November 2012



For All the Saints

___________________________________________________________________________________

God’s Ecclesiastical Ecology

 

November 4th is All Saints’ Sunday – the day when we thank God for all Christian believers and disciples, living on earth and gone to be with the Lord in heaven. This is that “great cloud of witness” (Hebrews 12:1) in which the church rejoices.

    Martin Luther (1483-1546) notes, however, that this cloud is a mixed blessing – in that it provides comfort by its “large number of examples,” but that it also afflicts us by its dwindling size – to test our faith and wound our pride (Luther’s Works 16:153)! So Luther concludes – in keeping with Psalm 30:5 – that “in the morning the godly will have comfort, though in the evening they must be

afflicted and must endure for the testing of their faith…. [For] where formerly there was a prince, there will now be a peasant.”
   What does that mean for us? First, that the church will not always be big. Instead, its size will ebb and flow. So when it shrinks, we shouldn’t panic – and that’s because this downsizing is all part of God’s ecclesiastical ecology, if you will!
  
And the second point is that big churches are bad for us. They fuel our pride which pulls us away from God – who wants us to bow down before him in humility, instead of crowing over our many and great achievements. So God whittles down his churches to test his children in order to make their faith grow.
   During our All Saints’ festival this year acknowledge, then, God’s mixed blessing and learn from it.

                Pastor Marshall

 




 

     PRESIDENT'S REPORT...by Matthew Kahn

Last year in the November Messenger I shared President Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation. President Madison also had one proclamation during his tenure but it wasn’t until the Civil War that the last Thursday of November was set aside to be the Thanksgiving holiday, by Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation of October 3, 1863.

    The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

    No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

    It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

      With “one heart and voice by the whole American people” let us be thankful of our blessings from God almighty this November! For even though our present time may seem dark and lonely we should remember that there have been darker and more dreadful periods in our nation’s history,  and He has guided us through them!

      Last month I published a letter concerning the finances of the church.  I wish to deeply thank all those who, in the weeks following, gave more to the church so that we might continue our mission to spread His word.  Let us pray for His continued blessings upon the Parish as we close out the year.  We are still short of our yearly goals but I am confident that with God’s help we will continue to thrive here in West Seattle.

    Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

 

STEWARDSHIP

Going Forth in Faith and Stewardship

In the Book of Genesis, we are introduced to and learn of Abraham.  As we learn, Abraham had unwavering faith in God.  As God made requests of Abraham, he fulfilled them without question or doubt.  In Abraham’s faith was also stewardship. 

And blessed be most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.  And he gave him tithes of all. 

(Genesis 14:20 KJV)

When Abraham needed a sacrifice; God provided a ram in the thicket.  God’s miracles of provision continue through our offerings, planned giving and spontaneous gifts of gratitude. 

And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.           (Galatians 3:29 KJV)

As Abraham, Father of the Faithful went forth, let us go forth, unwavering in faith and stewardship, for God provides. 

Melanie Arkle-Johnson, Church Council





 



November Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, November 27th

The book for November is Saving God: Religion After Idolatry (2009) by Mark Johnston, Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. This difficult book strikes some very good themes – like the attack on self-worship (p. 24) and sin as described by Luther as being curved in on ourselves (p. 88). But his strict identification of God with nature – to the exclusion of any supernatural element – is over-drawn (pp. 39, 127). Even so, his critique (p. 157) of God’s preoccupation of us, is a helpful tonic. It is humbling – which is always good. But his diminishing of the crucifixion as our only way of being saved from God’s wrath (p. 167) isn’t as helpful.

    A copy of this important book 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 the various ways in which we misrepresent the God of the Bible.

