In Yonder Life
That’s Our Whole Concern
Where is our faith in Jesus Christ headed, along with
the good deeds that we do in his name (Colossians 3:17)?
What’s their purpose? On this Philippians 3:20–21 says
that “our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we
await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change
our lowly body to be like his glorious body.” Our
overriding purpose, then, is to get into heaven.
Preaching in 1536 on this passage, Luther says:
We who are baptized and believe in Christ… do
not base our works and our hope on the
righteousness of this temporal life. Through
faith in Christ, we have a righteousness that
holds in heaven. It abides in Christ alone;
otherwise it would avail naught before God. And
our whole concern is to be eternally in Christ;
to have our earthly existence culminate in
yonder life when Christ shall come and change
this life into another, altogether new, pure,
holy [one] and like unto his own (Sermons
of Martin Luther,
ed. J. N. Lenker 8:355–56).
So keep your eyes on the prize (Luke 14:14). Don’t lower
your vision or expectations. As Luther again reminds us,
in heaven we finally will have the “better life” we were
created for (Luther’s
8:115). So rejoice in your coming reward and be glad!
Celebrating Emil Brunner’s 50th Anniversary
By Pastor Marshall
Professor Emil Brunner (1889–1966) died. He was a major
Swiss Christian theologian at the beginning of the 20th
century. His greatest book is his three volume
systematic theology (1946–1960). I, however, like most
of all his book,
The Mediator: A Study of the Central Doctrine of the
Christian Faith (1927) (trans. Olive Wyon, 1947).
That’s because it is “a theological manifesto rather
than the detailed outworking of an ethical system” [Alister
E. McGrath, Emil
Brunner: A Reappraisal (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell,
2014) p. 50].
In the third part of that manifesto he explains
why Jesus, as our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), had to die
in order for God to forgive us our sins. In our day when
that teaching is regarded as wrong and nothing but
divine child abuse (Chalke & Mann,
The Lost Message
of Jesus, 2003), we need to celebrate Brunner’s book
on the death of Jesus and thank God for it – even though
it is now nearly a hundred years old.
There are three major points in
that need recalling and adumbrating in our time. The
first one is that the saving death of Jesus is based on
“the central mystery of the Christian revelation: the
dual nature of God” (p. 519). The second is that it is
only in this dualism that we see “real faith” and
Christ’s death as “a real turning-point,” since “God…
outside of Christ is really angry, but in Christ is pure
love” (p. 519n1). And the third is that “the wrath of
God is not a mood, it is an actual force, and it is a
divine legitimate power, an objective necessity” (p.
482). Without these points, Brunner argues Christianity
becomes a sheer “fiasco” (p. 504). Since this is what has
happened in the American church, we now see this fiasco
all around us.
May God use Brunner’s book to turn things around.
One recent study that may help this along is
Christ: A Crisis
in the Life of God (2001), by Pulitzer Prize-winning
author, Jack Miles. Even though he doesn’t mention
Brunner, he does note a theme from Brunner, that God
cannot give the “ultimate gift – eternal life – as
atonement,” without first undergoing “a wrenching change
in his character,” by wreaking “vengeance upon himself”
(p. 9). May the Lord re-establish this message in his
by Earl Nelson
As we approach summer here at First Lutheran of West
Seattle several things come to mind.
For one thing we are about to lose one of our
Alex, Kari, Evan, and Simon Ceaicovschi are preparing to
move to Helena, Montana where Alex has already begun a
Kari is from Montana, and Alex has a degree from the
University of Montana.
Kari has been a member of the Council for several
years, and has served on the Altar Guild.
Evan has recently served in the Acolyte Guild.
We will miss you, Kari, Alex, Evan, and Simon,
and wish you the very best in your new life!
In summer in Seattle we usually can count on
enjoying beautiful weather: consistently sunny but not
too hot, and the scenery is unsurpassed.
But we miss the
beautiful singing of our choir!
I will try to remember their last anthem at
Pentecost last Sunday as I try my best to sing in the
pews this summer without their confident lead.
I do not wish to make them feel guilty but
as they take their well-deserved rest from their many
hours of preparation during the year.
We are also coming to that time in the year when
we tend as a congregation to fall short of our pledged
giving, making it a challenge for the Church Council to
make ends meet.
The Council has provided a report on where we are
as May comes to a close.
I urge us all to maintain our pledged giving even
as we take summer vacations.
