Amen Twice at Christmas
The Two Sides of Our Faith
Merry Christmas, one and all! But what is it
about Christmas that makes us merry? On this question, Martin
Luther (1483-1546) says this in his 1530 Christmas sermon:
|Both sides of this faith
[are] first that Christ is a man, but also the Savior
and Lord or King. This needs to be revealed from heaven.
One who really has the first faith also has the other….
Beyond the first faith there must be the second faith,
that Christ is not only the virgin’s Son, but also the
Lord of angels and the savior of men…. [So] we do not
believe that the virgin mother bore a son and that he is
the Lord and Savior unless, added to this, I believe
the second thing, namely that he is my Savior and Lord
(Luther’s Works 51:212-213, 216).
|So keep two matters in
mind at Christmas. The first double matter is that the Word
truly became flesh (John 1:14) – since Jesus isn’t a phony
person but an actual one, otherwise he couldn’t bear our sins
(Romans 8:3). But also that he is fully divine (Colossians 2:9)
– and not just some famous person who couldn’t rid us of our
sins (1 Peter 1:19). And the second double matter is that Jesus
is the Savior – apart from anything we say about him (1 Timothy
2:5). But he’s also my Savior when I believe in him –
which is required if we are to be saved (John 3:16). So let our
amens be double at Christmas! –
Amen & Amen!
I hope all of you enjoyed the celebrations
of Christ’s birth and the turn of the New Year.
As we embrace the
lengthening days and the New Year I wanted to urge everyone to
attend the annual congregational meeting on Sunday, January 29,
2012 following the 10:30 service.
This is everyone’s opportunity to help guide our valued
parish. This year
we will be conducting second votes on two constitutional
amendments. Both of these deal with the church council, and both
received affirmative votes at the mid-year meeting. These second
votes will need super majorities to pass and thus be ratified
and added to the church’s constitution. I look forward to seeing
you at the meeting.
November was the best month we have had financially since this
summer. We actually received more money that we budgeted;
however we are still well below our yearly financial goals. We
received $19,116.66 in Total Budget Receipts as opposed to a
budget of $18,869. Year to date we have brought in $208,506.61
as opposed to a budget of $218,233. We are $10,000 short of
where we should be.
Let us pray that we are able to catch up as much as we can
before December 31, and then have a better year in the New Year.
This past December Ballard Iron Works installed new hand
railings on the Chancel steps and outside on the north entrance
sidewalk. This much needed work was all lovingly donated by the
estate of Alida Rottman (1922-2011). On behalf of the
congregation I wish to thank the Rottman family for their
One of the largest events that we hold at the church is the St.
Nicholas Faire. Through this event we have been able to raise
thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds of food to aid the
West Seattle Food Bank and the Helpline.
This year’s gala was the largest one yet! I wanted to
thank everyone who donated items and their time to this
worthwhile project. Especially I wanted to thank Larraine King
and Elizabeth Olsen who spearheaded the event again. This event
could not have happened without their dedication and leadership.
We look forward to surpassing this year’s totals next
Have a great and blessed New Year!
Year to date (Jan-Nov)
Glorifying God in Our
The basic etymology of the word
"steward," comes from two root words
oikos (house) and
As if to say that the
steward is one who is the "law over the house," and all that is
associated with the house. He
is given authority over the household but does not own the
household. So the
steward cares for what is on loan.
An early and basic
definition of Christian stewardship I ran across is: "Christian
stewardship is a way of life in which we regard ourselves and
all that we have as a trust from God to be used in his service
for what he has done for us in Jesus Christ."
I would say that
Christian stewardship is, therefore, the Gospel in action and a
good steward is one who responds to the good news and tries to
share it. Stewardship is
closely connected with the preaching of the Gospel and the
response to it. Christian
Stewardship is not only good management of the earth, the right
use of resources, and conservation of energy.
There are many
non-believers doing an excellent job at this.
