May 2012

The Spirit of Christ


Sin, Righteousness & Judgment


Sunday, May 27th, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church. In John 16:8-11, Jesus tells us what his Spirit comes to do. It’s worth memorizing:


When the Spirit comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, [1] because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, [2] because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgment, [3] because the ruler of this world is judged.


So what we are to learn by the power of the Spirit and then teach to the world is:

[1] that all must believe in Jesus to be saved (John 3:16), [2] that Jesus is more than a man but also one with God (John 10:30), and [3] that this world is all absorbed in evil and will pay for it if there’s no repentance (John 8:44). None of these points can be learned and taught without the Spirit dwelling in us. And that’s because, on our own, we love the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19). But with Christ’s Spirit in us, we’ll have power to become children of God (John 1:12). Alleluia!

                                                                                                             Pastor Marshall



President’s Report… by Matthew Kahn


One of my favorite pieces of art of all time is the Isenheim Altarpiece. Painted in the early years of the 1500s it is considered to be the greatest German work of the northern renaissance. The visceral images overwhelm the viewer.  The most famous panel is the image of a mangled Christ upon a hastily constructed cross. His body bruised and broken, the over lengthened arms outstretched to grotesque hands frozen in agony from the piercing nails.  It is a painting that is a far cry from the stoic Savior that we see most often. The choice of a sedate Jesus is understandable as people want to forget what Christ had to go through for our sake. We need to forget what hours of torture can do to the human body.

    The artist Matthias Grunewald painted the panels for the altarpiece for the Monastery of St. Anthony that specialized in healing. It was in this setting of a hospital that Grunewald wanted to show that Christ suffered too.  Yet with this empathetic version of Christ in human form we must not forget what He said to the lamenting women just prior to His death in Luke 23:28, “But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children”.    

    Especially here in Easter, to me the images invokes thoughts, that yes the body can be broken. It can be pierced as it once was.  The body can die but the Spirit is eternal.  God raised Christ from the dead and has promised us eternal life without further bodily pain or suffering.  Even though Christ suffered mightily, even though we suffer our sins today there is His promise of joy and salvation. 

    We are able to spread this message of hope and redemption with His blessing of great parishioners and staff.  I pray that He will continue to bless us. So far this year we have been able to continue to keep costs below estimates.  We budgeted $17,962 for Total General Operating Expenses so far this year and have only spent $16,433 as of the beginning of April.  We budgeted $61,631 in Total Expenses but only spent $58,731 so far this year.  This is great work by our wonderful staff in keeping expenses low however we budgeted $60,126 for Total General Budget Receipts but only received $55,935.  This Four Thousand dollar short fall in giving has not had a major impact thus far.  That may change.  An inauspicious omen is the checking account balance.  At the end of February it was $1,985 by the end of March is had dwindled down to a shocking $200.
Even though Christ was pierced, and suffered, may we hold on to the lines of the acclamations and knowledge that; Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.



This great feast of the Easter Season, the Ascension of Our Lord, follows Easter by 40 days.  On Thursday, May 17th, the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 11:45 am in the chapel.  Study Luke 24:50:      Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them.  While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 

The Holy Visitation

Holy Eucharist will be celebrated on the Feast of the Holy Visitation, Thursday, May 31st, in the Chapel at 11:45 am.  On this day we thank God for the blessed words between Saint Mary and Saint Elizabeth.  We also thank him for the honor paid Saint Mary by the still unborn Saint John the Baptist, when he moved in the womb of his mother, Saint Elizabeth.  On this day the collect is:   


Almighty God, in choosing the virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son, you made known your gracious regard for the poor and lowly and the despised.  Grant us grace to receive your Word in humility, and so to be made one with your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. 

    In preparation for this festival, pray this prayer and study Luke 1:39-47 and Isaiah 11:1-5.



    On Sunday, May 27th at the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist, we will celebrate Pentecost.  This day celebrates the "outpouring of the Spirit" and the birth of the Church, according to the chronology and theology of the book of Acts of the Apostles. 



