July 2020


Bear Fruit 


Faith is not enough. Christians are also to be good; to do good deeds; to bear good fruit (Matthew 7:17, Colossians 1:10). But how do we do that?

     Is it when we’ve helped someone – when we’ve produced something good (Aristotle)? Well, yes, but what about unintended results? Hormone replacement therapy provided emotional stability, but later was found to cause heart disease (Kathrine Sherif, Hormone Therapy, 2013, Part IV.14). So was it good? Others therefore think that good people obey good commands (Kant) – regardless of the outcomes. But that can be done with arrogance and disregard for others. So others add the intention or motive to do good (Mill) – regardless of your loyalty or the outcomes. But then good people may never do anything good.

     In the midst of these quandaries, Jesus says that only a good tree can bear good fruit (Matthew 7:17). Outcomes, loyalty and motives don’t get to the heart of goodness. What does is faith in Christ – that’s what makes you a good tree. That’s the point of Colossians 3:17 – “whatever you do, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” That gives both ethical freedom and latitude (whatever you do), along with a strict moral norm (in the name of Jesus).

     Will pastors help us think about being good? Will they even try? Can the clergy “arise again to a new, joyous, and beneficial life, or will [the clergy] rot in some putrid swamp?” (Ioann S. Belliustin, Description of the Clergy in Rural Russia: The Memoir of a Nineteenth-Century Priest, trans. Gregory L. Freeze, Cornell University, 1985, p. 191).

   Pastor Marshal


PRESIDENT'S REPORT....by Cary Natiello


I hope you are all healthy, safe and keeping the faith! 

     At our June Zoom Council meeting we discussed when and how we can resume indoor worship services. We came up with a set of criteria to assess when we might open again.  The criteria are listed below.  Each of the criteria must be met in order for us to resume indoor services…

1.     State and local governments allow indoor religious gatherings of 50 people or less

2.     Policies and procedures that meet or exceed government requirements and/or recommendations for indoor worship services are approved by the council and in effect

3.     Newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases during the prior two weeks in King County is minimal and declining [in other words, we would need to see minimal and declining COVID-19 cases for two weeks before we would consider resuming indoor services]

4.     At least three weeks have passed since State and local governments began allowing religious gatherings of 50 people or less, providing the council time to evaluate if the number of COVID-19 cases in our community continue to be minimal and declining

5.     The Council has a high degree of confidence that the established policies and procedures can be followed and that they will provide all the necessary precautions needed to open

6.     A super majority, a minimum of 10 Council members, of which Pastor Marshall is one, must vote in favor of resuming indoor worship services

     If any one of the criteria is not fully met, we will not open.  Our goal is to ensure that when we open again, it will be as safe as possible for our staff and congregation. 

     As of the writing of this report, Pastor Marshall said that none of our congregation has become infected with COVID-19. Thanks be to God.  Unfortunately, many of the towns and cities around the United States that have started opening have seen an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases. We will continue to monitor the number of COVID-19 cases in King County, but it seems unlikely that the spread of COVID-19 will be under control anytime soon, and if it is, how long it will be sustained. We all need to be prepared for a prolonged suspension of our indoor church services, even into next year.  The council will continue to discuss resuming indoor services at each council meeting. The good news is that Pastor Marshall has been providing us with abbreviated online liturgies, plus he has figured out a way for us to continue to receive the Lord’s Supper at home.  Thanks be to God.

     Also, Pastor Marshall is now conducting Zoom Bible Study Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. If you are interested in attending any of Pastor Marshall’s Zoom Bible Studies, please let him know.

     Our mid-year congregational meeting is set for August 2. Whether or not it will be remote will be determined at the July Council meeting. A notification will be sent out to everyone regarding that.

     Our church finances through May continue to be very strong and at or better than budget.  Thanks be to God for all your continued support of our church during these very challenging times.

     God’s Peace and blessing to you all.


If you would like to distribute Holy Communion in your

home, call or email Pastor Marshall to make arrangements.


