July 2021



Pastor Marshall standing on Hus Street [Husova] in Prague, Czech Republic, May 2006, a block from Bethlehem Church where Hus preached.  


In Prague on July 6, 1415, the Roman Catholic Church burned at the stake the outspoken priest, Jan Hus, for advocating regional church rule, that church leaders make mistakes, and that the laity should receive the common cup in Holy Communion. Martin Luther wrote that “the cause of Hus is also mine” (Luther’s Works 54:81). He believed that he successfully took on his battles (LW 34:104). Luther therefore said to those on his side “we are all Hussites” (LW 48:153). And what a blessing that was because Luther believed that Hus possessed an “extraordinarily great spirit” (LW 60:126).

     May we then on July 6 pray with Hus: “O most kind Christ, draw us weaklings after yourself, for unless you draw us we cannot follow you…. Give us a valiant spirit, a fearless heart, the right faith, a firm hope, and perfect love” (The Letters of John Hus, ed. M. Spinka, 1972, Letter 86, June 23, 1415). And may we also share his motto: “Nothing is more religious than obedience unto God” (Jan Hus, De Ecclesia, 1413 – trans. The Church, D. S. Schaff, 1915, p. 237).



  Pastor Marshall 



PRESIDENT'S REPORT....by Cary Natiello



By the time you receive this issue of The Messenger, I hope you have received the great news that we will resume indoor worship services effective July 4 at 10:30 a.m.  GLORY BE TO GOD!  It is almost too hard to believe.  Please review carefully the materials sent to you in the mail prior to attending a worship service and if you did not receive the materials contact the church office at 206-935-6530.


Over these past many months, the Church Council has worked diligently to create a safe and healthy environment for our return to indoor worship.  Please join me in giving a huge thank you to all the church council members for their dedication to working through these difficult times.  Our council members are: Tim Allen, Ben Dobbeck, Janine Douglass, Jane Harty, Dana Kahn, David King, Larraine King, Steven Liang, Ron Marshall, Dana Morrison, Phil Nesvig, Mariann Petersen, and Jeff Sagmoen.


A special thank you to Pastor Marshall who showed great leadership and objectiveness throughout these past many months while we worked through these challenging and unique times, and for his unwavering and relentless commitment to continue with his responsibilities as pastor to preach and teach God’s word remotely, and finally, his providing us an option to continually receive communion in our homes.  Thanks be to God.


We will continue to monitor the data provided by King County department of health to ensure that continuing indoor worship services remains safe for everyone.


While there are still significant costly building maintenance challenges ahead of us that we are continuing to process, for now, let’s just focus on the positive, that we are resuming indoor worship services!


Our Mid-year Congregational Meeting will be July 25, after the 10:30 am service.  As usual, details about the meeting will be provided to you prior to the meeting date.


God’s blessings and peace to you all. 


Luke 16:15

by Pastor Marshall


Luke 16:15 is a troubling verse ‒ “What is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” What shall we say to this? We like awards, after all, honors, accolades and especially those small compliments like “Good job, Harry ‒ way to go!” And then there is our exaltation of God in worship. Is that also an abomination? This verse is unqualified and sweeps away all of our praise. It opposes the crowd (Romans 12:2). Why? Maybe because of John 5:44 ‒- “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” Because human glory dramatically excludes divine glory, faith is ruined. And that’s serious because eternal damnation follows (John 3:36). So Luke 16:15 comes roaring back. But a new translation blunts it (Contemporary English Version, 1995) ‒ “The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.” There’s the change we want ‒ that only most of our exaltations are bad but not all. But that’s not in the original Greek ‒ το εν ανθρωποις υψηλον ‒ which says all are bad. Thank God, then, for Martin Luther who reads Luke 16:15 without inserting any new words into the verse, but only follows the original! It “teaches,” he writes, “contempt of the world together with all its splendor [for] everything [is] worthless” (Luther’s Works 16:36). Earlier he added regarding this verse that “it is necessary that we are displeasing… to ourselves, in keeping with the Word of Christ: ‘He who loves his life will lose it’ (John 12:25)” (LW 27:181). This is not a message to “curry the world’s favor but to go out looking for, and quickly to find, hatred and misfortune, as it is called” (LW 26:58). It will not pack out church buildings in America. But give thanks to God anyway for Luke 16:15, because it will open the windows of heaven for you – which is far more important than using lies to fill up churches to make them look good (LW 12:255, Matthew 23:15).


