Dwelling Properly on the Incipient Joy in Luke 2:10
Merry Christmas one and all! At the heart of Christmas is the
message of the angels: “Behold, I bring you good news of a great
joy…” For so many of us, however, this joy has been commandeered
by the counterfeit pleasures of family life, financial
prosperity and good health. But is this the message of the
Christians, life is always tempered by the Biblical antitheses
stated in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 – especially the one about
joining sorrow with joy. Therefore, along with the joy of
Christ’s birth comes no room in the inn, no regal greeting, and
murderous threats. These counterbalances keep us from making a
shipwreck of our faith (1 Timothy 1:20).
then hold fast to Martin Luther’s sage words regarding Christian
[Our] joy cannot be full until we see Christ’s name hallowed
perfectly, all false doctrine and sects abolished, all tyrants
and persecutors of Christ’s kingdom subdued; not until we see
the will and designs of all godless people and the devil checked
and God’s will alone prevailing; not until the cares of the
belly or hunger and thirst no longer assail us, sin no longer
oppresses us, temptation no longer weakens the heart, and death
no longer holds us captive. But this will not take place until
the life to come…. In this life… we have only a droplet of this
joy…. Progress is slow and cannot be perfect either in faith or
in life. Again and again we fall into the mire and are weighed
down with sadness and a heavy conscience, which prevent our joy
from being perfect or make it so slight that we can hardly feel
the incipient joy
What a Relief to Read Luther
Kierkegaard’s Love for Luther’s
By Pastor Marshall
Kierkegaard loved Luther’s
sermons on Luke 18:9-14 – the parable about the two men praying
in the temple, the one humble the other not.
Kierkegaard notes that Luther says
“God desires nothing but the offering of praise, as Psalm 50:23
says…. In this way the [humble] publican also proceeds, gives
God the offering of thanksgiving and… puts himself to shame and
exalts the truth above himself” (Sermons
of Martin Luther, 4:339-40). From this Kierkegaard deduces
that thanksgiving isn’t easy but arduous – being “essentially
the God-pleasing sacrifice” (JP 3:2497).
Kierkegaard also praises Luther for being “very illuminating
concerning sin,” in his sermons on Luke 18, in that “first of
all evil entices, as if it were nothing, and then, when one has
let himself be enticed, it terrifies. This is why… the second
repentance is the true repentance” (JP 3:3032). So Luther writes
that “when [Christians] begin to repent and would gladly become
different people, [the devil] excites, hinders and controls them
so… they make no progress, but remain in their old state…. [He]
makes sin [seem] so very small [that they] do not desire grace
[and] put off repentance. [But then], on the contrary, he makes
sin really too great, as he can blow a fire from a spark greater
than heaven and earth, so that it will again be difficult to lay
hold of forgiveness…. Thus indeed it is and will continue to be
a great art [to repent]” (SML
And finally, Kierkegaard praises
Luther for noting that “one is not to ascribe sins falsely to
himself but simply avoid confusing the merely human criterion
with God’s criterion” (JP 3:3063). On this Luther writes that
“the public gross sins that break out are insignificant; but
unbelief which is in the heart and we cannot see, this is the
real sin in which monks and priests strut forth; these lost and
corrupt ones are sunk head and ears in this sin, and pretend to
be entirely free from it” (SML
May we learn as much as Kierkegaard did from Luther’s words
on Luke 18.
The only Son from heaven, foretold by ancient seers,
By God the Father given, in human form appears….
So begins Hymn #86.
Epiphany, the manifestation of God, is a season of light, seeing
evidence of the Lord’s work in our darkened world.
And we have just finished the Christmas season with many
indications of Christ’s light shining in our neighborhood.
We have been able to consistently meet our expenses each month,
plus donate close to 2.5% of our annual budget to our designated
Considering that we only budget about $1200 to extended
ministries, it is a major accomplishment to donate almost
$10,000. We have
stepped up to the plate multiple times this past year and given
extra for our neighbors in need.
We are glad to welcome 6 new members into our congregation;
Albert McNeil, Sarah Carlone, and their daughter, Zooey; Philip
and Natalie Nesvig; and David Juhl.
We are delighted you have chosen First Lutheran Church of
West Seattle as your church home.
May you be blessed by joining with us in our work as
Christ’s body here on earth.
The church council has just completed the budget process for the
2014 proposed budget which will be presented at the
annual meeting on
January 26, 2014. There are very few changes for this next
year. The council
tries very hard to plan a budget that realistically reflects the
actual pledges and giving to the church.
Sometimes difficult, but always better than pulling a
total budget figure out of the sky and hoping that we will have
enough money to fund it.
