Psalm 46:10 for Now

Introducing Our Online Liturgies

 

by Pastor Marshall

 

In lieu of our time together due to the stay-at-home orders issued by our government, because of the coronavirus troubles – which have put our worshiping, studying and serving in abeyance – I offer these abbreviated online liturgies. They in no way are equivalents to our normal fare, when we gather in our beautiful church to sing praise to Almighty God around Word and Sacrament. But they still have value. In them I’m taking advantage of our time apart to accentuate Psalm 46:10 about being silent before God. These liturgies have no audio tracks (except for a hymn link here and there) or video streams – which in Mendocino County, California, have been banned (Doug Mainwaring, “California County Bans Singing in Online Worship Services,” LifeSites, online, April 17, 2020). So what we have here are just words. If I were to provide instead a full mock worship service online, that would be inconsistent with our mission statement and the honor it pays to historical liturgies (which require a congregation present). So the liturgies I provide are short, meditative in tone, and solitary. Use them to stand silently before God and his Word – and its elaborations in prayers, hymn texts, art works, and sermons. Luther thought God has his way with us in this silence (Luther’s Works 6:35). Kierkegaard agreed, seeing in this silence God’s Word gaining power over us (For Self-Examination, ed. Hongs, p. 47). He even thought, somewhat humorously, that by blunting our “loquacity” through this silence, God’s ways were protected from any “undietetic uncircumspection” coming from us (The Book on Adler, ed. Hongs, p. 166). Be that as it may, we must never forget, as Kierkegaard elsewhere warned, that Christianity is not primarily for quiet times, but for fighting the good fight of faith “right in the middle of actual life and weekdays” (Journals, ed. Hongs, §2:2132).


 




Online Sunday Liturgy

November 29, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

November 29, 2020

  

Advent I

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Almighty God, we give you thanks for your Son whom you anointed King of creation and Judge over all. May we all be united under his watchful eye. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

  

 



First Lesson: Isaiah 63:16-17; 64:1-8

Psalm 80:1-7

Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

 

Opening Hymn: “Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying” (LBW 31)

 




 



 

Sermon: November 29, 2020


“Long for Heaven”

(Mark13:35)


Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

     The Holy Scriptures declare that Christ is King (1 Timothy 1:17). And for a hundred years we have been singing “crown him with many crowns” (Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978, hymn 170). But now that’s coming to an end. Yes, you heard that right. And it’s because of the attacks being waged by the best and brightest in the church. “God the king no longer fits,” they argue, in a world of “change and chance,” nor does it properly express how “passionately” God loves us (Brian Wren, What Language Shall I Borrow? God-Talk in Worship: A Male Response to Feminist Theology, 1989, pp. 126, 234). This revision has trickled down into our worship by taking the word king out of Psalms 10, 68, 95, 97, and 149 (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006). This onslaught is undergirded by trenchant theological arguments against God’s well attested almighty power (Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes, 1984). And they’re everywhere. When God, for instance, looks almighty as the potter shaping the clay in Jeremiah 18:6 and Romans 9:21, it isn’t really so, because there’s a “give-and-take relationship” between the two, which requires the potter to remold the “animate,” resistant clay to get it into the right shape (John E. Sanders, The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence, Revised Edition, 2007, p. 92). Or when God overpowers Jonah in his flight from responsibility by “interrupting” his getaway (Jonah 1:4, 3:3) – it really doesn’t mean that God’s “in control of the situation” because Jonah is still free to complain about it (Terence E. Fretheim, Reading Hosea–Micah, 2013, p. 177). Or when God knocks Saul to the ground in Acts 9:4 to force him to preach Christ, he’s not acting like a “mob boss,” but only showing loving compassion (T. J. Oord, God Can’t: How to Believe in God and Love After Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils, 2019, p. 58).

     How did we get into this mess? How did we ever get started down this road with a God of our own making who would never push any of us anywhere against our wills? How did we end up with a God who no longer can overthrow the mighty and destroy nations (contra Job 12:19, 23)? Was there skullduggery and deceit involved? Actually we came by it quite naturally – and it has taken all these many years to finally catch up with us. For when they saw Jesus in the Bible they didn’t bow down before a grand potentate, in charge of the whole world, but instead scratched their heads saying – “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3). Martin Luther knew where this quip was headed, and it’s finally coming true. “If… someone wants first to know who Christ is,” he cautioned, “and then afterward to believe on account of the status of the person, it will do no good” (Luther’s Works 69:235). How bizarre! You’d think if he looked like a king you would more likely treat him like one. “Clothes make the man,” you know – from the 16th century Latin maxim, vestis virum facit. But not in this case. With Jesus you start with “what He preaches and teaches” and go on from there. Then you will “understand well enough who Christ is and where He is from” (LW 69:235). He’s the word made flesh, after all (John 1:14) – and his glory is in his words and deeds (John 12:23). And they have nothing to do with establishing a kingdom on earth that dominates culture and society, by someone who looks regal. “My kingship is not of this world” (John 18:36) – Jesus ardently reports. And so “everything which is God’s Word and work must be troublesome, bitter, and difficult to the outward man” (LW 75:246). Indeed, Luther warned, “what is of God must be crucified in the world” (LW 25:177).

     So how do we make any headway in the kingdom of God? How can we get a grip on what doesn’t even look right? First, we will have to “abase” ourselves and sincerely believe that we are “the lowest in all the world” (LW 51:38). We have to wish to “become nothing” (LW 48:288). You must realize that “everything that is yours must be cast aside, and new things must be done. These old things of yours cannot contain these new things, nor can the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness of faith both stand simultaneously or agree with each other” (LW 67:73). Christ is all and “we are nothing” (LW 23:182). And so God only exalts those who are humble (Luke 18:14). Indeed, “it is impossible for someone who does not first hear the law and let himself be killed by the letter, to hear the gospel and let the grace of the Spirit bring him to life” (LW 39:185). For God “accepts only the forsaken, cures only the sick, gives sight only to the blind, restores life only to the dead, sanctifies only the sinners, gives wisdom only to the unwise” – indeed, he only makes “something out of nothing” (LW 14:163). That’s because it all goes back to the word (Luke 11:28) – and fit hearers of it are those who have been “reduced to nothing” (LW 4:49). They are the ones who do not follow their own insights (Proverbs 3:5), but are instead “regulated” by God’s word – verbo esse debent (LW 17:144). We stand in its debt! They are the ones who know that “the majesty of God is supreme,” and that “we are completely worthless” (LW 16:16–17). Then we’re off our high horse, and can actually listen to God’s word – rather than “find fault with it and dispute it” (LW 23:229). Then we have quit trying to turn God into the most “insignificant and despised disciple on earth” (LW 51:384). Then we have at long last come to cherish that “the glory of the grace of God… makes us enemies of ourselves” (LW 27:364). Suffering is integral to this realization (Romans 8:17). And so it’ll be important to challenge our children – “I hope you will be treated unfairly, so you will know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.... I hope you will be ignored, so you know the importance of listening to others. And I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion” (Joan Biskupic, The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts, 2019, p. 323).

     And secondly we will have to look to Christ above everything else (Colossians 3:2) – for he is the only one of “surpassing worth” (Philippians 3:8). Indeed, “it is the absolute truth that without Christ all is darkness” (LW 23:321). That’s because he died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). No one else has done that for us. Only he was obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). Only he shed his blood to save us from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9). This is great because by believing that he died for us, we “shall not be judged…. for through… faith the judgment has been abolished” (LW 22:376, John 5:24). This makes Christ our king, even if he doesn’t look like a worldly king. And that is because he instead is our king “for the express purpose of destroying death completely as His enemy” (LW 28:134). “It requires great insight and understanding to tear the false christ out of our hearts and to learn to think of Him correctly” (LW 77:83). And when we do, we live in him, both now and forever (1 Corinthians 15:22). And when you live in Christ, “what damage can be done to you by… the censure of the whole world?... You have God’s Word; they don’t! You are in [His] grace; they are not! You are [His] child; they are [His] enemies!” (LW 14:134). For when we believe in Jesus – that “transmits divine... works to [us], namely, His suffering [and] His death... and makes them our own” (LW 23:182).

     What an amazing gift! Not only does it give a peace which the world cannot give (John 14:27), but this “unspeakably great person” also inspires us “in a friendly way to serve others.” For we exhort both “faith and good works” (LW 60:15). Those who miss out on this joining together are “justly condemned, harder than stone, darker than hell” (LW 76:421). May we never be numbered among them. May we instead have a new birth (John 3:3) which leads us “into a completely new way of life” (LW 78:322). May we instead gladly (2 Corinthians 9:7) feed the hungry and thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35–36). May we do all of this steadfastly, knowing that we in effect have heard from our Savior – “Fear no one and trust no one except God alone, who says [to] fear nobody but me, for I can smite you, and put your trust in none but me, for I can help you. No prince will give you either good or evil, for both are in my hand” (LW 51:139). May we “always walk in this rule, constantly continue, pursue it, and reach for it” (LW 79:296). And in this we rejoice and pass it on to our neighbor. For fear dwindles in us. Bravery begins to mark us (LW 12:222, 386, 388, 32:29, 33:150, 67:158). Christ is the “head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18), and that makes him our master and king. So if you “trust in him then you need fear no one and trust no one except God.” With Christ as your king, you will do far more than merely “fall upon your knees” (LW 51:139). You will also stand up boldly and serve your neighbor as you enter into the fray to live in Christ Amen.

 

 

Hymn of the Day:  “Rise, My Soul, to Watch and Pray” (LBW 443)

 

  

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.




 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah, Melissa, and Felicia Baker

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

Rollie Storbakken

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

The Rev. Richard Holmes

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Pete Forsyth

Dan Murphy

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Eva, Jay and Alea Jones (sick with COVID-19,

     Ernie Hopsons cousin, and her son and

     granddaughter in Texas)

Dona Brost

Douglas Minter

Susan Curry

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. 

 

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers” (LBW 25)



 



 

The Armful

 

For every parcel I stoop down to seize
I lose some other off my arms and knees,
And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns–
Extremes too hard to comprehend at once,
Yet nothing I should care to leave behind.
With all I have to hold with, hand and mind
And heart, if need be, I will do my best
To keep their building balanced at my breast.
I crouch down to prevent them as they fall;
Then sit down in the middle of them all.
I had to drop the armful in the road
And try to stack them in a better load.

 

[The Poetry of Robert Frost,

ed. Edward C. Lathem, 1969, p. 266]

 






 

 






Online Sunday Liturgy

November 22, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

A single work of Christ excels the works of all men…. Christ’s works are divine works, but our works are human works…. Whatever God does, even if it were as insignificant as a straw, still presents a greater and more formidable work than heaven and earth…. By comparison our works are nothing but reeking and filthy offal…. We exalt faith so because it transmits divine, yes, Christ’s works to me, namely, His suffering, His death… and makes them our own. By comparison our works are nothing….. He is all and… we are nothing. After a Christian has come to faith, good works follow…. They count for something by virtue of faith; but they are not at all the equal of faith even though they arise from faith. And faith does not cleave to the works but solely to… the works of God.

 

[Martin Luther, Sermons on John 6 (1533),

Luther’s Works 23:182.]

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

November 22, 2020

  

Christ the King Sunday

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Almighty God, we give you thanks for your Son whom you anointed King of creation and Judge over all. May we all be united under his watchful eye. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

  

 



First Lesson: Ezekiel 34:11–24

Psalm 95:1–7

Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15:20–28

Gospel: Matthew 25:31–46

 

Opening Hymn: “Crown Him with Many Crowns” (LBW 170)

 




 



 

Sermon: November 22, 2020


“Live in Christ”

(1 Corinthians 15:22)


Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

     The Holy Scriptures declare that Christ is King (1 Timothy 1:17). And for a hundred years we have been singing “crown him with many crowns” (Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978, hymn 170). But now that’s coming to an end. Yes, you heard that right. And it’s because of the attacks being waged by the best and brightest in the church. “God the king no longer fits,” they argue, in a world of “change and chance,” nor does it properly express how “passionately” God loves us (Brian Wren, What Language Shall I Borrow? God-Talk in Worship: A Male Response to Feminist Theology, 1989, pp. 126, 234). This revision has trickled down into our worship by taking the word king out of Psalms 10, 68, 95, 97, and 149 (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006). This onslaught is undergirded by trenchant theological arguments against God’s well attested almighty power (Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes, 1984). And they’re everywhere. When God, for instance, looks almighty as the potter shaping the clay in Jeremiah 18:6 and Romans 9:21, it isn’t really so, because there’s a “give-and-take relationship” between the two, which requires the potter to remold the “animate,” resistant clay to get it into the right shape (John E. Sanders, The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence, Revised Edition, 2007, p. 92). Or when God overpowers Jonah in his flight from responsibility by “interrupting” his getaway (Jonah 1:4, 3:3) – it really doesn’t mean that God’s “in control of the situation” because Jonah is still free to complain about it (Terence E. Fretheim, Reading Hosea–Micah, 2013, p. 177). Or when God knocks Saul to the ground in Acts 9:4 to force him to preach Christ, he’s not acting like a “mob boss,” but only showing loving compassion (T. J. Oord, God Can’t: How to Believe in God and Love After Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils, 2019, p. 58).

     How did we get into this mess? How did we ever get started down this road with a God of our own making who would never push any of us anywhere against our wills? How did we end up with a God who no longer can overthrow the mighty and destroy nations (contra Job 12:19, 23)? Was there skullduggery and deceit involved? Actually we came by it quite naturally – and it has taken all these many years to finally catch up with us. For when they saw Jesus in the Bible they didn’t bow down before a grand potentate, in charge of the whole world, but instead scratched their heads saying – “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3). Martin Luther knew where this quip was headed, and it’s finally coming true. “If… someone wants first to know who Christ is,” he cautioned, “and then afterward to believe on account of the status of the person, it will do no good” (Luther’s Works 69:235). How bizarre! You’d think if he looked like a king you would more likely treat him like one. “Clothes make the man,” you know – from the 16th century Latin maxim, vestis virum facit. But not in this case. With Jesus you start with “what He preaches and teaches” and go on from there. Then you will “understand well enough who Christ is and where He is from” (LW 69:235). He’s the word made flesh, after all (John 1:14) – and his glory is in his words and deeds (John 12:23). And they have nothing to do with establishing a kingdom on earth that dominates culture and society, by someone who looks regal. “My kingship is not of this world” (John 18:36) – Jesus ardently reports. And so “everything which is God’s Word and work must be troublesome, bitter, and difficult to the outward man” (LW 75:246). Indeed, Luther warned, “what is of God must be crucified in the world” (LW 25:177).

