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 our building 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

February 21, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

If it becomes a matter of the Word, parents are to be set aside. But beyond such a case, parents are to be obeyed without qualification. This is, however, a scandalous teaching,… because children are of their own accord despisers and haters of their parents. How much more will they now, under the pretext of this teaching, hate their parents…. [Nevertheless Christ] subjects children to Himself, lest they love their parents more than Himself…. He Himself is the majesty on which all things depend and that those who are worthy of Him are blessed, as pitiable as He Himself might be and devoid of majesty as He might appear…. The cross, which is the basest thing in the world’s eyes, must become the greatest treasure…. [And] He subjects parents to Himself, lest they love children more than Himself for the same reasons given above concerning the children…. We cannot glory at all in our own virtues but only in the cross, that is, in our own destruction and annihilation which we undergo on His account.

 

[Martin Luther, Annotations on Matthew 10:37 (1538)

Luther’s Works 67:115–18.]

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

February 21, 2021

  

 

First Sunday in Lent

 

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

 

Let us pray:  Lord God, our strength, the battle of good and evil rages within and around us, and our ancient foe, the devil, tempts us with his deceits and empty promises. Keep us steadfast in your Word and, when we fall, raise us again and restore us through your Spirit. In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen. 

  

First Lesson: Genesis 22:1-18

Psalm 6

Second Lesson: Romans 8:31–39 

Gospel: Mark 1:12–15

 

Opening Hymn: “The God of Abraham Praise” (LBW 544)

 




 




 

Sermon: February 21, 2021


“Endure the Test”
(Genesis 22:1)


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

     It’s probably the scariest place in the Bible – Genesis 22:1–12. That’s where Abraham, under a command from God, tries to kill his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah. Maybe that’s why some critics have insisted that it “doesn’t cut it” to say that “God is testing our faith” (Edward O. Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence, 2014, p. 158). But Christians move ahead and say that there’s more up there than attempted homicide and cynicism. Christians also find on that mountain Matthew 10:37. There Jesus says whoever “loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” That’s our test on this mountain – regardless of what Abraham’s test was. Ours is not about killing our children. It’s about loving God properly. So for Christians Mount Moriah is the Mountain of Love – Mount Amore, if you will. On that mountain we begin our struggle to love in the way that God wants us to love. And there we stay for the rest of our lives – struggling and striving to love as we should. The test lasts as long as we’re alive. Martin Luther understood this well, noting that our whole life is “the year of probation” (Luther’s Works 44:386). So we never get off the treadmill. And we never come down from Mount Amore either. That’s because our love has to be tested until our life on earth is done.

     Why is that? Why is it an endurance race instead of an hour or two exam? It’s because it has to do with our love and life which keep on going. Therefore we always have to be tested to make sure we haven’t gone off the rails. For “a Christian’s life is in reality not immaculate” (LW 22:140). Glitches occur all the time. And they have to be smoothed out as we go along. Abraham may have spent only part of a day up on Mount Moriah – Christians, however, spend their whole life atop Mount Amore. That’s because we have a lot to sort out there. For one thing, “in the absence of an emergency,” our families must be attended to diligently (LW 23:202). Given the sorry state of families in our land, this is needed more than ever (Jeffrey S. Turner, American Families in Crisis, 2009). And yet we must never “neglect God’s Word for their sakes” (LW 56:356). So even though “obedience to father [and] mother… remain in the fourth commandment; the Word of God and obedience to God soar and prevail over” the family (LW 56:358). That’s because “we should love and revere God above all things” (LW 4:44). “Confidence [in] ourselves” is out of the question. God “abhors” it (LW 3:4). So “let the drop yield submission to the ocean” – that is, the family drop yielding to the ocean God (LW 26:107). This correction is also desperately needed given the demonic preoccupation with family that’s also part of our society (Janet Fishburn, Confronting the Idolatry of the Family, 1991). So when push comes to shove, “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). That’s because even though we are both commanded to obey God and honor our parents (Exodus 20:3, 12) – God matters more than our parents. So when there is a conflict between God and parents, between God and children, between the first commandment and the fourth, between the first table of the law and the second table, the second “yields and is nothing when it impinges” on the first. But in the event that “there is no conflict between” the two, then God does not abrogate the second in favor of the first (LW 5:114). This way of viewing God’s Ten Commandment in terms of two tables – the first table being the first three commands about God which matter more, and the second set of seven about our neighbor which matters less – this approach meant a great deal to Luther who thought it had “undoubtedly been pointed out by the Holy Spirit” (LW 2:59).

     But even with such heavenly authorization, what if we can’t keep these tables straight? What then? What if we only see things “dimly” now (1 Corinthians 13:12)? The old Latin Bible translates that impaired vision as videmus in enigmate. That makes it sound like the enigma it truly is. But how damaging is that confusion? Romans 7:24 says it’s so bad that we’re depleted to the point of spiritual decay and death, so that only deliverance by another can help. Left to ourselves we’re dead in the water. We flounder without aid. And so we would remain if left alone. Then “a certain diabolical dullness reigns in us, our praying is cold, and we are completely lukewarm in other exercises of godliness. Nor do we burn with zeal and love for Christ as we do for the things of this present world” (LW 7:255). Then the Bible is inverted, à la Reverend Ike (1935–2009), and we think that “the lack of money is the root of all evil” – contrary to what 1 Timothy 6:10 really says (Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, p. 67).

     But listen – we have been helped. And the good news is that we aren’t left alone. God sent his only son to take on sinful human flesh, and died on the cross “to put away sins” (Romans 8:3, Hebrews 9:26). And he did that by taking “upon himself the full wrath… of our Lord God,… so that we would not have to suffer” it (Luther’s House Postils, ed. E. Klug, 1996, 1:388). When that happened – when Christ dies like this for us – he draws us to himself (John 12:32). So “the cross, which is the basest thing in the world's eyes, must become the greatest treasure” (LW 67:117). And that miraculous pull from the cross is just what we need – being dead in the water as we are. And so what do we do? We believe in Jesus – as a gift received (Ephesians 2:8) – and then go on to regard him “with love undying” (Ephesians 6:24). Just think of it! We decrease; he increases (John 3:30). Hes primary; were secondary. We follow him; he commands us. This loving, obeying, and deferential “second-hand mind” on our part is what the creative and innovative disdain in Christians (George Santayana, Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, Goethe, 1910, p. 176). But unfazed, we continue to run on with our second-hand minds, deferring to Christ, obeying him, denying ourselves, and getting carried away with it all – so that our love is undying and not casual or half-hearted. And along the way dullness even starts diminishing (LW 7:255). For we don’t love anyone else in this way – with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37). That surely is undying love! We love only the kingdom of God in this way – and seek it first (Matthew 6:33). “Love and revere God above all things” (LW 4:44)! Nothing else can be given this pride of place. Only the “words of eternal life” qualify as number one (John 6:68). And these eternal words are without temporal limits. They extend beyond the place of their initial manifestation “to the outer-most reaches of space and time,” since “the salvation effected here in this planet must... have cosmic dimensions” (Martin J. Heinecken, God in the Space Age, 1959, p. 144).

     But for all the greatness of this heavenly kingdom, we still have other lesser things to do. For instance, “bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Now that matters greatly even though it is secondary. So don’t think that believing in Christ crucified is enough. Don’t be “so confident of atonement that you add sin to sin” (LW 8:40). Instead, also be sure to instruct your children in the Christian faith. Luther even thought that if parents fulfilled this obligation they “could attain salvation… if they were to do nothing else” (LW 44:85)! Now that’s quite a theological whopper! Aren’t there all kinds of objections to it? Doesn’t it compromise the centrality of faith (John 3:16)? Well, maybe – but just listen to what the instructions are, following on the heels of that wild confidence in parents to earn their own salvation. Parents, Luther daringly argues, should train their children “to trust God, to believe in him, to fear him, and to set their whole hope upon him; to honor his name and never curse or swear; to mortify themselves by praying, fasting, watching, working; to go to church, wait on the word of God, and observe the sabbath;…. to despise temporal things, to bear misfortune without complaint, and neither fear death nor love this life.” What, no complaining? Mortifying ourselves? Despising our stuff? Neither fearing death nor loving life? Is that the right way to end this sermon? Are they approriate answers in the examination atop Mount Amore? Well, they must be if you’re going to endure the test. And may we all, by God’s grace, do just that – and endure the test. Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day: “If You But Trust in God to Guide You” (LBW 453)

 


 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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 Baker, and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

The Tuomi Family

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Lucy Shearer

Carolyn & Marv Morris

Ramona King

Karen Berg

Donna & Grover Mullen

Patty Johnson

Christine Berg

Kurt Weigel

Ethan, Erin and Kevin Vodka

Carol Estes

Savanna & Hank Todd

Gene & Tery Merritt

Karen Leidholm

Paul Jensen

Pat Hard

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Pray also for Texas and other southern states suffering from power outages and contaminated water supplies.

 

Deaths

Yao-chu Chang

                                                                       

 

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: “Jesus, Still Lead On” (LBW 341)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14ttjKncnQw

  



 



 

My dear fellow, if you want to accept the gospel when it gives you power over your child and demands filial obedience to you, then you should also accept it when it commands you to treat your child in a paternal way.

 

[Martin Luther, On Marriage Matters (1530)

Luther’s Works 46:306.]







 

 






Online Ash Wednesday Liturgy

February 17, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

You must flee the world with your hearts and ‘keep them unstained by the world,’ as the Epistle of James 1:27 says; that is, do not adhere to this worldly way of life, but cling to Christ according to this doctrine of faith and wait for the eternal inheritance of heaven. From this faith and hope do the office and work committed to you,… nevertheless say, ‘This is not my treasure and the chief possession for which I live,… but I regard all this temporal stuff like an inn’…. Use this inn and take what is given you for the very purpose of getting closer to [heaven] where you intend to go…. [The Christian] has no lasting place here except as a stranger who comes among the other guests, lives to serve and please them, does what they do, and where there is danger or necessity joins with them and helps to rescue and protect…. [Furthermore he] admonishes them to live here as guests and to strive for a different, eternal kingdom, that is, to abstain from all kinds of fleshly or worldly desires and to lead a good life in all kinds of good works.

