We’re All Beggars
Martin Luther died at the age of 62 on February 18, 1546, in Eisleben, Germany, where he was busy solving a property dispute.
On that day a slip of paper was found in his pocket on which he
had written in Latin and German –
Hoc est verum. Wir sind alle Pettler
– “It’s true – we’re all beggars.” He died around 3 am of a
heart attack. Before that happened he was asked, “Do you want to
die standing firm on Christ and the doctrine you have taught?”
In a loud voice he said, “Ja” [Luther’s
54:476; James Kittelson,
Luther the Reformer
(1986) p. 297].
But why did Luther say we’re all beggars? Certainly not so we
could mooch-off others by constantly begging (LW
2:329; 59:239). No, he instead wanted us to be beggars “as
Christ Himself was… on earth,” and only “before God” in heaven
be “bountifully blessed with all good things.” For when
we die, we are “obliged to depart naked and bare” as
in heaven will we share in “the riches and the
eternal glory of poor Lazarus” (Luke 16:25;
24:84-85). So we must never demand a thing of God. Before
him we’re always beggars. But the miracle is that God
brings forth glory from our depleted state (Romans
And, this can’t happen without us first begging and
admitting we’re nothing. For the glory only comes after
being crushed and saying, “Lord, have mercy for Jesus’
So that’s what’s behind Luther’s saying that
we’re all beggars (LW
4:49; 5:26; 14:151, 163, 198; 22:189; 25:136, 176-77,
204, 365; 76:201, 242, 290, 307, 330, 355, 378, 433).
And may God enrich you with these same words on your
What a Relief to Read Luther
Kierkegaard’s Love for Luther’s
By Pastor Marshall
Kierkegaard loved many of Luther’s sermons, especially the one
on 1 Peter 5:7 which says “God cares about you.” After reading
that sermon Kierkegaard thought that “Peter’s state of mind must
have been dreadful during the days when Christ was dead – and
Peter had denied him – and then they were separated from each
other in this way.” After reflecting on this dread of Peter’s,
Kierkegaard thought it would be “of value to present Peter in
this light” (Kierkegaard’s
Here is the passage
from Luther’s sermon that probably spawned Kierkegaard’s
thoughts: “Let [the Christian] banish cares and anxious
thoughts. Courageous and cheerful, let him cast them aside; not
into a corner, as some vainly think to do, for when burdens are
permitted to conceal themselves in the heart they are not really
put away. But let the Christian cast his heart and its anxieties
upon God. God is strong to bear and he can easily carry the
burden. Besides he has commanded that all this be put upon
himself…. This is a grand promise, and a beautiful, golden
saying, if men would only believe it…. We should have in all
this, if we only believed it,… a perfect paradise on earth. For
what is better and nobler than a quiet, peaceful heart? For this
all men are striving and laboring. So we have been… running to
and fro after it. Yet it is found nowhere except in God’s word,
which bids us cast our cares and burdens on God and thus seek
peace and rest…. God would not have anxiety dwell in our hearts,
for it does not belong there; it is put there by the devil” (Sermons
of Martin Luther, 8:74-75). So for all of Kierkegaard’s
concern to dispel phony peace and instill the suffering of
discipleship, he also learned from the Luther and God’s Holy
Word the importance of
“recourse to grace” (Kierkegaard’s
So may we all learn from Luther, as Kierkegaard did,
how to deal with our fears ─ in light of 1 Peter 5:7.
O Morning Star, how fair and bright!
You shine with God’s own truth and light, aglow with
grace and mercy!
So begins hymn #76, which we sang on the 2nd Sunday in Epiphany.
In every verse of this hymn we find hope, promises, and
guidance for how we are to live as followers of Jesus Christ.
Verse 2 begins
bridegroom, light divine, and deep within our hears now shine;
there light a
We need to ask ourselves
what about our lives shows that this light of Christ is “a flame
undying” in the depths of our being.
What do we do that evidences this morning star?
In verse 4 there is quite a definition of love –
Your Son has ransomed us
Jesus died for our sins and for our salvation.