     So how do we make any headway in the kingdom of God? How can we get a grip on what doesn’t even look right? First, we will have to “abase” ourselves and sincerely believe that we are “the lowest in all the world” (LW 51:38). We have to wish to “become nothing” (LW 48:288). You must realize that “everything that is yours must be cast aside, and new things must be done. These old things of yours cannot contain these new things, nor can the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness of faith both stand simultaneously or agree with each other” (LW 67:73). Christ is all and “we are nothing” (LW 23:182). And so God only exalts those who are humble (Luke 18:14). Indeed, “it is impossible for someone who does not first hear the law and let himself be killed by the letter, to hear the gospel and let the grace of the Spirit bring him to life” (LW 39:185). For God “accepts only the forsaken, cures only the sick, gives sight only to the blind, restores life only to the dead, sanctifies only the sinners, gives wisdom only to the unwise” – indeed, he only makes “something out of nothing” (LW 14:163). That’s because it all goes back to the word (Luke 11:28) – and fit hearers of it are those who have been “reduced to nothing” (LW 4:49). They are the ones who do not follow their own insights (Proverbs 3:5), but are instead “regulated” by God’s word – verbo esse debent (LW 17:144). We stand in its debt! They are the ones who know that “the majesty of God is supreme,” and that “we are completely worthless” (LW 16:16–17). Then we’re off our high horse, and can actually listen to God’s word – rather than “find fault with it and dispute it” (LW 23:229). Then we have quit trying to turn God into the most “insignificant and despised disciple on earth” (LW 51:384). Then we have at long last come to cherish that “the glory of the grace of God… makes us enemies of ourselves” (LW 27:364). Suffering is integral to this realization (Romans 8:17). And so it’ll be important to challenge our children – “I hope you will be treated unfairly, so you will know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.... I hope you will be ignored, so you know the importance of listening to others. And I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion” (Joan Biskupic, The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts, 2019, p. 323).

     And secondly we will have to look to Christ above everything else (Colossians 3:2) – for he is the only one of “surpassing worth” (Philippians 3:8). Indeed, “it is the absolute truth that without Christ all is darkness” (LW 23:321). That’s because he died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). No one else has done that for us. Only he was obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). Only he shed his blood to save us from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9). This is great because by believing that he died for us, we “shall not be judged…. for through… faith the judgment has been abolished” (LW 22:376, John 5:24). This makes Christ our king, even if he doesn’t look like a worldly king. And that is because he instead is our king “for the express purpose of destroying death completely as His enemy” (LW 28:134). “It requires great insight and understanding to tear the false christ out of our hearts and to learn to think of Him correctly” (LW 77:83). And when we do, we live in him, both now and forever (1 Corinthians 15:22). And when you live in Christ, “what damage can be done to you by… the censure of the whole world?... You have God’s Word; they don’t! You are in [His] grace; they are not! You are [His] child; they are [His] enemies!” (LW 14:134). For when we believe in Jesus – that “transmits divine... works to [us], namely, His suffering [and] His death... and makes them our own” (LW 23:182).

     What an amazing gift! Not only does it give a peace which the world cannot give (John 14:27), but this “unspeakably great person” also inspires us “in a friendly way to serve others.” For we exhort both “faith and good works” (LW 60:15). Those who miss out on this joining together are “justly condemned, harder than stone, darker than hell” (LW 76:421). May we never be numbered among them. May we instead have a new birth (John 3:3) which leads us “into a completely new way of life” (LW 78:322). May we instead gladly (2 Corinthians 9:7) feed the hungry and thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35–36). May we do all of this steadfastly, knowing that we in effect have heard from our Savior – “Fear no one and trust no one except God alone, who says [to] fear nobody but me, for I can smite you, and put your trust in none but me, for I can help you. No prince will give you either good or evil, for both are in my hand” (LW 51:139). May we “always walk in this rule, constantly continue, pursue it, and reach for it” (LW 79:296). And in this we rejoice and pass it on to our neighbor. For fear dwindles in us. Bravery begins to mark us (LW 12:222, 386, 388, 32:29, 33:150, 67:158). Christ is the “head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18), and that makes him our master and king. So if you “trust in him then you need fear no one and trust no one except God.” With Christ as your king, you will do far more than merely “fall upon your knees” (LW 51:139). You will also stand up boldly and serve your neighbor as you enter into the fray to live in Christ Amen.

 

 

Hymn of the Day:  “At the Name of Jesus” (LBW 179)

 

  

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.




 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah, Melissa, and Felicia Baker

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

Rollie Storbakken

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

The Rev. Richard Holmes

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Pete Forsyth

Dan Murphy

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Eva, Jay and Alea Jones (sick with COVID-19,

     Ernie Hopsons cousin, and her son and

     granddaughter in Texas)

Dona Brost

Douglas Minter

Susan Curry

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. 

 

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 

Deaths

Mary Lou Jensen



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “The Head That Once Was Crowned” (LBW 173)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g_ryz_A848



 



 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_QSi9ecapg

 

Not just to kneel with the angels,

Nor to see loved ones who’ve gone,

Not just to drink at the fountain

Under the great white throne,

Not for the crown that He giveth,

That I’m trying to run this race;

All I’ll want up in heaven

Is just to behold His face.

 

         Just to behold His face,

Yes, just to behold His face;

All I want up in heaven,

Is just to behold His face.

 

Not just to join the chorus,

And sing with those that are blest,

And bathe my soul that is weary,

In the sea of heavenly rest,

But I’ll look for the One who saved me,

From a death of sin and disgrace;

‘Twill be joy when I get up in heaven

Just to behold His face.

 

Refrain

 

Yes, I want to see Jesus,

Who bore His cross in my stead;

Who willingly suffered affliction

With a crown of thorns on his head;

Precious Fount that was opened on Calv’ry,

For me what amazing Grace;

What joy will be mine there forever,

Just to behold His face.

 

Refrain

 

I’ll bless the hand that guided,

I’ll bless the heart that planned,

I’ll not rest until I see Jesus

And He takes me by the hand;

Father, mother and sister and brother,

And all who have won this race

Will be there to join in that chorus,

As we all behold His face.

 

Refrain

 

 

 

 

                (Songs of Zion, 1981, Hymn 187.)

 





 




Online Sunday Liturgy

November 15, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

Søren Kierkegaard

(1813–1855)

 

Becoming nothing in this world is the condition for being able to become something in the other world [John 12:25]. Thus they are inversely related to each other…. [But in the church it] is finiteness from one end to the other, everything revolves around finite objectives for finite purposes, and at best Christianity is fitted in as a mood, a mood one has on Sundays, lest he overdo it. [The church] is afraid of nothing more than of overdoing. Well, it can hardly be said to be guilty of this, unless it should be that in exaggerated fear of overdoing it extravagates.

 

[Journals, trans. Hongs (1854) §4:4814.]

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

November 15, 2020

  

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Lord, when the day of wrath comes we have no hope except in your grace. Make us so to watch for the last days that the consummation of our hope may be the joy of the marriage feast of your Son, Jesus. In his name we pray. Amen.

 

  

 



First Lesson: Amos 5:18–24

Psalm 63:1–8

Second Lesson: 1Thessalonians 4:13–18

Gospel: Matthew 25:1–13

 

Opening Hymn: “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun” (LBW 269)

 




 



 

Sermon: November 15, 2020


Watch & Be Ready

(Matthew 25:13)


Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

     Christianity is a contest (Micah 6:2, 1 Corinthians 9:24). Do you believe that? And if you do, are you in it? Or do you think the Christian faith is something else? maybe ease and merry-making (Luke 12:19). Now if you’re actually in the contest, what is it? What’s the fight over? Whats the contest about? “Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). So is that the contest? Are we in a battle over who our friends should be – God or the world? “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). So it looks like that is our battle! The world wants us to love ourselves (2 Timothy 3:2–4). Jesus says we better not, because if we do, we’ll never make it into heaven (John 12:25). Therefore when we deal with the world, let us learn to do so in such a way that we really are not dealing with it at all (1 Corinthians 7:31). That odd way of life is rejected by many, seeing the mercy thats in dumb luck on earth to be good enough for worthwhile living (Sean Carroll, A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You, Princeton University Press, 2020, pp. 11, 16).

     And surely it is an odd way of living, but it’s our way – even though it makes us fools and aliens (1 Corinthians 4:10, 1 Peter 2:11). Martin Luther helps us think through this strangeness. He thought that we can be both in the world and not of the world by withholding any enjoyment or feeling for what we do here on earth (Luther’s Works 25:516). Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) – that great champion of Luther – agreed with him, arguing against “using eternity to give a flavor to the enjoyment of life,” and then calling it good enough to be Christian (Journals, ed. Hongs, §4:4725). Furthermore he argued that the church, in pursuit of only “finite objectives for finite purposes,” has reduced Christianity to “a mood one has on Sundays, lest he overdo it” (Journals, §4:4814). Harsh though that may be, it’s fitting because “God in heaven is the only power who does not hold sales or reduce the prices; his prices remain eternally unchanged, more firmly fixed than the North Star” (Journals, §2:1821). If that wasn’t the case, then God would be at most “a handsome ornament, a luxury item – for there [would be] no duty toward” him (Journals, §2:1808).

     How best shall we wage this battle in favor of God – and against the world? What can we do to make sure that we win this contest our faith has dragged us into? There’s no better place to go than the parable of The Ten Maidens in Matthew 25, for there we have losers to avoid and winners to join. The story is old and familiar. The ten maidens are waiting for a wedding to start, and they need to keep their oil lamps burning until it begins. Five came prepared with extra oil, the other half didn’t. When they begin to run out, they ask the others to share some of their extra oil. They say they can’t because they need it. So the five unprepared maidens leave to get extra oil. While gone, the wedding starts and the door is closed. Upon returning, they knock on the door to get in late, but are denied entry. The parable then ends with the admonition – “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

     There’s much not to like about this parable – including the stinginess of the five prepared maidens, to say nothing of the inhospitality of the wedding host. But Luther doesn’t let these things distract us. He says we have to focus on the main point of the parable which is that “it is very horrible... when God in wrath turns someone away with nothing but scorn” (LW 79:211). Included in his assessment is a reference to Aesop’s fable of the cricket and the ants (Aesop, The Complete Fables, trans. R. Temple, 1998, §336, p. 246). Luther loved those fables (Carl P. E. Springer, Luther’s Aesop, 2011). In this one the cricket runs out of food in the winter, and asks the ants to share what they have stored up from the summer. The ants ask what he was doing in the summer when he should have been storing up food for later. The cricket says that he was singing. Then the ants respond – “Ah well, since you sang in the summer you can dance in the winter.” Luther thought this harshness was a perfect fit for Jesus’ parable.

     So watch! Watch, my friends, and be ready! Don’t be so enamored with what’s going on in the world around you that you forget God (Colossians 3:2, Philippians 3:8). Don’t think that what’s happening now is more important than what will happen when the world ends (John 5:28–29, 2 Peter 3:10). “True Christians [encourage] the fear of the Lord and a dread of sin, and [to keep] weeping, praying, admonishing, and rebuking” (LW 31:188). They know that the best way to prepare for the end is “coming to the end of oneself” (Lin Enger, American Gospel: A Novel, University of Minnesota Press, 2020, p. 204) – by being “displeasing... to ourselves” (LW 27:181). Kierkegaard, whom we commemorate today, knew that this ending, this displeasing, linked up well with learning “that Christianity is suffering, anguish, [and] a death struggle” (Journals, §4:4725). So rather than seeking self-fulfillment and the enjoyment of life (Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1987, 2005, Lance Strate, Amazing Ourselves to Death, 2014), seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). If you do you will win the contest. Pure and simple. If you do, you will be included with the five maidens who were prepared and ended up getting into the wedding party. Its not rocket science. So don’t be like the cowboys of old, “wandering the open prairies, free from the confines of the city, of marriage, of capitalism, and of the many other fetters and fetishes that plague our lives” (Christopher Knowlton, Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West, 2017, pp. 339–40). For he who loves his life more than Christ does not yet possess Christ through faith” (LW 25:318, Matthew 10:37).

     So seek first the kingdom of God. “This is a general teaching for all Christians,” Luther believed, “that they should treasure that eternal blessing which is theirs in the faith, despising this life so that they do not sink too deeply into it either with love and desire or suffering and boredom, but should rather behave like guests on earth, using everything for a short time because of need and not for pleasure” (LW 28:52). True indeed, but still befuddling! And Kierkegaard makes it more so. He says there is nothing we can do to seek first this kingdom – neither helping the poor nor witnessing for Christ will do it. Instead “become nothing before God, learn to be silent,” he insists. “In this silence is the beginning, which is to seek first God’s kingdom.... [And this is also] the beginning of the fear of God, because just as the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom [Proverbs 1:7], so silence is the beginning of the fear of God.... In this silence the many thoughts of wishes and desires God-fearingly fall silent; in this silence the verbosity of thanksgiving God-fearingly becomes silent.... And so it is; to pray is not to listen to oneself speak but it is to become silent and to remain silent, to wait until the one praying hears God” speaking from his holy word (Kierkegaard’s Writings, 18:10–11).

     Well that is a mouthful albeit a Danish one. No wonder well need help in seeking the kingdom of God first. Christ, who is at the center of it all (Colossians 1:13), is the one alone who draws us into the kingdom through his word and Spirit. For indeed, his pain is my comfort; his wounds, my healing; his punishment, my redemption” (Luthers House Postils, trans. E. Klug, 1996, 3:474). Thats because, as Kierkegaard explains, “I stand saved beside this other one, beside him, my Redeemer, who puts himself completely in my place” (KW 18:123). And so Kierkegaard is quick to add that he who trusts in the atonement is greater than the most profound penitent” (Journals, §3:3078). That sacrifice, that atonement, that standing beside us, is so important for us because God “hates, damns, and wills evil to all sinners, that is, to all of us (LW 25:382). And it is this sacrifice that makes Christ our advocate (1 John 2:1) so that when he stands beside us as our substitute before God, it works. Hallelujah! As Kierkegaard argued, God beats up Jesus rather than us (Journals, §3:2976). Hallelujah! Therefore may we ever delight in him, and so be drawn to him, who dies for us, that we may be forgiven and saved for eternal life (John 12:32). Surely Christ is a wonder to behold!