Thank you to everyone who completed and returned a pledge
card for 2014. It
is an effective tool in crafting the next year’s budget.
One area of the budget that we have been unable to
address in recent years, because of economic downturns, etc. is
staff salaries. The
council has not felt that a salary increase could be supported
in the budget since 2004 when a 1.5% increase was included.
There was a motion from the floor, at the 2009 annual
meeting, to grant a 3% increase for staff salaries, which was
approved by the members present.
I only bring this to your attention so that you are aware
of how devoted and selfless our current staff is.
They are all underpaid by all professional guidelines and
they labor tirelessly for our congregation.
Finally, I am happy to report that the recent St. Nicholas Faire
held December 8, 2013 was a grand success.
Almost $6000 was raised to donate to the West Seattle
Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.
That is such a wonderful outpouring from our members and
their friends and families, plus the many members of the
community that attended the event.
But remember, even though this event was successful,
hunger and financial needs of members of our community don’t
stop. What we have
donated helps immensely, but hunger and homelessness are still
part of our community.
In 2014 make a commitment to buy some item to donate to
the Food Bank every time you go shopping.
It doesn’t have to be large, or expensive, just
practical, from a can of food to a tube of toothpaste – everyday
items that we take for granted.
Sharing our wealth with others is more effective when we
practice buying an
item for others when we shop for ourselves.
If we can afford a latte, then we can afford $.75 for a
can of tomatoes. We
just have to remember to do it.
It’s one way we love our neighbor as ourselves.
“Awaken, Lord, our spirit to know and love your more,
In faith to stand unshaken, in spirit to adore,
we, through this world moving,
Each glimpse of heaven proving, may reap its fullness
Year to date (Jan-November)
Pledge Cards for 2014
The Council would like to thank
each of you who returned your pledge card and making a
commitment to the work of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.
For the 2014 year, 47 pledge cards were returned so far
and 44 pledges have been made.
The Total annual pledge for 2014 is $156,160.
The Budget Committee came up with a figure of $253,201 to
work with for 2014.
If you haven’t turned your pledge card in, it isn’t too late,
there are a couple more weeks before the January Church Council
meeting. Put it in
next Sunday’s offering plate so that your pledge will be a part
of our budget making process.
Since 1993, over 20 years now, we
have been very successful with our annual pledge card drive.
This process enables our Budget Committee to work out a
realistic budget for the coming year.
And for our members it is a conscious commitment of our
financial resources to the church.
Thanks again, and keep the pledge
With the Mind:
Readings in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church Lounge,
Saturday, January 25th.
The book for January is
(2011), by Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), the founder of
modern, liberal Protestant theology. This book is a new
translation from the German by James H. Brandt. In this book
Scleiermacher pursues a position between rationalism and
orthodoxy – eschewing both ethical behavior based on individual
reasoning as well as on obedience to divine commands. He instead
hopes to broaden Christian ethics into the pleasure of
continuing the ways that Christ himself lived (pp. 99, 5). Even
if you disagree with Schleiermacher, his well thought out
position is worth wrestling with.
A copy of this 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 living a life that is “worthy” of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:27).
for 2014 are now available on the office window counter.
2014 FLOWER CHART
is available for sign up.
Sign up early for the best selection!
will meet on Wednesday and Thursday, January 22nd & 23rd
FOOD BANK COLLECTION
suggested donation for January is pasta, noodles and
next Koran Class
starts on Thursday, January 9th.
Call the office if you plan to attend.
He has been teaching this 4 week class 4 times a
year since 2003.
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.
2014 Annual Meeting is planned for
Following the liturgy on that day, voter’s registration
will be set up at the back of the parish hall.
Please bring your favorite dish, salad or dessert
Beverages will be provided.
SUNDAY ADULT EDUCATION:
Creed – His 1528 Statement of His Basic Beliefs. In
this short, four week class, we will study Luther’s
creed, appended to the end of his “Confession Concerning
Luther’s Works 37:360-372. Class begins January 5th.
THANKS to Larraine King and family for all the work they did to
organize and put on the St. Nicholas Faire.
Once again it was an impressive
in over six thousand dollars for the West Seattle Food
Bank and Helpline.
Monthly Home Bible Study,
January 2014, Number 251
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).
Read Acts 11.26 noting the word
Christians. What were
they called before? On this read Acts 9.2 noting the line
belonging to the Way.
What way is this? On this read Acts 16.17 noting the line
the way of salvation.
And by whom does this salvation come? On this read Acts 4.10-12
noting the words Jesus,
name. Why is this? On
this read 1 Peter 1.18-19 noting the line
ransomed from [your]
futile ways. What made the previous way of Judaism futile?