[Martin Luther, Sermon on 1 Peter 2:11–20 (1539)

Luther's Works 77:200-202.]

 




Online Abbreviated Wednesday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

February 17, 2021

  

 

Ash Wednesday

 

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

 

Let us pray:  Heavenly Father, you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that we may obtain from you full pardon and forgiveness. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

Judge Yourself

An Ash Wednesday Self-Examination

 

What three things does Romans 7:24 tell you about yourself?

 

What’s most difficult for you about Philippians 2:3?

 

How can 1 Peter 2:11 change your life for the better?

 

In what ways does Mark 14:7 upset you?

 

What helps you most in Galatians 4:16?

 

Why do you need the motivation that’s in Luke 13:5?

 

What’s the best way for you to keep Luke 17:32, beyond the remembering?

 

How are you helped by the joy and sadness in John 3:36?

 

What do you care most about in Revelation 3:17?

 

What’s the best way for you to practice James 4:8?

 

How do Romans 7:18 & Luke 17:10 together help you out?

 

What’s the best thing 1 Timothy 6:10 tells you about yourself?

 

  

First Lesson: Joel 2:12-19

Psalm 51:1–13

Second Lesson: 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2  

Gospel: Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21

 

 




 




 

Sermon: February 17, 2021


“Fast With Joy”
(Matthew 6:16)


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

     Jesus tells us to fast and be happy about it (Matthew 6:16). But most of us would rather take our “ease, eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19). Why is that? Why should we even care about this? Each Ash Wednesday we remember with ashes that we are “dust, and to dust we shall return” (Genesis 3:19). Ash Wednesday knocks us off our high horse. It put us in our place. As long as we’re fooling ourselves about our status, fasting will be done with. But when we’re humiliated, shamed and belittled on Ash Wednesday, Christ’s words about fasting come back to us to strengthen us in the truth about God (Job 23:13, Psalm 115:3) and ourselves (Psalm 22:6, Proverbs 6:6). That truth teaches us one more time to say – “I am of small account” (Job 40:4). That means we’re insubstantial and cannot call the shots. God is in charge and we aren’t worthy “to answer back” to him with our disapproval over how things are going (Romans 9:20). We’re too puny – being but a “breath” and a “mist” (Psalm 39:5, James 4:14). But we get carried away with the earlier Job (Job 23:6) and think we can contend with God over how the world should go. Ash Wednesday stands against those illusions (Isaiah 30:10). And Martin Luther stands with Ash Wednesday. He sees the point in setting us straight. We are “exceedingly depraved,” he warns, and we need to be told that over and over again (Luther’s Works 2:123). When fighting against this awful, personal depravity, we must never “surrender fierceness for a small gain in yardage” (William Souder, Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck, 2020, p. 351). No, Christians “must be tested, tried, and refined, all to the praise and honor of God in eternity” (LW 60:335).

     Siding with Luther on this will require us to deny ourselves – just as Jesus commands us to do on a daily basis (Luke 9:23). Some may see this command as a “tendentious, constrictive” word, out of touch with the “wider grain” of the New Testament message of love (The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, January 2021, p. 139). But Luther defends self-denial, saying that “Christ wants the entirety of what we are, what we can, and what we do to be denied.” We need to “hold onto nothing” in which we might place our confidence before God. We need to become “a sinner and a fool, ascribing righteousness and wisdom to Christ alone” (LW 67:291, 292). We’ll resist this with everything that’s in us, and so the forty days of Lent will be put to good use pushing us in the right direction week after week. We must not forget that this is needed because “in the churches,” as Luther wisely and regularly cautions us, there are “hard and impenitent people.” So “the entire Church... must continually repent” (LW 73:100, 58). Luther learned this from Holy Scriptures, that God even “contends” with his own people (Micah 6:2). Believers don’t get a free pass when it comes to contrition and repentance (Psalm 51:17, Matthew 4:17). “The entire life of believers [is] to be one of repentance” (LW 31:25). For self-esteem is “the current circumlocution for pride” (Gerhard O. Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross, 1997, p. 27). May we then fight diligently against all positive images of ourselves, floating around in our society, refusing to “follow blindly along like stupid blockheads” (Luther’s House Postils, ed. E. Klug, 1996, 1:43).

     But try though we may – even during Lent – we’ll fail repeatedly and grievously. That’s because “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:19). Indeed, “no one gives thanks; no one becomes better because of God’s great goodness. If anything, they become worse.... We have become foolish through our own wisdom.... Our nature is evil and corrupt” (LW 73:137). So in our poverty of failure and corruption, we need a rich one to rescue us and make us rich. Indeed, “God alone must help, otherwise our action and advice will never bring any end to the misery” (LW 59:126). And that rich one God sends to us is Christ Jesus. Though he was rich with the glories of heaven, he left heaven for earth and took on sinful human flesh (Romans 8:3), “so that by his poverty” we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). He died on the cross, sacrificing his life for us, “to put away sin” (Hebrews 9:26). And so, even though I have been stung by the devil and his hellish poison, bitten by sin, troubled by my conscience, aware that by birth I am a child of wrath and condemned to death, nevertheless I believe and am convinced that my Lord Jesus Christ bore my sins on the cross, overcame death, and has reconciled me with my heavenly Father” (LHP 2:221). In thanksgiving Luther thought sermons should sing out about the wonders of salvation, and not just be prosaic (LW 14:81). “I will give ear to no other preacher,” he sings. “Nor will I accept any other thoughts. If such thoughts do enter my mind, I cast them out. I listen to what Christ tells me. Toward all others I stuff my ears and say: ‘It is all empty babble. Twaddle and drivel as you will, I am deaf to it. But bring me this Man’s thoughts and words, and I will listen to you. Let everyone else get out of here’” (LW 23:352). Indeed, even if its the last thing [you] ever do” (The Animals, Weve Gotta Get Out of This Place, 1965)!

     With that salvation buoying us up, we then are surely ready to sanctify a fast for Lent (Joel 2:15). That fast will fit in with our self-denial – enabling us to “divest [our] affection for temporal things” (LW 29:231). Fasting will help us set aside our favorite foods. If we don’t use Lent in this way, we’ll make Christ angry toward his church, “avenging Himself on that scarlet woman, that drunken whore and mother of fornications” (LW 59:52). But fasting will prepare us instead to receive “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Fasting will help renew the church. So “pray, read, study, and keep busy. Truly, at this evil, shameful time, it is no time for loafing, snoring, or sleeping” (LW 60:285). With this promise of renewal, we can fast and “be merry, happy, and cheerful, like a person on a holiday” (LW 21:156). What makes us happy is that God is drawing near to us because through fasting we have drawn closer to him (James 4:8). With this cheerful prospect we can fast as we should and not look dismal (Matthew 6:16). May we then pray that God “will mitigate the disasters impending on the world, and let us change our ways” for the better (LW 60:272). May we change by giving thanks to the Lord (Ephesians 5:20) – as we also go on to spend our days in Lent to fast with joy. Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day: “O Lord, throughout These Forty Days” (LBW 99)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYh8cf2Zv9o

 

If you want to join Pastor Marshalls five week Lenten Zoom Bible study on James, let him know. Hell send you the five worksheets for this study, as well as the Zoom invitations. Classes are on Wednesdays, February 24 to March 24, 7-9 pm.


 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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 Baker, and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

Beyla Tuomi

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Lucy Shearer

Carolyn & Marv Morris

Ramona King

Karen Berg

Donna & Grover Mullen

Patty Johnson

Christine Berg

Kurt Weigel

Ethan, Erin and Kevin Vodka

Carol Estes

Savanna & Hank Todd

Gene & Tery Merritt

 

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

 

Deaths

Yao-chu Chang

                                                                       

 

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.

 

 



 



Jesus defines what ‘to come out of the mouth’ [Matthew 15:18] is,… namely, what proceeds from the heart…. [So] cultivate the heart’s righteousness, and afterward everything will be clean…. The question here is easy. Why does he say that these manifest sins - fornication, thefts, adulteries, false testimonies, blasphemies – come out of the heart, when all of them are outward works? Because no one would do such things unless he were thinking of them in his heart and willing to do them. Thus before the body performs the sin, it has already been performed in the heart…. Therefore, the defiled and evil heart defiles everything it says and does, even what is good in appearance.

 

[Martin Luther, Annotations on Matthew 15 (1538)

Luther’s Works 67:250–51.]







 

 






Online Sunday Liturgy

February 14, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

The Gospel does the very thing that happens when one is caught in a house in the middle of the night when it is pitch-dark. Then it would be necessary to provide a light until daybreak, so that he could see. Thus the Gospel is really in the midst of night and darkness. For  all human reason is sheer error and blindness. Thus the world, too, is nothing else than a realm of darkness. In the darkness God has now ignited a light, namely, the Gospel. In this light we can see and walk as long as we dwell on earth, until the dawn comes and the day breaks [in heaven].

 

[Martin Luther, Sermon on 2 Peter 1:19 (1523)

Luther’s Works 30:165.]

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

February 14, 2021

  

 

The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord

 

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

 

Let us pray:  O Lord our God, on the mountain you showed your glory in the transfiguration of your Son. May we ever exalt in your wonder and power. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

  

First Lesson: 2 Kings 2:1-12

Psalm 50:1–6

Second Lesson: 2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2  

Gospel: Mark 9:2–9

 

 

Opening Hymn: “Song of Thankfulness and Praise” (LBW 90)

 

  




 




 

Sermon: February 14, 2021


“See Christ's Divinity”
(Mark 9:2)


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

    On the mountain Jesus burned brightly as the sun (Mark 9:2, Matthew 17:2). But we don’t know why. About as close as we get is at the end when we’re told not to say anything about it until Jesus is raised from the dead (Mark 9:9). So this transfiguration must have something to do with his death and resurrection. But we’re not told what. We also don’t know anything about how it all happened. Where did this blinding light come from? And why doesn’t its burning consume him – similarly to that bush of Moses (Exodus 3:2)? Furthermore, we don’t know what the point of it all is. Why was Jesus transfigured and in this way? Why on a mountain? Why with such bright light?