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  PASTOR MARSHALL’s article, “Luther’s Alleged Anti-Semitism,” was published in the Reformation 2012 issue of Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology. Copies are available through the church office. For a radio interview with Pastor Marshall on this article, go to http://issuesetc.org/2012/10/15/3-martin-luther-and-anti-semitism-pr-ron-marshall-101512/

COMPASS CENTER:  This year, as in the past, we will be collecting Christmas gift items for the Compass Center for both men and women.  So you can better plan your shopping, we are listing the items to be collected now:  gift cards in $5 increments to fast food restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores, new sweatshirts (L, XL, XXL sizes), and hats and gloves (in dark neutral colors) for men or women are asked for this year.  Please leave your donations at the office.  Items will be delivered to the Compass Center December 17th. 

SCRAPPER’S will not meet again in 2012, the next meeting being in January of 2013.  Good condition used or new sheets are always needed as well as fabric scraps. 

FLOWER CHART:  There are still a few spaces left for Christmas.  Interested?

FOOD BANK COLLECTION suggested donation for November is holiday foods: canned yams, turkey, gravy, cranberries, stuffing and pumpkin. 

EXTENDED MINISTRIES are asking for donations through November and December to help defray costs in putting on the St. Nicholas Faire.

HOLY EUCHARIST – THANKSGIVING EVE:  Thanksgiving will be observed with Holy Eucharist on November 21st at 7 pm, in the chapel. 

GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP:  Next luncheon Thursday, December 6th.



 

 

A Forgotten But Powerful Voice:

Dr. Kent S. Knutson, 1924-1973

By Pastor Marshall

 

In this my penultimate column on Dr. Knutson’s The Shape of the Question: The Mission of the Church in a Secular Age (1972), I want to share a passage on Martin Luther’s bravery and its impact on us:

Luther’s so-called individualism, unhappily misunderstood often by both the Lutheran community and the society in which it lives, [has had a massive impact]. There is… no disputing that Luther’s lone stand against his professors, then his superiors, and finally against both pope and emperor until such time as he, Luther, should be personally convinced, on the basis of Scripture and reason that he was wrong, gave invincible theological sanction to the notion of the sovereign conscience. This touched off the rampant sectarianism which resulted in many denominations, each mutually excluding the others. This strong addiction to the ability of every man to be right became the undergirding slogan for political and social movements which still reverberate among us. For Luther, the situation was saved by sola scriptura and by the concept of the church as the community of God. For him, strangely and perhaps to some, paradoxically, these went together, a single authority [Bible], a single conscience [each individual] and a single people of God [the church]. But for the man without this faith commitment, the freedom of conscience to deny all has been both the source of heroic efforts of man to save himself and the source of demonic efforts to destroy all but himself. So we have in Reformation methodology some problems which still haunt us and which I believe have much to say about the way Christian communities operate (pp. 113-14).







 

 

Kierkegaard Bronze Statue

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The Bicentennial Celebration 1813-2013

 

By Pastor Marshall

 

 

The bronze Kierkegaard statue is now finished. It was installed in the lounge the week of October 15th. Thanks to Ken Hovde, Jane Collins, and Dale Korsmo for completing the installation and lighting. Next year, on November 17, 2013, we will dedicate the statue at the annual Kierkegaard commemoration. The sculptor, Rita Marie Kepner, who began this project back in 2008, will be here for the dedication, so you will have a chance to meet her. She is now working on her memoirs – to tell us what it has been like to work on this statue. You may still make donations  to help defray the cost of this project. To do so, make out your check to the church, designate your tax deductible gift to the Kierkegaard Statue project, and then mail it to the church, or put it in the offering plate. A list of all the donors will be included on the statue brochure. The Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, has been designated the default co-owners of the statue (where it will be displayed if some time in the future our church decides it no longer wants it on display here). The Kierkegaard Library has also been a generous donor to this project.
                                                         photo credit Sonja Clemente 

 

 




 