The Christian response
comes from God and attempts not just to make the world look
nice, but to glorify God in all our serving.
- Church Council
The lights are still aglow, and the garland is still framing the
windows and doors of the parish hall, but the joy and buoyant
spirit that filled the room on Sunday, December 4th, that truly
made the St. Nicholas Faire magical, are a distant but vivid
memory. And because
of everyone who came and participated by helping, enjoying
themselves, and buying selected items, the third St. Nicholas
Faire was a smashing success!!!
We have netted almost $5,500 to donate to the West
Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.
WOW. That is
the best yet! Plus
we collected over 200 pounds of food to donate to the food bank.
We sure have some great bakers in our midst, as those of you who
purchased baked goods know!
Thank you to Maxine Foss, Kathrine Young, Ieva Young,
Teri Korsmo, Valerie Schorn, Holly Petersen, Sonja Clemente,
Bridget Sagmoen, Louis Petersen, Gina Allen, Mona Ayer, and Liz
Olsen. And what a
varied array of goodies you provided.
Then there were the simply scrumptious appetizers that Matthew
and Dana Kahn prepared and served.
What a sumptuous feast!
Add to that, the spiced cider and mulled wine, and
everyone was definitely in party mode.
An extra special
thank you is given to everyone who helped in the kitchen and
at the event, and at the close to put the room back in order –
Barbara Schorn, Lynn Hopson, Teri Korsmo, Kathrine Young, Jane
Harty, Liz Olsen, Rollie Storbakken, Bridget Sagmoen, Sonja
Clemente, Matthew Kahn, Dana Kahn, Gina Allen, David Juhl, Peter
Douglass, Taylor Smith, Dale Korsmo, Ron Marshall, Janice
Lundbeck, Andrew King, Steven Liang, and David King.
You all were amazing and extremely efficient.
Thank you also to everyone who donated items for the
baskets, wine for the wine toss, and cider and wine for the
beverages. And a
special thanks to Rich Marshall and Maryhill Winery for their
most generous donations of the wine tasting and wine.
Lastly, and most importantly,
THANK YOU to
everyone who came, invited friends and relatives, and purchased
items. You each
helped make the event a success and aided in easing the plight
of members of our community who are in need of food and shelter.
Raising money for the Food Bank and Helpline is the
reason for the event.
But isn’t it super that we can have such a grand time
doing something so wonderful to help others???
With the Mind:
in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church Lounge,
Saturday, January 28th.
The book for January is
Jesus Land: A Memoir
(2005) by Julia Scheeres, a journalist who writes for
The New York Times
and other prominent publications. This is a book about growing
up in an abusive, strict Christian home. It covers racism and
seclusion as well. The first half of the book is about growing
up in a biracial family in Indiana. Then, after getting in
trouble with the law, Julia and her black adopted brother,
David, end up in a Christian reform school in the Dominican
Republic – where the teachers believed in beating the devil out
of naughty kids.
Throughout the misery of it all, Julia struggles with her
faith – wondering why God hasn’t intervene to protect and guard
her and her friends at this correctional institution (pp. 274,
281). At the end of the book, when she is free to leave the
reformatory and live on her own, she reports that she no longer
is a Christian and that one of the key things she learned from
being abused was “not to turn the other cheek, but to master and
subvert the rules of the game” (p. 354).
A copy of this
important critique of Christian abuse 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 how
Christianity can go awry – and then how to turn it upright
FELLOWSHIP luncheon in January is planned for Tuesday,
January 24th. Sign
up on the sheet that is posted in the lounge.
SCRAPPERS will meet on Wednesday and Thursday, January 25th
& 26th this month.
BANK COLLECTION suggested donation for January is pasta,
noodles and sauces.
MARSHALL’s next Koran Class starts on Thursday, January 5th.
Call the office if you plan to attend.
He has been teaching this 4 week class 4 times a year
REPORT for 2011:
Staff, officer and committee reports are now due.
