October 2017



“A Christian is uplifted in adversity,

Because he trusts in God;

He is downcast in prosperity,

Because he fears God”

Martin Luther,

Lectures on Galatians (1519) LW 27:403.


Luther Plaque

Just as our peace passes all understanding and is not as the world gives (Philippians 4:7; John 14:27), so Luther thought the same of joy. It too is unusual. Therefore we are to be uplifted in adversity, and, by implication, saddened when prosperous (Luther’s Works 27:403). That’s because our joy isn’t based on how things go for us in this life – unlike ordinary happiness and joy which are clearly geared into how things go for us. Christian joy is rather rooted in our trust of God, Luther notes. He also says that because we fear God we’re upset when we have earthly joy knowing that in this he’s testing us.

This teaching is central. It explains Christ living in you so that you can become a new creation (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17). It’s at the heart of self-denial (Luke 9:23). It’s what it’s like to long for heaven (Hebrews 9:28). Therefore it belongs on our 500th Anniversary Reformation bronze plaque. It will be dedicated October 29, 2017, at our 10:30 am festival Eucharist.

This reversal is widely found in Luther’s writings and so it’s seminal (LW 2:369, 8:10, 204, 9:41, 12:342, 14:346, 25:137, 347, 44:77, 51:123, 69:336, 76:225, 78:394). Because of that, it’s worth memorizing this Reformation season.

Pastor Marshall




500th Reformation

Anniversary & Celebration


Sunday, October 29th


10:30 am Festival Choral Eucharist

12:00 pm Festival Celebration


German Food, Craft Beer,

German Dancers and more...


From The Luther Bible of 1534 (complete facsimile edition).


The Reformation at 500


  Taking Secular Risks


By Pastor Marshall


Our eighth installment on the significance of the Reformation, comes from The Serpent and the Lamb: Cranach, Luther, and the Making of the Reformation, by the long-standing Harvard professor, Steven Ozment (New Haven: Yale, 2011) pp. 249–50:


In the reformation atmosphere of the early sixteenth century, Cranach’s [paintings of] nudes… confirmed the private desires of Everyman and Everywoman for companionship and intimacy with the opposite sex. In doing so, art helped to create a world in which the laity could freely desire and fantasize, earnestly court and marry, joyfully make love and raise families without doubt, shame, and ‘Big Brother’s’ cold oversight and intervention…. [Others, however, regarded Cranach’s contribution to the reformation as] totally frivolous. Yet [there was also the] witty assessment of Cranach and Luther’s roles in the protestant assault on Rome [that] ‘the loins of Cranach’s Venus… [were] far more substantial theses than those the German monk placed on the door of the church in Wittenberg’…. [This] wisecrack… contains two true statements about Protestant success. The first is the old truism that a picture is worth a thousand words. The second… acknowledges the power of human emotion over human reason. The blended visual-visceral impact of Cranach’s altar paintings, portraiture, and broadsheets was every bit as powerful as Luther’s sermons, pamphlets, and catechisms, not a few of whose covers were also decorated by Cranach…. [In this way] Cranach’s images were incomparable couriers of history and the gospel.

These are striking and shocking words to say the least. So even though Romans 10:15 says “how beautiful are the feet” of those who preach the good news (Saint Paul’s couriers), Ozment’s words push us to acknowledge also the role of art in preaching – even if it was a bit lascivious. That was surely a risky move for the Reformation to make. But judged by it results, it seems to have been a godly one.  

In that regard, how can we not reconsider the musical, “Godspell,” from 1971, as well as Lady Gaga’s 2011 rock video, “Judas” – to say nothing of the 1984 sculpture, “Christa,” by Edwina Sandys (Sir Winston Churchill’s granddaughter), and Andres Serrano’s 1987 cibachrome, “Piss Christ”?



Three Words, Not Two


Watching the New Luther Movie


By Pastor Marshall


The new Luther movie, Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World, promoted by Thrivent for the 500th Anniversary celebration of the Reformation, and first shown on PBS September 12, 2017, is a docudrama filled with many scholarly comments from a quite diverse group of Lutheran and other scholars, and also marked by dazzling visuals. For instance, there is the moment Luther prostrates himself before Cardinal Cajetan; there is also Luther whipping himself in the monastery; and Luther discovering the importance of Romans 1:17, reading it in the Latin Bible – iustus autem ex fide vivit; there’s seeing Hus burned at the stake; and Luther burning the Papal Bull against him; and then Luther celebrating his first Mass. Unfortunately there is also one big visual blunder – namely Luther’s monastic tonsure – which looks like a bad toupee from a Three Stooges movie.