Jude 1.9

Monthly Home Bible Study, November 2012, Number 237

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 Jude 1.9 noting the word devil. Who is the devil? On this read Isaiah 14.12 noting the word fallen. Read also Job 2.7 noting the word afflicted – and the implied word adversary. Then read 1 Peter 5.8, noting the words devil, adversary, prowls and devour, and Matthew 4.1 noting the words devil and tempted. What is this temptation based on? On this read Genesis 3.1-4 noting the words subtle, God, made, shall, not, lest and die. Here we see the command and threat that are underneath temptation. Why did God set it up this way? On this read Genesis 22.1, 2 Corinthians 2.9, and James 1.12 noting the same word tested in all three. Why is it important to be tested? On this read 1 Peter 1.6-8 noting the word genuineness. See that same word in 1 Corinthians 11.19. Why is a test needed to discover who is genuine? On this read 2 Corinthians 11.12-15 noting the words undermine, boasted, false, deceitful, disguising and Satan. Note also 2 Corinthians 4.4 which calls Satan the god of this world. Tests, then, clear the fog. On there being fog, read 1 Corinthians 13.12 noting the foggy word dimly. Does God then use the devil – and maybe even bring him into existence! – for a good purpose? What could that possibility be? On this read Ephesians

5.11 noting the word expose. How does the devil do that if he’s also part of the cover-up?

 

Week II. Read again Jude 1.9 noting this time the word contending. Why does Michael contend with the devil? On this read Matthew 4.1-11 noting the devil’s three temptations of Jesus and their attending three mistakes: neglecting God’s word, reckless endangerment, and divided loyalty. Why are these his three temptations and mistakes? On this read Romans 14.23 noting the words faith and sin. From this we learn that the devil’s three temptations are the biggest threats to faith – and that’s why he used them. What happens if we lose our faith – as did Alexander and Hymenaeus in 1 Timothy 1:20? On this read Hebrews 11.6 noting the words faith and please. What if we don’t please God? On this read Mark 16.16 noting the words not and condemned. What is this condemnation like? On this read Luke 16.23, 28 noting the description place of torment. Is that enough to know, to see the point in contending with the devil? If so, how so?

 

Week III. Reread Jude 1.9 noting the line did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him. What would this have been like? On this read Luke 9.54 noting the line bid fire come down from heaven and consume them. Why not do this and get rid of the devil, once and for all? On this read 1 John 3.8 noting the words destroy and works. What is the target, then? – the devil or his works? If it isn’t him, then why isn’t it? On this read Revelation 12.11-17 noting the words woe, wrath, earth, help, war and testimony. Is that why Michael is not supposed to kill the devil? Do we need him to test us? On this read John 8.44 noting the words devil, father and lies. Is our test whether or not we will abdicate the devil’s family and enter into the household of God? On this read Romans 8.14-17 noting the words led, sonship, witness, heirs, suffer and glorified. What does this hinge on? On this note the word walk in Romans 6.4 and Galatians 5.25-26. Does that give you confidence or not? Explain.

 

Week IV. Read Jude 1.9 one last time noting the line but… the Lord rebuke you. So even though Michael isn’t supposed to destroy the devil, God is supposed to rebuke him. Why is that? On this read Romans 12.19 and Hebrews 10.30 noting the same two words vengeance and mine. Why is this vengeance withheld for God alone? On this read Galatians 4.4 noting the line when the time had fully come. Are we prohibited from doing this because we can’t tell when the right time to lower the boom on the devil is? On this read 2 Corinthians 4.7 noting the description earthen vessels. What does that say about us? On this read James 4.14 noting the words mist, little and vanishes. If we are so insubstantial, does that also limit what we are able to ascertain? On this read Psalm 131.1 noting the closing clause for me. Does that speak to our nature or just to some bad situation? What if it’s about our nature?

 


 


 

 

Thank You… to the members and friends

of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.

 

I wish to extend, on behalf of my family our heartfelt thanks to each of you for your prayers, calls, letters and cards of support and sympathy on the death of our mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Margaret Hard.  She was a true gift to her family.  May God bless her memory. 

Dean Hard

X    All Saints’…X

 

will be commemorated this year Thursday, November 1st, with a Columbarium Liturgy on All Saints’ Day.  Plan to attend this solemn occasion at 11:45 am in the chapel. 