     So favor God and his dear Son, our Savior Christ Jesus! Favor him over the whole world. Know that while we are thankful for the wonders of God’s creation, Kierkegaard was emphatic that the forgiveness of sins through the cross of Christ reveals the greatness of God – in an even “deeper sense” (KW 17:289). Jesus therefore surmounts creation. Know this passionately – even though we may never know for sure who was actually elected president in America sixty years ago (W. J. Rorabaugh, The Real Making of the President: Kennedy, Nixon, and the 1960 Election, The University Press of Kansas, 2009, pp. 186–91, Edmund F. Kallina Jr., Kennedy v. Nixon: The Presidential Election of 1960, University Press of Florida, 2010, pp. 189–214). Know this passionately – even though “nobody knows what gravity is, and almost nobody knows that nobody knows what gravity is except for scientists, and they know that nobody knows what gravity is because they know that they don’t know what gravity is” (The American Scholar, Autumn 2020, p. 90).
     But still know for sure that Christ is our joy (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:5, Philippians 4:4) – and not some “wildly exciting, worldly joy with dancing and leaping, with eating and drinking, or the likes of what is prompted by wealth and riches, or a worldly kingdom” (LHP 3:322). Know that this heavenly kingdom controls “what sort of person” we ought to be (2 Peter 3:11) – anything but “a familiar, good-natured, decent chap” (Journals, §2:1816). For it’s no good to “go into church and come out again little changed” (LHP 1:115). Luther thought that all Christians should be “rebels” (LW 13:414)! Know therefore with Kierkegaard, that our new life will include seeing that “heavy suffering is beneficial.” Just think of it! And this is especially so even if our suffering never results in a “happy ending,” but only an “increase
” in suffering, as one walks down “the narrow road of faith,” with the test of faith getting “harder and harder as faith” increases, while all along being wrongly discouraged “to regret his faith, as if that person were fortunate who goes on living carelessly and never really becomes involved with God but comfortably walks the broad road,” missing that “faith sees best in the dark” (KW 15:238–39, “Kierkegaard on Suffering,” The Messenger, November 2015, on Joe Biden’s misuse of this passage). Catch your breath, and know that all of this is true. Know this and believe in Jesus instead of loving the world, that you may be on the watch, and when the world ends, be ready for it. Amen.

 

 

Hymn of the Day: “The Lord Will Come and Not Be Slow” (LBW 318)

 

 

Prayers 

 

 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.




 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah, Melissa, and Felicia Baker

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

Rollie Storbakken

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

The Rev. Richard Holmes

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Pete Forsyth

Dan Murphy

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Eva, Jay and Alea Jones (sick with COVID-19,

     Ernie Hopsons cousin, and her son and

     granddaughter in Texas)

Dona Brost

Douglas Minter

Susan Curry

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. 

 

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” (LBW 315)



 



 

 

Otis, the bartender, played by James Westerfield, talking to Doc Storrow, played by John Archer, in the 1957 movie, Decision at Sundown.

 

“If you’d been tending bar

as long as I have,

you wouldn’t expect so much

out of the human race.”

 

(scene at 53 minutes, 30 seconds.)

 

֎

 

“Cursed is the man

who trusts in man,…. for the heart

is deceitful above all things,

and desperately corrupt.”

 

(Jeremiah 17:5, 9)

 

“Jesus did not trust himself

to… all men… for he himself knew

what was in man.”

 

(John 2:24–25)

 

“My father and my mother

have forsaken me, but the Lord

will take me up.”

 

(Psalm 27:10)

 

 “From the Scriptures… putting trust

in men is frequently forbidden.”

 

[Martin Luther, “Sermon on Matthew 3:13–17” (1534),

Luther’s Works 57:184.]

 

“To make use of creatures is not forbidden,

but to put confidence in them

is extremely destructive.”

 

[Martin Luther, “Lectures on Isaiah 57” (1529),

Luther’s Works 17:274.]

 

All Scripture speaks against this innermost ungodliness of the flesh because it is the source of every evil and most frequently takes us captive. You see that the whole world is nothing but a ruin because it goes about in this ungodliness and relies not on God but on men.”

 

[Martin Luther, “Lectures on Isaiah 31” (1528),

Luther’s Works 16:270–71.]

 

“You are to take the risk of entrusting matters to others, but you are yourself to trust and rely on God alone…. You should trust [others] only as [folks] who might fail you, whom you must continue to watch with unceasing vigilance.”

 

[Martin Luther, “Temporal Authority” (1523),

Luther’s Works 45:123.]

 





 




Online Sunday Liturgy

November 8, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

A human heart is like a ship on a wild sea, driven by the storm winds from the four corners of the world. Here it is struck with fear and worry about impending disaster; there comes grief and sadness because of present evil. Here breathes a breeze of hope and of anticipated happiness; there blows security and joy in present blessings. These storms teach us to speak with earnestness, to open the heart and pour out what lies at the bottom of it…. What is the greatest thing in the Psalter but this earnest speaking amid these storms of every kind? Where does one find finer words of joy than in the psalms?

 

(Martin Luther, Preface to the Psalter (1545)

Luther’s Works 35:255.)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

November 8, 2020

  

Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and love, that we may live forever in heaven once our days on earth are done. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

  

 



First Lesson: Leviticus 19:1–2, 15–18

Psalm 1

Second Lesson: 1Thessalonians 1:5–10

Gospel: Matthew 22:34–46

 

 

Opening Hymn: “Holy God, We Praise Your Name” (LBW 535)

 




 



 

Sermon: November 8, 2020


Suffer & Rejoice

(1 Thessalonians 1:6)


Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     Who doesn’t want to be happy? Who doesn’t believe that when it comes to happiness “the least can lift a ton” (The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. T. H. Johnson, 1890, 1960, p. 383)? We know that happy times help us forget sad moments that have depressed us just days before. The Bible even chimes in saying that “a cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Martin Luther cherished this verse because he knew from personal experience that whoever does nor bear his suffering with rejoicing, becomes sullen” (Luthers Works 30:127). So we long for those good days – those happy days – because they make life sweet. Laughing together, and having good times with family and friends, makes life enjoyable and memorable.

      So it’s arresting, to say the least, when the Bible also tells us to rejoice in our sufferings and leap for joy when people hate us (Romans 5:3. Luke 6:22–23). This linking of happiness with pain is not what we were expecting. It puts together opposites that have no business being joined. But the Bible is relentless about this – “You received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). Once again we have the unanticipated – in this case, affliction combined with joy. But if we wish to be Christians, it is necessary that we... both fear and rejoice” (LW 12:77). But we cant just have joy now thats reserved for life in heaven (Revelation 21:4). Whoever does not want to do this may have a good time here and live to his heart’s desire, but hereafter we will have to mourn forever” (LW 21:18, Luke 16:25). Even so, there is still room now for some joy, just not joy by itself. Indeed, where there is faith, it is impossible for... joy not to be there too. [For joy] in tribulation necessarily results from faith” (LW 30:304). God, after all, is repelled by sorrow of spirit.... He came to refresh us, not to sadden us” (LW 27:93). Its that basic.

     But whence cometh this strange coupling, then? Why – contrary to most of us – does the Bible insist on putting together what we know shouldnt go together? Well, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21). And, “whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8). So it’s because of God that his word reveals this strange understanding of how things unfold. Joy is supposed to go with sadness because God gives both joy and sadness – just never sadness alone (LW 27:93). So to think that our happy times shouldn’t be co-mingled with our dreary days, would be to go against God and his will for us. For not one sparrow dies “without your Father’s will” (Matthew 10:29). All things that happen come from God – whether for good or for evil; for weal or for woe (Isaiah 45:7).

     Who can possibly believe this? Well, Martin Luther comes barging into the room and says that “it is for certain,” mind you, “that it is by the Father’s sure knowledge and will that we suffer [and so] we ought to rejoice and to embrace the will of the Father with a joyful heart. We should set,” he goes on to explain, “God’s wondrous and fatherly care against all evils and all our sufferings, however wretched. Indeed, we should take all of our tribulations and swallow them up and drown them like a spark in the sea of God’s infinite love and care for us” (LW 67:109).

     But mind you, there’s no way to see this without beholding the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) – for the “human heart is like a ship on a wild sea, driven by the storm winds from the four corners of the world.” “He who is sad and disturbed is... of a stormy mind.” Indeed, what “a miserably divided thing is the human heart” (LW 35:255, 25:518, 69:18). But Christ is steady, strangely helping us by being derided and murdered – and then exalted and risen to glory in heaven (Philippians 2:8–9, Romans 4:25). He resolutely combines both in himself. He joins together what we think flies apart. He makes reasonable what looks crazy, for in him all things cohere, or hold together sensibly (Colossians 1:17). In him is suffering and joy, defeat with victory, death and life combined together. So his life wasn’t one of unmitigated happiness. No, “Christ was not always joyous.” In fact, “during His entire earthly sojourn He was consumed with a constant sorrow” (LW 52:147, 22:236). But that didn’t keep him from being productive, for by his very dying he restored life – indeed “through death” he destroyed “the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14). That is because when he died on the cross he sacrificed his life for sin (Hebrews 9:26). And on the cross he, in effect, cried out – “My blood intercedes loudly for you” (LW 22:146). By doing so, he destroys what is deadly in sin – its power to send us to hell for everlasting punishment, for “eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

     Here we finally see clearly “the super-abundant goodness that God shows us in Christ, causing Christ to die for us before we would ask it of him, indeed, while we were still enemies” (LW 35:374, Romans 5:8). “What can the sins do when [Christ] Himself... has taken them away?... What can terrify when He has given Himself for you?” (LW 75:203). Because of Christ’s sacrifice, our damning “conscience is one drop; the reconciled God is a sea of comfort.” Therefore we have benefited from a miraculous exchange – “on our side there are nothing but sins. We share His good things; He shares our wretchedness. I believe in Christ. Therefore my sin is in Christ” (LW 30:280, 225). What a glorious message of deliverance and salvation (Romans 7:24, Colossians 1:13)! For who could “express fully what it means to be in the hellish darkness, under God’s eternal, unbearable wrath, judgment, and condemnation?” (LW 57:282).

     No wonder we are to rejoice in the Lord, over and over again (Philippians 4:4). No wonder, at his first coming to earth, the angels sang about this “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10). So joy limited to Christ’s work is the best joy – knowing that if we were “always glad, the devil would befoul us.” And so our joy is limited to the Lord Jesus. And this is so even if “a Christian should and must be a cheerful person” (LW 54:96). It is just that this joy in Christ is the only happiness that can “stir the depths of the heart” (LW 75:158). It “is a genuine and complete joy.... It is not worldly or outward, but rather a secret and hidden joy” (LW 69:83). It “does not come from temporal goods, or honors but from the Lord, who makes the victory... through His mercy” (LW 20:305, 25:518). And so “the faithful rejoice... when the Gospel is disseminated, and when many come to faith and thus the kingdom of Christ is increased” (LW 27:9394). And so “whoever has desire and joy in Him has died and been severed from the world” (LW 56:273).

     So believe in Christ, for he says to us all unhesitatingly set your foot on Me [for] I will be the Bridge to carry you across [into heaven, so] wager boldly on Me, go cheerfully and happily, and die in My name (LW 24:42). For Christ is the blessed and joyful redemption from this vale of misery and wretchedness” (LW 35:316). May all then who believe in this joy amidst the sorrows of life, share it with all who ask about the hope that is within you (1 Peter 3:15). Remind all who ask that living a life without joy is like planting a tree in a narrow pot (LW 15:176). It cannot expand and flourish! But note that to have pleasure in sins is of the devil, but participation in good and honorable pleasures.... is pleasing to God, even if one may at times carry playfulness too far” (Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, trans. T. Tappert, 1960, p. 93). In this way we live differently than previously pursuing a divine, heavenly life (LW 77:106). For “true faith does not permit you to be impatient and to do harm (LW 57:193). So may God inspire us all to move beyond the shame (Mark 8:38) that strikes us periodically in our walk of faith, tripping us up because of that odd call to not only suffer but also, along with it, to rejoice. Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day: “Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me” (LBW 336)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SQjWQeH5ww

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.




 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah, Melissa, and Felicia Baker

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

The Rev.Richard Holmes

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Pete Forsyth

Dan Murphy

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Eva, Jay and Alea Jones (sick with COVID-19,

     Ernie Hopsons cousin, and her son and

     granddaughter in Texas)

Dona Brost

Douglas Minter

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. 

     Pray for those affected by the wildfires in California. 

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” (LBW 315)



 



 

                                                         Three Flags (1958) by Jasper Johns

 

O Lord our God, preserve our nation in justice and honor. Grant health and favor to all who bear public office in our land, especially to our President-Elect Biden and Vice-President-Elect Harris. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

(from Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978, p. 52, altered.)

 

Jasper Johns, 90, one of the greatest living American artists, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. In his famous painting, Three Flags, he tries to change the way we look at the US flag. He wants us to see it as more than our national symbol, flying in the wind, high up on a pole. So he painted it three times, putting the three paintings in a tiered arrangement, five inches thick, that contradicts classical perspective. Rather than receding into the background of the painting, Three Flags projects outward toward the viewer. This invasion of our space provokes us to ask ourselves what the flag and our country mean to us. Johns wants to make the meaning of the American flag fluid and open to continual reinterpretation.





 




Online Sunday Liturgy

November 1, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

Presuming or saying your own opinions is of no avail…. What avails is hearing and knowing God’s counsel, will, and intention. No one can tell you this from his own head; no book on earth can teach this except the one Word and Scripture given by God Himself, which tells us that He sent His Son into the world to redeem it from sin and God’s wrath, so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life…. These high, divine matters – that is, both His real divine essence and also His will, government, and works – are and remain simply above all human thought, understanding, and wisdom; in short, they are incomprehensible, inscrutable, and hidden. Everything [those who meddle in His deity] undertake to search, know, teach, and investigate about this is in vain, and even darkness and lies. If anything is to be learned, known, and found about [these divine matters], it must be only through revelation, that is, God’s Word given from heaven.

 

(Martin Luther, Sermon on Romans 11:33–36 (1544)

Luther’s Works 78:8–9.)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

November 1, 2020

  

All Saints' Sunday

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Almighty God, grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

  

 



First Lesson: Isaiah 26:1–21

Psalm 34:1–10

Second Lesson: Revelation 21:1–11, 22–27

Gospel: Matthew 5:1–12

 

Opening Hymn: “For All the Saints” (LBW 174)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OaBgaMcOvM  




 



 

Sermon: November 1, 2020

“Hunger for God”

(Matthew 5:6)


Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     Are saints dignified, well-spoken, decent people? Well, if you dwell on the kindness and patience in Galatians 5:22–23, then they are. But what if exhorting and reproving are also part of sainthood (Titus 2:16)? What then? Are they to be ignored or dropped altogether? If so, is that then the end of the good fight of faith for saints (1 Timothy 6:12)? Are we then too nice to any longer wage war against the “principalities, powers, and world rulers of this present darkness” (Ephesians 6:12, LW 56:113, 58:178)? Are we too placid to be struck that the remnants of our “recent past are scattered in the wild wind” (Bob Dylan, “Black Diamond Bay,” Desire, 1976, The Lyrics. Since 1962, 2014, p. 528)? Are we too polite to reiterate our Lord’s words against the serpents and brood of vipers who are being “sentenced to hell” (Matthew 23:33)? Are we ashamed of the Apostle Paul for saying that the sons of the devil, the enemies of righteousness, are “full of all deceit and villainy” (Acts 13:10)? Where shall we go to resolve these contradictory descriptions of sainthood?