In summer we all may take some time off, but the
expenses of maintaining our staff and church go on as
In closing I will share a thought with you.
Is it not striking that God, the very source of
all existence, offers a simple way to know Him, the way
of faith, so simple indeed that a child can do it?
Yet this simple path is largely rejected, while
instead mankind collectively pursues a much more heroic
path (maybe), launching orbiting telescopes that peer to
depths of space and time (though not to God), learning
the strange habits of the quanta
— the smallest of which has been playfully dubbed
the “God particle”
and manipulating (godlike) the living genes of
organisms, including our own.
But for all this mankind is still a moral
Is it not telling that the simple way of faith is also a
To know the author of the universe we must endeavor to
do His will, and take the path He offers when we fail at
that, which is faith in Christ Jesus.
Science is impressive, but I do not envy the
scientist no matter how deep his knowledge of the
material universe, if he or she lacks the knowledge of
God. For in
one of the Gospels Jesus praises God for revealing the
truth to babes while leaving the learned ignorant
Let us not grow weary in well-doing
For in due season we shall reap, if we do not loose
Good Christian stewardship means that we do not grow
weary in giving of our time, our talents, and our money.
If a friend or a colleague needs help, we do not turn
away and apologize for how busy we are, or say that
there is nothing we can do. If a young person is in the
throes of addiction of one kind or another, we do not
throw up our hands and say “I tried to help, it’s their
problem.” If the Church is not meeting its budget, we
don’t think poorly of our neighbors who are not carrying
their responsibility. In all of these situations, we
simply keep trying to help in whatever way we can,
thinking creatively every day about how to do so.
Lloyd Pfautsch wrote an anthem set to a text by
St. Andrew of Crete which is well-known in our
congregation: “Christian dost thou see them.” St. Andrew
was born in the late 7th or early 8th century, and was
mute until the age of seven, when he received his first
Holy Communion. He was known as a bishop, theologian,
and hymnographer, and was venerated as a Saint by
Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians. Although
Pfautsch’s anthem is now sadly out of print, St.
Andrew’s words survive:
Hear the words of Jesus:
“Well I know thy trouble
O my servant true:
Thou art very weary—
I was weary too;
But that toil shall make thee
Someday all my own,
And the end of sorrow
Shall be near my throne.”
Do not grow weary my friends!
─Jane Harty, Church Council
Year to date (Jan-April)
Transformed: Studying 2
Summer 2016 Bible Study
with Pastor Marshall
Sundays, 9 am - 10 am,
This summer we will take 13 weeks to
study The Book of Second Corinthians – focusing on 2
Corinthians 3:18 about gradually being transformed into
the likeness of Jesus Christ.
Each week we will concentrate on some
six verses, aiming to find help in them for this
transformation in faith, love, and understanding. Here
is the class schedule:
2 Cor 1
2 Cor 5
2 Cor 10
2 Cor 2
2 Cor 6
2 Cor 11
2 Cor 3
2 Cor 7
2 Cor 12
2 Cor 4
2 Cor 8
2 Cor 13
2 Cor 9
There are still a number of spaces for
summer-fall flowers and 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, July 31st, immediately
following the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the parish
Beverages will be available.
Voter registration will be on the tables at the
back of the hall.
READING THE KORAN
with Pastor Marshall.
hour classes are on Thursdays July 7th through July 28th
from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
Call the office to register.
Marshall has been teaching this class four times a year
pleased to receive
ten 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
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
But any canned goods are fine.
It’s all needed and we don’t stop giving in the
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!
Our Hidden Threat
By Pastor Marshall
Christians have forgotten to pray that God save them
from the “time of our prosperity” [Lutheran
Book of Worship (1978) p. 170]. We need that prayer
because money is a threat (1 Timothy 6:12; Luke 18:25;
Matthew 6:24) – as well as all of the prosperity,
self-confidence and well-being that goes with it. As
Martin Luther wrote on Holy Baptism:
Baptism has made
the repose, ease, and prosperity of this life a
very poison and a hindrance to its work. For in
the easy life no one learns to suffer, to die
with gladness, to get rid of sin, and to live in
harmony with baptism. Instead there grows only
love of this life and horror of eternal life,
fear of death, and unwillingness to blot out sin
Today the churches have given up on this
and are crazed with wealth, success, happiness,
victory and feeling good. In a wonderful recent
study on how all of this unfolded in America,
we’re told it came from the rejection of the
“ethic of self-denial as a stony orthodoxy
barren of the Gospel’s abundant promises” [Kate
Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity
Gospel (Oxford, 2013) p. 7]. One such
promise was the supposed optimism that we can do
all things in Christ (Philippians 4:13, Bowler,
p. 237). But this verse is not about
self-reliance and prosperity (Bowler, p. 227).