 

          On Sunday, November 4th come celebrate All Saints’ Sunday at:

            8:00 am Holy Eucharist

          10:30 am Festival Eucharist

          11:45 am Brunch & 20th Anniversary of Dean Hard, as Deacon

 

Plan to attend the All Saints’ Brunch & the 20th Anniversary celebration of our Deacon, Dean Hard, immediately following the 10:30 am Festival Eucharist.  Sign up on the list posted in the lounge.  The brunch will be prepared by the November Service Team.  If you are not on duty this month but would like to help, contact Matthew Kahn at 253-946-1848.

 

Celebrating a 20th Anniversary

Dean Walter Hard, Parish Deacon

By Pastor Marshall

 

On All Saints’ Sunday, we will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the consecration of Dean Walter Hard as our first Parish Deacon on March 1, 1992.  In this full time position Dean has responsibilities as choirmaster, worship assistant and lector, sacristan, property manager and parish archivist. 

    Our celebration will include prayers of thanksgiving at the Eucharist, and a brunch reception in the Parish Hall after the 10:30 am Liturgy.  Dean will receive a declaration marking the day with words of appreciation from the parish Cantor, Andrew King and Pastor Marshall.

    Dean first worshipped here on Reformation Sunday, October 31, 1955.  He was 15 years old.  On January 20, 1957 he was baptized by the Rev. Norris R. Halvorson and then confirmed on May 25, 1958. 

    He came to church to sing in the choir under the direction of Mr. Paul Fosso.  Dean sang in the choir from 1955 to 1974.  On March 17, 1974 he became the church Choirmaster. 

    In 1968 Pastor M. Donald Hinderlie appointed Dean as the acolyte instructor which he has done ever since.  His classes on acolyte training are superb and highly cherished in our congregation.  Presidents of our congregation have been his former acolytes. 

    Since 1959 Dean has also produced wonderful plays beginning with the Passion of Christ.  Over the years he has produced and directed Noah’s Flood, Abraham & Isaac, Everyman, Inherit the Wind, Becket, Luther, Here I Stand, The Miracle Worker, and Amahl and the Night Visitors which has become his signature work.  In 1978 he was asked to stage and direct the US premiere of Richard Proulx’s opera, The Pilgrim, here in Seattle, by the composer himself. 

    We thank God for Dean’s service in our congregation and pray for many more years of ministry together.      

A Message from Dean

This coming year (2013) I hope to take a five week continuing education leave.  Sometime following Easter I would like to attend the Conference for Choirmasters and Organists at St Thomas Church New York, one of the finest church music programs in America.  There will be rehearsals, services, concerts, and discussions on music’s place in worship as well as looking at and singing through a collection of great choral music.  This conference is a three day event. 

    I am also looking into the possibility of attending The English Organ and Choral Studies Program.  The dates and details are yet to be announced.  The course would include lectures, presentations and concerts held at locations all across England in cathedrals, parish churches, abbeys and college chapels.  The last time I attended this program was 2002.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with, talk to, and study under some of England’s outstanding and gifted organists, choirmasters, composers, historians and scholars while at the same time being surrounded by great music, breathtaking architecture and history.  



 


ST. NICHOLAS FAIRE

Sunday, December 2nd from 4pm to 7pm

Once again, First Lutheran Church of West Seattle will celebrate St. Nicholas Day by hosting a “Faire” fundraiser to benefit our local West Seattle service organizations, the Food Bank and Helpline.  Since St. Nicholas was known for his acts of charity, it is fitting that we sponsor this fundraiser in honor of his saint’s day. 

    As was done in previous years, admission to the St. Nicholas Faire will be $5 per person + a non-perishable food item, or $15 per family with a non-perishable food item for every member of your party.  If you do not bring a “canned” food donation, the cost will be $10 per person or $25 per family.  All proceeds will be donated directly to the Food Bank and Helpline. 

