June - July - August 2017





New Life Amidst Misery


We celebrate Pentecost on Sunday, June 4, this year. It is the day we give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit is the third Person of the Holy Trinity – who is our living, condemning and gracious God.

           Pentecost by El Greco (1600)      

     But what exactly does the Holy Spirit add to God? Martin Luther says that it puts “fiery flames into a heart and makes it alive” so that we can become new with “completely different understanding, spirit, and mind than before” (Luther’s Works 77:326). This takes some doing to accomplish and that is why we need the intervention of the Holy Spirit.

     So are you ready for the Holy Spirit to enter into you? Luther again helps us understand our readiness: “The Holy Spirit is given to no one except just those who are in sorrow and anguish…. The gift is so high and noble that God does not throw it to the dogs and pigs…. For the Gospel there must be hearts which feel and see their misery and that they cannot get out of it. There must be trembling if the Holy Spirit is to come and help. No one should get it in his head that it will happen differently” (LW 77:329–30). Amen!


Pastor Marshal


                                                                          Vincent van Gogh (1885)

Bringing in the Sheaves


Inviting People to Believe


By Pastor Marshall


All Christians are called to invite people to church, receive baptism, take up faith in Christ and follow the Lord (Matthew 28:19–20). Here is a hymn (“Bring Them In”) about that to remind you of it, encourage you to do it, and help you get it done. May we cry out with Isaiah, “Send me, send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). This hymn comes from Hymns and Songs of Zion (Apostolic Lutheran Church of America, 1993, hymn 618). The text by is by Alexcenah Thomas (1857–1910), a public school teacher, who, for a time, taught in Tacoma, Washington:


Hark! ‘tis the Shepherd’s voice I hear,

Out in the dessert dark and drear,

Calling the sheep who’ve gone astray

Far from the Shepherd’s fold away.



Bring them in, bring them in

Bring them in from the fields of sin;

Bring them in, bring them in,

Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.


Who’ll go and help this Shepherd kind,

Help Him the wandering ones to find?

Who’ll bring the lost ones to the fold,

Where they’ll be sheltered from the cold?




Out in the dessert hear their cry,

Out on the mountains wild and high;

Hark! ‘tis the Master speaks to thee,

“Go find my sheep where’er they be.”




 President’s Report… by Bob Baker


Affirmation of Baptism


In Holy Baptism our gracious heavenly Father liberates us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are born children of a fallen humanity; in the waters of Baptism we are reborn children of God and inheritors of eternal life. By water and the Holy Spirit we are made members of the Church which is the body of Christ. As we live with him and with his people, we grow in faith, love, and obedience to the will of God.

Thus begins the liturgy of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. It may be that most members of the Lutheran Church were baptized as infants or at least very young children. But what infant or toddler understands that paragraph. Well, none, of course.

        So when youngsters become teenagers and have the capacity to learn about what that paragraph means, they enter the process of instruction known as Confirmation classes. They think and ponder who God is and what God has begun in them through Baptism. We pray that the Holy Spirit stirs in them, and in us, the practice of renewing their baptism daily.

     At the May meeting of the Congregation Council, the Parish Education Committee moved for the approval of Lily Allen and Evan Ceaicovschi for Affirmation of Baptism. The motion passed unanimously.

        Lily and Evan have completed three years of classes with Pastor Marshall and Ted Foss. After moving to Montana with his family last year, Evan continued his confirmation studies with Pastor Marshall via Skype.

       The rite for Affirmation of Baptism will be during the 10:30 A.M. liturgy on June 4th, Pentecost Sunday.

        No Skype that day! The Ceaicovschi family will be visiting here from Montana for the worship service and celebration. After the liturgy, there will be a reception at which time we can congratulate these students and their families. Please remember these students, their families, their teachers and the Church, the Body of Christ, in which this all takes place.