That’s the true definition of love.
this is our great
So what should our response be to this great gift?
Verse 6 has that answer,
That is a tall order, but in comparison to the sacrifice of
Jesus, small potatoes!
So we have work to do!!!!
This has been a good year financially for the church.
We exceeded our budget by about $4,000, which hasn’t
We are grateful.
The council voted to deposit this money in the “Rainy Day Fund”
line item of the budget.
This will allow it to be available if that is necessary
to meet expenses, as well as use it for specific projects if it
is felt that the giving is keeping up with the budget in the
coming months. Our
Exterior Restoration Loan, which began as $100,000 over eight
years ago, is now just $20,088.
This will be paid off within the next two years.
The Endowment Fund investments did very well this year
with additional donations, earned interest, and return on
Fidelity funds. The
closing total as of December 31, 2013 was $159,200.66 which is
up over $23,000 from December 31, 2012.
While I love to report this information, please remember
that these are last year’s figures.
We are now in 2014, so the slate is wiped clean and we
start over, renewing our commitment to good stewardship of our
A special “Thank You!”
to outgoing council members for their service over the
last one to three years – Jane Collins, Evelyn Coy, Peter
Douglass, and Ali Richardson.
Your work on the council is very much appreciated.
At this writing, the nominating committee is pleased to announce
that all vacant positions on Church Council are filled.
We are very thankful that Bob Baker, Cristian Clemente
and Bridget Sagmoen have agreed to each serve a three year term
on the council.
And, Jane Harty has agreed to fill the open two year position.
Now we need to attend our Annual Meeting and vote to
accept our nominees into office.
Please pray for the church, its members, and those who
currently serve on the church council.
May we all be willing to “….offer ourselves to your
service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all
that you have made…..”
(2nd Offertory Prayer)
Let us remember that …..
Christ goes with us all the way – today, tomorrow, ev’ry
day!..... Great is he, the King of glory!
(Hymn #76 v. 6)
Year to date (Jan-Dec)
Keeping Our Balance
“For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34)
personally am not able to quote scripture, but when I hear a
powerful verse, I know it was for me!
This verse from Luke can sum it up for many of us,
especially me. I am
aware when I begin to devote less time, energy, attention, and
offerings to church.
I am aware when I over extend myself that often it is my
commitment to church that begins to wane.
We get over-booked in our other social commitments.
We over-extend our
budget. We work
double time. We
sign the kids up for extracurriculars to promote balance.
After all of this, we see that we haven’t been to church
as much. We know we haven’t met our pledged offering.
We haven’t been able to be available to help with the
events at church.
But somehow everything still gets done at church.
Somehow the lights and heat are on every Sunday.
Somehow meetings and luncheons still proceed.
The work of our wonderful church needs to be shared by
all. I know I can do more.
At times I hear a voice in my head… words from my mother
talking about “the little red hen.”
I know when I need more help from everyone in my
household. I also
know when our church needs more help from me.
We can always do more for our church.
More personal events to attend, cash in our pockets, and
more possessions will not improve our lives.
I am telling myself this especially.
The guilt I feel when I let go of the needs of the church
Truly, you will feel fulfilled knowing that your offering, your
time, and your talent will be more appreciated at this church
than anywhere else. You
will feel the good in your heart.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be
More New Luther
By Pastor Marshall
Another volume in the new series
(volumes 56-82) of
Luther’s Works has been published. This volume,
LW 76 (2013), is a
new translation of some of the old J. N. Lenker English
translation of Luther’s sermons (mostly from vols. 2 and 7),
plus a substantial revision of Luther’s long sermon on Matthew 2
in LW 52. Here are
some of my favorites from
“Know Christ correctly,… not only
[that] He is Lord but also [that] He is the man who stepped into
the place of our sinful nature, who loaded onto Himself all the
wrath of God which we deserved… and who overcame it” (19). “The
works and words of God are all contrary to reason” (40). “Praise
God, what an exceedingly rich and mighty thing faith is! It even
makes man into a god, for whom nothing is impossible” (47). “The
Law is a word of death, a doctrine of wrath, a light of sadness”
(48). “Through [the Gospel] we know God, ourselves, and all
things” (51). “The Gospel… rejects all that is ours and praises
only the divine grace and benefits” (53). “Usually the worst of
all are the most rational” (54). “In temporal things… man… needs
no other light than his reason” (55). “The divine light teaches
us to… endure whatever [God] allows into our hands and presence”
(57). “The other larger part [of the world] condemns [the
Gospel] as error and deserts it” (60). “Now the Gospel has gone
to ruin, and human doctrines have thrived” (61). “It is enough
that you recognize in [natural calamities]
the wrath of God and amend your life” (79). “Christ…
wants to be found [in Scriptures] and nowhere else” (81). “Prove
Scripture with Scripture alone, without any [other] additions”
(85). “It is better not to believe that which is outside of
Scripture than to depart from that which is in Scripture” (89).