     “Take Christ out of the picture,” Martin Luther carefully delineated, “and in whatever concerns me I will gladly humble myself and even let you walk all over me.” Here Luther gives us saintly kindness and patience galore. “But,” he quickly goes on to add, “do not tread on Christ or His Word, for when Christ is concerned, I stand my ground [and] must pass for [a] stubborn and impetuous [hothead] (Luther’s Works 23:330). There we have reproof – to say nothing of caustic condemnation – as being part of sainthood. What does that give us – Luther’s wild and wooly combination of calm and calamity? A Biblical dialectic – that’s what he gives us. He takes two contradictory goods and shows how they – contrary to displacing each other – can actually work together. What Saint Paul does, Luther does as well – be “sorrowful,” Saint Paul admonishes, “yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Just as he combines sorrow with joy, so Luther combines affirmation with assault, calm with calamity. Just think of it. No flat, boring, cartoon figures here (Herbert Marcuse, The One Dimensional Man, 1964). Instead what we have is a complex agent who empathizes – while carefully and judiciously holding in reserve – biting criticism as well. According to Luther we can and must both cut people slack and then pull them up short when needed. At their best, then, Christians are “strange beings and wonders to the world” (LW 20:216). They are the ones who have “a spirit of restlessness amid the greatest calm” (LW 24:88). Too bad there are so few of them (Matthew 7:14, 22:14, LW 45:91, 79:245). This agility and scope of concern enhances our much needed service in the world. The world doesn’t need any more lop-sided suck-ups and bullies. It doesn’t need the throwaway line – “Seems like every time you turn around there’s another hard-luck story that you’re gonna hear” (“Black Diamond Bay,” p. 529). It rather needs Luther’s dialectical disciples. Without that duality, all that the church has to offer are “pseudo saints” or, worse yet, “demonic” ones (LW 22:141, 21:190).

     How shall we go about building real saints – beginning even on this All Saints’ Sunday? We have no better place to start than with Matthew 5:6 about God blessing those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Pray that this hunger will take over people near and far away. Pray that the hungers that now grip us will give way to being “filled with the Spirit” of Christ (Ephesians 5:18). Competing hungers – just like contrary loyalties – can’t work together (Matthew 6:24). So Luther warned: We “must be fervent in one of the two, either the spirit or the flesh…. So a lazy cook, about to prepare a meal, does his work in such a way that the food gets cold during serving. Who would not despise him, and rightly” so? (LW 25:456). Make sure then that you hunger after God. Indeed, “the hens that eat at home but lay their eggs elsewhere deserve to be killed” (LW 21:187). Divided loyalties are damnable! So don’t under-estimate the problem. Hunger after God rather than after worldly delights. Don’t set your mind on those concerns (Colossians 3:2). Take up thinking and speaking “in the way Scripture does” (LW 25:261). Then you’ll be hungering after God. To do so is to have God take you “on His lap.” And there is no better place to be, because if you aren’t there, then you’re going to “plunge into the depths of hell” (LW 3:139). But it’s a bumpy ride on God’s lap, and so many won’t last long. For indeed, “the word of God comes… to change and renew the world [and this] cannot take place without commotion and tumult” (LW 33:52). That’s why Luther said “my books are very stormy and... warlike. I have to dig out the roots and stumps, chop out the thorns and underbrush, and fill in the potholes. Thus I am the rough woodsman, who has to clear and straighten the path” (LW 59:250, Ronald F. Marshall, “Luther the Lumberjack,” Lutheran Quarterly, Spring 1996).

     When we abide in God’s word – making it our womb (LW 17:93) – we grow in our hunger for God (1 Peter 2:2). His word nurtures us. It’s our spiritual food. “No book on earth” can feed us but the Holy Scriptures (LW 78:8). As we grow in grace, we discover that we have to hunger for God because we are never perfectly accomplished (Philippians 3:12). We’re always longing for him. Indeed, the longing, this wanting “is righteousness, not just a large part but all the righteousness [we can have] in this life…. For this entire life is a time of willing to be righteous, but never achieving it, for this happens only in the future life” in heaven, after we die and are raised to be with Christ forever. And, what is more, this longing, wanting, and hungering, “compels us to grow weary of this life and to hope for the future life” (LW 25:268). Our hungering also teaches us how much we need Christ – for apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5, LW 67:53, 68:96). We know that some menial things we can do on our own. But Christ has power “where the authority, power, and wisdom of men stop. He can save and help where no man, no creature on earth or in heaven can help – against sin, that we may not be damned by it; against death, that it may not devour us; against the devil, that he may not keep us captive” (LW 13:239, 56:59). For this we rejoice and are glad that we hunger after God. Finally our hungering teaches us that we must never be half-hearted (Matthew 22:37, LW 69:376). We have been baptized with “fire” (Matthew 3:11) after all, and so we must be ardent and fervent and burning hot in our longing and hungering for Christ. No wonder Christians desperately “cling” to him (LW 5:48, 24:42, 26:33, 28:163, 29:185, 43:201, 52:34, 56:117, 69:80, 75:367, 76:23, 77:281, 78:321).

     But how shall we get our fires burning brightly? “No sooner heard than done” – that can’t be true (LW 22:142). Why we can’t even own “a favorite skipping stone” (Austin Smith, Flyover County, 2018, p. 35). So we’ll certainly need help with this larger task. And it comes from Christ who himself is filled with fire (Luke 12:49). That fire compels him to “come storming in… to transform… men’s hearts” (LW 69:212). And that’s exactly what we need. For “man drifts,” indeed the most successful “have drifted into their successes” (Joseph Conrad, Victory, 1915, III.3). And when Christ comes to transform us, what is it again that he does? Luther says that this song is so good that it “bears repetition.” It’s the word of grace, “that God is merciful to us… for the sake of Christ our Lord, forgives us all our sins, and that He does not impute them to us or punish us with eternal death. [That is because of] the death of Christ. He alone has brought us grace and truth. He died and shed His blood for us in order that all who believe in Him and call on Him might attain forgiveness of sin…. The custom of holding a crucifix before a dying person has kept many in the Christian faith and has enabled them to die with a confident faith in the crucified Christ” (LW 22:139, 147). That’s our song of grace, and it brings light into our dark world (John 8:12, Luke 1:79). We desperately need this light because even the best that we do, the most excellent thing,... is ungodly, wicked, and deserving the wrath of God” (LW 33:249, Isaiah 64:6).

     With these fires of Christ “rekindling” our faith (2 Timothy 1:6), how then shall we live in his favor and grace? We’ll want to share the comforting warmth from these fires with those who are despondent and in despair (2 Corinthians 1:4). And if we live in a land that comes from “escaped convicts, younger sons, persecuted minorities, and opportunists” (Louise Glück, American Originality, 2017, p. 3), then there are plenty standing in need of the comfort we have to bring. So first, we will want to affirm that we truly are “outwardly and temporarily… oppressed by many evils.” We feel like we have been “put to death, and inwardly crushed by the consciousness of our sins and vexed by demons.” We don’t want to deny any of this terror. It’s real. But we also want, all the same, to hold out the hope of being “alive in Christ, in whom and through whom we are kings and lords over sin, death, the flesh, the world, hell, and every evil… How? In faith. For our blessing has not yet been revealed. But meanwhile we await it in patience and yet already possess it certainly through faith.” By this faith – mixed in along with all of the terrors that torment us in this life – we hold on to Christ, who “redeemed us from our sins and from eternal death by His death on the cross,…. [as] our only Justifier and Savior” (LW 26:453). May this realistic faith that refuses to deny the traumas of life, nurture us as we live out our days on earth, never in full possession of God’s promised glory, but always still, nevertheless, hungering after him. Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day: “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” (LBW 230)

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.




 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah Baker

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Pete Forsyth

Dan Murphy

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Eva, Jay and Alea Jones (sick with COVID-19, Ernie Hopsons cousin, and her son and granddaughter in Texas)

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. 

     Pray for those affected by the wildfires in California. 

 

All Saints Remembrances

Lillian Schneider (1918-2020)

Barbara Schorn (1937-2020)

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones” (LBW 175)



 



 

                                                         Three Flags (1958) by Jasper Johns

 

O Lord our God, grant that all Americans registered to vote, may cast ballots for candidates that are pleasing in your eyes. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

Jasper Johns, 90, one of the greatest living American artists, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. In his famous painting, Three Flags, he tries to change the way we look at the US flag. He wants us to see it as more than our national symbol, flying in the wind, high up on a pole. So he painted it three times, putting the three paintings in a tiered arrangement, five inches thick, that contradicts classical perspective. Rather than receding into the background of the painting, Three Flags projects outward toward the viewer. This invasion of our space provokes us to ask ourselves what the flag and our country mean to us. Johns wants to make the meaning of the American flag fluid and open to continual reinterpretation.





 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 25, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

Human nature has been so corrupted… that it neither comprehends the magnitude of sin nor feels and dreads the punishment of sin, God’s wrath and eternal death…. [The truth is that we are] headstrong, proud, ignorant, and deceitful, unbridled, and haughty…. [But] no human mind understands how great an evil sin is…. If a human being were to feel the magnitude of sin, he would not survive for one moment, so great is the power that sin has…. [So] we must… be most diligent in impressing on people that God is angry with sin and punishes it with the greatest severity.

 

(Luther’s Works 73:70, 126, 332, 337, 86.)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 25, 2020

  

Reformation

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Gracious Lord, pour out your Holy Spirit on your Church. Keep it steadfast in your Word, protect and comfort it in times of temptation, defend it against all of its enemies, and grant it peace. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 



First Lesson: Jeremiah 31:31–34

Psalm 46

Second Lesson: Romans 3:19–28

Gospel: John 8:31–36

 

Opening Hymn: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (LBW 228)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igH38WLuyC0




 



 

Sermon:  October 25, 2020

“Know You're Slaves”

(John 8:34)


Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     Stuck in the mud. That’s what it’s like to sin. Do you believe that? Or do you think that tomorrow is a new day and that you can turn it all around by yourself? Jesus figured that you would say that, and so he emphatically opposes you. “Truly, truly, I say to you,” he pushes forth relentlessly, “every one who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Why does he say that? It’s because were in the wrong family. “You are of your father the devil, he shockingly reveals, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:44). And that equals sin. And that equals slavery. But that also sounds harebrained that the devil is our father! Well, maybe if you only have gruesome pictures in mind of bats and snakes and babies being sacrificed. But remember that the devil shows up as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). And those who do his bidding are “lovers of self, lovers of money,… lovers of pleasure” (2 Timothy 3:2–4). That part of the list of infractions doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe then it’s pretty good to be in that wayward family. Either way, Martin Luther actually believed all of this outlandish talk about slavery to sin. “We sin and err constantly” he insisted (Luther’s Works 37:233). An ungodly man sins against God whether he eats or drinks or whatever he does, because he perpetually misuses God’s creatures in his impiety and ingratitude, and never for a moment gives glory to God from his heart” (LW 33:264). No new day to turn everything around for him. Nope, just more of the same, day in and day out. Were slaves to sin!

     And as slaves to sin, “your heart seethes with countless horrible passions and desires against God and other human beings” (LW 73:145). For the demons “wake, sleep, and live with us like an evil guest whom we have invited to our house and cannot get rid of” (LW 30:47). Cant get rid of? That’s why we’re slaves to sin! We’ve been taken over by sin. Just think of it. “If ungodliness and worldly passions were painted on the wall of a house, then you could run out of the house;… if they grew in your hair, you could have it shaved off;… or if they were baked into bread, then you could eat roots instead. But now that they are stuck in your heart and utterly possess you, where will you run so that you will not take them with you? What can you put on where you do not remain under it?.... In short, what will you do so that you, as you are in yourself, are not there? Dear man, the great enticement is inside you” (LW 75:192).! Talk about being enslaved. No wonder that all that we do whether we see it or not, whether believe it or not “are works of the devil, works of sin, works of darkness, works of folly” (LW 31:65). No wonder, then, that the whole world is guilty, all the children of men are turned aside and worthless, no one fears God, no one is not wicked, no one understands, no one seeks God” (LW 33:257, Romans 3:11). No wonder we charge right in like a pig in the mud, inventing opinions with obstinacy and rashness” (LW 73:525). Indeed, what a shameful den of murderers is lying in the human heart” (LW 67:180)!

     Can the Bible pull us out of this mud hole? Not if we peer into it from within the devil’s family where we’ve all grown up. That’s because the devil is a “corruptor and slanderer of God’s majesty, Word and works,” and so we see no more in the Bible “than a cow sees” (LW 57:155, 56:188). Talk about slavery! Were nothing but cows. The Biblical message is one big blank to us. For even though “Scripture is clear,... our eyes are not” (LW 75:276). So, alas, there’s no help from God’s Word for us. Struggle though we may, we see no salvation there. But wait! Theres more. “Whoever realizes that sin is in him, which he must govern, this man will surely fear to become a servant of sin” (LW 25:301). And there is the breakthrough! It’s right at this point. For as long as we remain “smug,” there’s no hope for us (LW 1:159, 12:179, 358, 405, 24:15, 320, 25:268, 338, 478, 26:214, 310, 324, 347, 362, 418). We pass by the Word of the Lord “with a deaf ear” (LW 67:116). But, when fear grips us, then hope is ready to spring forth. And we find ourselves running to Jesus “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, LW 78:264). This is why God “allows the devil so much power against humanity: in order that unbelievers, the godless, and the hardened might be pierced through and might learn to fear and trust and call upon God” (LW 67:53). This is why “the aim of... preaching... is first to magnify sin” (LW 56:302). Then we “listen to God’s Word with fear and treat it with humility and not barge in with our own opinions” (LW 56:198). For only then do we come to see that Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12). He takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). So we trust in him and cling to him. “Hold on to Christ [then] as the workman for our sins” (LW 73:199). For it is Christ who does “the true works... of God: blotting out sin, driving off death, extinguishing hell” (LW 57:176). May “the blood of Christ... surge in your heart” (LW 58:185). Become slaves in obedience to him and his righteousness (Romans 6:16).This is how “God creates the trust to come to Him” (LW 67:141). And why shouldn’t we, if he is the workman for our sins? Why not become his slave rather than being slaves to sin? He did for us what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. He was the workman for our sins. He came “for sin” and he condemned it (Romans 8:3). And when he condemned it, he did so by sacrificing himself for it to save us from having to do it for ourselves (Hebrews 9:26). He is the workman for our sins. “Workman” is the translation for the Latin word operarium. Jesus is our operarium. That also makes him our great substitute (LW 22:167 and 57:283, 58:45, 79:250). For because of the work that he does for us, as our operarium, he stands in for us; takes the hit for us; is punished in our place that we might be set free from the wrath of God (John 3:36). He is the workman for our sins!

