is the time when we are called to sanctify and intensify
our fast – beginning this year on Ash Wednesday,
February 18th. Furthermore, Jesus taught that when we
fast we should not look dismal or complain about how it
isn’t any fun (Matthew 6:16). No, we should instead, as
Luther wrote, “be merry, happy and cheerful, like a
person on a holiday.” Luther, who opposed monastic
fasting, thought that if we did it cheerfully, our
fasting would then be right and “pleasing” to God (Luther’s
21:156). Without this merriment, fasting is “worthless”
– “a mere human plaything” (LW
So fast – depriving yourself during Lent of those
foods which you ordinarily and regularly like to eat.
That’s because, as Luther noted, fasting fits in with
living “a moderate, sober, and disciplined life, not for
one day or one year, but for every day and always,”
which is “the same thing that faith does inwardly in the
21:162). But which foods you eliminate, “should be left
up to the discretion of every individual” (LW
And also note Luther’s bold extension of your
fast: “Real fasting of Christians means that you punish
your whole body and compel it, as well as all five
senses, to forsake and do without whatever makes life
comfortable.” So fasting “pertains not only to eating,
drinking, and sleeping, but also to you leisure, your
pleasure, and to everything that may delight your body.”
Even so, “fasting is directed only against the lust and
the pleasures of the flesh, not against nature itself” (LW
21:161, 160, 162).
So take up your fast – remembering that all days
during Lent are included in it, except for Sundays.
On the God of Perpetual
By Pastor Marshall
first major writing, or encyclical,
The Light of
Faith (Lumen Fidei, 2013), Pope Francis says that
“religious man is a wayfarer; he must be ready to let
himself be led, to come out of himself and to find the
God of perpetual surprises” (§2:35).
One of those surprises is that “faith is not a light
which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides
our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To
those who suffer,” the Pope adds, “God does not provide
arguments which explain everything, rather, his response
is that of an accompanying presence, a history of
goodness which touches every sort of suffering and opens
up a ray of light” (§4:57).
That same year, Pope Francis also wrote his first
The Joy of the
Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium, 2013). In this
exhortation “on the proclamation of the Gospel in
today’s world,” he writes a prayer that could well be
used to help believers struggling with the troubles of
life: “Lord Jesus, I have let myself be deceived; in a
thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am
once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you.
Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your
redeeming embrace” (§1:3). There is a shame and
freshness of expression in this prayer than commends it
– but also an over-dependence on human volition that
On January 18, 2015, Pope Francis celebrated an outdoor
Mass in Manila, Philippines. There were an estimated 6
million people in attendance – the largest Mass ever
celebrated anywhere. Pope Francis is probably the most
influential Christian living today. We need to know what
he is thinking, saying, and writing . . .
Preparing for Our 100th
By Pastor Marshall
was “in the air,” so to speak, around the time that our
church was started? What were people thinking? Regarding
religion there wasn’t much good during the years of WWI,
1914–1918. This put our early congregation at a distinct
disadvantage when inviting people to come to church. The
country wasn’t in any mood for it. That was because of
what happened during WWI. What we have learned about
religion during those times was that “the stress of war
[doesn’t] produce orthodox believers [but] religious and
spiritual interests… on the fringes [with] freely
integrated elements of both Christian and occult
beliefs. [Soldiers in WWI] became wanderers in both
worlds. Soldiers encountering violence on such a scale
resorted to… fate or destiny…. Divorced from any
orthodox Christian belief [they followed] superstitions
[and] talismans [believing that] in the trenches…
anything might be true, except what was printed” [Philip
Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious
Crusade (2014) pp. 120–21.]
So being a Biblical – “what was printed” –
Christian community wasn’t very popular back in 1918
when our church was set up. And the effects of that
demise in religion are long-lasting. Now we suffer from
a “new immature adulthood” in the churches [Thomas E.
Juvenilization of American Christianity (2012) p.
6]. This comes from those religious wanderings a hundred
years ago. May God’s grace help us combat this terrible
OH, WONDROUS TYPE!
OH, VISION FAIR
OF GLORY THAT THE CHURCH MAY SHARE,
WHICH CHRIST UPON THE MOUNTAIN SHOWS,
WHERE BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN HE GLOWS!