“Our faith must have a foundation, which is God’s Word” (90).
“[For] anyone who wants to find Christ it must appear as if he
would find nothing but disgrace” (103). “When… all your strength
fails, then God’s Word begins” (105). “The Word [is] first
correctly… made use of in need, when nothing else helps”
(105-106). “The doctrines of God and the work of Christ bring
the cross, poverty, disgrace, and all kinds of hardship, which
the holiness of Herod cannot endure” (114). “Everything that is
outside of [the Christian Church],… has neither Christ nor His
mother” (128). “The cup of the martyrs [will] boldly help me to
salvation” (130). “Christ… our Mediator before God,…. offers
Himself to propitiate God for us,…. so that our conscience may
not be… afraid of His wrath and judgment” (131). “For what other
reason did [Christ] die, except to
atone for our
sins and obtain grace,… so that we despair of ourselves [and]
rely on Christ alone,… whom God sees in our place…. This is a
Christian faith” (164). “[Christians] will daily be transformed
and renewed in our minds [and] cling to what the world and
reason hate. For example, we daily prefer to be poor, sick, and
despised fools and sinners…. The world does not have that
mind-set…. The Christian cannot be freed from this life”
(188-89). “The heart first becomes heavy before it… grasps
[Christ]” (201). “The evil nature loves itself and does not
avoid what is evil in itself” (221). “Spiritual fervor increases
the more it does,… for it is the nature of spirit that it does
not become tired,…. but through work it becomes strong” (223).
“Christians…. rejoice the most when things are going the worst
according to the flesh” (225). “The words [of a prayer] must
come from a heart on fire” (225). “Everything which is God’s
Word and work must be troublesome, bitter, and difficult to the
outward man, even if it is otherwise blessed” (239). “Where
dancing is modest,… go on dancing. Faith and love are not danced
away or sat away” (242). “Grace does not feed the full and
satisfied, but the hungry” (242). “God and men proceed in
contradictory ways. Men first give the best, and then the worst.
God first gives the cross and suffering, and then honor and
salvation” (248). “Faith asks in such a way that it leaves
everything to the gracious will of God” (254). “The faith [of
children] which brings them [to baptism] is stronger than the
will of adult’s who come of themselves” (265). “Since Christ
preaches that the wise are fools, that the saints are sinners,
and the rich are lost, they become mad and wild” (286).
“Christ’s kingdom increases in affliction and decreases in peace
and luxury” (288). “We are loved by God because we hate, judge,
and condemn ourselves and abandon self-love” (290).
"Weak doctrine and false faith ruin
everything; therefore, here toleration and mercy are out of
place” (292). “In the process of becoming [kind],… there is
still much of the old nature out of which the new is developing”
(296). “No one is godly and justified because he loves” (343).
“The preaching of the gospel is not eternal,… but rather is like
a traveling rain shower” (356). “[Whenever we say that] whatever
God does for us is never right, [this] is the bottomless
wickedness of our unbelief [talking]” (373). “Thanks should be a
daily speech,… for the great treasure that God has given us in
Christ, which can never be exhausted” (388). “Christ… hung on
the cross in no temple, but before God’s eyes, and is still
there” (405). “We must be certain that the doctrine is correct
before God and… pay no attention to how it is regarded by the
people” (409). “Oh, that the whole world were brought so far
that everyone would confess that he could not believe!” (438).