Stewardship 2017

Month (April)           Year to date (Jan-April)

Budget                     $21,213                          $83,970

Received                  $24,547                          $84,857




   Sharing Abundantly


The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.” –Psalm 24:1-2, NRSV


Time and again, when thinking about Stewardship in the church, and giving in the church, the words of Psalm 24 remind us that while we think we are in control of, owners of, and creators of our own wealth, our own time, and our own gifts, that thinking is wrong – the Lord is in control, is the owner of, and the creator of each of us, each of our gifts, and each of our time.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that we are “a temple of the Holy Spirit … which [we] have from God, and that [we] are not [our] own...” and that we are to “therefore glorify God” through the gifts and talents we have been given.  Sometimes we restrict Stewardship in the church solely to giving, but it extends far beyond giving.  It also extends to how we spend our time and how we use our gifts and talents, all of which have been given to us by God.  We didn’t generate them ourselves, so we should use them to the praise of Him who did.  For all of us, this means giving our tithe to the church to support our mission of preaching the Law and Gospel through Word and Sacrament.  But for each of us, this may also mean different things – for some it may mean serving on Altar Guild, for some it may mean serving on our Church Council, for others it may mean becoming a choir member or an usher, and for others it may mean spending time volunteering at the Food Bank or the Helpline, or some combination of all of these.  When we think about Stewardship, we should give joyfully in thanksgiving for God and the gifts He has bestowed on us in Christ and in our talents and resources, because, as 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 reminds us, “God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance so that … you may share abundantly.”

     Thanks be to God for all of His gifts, that we may each use them in our own way to glorify Him at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle and in all facets of each of our lives.


-David King, Church Council


From The Luther Bible of 1534 (complete facsimile edition).

The Reformation at 500


Luther’s Name Means Freedom


By Pastor Marshall


Our sixth installment on the significance of the Reformation, comes from the new psychological biography of Luther by the Oxford historian, Lyndal Roper, Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet (New York: Random House, 2017) p. 86:

So far as Luther was concerned, the [ninety-five] theses marked a profound shift in his own understanding of himself, for around [this] time… he changed his name. He no longer signed himself “Luder,” his father’s name, but took on the Greek name “Eleutherius” – the freed one – which he continued to use for several months. “Luder” was a somewhat unfortunate name to inherit because in German it has associations with looseness and immorality. Even when he stopped signing himself as Eleutherius, he kept the kernel of the name and from then on called himself “Luther.”   

Luther’s name points to freedom – the hallmark of the Reformation. Luther believed the medieval Catholic tradition had become a burden to believers with it fabricated moral code. Against this Luther lifts up faith in Christ – for he is the one who by dying and rising freed all believers in his name from “sin, death, God’s wrath, the devil, hell, and eternal damnation” (Luther’s Works 23:404). This freedom is the true legacy of the Reformation that should be held dear by all who care to know about it.




Colossians: Summer 2017 Bible Study


With Pastor Marshall

Sundays, 9 am - 10 am, Room D


This summer we will take 12 weeks to study the book of Colossians – following Martin Luther’s insights. Each week we will concentrate on a few verses, aiming to find help for our growth in faith and love. Each week we will have a handout with Luther’s comments to guide our discussion. (We worked on this during the summer of 2013 and this time I hope to complete it.)


The class schedule will be the following:


            June 11   Col 1:1-8             July 2          Col 2:1-7            August 6    Col 3:18-25

            June 18   Col 1:9-20           July 9          Col 2:8-15          August 13  Col 4:1-6

            June 25   Col 1:21-29         July 16        Col 2:16-23        August 20  Col 4:7-12

                                                    July 23        Col 3:1-11          August 27  Col 4:13-18

                                                    July 30        Col 3:12-17



Church Music


Reformation 1517–2017


“The Church does not merely have a culture; in a way it is one. And as the Church moves through history it like every culture is sometimes enriched in the events of its way. Perhaps here is the region where we may find something to celebrate in what the Reformation wrought.

     “Perhaps the abiding gift of the Reformation to the Church is an emergent enrichment of the Church as a culture, appearing above all in the Reformation’s music: in Gerhardt’s and many others’ hymns and the almost romantic psalmody of Calvin’s organist Louis Bourgeois, in Bach and his colleagues, in strangely inviting Norwegian developments of melismatic chant, and I further suggest: the matter that came to cultural embodiment in the Reformation’s music was the reality of faith itself, of the sheer occurrence of mutual christological openness of God and the baptized….