May Book


With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

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

The book for May is Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science & the Biology of Belief (2002) by Newberg & D’Aquili & Rause. The thesis argued for in this book – as expressed in the title – “does not mean that it is neurologically ‘abnormal’ to be indifferent to religion, or that the claims of any specific religion are necessarily true. It only means that humans have a genetically inherited talent for entering unitary states, and that many of us interpret these states as the presence of a higher spiritual power” (p. 140). These unitary states occur when the brain is inclined “to adjust its cognitive and emotional perceptions of the self … as a closing of the distance between the self and God” (p. 81). Therefore the authors conclude that “natural selection [favors] a brain equipped with the neurological machinery that makes religious behavior more likely,” and that “the strong survival advantages of religious belief make it very likely that evolution would enhance the neurological wiring that makes transcendence possible” (p. 139).

    A copy of this important book on the biological basis for belief in God is in the church library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss whether or not our biological functions help or hinder one’s belief in God.


FOOD BANK suggested donation for May is hygiene products like bar soap, tooth brushes and paste. 

GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22nd at noon, in the parish hall. Sign up on the list that’s posted in the lounge. 

BAPTISM:  On Friday, May 11th Miyabi Elsa Schorn will be baptized at a 7 pm liturgy in the Nave.  On Sunday, May 20th at the 10:30 am liturgy Hannah and Seth Weyer will be baptized.

WEST SEATTLE HELPLINE’S “Taste of West Seattle”, Thursday, May 17th at the Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave. SW, from 6-8:30 pm.  Tickets $40/Advance - $45/Door can be purchased from the church office. 

CONFIRMATION:  On Sunday, June 3rd we will have the Affirmation of Baptism for Soren Sagmoen and Kyra Stromberg.  A reception will follow the liturgy in the parish hall. 

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.




Good Stewards


In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool.   God blesses the man with a plentiful harvest and instead of putting the bounty to use in his community, the man builds bigger barns.  His plans to live a life of ease off his windfall don’t go well for him, though.  

In verse 20 God curtails the man’s plans:

Fool!  This night your soul is required of you; and the things that you have prepared, whose will they be?  So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.

In this parable and other teachings, Jesus warns us about the proper use of our wealth.  We are not to regard our wealth as strictly ours, but use it in a way to benefit others.  Give money to the church to help it continue in its proclamation of the Gospel.  Give to charitable organizations locally and abroad that are doing good things to help those in need.  Give to educational organizations so they can fulfill their mission.  Let us all prayerfully work towards being good stewards of the things we have been given with an attitude that is rich towards God, and hopefully avoid ever bigger barns and foolish ends. 

                                                                                                 Peter Douglass, Church Council


Stewardship                                                 Budget                     Received

            Month (March)                                 $22,085                    $17,478

            Year to date (Jan-Mar)                     $60,126                    $56,629




A Forgotten But Powerful Voice:

Dr. Kent S. Knutson, 1924-1973

By Pastor Marshall


The next passage that I want us to reflect on together from Dr. Knutson’s The Shape of the Question: The Mission of the Church in a Secular Age (1972) has to do with the nature of the church:

This phrase, soma tou Christou, the body of Christ, admits of many interpretations, but it surely means without question that the church belongs to Jesus Christ. We have here the great integrating idea in the diversity [that makes up the many and various members within the church]. The body of Christ expresses both the intimacy of the union of the church with Christ and the distinction of the church from Christ. Christ is its life. He works in the church. In him, the church coheres and has her being. The church is subject to him in every way, participates in him, loves him, obeys him, and thus finds and exercises the freedom he bestows. This also means an intimate unity of the members that binds them together, gives them an integrity and essential role in being themselves as well as being his. Life in the church is the same as life taken up in Christ which involves personal encounter and participation in the hope of the fulfillment that is to come (p. 99).
The key ideas here have to do with the church being subject to Christ, obeying him and being distinct from him. This means in large part that the church is forever trying to measure up to its Lord. It means that the church always falls behind Christ and is less than him. It means that the church must always be striving to be more than a human association of like-minded individuals but instead gather together as disciples of Jesus. May we ever push forward to attain this goal – and nothing more or nothing less.