“Confession should be brief” (439). “We have not yet come where
we ought to be, but we are all on the road and under way [and]
God is satisfied to find us at work and with the intention”
Wedding Sermon for
Ruth Marshall & Christopher Freeze
January 4, 2014
Pastor Marshall, First Lutheran Church of West Seattle
Genesis 2:18, 21-24; Ephesians
5:21-33; Matthew 19:3-12
Our Lord himself ordained and
honored and created…. marriage…. to be a… source of all other
estates on earth…. For the householder, father or mother, must
lay the foundation upon which all estates in the world, from the
loftiest to the lowliest, are sustained. For this reason our
Lord God has caused the marriage estate to be the wellspring of
every gift that belongs to our life and existence…. [Married]
people ought [therefore] to take comfort from the fact that God
does not want to abandon them but is eager to overwhelm them
with his blessing…
Luther, Sermon on John 2 (1533), ed. E. Klug,
Luther’s House Postils
In marriage,…. where fear of God
and prayer are not added, irritations very early occur. From
these originate hatred, quarrels,… and perpetual dissension….
[which make for] a very sad marriage…. [For indeed] the
obstacles and perils in marriage are countless.
[Martin Luther, Lectures on
Genesis 24 (1545),
4:226, 243, 264.]
I did not expect you
to stay married to
one man all your life,
no matter you were his
I thought the pain was
but the form existent,
as it is form,
and as such I loved it.
I loved you as well
even as you might tell,
as to how much was
Collected Poems of Robert Creeley 1945–1975
(Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1982, 2006) p. 195.]
Grace and peace to you in the
name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
This is a great day today. And
that is not only because it is the 11th day of Christmas, but
also because on this day Ruth and Christopher are getting
married! So we rightly gather in God’s house to thank him for
their love and commitment to each other; to witness the vows
they will make to each other; and to hear God’s holy Word and
pray for strength that they may keep their vows until death
But why do we gather here to do
all of this? The numbers are growing of those who suppose that
these rites are passé – or even worse! And there are those who
imagine that church weddings are incoherent and without any good
sense. So why do we mark Ruth and Christopher’s life together
with these vows, prayers, readings, and my comments?
Well, first we do so because we
believe that their love and commitment to each other is good and
holy and deserves commensurate praise. Therefore we thank God
for their love and commitment – believing that every good and
perfect gift comes down from above, from God himself (James
1:17). And we also believe that this married life is a “fitting”
life, as Genesis 2:18 says, having been embedded into the very
structure of creation itself. As such, Martin Luther goes on to
add that many of the other blessings of life flow directly from
this primary relationship between a husband and a wife (Luther’s
House Postils 1:240).
And we also do this because we
know – confusing to some, I might add – that the goodness of
marriage doesn’t make it easy. Witness the vows themselves –
where the two promise not to wreck their life together, not to
squander their love and commitment. For this can happen – and
does. So Jesus opposes the bitterness of divorce in our Matthew
19 reading, and Luther balances his praise of marriage with a
realistic note on the many ways that marriage can go haywire (Luther’s
Works 4:226, 243, 264). Therefore the bride and groom make
their vows to each other – under public pressure and scrutiny,
both temporal and eternal. And this pressure is for the binding
the two together – more than they already are by their already
existing love and commitment. This
is the form or structure of marriage – the nuptial vow-making –
that the American poet, Robert Creeley, addresses in his
wonderful poem on marriage, which ends with the off-beat rhyming
words – evidence and penitence [The
Collected Poems 1945-1975 (1982, 2006) p. 195]. This is what
the vows are designed to do, the form of marriage, if you will –
to bring us to penitence by saying we’re sorry in order to
correct us, pull us back, resolve our differences, as best we
can, and then keep us married. I like that poem. It’s short,
memorable, and salutary. And it ends, in full, this way:
I loved you as well
even as you might tell,
as to how much was
Let me recite it again…. Yes, I
like how it makes an ongoing place for the wedding vows – that
form of marriage – in the married life itself. I like how it
offsets the content of marriage – love and hate, joy and pain,
anger and delight, with its form or vow-making – with the tough
intellectual elevation of penitence.