      But the biggest problem with this movie has to do with what inspired Luther and marks the movie’s title. The film says it is these two words – God forgives. It goes on to add immediately more words regarding loving our neighbors. But even when supplemented, the two words still aren’t right. For Luther’s big idea was actually made up of three words. His  real overarching thesis had to do with this striking dialectic – Law and Gospel [Luther’s Works 39:183; G. W. Forell, Martin Luther: Theologian of the Church – Collected Essays (1994) 61–65, 85–95, 149–50, 190–92, 197–208, 253–55, 257–58]. But nowhere in this movie is anything even close to this said about how love and the wrath of God – law and gospel – go together (LW 28:264, 26:282–84, 312–15, 343, 68:306, 13:96, 2:134, 223, 36:177, 9:59). Nor is anything said about Luther’s greatest book– The Bondage of the Will (1525) [LW 50:173; Martin Luther on The Bondage of the Will, trans. Packer & Johnson (1957) 40–41] – where this relationship between Law and Gospel is worked out. Spending two hours on Luther in this movie without ever mentioning his spectacular eight day achievement, De servo arbitrio, is unconscionable [LW 49:140; B. Lohse, Martin Luther’s Theology (1999) 162–63).

      The best theological issue addressed in this movie is regarding faith and works, but little comes of it. Would that this movie had actually wrestled with Luther’s tough words on the matter like these: “Faith [must] be preached against works, even if works cannot be left out afterwards” (LW 67:76).

      This movie also misses the importance of Romans 13 in Luther’s opposition to the Peasants’ Rebellion – never as much as even alluding to Paul’s famous and vexing words. The movie rightly states that Luther would have opposed the American Revolution, but, then again, never going to Romans 13 to explain his thinking on this matter.

      And on Luther’s attack on the Jews for rejecting Christ, this movie is convoluted, to say the least. It accuses Luther of being anti-Semitic (and endorses the modern Lutheran churches for condemning him on this), but then notes that the famous King family didn’t see anything heinous in Luther because they gladly changed their names from Michael King to Martin Luther King – contrary to the actual biographical ambiguity regarding this name-change [Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954–63 (1988) 45–47]. The case against Luther’s alleged anti-Semitism should have focused on the disputed 1543 text itself. [See my Kierkegaard in the Pulpit (2016) 290–313.]

      Finally the movie wrongly says that Luther’s wife married him because she didn’t like any of her other suitors – when the truth was she had no other offers because of her homeliness and lack of a sizable dowry [R. Marius, Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death (1999) 436; and S. H. Hendrix, Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer (2015) 144]. I guess the movie preferred a fetching Katherine von Bora for its sex appeal – in spite of the movie’s many feminist protestations.

      So as you can see this movie leaves much to be desired – even though I believe it still warrants a cautious, critical viewing.



Bad News. I heard it again. Did you? It was a Reality TV show with judges and contestants. A contestant’s father had died that week, and a judge said, “I know your father is looking down on you, and he is so proud of you.” This gets repeated in various ways by multiple judges. How do they know that? They don’t, of course. Where does this notion come from? Civil religion.

      Civil religion: There seemed to be some good things about dad, there seems to be good things about you, and we all somehow live on happily. Even if dad died, somehow his awareness and consciousness continue, at least when I want them to, and that way I am supposed to feel better. The judges took on a roll of ministers of civil religion.

      There is nothing Biblical about civil religion, but then that is why it is called civil religion. It is based on polite civil practices, not Biblical revelation. Not the good news of redemption through Jesus Christ.

      Good News. Now I’ll summarize a biblical sermon I heard recently. Florence Jenkins died. Pastor Marshall conducted a committal service at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Florence’s two living daughters were there, a grandson, a niece, two cemetery employees, myself, and several empty chairs. A committal service does not call for a sermon, and there weren’t many people there, but Pastor Marshall appropriately delivered one anyway.

     He began with the Bad News that Florence had died. She was 96. He recalled her recent history and the circumstances of her death. Florence: Beloved mother and grandmother. Aunt. Dear friend. Fun loving. Forthright. We miss her considerably, and will cherish memories of her for a long time.

      Then Pastor Marshall moved on to the Good News: What we cherish foremost about Florence is that she was a sinner and she knew it; and she repented in the name of her Redeemer, Jesus Christ. She was faithful in attending Sunday services until hearing, vision and mobility issues finally confined her to home. Florence looked forward to Pastor Marshall bringing communion to her at home: acknowledging her sins, the Words of Institution, the assurance of forgiveness, the prayers, the hymn singing. She also enjoyed the singing of carols by those who visited her in December each year. Yes, we miss Florence. Yes, we are grateful for the truly Good News that Pastor Marshall brings, and brings so clearly expressed.