(Hymn #80 v1)
The Transfiguration is an amazing description of the
power of the light of Christ.
It illumines everything!
It must have been quite terrifying for Peter,
James, and John, especially when they saw Moses and
Then they heard the voice of God proclaiming God’s son
It is beyond our human ability to visualize such a
then we are talking about the Almighty God.
What can He not do?
January was my final month as president.
Thank you to the congregation for giving me this
chance to serve First Lutheran in this capacity.
It is a wonderful opportunity for both personal
and spiritual growth, as well as a great way to get to
know members of our church.
However, I am looking forward to a much needed
rest from so many responsibilities and to being able to
get my own house back in order, plus giving the St.
Nicholas Faire a little more well deserved attention.
I also want to thank everyone who serves on the
It is a commitment, but it has rewards as well.
Earl Nelson will be moving into the president’s
office, with Bob Baker accepting the vice presidency.
Gina Allen will continue as secretary as will
Janice Lundbeck as treasurer.
Maxine Foss will be retiring from council.
Both Melanie Johnson and Jeff Sagmoen have
accepted another 3 year term as council members.
We welcome Carol Nelson for a 3 year term and
Janine Douglass for a 2 year term.
Thank you all!!!
We ended the year about $11,000 short of our
However, except for the exterior restoration loan
(which will be paid off this summer), we have no
Expenses in several areas of the budget were less
than projected, which made it possible to end the year
with no outstanding bills.
That is good news!
But we still need to be vigilant about our
Our church finances are based on the membership
giving regularly what they have pledged to give.
If the membership fails to give, the church is
left without sufficient funds to pay bills.
Our stewardship should be a reflection of our
love of Jesus Christ and what he has done for us.
The prayer a few weeks ago in the St. James Daily
Devotional Guide (available on the narthex table)
expresses it this way, “…that what shines by faith in
our minds may also blaze out in our lives….”
What a descriptive way to say that every aspect
of our lives should be “on fire” for the Lord.
Upgrades and repairs at the parsonage continue,
with every attempt being made to take care of some long
Remember the West Seattle Food Bank when you go
grocery shopping and make a purchase to donate to them.
Hunger takes no vacations and the months of
January and February are usually very lean months for
Agape Fund (an extended ministry that is in our budget
and funded by member donations) is in need of
Give a little extra for that purpose.
Let the light of Christ’s transfiguration
transform your life!
AND FAITHFUL HEARTS ARE RAISED ON HIGH
BY THIS GREAT VISION’S MYSTERY;
FOR WHICH IN JOYFUL STRAINS WE RAISE
THE VOICE OF PRAYER, THE HYMN OF PRAISE.
(Hymn #80 v4)
one month into the New Year and some of the resolutions
we made last month are now history.
Good intentions are just that – good intentions.
However, we need to follow through with action.
We have just had our Annual Meeting at which time
we approved the budget for the new year here at First
This is our plan of total expenses for the next
twelve months based on anticipated income.
As individuals, we cannot always control the
bills but we can help to control how much is received to
It is now our turn to follow through with action.
As any non-profit organization will tell us, even
small amounts help.
Our funds are used not only for the expenses of
the church, its building, and its programs but also as
an outreach to help others through our Extended
As we are reminded in the Bible, all amounts are
gratefully received just as Jesus accepted the widow’s
mite when she gave the little she had.
More important is our attitude (God loves a
cheerful giver) and if we will share what we have
Then we can be ready to follow through with action.
Then we are ready to do our part.
Treasurer, Church Council
With the Mind:
Readings in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church
Lounge, Saturday, February 28th.
book for February is
Iscariot: A Novel
of Judas (2013), by Tosca Lee, winner of the 2014
Christian Book Award for fiction. This book explores why
Judas betrayed Jesus – a question not fully answered in
the New Testament. Consequently, Lee takes up the form
of a novel to
imagine why Judas did what he did – even though she
does a fair amount of historical research to help her
(p. 330). At the end of the book in a note, Lee says she
hopes that the reader will see how much he or she is
like Judas (p. 331). What she hopes to accomplish in the
novel is “a story of divine and human love – a story of
you and me” (p. 333).