Pacific Lutheran University Censured

for illegitimately firing Dr. Jane L. Harty in 2018

after teaching there for 41 years


On June 22, 2020, the American Association of University Professors, the most prestigious organization of its kind, censured the administration of PLU for illegitimately firing Dr. Jane L. Harty, Pastor Marshall’s wife. The report against PLU “found that the relatively minor nature of the misconduct in which [Dr. Harty] was alleged to have engaged and the summary nature of the administrative action taken against her supported the inference that the real reasons for her dismissal may have stemmed from the administration’s long-standing displeasure with her advocacy for the rights of faculty members on contingent appointments.” For the full report see https://www.aaup.org/news/pacific-lutheran-university-added-list-censured-administrations#.XvIn1-d7nct  Pray that this censure motivates PLU to rehire Dr. Harty and correct their error. The Lord loves justice (Isaiah 61:8); would that PLU would too.



The Apostle Saint Paul


“Only let your manner of life

be worthy of the gospel of Christ”



by Pastor Marshall


Saint Paul cared deeply about Philippians 1:27 – repeating its message in Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 2:12. This is because, as Martin Luther warned, if Christians live lives based on their “own pleasure and glory” (Luther’s Works 30:248), then they will bring upon themselves “God’s highest wrath, along with contempt and shame” (LW 79:147). Because so much is at stake, Christians have to “increase little by little” every day in this regard, or else all is lost (LW 34:157). This will not be easy. The task is daunting – to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ. Even so, every Christian has to know that “he does not live on earth for himself or for his own sake, but his life and ways on earth belong to the Lord Christ” (LW 79:146). In fact, “a Christian should have no higher or greater concern than living in such a way that God’s name is not dishonored” (LW 79:147).

     Such a worthy life enables Christians to “effectively commend the gospel” – even though it requires “strenuous endeavor” (F. F. Bruce, Philippians, 1989, p. 56). Some even go so far as to say that “the conduct of the Christian life should have the merit of the Gospel itself,” and that “if God is the center of your life, no words are necessary” (Bonnie B. Thurston, Philippians, 2009, p. 69). Be that as it may, this worthy life to which Christians are called is not made up anew, based on each Christian’s wishes, but has the Gospel of Jesus as its “source for knowledge and discernment” (John Reumann, Philippians, 2008, p. 287). In addition, if Christians “cease to act and simply react, then it is no longer the gospel but the culture which gives the church its identity.” Then the “two-edged sword” embedded in the Gospel is blunted. Then “the destruction of the wicked” wanes. But this can’t be if the reverse of the Gospel (John 3:36) is to hold – that “turning on a light creates shadows, a darkness of a different kind; that is the unavoidable reality” of the Gospel (Fred Craddock, Philippians, 1985, pp. 33–34).

     Not all confrontations with evil are worthy, however. “Some causes of suffering are to be neither welcomed nor endured. Ill-advised suffering is no more worthy of the gospel than shameful avoidance. When a Christian faces suffering because of confessing Christ’s name,” for instance, “it would be wrong to escape by denying Christ. Yet very different causes having nothing to do with one being a Christian (afflictions like rape, slavery, or domestic violence) might expose believers to cruelty, injustice, or abuse. Prudence and self-regard in such cases are not contrary to the gospel. Failure to avoid needless or unjust suffering can itself mean disloyalty to Christ, as can failing to resist injustice” (George Hunsinger, Philippians, 2020, p. 29).

     Christians have to stay focused. They can’t be distracted by extraneous difficulties. In this call to the worthy life, they are being urged “to devote themselves to virtue,” pure and simple. And when they do, “nothing grievous will befall” them (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Philippians, trans. P. Allen, 2013, pp. 85, 87). “Worthy,” after all, means “firm,… showing backbone, confessing – whereby the gospel is conceived as the ground on which [Christians] are to maintain their stand, from which they are not to let themselves be forced away” (Karl Barth, Epistle to the Philippians: 40th Anniversary Edition, trans. J. W. Leitch, 2002, p. 46). And this is necessary, as Luther knew, because most Christians “among us are heathen under the Christian name” (LW 78:181). Trying to reverse this with a worthy Christian life won’t be easy because “what the devil wants makes progress…. [and what] God wants… makes progress nowhere and faces innumerable obstacles” (LW 78:96). Yet, as Luther again knew, it is precisely when “all things seem hopeless [that]… the help of God begins” (LW 7:100).