No, as Luther points out:
This is a great
power: to be able to turn an unbearable yoke
into one that is not only bearable but even
pleasant and light, not by changing the load
itself but by changing the person carrying it.
For the person himself is clothed with new
strength (Philippians 4:13) (Luther’s
So personal transformation matters more here than
going from deprivation to prosperity. May this Biblical,
Christian point resound in the churches today.
Misrepresenting Our Heavenly
Bishop Unti on the Life to
May 3, 2016
Our bishop went far afield this year in his May column. We can
begin to see how this happened, by noting that Martin
Luther liked the symbolism in the miter or ceremonial
hat of the bishop. He thought the two pointed halves
represented the two testaments of Holy Scriptures that
are to bind the head and thinking of the bishop.
Elsewhere he calls this binding, being “regulated by the
Word” or in verbo
esse debent (Luther’s
Works 17:144) And as for the two ribbons flapping in
the back, they point to the free proclamation of Gospel
and its enlivening Spirit, when the bishop’s preaching
is controlled by those same Scriptures (LW
So the problem with our bishop’s May column is
that he wrote it without wearing – so to speak – his
miter. That’s seen in the way he runs aground by veering
far afield from Holy Scriptures. We see this first when
he says he doesn’t know if there is a life after death.
Toward the end of his column he does admit that it is
likely there is life after death. But he then reasserts
that he still does not know for sure. What he should
have said is that the Bible is clear that there is life
after death (John 14:1–6), but that he has trouble
believing this because he is weak, limited and a sinner
– like all of us are (Mark 7:20–23; Romans 7:15–24). But
that basic Biblical distinction between God’s
faithfulness and our unfaithfulness (2 Timothy 2:13) is
nowhere to be found in what he writes. As a result the
bishop silences the independent voice of the Bible. He
drowns it out by his unbelief and unknowing (2 Peter
1:5). And he does this in the name of honesty and
avoiding pat answers. Those concerns, however, should
not blunt the good news. All they should have done – in
all humility (James 4:10) – was to have noted his
failings, and left the Biblical word alone to stand tall
(Isaiah 55:11) apart from his concerns.
Second he wanders away from the Holy Scriptures
by saying that death has been his great teacher, instead
of being a threat and his worst enemy (1 Corinthians
15:26). Without that recognition, the victory over death
by way of the crucifixion of Christ (Hebrews 2:14),
looks like much ado about nothing. It isn’t needed since
death isn’t the greatest enemy we have to be defeated.
Here we see how his column is closer to the new novel by
the National Book Award winning author, Don DeLillo,
when he says that “death is a cultural artifact, not a
strict determination of what is humanly inevitable” (Zero
K: A Novel, Scribner, 2016, p. 71).
Third he goes awry when he says that near death
experiences provide compelling clues about a life to
come after we die – which are far from being pat answers
for him, apparently because they are unlike Biblical
citations. But these reports are highly contentious and
thought by many to be based on wishful thinking and
sensory projections rather than anything verifiably
factual (see Susan Blackmore,
Dying to Live:
Near Death Experiences, Prometheus, 1993; and Oliver
Hallucinations, Knopf, 2012).
errs by placing confidence in his ability to
extrapolate, or reason his way from, the wonders of a
new born baby to life after death. Many unbelievers,
however, have babies and aren’t moved to consider a life
to come because of their new little ones (see Liza
Conceivable: How the Science of Assisted Reproduction is
Changing Our World, Anchor, 2008).
Fifth he veers off track when he says he doesn’t
long for eternal life with his parents – making him most
to be pitied, according to 1 Corinthians 15:19. What he
and his parents had together before they died, was
enough for him, he claims (contra
Hebrew 9:29; 2 Peter 3:12). So he’s not hoping for that
“better life” (Hebrews 11:16). Luther, for one, longed
for it, knowing full well that this life is “not a life”
at all, but only the “vexation of life” when compared to
the glory of our heavenly abode (LW 8:114–15).