In the midst of our darkness and puzzlement and wish to understand the transfiguration of Jesus, 2 Corinthians 3:7–17 shines brightly. These verses offer an explanation. They say the transfiguration’s about competing splendors. It’s about the difference between the first and second dispensations or covenants. It’s about law and gospel. That’s why when Jesus was transfigured he wasn’t alone, but Moses and Elijah appeared with him, until Jesus outlasted them and stood there all by himself (Mark 9:4, 8). In this competition the second covenant “far exceeds” the first one – represented by Moses and Elijah – and even “surpasses” it (2 Corinthians 3:9–10). The gospel wins out over the law because it “gives life,” unlike the law which only kills (2 Corinthians 3:6). And since the gospel is all tied up with the crucifixion (1 Corinthians 2:2) and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:18), that’s why the transfiguration ends the way it does with its warning against saying anything about it until Jesus dies and is raised again (Mark 9:9).

     To make this point about the gospel surpassing the law, the divine gospel of God has to be tightly connected to Jesus. We have to see clearly and definitely that Jesus is God – that he’s “equal to God” (John 5:18). Up until the transfiguration, that isn’t clear at all. Gabriel had told Mary that Jesus would be “great and… called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32) – but you couldn’t tell by looking at him. He looked like the carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55). Or, worse yet, even the devil (Matthew 10:25). So something more was needed beyond Gabriel’s words. Jesus needed to shine brightly as the sun. That’s because bright light is a divine marker (Revelation 21:23). And this shining has to happen on a mountain top, in order to push Moses off his mountain, where he received the law (Exodus 19:3). It isn’t that Jesus wasn’t divine and the best before his transfiguration. It isn’t that the transfiguration changed him into God triumphant. What happened instead is that the veil was pulled away and we could finally see Jesus for who he truly was. “He rules over all things,… all power belongs to Him, and… he who believes in Him also has all of this power” (Luther’s Works 30:163). After the transfiguration fades, ambiguity returns. The brightness of Christ’s glory disappears from sight. It cannot be preserved in some container or booth to show others (Mark 9:5). Then Matthew 16:13–17 returns with its lack of consensus on who Jesus is. No more glorious, spectacular shining – just the carpenter’s son again, or maybe now a prophet of some sort. Here’s a case where the genie is actually put back into the bottle. His radiant glory is again hidden away in large measure.

     Even so, Martin Luther learned deeply from the transfiguration, and so should we. “Such a sure and brilliant manifestation,” he writes, is “reserved for the Son of God alone, so that the certain promise of the hope of the life to come would be revealed to the world by Him alone in this unambiguous manifestation” of his divine glory in the transfiguration (LW 67:309). And we need that because all of our adversaries try to cover it up. They try to squeeze it out of life, telling us that all that matters is “kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love” (Salman Rushdie, Joseph Anton: A Memoir, 2012, p. 624). But believing in the transfiguration, “faith moves undaunted” through these troubles “like a fine, well-built wagon through deep water. Dirt, of course, clings to the wagon, and mud, to the wheels; but the wagon lumbers through and does not allow its progress to be impeded” (Luther’s House Postils, ed. E. Klug, 1996, 3:303). And so the whole purpose of preaching the gospel is “to make your conscience sure and to give your heart a firm footing from which it should not permit itself to be torn, in order that [we] may be certain that we have God’s Word. For the Gospel is a serious business. It must be grasped and retained in all purity, without any addition or false doctrine” (LW 30:164). For only the light of Christ “shines and lights our way out of sin, death, and hell to God and eternal life” (LW 79:36).

     Christ does this by manifesting the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:6). That happens when he dies on the cross for us (John 12:23). For “Christ became a sacrifice… for us… to reconcile God” (LW 76:384). That reconciliation is our glory because through it we received blessings from God. No longer does his wrath deprive us of his blessings. His sacrifice saves us from that wrath (Romans 5:9). And none of this would work for us if Jesus were only a man and not the bright, shining light of God (LW 24:108, 41:103). No wonder then that Christ also “tears us away from all other light” (LW 23:327). That’s because those lights can’t save us, and so to believe in them would hurt us (John 3:36). Those other lights leave us as we are – “potent with eyes that scold, tongues that scald” (Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving Visitor, 1996, p. 16). Many of those other lights trust in revolution where “you don’t do any singing; you’re too busy swinging [because] revolution is bloody [and] hostile [and] overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way” (Deborah Wiles, Revolution: A Novel, 2014, p. 3). So indeed “the world… is nothing else than a realm of darkness. [But] in the darkness God has now ignited a light, namely, the Gospel” (LW 30:165). And that we first clearly behold in the transfiguration.

     So take that glory with you by faith, for through it you are “being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Through it Christ is living in you (Galatians 2:20). Through it Christ’s words are “dwelling in you richly” (Colossians 3:17). Through it those words are being “implanted” in you (James 1:21). So may they grow and flourish in you. Hear them and keep them (Luke 11:28). “Do not labor for the food which perishes” (John 6:27). Live like “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Don’t yearn for “what is exalted among men” (Luke 16:15). “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Treat as family those who do “the will of God” (Mark 3:35). Act like “unworthy servants” just doing your duty (Luke 17:10). Don’t doubt Jesus (Matthew 14:31). “Deny yourself daily” (Luke 9:23). “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). As these words grow up in you (1 Peter 2:3), see in them, and also thank God for Christ’s divinity. Amen.  

 

Hymn of the Day:  “Oh, Wondrous Type! Oh, Vision Fair” (LBW 80)

 

Prayers 


 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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 Baker, and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

Beyla Tuomi

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Lucy Shearer

Carolyn & Marv Morris

Ramona King

Karen Berg

Donna & Grover Mullen

Patty Johnson

Christine Berg

Kurt Weigel

Chiou-Jin Chen

Ethan, Erin and Kevin Vodka

Carol Estes

Savanna & Hank Todd

Gene & Tery Merritt

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Pray also for safety during our snowing, wintry weather.

 

                                                                       

 

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:  “How Good, Lord, to Be Here!” (LBW 89)



 



 

 

I do not want a Christ in whom I am to believe and to whom I am to pray as my Savior who is only man. Otherwise I would go to the devil. For mere flesh and blood could not erase sin, reconcile God, remove His anger, overcome and destroy death and hell, and bestow eternal life…. Both God and man must dwell in this Person…. He who sees, hears, or finds Christ with the faith of the heart surely encounters not only the man Christ but also the true God. Thus we do not let God sit idly in heaven among the angels; but we find Him here below…. All of this makes it possible for us to withstand the devil and to vanquish him in the hour of death and at other times when he terrifies us with sin and hell. For if he were to succeed in persuading me to regard Christ as only a man who was crucified and died for me, I would be lost…. If He were only a man, as other saints are – He would be unable to deliver us from even one sin or to extinguish one little drop of hell’s fire with His holiness, His blood, and His death. This is the knowledge, the doctrine, and the consolation we have from Christ on the basis of Scripture, although the world and cunning reason regard this as sheer folly…. These are wearisome, obnoxious spirits who never engaged in a struggle or savored anything of spiritual matters. And yet they rashly presume to set themselves up as masters of Holy Writ with their reason and then pass judgment on such sublime questions.

 

[Martin Luther, Sermons on John 14 (1537)

Luther’s Works 24:107–109.]

 







 

 






Online Sunday Liturgy

February 7, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

If you earnestly do the will of God, gladly listen to and believe God’s Word, and live in obedience to Him in order to honor Him and benefit your neighbor – even if you sometimes stumble, but get up again, and not impenitently continue to defend your sins, oppose God’s Word, or shamefully persecute your neighbor – then you can boldly and cheerfully say before God: “Lord, Lord!” and take comfort in the kingdom of heaven given to you by God…. [For He] cares about the deed and fruit of him who does the will of God. Be guided by that…

 

[Martin Luther, Sermon on Matthew 7:15–23 (1525)

Luther’s Works 78:301.]

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

February 7, 2021

  

 

Fifth Sunday after the Holy Epiphany

 

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

 

Let us pray:  Almighty God, you sent your only Son as the Word of life for us to receive through revelation. Help us to believe with joy what the Scriptures proclaim. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

  

First Lesson: Job 7:1-7

Psalm 147:1–13

Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 9:16–23

Gospel: Mark 1:29–39

 

 

Opening Hymn: “God Himself is Present” (LBW 249)

 

  




 




 

Sermon: February 7, 2021


“Be a Slave”
(Job 7:2)


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

    Job knew he was a slave of God (Job 7:2). But how about you? Are you in his camp? Or do you think you’re some sort of a religious free agent, making a life for yourself, piecing together things as you go? Some even glorify this free pursuit with God’s very presence, supposing that we’re “like God’s near-equals” as we go on this journey together (Samuel E. Balentine, Job, 2006, p. 132, contra Romans 1:25). Sometimes we even boast in this freedom, saying that we never have been, nor will we ever be, “in bondage to any one” (John 8:33). We love this freedom and wrap our identity up in it. Without it we’d be robots – something none of us dream about nor long for.