Luther on Ruth

by Pastor Marshall


Martin Luther liked the blessing in Ruth 4:11 on Boaz and Ruth – “May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.” He liked it because in it he not only saw “the splendor of Christ’s grace,” but also its extension to both men and women, who together are “examples of the blessing” (Luther’s Works 8:176–77).

     This is a huge blessing in Israel for “the consequences of that building up will be extraordinary, paralleling in importance the founding of the people through the sons of Jacob” (K. D. Sakenfeld, Ruth, 1999, p. 77). Here we also see an “irony of ironies [in a] patriarchy [bound up] with this Moabite woman who is so necessary to the greatness of Boaz” (Tod Linafelt, Ruth, 1999, p. 75).





Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church

Irvine, California



by the artist, Sirio Tonelli (1922-2019)

(photo courtesy, Father S. P. Tsichlis)





Fritz Noack, one of the most distinguished organ builders of our time, passed away on June 2, 2021.  Prior to his retirement in 2015, the Noack Organ Company completed more than 160 organs under his direction, including instruments for universities, concert halls, and churches throughout the United States, as well as Japan and Iceland.  Among these are the two beautiful instruments for First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, Opus 83 of 18 stops in the gallery (1976) and Opus 142 of 4 stops in the chapel (2002).

     A native of Germany, Fritz Noack apprenticed from 1954 to 1958 with the noted organ builder Rudolph von Beckerath in Hamburg.  After emigrating to the United States, he worked in Massachusetts with Charles Fisk, whose own firm later built the large organ for Benaroya Hall in Seattle.  Fritz founded the Noack Organ Company in 1960, moving the workshop to its longtime home in a historic old schoolhouse in the small town of Georgetown, Massachusetts in 1970.  He had a profound influence on American organ building in the second half of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries, helping move it toward a more historically informed perspective.  That influence may be seen both in the significance of the organs he built, as well as through the work of the many artistically leading American organ builders who received their training at his workshop.

     I first met Fritz Noack in the fall of 1974, when I visited two of his recent instruments in Chicago while he was there servicing them.  I was immediately impressed with the visual and aural beauty of his instruments, as well as by his intellect, wit, and kindness.  Our organ committee had worked for several years with my predecessor as organist at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, and was now ready to make a decision on who should build the new organ for our church; my trip to Chicago was occasioned by that process.  Upon my return to Seattle, I recommended wholeheartedly that the Noack Organ Company be entrusted to create a new instrument for our church, for which the contract was signed in early 1975.  A visit to the workshop in Georgetown in June of 1976, when our organ was under construction, brought me the first taste of the magnificent instrument that would profoundly shape the musical and worship life of our parish in the ensuing years.  The gallery organ arrived in Seattle in September of 1976, and was truly breathtaking, exceeding my highest expectations.  In the late 1990s when a small organ for the chapel was being considered, there was never a question in my mind who should build it.  In March of 2002 the lovely Noack chapel organ was installed, visually complementing its larger sibling in the gallery.


Thanks be to God!

Andrew King, Cantor





The Extended Ministry Committee and the Church Council are highlighting charities that support our community in order to promote awareness of each organization's mission and support members of the congregation in their giving decisions. This issue of The Messenger showcases Mary's Place. Mary's Place believes that no one's child should sleep outside. Built upon a vision for a community where all families have safety, stability, and housing, the mission of Mary's place is to provide safe, inclusive shelter and services that support women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. Established in 1999 with a grant from Boeing Employee's Community Fund, Mary's Place Women's Day Center provides two meals a day, hygiene facilities, showers, laundry, medical care, support groups, and resources for housing, employment, and benefits. Since then, they have grown with the support of the community and local businesses and operate emergency family shelters around the region and women's day centers partnering creatively with anyone who shares their goals. Frequently these shelters rely on vacant, temporary building space, requiring strong community and business partnership. More recently, Mary's Place has been piloting a national best practice called Diversion. Their website explains that Diversion is an approach that involves working with families to identify their strengths and needs coupled with a small amount of flexible funding, on average $1,900, to address barriers to housing within 30 days. Mary's Place opened a Family Diversion Center in June 2019. It has a large compliment of programs which they are continuously evolving and innovating. Check out their website to learn more about their latest services:  https://www.marysplaceseattle.org/

     How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Mary's Place and their mission? Once again, it was the creative support of the community and local businesses that carried them through. With the support of Amazon, the Regrade Shelter opened in March 2020. It was intentionally designed with private rooms and provided safe, socially distanced support for families.