Extended Ministries Committee Announcement…..At this writing, during the months of March and April, we have collected almost 700 items for the Food Bank!  Super work!  Remember to keep it up.  Hunger in West Seattle is ongoing, so our support needs to be regular and consistent.  Also a huge THANK YOU!!! to everyone who donated to the Lutheran World Relief Health Kits project.  Almost $200 was donated as well as bath towels and soap, combs, toothbrushes, and nail clippers.

GOSPEL FOR ASIA….Who Are They??? What Do They Do??? How Can We Help???

Annually we as a congregation pledge $200 toward the support of the Maxam family, Ron and Chris and their 2 daughters, Lauren and Claire.  Ron Maxim provides computer support for the Gospel for Asia ministry.  A number of years ago, they felt the call of the Lord to volunteer their lives to this ministry.  In order to do this, they needed to secure sponsors to help with their living expenses of $3,500 a month, and move to Texas.  You may remember that they visited First Lutheran Church in January of 2008 and presented information both about what they would be doing and the bigger picture of what Gospel for Asia does. 

   Gospel for Asia was founded by K.P. Yohannan, who is a native of India.  When he was 16 years old he felt called to serve the Lord in North India.  While he came to the US in 1974 for theological studies and served a church here for 4 years, he had a heart for the thousands in Asia who have not had the opportunity to know the Lord Jesus Christ and His love for them.  Gospel for Asia was the result.

   In addition to a ministry that supports national workers and congregations in South Asia, the Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope program cares for tens of thousands of children, helping them break out of generations of poverty and hopelessness.

   Dr. Yohannan’s book, Revolution in World Missions, was a bestseller, and has changed the course of mission history.  To read more about the work of Gospel for Asia check out their web site,  There you will find many details about their work, bios of some of the missionaries, and news releases about persecution of their workers and our fellow Christians who live on the other side of the world.

   For the months of May and June, the extended ministries committee will be focusing on the important work that Gospel for Asia provides to South Asia.  Please pray about making a monetary contribution to this important work.  Depending on how much money is donated, we will choose an item or items needed (a catalogue is provided by Gospel for Asia with items and costs listed), and make a special donation to this extended ministry. 

Thank You


A big thank you to those who have helped brighten things up around the building.  Chuck and Doris for adding the primroses to the courtyard gardens and Elmer Wittman for putting up the new picture hangers in the Nursery.    


Colossians 2.19

Monthly Home Bible Study, May 2012, Number 231

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 Colossians 2.19 noting the two words Head and body. Which is which? On this read Ephesians 1.20-23 noting the words Christ, head, church, his and body. Why is this image of the human body used to describe the relationship between Christ and his church? On this read 1 Corinthians 12.12-31 noting the words one, many, consists, belong, less, whole, God, arranged, chose, need, weaker, indispensable, honor, composed, giving, discord, appointed and all. Why are we told that it is God who arranged, composed, appointed and chose who will receive which gifts in church? It is to resolve any discord that these unequal assignments might bring. And how does this discord come about? Well, out of jealousy, when one person wants what another has. Is there any other reasons given for putting an end to this trouble besides knowing that God established the differences? Yes, it’s the claim that all members belong to the church regardless of their gifts, that everyone is indispensable, and that all gifts are needed, even when some of those gifts appear to be less valuable than others. There are then four good reasons for putting an end to strife in the church. Have they done the trick? On this read 1 Corinthians 1.11 noting the word quarreling.