But we also have more for Ruth
and Christopher on their wedding day. In addition to the
fittingness of creation and the binding together by way of their
vows – there is Christ himself, the Savior. In the highly
contentious reading from Ephesians 5 about submitting to each
other in marriage, there is the puzzling analogy of husbands
relating to wives as Christ relates to his church. It says this
is a mystery, and so we’re warned not to press it too far for
intelligibility. But at the least what we have is Christ’s
presence in our marriages to strengthen them – well beyond what
the form of marriage that those vows – remember? – are able to
do. But how so? Well, by sharing in his sufferings. That reading
from Ephesians 5 speaks of him dying for us to save us from our
sins and the punishment they bring. And so we are to join in his
death in our marriages – and so having a crucifix, of all
things, over the marriage bed, would be in good order! But again
we ask, in what way do we share in those sufferings? Well, by
seeing in marriage far more than fulfillment and being served by
the other – to seeing marriage instead as an opportunity to give
to the other. Remember the dominical saying: “It’s more blessed
to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
But in Ephesians 5 that famous verse comes with a hitch – do
it together. Don’t be lopsided. Subject yourselves
to each other out
of reverence for Christ. That’s the hitch. Do it together.
Then both husband and
wife also will receive together – but only inversely by
giving together. But when this inversion doesn’t happen,
then all the great gifts from above in which we rejoice
today, are diminished and finally drained down to nothing.
And that’s precisely why we are here today – to pray to make
sure that doesn’t happen. And that’s important to every one
of us here, simply because we love Ruth and Christopher so
Helping Out My Daughter:
Reviewing Ronald F. Marshall’s
Kierkegaard for the
Wipf & Stock, 2013)
By Rollie Storbakken
I STAND GUILTY AS CHARGED
on p. 9, footnote 34, in Pastor
Marshall’s new book on Kierkegaard, of “accommodating the
Christian revelation to human desires.” I didn’t even need my
dictionary to help me figure out that part of his book, but I
did find my dictionary necessary to understand most of the rest
Let me explain . . .
I can only remember reading
three maybe four books in my fifty-nine years of life – the
Bible, and the biographies of Crazy Horse and Hank Williams. So
this review comes from a retired Union ironworker – who was only
required to use and understand four letter words for thirty-five
years, and before that was raised in a horse barn.
So the reading – or studying –
of this book was a lot of work for me. I looked up every word I
didn’t understand and penciled in the meanings, off to the side
of the page, knowing that this would help me re-read the book
later with greater ease and understanding. I found something on
every page I felt I had to underline and stress for future
study. The book is so full, in my uneducated opinion – not that
I know much about books, mind you.
Just to let you know, here are a
few examples of my smiles and tears as I read through this book.
I had to read footnote 49 on p. 14 over a couple times to get
the important difference between the theologians of glory and of
the cross. (I found that my coffee always got cold while
studying this book.) Footnote 18 on p. 80 is too heavy and still
beyond me: “Only one’s loving care for others is to be loved in
self-love. The self itself is not to be loved in self-love.” I
still ponder this line on p. 106: “challenging ecclesiastical
authority.” But the quotation in the middle of p. 125 still
baffles me: “If this untruth is not included, then the
extraordinary does not remain the extraordinary; it is taken in
vain.” Even so there was also hope and relief, as in footnote 47
on p. 189: “Ah, delicious coolness,” as well as Kierkegaard’s
love for the common man on p. 244. And I like the summaries by
Pattison and Perkins in footnotes 59 and 60 on p. 195. And then
there is that great footnote 15 for kids on p. 219, and the
wonderful prayer at the bottom of p. 228 – especially for my 9
year old daughter, Silvie.
