New Luther Translations

Of the twenty new volumes of Luther’s writings being translated, I have already reviewed the first three of them (LW 69 in the October 2009 issue; LW 58 in the Summer 2011 issue; and LW 60 in the Summer 2012 issue). Here are my favorite lines from the most recent one, LW 59:

     “I always had enough courage that I was occasionally accused of being excessively mordant and inconsiderate on account of that overconfidence with which I was inflamed” (9); “the spirit of each of us breathe together as one!” – Wessel Gansfort of Groningen [1419-1489] and Luther (10); “I am a barbarian, and one with little talent; I admit it…. [For it] is a fact that some diseases, which we cannot alleviate gently by means of any salve, must be cured by cutting with iron” (15); “we… prefer [a piety] that is uneducated and childlike to an impiety as eloquent as it is childish” (16-17); “an index for reading the Scriptures and recognizing Christ, [this is] a thing [that] thus far none of the commentaries [have] provided” (21); “certainly the authority of parents is greater than all other authority that is under God” (34); “I… would prefer that there were no commentaries…. But [we cannot] do without commentaries that at least point to the Scriptures…. But I call such ‘pointing out’ a commentary” (46); “by God’s permission the evil foe always perverts what is best and gives a fair appearance to what is worst” (57); “all [those] writing against me… write against Luther; no one writes against Luther’s arguments” (75); “God is too clever for you. He has quickly made you into fools” (94); “I consider blessings and curses in this life to amount to about the same thing” (101); “It is no longer the time for preaching, but time for praying; the wrath has begun, and we must ward it off with prayer” (126); “we must not despair of those who… search for the right foundation; for these have not yet… drowned, but are still… swimming and wanting to reach shore” (137); “the greatest… fathers of the church have spoken ineptly, and that not infrequently” (174); “you have suddenly become full and lazy from the great and copious abundance of the Word, and you have it without cost, toil, and effort” (190); “Christians cannot without sin keep silent about [the] glorious confession of the truth” (197); “there is probably no book I would rather have printed than my Ecclesiastes (1527)” (218); “strange beggars without letters or testimonies,… are not to be tolerated” (239); “if children are not brought up with instruction in the arts [they] are made into nothing but gluttonous little swine” (246); “I am born [to] go out to battle. For this reason, my books are very stormy and more warlike…. Thus I am the rough woodsman, who has to clear and straighten the path” (250); “our people are simply profane in comparison to [Muslims]…. And this is why so many people readily abandon faith in Christ for [Islam]” (259); “if it is a good work, then God has done it through and in me” (271); “the Christian Church is not holy in itself;… but in Christ” (325); “Everything that is God’s own Word and work, whether great or small, must meet with the assaults and slanders of the devil and his world” (338).

    May these words from our most eminent teacher (BC, p. 576) enrich us all! Amen.

Pastor Marshall



President’s Report… by Larraine King


“…Gifted by you, we turn to you,

        Offering up ourselves in praise;

             Thankful song shall rise forever,

               Gracious donor of our days.


Hymn 408 from LBW sums up very well how we are to honor and thank our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Like the offertory prayer, “Merciful Father, we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us…..” we are to offer to God gifts that He has first given us.  One of the most difficult yet rewarding parts of being a member of the body of Christ, is our stewardship commitment to furthering the work of the church.  Giving things away, especially money that we have worked hard to earn, is extremely challenging.  You might say that it “hurts!”  It requires that we regularly give the first fruits, or the earliest ripe of the crop or of the tree; or the chief or principal part.  As we think about this, there is no wiggle room – not when we have an excess, or when we want to, or when we remember – but that which comes first.  So our tithes and pledges to the church are to be first in our bill paying.  That requires commitment, courage, faith, and trust.  As a postscript concerning this, the church budget is based on the pledges that members make.  If we fall behind or forget to contribute our pledge as planned, this can lead to budget shortfalls and cash flow problems.  It can mean that the church is unable to pay its bills, sometimes including the staff payroll.  Let’s pray to be faithful to our pledged financial commitment, remembering that it is offered to the glory of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

     Summer is fast approaching which means that the children’s Sunday School program (and The Messenger) has a vacation.  Thank you to all of the teachers – Gina Allen, Matthew and Dana Kahn, Kari Ceaicovschi, Peter and Janine Douglass, Ted Foss, and Pastor Marshall – for their devoted service to our children and youth.  And for all who donated to the bake sales in support of Gospel for Asia.  To date over $500 has been collected, which will be used to purchase chickens, and other farm animals to help families in Asia.  This fund drive will end at the conclusion of Hymn School on June 21st.  The summer adult education class will begin June 9th.  Watch the bulletin for specific details.  Also look for information about summer Extended Ministries projects in the bulletin and on the bulletin boards.