‒Dana Kahn, Extended Ministries



Training your new puppy not to bite, dogs barking at night superstition,  list of dogs by intelligence


What Adam said to Eve

As they lay in the dark.

Honey, what’s making

That dog out there bark?


(Charles Simic, “Left Out of the Bible,”

The New Yorker, May 31, 2021, p. 45,

reprinted by permission.)


By Pastor Marshall


First, I like this poem because, Simic, the Serbian American poet and Pulitzer prize winner from 1990 has been a long time favorite of mine (see his recent collection from 2015, The Lunatic). Second, I like it because it shows that the animal kingdom is better than we are since it’s the dog who warns them of the danger “out there” (that Satan’s coming to tempt them).  Recall also that in Genesis 3 God doesn’t curse the animals along with the devil (snake), the people, and the earth. Third, I like it because the question goes unheeded (as we know) showing how bad we already were even before our first act of disobedience (eating from the forbidden tree). Fourth, I like it because the title says that this poem (and its warning) isn’t needed (being “left out”). This too points to our deep corruption skipping over all warnings. And fifth, I like it because the rhyme and meter in this poem give it a humor that is acerbic because of the message it helps to convey.



Proverbs 21.1

Monthly Home Bible Study, July 2021, Number 341

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 Proverbs 21.1 noting the line the Lord… turns it wherever he will. What is the divine power like? On this read Psalm 115.3 noting the line God… does whatever he pleases. How is God able to do that without any interference? Check out Isaiah 55.9 noting how God’s ways are higher than ours. How does that give God extra power? Read Psalm 62.11 noting the line power belong to God. Does that mean God does everything? On this read 1 Corinthians 3.6 – 7 noting the words planted, watered, growth and only. So God doesn’t do everything but he controls everything. How is that? Read Proverbs 19. 21 noting the contrast between plans and purposes, mind and established. How is God in charge of what finally happens? Check out Philippians 1.6 noting the word completion. How is that out of our hands? Can only God control what people will think of what we do? On this read Joshua 2.11 noting the line hearts melted… because of you. Only God controls the fear that changes the way we think. Do you agree?


Week II. Read again Proverbs 21.1 noting the same line the Lord… turns it wherever he will. But can’t we thwart God through brute force as in wars and physical abuse? On this read Psalm 46.9 noting the words wars and cease. According to this verse, wars can’t obstruct God’s ways. But why do some wars seem unending? Can God stop only some of them? Check out Ezekiel 14.21 noting the word sword which is an euphemism for wars. Does that explain it? Apparently God sends wars to punish us. As long as the punishment is to last, God keeps the war going. So raging wars aren’t a sign that God is being thwarted. On abuse read 1 Peter 2.18–20 noting the words overbearing, unjustly, credit and approval. Inflicting pain like this is part of God’s plan, not the interruption of it. On this read Matthew 5.46 noting the low achievement of tax collectors loving only those who first love them. Believers in Christ have a higher standard – loving those who are mean to them. Do you buy into turning vices into virtues like this?


Week III. Reread Proverbs 21.1 noting this time the line the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord. But what about the bad ones? Can God control them too? On kings read 1 Samuel 8.10–18 noting the words ways, reign, appoint, cry, not and answer and the five uses of the word take. Why is God so unloving to them simply because they wanted kings like all the nations around them? Check out 1 Samuel 8.7 noting the line they have rejected me from being king over them. Read also Hosea 8.4 noting the line they made kings, but not through me. Kings, then, are a punishment. So allowing them to abuse people isn’t a sign that God can’t control them. Take King David. He committed adultery and murder, but God allowed David and Bathsheba to stay together, according to 2 Samuel 12.15–25, so that Solomon could be born next, whom the Lord loved. What other value did Solomon have? Read 1 Kings 5.3–5 noting the two contrasting lines could not build and I purpose to build. What did God think of his temple? Read 1 Kings 9.3 noting the word consecrated. How does this fit with John 2.21?