On this read Hebrews 9.23-26 noting the words
repeatedly. How is
the sacrifice of Jesus better? On this read again 1 Peter
1.18-19 noting the line
without blemish or spot. What makes him so pure? On this
read Colossians 2.9 noting the words
dwells. How does the
death of Jesus save us? On this read Ephesians 2.8-10 noting the
walk. And what does
it save us from? On this read Romans 5.9 and John 3.36 noting in
both the word wrath.
Is that salvation worth having? Why? See Luke 16:23, 28.
Read again Acts 11.26 noting the same word
Christians. Why is it
misleading if we don’t call believers and followers of Jesus
Christians? On this read 1 Corinthians 1.11-16 noting the names
Christ. How does this
confusion come about? On this read again 1 Corinthians 1.13
noting this time the word
baptized. Why would you think that Christianity was about
whoever baptized you? On this read Romans 6.3 noting the link
between baptism and
Christ. How could
this be missed? On this read Titus 3.3-7 noting the word
washing. If that
washing were to be stressed in isolation from the rest of the
reading, then the emphasis could easily fall on the person doing
the actual washing – Paul, Apollos, Cephas or Jesus. But that
would be a clear distortion. How then does it take root? On this
read Galatians 1.6 noting the words
deserting. On this
rootless faith, see Matthew 13.21. Read also Romans 5.3-5 on how
to make faith more substantial.
Reread Acts 11.26 noting again the word
should we use this name for ourselves? On this read Colossians
1.18 noting the words
head and pre-eminent.
How can Jesus be the head of the church if we make up its
membership? On this read Hebrews 12.2 noting the words
perfecter. What is it
that Jesus can do for the church that we can’t muster on our
own? On this read Philippians 3.12-15 noting the play on words
between the two phrases
my own and his won.
We cannot make Christ our Savior if he had not first made us his
children for salvation. Because his act must go before any of
ours, he has to be the leader of the church – even if we don’t
see him sitting in on our many meetings and putting offerings in
the plate on Sunday morning. On this pre-eminence, read Matthew
16.15-18 noting the words
rock, build and
church. In what way
is Jesus the rock? On this read Psalm 62.2, Isaiah 26.4 and 1
Corinthians 10.4, noting the same word
rock in all three
verses. So who is Jesus?
Read Acts 11.26 one last time noting again the same word
Christians. Why is
Christ linked to the head of the church? On this read Galatians
5.16-17 noting the words
Spirit and flesh.
Why is there this opposition between these two? On this read
Matthew 26.41 noting the words
Christ stands against the waywardness of the flesh in the church
as the Spirit of the church or its leader and head. How does the
church go wayward? On this read Ephesians 4.11-16 noting the
knit. What we need
from Christ, then, is help to stop us from changing the doctrine
or true teachings of the church. Why would any of us want to do
such a thing? On the read John 3.19 noting the words
evil. How does
Christ, as head of the church, help us through this mess? On
this read Ephesians 5.1-11 noting how all these words drive
toward the word expose
at the end. For help with this difficult work of exposing the
darkness, read Matthew 11.28-30. Does that help?
Stamp out hunger!
Donate regularly to the West Seattle Food Bank.
Hunger doesn’t take a vacation or go on holiday, or even
celebrate the holidays.
Remember those among us who depend on the West Seattle
Food Bank and buy a non-perishable item every time you go
shopping. Make it a
habit; practice it; be consistent about regularly purchasing
canned food, toiletries, cereals, pasta, peanut butter,
crackers, rice, beans, paper products, baby food and diapers,
etc. There are many
items that would be helpful to those in need. Consult the list
posted on the Extended Ministries bulletin board outside
classrooms C & D.
Give often and give regularly.
Your sharing of your wealth will bless you too!
Extended Ministries Committee
West Seattle Food Bank Food Drive Wish List
Kid Friendly Items
Jam and Jelly
Meal in a Can
Beans (Canned & Dry)
Dried Fruit Snacks
Soup, Stew, Chili
Macaroni & Cheese
Baby Food & Formula
Toiletries (Toothpaste, Soap,
Diapers (especially sizes 4, 5, 6)
ST. NICHOLAS FAIRE “THANK
What a wonderful time was had by everyone who attended and
pitched in and helped make this event such a big success!
We raised very close to $6,000 for the Food Bank and the
West Seattle Helpline, and collected over 195 pounds of food,
filling up a heaping shopping cart.
Way to go!
Plus we had a fabulous time in the process. We think that over
120 people attended, many of whom were not part of First
The event would not have been a success without the many helpers
Thanks to the decorating expertise of Liz Olsen and Larraine
King with their helpers, Justin and Andy, the parish hall was
transformed into a sparkling fairyland of lights.