Paul Gerhardt

    “Bach’s texts are carefully assembled from various parts of Scripture and from Lutheran hymns with a patch or two  of new composition. In their variously ordered ensembles the  texts speak in a specific way. They are not about faith – justifying or not. They do not call for faith or even strictly speaking enable it. They are just faith happening – as the Eucharist is not about Christ, does not enable his presence for and in us, but just is that presence.

     “And then the music envelops the texts, bending them to its shape and being bent by them. Finally there is no clear boundary between words and music.

     “The Reformation left us music that enacts faith. And the ecumene could celebrate that wonder – Catholic and Protestant together.”


[Robert W. Jenson, “What’s to Celebrate?” PRO ECCLESIA 26 (Winter 2017) p. 9.]


The Mystery of God


Sizing It Up


“Your ways are not God’s ways.”

(Isaiah 55:8)


“God’s ways are inscrutable.”

(Romans 11:33)


“You want to realize the mysterious immensity of God. And how will you set about it? By sitting with your head in your hands, and your mind in a perfect fog, while you ask yourself what, if anything, you have a right to affirm? It will not get you far. Suppose on the contrary you think as clearly as you can in ordinary words of which you know the meaning, and set before yourself the Creative Mind which sees all things as they are in their true natures, willing them to be themselves and, through an infinity of chance combinations, leading them into the realization of higher forms – what will your reaction be to such a subject of contemplation? Are you in any great danger of exclaiming, ‘Just so, I see the trick of it!.... I’d run the world for you!’.... The infinite majesty of God can take care of itself. The harder and more clearly we think out the thoughts which give rise to the very idea of God, the more we shall be overwhelmed with the mystery which confront us.”


[Austin Farrer, God is Not Dead,

(New York: Morehouse-Barlow, 1966) pp. 126–27].


Crucifixion, Antony van Dyck (1622)

“Christ is an offense to the whole world….

 [Therefore] it is a great grace not to be  

offended at Christ.”


[Martin Luther,

“Lectures on Isaiah 42,” (1530),

“Sermon on Matthew 11:2–10 (1522),

Luther’s Works 17:61, 75:149.]




[or until all the ornaments are picked!]


Sunday, December 10, 2017


I realize that it seems way too early to be bringing up the holiday season, but planning begins far in advance of the event date.  We will again have an “ornament” decorated tree in the lounge during the summer months.  The tree will have “wishes” on it for items that will be needed to complete gift baskets to be sold at the St. Nicholas Faire, the proceeds of which will be given to the

West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  Your job is to choose as many ornaments as you wish; purchase the items from each ornament; and bring them to the church to donate to the Faire.  Easy, simple, as little hassle as possible.  If you have questions and/or suggestions, please call Larraine King (206-937-6740). 

    Again this year, we are offering a way for you to keep track of your purchases for the Faire on your church giving record.  If you want the Financial Secretary to help you keep track of how much you spend on “ornament” donated items from the “Christmas in July and August Tree,” put the receipt from your purchase in your giving envelope.  Be sure and circle the amount, write what the item is on the receipt, and that it is for the St. Nicholas Faire.  Then it will be recorded on your giving statement.  This might be helpful next year when income tax time rolls around.  It is up to you.

     And while you are reading about the St. Nicholas Faire, Save the Date

Sunday, December 10, 2017

from 5-8 pm


     Put it on your calendar and start sharing the date with your friends and family.  (We’re hoping that this year our Faire doesn’t interfere with a Seahawks game!  We’ve checked the schedule, but sometimes the schedule changes.  Here’s hoping that we don’t have to ‘punt’ at the last minute!) Plan to come and support the Food Bank and Helpline, while having a joyous time enjoying the festivities!!!!

     More details in the September.  Stay tuned!!!

 ─Larraine King



Praying Prairie Dog

All the beasts…. look to thee
to give them their food.”

                                           Psalm 104:20, 27

ALTAR FLOWERS could use a few more sign ups through the end of the year.

Compass Housing Alliance was pleased to receive bath towels from recent donations left at the office. Every year they go through hundreds of towels, especially at the Pioneer Square Hygiene Center where 150 people get a free shower daily.  If you were thinking of helping in this way you’re not too late, donations can still be left at the office.

