically our
largest giving month.
While the Council has to budget for expenses that are
steady throughout the year, our giving historically goes up and
down. If we
maintain historic giving levels in December, our annual budget
should come out about right.
We thank all of you for your faithfulness this year.
This year the Church Council has
been considering how best to maintain our extraordinary church
the way this year, we have been the recipients of several very
Two of these came to us from the Tilden School: the new floor in
the Fellowship Hall, and the improvements to the parking lot.
The Tilden School itself does make much use of the
parking lot, but we are the primary users and beneficiaries of
the new floor and we do also benefit from the new parking lot.
Our relationship with the Tilden School is a great
blessing to us.
Another gift that we need
to recognize and lift up is Dale Korsmo’s invaluable
contributions to the Nave and Chapel Re-lamp Project,
overseen by Dean Hard.
The Church Council recently received a report
from Dale summarizing the improvements.
While the lighting in the Parish House and Parish
Hall had already been converted to fluorescent lamps,
early this year the Lounge and Hallways were converted
to LED. It
was much more difficult to convert the Nave and Chapel
later this year entirely to LED lamps, and it required
some creative problem solving.
One result is a significant reduction of our
electrical power usage.
The Nave and Chapel when fully lighted now draw
less than one
fifth of the previous wattage.
LED lamps provide other benefits, not the least
of which is that they don’t need to be replaced
regularly high up in the Nave.
The new lamps should last 20
We are extraordinarily
fortunate on the one hand that Dale is able to do this
kind of work according to code, and even more so that he
did it at no cost to the Church for his time and skill.
Let us think of this when we pray (under these
new lights) the words,
We offer with joy and
thanksgiving what you have first given us—our selves,
our time and our possessions, signs of your gracious
Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for
us, Jesus Christ our Lord.
As we look forward to the
end of the year, the Church Council is considering what
maintenance projects will be needed and how best to
approach funding them.
Perhaps others of us will feel called upon to
contribute in similar ways in our efforts to maintain
and improve our beautiful and worshipful buildings and
the Mind: Readings in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, December 27th
The book for December is
Unfashionable: Making a
Difference in the World by Being Different (2012), by
William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, a Presbyterian pastor in
Florida and grandson of Billy Graham. This is a book about how
Christians are to live differently from every one else. But this
isn’t as simple as it sounds: “The Christian seeks to change his
tires to the glory of God and the non-Christian does not. But
that’s a difference that couldn’t be captured in a photograph.
When changing tires, a Christian and non-Christian may look very
much alike” (p. 87).
A copy of this important book on
Christian life 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 how Christ leads us to live
differently than the way we naturally would.
is in need of Christmas gift items for their housing centers for
both men and women. Listed here are the items we will be
collecting over the next couple of weeks: gift cards in $5 to
$25 increments for fast food restaurants, coffee shops, Target
and grocery stores;
(L, XL, XXL sizes with the tags on), underwear, flip-flops,
hats, scarves and gloves (in dark neutral colors).
New toiletries in
small sizes are always needed. Please leave your donations at
the office. The items collected will be delivered after Sunday,
2016 FLOWER CHART:
The new chart will be up toward the end of the
up early for the best choice of dates.
Also, we still need a couple more people to sign
up for Christmas flowers.
FOOD BANK COLLECTION
suggested donation for December is holiday foods.
And, don’t forget to bring a can of food to the
St. Nicholas Faire!
next weekly Koran Class starts on Thursday, January 7th.
Call the office if you plan to attend.
There will also
be a one day class on the Koran on Saturday, January 9,
2016 at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Issaquah, 9 am to
SACRAMENT OF PENANCE:
19th, 3-5 pm.
CHRISTMAS CAROLING PARTY:
Saturday, December 26th, meet at Christo’s on Alki at
5:00 pm for a no host meal.
Then go caroling, to shut-ins in the
Everyone is welcome to come along.
Please sign up on the list that is posted in the
to the November Service Team for organizing the luncheon
for our All Saints’ Luncheon.