     But what we know about twins calls all of this into question. Many studies have been done on identical twins, separated at birth and then rejoined as adults, only to find out how much they are alike even though they were raised very differently. The biological determinism revealed in these studies is shocking. Indeed, “if we are only living out our lives like actors reading our lines, then the nobility of life is cheapened. Our accomplishments are not really earned, they are simply arrived at…. Barring some accident of fate, our trajectory is predetermined – we’re just along for the ride” (Lawrence Wright, Twins and What They Tell Us About Who We Are, 1997, p. 144). After nearly a hundred years of published scientific research, “we now know that most measured traits have a genetic component” (Nancy L. Segal, Born Together – Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study, 2012, p. 321).

     For Christians, however, Romans 6:20–22 is even more devastating. It tells us that “when we were slaves of sin we were free in regard to righteousness…. But when we were set free from sin, we became slaves of God.” So the only variance is who the master is. Years later Martin Luther bought into this (Luther’s Works 33:65) as did Bob Dylan long after him, singing that “it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you’re gonna have to serve somebody” (Bob Dylan, 100 Songs, 2017, p. 135). There isn’t any liberty option available. We either serve God or sin. We’re either bound to sin or bound to God. But we all begin as “slaves to evil” – Luther goes on to elaborate (LW 26:40). That’s because all of us were “brought forth in iniquity,” and conceived “in sin” (Psalm 51:5). Luther delves into this saying that the “human seed, this mass from which I was formed, is totally corrupt with faults and sins. The material itself is faulty. The clay, so to speak, out of which this vessel began to be formed is damnable…. This is how I am; this is how all men are. Our very conception, the very growth of the fetus in the womb, is sin, even before we are born and begin to be human beings” (LW 12:348). Being born in sin therefore means “to be born under God’s wrath and condemnation, so that by nature or birth we are unable to be God’s people or children” (LW 47:148). So when God works on us he is like “a wood-carver [who makes] statues out of rotten wood” (LW 33:175). This “outstanding” doctrine of original sin teaches us “that we are sinners, that all of our efforts are damnable in the sight of God, and that God alone is righteous” (LW 12:350–51). This is our predicament. Just “as little as a natural sheep can help itself in even the slightest degree but must simply depend on its shepherd for all benefits, just so little – and much less – can a man govern himself” (LW 12:154). God is the one in control; he determines everything; he does all things (LW 8:116, 15:121, 21:328). No wonder he’s the master and we’re the slaves. We’re not substantial enough to further his ways or contest them – being but a “breath;” being but a “mist” (Psalm 39:5, James 4:14). We are “nothing and... Christ is everything,” Luther adds (LW 21:66). Indeed, “all human and fleshly things are condemned by Scripture when it comes to relying on them.” And why is that? It has to do with what we truly are – “a bubble that quickly burst” (LW 16:270). That explains why we are not in the same league with God. For unlike us, God is “altogether sufficient to Himself” (LW 13:91, Isaiah 55:8–9). So we “should regard God as holy and [ourselves] as not holy” (LW 30:103).

     That startling revelation about Gods dominance and our servitude, sours us. As a result whatever God says or does finds countless judges, correctors, and critics” (LW 4:295). It even takes some Christians into other religions where they hope they can complete, correct, and enrich the Christian religion,” all for the better (Hans Küng, Theology for the Third Millennium, 1988, p. 254). But because of the binding inequality between God and people, who are we to answer back to God? (Romans 9:20). Luther responds by saying “remember your situation: God is such a great majesty in heaven, and you are a worm on earth. You cannot speak about the works of God on the basis of your own judgment. Let God rather do the speaking; do not dispute about the counsels of God and do not try to control things by your own counsels. It is God who can arrange things and perfect them, for He Himself is in heaven. We express all of this in German by saying: ‘Don’t use many words, but keep your mouth shut!’ You will not impose a rule on God” (LW 15:78).

     In our rebellion, how can we then move on with joy from being slaves of sin to slaves of God? Luther rightly says that “there is no help for the sinful nature unless it dies and is destroyed with all its sin. Therefore the life of a Christian, from baptism to the grave, is nothing else than the beginning of a blessed death” (LW 35:31). But how does that blessed death get started in the first place? 2 Corinthians 5:14 explains that because Christ “has died for all; therefore all have died.” So this blessed death of ours begins at the foot of the cross of Christ. Our death follows upon his death. That happens when we “share Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter 4:13) – and in that sense alone are his co-workers (1 Corinthians 3:9, LW 3:270, 8:94–95, 33:242). And we share his sufferings when his death also crucifies the world to us, so that we can die to the world (Galatians 6:14). Therefore between the world and Christians there is mutual disdain. The Christian “does not do, or have a taste for, the things that please the world; nor does the world do, or have a taste for, the things that please [the Christian]. To the one the other is dead, crucified, despised, and detested” (LW 27:405). And note that “in the Holy Scriptures ‘world’ means not only the obviously wicked and infamous but the best, the wisest, and the holiest of men” (LW 27:136). This makes it all the more painful for Christians to die to the world – because its dying to the best in the world.

     But because Jesus suffered so much for us, we find ourselves transcending that pain, much to our surprise. Just think of it, Luther says. “You suffer, he explains, “on the earth, in the sea, and in all creatures. Everywhere and in all things you have no hope of help until by hope and faith you leap over everything and grasp Him who dwells in heaven. Then you also dwell in heaven, but through faith and hope. Here we must throw out the anchor of our heart in all tribulations. In this way the evils of the world will be not only light but even laughable” (LW 14:322). Such power comes only through Christ’s crucifixion (1 Corinthians 1:23–24). It alone can save us from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9). It alone makes peace with God (Colossians 1:20). So Luther has Jesus say while dying on the cross: “You are no longer a sinner, but I am. I am your substitute. You have not sinned, but I have. The entire world is in sin. However, you are not in sin; but I am. All your sins are to rest on me and not on you” (LW 22:167). Believe in this and it’s all yours. For “God himself cannot give heaven to him who does not believe” (LW 32:76). But if we believe, then God will surely transfer even “the unworthy and condemned from the power of death and hell into the kingdom of eternal grace and life” (LW 78:11). So be sure that you “do not think too lightly of faith, for it is the most excellent and difficult of all works” (LW 36:62). Just think of what faith is supposed to grasp! – that Christ is the one who “stepped into the place of our sinful nature, who loaded onto Himself all the wrath of God which we deserved with all our works, and who overcame it. He did not keep all that for Himself, but gave it to be our own, so that all who believe this in Him and about Him will certainly be redeemed through Him from that wrath of God and be received into His favor” (LW 76:19). Now just try that on for size and you’ll see how difficult faith in Jesus is. That has led other Christians to a different cross, construed “as an inspiring instance... of divine-human altruism that conducts the evolving human species through death to the possibility of an ever closer communion with the divine life” (Jack Mahoney, Christianity in Evolution, 2011, p. 146). Luther, for one, would probably say of that possible inspiration – “What newfangled rubbish!” (LW 44:276).

     Be that as it may, having the gift of faith in Christ, don’t stop there but also sing out – “set my people free” (Exodus 5:1). As slaves of God it follows that we shouldn’t be “slaves of men” (1 Corinthians 7:23). Being slaves of God isn’t supposed to set us up to be enslaved by other sinners. No, fearing God includes more than falling on your knees before him, it also includes fearing “no one and [trusting] no one except God” (LW 51:139). So work to end slavery on earth. But note the Christian qualification. “Whatever outwardly remains of… freedom is neither sin nor virtue but only outward tranquility or trouble, joy or suffering, as is all other bodily good or ill, in both of which we can live freely and without sin” (LW 28:45). So we won’t work against slavery on earth to promote salvation in heaven. That’s because salvation is based on the inward freedom faith gives, and not on the outward freedom social, political and economic liberation gives. In Christ “all things are common to all.... For this reason the Christian or believer is a man without a name, without outward appearance [Galatians 3:28], without a distinguishing mark, without status” (LW 27:280). “Christendom is a spiritual community which is to be numbered with the worldly community just as little as minds with bodies and faith with temporal works” (LW 39:68). “Faith knows nothing about... laymen or priests, cobblers or tailors,... owned and free.... In short, godliness and salvation depend on none of these,.... For faith can remain the same in all these ways of life” (LW 76:27, 22). So be a freedom-fighter, but don’t let it go to your head. Pursue it, by all means, but never by forgetting what matters more. That’s why the church has called us to sing, “make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free” (Service Book and Hymnal, 1958, hymn 508), and “firmly bound, forever free” (Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978, hymn 257). So befriend the enslaved and work to set them free – but in the process don’t forget what Job knew, that above all you may become slaves of God. Amen.

 

 

Hymn of the Day:  “Holy Spirit, Truth Divine” (LBW 257)

 

Prayers 


 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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 Baker, and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

Beyla Tuomi

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Lucy Shearer

Carolyn & Marv Morris

Ramona King

Karen Berg

Donna & Grover Mullen

Patty Johnson

Christine Berg

Kurt Weigel

Chiou-Jin Chen

Ethan, Erin and Kevin Vodka

Carol Estes

Savanna & Hank Todd

Gene & Tery Merritt

 

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

 

Births

Romy Roslyn Cook (Jeannine & Gregory Lingle's first great-grandchild)

                                                                       

 

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:  “From God the Father, Virgin-Born” (LBW 83)



 



 

“Job returns [in Job 7:2] once more to the themes… of God as master and humans as slaves…. Life as a slave is characterized by time that is unbearable and pain that never heals…. To describe human existence as slavery is to call into question God’s design for creation. Israel’s creation theology affirms that human beings are created in the image of God. Their divine commission comprises two primary responsibilities: (1) to exercise dominion over earth’s resources; and (2) to till and keep the ground. These twin commissions underscore Israel’s belief that human beings have been given the noble assignment of acting like God’s near-equals.”

 

(Samuel E. Balentine, Job, 2006, pp. 130, 132.)

 

VS

 

“Faith makes us obedient and subject to Christ and His Word. Therefore to be submissive to the Word of God and Christ… is the same as believing. For it is difficult for nature to submit completely to Christ and to desist from all its doings, despise them, and regard them as sin; it struggles against this and tortures itself in the process. Yet it must surrender itself.”