MID-YEAR CONGREGATIONAL MEETING has been set for Sunday, July 30th, immediately following the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the parish hall.  Mark your calendars!  Beverages will be available.  Voter registration will be on the tables at the back of the hall.

READING THE KORAN with Pastor Marshall.  These two hour classes are on Thursdays July 6th – July 27th, 7–9:00 pm.  Call the office to register.  Pastor Marshall has been teaching this class four times a year since 2003.

SUMMER SCHEDULE started Memorial Weekend.  Pastor Marshall will start his Summer Bible Class at 9 am on Holy Trinity Sunday, June 11th. 

KITCHEN CLEAN-UP:   One Saturday this Summer, 9 am to noon.  This is a much needed project, and an opportunity to get to know other congregation members in an informal setting.  A sign-up sheet is posted in the lounge.  Watch for the sign up sheet to be posted in the lounge.

WEB PAGE ADDRESS:  www.flcws.org  Log on through the summer to see what’s new.

PRAYER REQUEST:  Please contact the office during the week or Pastor Marshall before the liturgy if you have a prayer request.

FOOD BANK COLLECTION for Summer is lunch and snack foods for children who are home from school: peanut butter, jam, crackers, energy bars, seed & nut packs, macaroni & cheese are just a few suggestions.  But any non-perishable foods are fine.  So, when you are at the grocery store pick up a few extra items when you see those good sale prices.  And, bring in fresh produce as well!  If you have a garden or know someone who does, as they ripen throughout the summer bring them in and leave them on the office window counter.  They will be taken to the Food Bank that day!

HOLY EUCHARIST – Communion:  Those who are baptized in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and believe are welcome to receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. If you are not able to walk up to communion but would like to receive, contact the Parish Deacon before the liturgy.


Thank You!


I would like to express my deep appreciation for your prayers, cards, and phone calls during my medical absence.  Thank you, I am doing great.

To Pastor Marshall and the Church Council, to Andrew King and the Choir, to Larraine King, to Sonja Clemente, and to the Altar Guild

Thank you for your support!

Dean Hard


Lutheran World Relief


The Sunday School Summer Collection will be for Lutheran World Relief.  By making donations you can help them with their goal.  They hope to purchase hens and chicks, a cow, goat and pig....even some worms to enrich the soil. These gifts "keep on giving" so the families may benefit for years. So please consider giving a check to the church designating "LWR" in the offering plate through the summer. They will wrap up this giving project with their traditional BAKE SALE!  Thank you for supporting the Sunday School students and LWR!  The students truly enjoy the charity projects when they know they are helping families in extreme poverty.  These projects help the students realize that such gifts do change lives.



Job 34.30

Monthly Home Bible Study, June 2017, Number 292

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 Job 34.30 noting the line ensnare the people. This is what Martin Luther thought about that line: “The state is an ordinance of God…. But if He is angry, the princes issue unjust decrees, skin the people, and multiply ungodliness and idols in the land” (Luther’s Works 7:144). How do bad rulers do that? On this read 1 Kings 16.29–34 noting the words Ahab, evil, more, sins, provoke, and the double use of cost. Read as well    1 Kings 21.25–26 noting the words Ahab, evil and idols. Was Ahab, then, a renegade ruler? On this read 1 Kings 16.28 noting the words Omri, buried, Ahab, son, reigned and stead. Did all kings succeed their fathers peacefully like Ahab did? On this read 1 Kings 16.8–10 noting the words Elah, Zimri, conspired, drunk, killed and reigned. Does this mean that God wanted Ahab to be king? On this read 1 Kings 22.34–40 noting the words struck, wounded, propped, died, buried and fathers. Can you see God blessing Ahab in this even though he was an idolater? On this read 1 Kings 21.27–29 noting the words fasted, dejectedly, humbled and before. So God protected Ahab even though he was an evil ruler (as Luther notes). Why? 