     There is an amazing group of women who meet ten times a year in the parish hall to make beautiful quilts that are donated to organizations in the area and sometimes around the world, that provide housing and shelter for the needy.  The “Scrappers” are motivated, capable, and talented.  Mary Goplerud and Vivian Wheeler are the two leaders.  With the help of Vivian’s daughter, Vicki Brakke, as well as Lauri Nygaard, they craft some impressive quilts.  They have donated a number of them to the St. Nicholas Faire for the last four years.  We applaud their marvelous work.  If you can stitch a little, and cut and craft material, consider joining them.  They meet at 9:30 am on the fourth Wednesday and Thursday of every month except November and December.

     The Mid Year Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, August 4th in the Parish Hall after the 10:30 am liturgy.  Financial reports for the first half of the year, extended ministries projects, and a report on the recent Synod Assembly and election of a new bishop for the NW Washington Synod will be presented.  Beverages will be provided, and if we are lucky, some goodies to eat, too! 


In closing,

...Open wide our hand in sharing, As we heed Christ’s ageless call,

    Healing, teaching, and reclaiming, Serving you by loving all.


Stewardship 2013


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

Budget                            $20,336                          $80,498

Received                         $20,569                          $81,437








A Story of Seeing Jesus

    I saw Jesus last week.  He was wearing blue jeans and an old shirt.  He was up at the church building; he was alone and working hard.  For just a minute he looked a little like one of our members.  But it was Jesus, I could tell by his smile. 

    I saw Jesus last Sunday, he was teaching a Bible class.  He didn’t talk real loud or use long words, but you could tell he believed what he said.  For just a minute, he looked like my Sunday School teacher.  But it was Jesus, I could tell by his loving voice. 

    I saw Jesus yesterday.  He was at the hospital visiting a friend who was sick.  They prayed together quietly.  For just a minute he looked like Brother Jones.  But it was Jesus, I could tell by the tears in his eyes.

    I saw Jesus this morning.  He was in my kitchen making my breakfast and fixing me a special lunch.  For just a minute he looked like my mom.  But it was Jesus, I could feel the love from his heart. 

    I see Jesus everywhere, taking food to the sick, welcoming others to his home, being friendly to a newcomer and for just a minute I think He’s someone I know.  But it’s always Jesus, I can tell by the way he serves. 

    May someone see Jesus in you today.                                                   Author Unknown


    Stewardship is found in many ways, with Jesus, the Son of God, being our role model.  May we each find our own way to serve; be it financial tithing to our church, friendship, giving aid to the ill or needy, teaching, caring, serving or sacrificing.  Then maybe someone will see Jesus in us today.

Maxine Foss, Church Council


Clinging to Christ:

A Study of Colossians


Summer 2013 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 – according to Martin Luther’s insights on the book. Each week we will concentrate on a few verses, aiming to find help in them for our growth in faith and love. Each week we will have a handout with Luther’s comments which will guide our discussion on Colossians.

The class schedule is the following:

   June 9 Colossians 1:1-8        July 7 Colossians 2:8-15       August 4 Colossians 3:18-25

 June 16 Colossians 1:9-20    July 14 Colossians 2:16-23   August 11 Colossians 4:1-6

   June 23 Colossians 1:21-29  July 21 Colossians 3:1-11     August 18 Colossians 4:7-12

     June 30 Colossians 2:1-7      July 28 Colossians 3:12-17   August 25 Colossians 4:13-18



Kierkegaard as Midwife


Freeing People of Their Fatuousness


By Pastor Marshall


Kierkegaard believed that there was only one right way to help people – and that was to free them from all foolishness or fatuities, and help them stand on their own. This, he thought, would take acting like a “midwife,”  

and unselfishly working “with every self-sacrifice” – or to “magnanimously will to annihilate” oneself, especially from the selfish wish “to be regarded as unselfish” (Kierkegaard’s Writings 16:276-277).