 

(Luther’s Works 30:7)







 

 






Online Sunday Liturgy

January 31, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

God, who is the Author and Lord of the Law, sets bounds to it or breaks it and appoints Jacob and Isaac as the first-born after rejecting Esau and Ishmael…. For what is usually said – “Submit to the law which you have proposed” – is not valid. God is not subject to the law and often acts contrary to the law, in order that we may respect His works, wisdom, counsels, and wonderful judgments and thus walk in humility before Him. Though David was the youngest and most despised among his brothers, he was elevated to royal power in Israel. Accordingly, God knows how to set up and sanction a law in His own way. Yet He sometimes acts strangely, beyond and contrary to the rule…. And yet the Law must remain in its discipline, severity, and order. But grace makes an exception and is superior to the Law.

 

[Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis 48 (1545)

Luther’s Works 8:160–61.] 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

January 31, 2021

  

 

Fourth Sunday after the Holy Epiphany

 

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

 

Let us pray:  Heavenly Father, you know that we cannot withstand the dangers which surround us. Strengthen us in body and spirit so that, with your help, we may be able to overcome the weakness that our sin has brought upon us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

  

First Lesson: Deuteronomy 18:15–20

Psalm 1

Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 8:1–13

Gospel: Mark 1:21–28

 

 

Opening Hymn: “God, Whose Almighty Word ” (LBW 400)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN7JV5qEmQY

  




 




 

Sermon: January 31, 2021


“Follow God's Commands”
(Deuteronomy 18:20)


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

    God’s law has hands but no feet, Luther says. How weird is that? He says this because the hands of the law direct us to “the right road,” pointing us forward – but because it doesn’t have any feet, it can’t “conduct [our] steps along the way” of that right road (Luther’s Works 22:143). So it can show us what to do, but it can’t help us do it. Therefore “the law says, ‘do this,’ and it never gets done” (LW 31:41). Does that make it useless? Not at all. No, we still need to know where the road is and the law can show us that. We need God’s law to show us what the good is. Left to ourselves, we only mix up the good and the bad, confusing one for the other (Isaiah 5:20). Just look at how we’ve handled wealth and poverty, war and peace, freedom and slavery, sex and marriage, water, earth and air. So it’s no surprise that the law is “a sermon which points me to life, and it is essential to remember this instruction; but it must be borne in mind that the Law does not give me life” (LW 22:143). By implication we also need the law “to furnish knowledge [of sin] and how great a weakness” it is that plagues us (LW 33:127). The law shows us that “we are stunted human beings and utterly corrupted” by sin, so that “we are not the kind of people that the Law requires” (LW 73:181). That’s because “the desire of man is the opposite of the Law, [he] even hates it and flees from it” (LW 14:295). That’s devastating! But it’s exactly what we need to hear. And the law makes sure that we learn it. Its function is “to makes us guilty, to humble us, to kill us, to lead us down to hell, and to take everything away from us.” For this reason God’s law “cannot be measured by any price” (LW 26:345). It’s that valuable, because nothing else can do what it does for us. Luther even could sing about this (LW 53:279, Lutheran Service Book, 2006, Hymn 581):

                                      You have this Law to see therein

                                      That you have not been free from sin

                                      But also that you clearly see

                                      How pure toward God life should be.

     So God clearly wants us to keep his law – and also make it known throughout the whole world (Deuteronomy 18:20). We are not to tamper with it or reduce it in any way (Matthew 5:17–20). Jesus is emphatic about this. People are always trying to cut out parts of the law – so that it’s easier on us. But Jesus says keep it altogether and intact. We need it bearing down on us if we ever are going to become followers of Christ. And so “the teaching of the Law is necessary in the churches and must be retained in its entirety, for without it Christ cannot be retained” (LW 73:66). God’s law must attack us if we’re going to see the light of Christ (John 8:12). We are lazy rascals who need the “stone tablets [of the law to] beat that donkey with them so that he has to move” (LW 78:136). Without those attacks we wallow – unmoved – in secular security which “removes faith and the fear of the Lord” (LW 73:65). Those attacks are very difficult for us to put up with. We would rather flee from the law – and be left alone in our sin which we love (LW 22:390). “Nothing is easier than sinning,” and so “we sin and err constantly” (LW 30:273, 37:233). That’s because it is grounded in our presumption of righteousness which is a “huge and horrible monster” dwelling within us. “To break and crush it, God needs a large and powerful hammer, that is, the Law, which is the hammer of death, the thunder of hell, and the lightning of divine wrath” (LW 26:310). When that law strikes us, it “renders sin alert and strong and prompts it to cut and to pierce. If it depended on us, sin would very likely remain dormant forever. But God is able to awaken it effectively through the Law. When the hour comes for sin to sting and to strike, it grows unendurable in a moment…. Then one begins to lament and wail: ‘Alas! What did I do? What will become of me now?’” (LW 28:209).

     Well are you ready for a surprise? Do you want to hear something you thought you’d never hear? “God is not subject to the law and often acts contrary to the law, in order that we may respect His works, wisdom, counsels, and wonderful judgments and thus walk in humility before Him. [And so] grace makes an exception and is superior to the Law” (LW 8:160–61). And that grace is that while we were still sinners and deserved nothing but condemnation, “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That’s grace because it’s undeserved which is what it is by definition. For it says that “everything that you have not done He will forgive you, and all that you cannot do He will give to you” regardless (LW 57:76). For when Christ died for us he “fulfilled in us… the just requirement of the law” by condemning sin and offering up his life to God the Father as a sacrifice “for sin” (Romans 8:3–4). He then saves us from God’s wrath against us when we rejoice in his death for us (Romans 5:9, Galatians 6:14). And so we are not left speechless when our newly awakened sin terrifies us, assaults us, and gives us nightmares. No, when sin wants to slay us and thrust us into “the jaws of hell,” we sit up straight and say that it’s “unfortunately true that I am a sinner and that I have surely deserved death. So far you are right. But still you shall not condemn and slay me. Another, who is named my Lord Christ, shall stay your hand. You accused and you murdered Him innocently. But do you remember how you vainly dashed full tilt against Him and burned yourself and thereby forfeited all your rights to me and to all Christians? For He both bore and overcame sin and death not for Himself but for me. Therefore I concede you no rightful accusation against me. I can, rather, justly assert my rights against you for trying to attack me without cause and despite the fact that you were already condemned and overcome by Him, which deprived you of any right to assail and accuse me. And although you may now attack and devour me according to the flesh, you shall not accomplish or gain anything by this. You must eat your own sting and choke to death on it. For I am no longer the man you are looking for; I am no longer a child of man, but a child of God, for I am baptized in His blood and on His victory, and I am vested with all His possessions” (LW 28:211–12).

     With this great acclamation of faith and salvation in Christ Jesus, how shall we now live? What shall we do from here on out? Well, “if the Gospel is truly in the heart,” then we would not “wait a long time until the Law comes but [being] full of joy in Christ, and [having a] desire and love for what is good,” we would gladly help everyone “out of a free heart” before ever once thinking about the law (LW 78:136). Christians would be “showing love toward their neighbor, by helping him with words and deeds, teaching and example, and by taking an interest in what he needs. Specifically, they should be rebuking him when he sins, showing him where he errs, bearing with him when he is weak, comforting him when he is distressed, and serving and helping him when he is needy” (LW 78:369).  But what if “I can certainly preach, speak, write, sing, and read, but I cannot get into my heart such a strong, living faith and ardent love” for my neighbor (LW 78:368)? What then? What if we are not yet “fine Christians,” but still sinful and “addicted to greed, to wrath, to lust, [and] to reviling?” Then we’ll need to hear “that the destruction of Sodom by fire is to be set before all succeeding generations and indeed before the very church of God, in order that men may learn to fear God [so that] those who are frightened in this way by the judgment and wrath of God practice justice and discernment” (LW 3:223–24).


     Well this is exactly what’s needed. That’s because “the whole world is evil and that among thousands there is scarcely a single true Christian…. [So] take heed and first fill the world with real Christians before you attempt to rule it in a Christian and evangelical manner. [But] this you will never accomplish; for the world and the masses are and always will be un-Christian, even if they are all baptized and Christian in name. Christians are few and far between” (LW 45:91). So aspiring Christians have to “uphold the law” (Romans 3:31) – or legem statuimus, as it’s put in the old Latin Bible. Statuimus indeed! The law has to be upheld so that it may be used on us all, including those who say they’re Christians – “in the same way a savage wild beast is bound with chains and ropes so that it cannot bite and tear as it would normally do, even though it would like to” (LW 45:90). Legem statuimus – otherwise the whole world will be “reduced to chaos” (LW 45:91). For supposed Christians “have only the name and speech of true Christians [and] let the name float on their tongues like froth on beer” (LW 78:369). May this admonition with its built-in trenchant criticism of all would-be Christians – along with the aspirations to faith in Christ Jesus – inspire us now and always to cherish and follow God’s commands. Amen.

 

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

Prayers 


 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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 Baker, and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

Beyla Tuomi

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr

Wayne Ducheneaux

Jene & Ray McNearney

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Lucy Shearer

Carolyn & Marv Morris

Ramona King

Karen Berg

Donna & Grover Mullen

Patty Johnson

Christine Berg

Kurt Weigel

Chiou-Jin Chen

Ethan, Erin and Kevin Vodka

 

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

 

Deaths

Dr. Carl Schalk

Marie Magenta

                                                                       

 

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:  “Your Kingdom Come!” (LBW 376)



 



 

California Avenue & Brandon Street

West Seattle

January 26, 2021

Blessed are the meek

for they shall inherit the earth.

 

(Matthew 5:5)

 

Psalm 37 is the right gloss on [Matthew 5:5

because it richly describes] how

the meek are to inherit the land.

 

(Luther’s Works 21:25).