If you have not already submitted your report please get
it in to the office as soon as possible.
If you need inspiration, dust off your report from last
year, or pick up a copy from the office.
2012 Annual Meeting
is planned for Sunday, January 29th.
Following the liturgy on that day, voters registration
will be set up at the back of the parish
Please bring your favorite dish, salad or dessert to
will be provided.
OFFERING ENVELOPES for 2012 are now available on the office
FLOWER CHART is available for sign up.
Sign up early for the best selection!
Going for the
Jugular: Luther on Genesis 22
– In this four week class we study
excerpts from Luther’s 100 page commentary on Abraham’s near
sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22.
This class is the fourth in our series on studies in the
Reformation leading up to its 500th anniversary in 2017.
sermon, "Welcome St. Stephen at Christmas," preached last year
on December 26, has been published online in Logia (Blogia)
-- posted December 20, 2011. This is Pastor Marshall's seventh
1 Timothy 6.18
Monthly Home Bible Study,
January 2012, Number 227
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
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 1 Timothy 6.18 noting the line
they are to do good.
Why are we especially to urge the rich to do good deeds? On this
read 1 Timothy 6.9 noting the words
also James 5.3 noting the words
fire, and Luke 18.24
noting the words hard,
kingdom. Why are the
rich so vulnerable to these corruptions? On this read
Deuteronomy 8.17 noting the words
wealth. Is it that
wealth makes us feel independent and self-sufficient? If so,
what’s wrong with thinking that way? On this read Hosea 13.4-6
noting the words Egypt,
forgot, and John 15.5
noting the words apart,
nothing. Is it, then,
that wealth falsely covers up our inherent, deep dependence? On
this read Isaiah 30.10 noting the word
illusions. So then is
it illusory of us to imagine that we’re independent when we
really aren’t? Is that then what it’s like to
sit in darkness, as
Luke 1.79 says?
Week II. Read again 1 Timothy 6.18 noting this same line
about the rich doing good.
Following up on last week, read John 3.19 noting the line
men loved the darkness. If that’s the case, what follows
from it? Is all hope for the rich lost? On this read Matthew
6.21 linking your
treasure to your
heart. What does this mean? On this read 1 Timothy 6.10
about the love of money
being the root of all
evils. Why do riches take over our hearts like that? On this
love of wealth, read Psalm 62.10 noting the words
set. Is it possible
to countermand this setting of our hearts on wealth? But what is
the setting-of-one’s-heart like in the first place? On this read
Exodus 32.1-4 noting the words
this, read Colossians 3.1-2 noting the words
set. How can one go
about switching allegiances like this? On this read Colossians
3.3 noting the words died
and hid. Also re-read
Colossians 3.1 noting the words
raised. On these two
verses read 2 Corinthians 5.17 noting the phrase
new creation. Does
that explain how the shift happens? If so, how so?
Week III. Reread 1 Timothy 6.18 noting the word
generous. What does
it mean for the rich to be generous? On this read Mark 12.41-44
noting the words
everything. Does this
mean that we are generous only when we are extravagant? On this
read Romans 5.6-8 noting the words
yet. Should we
practice this same extra or excess – that we too might be
generous like God is? Or would that be unfair to expect of us in
general? Should we instead only give what the needy deserve? On
this read Ephesians 1.8 noting the word
that mean that we’re only generous when we go beyond what’s
reasonable? Read also Luke 10.29-37 noting the words
more. If we are to
act this same way, would that mean doing more than is fair? The
fair amount of help would probably have been only to drop the
injured man off at the inn. But if that were the case, why did
Jesus tell the young rich man in Matthew 19.21 to give away
all that he had to
the poor? Would that loss have made him destitute? What about
his income producing ability to replenish his wealth in short
order? What if Jesus had asked this instead of a wealthy,
elderly, retired woman? Would that have been the same? If so,
why don’t the Gospels ever record him as having done so?