It was a sight to behold.
The kitchen and clean up
helpers worked overtime from 1pm to 10pm.
They were indispensable.
Thank you to Jane Harty, Bridget Sagmoen, Lynn Hopson,
Teri Korsmo, Valerie Schorn, Gina Allen, Matthew and Ali
Richardson, and especially to Dana and Matthew Kahn, for
donating, preparing, and serving such a sumptuous feast!
You were all great!
Those of us who were fortunate enough to purchase some of the
baked goods know just what a talented group of bakers we have in
Thanks to Sonja Clemente, Maxine Foss, Teri Korsmo, Kathrine
Young, Connie Baker, Ali Richardson, Kari Ceaicovschi, Valerie
Schorn, Wendy Eaton, and Gina Allen.
Thank you to David King and Justin Olsen for managing the “Wine
Toss” game. A
special thank you to Richard Marshall and Maryhill Winery for
providing five wines to taste.
We raised about $500 from these two venues.
Plus we made $365 in wine sales at the event.
Thanks to Pastor Marshall for adding commentary for the
Silent Auction and helping with the wine orders and signage.
Jane Harty put together the information for the Silent
Thank you for taking on that job.
Teri Korsmo and Janice Lundbeck served as cashiers; not
an easy job, so we are extremely appreciative of your hard work
that goes on until all the dollars have been collected.
Finally, thank you to Lynn Hopson and Kari Ceaicovschi for
donating wine and cider.
Matthew and Dana Kahn, Liz Olsen, Larraine King,
Matthew and Ali Richardson, Phil and Natalie Nesvig, and
Fred Slimp for donating wine for the “Wine Toss” prizes. And to
Bridget Sagmoen for donating sparkling cider for the “under 21”
toss game prizes.
The apple cider for the spiced cider beverage was given by
Kathrine Young, Gina Allen, Larraine King, and Carol Nelson.
Plus a huge “THANK YOU”
to everyone who participated in the “Christmas in July
and August” ornament donations for the gift baskets.
Without your contributions we would have very little to
As is evident by the length of this list, a lot of people helped
and donated time, talents, and treasures that helped make this
event a huge success.
It takes many people contributing in their own unique way
to accomplish what we do at the St. Nicholas Faire.
Thank you all for your generosity and commitment to our
church and our extended ministries.
It could not have been done without you.
Many thanks to those who brought in much needed items for
Compass Housing Alliance.
This year Pastor Marshall was able to take downtown
to the Compass Center: one sweat jacket and pant set size XXL, one
sweat jacket and pant set size XL, two sweatshirts size XL,
four bath towels, two pair of men’s gloves, ten pair of
women’s gloves, two men’s briefs, one knitted scarf, nine
pair of men’s socks, 17 pair of women’s socks, three winter
hats, ten $5 McDonalds gift cards, one $10 gift card to
Chili’s Grill, one box gourmet lollypops from See’s Candies
and 53 personal, travel size, toiletries.
Three West Seattle families received Christmas gifts for
themselves and their children, and food for a holiday meal
in December that would not have
had these blessings for their
Because we had the funds in our Agape Fund we were able to help
in this way. Thank you to those who donate regularly to this
fund so that when the need is there we are able to help.
We also thank those who put together Christmas gift
bags to cheer the elderly in nursing homes who are not able to
make it to church.
The Epiphany of Our Lord
On Monday, January 6, 2014
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.
The Baptism of Our Lord
Sunday After the Epiphany
The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord
will be celebrated
Sunday, January 12, 2014.
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
Remember in prayer before
God those whom He has made your
brothers and sisters
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, Gloria Belarde, The Jones Family, Ginny Mitchell,
The Khamiss Family, Kirsten Christensen, Kyle Bogie, Anna & John
Bertelsen, Kurt & Jenny Alfano, Robin Kaufman, Eva Marshall,
Rosita & Jim Moe, Dean Herrick, Jillian Wasielewski, Gift of
Grace Lutheran Church, Asha Sagmoen, Margaret Kirmmse, Dano,
Karen & W. Erick, The McGinnis Family, Tony Fearito, Dave &
Sheri Wheeler, Sandy & Ron Weiss, Jess Rondeau & Paul Prososki,
Mark Sponheim, Michael Nestoss, Bell Schwenk.
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 New Year.
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., martyr, 1968.
Treasury of Prayers
O God, you have commanded me to love you with all my heart, and
mind, and soul, and strength. Draw me to you, for in you alone
is there happiness. May your love for me fill my heart and be
the motive for all that I do. Let your love, O Lord, rule my
heart without there being a rival there. In Jesus’ name I pray.
All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996)