 

It is settled that we should do only good and remain on our true course in the world, letting Him do the worrying and the working. [Therefore the righteous should] be still and… go right on with their duties,… entrusting their cause to God; letting the wicked bite, rage, scowl, slander, strike, draw their swords, bend their bows, and build up their mobs and their power…. For God will set it right, if only we wait for Him to do it, staying the course, and not letting [the wicked] make us quit or give up…. God’s blessing consists in this, that [the righteous] will have plenty both here and hereafter, suffering no shortage of either food for the body or salvation for the soul, even though they have no surplus. [Therefore] we do not permit the prosperity of the wicked to irk us or provoke us…. The righteous… must turn their gaze away from everything visible and tangible and trust God alone, [for they] have no salvation or refuge except that which comes from God…. If God does not give it, the righteous man is so acquiescent that he does not want God to give it to him and forbids God to give it to him. He is so at one with God that in the sight of God he both has and does not have, just as he pleases…. A God-pleasing way of life receives no support but only hindrance and rejection from the wicked. This is a vexation for human nature. Therefore one must find consolation in God’s approval and support of our way of life, regardless of the hindrance and rejection of the wicked.

 

[Martin Luther, Commentary on Psalm 37 (1526)

Luther’s Works 14:223, 222, 228, 225, 220.]  







 

 






Online Sunday Liturgy

January 24, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

He who will not obey God’s will willingly must, in the end, bow to His will unwillingly. God’s will must prevail. We see [in Jonah] that he who refuses to comply with God’s small demands must suffer even graver things because of this…. There is enough grave sin present, and yet Jonah is not condemned or forsaken. This is due to the fact that he does not despond and despair in his sin but clings firmly to God’s mercy and willingly submits to His punishment. If he had despaired, he would never have come forth from the whale’s belly. His strong faith in the midst of his sin makes it impossible for God to forget him; He must again deliver him.

 

[Martin Luther, Lectures on Jonah (1526)

Luther’s Works 19:46–47.]

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

January 24, 2021

  

 

Third Sunday after the Holy Epiphany

 

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

 

Let us pray:  Almighty God, you sent your Son to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of your Spirit that we may faithfully bear witness to Jesus and his glory. In his name we pray.  

 

 

  

First Lesson: Jonah 3:1–5, 10

Psalm 62:6-14

Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 7:29–31

Gospel: Mark 1:14–20

 

 

Opening Hymn: “Hail the Lord’s Anointed” (LBW 87)

  




 




 

Sermon: January 24, 2021


“Learn from Jonah”
(Jonah 3:3)


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

    “Certainly Jonah is a strange prophet” (Luther’s Works 19:30). O Luther, did you ever get that right! For Jonah’s the only prophet who runs away when God commands him to prophesy. Some prophet. And when he does refuse to prophesy, God doesn’t kill him like he did King Saul when he disobeyed God (1 Samuel 15:9–35, LW 19:6). As a rascal, it’s quite shocking that Jonah is the most successful of the prophets, converting the whole city of Nineveh – including the animals – with a teeny-tiny, and strikingly negative, sermon (Jonah 3:4–8). How weird that is. No wonder preachers shy away from Jonah and his “most sobering truth” about the “enormous quantity of pretentious romanticism in the pastoral vocation” (Eugene Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant, 1992, p. 10). Furthermore, as “a servant of the true God and a member of the holiest land and nation,” Jonah is “worse than the idolatrous heathen” on the ship he sails away on when trying to escape God’s command (LW 19:64). So this prophet is hardly on the side of righteousness – even when he complies! From this we learn that “no matter how God deals with us, we are obnoxious.” That’s Luther’s devastating judgment and it should be ours as well. For if God is lenient, Luther goes on to explain, we are “insolent, bold, arrogant, and saucy.” But if he punishes us, “we grow so dejected and despondent that no consolation, no kindness, no mercy is able to revive our courage and to strengthen us” (LW 19:73). So we’re dead in the water – rather than renewed in our faith. In addition, Luther finds it remarkable that “Jonah was able to count the days” he was in the whale when he “neither saw nor heard anything when he was shut up” in its belly (LW 19:16). And most peculiar, indeed, Jonah points us to Christ, in whom we learn, that “death has become the door to life for us; disgrace has become the elevation to glory; condemnation and hell, the door to salvation” (LW 19:31). How miraculous is that?

     And just how does Jonah pull that off? How does he put death, disgrace, condemnation and hell into such a good light? He does so by being a living illustration of Acts 14:22. In that verse we learn that we can only enter the kingdom of God “through many tribulations” – a verse that the early church thought was first spoken by Jesus himself (Jaroslav Pelikan, Acts, 2005, p. 167). What a chilling word! It says that if we don’t have plenty of trouble because of Jesus, then we’re phony even if we think and say that we are not (LW 51:112, 207, 52:119). And of course we are tempted to lie about this, in order to fashion an easier life for ourselves (Luke 12:19). But nothing else will work. Only troubles help. The Christian “must be tested, tried, and refined” (LW 60:335). That’s because, as Luther shows, “the heart is slippery and vacillating when taking hold” of the Gospel (LW 5:146). Without suffering, we would “bumble along with our early, incipient faith. We would become indolent, unfruitful and inexperienced Christians” (LW 24:150). That’s where Luther’s refinement comes in. Therefore we need the glue of suffering to keep us connected to God’s saving ways (Romans 8:17). Indeed, “we cannot grasp the Gospel unless the conscience is previously distressed and miserable” (LW 79:261). How does our distress and misery do that? It makes us ready for God. It prepares us. “The terrible judgment of God” makes us “quail” in order to “soften [us] up” so that we will “sigh and seek for the comfort” that God alone provides (LW 35:18). Without those troubles we would never despair of ourselves and look to God for help. That’s what it takes to point us in God’s direction. “The point of making death and wrath manifest [is that] you might flee to Christ,” that is, ad Christum confugias, in Luther’s original Latin (LW 73:207). Confugias! Of course! Why? Because only God can help us. “For it is His special work to make the dead alive, to render those who are completely confused peaceful and tranquil, and to make those who are wretched happy and those who are in despair joyful” (LW 6:104).

     But what if we keep running away? What then? What if our lives remain shaped by comparative pricing and commercial comforts (Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant, p. 27)? What if we set aside the content of Gods word, rejecting its power to change us into new and better disciples (2 Timothy 3:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17)? What then? The temptation will be to appease the discontented and celebrate the way things are. Giving in, we prefer what is easy and nice (LW 78:339). We settle for the course of least resistance and miss out on the aspiration that in testing times we become the best of beings (Amanda Gorman, The Miracle of Morning, April 2020). Lutherans have tried to head off that train wreck with their venerable confession that opposes “a nice, soft life without the cross and suffering” (The Book of Concord, ed. T. Tappert, 1959, p. 392). But standing up for the difficult way wont be easy (Matthew 7:14). Luther thought that if we Lutherans... were only dead, then the world would immediately cry Victory!’” (LW 79:351). But we have no choice in the matter the decision is made for us on high (2 Corinthians 13:8). At every moment the life of your body as well as of your soul is in the hand of God alone” (LW 67:106). He hurls us into the fray where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten, where black is the color, where none is the number” (Bob Dylan, 100 Songs, 2017, p. 7). That is the lot of the Christian. And so with Saint Joan of Arc “we must serve God first (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, 1999, §223). And if we dont, we cant be accommodated. With Luther we must dig in and say if someone is so stiff-necked... that he will not accept directions, then let him go his own way” (LW 78:292). We must remember, after all, that only a few are struck by the Law... and obey the Gospel” (LW 73:105). How terrifying!

     But God doesn’t give up. He stays on the cross for us (LW 76:405). There his dear son offers up the fragrant offering of his death to him (Ephesians 5:2). And at that point we’re spared condemnation when we believe (Colossians 2:14, John 3:16). That’s because the “punishment” we had coming because of our disobedience, Jesus suffered “for us” instead (LW 26:284). That’s because “God cannot be... gracious to sin... unless sufficient payment is made for it” (LW 77:96). Indeed, “the only Son of God had to take our place and become a sacrifice for our sin, through which God’s wrath would be appeased and satisfaction would be made” (LW 78:50). Jonah shows us this connection between death and wellbeing, payment and salvation, punishment and satisfaction, when he calms God’s wrath by jumping overboard in the midst of the punishing storm against him (Jonah 1:15). “I must die or the sea will never again grow tranquil” (LW 19:65). And so, too, Christ must die or there will never be peace with God (Romans 5:1, Colossians 1:20).

     Even though this message is “clear and winsome,” it still is unacceptable to many because “it mows down and castigates whatever is not centered on Christ. In unadorned terms it states that there is no possible way to escape sin and death, to be saved, except by clinging to this man, the crucified Jesus of Nazareth” (Luther’s House Postils, ed. E. Klug, 2:173). Because of this, “the would-be-wise [will try] to master and remake Christ” (LHP 1:163). But this is a fool’s errand and won’t work because God’s word won’t cooperate. We instead should pray that God increases our faith (Luke 17:5), because without that merciful gift, faith is impossible (Luke 18:27) and we lose him. For “faith.... consummates the Deity,... it is the creator of the Deity, not in the substance of God but in us” (LW 26:227).

     Having been rescued from our sin by faith in Christ, let us then live lives sharing in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13). Let us supplement our faith with that virtue (2 Peter 1:5). Why? Because of what Luther thought Christ, in effect, says to us. I want to be, he says, the mediator between God and you, and represent you before him, so that he does not rebuke, judge, and condemn you on account of your sin. But when you are now reconciled with God and your sins are remitted, then set out on the way and begin to do what God has commanded” (LHP 2:420). How should we then go about sharing in Christs sufferings, as we are commanded to do? Well, “if one will make the afflictions of Christ and all Christians his own, defend the truth, oppose unrighteousness, and help bear the needs of the innocent and the sufferings of all Christians, then he will find affliction and adversity enough” (LW 35:56). And yet by this suffering faith we will also draw in other people, which is “the nature of faith” to do (LW 79:243). And all of this will come about from having amply learned from Jonah. Amen.