     As believers in Christ you now have strength to do all things through him (Philippians 4:13). This divine workman transfers some work even to us mortals to do. Thats because it is through us [that God] shows mercy to the poor [and] comforts the afflicted” (LW 33:243). Indeed, Luther is right that we are the lord’s ladle” (LW 57:204). So, on this Reformation Sunday, work for the reformation of the church as the lord’s ladle, and for those afflicted in the church by the church. But do not put your trust in these works because when you become embroiled in conflict over reforming the church, you’ll see that they’re “all… nothing” (LW 4:54). But do them still, just as you now have reconfigured them. Do them, but don’t trust in them. Call the church to “hate what is evil, [and] hold fast to what is good; [to] love one another. [To] never flag in zeal, [to] be aglow with the Spirit, [and to] serve the Lord. Rejoice in... hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9–13). Call the church to the continuous effort of recognizing, hating, killing, and burying sins” (LW 67:72). Call the church back to its one true mark of “following and obeying the divine Word” where these practices and admonitions are given (LW 68:244). This word with its practices and admonitions is crucial because where it’s absent – Luther is so bold to warn – “the devil shits into that church” (LW 68:246). So be steadfast in encouraging all Christians to take up with zeal the holy word with its admonitions and practices, that the church may be reformed in our day, by the power of the Lord (John 15:5), and that we, abiding in the righteousness of the Lord, may all become his diligent slaves. Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day: “Salvation Unto Us has Come” (LBW 297)

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.




 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Pete Forsyth

Dan Murphy

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. 

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “O God, O Lord of Heaven and Earth” (LBW 396)



 



 

                                                         Three Flags (1958) by Jasper Johns

 

O Lord our God, grant that all Americans registered to vote, may cast ballots for candidates that are pleasing in your eyes. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

Jasper Johns, 90, one of the greatest living American artists, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. In his famous painting, Three Flags, he tries to change the way we look at the US flag. He wants us to see it as more than our national symbol, flying in the wind, high up on a pole. So he painted it three times, putting the three paintings in a tiered arrangement, five inches thick, that contradicts classical perspective. Rather than receding into the background of the painting, Three Flags projects outward toward the viewer. This invasion of our space provokes us to ask ourselves what the flag and our country mean to us. Johns wants to make the meaning of the American flag fluid and open to continual reinterpretation.





 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 18, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

We are to consider the great, serious, and terrible wrath of God against sin, since that wrath could be averted in no other way and reconciliation could be acquired through no payment other than through this one sacrifice, that is, the death and blood of the Son of God. We are to consider that by our sins we have merited and been the cause of this wrath of God, so that God’s Son had to be sacrificed on the cross and had to shed His blood. This should cause us to be frightened in earnest because of our sins, since this cannot be any trifling wrath of God when we hear that no other sacrifice can stand up to this or compensate for sin except the only Son of God. Do you think that you will endure that wrath or that you can remain standing in the face of it, if you do not respect or recognize it?

 

(Martin Luther, Sermon on 1 Corinthians 5:6–8 (1544)

Luther’s Works 77:19.)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 18, 2020

  

Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Lord Jesus Christ, you have endured the doubts and foolish questions of every generation. Forgive us for trying to be judge over you, and grant us the confident faith to acknowledge you as Lord. In your name we pray. Amen.  

 

 

 

 



First Lesson: Isaiah 5:1–7

Psalm 80:7–14

Second Lesson: Philippians 3:12–21

Gospel: Matthew 21:33–43

 

 

Opening Hymn: “The Church’s One Foundation” (LBW 369)

 




 



 

Sermon:  October 18, 2020

“Fear the Lord”

(Matthew 21:41)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     “He will put those wretches to a miserable death” (Matthew 21:41). Well, that’s not very pleasant – especially to have read on the Lord’s day. But it’s the way Jesus ends his Parable of the Vineyard with a bang, and a nasty one at that (Matthew 21:33–41). He quickly goes on to make it clear that it’s about how God will punish the unbelieving and disobedient (Matthew 21:43). It’s about how “the wrath of God rests on” the wayward, smug, recalcitrant and sassy (John 3:36). It’s about God withholding his mercy due to our rebellion and his severe reaction to it (Romans 11:22). It’s about God hating his own heritage because they wouldn’t repent (Jeremiah 12:8). It’s about the fury of the Lord burning hot against the ungodly (Ezekiel 5:13). It’s about God wanting to kill sinners (Isaiah 13:9). It’s about God withering us down to our roots for not bearing any fruit (Mark 11:20). It’s about God tormenting the unbelieving and greedy in hell for all of eternity (Luke 16:23, 28). Can you believe it? Can you really believe in such a rambunctious and violent God?

     Martin Luther, for one, could (Luther’s Works 31:127, 79:341). He believed that God inflicted horrible punishments on evil people. He believed that “because there [are] hard and impenitent people in the churches, we must repeatedly and diligently drive home.... God’s wrath threatening the destruction of the whole world” (LW 73:100). But how about you? What do you think? “It is not uncommon for men of outstanding intellect to be habitually blind in a matter which is plain even to a dull and uninstructed mind, and to show how weak an argument drawn from human authority is in divine affairs, where divine authority alone has weight” (LW 33:150). So how about you? Are you too smart for this? Do you think that God’s love is inconsistent with such things (contra Revelation 3:19)? Do you think that his love always wins the day (contra Acts 12:23)? Do you think that God never threatens us with destruction (contra Luke 13:5)? Or are you really sophisticated and think that God is too majestic and sublime to be caught up in the give and take of earthly life (contra Job 1:21, Psalm 75:7, Luke 1:52, Revelation 3:7) – being unapproachable and that from which everything is generated instead (Acts 17:28, 1 Timothy 6:16)? (see G. Kaufman, “On the Meaning of Act of God,” chapter 6 in his God the Problem, 1972, and Matt McCormick, “The Paradox of Divine Agency,” chapter 26 in The Impossibility of God, ed. M. Martin & R. Monnier, 2003). Well, if you do, then you’re fooling yourself. And that’s because Luther was right – “that God is angry… is innate in the human heart. His wrath is [also] evident in the world…. in sickness, pestilence, fever, war, famine, and other distress and misery” (LW 22:375). And we know that this is so bad that “nothing can withstand His wrath” (LW 9:59). His angry pronouncements come in “frightful and big words” that cannot be altered because they’re born in “a voice of iron” (LW 28:264). Even so, it’s still the case that he doesn’t like doing any of it, but has to because he is “forced into it by the wickedness of man” (LW 2:134). So no happenstance here. No chance occurrences either. And – if the truth be known – God’s wrath makes it “impossible for man to be happy. He is in constant fear that God is standing behind him, cudgel in hand, ready to strike him down” (LW 22:375). But don’t be fooled – “the longer God puts up with idolatry and other sins, and the longer He pays no attention to them, the more intolerable will His wrath reveal itself to be later on” (LW 2:223). So don’t think you have gotten away with murder just because God’s punishing blows haven’t struck you yet.

     Does that box us in? Do we have nowhere to turn? Not if what we’ve heard so far frightens us “in earnest because of our sins.” To do so would be to take the Bible “seriously,” by reading it “against ourselves,” as we should (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works 11:378). And we’re also not boxed in if we admit that we cannot “endure that wrath or… remain standing in the face of it [if we don’t] respect or recognize it.” For if we do, then we’ll be ready to embrace that this “wrath could be averted in no other way and reconciliation could be acquired through no payment other than through... the death and blood of the Son of God.” And this is true even if we’ve been “the cause of this wrath of God, so that God’s Son had to be sacrificed on the cross and had to shed His blood” because of our sinfulness and wretchedness (LW 77:19). Because God has done so much to rescue us from his wrath, it would be a very bad move to side with the wicked and try with them “to invent a new god and in this way to escape God’s wrath and so to attempt to avert something which we, because of sin, have justly deserved.” It would be foolish beyond measure to “attempt to find a way to mitigate an inescapable evil” (LW 13:96). For it’s only by Jesus dying on the cross that “God is reconciled… so that he may avert from us the wrath of God which we by our sins have deserved” (LW 36:177). So God is glorified “if you fear Him and grasp Christ as the object of mercy. This is true theology about the true God and the true worship of God. It is false theology that God is wrathful to those who acknowledge their sins. Such a God is not in heaven or anywhere else, but is the idol of a perverse heart” (LW 12:322). That’s because “Christ is always intent on leading us into the Father’s heart. If we but love Him, we should have no worry or fear. Then we cast and tear all thoughts of wrath and terror far out of our hearts…. [For Christ] Himself vouches for the Father’s love. If we believe in Him and are in His love, there is no longer any anger in heaven or on earth; there is nothing but fatherly love and all goodness. God, together with all the angels, smiles on [us] and keeps watch over us as His dear children” (LW 24:157).

     This love through faith in Christ empowers us to “do all things” through him (Philippians 4:13). Let us then use that strength to forgive those who have wronged us. This good work is embedded in the Lord’s Prayer, with the warning that if we don’t forgive others, then “neither will our Father forgive our trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). So if “your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:3). We need this admonition and warning because while Christ frees us from the wrath of God and from the fear of damnation, the fear of the Lord still helps us do good works like forgiving those who have hurt us and are sorry for it. That’s why it is essential that Christians go about their tasks – if you can believe it – “in full awareness of God’s wrath” (LW 13:130). May this realization ever be with us as we live out our Christian lives in the very fear of the Lord. Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day: “Lord Christ, When First You Came to Earth” (LBW 421)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vh9-V3NTl0

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.




 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Pete Forsyth

Dan Murphy

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

Eric Urban family

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. 

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Fight the Good Fight” (LBW 461) 



 



 

                                                         Three Flags (1958) by Jasper Johns

 

O Lord our God, grant that all Americans registered to vote, may cast ballots for candidates that are pleasing in your eyes. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

Jasper Johns, 90, one of the greatest living American artists, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. In his famous painting, Three Flags, he tries to change the way we look at the US flag. He wants us to see it as more than our national symbol, flying in the wind, high up on a pole. So he painted it three times, putting the three paintings in a tiered arrangement, five inches thick, that contradicts classical perspective. Rather than receding into the background of the painting, Three Flags projects outward toward the viewer. This invasion of our space provokes us to ask ourselves what the flag and our country mean to us. Johns wants to make the meaning of the American flag fluid and open to continual reinterpretation.





 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 11, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

I would not give a single one of… whatever small [works] I have ever done or will do – in exchange for all the goods of the world. In fact, I hold one of these to be of more worth than my bodily life, which is and should be of more worth to each person than the whole world. For if it is a good work, then God has done it through and in me. If God has done it and it is God’s work, what is the whole world in comparison with God and His work? Even though I do not become righteous through such work (for this must already have happened through Christ’s blood and grace, without works), it has still been done to the praise and honor of God, for the help and well-being of my neighbor. None of these things can be paid for or compared with the world’s goods.

 

(Martin Luther, Preface to Menius on the Anabaptists (1530)

Luther’s Works 59:270–71.)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 11, 2020

  

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

O Lord our God, you know us better than we do. Help us overcome our failures; keep us from what hurts us; and guide us onto everlasting life. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 



First Lesson: Ezekiel 18:1–4, 25–32

Psalm 25:1–9

Second Lesson: Philippians 2:1–11

Gospel: Matthew 21:28–32

 

 

 

Opening Hymn: “Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies” (LBW 265)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chnlE-CnZYU

 

 




 



 

Sermon:  October 11, 2020

“Act Properly”

(Matthew 21:31)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     “Are we to sin that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1). Yes, you heard that right. It has to be one of the screwiest questions in the whole Bible. That’s for sure. So why ask it? It seems obvious that we shouldn’t sin – take God’s name in vain, murder, steal, and believe in idols, among other things (Exodus 20:1–17). So if we know the answer even before the question’s asked, why ask it at all? Well, it’s because our assumption’s wrong. We’re actually worse off than we think – and we don’t know what we think we know. That’s because we are mired in defilements from within (Mark 7:20–23). Contrary to the glowing opinion that we have of ourselves, “there is no soundness” in us “from the sole of the foot even to the head” (Isaiah 1:6). None at all. Bad to the bone, as we say. If we compare ourselves to rank criminals, we’ll never get this. But if we compare ourselves to the glory of almighty God – then we’ve all fallen (Romans 3:23). God is perfect and so should we be (Matthew 5:48, Philippians 3:12). Well that’s clearly not the case. So case closed. No contest. But because we won’t draw that damning comparison, we need the law of God to hammer on us so that our failures may become “sinful beyond measure” (Romans 7:13) – making it all the more difficult for us to ignore or dispute our wretchedness.

     Martin Luther helps with this escalation of the wretchedness of our sinfulness. “The remission of sins has not been instituted,” he preached, “in order that we may have permission to sin” (Luther’s Works 30:245, 58:236, 78:269). Remission does not give us permission. Thus he exposes our trickery. The fact that there’s forgiveness is actually meant to stop sin – not to further it because forgiveness is waiting in the wings. But didn’t Luther also famously say that we should “sin boldly” (LW 48:282)? How about that? Shouldn’t we then throw all caution to the wind and let the devil take the hindmost? Not at all. On the same page Luther says that this command is only meant to expose our sinfulness by admitting how bad off we really are. “You too are a mighty sinner,” he writes – and that’s the point of seeing how boldly we sin. At the heart of this is the realization that “nothing is so common as making right wrong and wrong right by all sorts of clever artifices and queer tricks” (LW 21:114–15). This is Luther’s elaboration on Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” That’s what’s behind his admonition to sin boldly (R. F. Marshall, “Only the Remorse of Judas,” The Bride of Christ, Pascha 1995, Section 6). So if we are going to move ahead with all of this moral confusion abounding, we’ll need to embrace the confession – “I have to concentrate all of my earnestness solely on this – that I am a sinner” (Søren Kierkegaard, Journals, ed. Hongs, §4038). And there is a lot to take in, for “Scripture... represents man as one who is not only bound, wretched, captive, sick, and dead, but in addition to his other miseries is afflicted, through the agency of Satan his prince, with the misery of blindness, so that he believes himself to be free, happy, unfettered, able, well, and alive.... It is Satan’s work to prevent men from [seeing] their plight and to keep them presuming that they can do everything they are told” (LW 33:130). An so Luther uttered his famous line to sin boldly and quit covering up how bad off we are!

     But try though we might, we fail at this. We continue to love the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19). We continue to think better of ourselves than we should. We go on loving “false doctrine and a sinful life.” So “the fact that a blind world prefers death to life, prefers hell to heaven, bodes a terrible judgment” upon us (LW 22:390). I continue to refuse to “hush up my sins” (LW 22:373). That’s my problem. Where is my faith when I need it? Remember that faith is supposed to subdue and curb “sin so that it cannot burst into the open unhindered” (LW 22:394). The stakes are high. “You will not be saved unless you stop sinning…. Just as a person who has been healed and cured of a disease can find no delight in sickness or do anything to impair his health, so anyone who persists in false teaching and in an offensive life is under judgment and condemnation” (LW 22:389). Jesus asked which son did the will of his father – the one who said he would help, then later didn’t, or the one who first refused to help, and then repented and got the job done. Well, it’s the second son, alright (Matthew 21:31). And Luther knew why this mattered so much – simply because, whatever good works we do, small though they may be, they’re still “of more worth than... the whole world” (LW 59:270).