So our bishop’s column is deficient because it’s
out of sync with Titus 1:9 about “holding firm to the
sure word [certus
taught.” He errs when he allows his misgivings to
supersede the sure word of the Holy Scriptures. That
happens, according to Luther, when, “wasting time on
questions,…. a kind of rust, and a neglect of and
contempt for the Word” arises (LW 29:31–32). No wonder
we’re told that teachers will be judged more severely
than anyone else, and with “greater strictness” (James
3:1). That’s because, as Luther again notes, teachers
must not listen to themselves “or to anyone else but
only to the Word of God” (LW 15:77). Now that’s a tall
order if there ever was one! May our bishop then embrace
this demanding truth and repent (2 Timothy 2:25) of what
he has so inaccurately written about, and misleadingly
indicated, regarding our heavenly home (Philippians
Is There Life
By B. Kirby
Bishop, NW WA
One of the questions that I assume
many pastors are asked is, “Do you believe in life after
death?” I just recently had this conversation with a
woman whose husband, Andy, I buried at age fifty.
It has always been
important for me as both person and pastor to be honest
about what I believe and not to give out “pat” pastoral
truth is I don't know if there is life after death and I
won't know until I die. All I can go on are some clues
that I have observed while living on this side of death.
has been one of my greatest teachers, as I have been
privileged to be with many people as they are dying and
breathing their last breath. It has often amazed me how
many people go through a stage of dying where they are
talking out loud to relatives that have gone before
them. I experienced this with both my father and my
mother. It appeared as if my father was working overtime
to wrap up some unfinished business before he died. On
several occasions he would say, “I am not done yet.”
Such occasions may well be a clue that a person has one
foot in this life and one foot in whatever is to come.
Likewise, I have had several occasions to talk to people
who have had near-death experiences. Their stories are
indeed quite compelling. What has amazed me the most is
the reassurance such folk have in facing death when it
comes. Perhaps the greatest clue for me about life after
death is the joy of holding a new born baby in my arms.
I know of no experience that equals this in magnitude.
Holding one who has spent nine months being molded into
a breathing, living, crying, and gurgling human beings
speaks to me of a creative force that is beyond my
I remember how wowed I was
in kindergarten when the seed that I planted in a
Styrofoam cup of dirt turned into a bean sprout. Bean
sprouts are pretty impressive – but come on – a baby?
reasoning goes like this, “Whatever force is behind the
creation of a baby surely has the capacity to create new
life when death comes. To create new life.” The force
for me is the God I have come to know as the Life Giver
in so many facets of my life.
add that May is my month to believe in the power of
life. It is the month that restores my soul after a
long, dark, cold and very wet winter. Winter is when
everything dies for me and I have to fight extra hard
against the darkness. May is life in full bloom. The
yard is still green, the rhododendrons are in all of
their glory and the trees are thick in leaves, needles
and life are baked into all of the creation giving me
great cause to believe that, when death comes, be
prepared for the likelihood that life will follow.
loved Andy in life and there is nothing more that I want
for my friend Cheryl than to see him again. Will it
happen? I don't know. This is what faith is all about
for me – trusting the clues that God provides along the
know this about the death of my own parents – If I never
see them again I will not mourn because they gave to me
in this life time enough blessing to last the all of my
First Lutheran Church of West Seattle
Copyright © Seattle
What Makes Christians Strange
By Pastor Marshall
he New Testament
says that Christians are supposed to live as if
they were not part of this world (John 15:18–19;
1 Corinthians 7:29–31). And so the famous
Karl Barth (1886–1968) wrote about the strange
new world of the Bible [The
Word of God and the Word of Man (New York:
Harper & Row, 1957) pp. 28–50]! Living out this
alternative life from the Bible is what makes us
And this is different than having green hair,
rings in your nose, and tattoos all over yourself
Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of
Christian Rock, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo
Press, 2007]. That would be too superficial. No, Martin
Luther had something else in mind:
Christian life is above the natural life. First, it
despises self; secondly, it loves and thirsts for
contempt; thirdly, it punishes everything that is
unwilling to be despised, by which it resigns itself to
all misfortune; fourthly, it is also despised and
persecuted on account of such contempt and punishment;
fifthly, it does not think itself worthy to suffer such
of Martin Luther, 5:96).