 

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

Prayers 


 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr

Wayne Ducheneaux

Jene & Ray McNearney

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Lucy Shearer

Carolyn & Marv Morris

Ramona King

Karen Berg

Donna & Grover Mullen

Patty Johnson

Christine Berg

 

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

 

Births

Gideon Marshall

 

Deaths

The Rev. Dave Monson

                                                                       

 

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: “Rise Up, O Saints of God!” (LBW 383)

 



 



 

However baby man may brag of his science and skill,… the sea will insult and murder him, and pulverize the stateliest, stiffest frigate he can make; nevertheless, by the continual repetition of these very impressions, man has lost that sense of the full awfulness of the sea which aboriginally belongs to it…. Yes, foolish mortals, Noah’s flood is not yet subsided; two thirds of the fair world it yet covers.... Not only is the sea such a foe to man who is alien to it, but it is also a fiend to its own offspring…. The sea dashes even the mightiest whales against the rocks, and leaves them there side by side with the split wrecks of ships…. Panting and snorting like a mad battle steed that has lost its rider, the masterless ocean overruns the globe…. Consider… the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began…. Consider… the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!

 

[Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or The Whale (1851), Chapter 58.] 







 

 






Online Sunday Liturgy

January 17, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

One should be obedient to God, have patience in tribulation, suffer persecution for the sake of the truth, and do good works, and we urge these things with diligence. Yet we teach in addition that one should not commit idolatry with good works nor arrogantly presume that one is justified before God through them…. The works-righteous, however, turn things around, deny grace, and ascribe the righteousness that avails before God to works.

 

[Martin Luther, Sermons on John 19 (1529)

Luther’s Works 69:270.]

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

January 17, 2021

  

 

Second Sunday after the Holy Epiphany

 

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

 

Let us pray:  O Lord our God, we thank you for bringing about believers in your Son, Christ Jesus. In your mercy strengthen all who love and follow him. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

  

First Lesson: 1 Samuel 3:1–10

Psalm 67

Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 6:12–20

Gospel: John 1:43–51

 

 

Opening Hymn: “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” (LBW 76)

  




 




 

Sermon: January 17, 2021


“Divest Yourself”
(1 Corinthians 6:19)


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

    The Bible says we are not in charge of our lives. We instead belong to God who bought us (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). This flips our lives upside down – putting the lie to the old conviction that, like the village blacksmith poem of 1840, we look “the whole world in the face [and owe] not any man” (Nicholas A. Basbanes, Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 2020, pp. 301, 308). No, the truth is we’re dependent creatures, not independent ones. But this point is hard to make since we think we struggle to take care of ourselves on our own. And so when Martin Luther tried to undergird this Biblical point he used the image of a beast of burden. That’s who we are. And as such our lives are made up of being ridden – as a beast of burden – by God or the devil. None of this has anything to do with the exercise of our own freedom or the exertion of our own will  (Romans 9:16). We are but clay in the hands of the divine potter (Jeremiah 18:6). As a beast of burden we cannot “choose to run to either of the two riders” – God or the devil (Luther’s Works 33:65). So we shouldn’t say we’re planning to “go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain.” No, we should instead say – “If the Lord wills [deo volente], we shall live and we shall do this or that” (James 4:13–15) – “whether we like it or not” (LW 45:254–55). By deferring to God, we will be divested of the illusion of all self-determination.

     But what kind of a life would that be? It surely isn’t one spent struggling over the best use of our individual freedom – as in George Orwell’s classic novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). No, it would be quite different from that. It would be to construe life as one of slavery. Yes, you heard that right – even though this spiritual slavery doesn’t mimic slavery on earth between masters and serfs (Catholic Biblical Quarterly, January 2021, p. 151). Romans 6:20–22 spells this out clearly. It says we’re either slaves to God or slaves to sin. No other outcomes are possible. When we’re slaves to sin we are free when it comes to righteousness and can live anyway we wish. But that leads to death. The only life that leads to salvation is slavery to God. Then we no longer live however we wish – “without hindrance or rebuke, without shame or fear, and with honor and glory” (LW 13:43). Instead of that we have to be on the straight and narrow. We have to hear the word and keep it (Luke 11:28). There’s no wiggle room. If there were, it wouldn’t be slavery to God. As slaves, obeying matters more than figuring things out on our own and being creative. As obedient slaves, we won’t “desert the battlefield but stick it out [and] commit the outcome to God” (LW 15:106, 153). This obeying will put an end to looking out for ourselves. And that’s what “pleases God.” For that springs forth from faith in God “as from a fountain” (LW 73:106, 291, 398).

    That generation is what makes it true. It comes from God. Our faith, our obedience, our slavery all come from God. We’re not making it up. These words that communicate it were written down by people but “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16) – making them from God, then, rather than from us (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Some dispute this, arguing that the words, though inspired, are still unreliable (Morgan P. Noyes, Pastor Epistles, 1955, IB:11, pp. 506–507). Alas, it has always been the case that the ungodly “avoid Scripture like they avoid the devil” (LW 79:66). But not Luther. He believed that the Bible “is the vehicle of the Holy Spirit” and so is reliable – even when Moses writes about his own death in Deuteronomy by precognition (LW 30:3321, 9:310). He therefore encouraged us to always work with God’s word, “gladly hear it, be occupied with it, and remember it day and night” (LW 79:205). Lutherans – against the naysayers in the church – have taken a stand with Luther on this conviction, confessing that all Scripture is indeed inspired by God (Book of Concord, ed. T. Tappert, 1959, p. 618). And we do that knowing full well that “by Scripture we are led to believe things that are absurd, impossible, and contrary to our reason” (LW 16:183). It therefore “requires real mastery to avoid judging the Word according to human reason” (Luther’s House Postils, ed. E. Klug, 1996, 2:87).

    With such a challenging and divinely inspired word, how can we take up this life of faith – even of slavery to God? We, after all, would rather be free to do whatever we like. How will we trade that wayward yearning for a life of slavery to God? It’ll take Christ changing our hearts by abiding in us through his word (Galatians 2:20, James 1:21). That’s what’s needed – having Christ “live and reign” in us (LW 42:40). By so doing, he shows us that the greatest freedom of all is to be free of God’s wrath – which comes when Jesus sheds his blood on the cross for us (Romans 5:9). That is the penalty Christ pays to divert God’s wrath from us. That’s how we are bought (1 Corinthians 6:20, 2 Peter 2:1). Only then are we “absolutely free of God’s wrath and judgment.” And then God will say to us – “My dear son!” What a thrill it will be to hear those words. And then we are changed further so that we can say to God – “My dearly beloved Father!” (LHP 3:109).

    With that exchange, we’re reconciled to God – and we have peace with him by the blood of the Lamb (Colossians 1:20). Indeed, “Christ has stepped into the breach as the Mediator between two utterly different parties separated by an infinite and eternal division, and has reconciled them... So He is not the Mediator of one; He is the Mediator of two who were in the utmost disagreement” (LW 26:325). This freedom is deep and abiding which Christ earns for us, and so it doesn’t dissipate over time. That’s because it’s not freedom from “some human slavery or tyrannical authority but from the eternal wrath of God.” That makes it “greater than heaven and earth and all creation.” This “spiritual freedom” makes us free and joyful and “unafraid of the wrath to come” (LW 27:4). For on Judgment Day well pass through judgment as if we werent judged at all (Judges 5:24) – since by faith were miraculously “straightaway the kingdom of God” (LW 67:170). Straightaway? Yes – its that abrupt a leap into the kingdom. No wonder Luther sings out that Christ is “my help, my strength, my life, my joy” (LHP 1:474). Glory be to God!

    With that freedom, kingdom, and joy, we are never to “submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). So every yoke “of sin, death, the wrath of God, the devil, the flesh, the world, and all creatures,” is thrown out (LW 27:7). One of the worst of these is the yoke of creatures. It therefore is given special attention – noting that we cannot serve Christ if were trying to please people (Galatians 1:10). Luther underscores it by saying that although “truth and friends are dear to us, preference must be given to truth” (LW 1:122). Those famous words are chastening. They fly in the face of exalting friendships over everything else. They surprisingly give a place for loneliness in Christianity (Psalm 102:7, LW 14:181, 67:97–98). So Christians mustn’t blow friendship way out of proportion. Reining it in purges Christianity of any humanistic obsession. It puts faith in Christ above our social well-being which is risky because friendship for many is what melts all humanity into one cordial heart of hearts” (Nathaniel Hawthorne, 18041864, The Glorious American Essay, ed. Phillip Lopate, 2020, p. 110). Nevertheless, faith presses on and weans us from the things on earth (Colossians 3:2). It makes sure we live like heaven is our home (Philippians 3:20) without committing idolatry with good works,” by supposing that this adjustment will save us (LW 69:270). This focus moves us away from being lazy and careless, by helping us grasp... well the treasure of our faith (LW 79:226). By so doing we make sure to divest ourselves of all idols, including what’s most pervasive the transient (2 Corinthians 4:18). Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day:  “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart” (LBW 486)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiQ_R-s6h00

Prayers 


 



Litany on the Washington, D. C.

Demonstration, January 6, 2021

 

Let us pray for all those grieving for loved ones who died or were wounded in the mass demonstration last Wednesday night, at the National Capitol in Washington, D. C. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all who came to the aid of our elected officials and others under assault during those protests. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all those who died in the mayhem. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all those who survived, that they may be comforted and healed of their wounds and terrible memories. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all those arrested and charged with crimes in this demonstration that justice may be done. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for America’s capitol – and all the cities throughout our country – that they may be civilized and peaceful places to live, work and hold lawful demonstrations. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our country that it may have a peaceful and just transfer of presidential leadership on January 20. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us pray for the angry who use violence to try to solve their problems, that they may pursue peace instead. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, let us thank God for his goodness and mercy, for those kept safe during the protests at our National Capitol, and for the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus, when he comes again in judgment (John 5:26–29, 16:33), to rescue the righteous, condemn the wicked, and bring violence and evil to an end, once and for all.