Week IV. Read 1 Timothy 6.18 one last time noting the same
So what’s so wrong with the rich keeping what they have for
themselves? Since they earned it, shouldn’t they be able to
spend it on themselves? On this read Luke 12.16-21 noting the
God. Why is God
contrasted with us in this parable? Read also in this regard
Matthew 6.24 noting the contrast between
mammon. Are these
contrasted for the same reason? If so, what is it? Finally read
Luke 12.15 noting the words
abundance. What does
this have to do with John 10.10 and the same word
abundance used there?
A Special Thank you to
Larraine King and Elizabeth Olsen for all they did to make the
St. Nicholas Faire a great success!
Thank you to those
who were able to help with our Compass Center collections.
This past October/November 22 pairs of socks were
donated, and in December 14 McDonald’s and 6 Safeway gift cards
were given for Christmas. All
of these donations were taken to
Compass Housing Alliance
in downtown Seattle.
Christmas Presents 2011
Thanks to those who made
contributions to the Agape Fund!
We were able to buy Christmas presents for two families
(12 people). These
families were assigned to us by the West Seattle Helpline
to the Christmas
Chester Allen, Lily Allen, Sam
Allen, Tim Allen, Cristian Clemente, Sonja Clemente, Jane
Collins, Kyra D’Michael, Dean Hard, Jane Harty, David Juhl, Andy
King, David King, Larraine King, Steven Liang, Gregg Lyon,
Pastor Marshall, Stephen McCord, Elizabeth Olsen, Justin Olsen,
Marlis Ormiston, Barbara Schorn, Scott Schorn, Valerie Schorn,
Taylor Smith, Hali Stromberg, Howard Storhoff, Kathrine Young.
The King James Version of the
Its 400th Anniversary, 1611-2011
By Pastor Marshall
I am including
this postscript to my column from last year on the anniversary
of the KJV because of an article that appeared last month in the
on the KJV. Because it appeared too late to be included in my
December 2011 column, I want to comment it on it now. That
article begins with the story of a new Mexico cowboy who converts to
Christianity by reading the KJV:
“Here is the miracle of the King James Bible in action. Words
from a doubly alien culture, not an original text but a
translation of ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, made
centuries ago and thousands of mile away, arrive in a dusty
corner of the New World and sound as they were meant to –
majestic but intimate, the voice of the universe somehow heard
in the innermost part of the ear.
You don’t have to be a
Christian to hear the power of those words – simple in
vocabulary, cosmic in scale, stately in their rhythms,
deeply emotional in their impact” (p. 43).
Singing the praises of the KJV, the author, Adam
Nicholson, also goes on to note what is amiss about this
“But there is a dark
side to this Bible’s all-conquering story. Throughout
its history it has been used and manipulated, good and
bad alike selecting passages for their different ends.
Much of its text is about freedom, grace, and
redemption, but those parts are matched by an equally
fierce insistence on vengeance and control. As the Bible
of empire, it was also the Bible of slavery, and as such
it continues to occupy an intricately ambivalent place
in the post colonial world” (p. 54).
Nicholson ends by echoing (albeit imperfectly) 1
Corinthians 1:18 and 2 Corinthians 2:16:
“The King James [Bible’s]…. origins were ambivalent –
for Puritan and bishop, the great and the needy, for
clarity and magnificence, to bring the word of God to
the people but also to buttress the powers that be – and
that ambivalence is its true legacy” (p. 61).
A Forgotten But Powerful Voice:
Dr. Kent S. Knutson, 1924-1973
By Pastor Marshall
was the presiding bishop of the ALC from 1971-1973. I continue
this winter to select passages from his most famous book,
The Shape of the
Question: The Mission of the Church in a Secular Age (1972)
for our mutual, considered analysis. Here is what he says in
part about the church – which was the topic of his doctoral
The church is a community, a reality in itself. It is the body
of Christ, says St. Paul, it is Christ’s presence in history.