Week II. Read again Colossians 2.19 noting the line not holding fast. Why is it that there is quarreling and discord in the church, as 1 Corinthians 1.11 says? Colossians 2.19 implies that it’s because Christians aren’t holding fast to Christ. But why is that? On this read 1 Corinthians 11.29 noting the words without, discerning and judgment. Read also 1 Corinthians 12.3 noting the line Jesus be cursed. And in addition read 1 Corinthians 13.1-4 noting the three lines I am a noisy gong, I am nothing, and I gain nothing. Along with these verses, read 1 Corinthians 1.18 noting the line those who are perishing; and 2.13 noting the line those who possess the Spirit; and 3.19 noting the line the wisdom of this world is folly with God; and 4.7 noting the line why do you boast as if it were not a gift; and 5.1-6 noting the words immorality, arrogant and boasting; and 6.5 noting the word shame; and 7.28 noting the phrase worldly troubles; and 8.7 noting the line hitherto accustomed to idols; and 10.21 noting the category the table of demons. Do all of these verses show how we can lose our hold of Christ? What other verses might makes significant additions to these? On this read 1 Thessalonians 5.14-22 noting the words admonish, patient, repays, rejoice, pray, thank, test and abstain. Anything still missing?


Week III. Reread Colossians 2.19 noting this time the word growth. Why is growth important? On this read 1 Peter 2.2-3 noting the words babes, milk, grow and tasted. Does this mean that our faith doesn’t come fully developed? If so, how does it develop? On this read Matthew 13.1-23 noting the words secrets, understand, dull, tribulation, persecution, cares, delight, riches and choke. How do these hardships help our faith grow? On this read Romans 5.3-5 noting the words endurance and character. Why is this needed? On this read Colossians 2.24 noting the words lacking and church. How does this verse spell out this growth?


Week IV. Read Colossians 2.19 one last time noting the line growth that is from God. When is this growth from God? On this read Isaiah 30.9-11 noting the words rebellious, not, instruction, smooth and leave. What does this tell us about blind pathways? On this read Matthew 7.13-14 noting the contrast between narrow and wide, easy and hard, many and few. Does this mean that large numerical growth doesn’t automatically add up to growth from God? On this read Luke 12.32 noting the words little and pleasure. Read also Matthew 18.20 noting the words two and gathered. Why does God like smaller numbers? On this read 2 Corinthians 13.5 noting the words examine and test. Is this a one-on-one process? Does in fly in the face of crowds? Does this explain the difficult line, few are chosen, in Matthew 22.14? If so, how so?



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Mona Ayer, Gregg Lyon, Cynthia Natiello, Connor Bisticas, Dorothy Ryder, Richard Hard, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Teri Korsmo, Bob Baker, Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Margaret Hard, Rolf Sponheim, David & Kay Thoreson, Rosita & Jim Moe, Frank Rowlands, Joyce Baker, Chris & Margeen Bowyer, Jim Cunningham,    Tabitha Anderson, Linda Anderson, Dick Leidholm, Rick Collins, Ranaan Taylor, Valerie Blakeslee, Hal Shakerley, Lori McConnell, Gwen Lyon, Susan Lyon, Lee Neuman, Peggy Vrem, Steven Coy, Jill Jeffry, Evon Rainey, Amy Tabor.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Pat Hansen, Margaret Hard, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler.

     Pray for our new member from April that he may all the more rejoice in Christ and serve him with diligence:  Gregg Lyon.

     Pray for our bishops Mark Hanson and Chris Boerger, 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 May.  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: St. Philip and St. James, Apostles; Monica, mother of Augustine, 387; and John Eliot, missionary to the American Indians, 1690.

A Treasury of Prayers


O Lord God, who on the Day of Holy Pentecost, richly visited the hearts of your faithful people, pour that same Spirit on my dry and famished heart. Refresh your heritage within me. Enkindle me with the fire of your benign fervor and burn out all internal vileness. And, O gentle wind, cool my heart when in fiery trials and protect me in the day of trouble. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                                             [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) III:1277-1278, altered]