In spite of these difficulties,
I made myself read all of the footnotes on every page of this
book. I didn’t skip over any of them like I thought of doing.
After Matins, one Wednesday morning in December, I told Pastor
Marshall I was still working on his book and that pp. 122 and
192 were two of my favorites. He later told me he looked them up
and was happy to hear I liked them because he thought there were
some pretty good ideas on those two pages. But that wasn’t why I
liked them. I later told him I had jokingly picked them because
they were two of the very few pages in his book without any
footnotes on them!
But by p. 63, I had settled in
and started circling every little footnote number on each page
to make them stand out so that going back and forth between the
footnotes and the main text was easier for me to do. I highly
recommend this to help you get all that is packed into this
For the record, I started
reading it – that is, going on my educational adventure with it
– in October 2013, shortly after the books went on sale in
church. I finished my first reading of it on January 18, 2014.
Why did I choose this book to be
one of the only books I will ever read in my lifetime? Remember
I’ve only read three or four books in my fifty-nine years. Well,
the answer is that a friend of mine – my pastor – is the one who
wrote it! And how many authors do any of us know personally?
So, as an all-or-nothing type of
guy, I decided to do my best to get to know this book. And that
means that I’ll need to keep going over it until I die, because
it’s about Christianity, and that’s the way our faith is. So
there’s enough education-explanation in this work – when I go to
look up the related Bible verses and footnote references – to
keep me informed and busy. And then to understand and believe.
In comprehending this book I feel I will stand – when kneeling –
a better chance of making the team, if you know what I mean. It
might take ‘til I die to let go of this world and grasp what
this book is about (see p. 307). That will be the moment I hope
to leave you all behind.
My copy of this
book, with all of its markings, is now a family treasure to be
left to Silvie, to be read when she gets older. I’ve made notes
in it like, “Silvie, look here” – with arrows
other markings to help her focus on, hear and learn about, what
I believe are the foundational, “light bulb” parts of
Christianity as explained in this book. And it’s full of them –
which are the guts of Luther, Kierkegaard and Pastor Marshall!
So my notes will help Silvie take in, and then digest, this
book. I hope the notes to her and my markings will be the sugar
that helps the medicine go down. I write “here’ in the book with
arrows pointing where she should pay attention. I write “learn
this,” and “here too is the answer.” I write “Look” with eyes
drawn in the double “o”s. I write “Here lies the heart of the
book,” with arrows showing the way. I want to help her – after
I’m dead and gone – to catch what this book has to say about
real Christianity and how it goes against the herd (you’ll have
to read the whole book, especially pp. 125 and 233-35, to get
that one)! I would also love to have embroidered the three
prayers on p. 215 so we could frame them and hang them in our
house so we don’t forget them!
One sentence that really
encouraged me was on p. 324, where Kierkegaard says: “I myself
manage to be only a very simple Christian.” Pastor Marshall adds
that this means Christians are “always on the road to becoming”
Christians. In a nut shell, then, Christianity is about this
“continuous striving” (see also p. 212). For me this is the
ammunition we’ll all need to stay warm in Christ Jesus through
the many struggles of this life. So read your Bibles – for God’s
Word is your defense when things pile up against you. And may we
all receive the Holy Spirit so that we’ll be able to understand
His Word when we finally pick it up and study it – which is what
this book wants all of us to do (see pp. 150-53).
With the Mind:
Readings in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church Lounge,
Saturday, February 22nd.
The book for February is
I Told Me So:
Self-Deception and the Christian Life (2009), by Gregg A.
Ten Elshof, professor of philosophy at Biola University in
Southern California. This book is about all those Bible verses
that warn about deceiving ourselves (p. 6) – like Galatians 6:3.
It’s also about how we rationalize what we know isn’t right (pp.
54-62). Together this paints a “pretty bleak picture” of us (p.