Like the Word of God which is the form through which God’s power
comes, so the church, the body of Christ, is also a form through
which God’s power comes. It is not just a collection of human
powers. It is not only a volunteer society as sociologists and
perhaps some theologians may want to say. The church is a
reality God has created, a reality greater than the collection
of the individuals.
The church is a reality in
which you believe. I believe in the Holy Christian Church, we
confess in the Creed. It is something we can trust because it is
something greater than ourselves, something that has enveloped
us, grasped us, lifted us up and placed us in a new order of
being…. [Even so], in many ways our own church body has been a
passive church, lacking in self-confidence, not trusting in
God’s power, and not altogether willing to speak out against
evil in the public realm. There have been some
brilliant moments in the church. When Norway was occupied by
Hitler’s Nazis in WWII, the church arose and said clearly to the
It acted with conviction. It became a power in that place and at
that time against evil political forces arrayed against it. Yet
at other times the church has not done that. We need to reflect
on our task and on the power God gives this church so that we
may be prepared for times that call for a clear prophetic
witness. We cannot silently watch the genocide of another race.
We cannot permit one nation’s power to control the world to such
an extent that the majority of the world suffers because of the
arrogance or the power of that one nation. And if we are able,
then we have the right and the responsibility so to do
(pp. 46-47, 50).
Remember in prayer before
God those whom He has made your
brothers and sisters
Dorothy Ryder, Richard Hard, Agnes Arkle, Alan Morrison, Clara
Anderson, Pete Morrison, Mary Goplerud, Teri Korsmo, Bob Baker,
Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Margaret Hard, Craig
Purfeerst, Rolf Sponheim, Dorothy Randall-Wood,
Mary Uhler, Robin Lantzy,
Mona Elliot, Bob Smith, Jacob & Samuel Strehl, Jennie Jaramillo,
Ken Sund, Jeanne Hedington, David & Kay Thoreson, Gail Van
Zandt, Cameron Lim, Rosita Moe, Ion Ceaicovschi, Angelina
Patrick, Frank Reynolds.
Pray for the
shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:
Clara Anderson, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera
Gunnarson, Pat Hansen, Margaret Hard, Lillian Schneider, Crystal
Tudor, Vivian Wheeler.
those who have suffered the death of a loved one:
Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their
hearts: Pray for
Carmen Malmanger on the death of her daughter in law, Theresa,
wife of John Malmanger.
Pray for our bishops Mark Hanson and Chris Boerger, 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 New
Pray for our sister congregation:
El Camino de Emmaus in the Skagit Valley that God may
bless and strengthen their ministry.
Also, pray for our parish and it's ministry.
Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the
saints: Saint Peter; Saint Paul; and Martin Luther King, Jr.,
A Treasury of Prayers
O Lord, I know
that you are the end for which I was created, and that I can
expect no happiness but in you. I know that you have provided me
with all necessary helps for carrying me through this life to
eternal glory, and this out of the excess of your pure mercy to
me. Let this knowledge, O God, rule my heart without a rival;
let it dispose all my thoughts, words, and works. In Jesus’ name
I pray. Amen.
the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols.,
On Friday, January 6, 2011
The Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord
will be celebrated at 11:45 am in the chapel with Holy
Only Matthew's Gospel remembers this event.
Celebrate the magi's coming to worship and bring gifts to
the Christ child.
First Sunday After the
In Matthew 3:15 Jesus tells John to baptize
him in order "to fulfill all righteousness."
Baptism was instituted by God
primarily for Christ's sake and then afterwards also for the
sake of all men.
For first he must sanctify baptism through his own body and
thereby take away the sin, in order that afterwards those who
believe him may have the forgiveness of sins
(Luther's Works 51:318).]
Celebrate the magi's coming to worship and
bring gifts to the Christ child.