     But this burden of doing good deeds is heavy. There’s so much to trip us up. “Nothing is easier than sinning” (LW 30:273). We need another to help us carry this load of acting properly, of being righteous. And that is Jesus of Nazareth, God’s own son (Matthew 11:28). He does that by becoming our righteousness for us (1 Corinthians 1:30). And he becomes our righteousness by becoming sin for us, even though he never sinned, and then by being punished for that sin so that we might become righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). It’s a blessed, miraculous, required exchange. “One man sins, another pays the penalty; one deserves peace, the other has it” (LW 17:225). Why? Because the “whole of Christ’s life was a matter of taking up and bearing our ills…. He was sorrowful on account of our sorrow, and thus he took away our sorrow that we might be made joyful…. And so, to put it briefly, Christ is ours” (LW 67:46). So make him your own by believing in him (Philippians 3:12).

     And as a believer, walk in newness of life and righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). “Associate with the lowly” (Romans 12:16). That will mean having “regard for things despised and the contemptible,” and giving up what is “highly regarded” (LW 25:463). Work on unraveling being snooty and proud – looking down your nose at the less fortunate. Expect Christ’s Spirit to turn you around on this by miraculously providing you with constant reminders (John 14:26). Take that divine intervention to heart, so that you do not give up on this spiritual renewal. Remember also that even though “God demands our virtues and does not want us to be addicted to the lusts of the flesh but earnestly charges us not only to hold them in check but to slay them completely, yet our virtues cannot help us before God’s judgment; for they are polluted and contaminated by lust. Therefore unless God averts His eyes from our sins, yes, even from our righteousness and virtues and reckons us as righteous because of faith, which lays hold of His Son, we are done for” (LW 3:22). Keep that in mind as you struggle to associate with the lowly. Keep that in mind as you struggle to act properly. Amen.


Hymn of the Day:   “O God, My Faithful God” (LBW 504)

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.





 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Pete Forsyth

Dan Murphy

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

Eric Urban family

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering in the southeast from hurricanes.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 

Deaths

Carmen Apman (Bert and Donnas youngest child)

Eric Urban (Cary Natiellos friend)

Geraldine Martindale (Pastor Marshalls high school English teacher)



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Lift High the Cross” (LBW 377)



 



 

                                                         Three Flags (1958) by Jasper Johns

 

O Lord our God, grant that all Americans registered to vote, may cast ballots for candidates that are pleasing in your eyes. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

Jasper Johns, 90, one of the greatest living American artists, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. In his famous painting, Three Flags, he tries to change the way we look at the US flag. He wants us to see it as more than our national symbol, flying in the wind, high up on a pole. So he painted it three times, putting the three paintings in a tiered arrangement, five inches thick, that contradicts classical perspective. Rather than receding into the background of the painting, Three Flags projects outward toward the viewer. This invasion of our space provokes us to ask ourselves what the flag and our country mean to us. Johns wants to make the meaning of the American flag fluid and open to continual reinterpretation.





 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 4, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

It is a terrible thing to be involved with God [Hebrews 10:31]. The more you are involved with him, the wilder it gets and the more he cudgels you…. God is always the inverse of man. Man believes numbers mean something; for God it is precisely numbers which mean nothing, nothing at all.

 

(Søren Kierkegaard, Journals, ed. Hongs, 1854 §1807.)

 

Heaven and earth cannot be commingled. So our thoughts… and rules are… reproved and driven off by the heavenly…. This is the way of God…. There are, however, many and diverse ways that beckon us away.

 

(Martin Luther, Lectures on Isaiah 55 (1529)

Luther’s Works 17:257.)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 4, 2020

  

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Lord God, majestic are your ways and glorious is your wisdom. Lead us in righteousness all of our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

 



First Lesson: Isaiah 55:6–9

Psalm 27:1–13

Second Lesson: Philippians 1:1–27

Gospel: Matthew 20:1–16

 

 

Opening Hymn: “Praise the Lord! O Heavens” (LBW 540)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MuI-6Wd1aU

 




 



 

Sermon:  October 4, 2020

“Magnify the Lord”

(Isaiah 55:9)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     Why does Isaiah 55:9 tell us how great God is? You know, that his ways and thoughts are so far above ours – the way the ancient stars in the distant heavens are way above the dirt of the earth we stand on. Could it be that the answer lies in a book title? Is the answer there in the book entitled, Your God is Too Small (1952) by J. B. Phillips (1906–1982)? I think so. Isaiah tells us how great God is because our God is too small. We have settled for less, and that has to change. Isaiah tells us how great God is in order to set us straight. And two others chime in with him. Psalm 150:2 says that we should praise God because of his exceeding greatness – that’s multitudinem magnitudinis in the old Latin Bible. That’s just the right mouth full, I would say. And Saint Mary, the mother of our Lord, has her famous and often repeated words, “My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46). So Isaiah has backing in telling us how great God is so that we can have a chance to believe in the one real God. He tells us this so that we won’t be taken in by today’s arguments for a lesser God (Frederick Sontag, What Can God Do? 1979, Thomas Jay Oord, God Can’t, 2019).

     But this isn’t just a modern problem. It’s been with us for generations. Ancient naysayers are even quoted in the Bible – of all places! – as a warning for all times. And so there we read – “Who can see us? Who can search out our crimes?” “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive” (Psalms 64:5–6, 73:11, 94:7). Martin Luther believed we’re deluded about God because of our reliance on our own ratiocination. Our thoughts about God are simply wrong, he says. And so reason “plays blind man’s bluff with God,” Luther continues. “It consistently gropes in the dark and misses the mark. It calls God which is not God, and fails to call Him God who really is God” (Luther’s Works 19:55). That’s why we have Isaiah 55:9. It’s a bolt from the blue. It says stop fiddling with God. Don’t “whittle God” down; don’t make him conform with your thoughts (LW 17:17, 108). Luther goes on to say that we “constantly want to have our hand in the broth” and see to it that God is the way that we want him to be (LW 57:108). The Bible says that God is in charge of this world, “yet we carry on and bring our reason in” to fashion things the way we want (LW 56:125). We’re looking for an alium deum, Luther says, or “a different God” from the one proclaimed in the Bible (LW 46:237). We want a God who “hardens no one, damns no one, but has mercy on all, saves all, so that with hell abolished and the fear of death removed, there would be no future punishment to be dreaded” (LW 33:173). That’s because we find the Bible to be “deadly poison” – if you can believe it (LW 24:205). We can’t stomach the Biblical truth that “God determines everything” (LW 15:121). Therefore we have to make God our pupil and straighten him out (LW 51:384).

     From this it’s clear that if God is going to stand on his own for our benefit, we must first forsake ourselves (LW 25:411). We must say to ourselves and all others like us – “You fool! God is almighty. Therefore, all things are possible for Him” (LW 58:110). So constraining God in any way through our keen conceptualizations is wrong. That’s because as an unredeemed sinner “God is hostile to me and condemns me” and doesn’t want me tampering with his revealed nature (LW 79:16). And there we would remain in our despair – cut down by God – if it weren’t for Christ Jesus our Lord. For he goes to the cross, suffers and dies, and by so doing draws us to himself (John 12:32). When we believe in the sacrifice he made on the cross, and repent of our sins, we are forgiven and new life is ours. The wrath of God no longer looms over us. And this gives us great joy. For “what is impossible for us is very easy” for God (LW 6:102). And in that power we rejoice rather than fighting against it – for now we see it as “Christ, the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). It’s an almighty saving power. And there is “no other atoner but this Lamb; God recognizes no other” (LW 22:165). So if we deny Christ, “we are done for” (LW 56:87).

     Let us then rejoice in Christ Jesus our Savior, and serve him all of our days. Let us continue to grow in faith (1 Peter 2:2). Let us become mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28). And may our love also become mature. Luther says that happens when our love is “bitter to the old man, but very sweet to the new man.” For “true love is at the same time a great enemy and a friend – how harshly it rebukes, and how sweetly it helps” (LW 75:327). Without this duality, love is nothing but “stupid affection” (LW 13:153). So may true love – dual love – mark our days as we struggle to confess an unbridled divine power when we magnify the Lord. Amen.


Hymn of the Day:   “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (LBW 499)

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.


Litany for the Health of

President Donald Trump

 

First Lutheran Church of West Seattle

 

October 4, 2020

 

Let us pray for President Trump (1 Timothy 2:2) and his wife, Melania, who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, that they may be healed. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the medical treatment that they’re receiving, that they may be comforted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the others on the White House staff and in Congress who have tested positive for COVID-19, that they too may be comforted and healed. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Comfort us in our sorrow as we remember the US presidents who died in office from illness William Harrison (1841, pneumonia), Zachary Taylor (1850, cholera), Warren Harding (1923, heart disease), and Franklin Roosevelt (1945, brain hemorrhage). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And we thank you for those US presidents who recovered, by your grace, from various illnesses while in office George Washington (1795, carbuncle), James Madison (1818, fever), James Buchanan (1857, dysentery), Abraham Lincoln (1863, smallpox), Grover Cleveland (1893, jaw infection),William McKinley (1901, flu), Harry Truman (1947, flu), and Dwight Eisenhower (1955, heart attack) (see John R. Bumgarner, The Health of the Presidents, 1994). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all of us who are but sojourners here (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by sickness (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease, may we ever remember our Savior Jesus who strengthens our faith by restoring our health, when it is in keeping with his will (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.

 



 



LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Josie West

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering on the east coast from the hurricanes and west coast from the terrible fires.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “For the Beauty of the Earth” (LBW 561)



 



 

 

The devil prowls around like a roaring

lion, seeking someone to devour.

 

(1 Peter 5:8)

 

We do not sit in a rose garden. But in our circles there are many Satans…. Let us not snore in carelessness, for then we will have Satan walking about everywhere.

 

(Martin Luther, Sermon on Acts 2:1–13 (1529)

Luther’s Works 56:270)





 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 27, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

f anyone has fallen away from Christ, the true sacrifice for sins, and seeks another way or method to be saved and enter into heaven, he will never get there. He will

accomplish nothing. For when we are brought to Christ, we should never again let Him out of our sight. For if someone loses Him and starts climbing up to heaven by another way, it is impossible for him to receive forgiveness of sins, because he runs away from the only doctrine that offers us forgiveness of sins…. Without Christ, not even the least sin is forgiven…. So, then, we should remain with the Lord Christ if we have sinned and not turn our back on Him, or else we lose the forgiveness of sins. When I was stuck in my cowl in the monastery, I was so inimical toward Christ that, whenever I saw a picture or likeness of Him as He hung on the cross,… it frightened me, and I looked to the floor and would rather have seen the devil. For my heart had been poisoned through and through…. But picture Christ for yourself as gracious and merciful and as the one who forgives your sins, if you only ask. Likewise, if your brother, too, has fallen and stands up again and seeks grace, then he should have the Lord Christ depicted for him as the one who carries the lost sheep…. For Christ has instituted forgiveness of sins in His Church and established the sort of kingdom that is called “forgiveness of sins.” The Church is the sort of company in which, if a sinner listens and accepts rebuke, then he has the forgiveness of sins, and that forgiveness is good as often as he desires and seeks it.

 

(Martin Luther, Sermon on Matthew 18:21–22 (1537)

Luther’s Works 67:421–22.)




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 27, 2020

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity. Grant us the fullness of your grace, that, pursuing what you have promised, we may share your heavenly glory. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

 



First Lesson: Genesis 50:15–21

Psalm 103:1–13

Second Lesson: Romans 14:5–9

Gospel: Matthew 18:21–35 

 

Opening Hymn: “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” (LBW 549)

 




 



 

Sermon:  September 27, 2020

Be Merciful

(Matthew 18:33)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     Over thirty years ago Bob Dylan sang in one of his songs that we live in a political world “where mercy walks the plank” (Oh, Mercy, 1989). Was he right about that? If he was, then he’s been right ever since the time of Jesus. And that’s because Jesus said in his parable of The Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18, the same thing. He said that we should be merciful because we aren’t. We’re like the unforgiving servant in his parable. To get us off the dime, Jesus ends his parable by throwing the bad servant into jail until he somehow figures out how to pay back everything he has ever owed anyone – even those who have forgiven his debts. That terrifying outcome is to scare us straight. That’s because as Martin Luther knew, “life is a help only to those who are dead, grace only to sin, the Spirit only to the letter” (Luther’s Works 39:185). We have to be beaten down by God if we’re ever to live anew. And so the Gospel only comes when “consciences have become hot and thirsty because of the Law” (LW 20:299).

     But we’re so calloused. Not even such assaults sway us – “whether He sang sweet or sour, it did not do any good” (LW 20:316). “For human nature is so blind that it does not know its own... diseases, and so proud as to imagine that it knows and can do nothing” (LW 33:121). That’s because, as Luther also knew and preached, “our condition must always be that of the sick man” (LW 77:329). But why? We get off to a bad start and that sets our course on earth. “As soon as a person is born he belongs to the devil and is condemned, no matter what he does” (LW 78:93). Indeed, the longer we live, “the worse it gets” (LW 68:333). So Luther laments – “Oh, the hard and unyielding minds of men!” (LW 60:273). In Luther’s original Latin it’s – “O duras et ferreas mentes hominum!” Do you not hear the word iron in ferreas and in duras there are the words enduring and durable? So we’re stuck, that’s for sure. Duras et ferreas! That’s our plight – we’re unyielding. Since this is the case, “nothing that is in us or can be done by us makes us Christian” (LW 77:189). Shocking, isn’t it? “In matters pertaining to salvation or damnation, a man has no free choice, but is a captive, subject and slave either of the will of God or of the will of Satan” (LW 33:70)!

     Are we then done for? Not if this is true about the God of the Bible: “You do not seek Him; He seeks you. You do not find Him; He finds you” (LW 75:35). And that’s because “Christ died and lived… to be our Lord” (Romans 14:9). He didn’t wait for us to get our act together. Off he trudged to Jerusalem – to die a horrible death on the cross (Luke 9:51, 13:32). On the cross Jesus “is the very true Price which is paid for us.” Jesus is “the Price by which satisfaction is made for divine justice and wrath on our behalf.” Jesus is “the Price of redemption.” That’s because Jesus has taken “the wrath of God upon Himself and has carried it on our behalf” (LW 28:264). So rejoice and be glad in this sacrifice and the redemption it brings, for by this sacrifice “the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalms 103:13). Indeed, “no one (except this Christ) has ever suffered for… other people’s sins, whether the least or the greatest” (LW 77:159). Our Lord and Savior is unique. Grace and truth are found only in him (John 1:17). And so it is true that “without Christ, not even the least sin is forgiven” (LW 67:421). “Therefore, Christ must be painted before the eyes of the heart so that we look not to ourselves but only to Him who stands in our midst, so that you may be among the disciples who forget their fear and look to Christ alone and hear Him alone speaking” (LW 69:342). And when we do, Christ couldn’t “come any closer” (LW 58:183). Let us then rejoice and be glad. Christ brings his “sweet, living, comforting Word” to us, namely, that he “pleads for us and intercedes for us with His Father through His blood – for us, who with our sins and death had been lying in the real prison of Babylon, that is, under the devil, the ruler of this world (John 16:11)” (LW 20:183). And all of this about Jesus Christ is indeed true, and can be counted on, because it has been “tested in the presence of the Church at the bar of Scripture” (LW 33:91). And this is so even if the world rejects it because it isn’t “what it seeks and likes” (LW 77:357).