Feeling “Bah, Humbug” about the St. Nick Faire?


      Do you get tired of hearing about the Saint Nicholas Faire? The expense. Months of preparation. Hype and ballyhoo. On and on. What about doing something else for a change, something different? Wanting something new and different is a basic human predilection even Luther knew about.

                                                                (To be continued.)


Stewardship 2017

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

Budget                            $19,218                          $165,582

Received                         $20,117                          $165,224




Working Miracles


Pledge cards have been distributed.

     How do you determine what to write on the Pledge Card and/or to return to God via the offering?

    This occasion reminds me of an account of a congregation in a rural farming town in Iowa. Typical of many rural congregations, their finances had been tight for years.

     It came to pass in the usual way that the congregation was served by a new Treasurer. After sufficient time had passed, it was noted that the financial condition of the congregation was improving significantly. People began kidding the Treasurer of working some kind of magic or miracle.

    No the Treasurer insisted. It is really not my doing that brought this about, it is actually and directly from you.

     The Treasurer was the owner and operator of the local grain elevator, and whenever the farmers brought

their grain to the elevator, he deposited 10% of the proceeds to the congregation. The farmers, of course, got the rest and not only made do with what they were given, they had more than sufficient for their needs. [Yes, this happened prior to the litigatious time we live in now.]

     So, do we make our offering to God first, and then supply our needs, or do we take what we want first and then offer to God from what leftovers there might be?

Bob Baker, Church Council



Sunday, December 10

4:30pm to 7:30pm


Preparation are well underway.  There will be sign-up sheets identifying how you can help purchase prizes for the ring toss game, assist the night of the Faire, and bake sumptuous desserts to be served.  They will be posted toward the end of October.  RIGHT NOW, the most important action is to 



It will be a spectacular party with good food and beverages, creative and practical gift baskets you could give as presents, prizes to win at the wine toss game, and wine tasting courtesy of Maryhill Winery. A super way to start off the holiday season supporting our local charities, and having an awesome experience, all at the same time!!!


We still have a number of ornaments that were not taken from the tree.  If you would like to donate additional items please give me a call.  Also, if you haven’t already brought your “ornament” item to the church, I will be giving you a reminder call.  We need all of the items as soon as possible to begin assembling the silent auction baskets. 


Plus, if you missed the “Christmas in July and August” tree and want to purchase items to complete the themed gift baskets, or buy items that need to be bought fresh, please give me a call (Larraine 206-937-6740) or talk to me at church.  Plus you can always donate money.  This helps cover the cost of any other expenses that we may have.


Remember that the money we raise with your help from the St. Nicholas Faire, will be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  Help us make this event fun, memorable, and successful!


October Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, October 28th

The book for October is Notes on Ecclesiastes (1527, 1532) by Martin Luther and translated in 1972 by Jaroslav Pelikan as volume 15 of Luther’s Works. Luther loved his little 185 page commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament. In 1528 he wrote that there is probably “no book I would rather have printed than my Ecclesiastes” (Luther’s Works 59:218). The thesis of this book is that we should be “content with the things that are present and commit ourselves into the hand of God, who alone knows and controls both the past and the future” (LW 15:104)

     A copy of this favorite book of Luther’s 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 how it can be that God controls all that happens in this world – both what’s good and bad.  



NEW MEMBER CLASSES will be starting on Sunday, October 8th at 11:45 am in room D.  If you are interested in becoming a member please let Pastor Marshall know.

KORAN CLASS:  A four-week guided reading of the Koran begins October 5th at 7:00 pm.  Interested?  Call 206-935-6530 to register or email deogloria@foxinternet.com.  

FOOD BANK DONATION suggestion for October is tuna and mayonnaise.   


Number 67: Summer 2017



Julia Watkin Memorial Lecture Series

Our Julia Watkin Lecturer on November 9, 2017 will be Rev. Ronald Marshall of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  His lecture is entitled “The confused Name of the Century: Luther’s Thought as the Matrix for Kierkegaard’s Writings.”


Hosea 3.5

Monthly Home Bible Study, October 2017, Number 296

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 Hosea 3.5 noting the phrase they shall come in fear. Luther believed this meant cutting off the “security of the flesh” and imploring the Lord or repenting (Luther’s Works 18:18, 14:191). Do you agree? On the latter read Psalm 32.5 noting the correlation between the words acknowledge and forgive. This is also what Psalm 130.4 says – but using the word feared rather than acknowledge. And how about on the security of the flesh? On this read Hosea 10.12 noting the line break up your fallow ground. Is that fallow ground the security of the flesh? Read also Hosea 2.8 noting the line she did not know that it was I. What does this ignorance do? On this read Hosea 3.1 noting the line they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins. Read also Hosea 8.14 noting the line forgotten his Maker. And read Hosea 10.2 noting the words false and heart. What does this forgetfulness do? On this read Hosea 7.11 noting the word silly. Note as well the line they became detestable like the thing they loved in Hosea 9.10. How bad is that?