    At the Faire we will be serving beverages and yummy treats, thanks to Dana and Matthew Kahn.  There will be pastries and holiday sweets to purchase.  For a small donation, which also goes directly to the Food Bank and Helpline, we will have a wine toss game and wine tasting with bottles of wine available to purchase, a portion of the proceeds from which will be donated as well, all compliments of Maryhill Winery.  And there will be a silent auction where you can bid on and purchase gift baskets that make great presents for yourself, your family and your friends.  Always bear in mind that every $$$ spent goes directly to the Food Bank and Helpline. 

    For the success of the Faire to be assured, we need assistance from all of you.  You can volunteer to help on the day of the Faire, donate apple cider and/or bottles of wine, bake yummy homemade pastries, cookies, cakes, and candy to be sold at the Faire, donate money to help defray the cost of sponsoring this event.  Sign-up sheets are posted on the bulletin board outside of the Library.  Call Larraine King (206-937-6740) if you have questions.

    The most important part of this fundraiser is YOU.  Without your help, there is no event.  Without you coming and bringing friends and family, there may be an event, but no party.  And without your financial support both before and at the Faire, no money can be given to the West Seattle Food Bank and West Seattle Helpline.  We are blessed that we have homes, money to pay our bills and buy necessities, etc.  Pray the Offertory Prayer from LBW often……. “Merciful Father, we offer with joy and thanksgiving, what you have first given us – our selves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love.  Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”  Plan to come and partake of the joy of helping others who are not as fortunate as we are.  We will be so blessed as we generously bless others.  And have a super time too!  See you on Sunday, December 2nd!!!

                                                            ─Larraine King for the Extended Ministries Committee




 


The 25th Anniversary of

Pastor Marshall’s

Ecumenical Lecture

 

 

Twenty-five years ago in May 1987, Pastor Marshall delivered the annual lecture for the Church Council of Greater Seattle at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, with the title, Why Christians Ought to Work Together, But Only Seldom Pray Together. Three scholars responded to the lecture at the banquet, and the following year it was published in The Ecumenist: A Journal for Promoting Christian Unity (vol. 26, March-April, 1988), under the new title, Exploring Christian Unity, with a critique by its editor, Gregory Baum (b. 1923).  He earned his doctorate from the University of Fribourg, Germany, and has received seven honorary doctorates. In May 1988 excerpts from Pastor Marshall’s lecture were reprinted in Thursday-People News: An Ecumenical Monthly – out of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. In October 2012 the Church Council of Greater Seattle has taken it up again, but this time as a study document for its current ecumenical officers. Copies of this lecture, with Dr. Baum’s critique, are available in the church office.



 

X  PARISH PRAYERS  X

Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

 

Teri Korsmo, Evelyn Coy, Nora Vanhala, Ed Olson, Carmen Malmanger, Luke Douglass, Connor Bisticas, Richard Hard, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Bob Baker, Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Rosita & Jim Moe, Jim Cunningham, Susan Lyon, Lee Neuman, Amy Tabor, Louisa Eden, Annie Crutchfield, Kelsey Ensey, Cameron Lim, Maureen Baris, Connie Pinter, Chris & Margeen Bowyer, John Wallace, Paul Sampson, Yuriko Nishimura, Pete Williams & Family, the Balbin Family, The Reverend Paul Braafladt, Charles McVee, Al and Robin Berg.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Pat Hansen, Donna Apman, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Anelma Meeks, Olive Morrison, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler, Peggy Wright.

     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 Joyce Baker on her death.

     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 November.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.

     Pray for our sister congregation:  El Camino de Emmaus in the Skagit Valley that God may bless and strengthen their ministry.  Also, pray for our parish and it's ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints:  Saint Andrew, the Apostle.

 

A Treasury of Prayers

 

O Lord, my God, forgive me my selfishness and foolish pride, and grant me grace, forsaking my old ways, to follow you in lowliness of mind, esteeming others as better than myself, and looking not on my own things but on the things of others, and seeking to love and serve all who are in need. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                    [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., IV:1232, altered]