     But in our joy over this truth of Christ, we must not forget that the kingdom of Christ “does not consist in talk but in power” to do good works (1 Corinthians 4:20). Otherwise we are deceived (James 1:22, 1 John 3:20). Let us then be very careful here. Rattling off that “we are justified by faith alone without works” is mind numbing. “You have learned the words you have heard, the same way mockingbirds learn to repeat things.” Don’t be like that! Be on your guard and watch out – “Where are the fruits showing that you truly believe?” (LW 58:237). “Works cannot be left out” (LW 67:76)! For “God wants no lazy idlers” (LW 14:115). That’s because “faith without works is nothing and a false faith” (LW 76:390, James 2:26). Therefore we must “spend our lives in good works” (LW 57:37, Matthew 22:37–40). Think about that. And then be warned – “God… does not tolerate the hypocritical Christians who consider it sufficient for them to believe” (LW 30:268). May we then today, take up the good work in Genesis 50:19. There Joseph tells his guilty brothers that God’s mercy is greater than his – “Am I in the place of God?” he firmly admonishes. May we do the same – being “vigilant, penetrating, intent, astute, and determined” (LW 33:114). May we ever remind those who listen to us that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us (2 Corinthians 4:7). We are believers not because we are so smart, but because God has made us his own (Philippians 3:12). What we have to say is not our own theory of life, but the words of eternal life from the Bible (John 6:68). Let us therefore walk in humility with Joseph of old. And when we do, may we also be grateful to God for his blessings, by which he is showing us, and helping us all our days on earth, to be merciful. Amen.


Hymn of the Day:   “Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive” (LBW 307)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIsonhmhMNU  

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.



 


LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering on the east coast from the hurricanes and west coast from the terrible fires.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Give to Our God immortal Praise” (LBW 520)



 



 

Heather Hudson, September 2020

He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.

 

(1 John 5:12)

 

It is… a mere dialectical fiction that there is in man a neutral… willing, nor can those who assert it prove it…. The truth of the matter is… as Christ says: “He who is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23). He does not say: “He who is not with me is not against me either, but neutral.”

 

(Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will (1525)

Luther’s Works 33:115)

 

The sinner comes in two kinds. The sinner who is afflicted and troubled and desires to be free of sin is a son; the sinner who is secure and does not acknowledge his sin but is righteous in his own eyes is an enemy and a devil. The former is lifted up; the latter is accused.

 

(Martin Luther, Annotations on Matthew 9:1–2 (1535)

Luther’s Works 67:61–62)

 





 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 20, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

 

 

 

President James K. Polk (1795–1849) statue by Sherri Treeby (2005), Grand Rapids, South Dakota. “Probably no other president presents such a chasm between actual accomplishment and popular recognition…. A geographical amoeba when Polk became president, the United States had assumed its present continental shape by the end of his term…. Historians acknowledge his remarkable achievements, but many also accept the verdict that Polk waged an unjust, imperialistic war against a dysfunctional, defenseless Mexico.” Steve Raymond, “The Sweeping     Influence of an Obscure President,” The Seattle Times,    December 27, 2009.

 

 

There are all kinds of abuse in this    authority…. [The] government [then, is like] spider webs [which] catch little flies all right, but the millstone rolls on through. So the laws… and government of one and the same authority keep a hold on the little men while the big fellows go scot-free.

 

(Luther’s Works 44:93)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 20, 2020

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Father in heaven, you know our problems and our weaknesses better than we do. In your love and by your power help us in our confusion and, in spite of ourselves, make us firm in faith. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 



First Lesson: Ezekiel 33:7–9

Psalm 119:33–40

Second Lesson: Romans 13:1–10

Gospel: Matthew 18:15–20

 

 

Opening Hymn: “All Creatures of Our God and King” (LBW 527)

 




 



 

Sermon:  September 20, 2020

“Follow the Government”

(Romans 13:1)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     Almost everybody chokes on Romans 13:1 – “Be subject to the governing authorities…. for those that exist have been instituted by God.” That’s because we immediately think of Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) – that butcher of Nazi Germany who killed millions of his own people after torturing them. Doesn’t that prove – against Romans 13:1 – that God doesn’t set up every ruler in power? Surely he didn’t put Hitler in office! Well, if we weren’t schooled in Biblical thought that would be the natural way to think. But in the Bible we find that God puts both good and bad people into power to bless and curse us. God, after all, creates weal and woe, both good and bad come from him (Isaiah 45:7, Job 2:10, Romans 9:18). Think of King Saul in ancient Israel. God fetched that very tall man, hiding in a pile of baggage, to be their first king (1 Samuel 10:22–23). But before you know it, God has sabotaged him – sending an evil spirit to torment him (1 Samuel 16:14). That spirit also drives him to try to kill his successor, David (1 Samuel 19:9). So Martin Luther wasn’t surprised to find that “those least capable of conducting the affairs of state administer them” (Luther’s Works 3:53). They don’t do the four basics: “First, toward God there must be true confidence and earnest prayer; second, toward his subjects there must be love and Christian service; third, with respect to his counselors and officials he must maintain an untrammeled reason and unfettered judgment; fourth, with respect to evildoers he must manifest a restrained severity and firmness” (LW 45:126). This disparity drove Luther to the conclusion that because “there is no greater jewel in the world than a God-fearing lord, so there is no more hurtful plague in the world than a godless lord.” But much to our chagrin, Luther also knew that the vast “majority” of rulers are deeply mired in “tyranny and wickedness.” For they are empty and idle and do nothing to stop their citizenry from seeking only “honor, power, luxury, selfish profit, and self-will.” This rots our common life together. And so “the miserable admixture of the filth of our arrogance... changes... the finest reason into the greatest folly” (LW 13:60, 71, 54, 150). Nevertheless, God wants us to obey these bad leaders – “even when the government commits an injustice” – because it “improves the soul” to suffer in this way (LW 44:92). We can never forget that suffering builds character (Romans 5:4). Suffering in this life in fact leads us to eagerly anticipate a better life to come in heaven (Philippians 3:8, Hebrews 9.28, 11:16).

     But in our democracies we are led to believe that electing a good leader can make all the difference – turning a bad situation into a good one, and maybe even helping us gain everlasting blessedness. But precisely at this point a deep Biblical truth is missed. And once we hear it we know why – “The world is much too evil to be worthy of good and godly lords [Romans 3:23, James 2:10]. It must have [rulers] who suck it dry and burden it with... laws. These and other punishments are its deserved award. To oppose them means to oppose God’s punishment. As humbly as I conduct myself when God imposes a sickness upon me [Psalm 107:17], so humbly should I also conduct myself toward the evil authority that the same God now imposes upon me” (LW 39:19). That doesn’t mean to say that those bad leaders are good and what they do is right. No, Luther thought we should “rebuke” them, we who know better. But along with that protest, we must also “endure” the punishment, all the same, and not try to oust them or flee from them (LW 69:236–37). So we can’t look to secular rulers to keep us safe – they are too unreliable for that, even though the pain they cause can help us in the long run. Besides, they can only change things without improving on them (LW 13:217, 21:95). Besides, they don’t have the words of eternal life (John 6:68). But the church does. Therefore the “office of preaching – where it exists as God ordained it – brings and bestows… eternal peace and life…. Worldly government, on the other hand, preserves peace, justice, and life, which is temporal and transient” (LW 46:237). That preaching gives us “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). So we are to believe in him – Christ Jesus himself, the redeemer, the sacrificial lamb – and trust in him more than in any secular ruler (John 14:1, Acts 5:29). We are to believe in Jesus and be delivered from the dominion of darkness and transferred into his kingdom (Colossians 1:13). We are to believe that when Jesus died on the cross for us he bore our sins in his body that we might be healed and kept safe for all eternity (1 Peter 2:24, John 3:36).

    Once we do, we then are to pray for our leaders in government, that they may keep the peace here on earth (1 Timothy 2:2). For Gods people, praying and obeying always matter more than voting and willing and imagining and figuring out a better world. But when we pray for peace, we should never hope for our own welfare. Instead we should care about being able to “discuss the Word, extend the faith [dilatare fidem], and bring up our children… in Christian discipline” (LW 28:259). Here Gods will matters more than ours. Thats what the Lords Prayer teaches us “thy will be done, and not ours (Matthew 6:10). “Our will must be submerged because it is “at war with Gods will (LW 42:45). “Thy will be done” should rule in our hearts even though we hate hearing it. What will turn us around, and makes us give up this hatred, is getting “caught in wretchedness” and feeling the pain of it (LW 57:54). For that helps us fulfill the requirement for praying the Lords Prayer knowing that we are “half-dead men, wounded and not completely sound” (LW 73:414). Otherwise we will remain offended that “Gods will alone be done.” Otherwise “we poor little worms [will continue to] make such a fuss about our will, which is never free of evil and always deserves to be thwarted” (LW 42:45). Once we start praying in this way, we will then have progressed mightily toward our goal of following Romans 13:1 and supporting our secular rulers. Amen.


Hymn of the Day:   “O God of Earth and Altar” (LBW 428)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFG-CqYXyOo

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.



 


LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob & Barb Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

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 the Bob, Scott, Eric, Tyler Schorn family on the death of Barbara on Sunday, September 13th.

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering on the east coast from the hurricanes and west coast from the terrible fires.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 

Birth

Give thanks to God on the birth of Daniel William Liang to Steve and Gina Liang on September 13th at 9:48 am in Seattle. May Daniel grow up to be a healthy and strong young man who believes in and follows the Lord Jesus Christ.



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing” (LBW 259)



 



 

 

Everyone has something good about them....

You have to find [that] and love the person for that....

Oh, yeah?  How about Hitler?... Hitler loved dogs. 

[Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle: A Memoir

(New York: Scribner, 2005) p. 144.]

 

Both spirits are God’s, the good and the evil. The evil one God gives to the proud in heart, as it is written of Saul (1 Samuel 16:14) that the evil spirit from the Lord ruled him, namely, the angry, raging spirit, with which they fight for their right and truth, and pursue those who are good, as we read in Romans 11:8 – “God has given them a prickly spirit.” The good Spirit is the Holy Spirit. He creates gentle, kind, and good hearts, which walk the right path, on which they seek God in all things and not themselves.

 

(Martin Luther, Commentary on Psalm 143:10 (1525)

Luther’s Works 14:203)





 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 13, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

R. S Thomas (1913–2000), Welsh poet, Anglican priest.

 

The world… remains the world [and the Christian] must deprive himself and live contrary to it, rebuking its worldly desires.

 

(Luther’s Works 75:198.)

 

Do not be conformed to this world.

 

(Romans 12:2)

 

I chose you out of the world.

 

(John 15:19)

 

You [are] aliens and exiles.

 

(1 Peter 2:11)

 

Our commonwealth is in heaven.

 

(Philippians 3:20)

 

Friendship with the world

is enmity with God.

 

(James 4:4)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 13, 2020

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

O Lord our God, we thank you for your Son who chose the path of suffering for the sake of the world. Humble us by his example, point us to the path of obedience, and give us strength to follow his commands. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.  

 



First Lesson: Jeremiah 15:15–21

Psalm 26

Second Lesson: Romans 12:1–8

Gospel: Matthew 16:21–26

 

Opening Hymn: “Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now” (LBW 253)

 




 



 

Sermon:  September 13, 2020

“Don't Be Worldly”

(Romans 12:2)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     God can love the world (John 3:16) but we can’t (1 John 2:15). Why is that? It’s because by so doing, God manifests his works in the world (John 9:3, Psalm 79:9, Ezekiel 36:22). He doesn’t exalt the world by loving it (John 3:30). Nor does he benefit from the world by loving it (Psalm 50:12). And he doesn’t get mixed up with the world by loving it (Romans 1:25). That’s because, unlike us, God’s life is within himself (John 5:26). He doesn’t need anything from us or from the world (Acts 17:25). Martin Luther believed in this and so he concluded that “God does not owe anyone anything” (Luther’s Works 56:210). He loves the world not because he owes it to us, but in order to manifest his works in it.

     We, on the other hand, come before God with “sheer need” (LW 68:96, Revelation 3:17). We can do nothing without him (John 15:5). Without him we are a “body of death” (Romans 7:24). Therefore “divine grace… cannot help if someone says, “I do not need grace’” (LW 68:216). That’s because we don’t have life within us – we need what’s outside of us to live now (air, water, food, shelter, friends) and for all of eternity (grace). So loving the world would be useless. It’s passing away, after all (1 John 2:17, 1 Peter 1:24, 1 Corinthians 7:31). Entropy is ineluctably unraveling everything (Carl Wieland, World Winding Down, 2012). The world of entropy can’t sustain us. So being worldly is unpromising. Don’t therefore conform to the world (Romans 12:2). Don’t worry about it either. Its ways are not needed to love your neighbor. What you need to love your neighbor is the light of Christ (1 John 2:9–11). Fix your minds on the things that are above – not on the earth and its worldly ways (Colossians 3:2). Christians aren’t supposed to be like everyone else. Because of our faith in Jesus we are “aliens and exiles” here (1 Peter 2:11). Our savior has called us “out of the world” (John 15:19). And we are to rejoice in that because “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). So Luther says that the Bible calls us to live “contrary to [the world], rebuking its worldly desires.” What this means for us is that we’ll have to live “soberly in a tavern, chastely in a brothel, godly in a theater, righteously in a den of murderers” (LW 78:198). There is a better life in heaven (Hebrews 11:16). Hope for it (LW 8:115). And when you do you will walk “straight through everything on earth” so you’ll have it and not have it, you’ll use it but “not depend on it.” You’ll learn to deal with the temporal in such a way that you “do not lose the eternal” but leave the temporal behind “and always stretch for the eternal as the goal set” before you (LW 77:200). So “renounce this world and await the kingdom of heaven” (LW 59:269).