Because of such an odd life, Luther elsewhere
provided this contrast for Christian living: “One who is
really a Christian is uplifted in adversity, because he
trusts in God; he is downcast in prosperity, because he
fears God” (Luther’s
Luther bases these convictions on various Bible
verses that often are left out: Don’t lay up treasures
on earth (Matthew 6:19); think more highly of others
than yourself (Philippians 2:3); heaven is your real
home (Philippians 3:20); don’t expect to be thanked for
the good you do (Luke 17:9–10); accept suffering and
even find joy in it (Romans 5:3); don’t trust in
yourself (Luke 18:9); the devil hounds you and even runs
this world (1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:19); be thankful for
whatever happens – good or bad (Ephesians 5:20; Job
2:10); you are plagued with defilements from within
(Mark 7:20); love your enemies (Matthew 5:44); only
Jesus can save you (Romans 7:25; Acts 4:12); give 10% of
your income to the church (Malachi 3:10); and be
suspicious of serving others (Galatians 1:10).
Mull these over and see if you agree with this
oddity of the Christian life. Do this, remembering as
well that there won’t be much help living this way,
since Christians have to go “contrary” to the world –
which is like “living soberly in a tavern, chastely in a
Our Bishop’s Defense of
By the Rev. B. Kirby
have been fond of saying as I have moved about the Synod
that we are church at its ‘best’ when we strive to be
I have made an important emphasis upon respecting
one another when we hold differing points of views.
It is my personal belief that Jesus cares more
about how we treat one another when we disagree, than
who is right on any given issue.
This is why it is important to me to reach out to
those congregations who hold a different view on
marriage than I do. I
want to be a friend to all of our congregations.
I know that some of our congregations fear, given
the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage [Obergefell
that their pastors are going to be forced to perform
same sex marriages.
I fully support the position that civil
authorities are constitutionally barred from forcing any
church or pastor to perform a marriage against the
My office is a resource for review of any policy
being considered for adoption by a congregation of this
—from the Bishop’s
2016 NW WA Synod
Assembly, Everett, WA
May 20-21, 2016
to everyone who helped support the
students’ charity, Lutheran World Relief, by making
At the start of the year, students had compiled
a wish list of
items that they wanted to purchase for families in need.
They also had a “bonus” wish list if your
donations exceeded their goal.
We are thrilled to report that YOUR donations
exceeded their goal which enabled the students to really
make a difference to families in extreme need around the
your help with donating money and treats to their bake
sale, they were able to raise $227!
The previous extra donations and a generous
anonymous donation on our last day of fundraising helped
the students secure
purchase essential items for families and communities
supported by Lutheran World Relief.
The LWR gifts that the students chose to give
include: quilts, hens & chicks, a piglet, fruit tree
seedlings, farming tools, and a cocoa dryer (students
learned that a properly dried cocoa bean from the
farmer’s crop helps it sell for a good price).
bonus gifts they were most excited to purchase were
the dairy cow,
donkey & cart, and the rickshaw!
The rickshaw not only transports people, but it
gives the farmers the ability to transport crops to
students truly enjoy the charity projects when they know
they are helping families in extreme poverty.
Lutheran World Relief has helped the students
realize that such gifts do change lives.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS DONATIONS!
Monthly Home Bible Study, June 2016, Number 280
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
then talk informally about the assigned verses together
as we have opportunity. In this way we can "gather
around the Word" even though physically we will not be
getting together (Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV
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
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"
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
Read Psalm 115.1 noting the phrase
not to us. Why
shouldn’t we be glorified? On this read 1 Corinthians 10.31
noting the line do all to
the glory of God. Why shouldn’t we have any? On this read
John 5.44 noting the words
believe, glory, another and
God. How does God get
excluded if we are glorified? On this read Matthew 6.24 noting
the words serve and two. Why is
there this restriction? On this read Exodus 34.14 noting the
line the Lord… is a
jealous God. What does this mean if jealousy is a sin
(Galatians 5.20)? On this read 2 Corinthians 11.2 noting the
line I feel a divine
jealousy for you. What is this different sort of divine
jealousy? On this read Genesis 37.11 noting the word
jealous and 37.18
noting the word kill.
So human jealousy leads to murder. Does divine jealousy also? On
this read Isaiah 65.2 noting the line
I spread out my hands all
the day to a rebellious people. Is that murderous anger or
generous, earnest concern? How different can jealousy be, then?
Read again Psalm 115.1 noting the line
not to us.