It was a great success.
always hard to remember that health and wealth are gifts from
God. Sometimes when we are sick, the pain of the sickness causes
us to remember that health is not in our hands; it is a gift
from God. What we take for granted most of the time suddenly
appears as it really is — a blessing freely given or withheld by
Wealth seems an even harder case. Maybe it's because as
Americans most of us have been sheltered from poverty. Maybe
it's also because our sin blinds us from the facts of the
matter. For whatever reasons, it is especially difficult for us
to see wealth as it really is — a gift from God. And just like
health, money is an essential ingredient of a productive,
effective and rewarding life. Without money it would be very
hard to help those in need, to commission great works of art, to
vacation or even to watch a movie. Without health, life's simple
joys — the taste of food, the energy to work and complete
projects — would be out of reach. And Christ's church is no
different. Christ requires that those of us who have been
blessed with money and health (to whatever degree) work and give
according to our gifts. A new toilet is not as exciting or
illuminating as a great work of art, but it is every bit as
necessary. And the lesson it may have for us could be just as
illuminating. It is when we are stretched (short on health,
short on money) that we are most likely to see things as they
Season of Electronic Giving
This holiday season, we thank everyone who has supported
First Lutheran Church of West Seattle this past year with
their time, talent and financial contributions and look forward
to support from all of our members in the year ahead. If you
need a convenient way to make regular offerings or if you plan
to make an additional gift before the end of the year, we
encourage you to check out our electronic giving options. As the
pace of life speeds up, especially around the holidays, you may
find electronic giving a most welcome way to make contributions.
Simply Giving (electronic giving) forms are available on the
office window counter.
Fasting During Advent
The four weeks right before Christmas are for intensified
fasting beyond what we normally do every week of the year.
Bible teaches fasting and the Lutheran Confessions confirm it.
Lutherans cannot be confessional and at the same time
think fasting is for the birds.
Fasting reminds us we are sinners and deserve nothing
good. It helps us
So how shall we fast during Advent?
Lutheran do not subscribe to a set formula.
We believe we are free to set up our own program of
principles apply, however.
First fasting is about refraining from eating foods we
Second fasting is not about dieting.
We fast to save money for the poor and reserve extra time
for prayer. We
don’t fast to lose weight.
Here is a program you might adopt or adapt in some way.
If you already have a plan for Advent there is no need to
follow this one. I
write this to help you get started if you are stymied.
Remember Sundays are never fast days.
They are little Easters.
On Mondays eliminate
all food. Drink
water and juices but no other foods.
If you have health restrictions or are under 18 do
something else on this day.
On Tuesdays don’t
eat meat, fish or fowl.
Other foods are fine.
eliminate all sweets.
On Thursdays cut the
amount you plan to eat in half.
Eat what-ever you want but only half as much as you would
On Fridays eat just
one meal. The rest
of the day drink water and juices.
On Saturdays don’t
eat any beef, pork or fowl.
All other foods are fine.
On every day but
Sundays don’t drink any alcoholic beverages or sodas.
Eliminate all restaurant food and carry-out food as well.
Only eat meals prepared at home.
Monthly Home Bible Study, December 2015, Number 274
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
Read Psalm 64.6 noting the words
deep. In what ways
are we deeply criminal? On this read Isaiah 53.6 noting the
words all and
astray. Why do we
stray? On this read John 3.19 noting the line
men loved darkness.
Why wouldn’t we prefer the light? On this read Genesis 3.8
noting the words hid
and trees. Why can’t
we stand up against God, but instead try to hide from him? On
this read Jeremiah 20.7 noting the words
accurate is this? On this read 2 Timothy 2.13 noting the words
faithful. Does that
put the lie to Jeremiah’s lament? On this read Jeremiah 31.3
noting the words
continued. What else is there to our deep criminal
corruption? On this read Isaiah 1.6 noting the words
soundness. So nothing
escapes tarnishing? On this read Romans 3.10 noting the line
none is righteous, no,
not one. How thorough is this? On this read John 8.44 noting
the words you,
Read again Psalm 64.6 noting the same words
deep. Why are we this
way? On this read Jeremiah 17.9 noting the words
does such a horrible heart come from that throws everything so
off kilter? On this read Psalm 51.5 noting the words
conceive. But how is
that we are made this way? On this read 1 Corinthians 15.22
noting the line in Adam
all die. Read also Romans 6.23 noting that line
the wages of sin is death.