     But that’ll take a lot of faith to pull off – tantamount to “raising the dead” (LW 73:377). And such a powerful faith comes through the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:5). But they are so volatile. Getting our minds to go in one constant direction is impossible – trapped as we are in the “fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). We “flit from one idea to another” (LW 23:90). At our best we are fickle (LW 15:99). We’re constantly being pulled away by the new (Acts 17:21, LW 15:144). And we’re all troubled by this in one way or another (Nir Eyal, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, 2019). Try as we may, however, to order our thoughts, we fail. And so we cry out with Luther – “I’m done for! I’m lost! I’m finished! God doesn’t want me!... He hates me!” (LW 73:142). But the Bible teaches that self-control doesn’t come through personal exertion and extra effort to correct ourselves, but from God’s grace (Galatians 5:23) – continentia as the old Latin Bible translates self-control. But how does God deliver that continentia to us? It’s all tied up with the Savior who suffered for us on the cross. His obedience inspires us (Philippians 2:8). We are to have the control that he had. He was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. In that suffering and dying he bore our sins in his own body and thereby paid for them what we owed to God (1 Peter 2:24, 1:18–19). Gott mit Christum bezahlen – Luther preached! “Pay God with Christ,” is its translation (LW 30:12). Because of this payment, Christ shouts out to us – “I’m death’s death, hell’s hell, and the devil’s devil…. Do not be afraid, My son, I have conquered” for you (LW 73:122).

     But for us to share in this victory – in the “steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5), we’ll have to die with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14). We’ll have to join in with his sufferings (1 Peter 4:13). “We die to sin through Christ, who was made a sacrifice for sin and thereby killed sin so that it is no longer able to rule in us (LW 73:94). This is how we finally acquire self-control (2 Corinthians 5:14). It is “produced” through suffering (Romans 5:3–5) – or operatur in the Latin Bible again. You can hear the English word operation in that Latin word for production. Suffering starts the operation going that brings about self-control. Nothing else can awaken us from our waywardness – being “always sleeping” as we are (LW 73:223). Faith “requires trouble and toil in order that we may come through and be saved,” that we may pass through the blazing fire (LW 30:130). And so our self-control cannot be of our own making. It is a gift – that comes only through suffering. No one, after all, gets into the kingdom of God except through many tribulations (Acts 14:22). Luther believed in this verse so much that he ended his famous Ninety-Five Theses (1517) with it (LW 31:33). And may we do the same by the grace of God. For it is the suffering of the gospel that changes us for the better – that “makes a robber a pedagogue,” a “wolf... a sheep,” a sinner a believer (LW 73:135, 37:101, 12:388). Then we simply “depend on the Word” and give up disputing whether God is telling us the truth in it (LW 67:353). For there is no help from God for us until “all things seem hopeless” (LW 7:100). We have to despair in ourselves before we can trust in God (LW 25:386, 26:315, 33:62, 40:241, 51:58).

     With that transformation once begun in us, we then have the power to go the narrow, difficult, hard way [arta via] (Matthew 7:14, LW 20:272). We then have the strength to finally join the true church – the one that “in this life is called militant, not triumphant” (LW 73:168). Then we discover why this is so tough, and that’s because “the Christian is free by faith, but as far as the flesh is concerned, he is a slave of sin. Yet these things, though contraries, are nevertheless reconciled in the Christian because the same Christian is saint and sinner, dead and alive, all sin and no sin; hell and heaven are correlatives” (LW 73:185). Then, and only then, have we started giving up on being worldly. Amen.  


Hymn of the Day:   “Come Follow Me, the Savior Spake” (LBW 455)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF3kZG-VajY

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.



 


LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Pete Morrison

Kyra Stromberg

Bob & Barb Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

  

 

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Hillary Thoren

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering on the west coast from the terrible fires.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Praise and Thanks and Adoration” (LBW 470)



 



 

 

[The ungodly] do not recognize the plainest testimonies of Scriptures. This is the fault not of the [Biblical] prophecy but of their blindness and ungodliness. As it is not the fault of the book and the letters that a peasant cannot read, but the peasant’s, so it is not the fault of the Bible, which is very clear so that even boys understand it, but it is the fault of the ideas and darkness of the [ungodly].

 

(Martin Luther, Lectures on Isaiah 29 (1532)

Luther’s Works 16:243.)





 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 6, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

Saint Peter's Confession of Faith

The words are clear: “I will build My Church” [Matthew 16:18]. Christ does not say that He is going to build a kingdom of the world or a temporal empire involving the present life, but “My Church,” that is, the kingdom of heaven and of the life to come.... Christ is speaking of something far different from... temporal power, wealth [and] pride.... Next, He says “upon this rock,” that is, not upon a human being or a power that will perish…. Moreover, the Church is in no way a temporal kingdom, and so it does not contend with flesh and blood but with the gates of hell. And the gates of hell are not powers of the world [stones and timbers, earth, water, gold and silver] but the power of Satan, the kingdom of sin and death. These are the Church’s enemies; with them she fights; against them she is victorious…. To the Church He gives a good that is far better and more excellent than these pieces of dung…. [Therefore the Church] is the front line of an army, a warrior heroine, arrayed against the very gates of hell, that is, against the trials of sin, death, and hell. Therefore, we Christians are responsible, if we bear that name in earnest, for an endeavor far greater and more difficult than bringing the kingdoms of the world under our rule by deception and lies.

 (Luther’s Works 67:282–83.)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 6, 2020

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Almighty God, you reach out to call people of all nations to your kingdom. As you gather disciples from near and far, count us among those who boldly confess Christ. In his name we pray.  Amen.

 



 

First Lesson: Exodus 6:2–8

Psalm 138

Second Lesson: Romans 11:33–36

Gospel: Matthew 16:13–20

 

Opening Hymn:  “Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer” (LBW 343)




 



 

Sermon:  September 6, 2020

“Build on a Rock”

(Matthew 16:18)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     The church looks like a regular place. It has buildings. It has people running it. It has schedules. There are bills to pay. It recruits people to sign up for activities and join the membership rolls. It invests money and provides services. But the church isn’t really what it looks like – it isn’t another human organization. No, it’s the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23). And that’s because it is built on a confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:15–20). In the face of that confession, all of those schedules, services and people fall by the wayside. Oh, they’re still there, but theyre no longer the focus. We care about other things. Martin Luther deeply believed this about the church. He was convinced that the gospel of Jesus wasn’t “preached to us for the sake of this worldly existence and life, but so… we might be helped to eternal life” (Luther’s Works 57:25). “We have not been baptized for this life, but that we should wait for another life” (LW 57:29). And Luther also knew that the church was rarely what it should be. Therefore he lamented that there is almost nothing more unlike the church than the church itself (LW 27:297). Indeed, the church is not the Church, and what is not the church is the Church” (LW 67:211). Would that more Christians today regularly used these two lines to guide them back to the truth about the church. We, after all, are living in a time when we want to curate our own funeral [because we want to do the same for] our own Facebook page (Tara Isabella Burton, Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World, 2020, p. 24).

     But, alas, Luther goes begging. We instead keep longing for that misguided church – made by people, run by people, and for people in the here and now (Philip Terzian, “The Church of What’s Happening Now, The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 1997). We like our false church (Gibson Winter, The Suburban Captivity of the Churches: An Analysis of Protestant Responsibility in the Expanding Metropolis, 1961). This places us firmly in “the prison and power of the devil.” And we’re stuck there. We cannot “work our way out…. We [are] lost with all of our power and strength, merit and works, unable with all of our doings to escape sin and death.” And we can never sufficiently grasp this because “the prison and chains of darkness in which the devil holds us prisoner on account of sin are too thick” (LW 57:284). Therefore we need some divine bolt cutters to sever those chains. We need deliverance (Romans 7:24).

     In one of his recently translated sermons from 1537, Martin Luther spells out this rescue in some detail. Jesus is the one who delivers us – pouring out his blood “at the cross for our redemption.” Why is such a ghastly sort of rescue needed? Well, “there was an unchangeable, eternal, irrevocable judgment on sin.” Because of that, “God cannot and will not look kindly on sin, but His wrath remains over sin eternally and irrevocably.” This sets up the need for the deliverance Christ provides for us sinners on the cross with his sacrifice. This is the reason that “a payment must take place which would make restitution, and pay, and thus take away and cancel sin.” One might wish that this payment could be picked up anywhere, and by anyone, and so have God “reconciled with us” in various ways, in different cultures. But this is not so. Our redemption isn’t that readily available. For you see that “no creature could do such a thing, and to this day there has been no other remedy nor help than this, that God’s eternal Son thus stepped into our need and misery,... took such dread, eternal wrath on Himself, and for it He offered His own body, life, and blood as an offering and payment for sin.” But how does this sacrifice rescue us? Christ’s death takes God’s wrath away from us by bearing “the judgment of eternal wrath and death,” and so making satisfaction and payment for us. What should have hit us sinners, hits the innocent Jesus instead, and so God’s wrath lands on him and not on us. It passes us by. That’s how we are delivered from God’s wrath. The reason this death works, like no other can, is because Jesus, with God the Father, is “one divinity and majesty.” That’s what gives the suffering and death of Jesus so much value. But there’s one last hitch. None of what Christ has done for us on the cross helps unless we believe that it works and that it is true. And so we must also hold to this message of deliverance “with firm faith” if we are to be saved by it (LW 57:283). That’s because faith is what makes redemption beneficial for us (Romans 3:25). Indeed, salvation lies “in a heap,” unused and ineffective, if it isn’t believed in, if it isn’t “distributed or applied” by way of faith (LW 77:327, 30:159).

     So let us build the church on God’s word and on his Son – knowing that we are to go to church “to hear God’s Word, to learn to believe aright, to pray and to call upon God” (LW 58:271). Let us not worry that when judged “by external appearances,” we’ll see “nothing splendid about [this] church.” Let us not worry that our church isn’t one that flourishes in the here and now, relevant and hip with the times. And let us not forget that “even the poorest village in which there is a pastor and some believers,” there can still be a stunning church – a veritable “palace of ivory.” What makes the church so glorious is the fact that “the Word is there, Baptism, the Eucharist, divine governance, the consolation of consciences, the fear of God, trust in God, waiting upon God, [and] the imitation of Christ….. Though this kingdom is nothing in appearance, it is nevertheless most delightful in God’s eyes” (LW 12:255). And that’s all that matters. In all of this the focus will be on “the words of eternal life” – because Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (John 6:68, 18:36). His church, then, should take believers “into a different, new existence and life, in which there is no longer any need for food and drink, clothing and shoes, money and goods, sleep, work, marriage, and things like that, which belong to this life” (LW 58:136). And Luther thought that the focus of those eternal words drives us to “neither fear death nor love this life” (LW 44:85). May we then build up the church with this double focus in mind – knowing that just as Christ rescues sinners from divine wrath, so he “must always rescue and help the Church when it is in... danger and distress” (LW 58:418). And when we do this, may we ever rejoice that the foundation of the church – upon which we build it – is Jesus Christ, the Rock. Amen.

 


Hymn of the Day:   “Built on a Rock” (LBW 365)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hWzAlOkzfs

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.



 


LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Pete Morrison

Kyra Stromberg

Bob & Barb Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

  

 

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Hillary Thoren

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering in the southeast from the hurricane.

 

Deaths

John Paulson

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn:    “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (LBW 294)



 



 

 

Library of Congress flag collection. Two confederate soldiers

holding a Rebel battle flag at a Confederate reunion in 1917.

 

First, I have to make a confession. I own a Confederate flag, more accurately known as the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

    In my defense, I was ten years old when I received it. My older brother saw it in a store and said I needed it because it was part of my Southern heritage.

     I didn’t know much about my Confederate [forbears], although I was fascinated by the Civil War. Ironically, my sympathies were always more with the Yankees than the Rebels. I even asked for and received a blue Union uniform for Christmas when I was six years old. Still, I have kept the Rebel battle flag all these years. It’s currently propped against a tall stack of Civil War books in my library.

    But now that the Rebel flag has become a hot-button issue and Southern states are being hammered about getting rid of this symbol of the Confederacy, I’m far more ambivalent about it.

     Are the stars and bars nothing more than an alternate symbol of the swastika? Are they symbols of slavery and racism? To some, yes. To the white supremacist who shot and killed the members of a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the flag is a rallying standard for hate. For the African-American, it may well be what the swastika is to the Jew – a symbol of oppression and genocide and brutality.

     But there is another view. A view that makes me reluctant to burn my childhood battle flag or throw it in the trash. It symbolizes the schizophrenic inner conflict and the inner demons of our nation, and also the noblest, if misguided, aspiration for autonomy and sovereignty.

     This is a conflict still not resolved.

     The Black Lives Matter movement reminds us that there is still the feeling in the Black community that Black lives are regarded in our culture as subhuman, dispensable, and marginal.

      And on the other hand, there are still those who argue that the Federal government overreaches its constitutional limits, and exceeds the rights that are reserved to the sovereign states.

      And then there are those who have a stake in the south – who have ancestors who fought, bled, and died for the Confederacy, who have lived with the echoes of musket fire and the smell of cannon smoke. For them, there is a sense that this Rebel flag is more than a symbol of racism – although it is that. For them, it is a symbol of valor and idealism – albeit misplaced and in the end defeated.

      So for some of us, the Rebel flag creates a sense of ambivalence. Perhaps not unlike the brazen serpent that God told Moses to make in the wilderness of Sinai [Numbers 21:4–9]. The serpents had come among the Israelites and bitten them; and Moses told the Israelites to look at the brazen serpent and live.

      But some 500 years later, the brazen serpent had become an object of worship, an idol. As part of his reforms, King Hezekiah took the dramatic step of destroying this relic from the past [2 Kings 18:1–4].

      This might be an argument on behalf of destroying the flags and removing them from public places in county seats and capitals.

      Still, I haven’t destroyed my flag. I haven’t thrown it away. Not yet, anyway. It sits in the corner with my collection of facsimile minié balls and shelves of Civil War books.

      The Rebel flag reminds me that even good, valorous, well-intentioned people can be absolutely wrong in their priorities and choices. And this might be an argument for allowing the flag to be displayed in museums, Confederate monuments, and Confederate cemeteries.

      All of this debate provides a helpful dose of humility when I become too certain of my options and my ideologies.

      Let us pray: Our Lord, give me a sense of clear discernment so that cultural symbols and historical artifacts don’t become idols to me. Help me to focus my ultimate loyalties and allegiances only on you and your Kingdom. Amen.

 

(The Rev. Tom Letchworth, War Ain’t No Picnic:

30 Civil War Stories & Devotions, 2017, pp. 66–69.)

 


 

 

I am aware that some churches do not accept Martin Luther’s concept of the simul iustus et peccator [Luther’s Works 26:232, 73:185] – the belief that a Christian after baptism is still a sinner. Try as I might, I am not able to grasp the objection that some Romans Catholic theologians have raised against the treatment of the simul in the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” signed [in 1999] by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. If a Christian is not still a sinner after baptism, what is the point of confession, in which he or she asks God for forgiveness and absolution? It seems that the objection is a mere quibbling with words.

 

(Carl E. Braaten, My Ecumenical Journey, 2018, p. 76n29.)