February 2014


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 Works 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 beggars. Only in heaven will we share in “the riches and the eternal glory of poor Lazarus” (Luke 16:25; LW 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 4:17). 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’ sake!”

     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 death bed.

                                                      Pastor Marshall

What a Relief to Read Luther


Kierkegaard’s Love for Luther’s Sermons


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 Journals 3:3232).

      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 Writings 23:292).
     So may we all learn from Luther, as Kierkegaard did, how to deal with our fears ─ in light of 1 Peter 5:7.


PRESIDENT'S REPORT....by Larraine King


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   Come, heav’nly bridegroom, light divine, and deep within our hears now shine; there light a flame undying.  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 in love….  Jesus died for our sins and for our salvation.  That’s the true definition of love.  And this is our great salvation.  So what should our response be to this great gift?  Verse 6 has that answer, Sing out!  Ring out!  Jubilation!  Exultation!  Tell the story!  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 happened recently.  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 finances. 

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)


Stewardship                                               Budget                     Received

                  Month (December)                        $30,026                    $24,263

                  Year to date (Jan-Dec)                  $248,147                  $241, 932






Keeping Our Balance


“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34)


I 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 is overwhelming.  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 also.”                                                                                                                              Church Council





More New Luther


Luther’s Works, Volume 76


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 LW 76:

     “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” (447).




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…

 [Martin Luther, Sermon on John 2 (1533), ed. E. Klug, Luther’s House Postils 1:240.]

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),

Luther’s Works 4:226, 243, 264.]

I did not expect you

to stay married to

one man all your life,

no matter you were his wife.

I thought the pain was endless –

but the form existent,

as it is form,

and as such I loved it.

I loved you as well

even as you might tell,

giving evidence

as to how much was penitence.

[The 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 parts them.

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,

giving evidence

as to how much was penitence.

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 much.  Amen.




Helping Out My Daughter:

Reviewing Ronald F. Marshall’s Kierkegaard for the Church

(Eugene, Oregon: 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 of it.

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 book.

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 Èand 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).


February Book

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 over-throwing it.

     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).

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION 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. 

ASH WEDNESDAY is the first Wednesday in March. 

FOOD BANK COLLECTION suggestions for February are canned fruits & vegetables. 

SUNDAY EDUCATION:  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 Works 30:219)!

PASTORS’ MEETING:  Thursday, February 13th, chapel at 11:30 am with lunch at noon.

PASTORS’ Theological Forum:  Monday, February 24th from 9 am to 1 pm, to discuss Kierkegaard for the Church. 

SCRAPPERS will meet Tuesday & Wednesday the 26th & 27th of February.  If you are interested in helping stop by and see all they do.   

HOLY EUCHARIST – 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.


Extended Ministries


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 from that.  Try to combine errands so you save a little gasoline money and share 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 month’s Messenger.  And remember……




          ─The Extended Ministries Committee


The Sacrament

of Penance


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 of forgiveness.

     This liturgy is similar to the Roman Catholic confessional, but unlike it, in that it is done face to face with the pastor.  Copies of the liturgy are available in the church office.

     This individual form of confession is more forceful than the general form used during Advent and Lent in the Communion liturgy and at each Sunday evening Compline.  It allows for, but does not require, listing of specific sinful burdens. 

     Martin 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 Large Catechism:  “If you are a Christian, you should be glad to run more than a hundred miles for confession.” (The Book of Concord, p. 460).  Plan to come – Saturday, February 15th,  3 to 5 pm in the Chapel.  Blessings await you. 




Ecclesiastes 11.7

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). 

Week I. Read 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 expose, visible and 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 once and now, darkness and light. Read also Colossians 1.13 noting the words transferred, darkness and Son. So how does this transformation take place? On this read Luke 11.33-36 noting the words eye, lamp, lighting, bright and 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 hear, keep and blessed. So if enduring or keeping sound doctrine is the key, why is that the case?

Week II. 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 weariness and 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.

Week III. 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 eternity and 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?

Week IV. 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 fear and well. Read also Ecclesiastes 2.26 noting the words pleases and 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 through baptism.

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 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 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 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: Martin Luther, Renewer of the Church, 1546; Saint Matthias, Apostle.


A 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.


                                          [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., IV:326-27, altered]