Week II. Read again Hosea 3.5 noting this time just the word fear. Does that word also have an object? On this read Hosea 4.9 (and 8.13, 12.2) noting the word punish. Note also the word chastise in Hosea 7.12 and 10.10. Read as well the line my anger burn against them in Hosea 8.5. Why are these punishments to be feared? On this read Hosea 5.7 noting the word alien. Read also Hosea 9.11–17 noting the words birth, miscarrying, hate, slay and wanderers. How does this fear prepare us for receiving the goodness of God? How does it help if, as Hosea 11.7 says, we are bent on turning away from God? On this read Hosea 11.10 noting the line they shall come trembling. But how does that help? On this read Hosea 12.6 noting the line by the help of your God, return. How does this work? On this read Hosea 12.8 noting the line all his riches can never offset the guilt he has incurred. So if that doesn’t work, what does? Hosea 12.13 says God helps by a prophet. But how so? On this read Hosea 14.2 noting the line take with you words. And what are they? On this read Hosea 14.9 noting the words understand and discerning. Note also Hosea 14.8 where God says I am like an evergreen cypress. Does that do it?


Week III. Reread Hosea 3.5 noting this time the word goodness. Does that goodness pull us in the right direction? On this read Hosea 11.8 noting the line my compassion grows warm and tender. That would help. But how does it come about? On this read again Hosea 11.8 noting this time the line my heart recoils within me. What does that mean? On this read Genesis 19.29 noting the word destroyed. If that word, destroyed, is the same as the word, recoil, but translated differently, why would God want to destroy his heart, and what would that mean? On this read Hosea 11.9 noting the line I will not execute my fierce anger. Is that the end of it then? On this read Romans 8.4 noting the line the just requirement of the law. If that’s the case, then God’s anger has to go somewhere if not against us. And where is that? Hosea 11.8 would say it is against God himself. What does that do? On this read 1 Peter 2.24 noting the words bore, die and live.


Week IV. Read Hosea 3.5 one last time noting again the word goodness. Last week we saw in 1 Peter 2.24 how that leads to death and life. Following up on that, what is this death? On this read 2 Corinthians 5.15 noting the line live no longer for themselves. How is that a death for us? On this read Galatians 2.20 noting the line but Christ who lives in me. That means our agendas die. We longer live according to our plans. Self-reliance is gone. But what is that like? On this read Philippians 2.8 noting the word obedience. Read also 1 Peter 1.22 noting how obedience includes purification, earnestness and love for others. Why isn’t there any other way to get there besides obedience to Christ?



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Karen Cady, Larraine King, Melanie Johnson, Kyra Stromberg, Marlis Ormiston, Eileen Nestoss, Celia Balderston, The PLU Lecturers, Tabitha Anderson, Jordan Corbin, Nell & Paul Sponheim, The Rev. Keith Krebs, The Rev. Kari Reiten, The Rev. Paul Smith, The Rev. Ed Markquart, The Rev. Pari Bailey, Ion & Galina Ceaicovschi, Nathan & Les Arkle, Edie Cooke, Judy Lonborg, Claudio Johnson S, Margaret Douglass, Chris & Margeen Boyer, Sharon DeFray, Gene Merritt, Shirley Demory, Elizabeth Banek, Janey & Carol, Clinton Johnson, Brian Mac, Jeanne Pantone, West Side Presbyterian Church, Diana Walker, Jack & Sheila Feichtner, and the natural disasters and racial violence in the US. 

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: Bob & Barbara Schorn, Chuck & Doris Prescott, Evelyn Coy, C. J. Christian, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Louis Koser, Mildred Nikula, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala.

     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 Fall.  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 Emaus 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 Frances of Assisi, renewer of the Church, 1226; Saint Luke, Evangelist; Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles.


A Treasury of Prayers


O faithful Lord God, in my manifold temptations you are ever near: in sorrow, your pity revives my fainting soul; in my prosperity and ease, your Spirit alone weans me from my pride and keeps me lowly. Join me to your prophets and saints who have trusted in you and were not ashamed of you. Hear my prayer not because of my worthiness but because of your tender mercy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                                       [For All the Saints III:1120, altered]