95). One of Elshof’s surprising solutions to this problem is to
think less of it so that it won’t be so hard to admit you’re
doing it! (pp.105-108). Once you’re able to admit you’re
deceiving yourself, you’re then well on your way to
A copy of this fascinating 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 difficult matter of knowing and
judging ourselves (2 Cor 13:5).
will start on Sunday, February 2nd immediately following the
10:30 am liturgy, in room D.
New Members will be received on Sunday, April 27th with a
reception following the liturgy.
If you know someone who is interested in the class,
suggest they talk with Pastor Marshall.
is the first Wednesday in March.
FOOD BANK COLLECTION
suggestions for February are canned fruits & vegetables.
On the Beauty of Christ:
A Study on the First Epistle of John. In this eight week
class we will study the first of the three letters of John the
Evangelist. On it Luther writes: “This… outstanding epistle….
can buoy up afflicted hearts,…. so beautifully… does it picture
Christ…. Because we are never without sins and the danger of
death, we should [always] ruminate on the Word” (Luther’s
Thursday, February 13th, chapel at 11:30 am with lunch at
Monday, February 24th from 9 am to 1 pm, to discuss
Kierkegaard for the
will meet Tuesday & Wednesday the 26th & 27th of February.
If you are
interested in helping stop by and see all they do.
– Communion: Those
who are baptized in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit and believe are welcome to receive the Sacrament of the
Lord's Supper. If you
are not able to walk up to communion but would like to receive,
contact the Parish Deacon
before the liturgy.
We have just finished 2013, had a super holiday and now are
looking forward to the springtime.
However, the months of January and February are times
that we tend to forget our neighbors in need in our area.
Food Bank donations go down, financial gifts to our
extended ministries taper off markedly, and we are more focused
on getting ready for the “tax man” in April.
All normal reactions after the Christmas holidays, and
necessary for personal financial sustainability, but it is also
vitally important to remember those among us who have need of
food and money to pay utility bills.
We propose that
everyone practice a little “Lenten” discipline during the
remainder of the Epiphany season.
Give up a lunch out once a week and take a sack lunch
from home to save the money; or if you are a regular “Starbucks”
customer, give up one visit a week and donate the money you save
Try to combine errands so you save a little gasoline money and
that savings with the extended ministries at church.
These are not excessive or austere
measures. Just small
things we can do to have a little extra money to share with
those whose needs are greater than ours.
Be creative and see what other saving ideas you
can come up with. And
please share them with the committee!
We will then share them with the congregation in next
HUNGER TAKES NO VACATIONS!!!!
─The Extended Ministries Committee
On the third Saturday of each month, between 3 and 5 pm,
the Sacrament of Penance is offered in the Chapel.
This brief liturgy enables people – one at a time
– to confess their sin and receive the blessed assurance
liturgy is similar to the Roman Catholic confessional,
but unlike it, in that
is done face to face with the pastor.
Copies of the liturgy are available in the church
individual form of confession is more forceful than the
general form used during Advent and Lent in the
and at each Sunday evening Compline.
It allows for, but does not require, listing of specific
Luther's critique of confession never included the
elimination of individual, private confession.
His critique instead only corrected the way it
was being done.
So we continue to honor his words in his
“If you are a Christian, you should be glad to run more
than a hundred miles for confession.” (The
Plan to come – Saturday,
to 5 pm in the Chapel.
Blessings await you.
Monthly Home Bible Study,
February 2014, Number 252
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).
Ecclesiastes 11.7 noting the phrase
light is sweet. Why
wouldn’t it be? On this read John 3.19 noting the line
men loved the darkness
rather than the light. And why is this? On this read John
3.19 again, noting this time the last phrase
because their deeds were
evil. And why does evil resist the light? On this read
Ephesians 5.12-13 noting the words
light. What does it
mean that darkness becomes light when it is exposed? On this
read Ephesians 5.8 noting the play between the two sets of words
light. Read also
Colossians 1.13 noting the words
Son. So how does this
transformation take place? On this read Luke 11.33-36 noting the
sound. Now if Luther
is right and the eye stands for doctrine, or proper Christian
teaching (LW 27:37),
how then do we move from darkness to light? On this read 2
Timothy 4.3 noting the line
endure sound teaching.