How did Adam’s sin set the course for everyone else in the
world, and for all times to come? On this read Genesis 2.17
noting the play between the two phrases
shall not and
shall die. Just as
inevitable as death now is because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion,
so is our constitutional corruption part of our new dying
nature. Would that our corruption were as obvious as our dying
nature! Job knew his death was inevitable (Job 14.12), but
didn’t think that made him morally and spiritually impure (Job
6.24). What do you think of that?
Reread Psalm 64.6 noting the same words
deep. What follows
from our deep corruption? On this read Ecclesiastes 9.18 noting
the line one sinner
destroys much good. What else follows? On this read Hebrews
3.13 noting the words
hardened. Anything else besides destruction and deceit? On
this read Romans 14.23 noting the line
whatever does not proceed
from faith is sin. So unbelief is part of it too. What
follows from that? On this read Matthew 27.3-5 noting the words
– and the huge gap between them –
hanged. So the
corruption of unbelief is also fatal. For more on that, read
John 3.36 noting the words
wrath. For more on
this wrath, read Luke 16.28 noting the phrase
place of torment, and
2 Thessalonians 1.5-10 noting the words
believed. On this
eternal exclusion read Mark 9.47-48 noting the words
fire. So having a
deeply corrupted heart is hardly of little consequence. Do you
agree? Explain your answer.
Read Psalm 64.6 one last time noting the same word
deep. How can we
escape all of this misery and corruption? On this read Ezekiel
11.19 noting the words
stony and flesh.
Why does God have to do this for us? On this read Romans 7.24
noting the word wretched.
What does that wretchedness do to us? On this read Romans 7.19
noting the play between the words
want. What is this
about – besides sheer wretchedness? On this read Isaiah 5.20
noting the switching around of the words
evil. Once this new
heart is in place, then what? On this read Colossians 1.13
noting the words
transferred. What do these take? On this read Luke 16.16
noting the word violently.
Does that go without saying? On this read Acts 9.3-9 noting the
nothing. Why does it
take such violence to get us going in the right direction? On
this read about the
defilements within us in Mark 7.18-23. Note also the word
slaves in John 8.34.
Are those two passages enough to explain why God has to deal
with us so roughly in order to save us?
Remember in prayer before God
those whom He has made your
brothers and sisters through
Peter Douglass, Cristian Clemente, Elmer Wittman, The Lawson
Family, Bob Baker, Kyra Stromberg, Michael & Eileen Nestoss,
Cynthia Natiello, Leah Baker, Peggy & Bill Wright, Bob & Barbara
Schorn, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke Bowen, Tabitha
Anderson, The PLU Faculty, Ron & Margaret Douglass, Yvonne
Rainey, David Dahl, Nathan Arkle, Robert Cromartie, Celia
Balderston, Rick Collins, Renann Taylor, Mike Harty, Jack
Feichtner, Paul Volkman, Matt Anderson, Shirley Eaton, David
Gehring, Angel Lynn, Jeanette Braafladt, Dean Cheney, Stephanie
Hoikka, Brayton Decker, Mark Mosley and the great migration from
the Near East into Europe.
Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them
joy: C. J.
Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian
Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Vivian Wheeler, Peggy &
Pray for the newly married that they will fulfill their holy
vows and grow in holy love until their life's end:
Pray for Hali Stromberg and Todd Tuomi who were married
on November 27th in Homer, Alaska.
Pray for those mourning over death:
Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their
hearts: Pray for
the family and friends of Pastor DeWayne Bey, on his death.
He was Assistant Pastor here: August 21, 1960 ─February
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 Advent &
Christmas. 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:
Saint Thomas, Apostle; Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr; Saint
John, Apostle and Evangelist; and The Holy Innocents, Martyrs.
A Treasury of Prayers
Lord our God, I confess how weak I am in myself, how
prone I am to uncharitable judgments of others. Give me
the strength of your Spirit and the love of Christ to
think and do what is right and true and kind. Guard me
from every deed of anger and impatience. May I think
pure thoughts, speak gentle words and do helpful and
gracious deeds. Deliver me from all unfair judgments,
remembering that with what measure I judge I shall be
judged. In Jesus’ name I
All the Saints
(ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., II:823–24,