Week IV. Read Proverbs 21.1 one last time noting the same line the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord. Because kings have wealth and military power they seem unstoppable. So how does God control them? On this read Matthew 27.19 noting the words nothing, suffered, much and dream. How can a dream do that? Why not just ignore it as a silly thought? How can dreams frighten us into changing our behavior? Check out Genesis 37.3–5 noting the line they only hated him the more. This happened by combining pre-existing jealousy with a dream. So dreams take on more power than they have by being linked up with other bad feelings. Other times God is more direct, as in 1 Samuel 16.14. Check out the evil spirit that he sends to torment King Saul. How odd is that?



Crystal Tudor on her 100th Birthday,

May 28, 2021.


Crystal joined FLCWS on December 14, 1952. 


The next Zoom book discussion will be on Sunday, July 17 at 3:30 pm. The book is Reading While Black (2020) by Esau McCaulley.

NEXT: Koran Class with Pastor Marshall on ZOOM is scheduled for Mondays at 7 pm, July 5, 12, 19, 26.




The Apostle Saint Paul


“Whatever is just and pure,… think

about these things.”



by Pastor Marshall


This verse maintains a place for moral diligence in Christian living. Even though Christians hope “never to be seized and stirred by those things that are displeasing to God the Father,…. that is impossible in this life.” Therefore the law also has to be taught “to the godly in order to admonish and encourage them to stay to the end in the battle and contest and not to allow themselves to be overcome by the barking and insolence of their flesh” (Luther’s Works 73:178–79). But Luther also knew that our righteousness before God doesn’t depend on this diligence because “man is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:28). Luther quite rightly then distinguished between our external, public life, and our inner life of faith which is hidden “with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Regarding that external life, “a Christian should not think he can do whatever he wants, regardless of whether he pleases no one or everyone. He should do that only in matters of faith. In his external life he should act so that people find nothing to reproach in him, but everyone is pleased (1 Corinthians 10:33, 1 Peter 2:12)” (LW 76:234).

     This battle is mostly over correct Christian teachings (Ephesians 4:14). So the pursuit of justice, purity and excellence in Philippians 4:8 “refers chiefly to the teaching… so that both the preaching office would remain pure and [Christians] would remain in true faith. When these are correct, then the teaching and the results of the works afterward can also be correct” (LW 79:266). But again we have to be careful with these achievements. “They can make no more progress than that here on earth it is called praiseworthy and honorable before the world. However, it has no value before God and cannot attain to that life, but finally leaves a man stuck in shame, so that death devours him and drags him off to hell.” That said, “in obedience to God, these fruits are to follow in this life on earth in those who believe in Christ and now have their righteousness in Him. They are also good works which are pleasing to God and which He, for the sake of their faith, because they are done in Christ, will also reward in the life to come” (LW 79:272). So these good works are worthless and rewarding simultaneously. That can leave us confused and irritated, exclaiming – “How dare you” (LW 32:85)!

     Even irritating, these ideas remain important because “wicked deeds are generated from wicked thoughts,” so we have to preoccupy ourselves with worthy thoughts that we may walk more resolutely in righteousness (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Philippians, trans. P. Allen, 2013, p. 289). And this is true even if some of these ideas show “points of commendation and agreement… between the culture and the church” (Fred Craddock. Philippians, 1985, p. 73). Indeed the virtues listed in Philippians 4:8 “are not specifically Christian; they are excellent and commendable wherever they are found. But in a Christian context such as they are given here they take on the distinctive nuances associated with the mind of Christ [Philippians 2:5]” (F. F. Bruce, Philippians, 1989, p. 146). Indeed, Christians are to “have respect… for everything that is humanly true and good…. The whole moral world exists as truly as does the natural world, so to speak as its upper half…. The world knows very well what is good. Christians are to know it too, [not] less well than the world but better. But knowing… is knowledge… only when the Good… is kept…. That is what is specifically Christian – do that! Christianity is not ethics, nor does it have any special ethic. As Christians, too, we can only think on what everyone has to think on…. [But then you also] are to do what you – else you were not you – are commanded” (Karl Barth, Epistle to the Philippians, 40th Anniversary Edition, trans. J. W. Leitch, 2002, pp. 124–25).