What, then, should be given us if not glory? On this
read Matthew 22.37–39 noting the two occurrences of the
Why is this duty given us rather than glory? On this
read Mark 7.20 noting the words
intrinsically corrupt are we, then? On this read Isaiah
1.6 noting the phrase
Read also Romans 7.18 noting the phrase
If we’re so bad is there no hope for us doing anything
good? On this read Matthew 7.17 noting the two phrases
and good fruit,
as well John 15.5 noting the line
apart from me you
can do nothing. So with God’s help we can do good
things, but never on our own because of our internal
corruption. So without pressure from God, we’ll remain
in our selfish defilements. On this read 2 Timothy 3.4
noting the line
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. So how
do we get off the dime? On this read Colossians 1.13
noting the word
transferred. Will that do it?
Reread Psalm 115.1 noting the line
but to thy name
give glory. What good is our glorification of God?
On this read Psalm 22.3 noting the line
enthroned on the
praises of Israel. What does this mean? On this read
1 Timothy 6.15 noting the phrase
King of kings.
What does this contribute? On this read Ephesians 1.21
noting the line
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion.
Why put God upon such a throne? On this read Matthew
4.10 noting the words
only. Why are
we to give such exclusive loyalty to God? On this read
Mark 10.18 noting the words
does this mean for believers in God? On this read
Matthew 22.37 noting the three occurrences of the word
intense is this? On this read Romans 12.11 noting the
Read also Revelation 3.16 noting the word
does God want so much from us? Note the phrase
eternal weight of
glory in 2 Corinthians 4.17. Does that answer it?
Read Psalm 115.1 one last time noting again the line
but to thy name
give glory. What glory should we give to God? On
this read 1 Thessalonians 5.18 noting the word
should we glorify God with our thanks? On this read
Matthew 10.29 noting the line
Father’s will. Does this mean that God controls all
that happens and whatever happens takes place because he
wants it to? On this read Psalm 115.3 noting the words
as well Psalm 62.11 noting the line
power belongs to
God. Why can’t we be in control of at least some of
what goes on? On this read Job 40.4 noting the line
I am of small
account. Read also Job 42.3 noting the phrase
wonderful for me. So are we denied control of what’s
going on because of our diminished capacity? On this
read James 4.14 noting the line
you are a mist
that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Note also the phrase
in Psalm 39.5. So does that settle it?
2016, Number 281
Week I. Read Romans 9.5 noting the word
Christ. How does Christ belong
to the Jews? On this read John 4.22 noting the words
Jews. How does salvation come from the Jews? On this read Isaiah
11.1-9 noting the words shoot,
Jesse, Spirit and
righteousness. What is this
shoot? On this read Genesis 3.15 noting the word
seed. Who is this child or seed?
On this read John 1.41 noting the words
Messiah. Who is the Messiah? On
this read Isaiah 61.1-11 noting the words
salvation. Does this mean that keeping the Jewish law will save us?
On this read Leviticus 26.41 noting the phrase
make amends. Is that enough to be saved from punishment? On this
read Romans 3.20 noting the line no
human being will be justified… by works of the law. So how does
salvation come from the Jews? On this read Matthew 4.14-16 noting the word
fulfilled. And what is
fulfilled? On this read Galatians 4.28-31 noting the word
promise. So Jesus belongs to the
Jews in so much as the promise of his coming to save us was proclaimed by
the Jews. Nothing more. Do you agree? If so, why?
Read again Romans 9.5 noting this
time the word patriarchs. What
did they do? On this read Romans 9.4 noting the line
the giving of the law. What is the law? On this read Exodus 20.1-17
noting the words God,
commandments. How do Christians regard these laws? On this read
Romans 10.4 noting the line Christ
is the end of the law. How does Christ do this? On this read Matthew
5.17 noting the words abolish,
fulfill. So is the law the same for us as it is under Judaism? On
this read Romans 7.12-13 noting the words
become and sinful. What
happens when we’re shown our sinfulness? On this read 2 Corinthians 3.6
noting the words code and
kills. If that’s true, then what
saves us if keeping the law can’t? On this read Romans 3.28 noting the
faith and apart. Do you
Reread Romans 9.5 noting the word
blessed. Why would we want to
bless God for killing us? On this read 2 Corinthians 5.14-15 noting the
live and for. So dying is
not a dead end, but what brings us to live for Jesus who died to save us
from our sins. Why is this important? On this read Romans 8.3 noting the
line for sin he condemned sin.