Week II. Read again Job 34.30 noting the same line ensnare the people. Why would God support rulers who hurt the people? On this read 1 Kings 12.19–20 noting the words Israel, rebellion, Jeroboam and none. Read also 1 Kings 12.28 noting the words calves, gold and gods. Does this mean that what God establishes isn’t necessarily a blessing? On this read 1 Kings 22.19–23 noting the doubly used phrase lying spirit. Read also Judges 9.22 –24 noting the phrase evil spirit, and the same phrase evil spirit repeated five times in 1 Samuel 16.14–23 (and once more in both 1 Samuel 18.10 and 19.9). Note also Exodus 5.22–6.1 where God does not deny that he has sent evil upon his people. Finally read about God sending dangerous storms in Isaiah 30.30, Ezekiel 13.13, Jonah 1.4, 15 and Matthew 8.23–24. Is this why it says that the Lord is a God of recompense in Jeremiah 51.56?


Week III. Reread Job 34.30 noting that same line ensnare the people. Why does God punish people with these storms of nature and evil spirits in our rulers? On this read Leviticus 26.14–39 noting the many uses of the little word if and the other words fever, smitten, chastise, plagues, desolate, pestilence, fury, destroy, scatter, sword and stumble. Is this retribution based on provocation? On this read Deuteronomy 9.22, Jeremiah 32.32, Psalm 78.58 and Hebrew 3.17 noting the four uses of the word provoke. Why is it that our wicked deeds can provoke God to punish us? Why doesn’t he just ignore them and cut us some slack? On this read Isaiah 1.13–17 noting the words endure, burden, weary and eyes. Why is God so intolerant of evil (except for that which he hurls at the disobedient)? On this read Psalm 99.1–3 noting the words tremble and holy. Is it that holiness intrinsically repels wickedness? Are they like water and oil and cannot be mixed? On this read Isaiah 59.2 noting the word separation. Does that settle it?


Week IV. Read Job 34.30 one last time noting the category godless man. What is the plight of the godless? We know that God uses godless rulers to punish the disobedient, but what is their destiny? On this read Romans 5.6 noting the line Christ died for the ungodly. Why is this chance given to the ungodly? On this read Romans 11.32 noting the line that God may have mercy on all. And note how God must regard all as disobedient in order for there to be mercy available to all. Does this mercy guarantee a blessed destiny? On this read 2 Corinthians 2.14–16 noting the word pairs, saved and perishing, life and death. What differentiates the two sets of contrasting terms? On this read 2 Corinthians 5.6–10 noting the pivotal words courage, faith, please and done. Why are these things needed to make Christ a blessing to us? On this read Romans 3.25 noting the line received by faith. Why does Christ have to be received by us at all? Why can’t he just operate in us on his own regardless of our direct, conscious participation? On this read about the contrast between flesh and spirit in John 3.3–6. Does that take care of it? Why or why not?



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Elizabeth King Olsen, Chuck Prescott, Dorothy Ryder, Mona Ayer, Marlis Ormiston, Evelyn Coy, Eileen Nestoss, Leah Baker, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Matt Anderson, Celia Balderston, Angel Lynn, Karen Granger, The PLU Music Faculty, Tabitha Anderson, Jordan Corbin, Margeen & Chris Boyer, Linda Hagen, Iris Hansen Tate, Nell & Paul Sponheim, John Matthiesen, Therese Mannella, The Rev. Kari Reiten, The Rev. Paul Smith, Ion & Galina Ceaicovschi, Nathan Arkle, Myra Woody, Judy and Dick Earle, David Dahl, Gloria Cackette, Carolyn Nestigen, Ryan Soule, the Alaska House in West Seattle, Patrick Coleman, Larry, Diane & Lesley Johnson Family, the great migration from the Near East into Europe and other parts of the world, and the famine in Africa. 

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: Florence Jenkins, C. J. Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Elmer & June Wittman, 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 summer.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress. 

     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 Barnabas; Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles; Saint Mary Magdalene; Saint James the Elder and Saint Bartholomew, Apostles; and St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord.


A Treasury of Prayers


Lord God, dear Father, who on Pentecost enlightened and taught the hearts of your believing ones through the Holy Spirit: grant me the right understanding of your will and ways through that same Spirit, and at all times, enable me to rejoice in the Spirit’s comfort and power. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                                       [For All the Saints I:1203, altered]