The Body


“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

(Psalm 139:14)


You don’t know how the body is formed in the mother’s womb.”

(Ecclesiastes 11:5)




“Hearing is [a] seriously underrated miracle. Imagine being given three tiny bones, some wisps of muscle and ligament, a delicate membrane, and some nerve cells, and from them trying to fashion device that can capture with more or less perfect fidelity the complete panoply of auditory experience – intimate whispers, the lushness of symphonies, the soothing patter of rain on leaves, the drip of a tap in another room…. Two-thirds of Europeans have free-hanging earlobes and one-third have attached earlobes. Whether tethered or flapping, the earlobes make no difference to your hearing or indeed anything else…. From the quietest detectable sound to the loudest is a range of about a million million times of amplitude.”


[Bill Bryson, The Body:

A Guide to Occupants (2019) pp. 84, 85, 86.] 




Luther on Samson


By Pastor Marshall


After Samson’s retaliation against the Philistines for stealing his Philistine wife – the cycle of violence ramps up (R. D. Branson, Judges, 2009, p. 137). The Philistines kill Samson’s wife, and Samson strikes back with “a great slaughter” (Judges 15:8). “The only thing that matters is reprisal and counter reprisal” (T. C. Butler, Judges, 2009, p. 342) – leaving some to compare Samson to “Breaking Bad’s Walter White [and] the violence of hyper-masculinity” (The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, January 2020, p. 151). Samson’s own people reject him for this. In his defense Samson says with “simple, stubborn logic” (D. Grossman, Lion’s Honey: The Myth of Samson, 2005, p. 91): “As they did to me, so have I done to them” (Judges 15:11). Martin Luther notes that this conflicts with Proverbs 20:22, “Do not say, I will repay him his evil.” But he also says that Samson “did not do so in order to avenge himself,… but to serve others and to punish the Philistines” (Luther’s Works 45:104). From this we learn the lesson of worthwhile punishment.  


1 John 3.18

Monthly Home Bible Study, July 2020, Number 329

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). And don’t give up, for as Luther said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for all eternity” (LW 75:422)!


Week I. Read 1 John 3.18 noting the contrast between word and deed. Even though deeds are favored over words, can words ever matter much? Check out Proverbs 25.11 noting the words fitly, gold and silver. What are fitly spoken words and why do they matter? On this read Isaiah 50.4 noting the words sustain and weary. Why does this matter? Note Elijah in 1 Kings 19.1–4 about wanting to die. Because we can sink into despair, offering comfort can save lives. Fitly spoken words can do this. Does that make you great if you can help in this way? Check out Matthew 10.19–20 noting the words say, given, Spirit and through. Are we only servants, then, and not valued therapists? On this read Luke 17.10 noting the phrase unworthy servants. Read also 2 Corinthians 3.5 noting the line our competence… not… coming from us. Where does that leave us when we help somebody by saying the right things? Check out 1 Corinthians 10.31 noting the line do all to the glory of God. Read also Colossians 3.17 noting the similar line do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. Does that settle how you should think about yourself when you help someone?


Week II. Read again 1 John 3.18 noting the same two words word and deed. Is there any other value in speaking even though deeds surpass words? Read Romans 10.17 noting the words faith, heard and preaching. How does this work? Note Acts 2.37 and the line they were cut to the heart. Words preached can do this! That’s something like words getting under your skin, as we say. How do they do that? Read James 1.21 and the line the implanted word which is able to save your souls. How is that word implanted in us? Check out Isaiah 55.11 and the line my word… goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty. So God’s words have force – they aren’t inert like printed letters on a page. For an example of this, see Acts 9.1–20 noting the words light, flashed, fell, eyes, filled, scales and proclaimed. Are you convinced? If so, why?