What does that give us? On this read Hebrews 2.15 noting the line
through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. But if dying
is only natural, what’s to be feared? On this read Hebrews 9.27 noting the
words die and
judgment. Is it then the
judgment that follows death that makes it so scary? On this read Romans
2.5 noting the link between judgment
and wrath. Why is wrath a
possibility on Judgment Day? On this read Ezekiel 5.5-17 noting the words
rob and sword. How can we
escape this? On this read Romans 5.9 noting the words
blood and wrath. Can you
rejoice in this as does Saint Paul in Galatians 6.14?
Read Romans 9.5 one last time noting again the
word patriarchs. Is there
anything else to keep from the Judaism of the patriarchs? On this read
Romans 9.4 noting the word worship.
How did they worship? On this read Isaiah 6.3-5 noting the phrase
woe is me. Read also Psalm 99.5
noting the line worship at his footstool. Note as well the distinction between the
holy in Ezekiel 22.26. Do these three readings point to the
reverence in Hebrews 12.28-29? If so, why have they been supplanted
by happiness and fun in the church today?
August 2016, Number 282
Read Job 41.5 noting the two uses of the word
him. Who is that? On this read Job 41.1 noting the word
Leviathan. Some Bibles have a
footnote saying this is a special name for the
crocodile. If so, does that word
represent anything else? On this read Job 41.10 noting the word
me. Does this mean that God is
describing his fierceness in terms of that of the crocodile? On this read
Amos 5.19 noting the word bear,
and Hosea 13.8 also noting the word
bear. In both these verses God acts like an enraged bear, so the less
clear case of the crocodile in Job 41.5 isn’t so far-fetched after all.
Also on this read Ezekiel 5.13 noting the words
satisfy. Read also Jeremiah 23.29 noting the line
a hammer which breaks the rock in
pieces. And in the New Testament, read Hebrews 10.31 noting the word
fearful. Or Luke 13.4–5 noting
the words tower,
killed and eighteen. Then
there is the word wrath in John
3.36, and punishment in Matthew
25.46. Does the image of the crocodile cover those violent words about
God? How does that make you feel? Check out the words
awe and fire in Hebrews 12.28.
Note also the word fear in
Read again Job 41.5 noting this time the words
leash. Why would one be so careless with such a dangerous crocodile
God? On this read Psalm 30.6–7 noting the words
strong, in contrast to the words
dismayed. Does this show that we get sassy when blessed? On this
read Hosea 13.5–6 noting the words
full and forgot. How does
this follow? Why isn’t forgetfulness the farthest thing from our minds
when God so richly cares for us? On this read John 3.19 noting the words
darkness and loved. Why do
we do the opposite of what we should do? On this read Jeremiah 17.9 noting
the words desperately and
understand. Deep inside us,
then, we irrationally switch things around. On this read Isaiah 5.20
noting the switching around of the words
evil. Does that explain our
recklessness? Does the word mystery
help in 2 Thessalonians 2.7?
Reread Job 41.5 noting the same two words
leash. What would one hope to accomplish by trying to put our
fearful God on a leash? On this read 1 Kings 8.30 noting the words
place. Is the temple, then, a leash to control God and see to it
that he answers our prayers the way we want him to? Can we actually
leverage God? On this read Genesis 18.25 noting the line
shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Is Abraham
strong-arming God in the matter of saving Sodom? Is Abraham more righteous
than God? On this read Genesis 19.24–25 noting the words
Sodom, fire and
overthrew. Did God break his
promise to Abraham? Or did God know that there weren’t ten righteous
people in Sodom all along? If so, was God then only humoring Abraham’s
supposed superior righteousness? Do you think? On this read Jonah 1.11–15
noting the words tempestuous, quiet,
ceased. So is the sacrifice of
Jonah a leash controlling God? On this read Isaiah 13.9 noting the words
sinners. So God has set up a moral, causal, nexus before the Jonah
episode which his sacrifice plays into. Do you agree? On this read
Galatians 6.7 noting the words
mocked, sows and
reap. Is that correlation between
reaping and sowing the
Read Job 41.5 one last time noting again the same two words
leash. How can we give up on
this fool’s errand? On this read James 4.6 noting the prerequisite for God
granting grace. What does this
tell you? On this read Psalm 51.17 noting how
contrition blocks God from
despising us. Why is contrition
needed for this? On this read 2 Corinthians 5.14–15 noting the words
themselves. Why can’t we just live for ourselves? On this read
Ephesians 4.32 noting how receiving
kindness requires being kind
too. What would that mean for you?