A copy of this intriguing, imaginative study of
Judas, 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 take up the betrayer
of Jesus – and why he did what he did.
will start on Sunday, February 1st immediately following
the 10:30 am liturgy, in room D.
If you know someone who is interested in the
class, suggest they talk with Pastor Marshall.
Music Northwest Presents:
Places featuring “Europa,” with Mara Finkelstein,
cello & Jane Harty, piano, also guest artists, Megan
Chenovick, soprano & Merrie Siegel, flute.
This music is from Brazil and Hungary, also
featuring Ravel’s subversive
Madagascar which caused a walkout at the premiere.
Join us on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm.
Discounted tickets ($10) for members of the
congregation can be prearranged by calling 206-937-2899.
Regular tickets ($18) can be purchased at the
door on the day of the concert.
Imposition of Ashes & Liturgy is Wednesday, February 18,
at 7:00 pm.
FOOD BANK COLLECTION
suggestions for February are canned fruits & vegetables.
The Key to the
New Testament: A Study of the Book of Romans.
eight week class we will study the Book of Romans that
Luther thought was the most important book in the New
Testament or its “chief part” (Luther’s
Works 35:365). He also thought it was worth
Thursday, February 19th, chapel at 11:30 am with
lunch at noon.
A NOTE OF THANKS
to the people who
helped decorate the church for our Christmas
Gina Allen, Cristian Clemente, Sonja Clemente,
Ted Foss, Dean Hard, Jane Harty, Larraine and Andrew
King, Ron Marshall, Steve McCord, Dana Morrison, Jeff
Sagmoen, Scott and Valerie Schorn, Tyler Schorn,
will meet Wednesday the 25th of February.
If you are interested in helping, stop by to see
what they do.
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
the month of February would like everyone to consider
making a donation to the
This fund is part of our regular extended
ministries budget, but it depends on individuals making
specific designated contributions to the fund.
In December, there was an extreme need for a
single mother of 11 children, and the church helped pay
her utility bills so her water would not be shut off.
As a result, very little remains in the fund.
The money from the Agape Fund is used to help
people who come to the church or people we learn about
that have an urgent need.
Each need that comes to our attention is
carefully considered before any money is given.
Recipients are then encouraged to seek help from
organizations that can be of more service to them on a
Please consider supporting the
by writing a check to First Lutheran Church of
West Seattle and indicating on the memo line the Agape
will then have money to help others who are in dire
Larraine King for Extended Ministries
HUNGER TAKES NO VACATIONS!!!
the Food Bank when you shop for groceries.
Monthly Home Bible Study, February 2015, Number 264
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
then talk informally about the assigned verses together
as we have opportunity. In this way we can "gather
around the Word" even though physically we will not be
getting together (Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV
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).
Proverbs 1.33 noting the phrase
dread of evil.
What is this? On this read Proverbs 1.19 noting the word
violence. Read also Proverbs 1.24-32 noting the words
calamity and complacence. Where do these horrors come from? On this read
Proverbs 1.24-25 noting the words
this mean that God is punishing us with these horrors
because we refused to listen to wisdom? On this read
Proverbs 1.31 noting the words
sated. Does this mean instead that we punish
ourselves by suffering the consequences of our own
wicked behavior? On this read Proverbs 28.10 noting the
line will fall into his own pit, as well as Psalm 57.6 noting the line
they dug a pit in
my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.
Does this mean that we are not immune from our own
wickedness? On this read Proverbs 1.19 noting the line
it takes away the life of its possessors. Why do we think we can
escape this? On this read Proverbs 23.29-35 noting the
words wine and
hurt. How long will that solution last?
Read again Proverbs 1.33 noting that same phrase
dread of evil.
So do we only have ourselves to fear? On this read
Proverbs 14.9 noting the line
God scorns the
wicked. So if God also punishes us, how does he do
it? On this read Ezekiel 14.21 noting the words
evil beasts, and
Read as well Numbers 11.1 noting the word
16.31-32 noting the line
the earth opened
its mouth and swallowed them up; Isaiah 30.30 noting
hailstones; Ezekiel 13.13 noting the two words
and Ezekiel 30.12 noting the two words
up. Does God
only punish by way of natural disasters? On this read
Joshua 2.8-11 noting the words
hearts, melted, and
psychological punishment is devastating and can happen
invisibly, and at anytime and anyplace. And does God
only punish because he is angry? On this read Hosea 6.1
noting the line he
has torn that he may heal. Do you agree? Is there
any other way for God to heal sinners?