Week III. Reread 1 John 3.18 noting the word deed. Why are deeds more important than words? On this read 1 Corinthians 4.20 noting the line the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. Why are deeds more powerful than talking? Go to John 13.35 noting how knowledge of God comes from seeing believers love one another. How does love do this? Read Proverbs 25.21–22 noting how your hardened enemy is softened – melted by coals of fire on his head – when you love him by sharing food and drink. How does that work? Read Philemon 1.7 noting how love can refresh with the joy and comfort it brings. Read also 1 Peter 4.8 about how love covers a multitude of sins. How so? By being forgiving and gracious – and helpful when unexpected. This can draw people in. Does it always work? On this read Matthew 26.46–27.5 noting the word friend at the beginning and hanged at the end. Jesus didn’t attack Judas for betraying him, and still Judas killed himself. The love of Jesus couldn’t save Judas. Do you agree?


Week IV. Read 1 John 3.18 one last time noting again the word deed. What other deeds move us in ways that words can’t? On this read Matthew 15.21–28 noting how the woman was ready to eat crumbs with the dogs from under the master’s table. That act moved Jesus to exclaim – O woman, great is your faith! This same humility is in Luke 18.9–14 which ends in praise – he who humbles himself will be exalted. Read also John 6.1–14 noting the lad’s generosity – ending up with five thousand eating as much as they wanted. The miracle could have been opening the hearts of stingy people so that they too shared what they had, instead of physically multiplying the five barley loaves and two fishes first donated by the boy. Another case is in Ruth 2.8–13 where Ruth’s devotion to Naomi moves Boaz to befriend Ruth in Bethlehem. Read also about David’s love for Jonathan in 2 Samuel 1.1–27 upon hearing of Jonathan’s death. Do these cases help explain why we are to match our love with God’s in 1 John 4.19? How so?



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Melissa Baker, Melanie Johnson, Larraine King, Eve Young, Pete Morrison, Todd & Covi Tuomi Family, Sam & Nancy Lawson, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Connor Bisticas, Eileen & Dave Nestoss, Kyra Stromberg, Tabitha Anderson, Diana Walker, The Rev. Albin Fogelquist, The Rev. Howard Fosser, The Rev. Kari Reiten, The Rev. Dave Monson, The Rev. Paul Smith, The Rev. Dan Peterson, The Rev. Rick Reynolds, Sheila Feichtner, Yuriko Nishimura, Leslie Hicks, Eric Baxter, Mary Lou & Paul Jensen, Hillary Thoren, Trevor Schmitt, Lesa Christensen, Maggie & Glenn Willis, Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm, Karen Berg, Bjorg Hestevold, Wayne Korsmo, Garrison Radcliffe, Antonio Ortez, Marv Morris, The Jill & Dave West Family, Noel Curtis, Randy Vater, Garrett Metzler, Doreen Phillips, Will Forrester, Richard Patishnock, Jeff Hancock, John Paulson, Yao Chu Chang, Mary Cardona.

    Pray for our professional Health Care Providers:  Gina Allen, Janine Douglass, David Juhl, Dana Kahn, Dean Riskedahl and all those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. Also, pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused, harassed, and unemployed.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Bob & Mona Ayer, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Joan Olson, Doris Prescott, C. J. Christian, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Martin Nygaard, Gregg & Jeannine Lingle, Anelma Meeks.


Treasury of Prayer


God of wisdom, help me weigh everything I say carefully. Help me mean what I say and say what I mean and listen to others attentively. May I be thoughtful in reply and slow to anger; encourage faith, praise compassion and, when needed, pinpoint sin. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

[For All the Saints IV:178–79, altered]



The truth is, here we are, its middle of June 2020, and none of us know what the best decision is, were all learning on the fly… none of us have been through a pandemic before.  We don’t know what the right decision is, but we have a sense as to what the wrong decision is.” 


Dr. Shmuel Shoham associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.