By Pastor Marshall
beautiful young woman, Abishag the Shunammite – brought
in to comfort the dying King David (1 Kings 1:2–4) –
would have been lost in the dustbin of history if not
for the great American poet, Robert Lee Frost
(1874–1963). His seven stanza poem, “Provide, Provide”
(1934), prominently features her [The
Poetry of Robert Frost, ed. E. C. Lathem (NY: Holt,
1969) p. 307]. In this poem Frost talks about how nobody
can escape decay – not even the gorgeous Abishag. Frost
says this sad point is firmly set in fact and quite
beyond “doubt.” So as Abishag ages, she becomes a
“withered hag,” left to “wash the steps with pail and
rag” – “the once beauty Abishag.” And nothing can stop
memory of having starred
for later disregard
keeps the end from being hard.
This stanza is in the powerful center of Frost’s
poem. And it holds as long as all that we have to go on
are our own resources. But that’s not the case – at
least not as far as the Holy Scriptures go. In them we
hear about how God’s word renews our youth as if on
eagle’s wings (Psalm 103:5; Isaiah 40:31, 50:4), since
it does not wither and fade like the flower and the
grass (Isaiah 40: 6–9; 1 Peter 1:24–25). That eternal
word comes to us from the eternal, good God, by way of
faith in his only Son, Christ Jesus (2 Peter 1:11). So
even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner
nature is constantly being renewed (2 Corinthians
4:16–18). And so by faith in Christ we are forever
young, regardless of our age or health. We’re always
children of God – growing up to so great a salvation (1
Peter 2:2; John 1:12). That part of the story Frost
leaves out of his otherwise great poem. It is added,
however, at the end of the new novel on David and
Abishag when it says that “friendship is the most
precious union two souls can enjoy” – seeing physical
beauty as a “curse” [D. Gilliand,
To Comfort a King
(2014) pp. 213, 135.].
In this regard, I couldn’t help but think of
two Bob Dylan’s songs – his famous early song,
“Forever Young” (Planet
Waves, 1974), and his brand new version of the
1953 tin pan alley classic by Richards & Leigh,
“Young at Heart” (Fallen
CHRISTMAS IN JULY (& AUGUST)
[or until all the ornaments are picked!]
ST NICHOLAS FAIRE
Sunday, December 4, 2016
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
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,
Larraine King (206-937-6740).
This year we are offering a way 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,” all you have to do is put
the receipt from your purchase in your giving
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
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 4, 2016
from 4-7 pm
Put it on your calendar and start sharing the
date with your friends and family.
(This year our Faire doesn’t interfere with a
Seahawks game!) Plan to come and support the Food Bank
and Helpline, while having a wonderful time enjoying the
More details in the September.
MOTHER OF OUR LORD
The Feast of Saint Mary, Mother of Our Lord, will be
celebrated at our Sunday Holy Eucharist on August 21st.
On this day we will thank God for the life and
faith of Saint Mary, who has been called the
Mother of all believers
she was the first person to believe in the
Lutherans for centuries have honored
by praying the "Magnificat":
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit
rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his
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 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
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.
Peter Paul Rubens
prayer before God those whom He has made your
sisters through baptism.
Sam & Nancy Lawson, Hannah Weyer, Mariann Petersen,
Evelyn Coy, Melanie Johnson, Chuck & Doris Prescott,
Mary Goplerud, Bill Wright, David, Eileen and
Michael Nestoss, The Tyler Schorn Family, Bob & Barbara
Schorn, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke Bowen, Tabitha Anderson,
Celia Balderston, The PLU Music Faculty, Mike Harty,
Asha Sagmoen, Ken Sharp, Mike Granger, Dee Grenier,
Justin Schumacker, Kineta Langford, Ellen Marie
Schroeder, Marie Collins, Dorothy Chase, Gina Prokopchuk,
Rob Schultz, Ken Arkills, those infants and families
affected by the Zika virus, the great migration from the
Near East into Europe and other parts of the world.
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 those who have suffered the death of a
loved one: Pray that God will bear their grief and lift
Pray for Bill Wright and family on the death of
his wife Peggy.
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
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
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
in heaven, thank you for my atoning Lamb, Christ Jesus.
Keep me close to him and do not allow me even a moment
away, for he is my surest defense against sin and Satan.
May I sink so deeply into him that he will be infinitely
dearer to me than myself or anyone else. May I depend on
him more than on anything else in time and eternity. In
his dear name I pray. Amen.
[For All the
Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) IV: