March 2016


Our Twofold Savior


Romans 4:25 says that Christ was “put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” This single verse is a good guide for Holy Week and Easter. Keep it with you as you come to worship during these most holy days of the year.

     According to Luther the distinction in this verse between the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus notes that “in his suffering Christ makes our sin known and thus destroys it, but through his

 resurrection he justifies us and delivers us from all sin, if we believe this” (Luther’s Works 42:13). So by his death he conquers sin, but by his resurrection that victory becomes ours through faith in him. The power of the resurrection raises us out of our doubt and lethargy and brings us into the power and joy which faith in him brings (Romans 1:4).


    So thank God for our twofold Savior Jesus Christ. Thank him for what Jesus does apart from us on the cross, and then what he does within us through faith in him.

Pastor Marshall





Holy Week and Easter

March 20   Sunday of the Passion

                           8:00 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           9:00 am    Church School Passion Faire

                         10:30 am    Holy Eucharist – Procession with Palms

                           8:00 pm    Compline

March 21   Monday in Holy Week: Jesus’ Cleansing of the Temple

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           7:00 pm    Vespers

                                            The Great Litany - Chapel

March 22   Tuesday in Holy Week: Anointing Jesus for Burial

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           7:00 pm    Vespers

                                            The Great Litany – Chapel

March 23   Wednesday in Holy Week: The Betrayal of Jesus by Judas

                           9:30 am    Matins - Chapel

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           7:00 pm    Vespers

                                            The Great Litany – Chapel

March 24   Maundy Thursday: The Last Supper

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                           7:00 pm    Solemn Eucharist

                                            Stripping of the Altar

March 25   Good Friday: The Crucifixion of Our Lord

                         11:45 am    Holy Eucharist – Chapel

                                               (Reserved Sacrament)

                           7:00 pm    Office of Tenebrae

                                            A Liturgy of Lessons, Hymns and Prayers

                                               (Reserved Sacrament)

March 26   Holy Saturday: The Burial of Our Lord

                         11:45 am    Liturgy of the Burial – Chapel

                     Easter Vigil

                           7:00 pm    Liturgy of Light, Readings, Baptism

                                            and Holy Eucharist

March 27   The Resurrection of Our Lord – Easter

                      9:00 to 10:00 am Easter Brunch in the parish hall.

                    10:30 am     Festival Eucharist




The Perils of Our Inefficiency

by Pastor Marshall

Because we are so slow and so prone to mistakes, we will be deleted (annihilated) by the very computers we have made. This is the thesis of the controversial book, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era (2013) by James Barrat. This will happen by "repurposing the world's molecules using nanotechnology [which] has been dubbed 'esophagi,' which means eating the environment" – due to our merging with machines (pp. 15, 47). Barrat's findings are based on the considered opinions of the leading scientists in the field — including the renowned Stephen Hawking (p. 148). Most of them say we have about 15 years left before this happens (p. 196). Unfortunately "the failure to explore and monitor the threat is almost society-wide" (p. 267). And unfortunately, when this happens, it will be done "so fast and so

smoothly and so usefully, only a fool or a prophet would... complain" (p. 210). So the scenario is that as we willingly and happily give over more and more to computers to do for us, our handovers will turn into one big takeover (p. 3). And our demise will have nothing to do with malevolence as the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey suggested (p. 17). No, that can't be the case because machines are "amoral," according to Barrat, and would only kill us the way hurricanes do – without any feeling (p. 18). So we will be eliminated simply because we are too inefficient (as in Luke 13.7). Two possible blocks from this happening are the huge financial costs involved and the complexity of it all. But Barrat points out how both of these are easily overcome (pp. 163, 185, 197). Even so, Barrat is not without hope. We do have 15 years to find a way to defend ourselves. But, as he writes, "I'm hoping for luck because I do not believe our universities, corporations, or government institutions have the will or the awareness for adequate, timely preparation" – being irrational as many of us are (pp. 242, 26). Might we then add, that Christians know such luck to be the grace of God (Matthew 6:25-34)?



Support the Sunday School

Charity Project!


Last year the Sunday School students chose to support Lutheran World Relief by making school kits to be shipped to a country in need.  The school kits are currently being loaded on to a freight liner to make the journey any day now.  The students will be able to track the final destination of the school kits.  Thank you to all who helped to support the students by donating money so they could purchase the specific school supplies to assemble the school kits!

    The Sunday school students chose to support Lutheran World Relief this Spring as well.  Their goal is to raise enough money to purchase items to help sustain families and communities.  They want to help hose people living in poverty around the world.  They hope to raise enough money to purchase a metal rickshaw so farmers can transport crops to the market.  They want to purchase fruit tree seedlings to

help provide food and income to families.  They want to purchase quilts for children.  All of this can be purchased for $208.  If they raise an extra $165 they will then purchase farming tools and hens and chicks!  They are ambitious students.  They will be asking for your support.  We will plan another bake sale to help raise funds.  So look for the student’s LWR poster and donation can!  We will keep you posted on the bake sale plan.  Thank you for your support of the Sunday school students and their hope to help those living in profound poverty around the world.

Gina Allen, Church Council Education Chair





Servants of Christ and Stewards of the Mysteries of God


Servanthood and stewardship are twin duties for the Christian.  On the one hand, the Christian is called to be a servant.  He is to obey and act in accordance with his master’s wishes.  Now, there are two kinds of servants, the willing and the unwilling.  The willing servant is loyal, trustworthy, and faithful.  He is given much to care for.  The unwilling servant is compelled, often by force, to do the will of the master, but still must do his will.  In 1 Corinthians 9:14, Paul recognizes that as a Christian, he is called not only “to live from the gospel” but also “to preach the gospel.”  If he does so willingly, he will be rewarded, but if he does so unwillingly, he does so out of duty, or as a steward (1 Cor. 9:17).  Later we find out that this stewardship was given to Paul by God Himself, as Paul tells the Colossians (1:24-27), “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you…[and] for the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which…has now been revealed.” 

     This exposition of stewardship is given to us by Paul to help us practice self-denial.  Paul’s injunction “to live from the gospel” is not only given to himself, but to all Christians living in every time and every place.  To live from the gospel includes preaching the gospel and being a steward of the mysteries of God, which is Christ.  There is a warning in this message, however.  Paul tells us that the willing servant will be rewarded while the steward is under obligation and will receive no reward.  The reward is not what we might expect—blessings, happiness, a life free of troubles—NO!  The reward is that we will not preach the gospel as if we own it!  We will be free from abusing the message.  Regardless of the willingness or lack of, a steward is expected to care for the things given him.  So as we consider ourselves stewards of the gospel, let us pray that we may be willing so we may be able to deny ourselves and preach the gospel free from selfish desires for power.  This month, let us contemplate Paul’s words:

What is my reward then?  That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

(I Corinthians 9:18)


─Kari Ceaicovschi, Church Council




"Miss Maude stopped rocking, and her voice hardened, ‘You are too young to understand it,’ she said, ‘but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of — oh, of your father.’”

[Harper Lee (1926 – 2016), To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) p. 60.]


FOOD BANK DONATION suggestions for March are canned meats, chilies and stews. 

2016 FLOWER CHART could use a few more families to sign up for Easter Flowers.

PASTORS’ MEETING:  Thursday, March 10th, chapel at 11:30 am with lunch at noon.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS West Seattle Food Bank Instruments of Change benefit & social hour: live music, guest speaker, dinner, and a dessert auction at their new location of the Seattle Design Center. Saturday, May 14, 2016, 5:30-9 pm.  Also the West Seattle Helpline 11th Annual Taste of West Seattle on May 26th.  Tickets can be purchased starting March 1st on the Helpline web page.  Get yours early, this is a popular event and they have been known to sell out. 

WEST SEATTLE RECYCLING will buy your recyclables and then send the church a 10%

bonus check a couple of times a year.  We recently received a check for $33, so every little bit of help is good!  Pastor Marshall is willing to take your donations (newspaper and aluminum cans) if left neatly at the back of the parsonage carport.  #6 Styrofoam can also be recycled (the kind that snaps when broken).  Please bag securely before leaving.  Another thing that should be properly disposed of are dead batteries.  They are not allowed in the garbage.  Pastor Marshall is willing to properly dispose of them if they are left in marked bags on the office window counter.  Thanks to those who participate in these programs. 


A Poetic Church: Fighting Dullness

 By Pastor Marshall


Poems, with their simple rhymes, entertain us. But others, with their odd ways of putting things, expand our minds and enrich our hearts. Think of the line from Shakespeare’s famous Sonnet 55 (1609) – “unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.” Or the one from John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) – “enthralled by sin to foul exorbitant desires” (III:176–77). These quotes help us understand the ravages of time and the nature of sinful flesh. The Academy of American Poets’ new collection of poems, Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion, ed. Tamar Brazis (New York: Abrams Image, 2015), includes poems with wonderful, unusual expressions. Here are my favorites:

     My first one is “So much of any year is flammable, lists of vegetables, partial poems. Orange swirling flame of days, so little is a stone” (p. 22). This helps with 2 Corinthians 4:18 – “the things that are unseen are eternal.” Next is “Have I not reason to lament what man has made of man?” (p. 99). This helps with Romans 7:24 – “Wretched man that I am!” A third is “Burst into my narrow stall; Swing the picture on the wall” (p. 105). This helps with John 3:8 – “The wind blows where it wills.” A fourth is “I began as an astronomer – a liking for bright flashes, vast distances, unreachable things” (p. 125). This helps with Psalm 119:37 – “Turn my eyes from looking at vanities.” Also I like “Plodding along in the daily strife, Bearing the whips and the scorns of life” (p. 194). This helps with John 16:33 – “In the world you have tribulation.” A sixth is “I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!” (p. 217). This helps with Romans 5:3 – “We rejoice in our sufferings.” Then there is “I’m as pathetic as a railroad without tracks” (p. 219). This helps with Galatians 1:6 – “I am astonished you are so quickly deserting Christ.” An eighth is “We’ll live to be much older, weightless we’ll drift in the haze of space, which will be, once and for all, scrutable and safe” (p. 223). This helps with 1 Corinthians 13:12 – “then face to face.” Next there is “My heart is warm with the friends I make, Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, No matter where it’s going” (p. 255). This helps with Galatians 1:10 – “If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” A tenth is “Whatever suffering is insufferable is punishable by perishable” (p. 330). This helps with Romans 8:18 – “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” An eleventh is “A little sound of thanks – a zipper or a snap – to close round the thought of whatever good we did” (p. 360). This helps with Luke 17:9 – “Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?” Another is “You gave me blue and I gave you yellow. Together we are simple green” (p. 371). This helps with 1 Corinthians 12:27 – “You are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” My penultimate one is “I need no resolution, just the constant turmoil of living” (p. 374). This helps with John 12:25 – “He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” And my final one is “Fragile and momentary, we continue” (p. 390). This helps with Luke 12:32 – “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

     These lines are worth hanging on to because Proverbs 25:11 says that “fitly spoken” words are like “apples of gold in a setting of silver.” May God put them to good use so that we may say fewer dull things in his name, and be “aglow with the Spirit” (Romans 12:11).  


Billy Graham

on the Church


“Church is not a place to promote programs but to profess faith. The church is not to be pliable but principled…. The church does not pressure but pronounces and protects. The church does not prey on the lost; it prays for the perishing. The church does not pollute the mind; it provides food for the soul. The church does not profane the truth; it possesses God’s Word. The church is not passive or progressive; it is purging and possessive. The church should not reflect pop culture but portray godly attributes. The church should not seek pleasures but seek after God. The church should not be prideful but princely – we are children of the King. The church should not promote anything – but preach Christ only…. The church is not to reflect the world but to be a portrait of Jesus Christ. The church is not a public institution – for Christ purchased it with His purifying blood. The church should not work for its own profit; it is Christ’s priceless possession. The church’s lectern is not a politician’s prop but a preacher’s pulpit. And finally, the church is a place to pray for those who do not know Christ and to praise the Savior for making a way for salvation if they will only believe.”


[Storm Warning (2010) pp. 164–65.]



Martin Luther

on Bible Study


“Holy Scripture is a book for heretics, that is, a book which heretics mostly claim for themselves, for no other book has been misused as much…. There has never been any heresy so bad or coarse that it did not attempt to conceal and cloak itself with Scripture…. Thus Holy Scripture must be a book for heretics, not that it is Scripture’s fault, but the evildoers’ fault, who so shamefully misuse it…. God will certainly deal with evildoers and villains. So if the Bible is a book for heretics, I will not for that reason throw it down, but all the more study in it and read it, so that I will know how to guard against the misuse that others practice. So, then, let everyone be ready and prepared, so that he is not so easily misled… when they cite Scripture to you, for they are certainly ravenous wolves underneath. When you think they are feeding and satisfying you, they are tearing, slaying, and devouring you…. So the greatest and most difficult struggle is when one must struggle with Scripture against Scripture, knock down and prevent someone’s sword, snatch the weapon out of his hand, and slay him with his own sword, which no one does, unless he is enlightened by the Holy Spirit so that he can see this villain.”


[Luther’s Works 78:287–88.]


March Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, March 22nd.

The book for March is Storm Warning: Whether Global Recession, Terrorist Threats, or Devastating Natural Disasters, These Ominous Shadows Must Bring Us Back to the Gospel (2010), by the pre-eminent Christian evangelist, Billy Graham (b. 1918). This book is about how we are to deal with calamity. Everyone wants to know why a good God would allow so much suffering in our lives. Graham’s response is that nothing bad ever happens without God first warning us about it and showing us a way out (p. 89). Sad for us we repeatedly ignore the warnings (pp. 6, 13, 79, 129, 136, 151, 189, 208, 240, 263).

     A copy of this important book on Biblical warnings is in the library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss our wretchedness and why we don’t heed the warnings so that we can escape unharmed.



Exodus 3.15

Monthly Home Bible Study, March 2016, Number 277

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 Exodus 3.15 noting the names Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Is God’s name only associated with these names? On this read Exodus 3.13 noting the name I am who I am. What kind of a name is this more abstract one? On this read Psalm 50.12 noting the words if and not. What does this say about God? On this read Acts 17.25 noting the line as though he needed anything. Why is God so independent? On this read John 5.26 noting the phrase life in himself. How is that possible? On this read Revelation 1.8, 15.3 and 16.7 noting the word Almighty in all three verses. What is this almightiness about? On this read Psalm 62.11 noting the line power belongs to God. Does this mean that God will never come up short? On this read Psalm 115.3 noting the line the Lord does whatever he pleases. Why is this so important? On this read Deuteronomy 8.17 noting the words beware, power and my. Why is this warning given? On this read Romans 1.25 noting the word exchanged and the wickedness which comes from this mix-up. Are you now ready to follow Psalm 96.2 and bless the name of the Lord? Why would you want to?


Week II. Read again Exodus 3.15 noting this time just the name Abraham. What does this name tell us about God? On this read Genesis 22.1–2 noting the words tested, son and offering. Is God then the one who tests us? On this read 1 Thessalonians 2.4 noting the line who tests our hearts. What else does the name of Abraham connote? On this read Hebrews 11.8 noting the words go, not and where. Does this make God a frightening God? On this read Revelation 14.7 noting the line fear God and give him the glory. Anything else regarding Abraham? On this read Genesis 18.22–33 and 19.24–25 noting the words near, said and overthrew. Do these two sets of verses make God one of mediation as well as destruction? On the first read Genesis 9.15 noting the words remember and covenant. On the second one, read Jeremiah 26.29 noting the words fire and breaks. Why is the God of Abraham so rambunctious? Why is this the first person listed in God’s threefold name?


Week III. Reread Exodus 3.15 noting this time the other name Isaac. What does this name tell us about God? On this read Genesis 21.12 noting the line through Isaac shall your descendants be named. This says that physical lineage through Abraham is not enough, but that faith in God must also be there (unlike Ishmael, Isaac believed) – as Luther notes (Luther’s Works 4:33). We also see this in Romans 3:28 – a man is justified by faith. What else can we learn about God through Isaac? On this read Genesis 27.35 noting the words guile, taken, blessings and brother. Here we see how trouble follows God and his people, for as Luther again points out, the house of Isaac is an “exceedingly disturbed state” (LW 5:168). This is quite shocking given that Genesis 21:6 says Isaac begins with miracle and laughter. Then why the disruption? On this read Romans 8.17 noting the line provided we suffer with Jesus. Note also Matthew 10.36 and the line a man’s foes will be those of his own household. How startling is that?


Week IV. Read Exodus 3.15 one last time noting the last name Jacob. And what does this third name tell us about God? On this read Genesis 32.28 noting the phrase striven with God. Why is this important? On this read Luke 12.19 noting the words ease and merry. Are we then by nature opposed to God? On this read Romans 11.24 noting the phrase contrary to nature. Why do we clash with God? On this read Romans 7.18 noting the line nothing good dwells within me. Contrast this with Mark 10.18 noting the words only, God and good. Anything else to learn from the name Jacob? On this read Genesis 28.7 noting the words awesome, place, house and gate. So while being universal, God is also localized. On the importance of this, read Colossians 2.9 noting the word dwells. Do you agree? And how about Psalm 96.2? Are you finally ready to follow it?



The Annunciation

of Our Lord

On Tuesday, March 29th, the Feast of the  Annunciation of Our Lord will be celebrated in the chapel at 11:45 am with Holy Eucharist.  At this liturgy we will honor the angel Gabriel's announcement to Saint Mary that she will be the Mother of Our Lord.  Prepare for this feast of the Church with the following prayer: 

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we, who have known the incarnation of your son, Jesus Christ, announced by an angel, may by his cross and Passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection:  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.              Amen.




Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.


Mary Goplerud, Chuck Prescott, Melanie Johnson, Nancy, Sam, Kevin and Kim Lawson, David, Eileen and Michael Nestoss, Leah Baker, Kyra Stromberg, Peggy & Bill Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Luke Bowen, Ion Ceaicovschi, Tabitha Anderson, The PLU Faculty, Robert Crowmartie, Celia Balderston, Mike Harty, Angel Lynn, Asha Sagmoen, Dean Cheney, Kevin James, Nancy Wilson, Gregg Carter, John Bechtholt, Rick Sitts, Ken Sharp, Dorothy Chase, Bruce & Margaret Kirmmse, Margaret Douglass, Mike Granger, Chuan-Tang Chang, Denise Alvorod, Jim Thoren and the great migration from the Near East into Europe and other parts of the world. 

     Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved one: Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts:  Pray for the family and friends of Vivian Wheeler on her death.  Vivian died on February 15th at the age of 97.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  C. J. Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Peggy & 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 Lent.  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:  Thomas Aquinas, teacher, 1274; Joseph, guardian of our Lord.

 A Treasury of Prayers


Lord God, Mighty and Eternal, in Jesus you have given me a model of humility as seen in his death on the Cross. Help me bear witness to you by following his example of suffering. And, then, give me the hope of eternal joys by sharing in his resurrection. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

[For All the Saints III:999, altered]