Is that the key? On this read also Luke 11.28 noting the
progression between the three words
blessed. So if
enduring or keeping sound doctrine is the key, why is that the
Read again Ecclesiastes
11.7 noting just the word
light. What is this light? If Luther is right and it is the
book of Ecclesiastes itself (LW
15.174), then what are some examples of this light? On this
matter, first read Ecclesiastes 1.1-3 noting two phrases
all is vanity and
under the sun. (For
the same coupling of phrases, read Ecclesiastes 1.14.) Now
regarding vanity, read Ecclesiastes 1.8 noting the words
satisfied. And read
also Ecclesiastes 2.16 noting the line that
the wise man dies just
like the fool; Ecclesiastes 4.1 regarding
the tears of the
oppressed; and Ecclesiastes 9.3 that
the hearts of men are
full of evil. Why then is everything vanity? Because the
vain life on earth,
as Ecclesiastes 9.9 says, isn’t fulfilling. It leaves us feeling
empty or in despair
as Ecclesiastes 2.20 says; and we don’t know
what’s good for us as
Ecclesiastes 6.12 says.
Reread Ecclesiastes 11.7
noting again the word
light. Now if this vanity is true for what’s under the sun,
is there any hope for what’s above the sun, in heaven? On this
read Ecclesiastes 5.2 noting the line
for God is in heaven, and
you upon earth. So what comes from God in heaven? Is it
vanity too? On this read Ecclesiastes 8.15 noting the only
good of eating and
working which God
gives. How does this
goodness come to us? On this read Ecclesiastes 12.2 noting the
line remember also your
Creator, and Ecclesiastes 12.13 noting the line
fear God and keep his
commandments. Where does this memory and fear come from? On
this read Ecclesiastes 3.11 noting the words
minds. Why is God so
gracious in expanding our horizons to include the eternal? On
this read Ecclesiastes 3.15 noting the line
God seeks what is driven
away. And why is that? On this read Ecclesiastes 7.29 noting
the line God made man
upright. How does that explain God’s largesse?
Read Ecclesiastes 11.7
one last time noting again the same word
light. Now what if we
don’t honor God’s gifts and commands to us? What then? On this
read Ecclesiastes 8.12-13 noting the words
well. Read also
Ecclesiastes 2.26 noting the words
sinner. Does that
mean we’ll be left with only vanity if we falter? If so, what
does that mean for us? On this read Ecclesiastes 7.3 noting the
line by sadness of
countenance the heart is made glad. Now if Luther is right
and this means we should “stick it out” (LW
15:110), then wouldn’t there be hope? For then we would be able
to fight against our corruption and once again fear God as we
should and live righteous lives. On this read Ecclesiastes 5.10
noting the warning against
loving money and
wealth. So while there is
nothing new under the sun, as Ecclesiastes 1.9 says, Isaiah
43.19 and 2 Corinthians 5.17 show us a
newness that comes to
us from God himself – which is above the sun, and lifts us out
of vanity. Read then Colossians 3.2:
Set your minds on the
things that are above, not on things that are on earth – a
fitting epigram for the Book of Ecclesiastes!
Remember in prayer before
God those whom He has made your
brothers and sisters
Holly Petersen, Michael Nestoss, Donna Apman, Cynthia Natiello,
Gerry Moulton, 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, Eva Marshall, 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, Nora & Sloane Mitchell,
Larry Oliver, Delores Grenier.
Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them
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,
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
February. Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for
all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in
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:
Martin Luther, Renewer of the Church, 1546; Saint Matthias,
Treasury of Prayers
Lord my God, be gracious
to me and forgive me my misdeeds. Take me away from my
evil, poisoned nature and give me to yourself so that I
am rid of myself in true serenity and give myself to you
through true living faith, strong hope, and inmost love.
Lead me in the right way of your healing word through
this erring and crafty world that I may not, seduced by
anyone, fall away from your word, forget you, and live
in an unchristian way. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
All the Saints (ALPB,
1994-1996) 4 vols., IV:326-27, altered]