     Jennifer Worth, in her book, The Midwife Trilogy (2010), which is the basis for the highly acclaimed new television show, Call the Midwife, says that what best guides the work of midwives is “patience, experience, observation and masterly inactivity” (542). I think Kierkegaard would like that formulation. I also think it is consistent with Matthew 10:16, where our Lord Jesus tells us to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Some might think this is passive-aggressive. But for those who drink deeply from the wells of Biblical wisdom, they will see it as the heart of Christian agility – and nothing more.



The Kierkegaard Bicentennial


Our November 17, 2013, Celebration


By Pastor Marshall


We have been commemorating Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) and his profound witness to Jesus Christ every November since 1980. In 2005 we had a special celebration for the sesquicentennial of his death (1855-2055) – with the publication of my Kierkegaard’s Year 2005 (46 pp.).

This year we are having our largest commemoration ever for the bicentennial of his birth (1813-2013). We will celebrate this anniversary in November on his heavenly birthday, or death date – which for us is the closest Sunday after the actual date of his death on November 11th – which is November 17th this year – even though his earthly birthday was on May 5th.

At our November 17th celebration, there will be:


 a sermon using passages from Kierkegaard’s writings. 

  a lecture at the education hour on Kierkegaard’s failed engagement to Regine Olsen, based on the novel, Loving Søren (2005) by Caroline Coleman O’Neill.

  a new musical setting by Carl F. Schalk of Kierkegaard’s favorite hymn, “Commit Thy Way, Confiding,” by Paul Gerhardt (1706-1776).

  the world premiere of “A Kierkegaardian Fugue,” by Josh Deutsch of New York City – with Ruth Marshall, cellist and Christopher Freeze, tenor.

  the world premiere of a new poem on Kierkegaard by Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (2003-2009). Since 2011 he has been the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Prior to being a fulltime poet, he was a vice-president of marketing at General Foods (1977-1992), where he helped develop Jell-O Jigglers. And, as of two years ago, he had received 10 honorary doctorates. Everything “Gioia does simultaneously serves the cause of his own poetry and his quest for poetry to reach a wider audience of educated but non-specialized readers…. Gioia argues for a revival of form in poetry [meter + rhyme] to parallel the return to tonality in music” [Matthew Brennan, Dana Gioia: A Critical Introduction (West Chester, Pennsylvania: Story Live Press, 2012) 64-65.]

  the dedication of the Rita Marie Kepner bronze statue of Kierkegaard (2012). 

  distribution of free copies of the fall 2013 issue of Lutheran Forum journal – which will devote its cover article to our commemoration. 

  a book signing of Pastor Marshall’s new book, Kierkegaard for the Church, with a foreword by Dr. Carl E. Braaten, and an epilogue by Dr. Robert L. Perkins.

  a special guest, the Presbyterian pastor and foremost African Kierkegaard scholar, the Rev. Samuel Odachi, from Nigeria.

  a Scandinavian pastry reception with free anniversary coffee mugs – and Norwegian Kransekake.

  the Nordiska Scandinavian folk dancers.


Save this date and make plans to attend – inviting your family and friends!




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.  Also, fresh produce will be picked up weekly from July – October.  If you need help picking the fruit off your trees, that help is also provided – just call the church office.  This program is through “Community Harvest of SW Seattle.” 

FLOWER CHART:  There are still three spaces left for July-August flowers and a few others through the end of the year.  If you were interested in signing up for Altar Flowers this year but have not yet, you might consider one of these remaining dates.

MID-YEAR CONGREGATIONAL MEETING has been set for Sunday, August 4th, immediately following the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the parish hall.  Mark your calendars!  Voter registration will be on the tables at the back of the hall.

LIBRARY:  Thinking about hiking this summer?  We have mountains of books to choose from to keep your mind busy after a day on the trail.  Stop in to our library when you’re at church and see what’s new. 

READING THE KORAN with Pastor Marshall.  These two hour, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Thursday evening classes will be June 20th & 27th and July 11th & 18th.  Call the office to register.  Pastor Marshall has been teaching this class four times a year since 2003.

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.





St. Nicholas Faire

December 8, 2013

4:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Once again, we will have an “ornament” decorated tree in the lounge beginning in July.  It will stay up until the end of August, or until all of the ornaments have been claimed, whichever comes first.  The tree will have “wishes” on it for items that are needed to complete gift baskets that will be sold at the St. Nicholas Faire, which raises money for the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  Your job is to choose an ornament (or as many as you want to), purchase the item that is on the front of it, and bring it to church to donate to the Faire.  Easy, simple, no hassle!  If you have any questions see or call Larraine King (206-937-6740).

     And while you are at it…… put December 8, 2013 4:00 pm to 7:00pm on your calendar and start sharing the date with your friends and family.  Plan to come and have a joyous time, raising money for two outstanding charities that help those in need in our neighborhood.

     More details in September!



While The Messenger takes a vacation during the summer months, the needs of our community continue.  We will again be collecting school supplies and backpacks for the West Seattle Helpline.  There will be a poster in the lounge announcing the drive and a reminder in the bulletin in July.  Or if you prefer, you can write a check to First Lutheran Church of West Seattle and designate it to the West Seattle Helpline School Supply Drive. 

     All children deserve to have a good start to the school year.  I well remember how much I anticipated the new school year, and shopping for clothes and supplies.  It must be so difficult and very disheartening for parents and children alike, who do not have the extra income to cover these items.  Let’s help the children in our community by contributing to this School Supply Drive.  Look for the donation box in the lounge and give generously!

     Remember the West Seattle Food Bank during the summer.  Check the church bulletin for suggested food donations.  Hunger doesn’t change with the seasons.  Practice adding a few additional canned items to your grocery shopping.  Once it becomes a habit for those of us who have abundance, those in need will be better supplied.

                                                                                                                                 Larraine King for Extended Ministries



Thank you to all for such wonderful support of the youth Sunday school charity "Gospel for Asia". With your help, we have surpassed our goal and so far have over $500 to purchase chicks and even larger animals. Our Sunday school students have learned that animals play a crucial role in the lives of many people in South Asia. They have learned that the animals provide sustenance and produce income when the milk or offspring are sold. The students initially hoped to purchase several pairs of chickens. Now they are excited to consider purchasing chickens and a pair of goats, or a lamb, or pig for families in need. It is wonderful for the students to think globally and understand that children in many countries are so disadvantaged, have no access to quality education, and simply need to help provide for their families to exist on a daily basis. We are so fortunate to have such support right here at First Lutheran Church to help our students support families through the work of Gospel for Asia. The students have really enjoyed doing the impromptu bake sales and love to see folks show such interest in their mission to help Gospel for Asia. We will continue to gather donations for Gospel for Asia until Hymn School June 19th. We will report back on how many pairs of chicks and which larger animals they choose to purchase! Thank you all!

                                                              Gina Allen, Education Committee



Jonah 4.10

Monthly Home Bible Study, June 2013, Number 244

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).


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).


Week I. Read Jonah 4.10 noting the word pity. How does pity play out in Jonah? On this read Jonah 1.3 noting how Jonah shows no pity to Nineveh; and Jonah 1.4 noting how God shows no pity to the ship heading to Tarshish; and Jonah 1.15 noting how God pities the ship after Jonah is sacrificed; and Jonah 1.17, 2.2, 6, 10 noting how God pities Jonah by rescuing him by way of that great fish; and Jonah 3.10 noting how God pities repentant Nineveh; and Jonah 4.2 noting how Jonah doesn’t pity repentant Nineveh; and Jonah 4.5 noting how God pities Jonah by allowing him to flee from Nineveh; and Jonah 4.6 noting how God pities Jonah by shading him; and finally Jonah 4.7 noting how God quits pitying Jonah with that shade plant. So at the end of Jonah when God says Jonah is wrong to pity the dead plant but he is right to pity repentant Nineveh, what is the point? On this read Jonah 4.2 noting the words slow and abounding. Read also Jonah 1.9 noting the words fear and made, and Jonah 1.14 noting the word pleased. Is the point one that is similar to the words condemn, justified, arm and voice in Job 40.8-9? If so, how so?


Week II. Read again Jonah 4.10 noting this time the word grow. Why does God say this to Jonah? On this read Deuteronomy 8.17 noting the words beware, my, power and wealth. Read also Job 38.4 noting the words foundation and earth. What’s the problem these two verses are addressing? On this read Romans 1.25 noting the confusion of the Creator with the creature. How does this confusion take hold? On this read Genesis 2.5 noting the line you will be like God, knowing good and evil, and Isaiah 5.20 noting the confusion between good and evil. Why aren’t we content to go along with what God says is good, and avoid this confusion? On this read Luke 12.19 noting the words ease and merry. Contrast that with John 15.18-19 noting the words hates and own, and Matthew 7.14 noting the word hard. What does this penchant for pleasure, and the course of least resistance, mean for us? On this note the words death, wretched and deliver in Romans 7.24! Do you agree, or is this to negative for you? Explain yourself.


Week III. Reread Jonah 4.10 noting this time the line perished in a night. Why are we attracted to the ephemeral – and flee from the substantial? On this read Galatians 3.3 noting the contrast between the Spirit and the flesh and the prevalence of the flesh over the Spirit. Read also John 20.25 noting the words unless, finger, hand and believe. This materialistic concern is apparently important for preventing us from becoming gullible. But against this caution, read Revelation 16.5 noting the words just, judgments and holy. So because God is reliable and good, we can accept his word without any need for material verification. On this point read 2 Corinthians 4.18 noting the words invisible and eternal; 1 Peter 1.24-25 noting the prevalence of the word over against grass; and Colossians 3.2 noting the contrasting words above and earth. Once we trust in God, we can then favor what’s eternally distant over what’s materially at hand. But where’s the motivation for doing this? On this read John 14.27 noting the words peace, my, world, hearts, troubled and afraid. Should all of these considerations have changed Jonah’s mind? Did they? If not, why not? Did it have anything to do with his anger? Did it blind him?


Week IV. Read Jonah 4.10 one last time noting the word being. How does this apply to us? On this read Acts 17.26-28 noting the words God, being and offspring. Read also James 4.14-15 noting the words mist and if. How are we dependent on God? On this read John 15.5 noting the words apart, do and nothing. How should we respond to this? On this read 1 Thessalonians 5.18 noting the word thanks. How would this have changed Jonah? On this read 2 Corinthians 3.18 noting the phrase his likeness. Read also Galatians 2.20 noting the words no and live. Can you say this too? If so, how?



X   MARY,   X


The Feast of Saint Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, will be celebrated at our Sunday Holy Eucharist on August 18th.  On this day we will thank God for the life and faith of Saint Mary, who has been called the Mother of all believers for she was the first person to believe in the gospel.  Lutherans for centuries have honored Our Lady by praying the "Magnificat":

     My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savoir, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts he of their hearts, has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.





Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Leah Baker, Evelyn Coy, Cynthia Natiello, Jim Coile, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Peggy & Bill Wright & Wendy, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Rosita & Jim Moe, Ion Ceaicovschi, Cameron Lim, Olivia DeCroce, Luke Bowen, Don Kahn, Jim and Ruth Shaovaloff, Dano, Karen & W. Erick, Mary Lou Jensen, Annette Grubisich, Chris & Margeen Bowyer, Christina Johnston, Anna and John Bertelsen, Amy West, Duncan Sturrock, Jennifer Alfano, Gary Berkenpas, Tabitha Anderson, Mary Uhler, Christy Leidholm, David Fleming, Max Richards, Gloria Belarde, Walter Braafladt, Micah Fecher.

     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 Mark Hanson and Chris Boerger, and the bishop elect 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 extended ministries: El Camino de Emmaus in the Skagit Valley, and the Gospel for Asia 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.

Treasury of Prayers


Grant me grace to find rest from all my sinful deeds and thoughts, to surrender myself completely unto you, and to keep my soul still before you like a still lake; so that the beams of your grace may be mirrored therein; and may kindle in my heart the glow of faith and love and prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                             [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) II:193, altered]