When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
full of grace and truth, most missed it. “Isn’t
this just the carpenter’s son?” they asked
(Matthew 13:55). Nothing special about him . . .
Why did so many think that? 2 Corinthians 4:18
explains that when one is settled into the
eternal, as Christ was (Colossians 2:9; Hebrews
13:20; 2 Peter 1:11), the invisible takes over –
at least in respect to one’s eternality.
Therefore what makes Jesus uniquely divine isn’t
obvious to any one.
How many then might believe? Not many – for
indeed only a few will ever come to him and
follow him (Matthew 7:14; Luke 12:32). Do you
agree? Or are you more optimistic?
Well, if you think this is too dark an
assessment during the jubilation of Christmas,
then ponder our Lord’s question: “When the Son
of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luke 18:8). When Luther sized this verse up he
concluded that it will be “unsurprising” if God
keeps “scarcely one man on earth godly” (Luther’s
76:124 – 1:336, 36:143, 39:280). Yikes!
Saint Nicholas was very generous this year.
Larraine King and her helpers put on a remarkably
smooth event, and the West Seattle Food Bank, the
Helpline, and all the people these charities serve, are
Larraine will compile a report
─ when she can
catch her breath
─ but the early
indications are that this year’s event brought in more
than any other year to date!
Some of the extra proceeds will go to a new
“Backpack” project sponsored by the Food Bank.
Students who qualify for free lunches at school
can take food home for the weekend in backpacks.
Every year the proceeds from this event are
divided between the Food Bank and the Helpline.
Matthew, Dana, Samantha, and Max Kahn presided in
the kitchen, providing delicious appetizers.
Rollie Storbakken and Bridget Sagmoen helped with
the hot spiced cider and wine.
Richard Marshall was again present with his
prize-winning wines from one of the Northwest’s best
The gift baskets featured Seahawks and Mariners
memorabilia, fine food items, gift cards, gardening
implements, kitchenware and a variety of other gift
wife Carol and I just happened to get some baby books
(with the thick, chewable pages) in the hope of soon
becoming grandparents (we did).
One of the hardest and most nerve-wracking parts
of the St. Nicholas Faire is the distribution of the
gift baskets to the auction winners.
From my point of view, this year went
Larraine made a number of changes to the process
that gave each volunteer a clear and relatively limited
responsibility. While Teri Korsmo, Janice Lundbeck, Andy
and Larraine were handling the accounting side of
things, Gina Allen, Janine Douglass and Taylor Smith
were doing something like the employees in the Amazon
warehouses: using a “pick-list” to get all the gift
baskets belonging to each winner.
Larraine’s daughter Elizabeth and son David, as
in previous years, were everywhere lending a hand.
All these things seemed like a heavy
responsibility to me and we should thank these
volunteers for their hard work in a charitable cause.
Several others of us were involved as “Santa’s
helpers.” I’m sure I have omitted someone, and I
I am simply going from memory.
Finally thanks to all those who purchased items!
The buyers were the last, but most important of
St. Nicholas’ helpers last Sunday night.
May we be mindful this Christmas season and
always of the words of the Psalms: “May the hope of the
poor not be taken away (9:18, 72:4).”
Year to date (Jan-November)
Tithes, Offerings and Gifts
the highlights of the Christmas season, it’s the new
year, 2016, and time to settle in and think about the
year to come. As we do so, it’s also a moment to think
about our support of the church. As members of the
congregation, we pledge to support it with “our gifts,
our offerings and our tithes,” but what do we mean when
we say this?
of our tithes as our pledge card giving. These planned
gifts form the basis of the church’s budget for the
year. The budget lays out the ministries and programs of
the congregation, as well as the care of this very
special building. When we fall short of our pledges, the
budget falls short and maintenance get delayed and
projects get put on hold. Let’s all try to meet our
pledges throughout 2016.
considering our offerings, I think of these as
less-planned giving. These “offerings” support specific
projects: the Agape fund, Altar Flowers, the W. S. Food
Bank and Helpline, and the Compass Center, Compass
Housing Alliance. We have opportunities throughout the
year to provide special support to the ministries of our
church. I hope we can all find something we will enjoy
supporting and find a way to give generously.
about your “gifts”? You have talents and skills that can
contribute to the life of our congregation. Have you
been sharing them? We have a wonderful staff here at
First Lutheran Church but it takes a lot of volunteers
to make the congregation hum. Have you found a way to
help out? This, too, is supporting the church.
I am so
thankful for the many people who have chosen to serve
First Lutheran Church, both on the staff and as
volunteers here. We serve as we are able, of course, but
I hope that in the new year, we can all find a new
opportunity to share our gifts of time and service with
our brothers and sisters in Christ.
─Carol Nelson, Church
ST. NICHOLAS FAIRE “THANK YOU!!!!”
What a wonderful time was had by everyone who attended
and helped make this event such a big success!
We raised over $8,000 for the West Seattle Food
Bank and the West Seattle Helpline, and collected over
240 pounds of food, filling many shopping carts.
Way to go!
Plus we had a fabulous time in the process. We
think that over 100 people attended, many of whom were
not members of First Lutheran Church.
The event would not have been a success without
the many helpers and contributors.
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 helpers who worked, were
Thank you to Bridget Sagmoen and Rollie
Storbakken for their help in the kitchen before and
during the event. And a special THANK YOU to Dana and
Matthew Kahn, for donating, preparing, and serving such
a sumptuous feast!
Thank you to David King for managing the “Wine
A special thank you to Richard Marshall and Maryhill
Winery for providing the wines to taste.
Thanks to Pastor Marshall for adding commentary
for the Silent Auction and helping with the wine orders.
Jane Harty put together the bid information for
the Silent Auction forms.
Thank you for taking on that job.
Teri Korsmo, Andy King, 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, thanks to everyone who donated items
from the sign-up sheets – Matthew and Dana Kahn, Bob and
Connie Baker, Rollie Storbakken, Liz Olsen, Larraine
King, Phil and Natalie Nesvig, Kari and Alex
Ceaicovschi, Sonja Clemente, Gina Allen, and Bridget and
Jeff Sagmoen for donating wine, beer and/or cider for
the “Ring Toss” prizes.
Our table closers this year, did an awesome job.
Thanks to Carol and Earl Nelson, Liz and Justin
Olsen, Jane Harty, and Kathrine Young.
Gina Allen, Janine Douglass, and Taylor Smith did
a super fantastic job of manning the storage and
distribution of baskets to the winners.
Plus we had some great bakers who prepared
dessert for us – Kari Ceaicovschi, Jim Coile, Carol
Nelson, Maxine Foss, Sonja Clemente, Connie Baker, and
They were delicious!
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 sell!
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
Thank you all for your generosity and commitment to our
church and our extended ministries.
It could not have been done without you.
By Pastor Marshall
September 1998 I began an eight week Sunday morning
class on Aesop’s (d. 564 BC)
fables – using the new paperback collection of over 350
of his fables,
Aesop: The Complete Tales trans. Olivia & Robert
Temple (Oxford, 1998). I did this because Luther thought
that “next to the Bible” (Luther’s
Works 54:211), Aesop’s fables were the best.
Now a new study has come out by Carl P. E.
Luther’s Aesop (Kirkville, Missouri: Truman State
University Press, 2011), which analyzes these fables in
light of Luther’s many comments on them. According to
Springer (pp. 38, 44, 51, 52, 54, 55, 70, 124–28),
Luther’s favorite one was “The Dog Who Carried the Meat”
(Temple, p. 137):
A dog was crossing a river holding a piece of meat in
his mouth. Catching sight of his reflection in the
water, he believed that it was another dog who was
holding a bigger piece of meat. So, dropping his own
piece, he leaped into the water to take the piece from
the other dog. But the result was that he ended up with
neither piece – one didn’t even exist and the other was
swept away by the current.
Luther liked this fable because it “compares faith to
the meat in the dog’s mouth, while likening reliance on
good works to the meat’s reflection in the water.”
Furthermore, it’s “most general application… in positive
terms [is] the importance of contentment.” If
contentment [Philippians 4:11] is rejected, then
arrogance takes over, and what you first had is lost
(Springer, pp. 124, 126, 128). Not bad advice [see
Revealing Mistakes at
By Pastor Marshall
Einstein (1879-1955) caused a revolution in thought when
he discovered relativity. According to Hans C. Ohanian’s
Mistakes: The Humans Failings of Genius (2008),
“relativity asserts that uniform, un-accelerated motion
is always relative” (p. 16). The theories Einstein
invented for relativity, built upon the work of Galileo,
Newton, Maxwell and Lorentz (pp. 37, 85). But in
formulating those theories, the little known fact is
that he made “so many mistakes” that it’s “hard to keep
track of them.” Even so they did not prevent him from
“making his groundbreaking discoveries.” “In fact, many
of Einstein’s mistakes were amazingly fruitful – they
played a seminal role in leading Einstein to his
revolutionary theories” (pp. 330–31).
Therefore the 1979 bronze sculpture of Einstein as a
gigantic child by Robert Berks, “captures the essence of
Einstein. Because a genius has much in common with a
child. The genius – like a child – has a rebellious,
questioning attitude and also an uncanny ability to look
at things from a fresh perspective to achieve unexpected
insights…. And, of course, children make mistakes” (p.
Could it be that Einstein, then, helps us better
understand the words of Jesus that the kingdom of heaven
belongs to children (Matthew 19:14) – especially given
that Ohanian thinks Einstein's relativism doesn’t extend
into theology (p. 300)?
OUR MANY THANKS! to Larraine King and family for all of
the work they did to organize and put on the St.
This year it was a remarkable event bringing in
over eight thousand dollars for the West Seattle Food
Bank and West Seattle Helpline.
With the Mind:
Readings in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church
Lounge, Saturday, January 23rd
book for January is
Jesus Wars: How
Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided
What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years
(2011), by the pre-eminent church historian, Philip
Jenkins. This book is about how Christian doctrine was
settled – which was more by political force than by
rational argument and Biblical evidences (p. xiv).
Jenkins does not find this lamentable. Therefore he
concludes: “A religion that is not constantly spawning
alternatives and heresies has ceased to think and has
achieved only the peace of the grave” (p. 278).
A copy of this important book on Christian
doctrine is in the library. If you would like to
purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel
free to attend our meeting when we discuss how the early
formative years of the church shaped the church today.
for 2016 are now available on the office window counter.
2016 FLOWER CHART
is available for sign up.
Sign up early for the best selection!
FOOD BANK COLLECTION
suggested donation for January is pasta, noodles and
non-perishable foods are good.
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.
Copies of last year’s minuets will be sent via
email to the committee chairs.
SUNDAY ADULT EDUCATION:
Being Governed – Luther on Secular Rulers,
this short, four week class, we will study from Luther’s
sermons on First Peter from 1523 having to do with
secular government (Luther's
This class is the twelfth in our series of studies on
the Reformation, leading up to its 500th anniversary in
to those who put together Christmas gift bags to cheer
the elderly who are not able to make it to church.
Pastor Marshall delivers the bags when he makes
his regular visits.
next Koran Class
starts on Thursday, January 7th.
Call the office if you plan to attend.
Also, on Saturday, January 9th a one day Koran
Class will be held at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in
Pastor Marshall has been teaching this four week class
four times a year, or more, since 2003.
to those who brought in Christmas gift items for
Compass Housing Alliance.
This year Pastor Marshall was able to
deliver to the Compass Center: six sweat shirts,
two hats, 14 pair men’s socks, 6 gift cards for
McDonalds and six for Safeway, and over 100
personal size toiletries.
Monthly Home Bible Study, January 2016, Number
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
alone 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 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,
New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible,
2003, p. 12). And don’t give up, for as Luther
said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for
all eternity” (LW
Read Genesis 11.4 noting the word
Why did all of the people after the flood want
to build a city with a huge tower? On this read
the same verse noting the word
heaven. Does this word connote more than height? On this read
Genesis 28.12-22 noting the two uses of the word
heaven and the many uses of the word
God as well as the words bless
What does this suggest? Is this tower like a
temple that manages access to God and his
blessings? On this read 1 Kings 8.22-30 noting
If so, why is this control of God sought after?
On this read Genesis 9.8-17 noting the words
never, destroy and
Was it that the descendants of Noah didn’t trust
God to keep his promise and so they had to find
ways to confine him to his promises? Are there
any signs of such rebellion? On this read
Genesis 9.22 noting the words
Is Ham being cautious or disrespectful? On this
read Genesis 9.23-27 noting the words
and slave. Do these verses show that Ham is the source of the evil
generated after the Flood?
Read again Genesis 11.4 noting the phrase
make a name for ourselves. How could
building a city with a huge tower do this? On
this read Deuteronomy 8.17 noting the words
power. Is this the way it goes with all buildings and cities? On
this read Genesis 6.13-22 noting the words
did, God and
So when we build according to God’s command – as
in the case of Noah building the ark – there’s
no problem. So how did things go awry in the
case of the city of Babel? On this read Genesis
10.6-20 noting the words
Shinar, Canaanites and
Note also in Genesis 9.25 that the
on Ham extends to his son
So Babel is built poorly because of the curse of
Ham. And remember that Babel, according to
Genesis 11.2, is in
of Shinar where Ham’s descendants settled.
So do you see the line of corruption extending
down from the aftermath of the Flood on into the
building of the tower of Babel years later? Does
this illustrate the term
generation in Exodus 20.5? What do you
Reread Genesis 11.4 noting the word
What’s wrong with being scattered? On this read
Genesis 10.32-11.2 noting the word
and migrated. Here we see a migration that consolidates all people under
one language and culture into what Genesis 11.6
people. Why isn’t this togetherness good? On
this read Genesis 11.6 noting the line
nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.
What’s wrong with this omnipotence? Surely it
would be valuable for getting things done! On
this read Genesis 18.14 noting the rhetorical
Is anything too hard for the Lord? Does this
mean that omnipotence – being able to do any and
all things – is reserved for God alone? On this
read Psalm 62.11 noting the line
power belongs to God. Note also the long list (some 40 things) that
we cannot do in Job 38.4-39.30. Remember also
the mighty Elijah sulking in a cave in 1 Kings
19.14 for fear of loneliness. No wonder James
4.14 says that we are but a
Do you agree?
Read Genesis 11.4 one
last time noting the word
How is this a punishment for their rebellion?
Wouldn’t you think the city and its tower should
have been destroyed instead – as in the case of
Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19.24–25? On this
read Numbers 21.4-9 noting the words
and make. Notice here how God deals indirectly with the problem of
death: he doesn’t eliminate the poisonous snakes
but rather provides a way to survive the deadly
snake bites. On this read Genesis 11.8 noting
and they left off building the city. So did
it work? On this read Hosea 8.4 noting the line
but not through me. Does this mean Israel went about building
kingdoms and cities contrary to God’s dictates?
On this read Ezekiel 2.3 noting the words
rebelled and transgressed.
Why did God allow this? So how was Babel
of Our Lord
On Wednesday, January 6, 2016
The Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord
will be celebrated at 11:45 am
in the chapel with Holy Eucharist.
Matthew's Gospel remembers this event.
Celebrate the magi's coming to worship
and bring gifts to the Christ child.
of Our Lord
Sunday After the Epiphany
The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord
will be celebrated
Sunday, January 10, 2016.
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
Nancy, Sam, Kevin and Kim Lawson, David, Eileen and
Michael Nestoss, Leah Baker, Kyra Stromberg, Cynthia
Natiello, Peggy & Bill Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn,
Matt Anderson, Cameron Lim, Angel Lynn, Ion Ceaicovschi,
Luke Bowen, Tabitha Anderson, The PLU Faculty, Yvonne
Rainey, Celia Balderston, Renann Taylor, Mike Harty,
Jack Feichtner, Shirley Eaton, David Gehring, Asha
Sagmoen, Dean Cheney, Stephanie Hoikka, Brayton Decker,
Mark Mosley, Kevin James, Pete Spaulding, Nancy Wilson
and the great migration from the Near East into Europe.
Pray for the new born that they grow in the strength of
Elias John Tutuska, grandson to Earl & Carol Nelson.
Pray for the new members that they may all the more
rejoice in Christ and serve him with diligence:
Pray for Joy Gong.
Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved
one: Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their
Pray for the Marshall family on the death of Sandee
Marshall, Rich Marshall’s wife.
Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give
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
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.
A Treasury of Prayers
Dear Lord our
God, multiply and magnify the carols and prayers
of thanksgiving I’ve been offering these days of
Christmas. May the purpose and sincerity of my
heart’s adoration not die out when the bells no
longer ring. May the child of Bethlehem be truly
born in me today. Capture my life afresh for him
so that he may rule over me with truth and
grace. Make me more eager during this holy
season to reach others with this wondrous story
of him who is now the King of Glory. In Jesus’
name I pray. Amen.
All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols.,