Reread Proverbs 1.33 noting the word
would we not listen to God? On this read Psalm 81.8-11
noting the line
Israel would have none of me. What does that mean?
On this read Proverbs 1.24-31 noting the two lines
none of my reproof
and none of my
counsel. Why wouldn’t one want God’s reproof and
counsel – but instead refuse to listen to him? On this
read Isaiah 30.9-11 noting the words
do we have this aversion? On this read Luke 12.19 noting
the word ease.
Note also lazy
gluttons in Titus 1.12. Why do we gravitate in this
direction? On this read 2 Timothy 3.2-5 noting the two
phrases lovers of
lovers of pleasure. Love, then, can be good or bad
depending on what we love. On this read 1 John 2.15-16
noting the contrast between loving
God and loving
the world –
pride and lust. Where does this bad love come from? On this read Mark 7.20-23
noting the word
licentiousness. Do you agree?
Read Proverbs 1.33 one last time noting the word
ease. What is
this ease like if not like being lazy? On this read John
14.27 noting the words
world. How is
this godly peace different from the worldly ease
criticized above as laziness? On this read John 16.33
noting the word
tribulation and the line
in me you may have
peace. How is the awkward combination of peace and
tribulation balanced? On this read Romans 5.1 noting the
through. Does this include worldly peace? On this read Luke 12.49-53
noting the word
and against. So how is this outer turmoil combined with this inner
peace? On this read Romans 8.18 noting the line
not worth comparing; and 2 Corinthians 4.17 noting the word
slight and the
line beyond all comparison. Is the balance even? On this read Hebrews
11.16 (and 13.14) noting the word
means that the inner peace outweighs the outer
difficulties. Do you agree?
The Presentation of Our Lord
Monday, February 2, 2015
11:45 am Holy Eucharist, chapel
The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 15, 2015
8:00 am Holy Eucharist, chapel
10:30 am Festival Eucharist, nave
February 18th, 7:00 pm
this Holy Eucharist we observe the ancient liturgy of
the Imposition of Ashes.
On this day the Great 40 Days of the season of
On the third Saturday of each month, between 3 and 5
pm, the Sacrament of Penance is offered in the
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
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
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
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
Book of Concord, p. 460).
Plan to come – Saturday, February 21st,
3 to 5 pm in the Chapel.
Blessings await you.
prayer before God those whom He has made your
sisters through baptism.
Bridget Sagmoen, Janine Lingle, Dorothy Ryder, Evelyn
Coy, Kevin Lawson, Jim Coile, Nora Vanhala, Mary
Goplerud, Michael Nestoss, Cynthia Natiello, Clara
Anderson, Leah Baker, Peggy & Bill Wright & Wendy, Bob &
Barbara Schorn, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke
Bowen, Tabitha Anderson, Kendel Jones and her Family,
Rosita & Jim Moe, Kristine and Ové Varik, James Stojack,
Dee Grenier, Carol McCord, Larry Johnson, Kathy Heynes,
Jill Johnson, Stephen Holliwell, Mario De Jesus, Lori
Hovorka, Priscilla Santee, The PLU Faculty and those
suffering from and fighting the Ebola virus.
Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ
may give them joy:
Clara Anderson, Donna Apman, Pat Hansen, C. J.
Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder,
Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Vivian
Wheeler, Peggy & Bill Wright.
Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Brian
Kirby Unti, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our deacon Dean
Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be
strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which
they have been called.
Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy
in service and in celebration of Stewardship.
Pray that God would work within you to become a
good steward of your time, your talents and finances.
Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our
congregation in these same ways.
Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and
homeless this 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
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
in heaven, let your peace rule in my heart and become my
strength and my song. Let your grace be mighty in me
that I might will and do what pleases you. Give me the
rule over my own spirits so that I can deny myself, take
up my cross and follow you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
All the Saints
(ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols.,
Please note: The Music Northwest Concert time was
changed to 2:00 pm.
Sunday February 1, 2015.