 

GLORY BE TO JESUS, OUR PEACEFUL KING AND SAVIOR! AMEN.




 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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

 

                                                                       

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

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr

Wayne Ducheneaux

Jene & Ray McNearney

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Haley Marshall

Lucy Shearer

 

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: “As With Gladness Men of Old” (LBW 82)

 



 



 

 

This cursed life is nothing but a real vale of tears, in which the longer a man lives, the more sin, wickedness, torment, and sadness he sees and feels. Nor is there respite or cessation of all of this until we are buried [Romans 6:7]; then, of course, this sadness has to stop and let us sleep contentedly in Christ’s peace, until he comes again to wake us [1 Corinthians 15:52] with joy [John 16:33]. Amen.

 

(Martin Luther, Letter to Hans Luther (1530)

Luther’s Works 49:270.)







 

 






Online Sunday Liturgy

January 10, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

What wretched people we are!

To think that we are so cold

and slothful in our attitude toward

[the incarnation of Christ, our Savior]

which, after all, happened for us,

this great benefaction which is far,

far superior to all other works of creation!

And yet how hard it is for us to believe,

though the good news was preached

and sung for us by angels,

who are heavenly theologians

and have rejoiced in our behalf.

 

[Martin Luther, Table Talk, No. 4201 (1538)

Luther’s Works 54:326–27.]

  




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

January 10, 2021

  

First Sunday after the Holy Epiphany

The Baptism of Our Lord

 

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

 

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, at the baptism of Jesus you proclaimed him your beloved Son. May all who are baptized in his name celebrate his gift of eternal life. In his name we pray. Amen.

 

 

  

First Lesson: Isaiah 42:1–7

Psalm 29

Second Lesson: Acts 10:34–38

Gospel: Mark 1:4–11

 

 

Opening Hymn: “Oh, Love, How Deep” (LBW 88)

 

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

 




 




 

Sermon: January 10, 2021


“Honor Jesus”
(Mark 1:11)


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

    At the baptism of Jesus we learn that God is pleased with him (Mark 1:11). And so should we. We learn that Jesus is good enough for God. And so he should also be for us. But we’re not told why. We’re told that God delights in Jesus but we’re not given any explanation for this. In John 10:17, however, there’s an explanation. There Jesus says that God loves him – is delighted in him – because he dies so that he might live again. What then is said at Christ’s baptism is explained with his crucifixion and resurrection. Some say we shouldn’t do this. We shouldn’t look to John’s Gospel to explain Mark’s Gospel (James D. G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament, 3rd edition, 2006). They’re too different – Mark from John. But Martin Luther disagreed. ‘There is only one gospel,” he argued, even though it can be “described by many apostles” (Luther’s Works 35:117). So mixing and matching New Testament verses is fine – just as I have done with Mark 1:11 and John 10:17. Such cross-pollination is what brings “refinement,” or an overall reliable perspective on Holy Scriptures as God’s saving revelation to us (LW 41:219). Without that refinement they’re a mess – and in our hands “the Bible means nothing. It is Bible–Booble–Babel” (LW 40:50).

     But the baptized Jesus matters – only, however, because he was crucified and raised from the dead. That’s what makes him worthy of praise – not his being dunked in the Jordon River. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). That’s our song and it’s not about the Lamb who was baptized, mind you. No wonder Saint Paul wants to know nothing among us but Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). Never just Christ baptized. While Luther definitely stands with Saint Paul on this, he adds that the baptism of Jesus itself drives us to the crucifixion and resurrection. For baptism points to dying. In baptism “the old man and the sinful birth of flesh and blood are to be wholly drowned by the grace of God” (LW 35:29). This drowning points to a dying. So “by His suffering and death as our Priest,” Jesus gains for us “the state of being forever His elect children.” On the cross he frees us “from wrath” and finally shows us “a gracious God” (LW 57:174, 172).

     We need this witness especially now when Jesus is being spread out thin as some sort of christic principle. He’s construed as what’s behind the “sacred everything” – in “stars, galaxies, whales, soil, water [and] trees” (Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, 1988, p. 8). This is supposedly needed because “Christianity has become clannish.” So Christ has to expand beyond Jesus of Nazareth by becoming “much more immense, even cosmic, in significance” – beyond all distinctions “between the natural and the supernatural, between the holy and the profane” (Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, 2019, pp. 19, 3, 15).

     But then the focus on the suffering of Jesus is lost (1 Corinthians 2:2). We lose his telling question in Mark 10:38 – “Can you drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” That cup of suffering – that crucifixion – is the real baptism of Jesus. It’s what makes him indispensable for salvation. For if we have God without the crucified Christ, “we find no comfort but only righteous wrath and displeasure” (Luther’s House Postils, ed. E. Klug, 2:148). “For in the Son of God I behold the wrath of God in action” (LW 47:113). We see it in the fact that Jesus was “crucified for us, shed His blood and died, and thus paid for our sins and appeased and warded off God’s wrath.” This matters so much because by so doing Jesus shows us that we no longer have to doubt but can be certain that he is not angry with us sinners but is our “dear Savior” (LW 77:128). His sacrifice on the cross proclaims this loud and clear. That makes it “far, far superior to all other works of creation!” (LW 54:327). The birds and the bees, the rocks and the trees, cannot “carry you across…. into yonder life.” Neither can a christic principle. Only Christ, the sacrificed man, who is our bridge to yonder life – to heaven – can do that for all believers. And so “all that is necessary is that you unhesitatingly set your foot on [Jesus], wager boldly on [him], go cheerfully and happily, and die in [his] name” (LW 24:42). That’s what believers in Jesus do. And be duly warned about this. For God has given Jesus “dominion over all. His power is certain and endures. [And so] woe to him who does not accept this by grace. He will encounter this power coupled with wrath in all eternity” (LW 15:279).

     Luther doesn’t talk this way because he had an easy life. That’s not why he rejoices in Jesus and presses people to believe in him. No, his life was tough. He had many who hated him (Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther’s Last Battles, 1983). And he also had severe health problems – but still he trusted in Christ in spite of it all. There’s no doubt that he knew that “Christianity is surely a constant sobbing” (LW 16:20). Therefore “all those who do not trust God at all times and do not see God’s favor and grace and good will toward them in everything they do and everything they suffer, in their living or in their dying, but seek his favor in other things or even in themselves,... practice idolatry” (LW 44:30). So in his letters Luther says that “the Lord has afflicted me with painful constipation. The elimination is so hard,” he explains, “that I am forced to press with all my strength, even to the point of perspiration…. Soon I had some relief and elimination without blood or force, but the wound of the previous rupture isn’t healed yet, and I even had to suffer a good deal because some flesh extruded” (LW 48:217, 268– 69). No rose garden there. So suffering is part of every Christian life with untold variations on the theme.

     That suffering, however, isn’t just social and physical, but spiritual as well. And that’s in part why we have to be baptized along with believing if we’re going to heaven when we die. Belief needs to hold on to baptism to strengthen it. It’s a work of God in you. Those works are “firm, certain, unchangeable and eternal. Therefore, they stand and abide, firm and unfailing, and never become something else, even if they are completely misused” (LW 57:181). That durability makes baptism your ace-in-the-hole. It’s what baptism promises you. Baptism can sustain you even if you neglect it – and have forgotten when and where it happened. So be sure to hold onto it as you battle all of the spiritual temptations that come your way. It promises to stabilize your faith. Chief among those temptations will be “the repose, ease, and prosperity of this life…. For in the easy life no one learns to suffer, to die with gladness, to get rid of sin, and to live in harmony with baptism. Instead there grows only love of this life and horror of eternal life, fear of death and unwillingness to blot out sin” (LW 35:39).

     So dig in with your baptismal certificate clutched in hand, as it were. Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12) – aided by your baptismal promises. And building upon all that it means that God was pleased with the sacrifice of his dear Son – which is his true baptism – may we also honor Jesus. May we too be pleased with him and his death for us. “But you must listen to God; it is He who must teach you [for] to proclaim the message and to impart faith depends on Him.... Without this all will fail. [So] do not give wing to your own ideas, and do not soar to God otherwise than through Jesus Christ. For Christ is the bridge and the way. Resolve not to teach a Christian anything beyond and above Christ” (LW 23:103). That admonition is also our song – but unfortunately not all Lutherans sing it. Very prominent ones down through the ages, like David Strau (1808–1874), argue that the Bible is too faulty to help Christians and so it should be replaced by a humanism based on “reason and experience” alone (Frederick C. Beiser, David Friederich Strau: Father of Unbelief, 2020, p. 215). May we not cave into that temptation. May we return to Luthers song about listening to God and not soaring to him otherwise than through Jesus Christ. May we take that song to heart in all that we say and do, as each one of us struggles to honor Jesus. Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day: “To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord” (LBW 79)

 

Prayers 


 



Litany on the Washington, D. C.

Demonstration, January 6, 2021

 

Let us pray for all those grieving for loved ones who died or were wounded in the mass demonstration last Wednesday night, at the National Capitol in Washington, D. C. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all who came to the aid of our elected officials and others under assault during those protests. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all those who died in the mayhem. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all those who survived, that they may be comforted and healed of their wounds and terrible memories. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for all those arrested and charged with crimes in this demonstration that justice may be done. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for America’s capitol – and all the cities throughout our country – that they may be civilized and peaceful places to live, work and hold lawful demonstrations. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our country that it may have a peaceful and just transfer of presidential leadership on January 20. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us pray for the angry who use violence to try to solve their problems, that they may pursue peace instead. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, let us thank God for his goodness and mercy, for those kept safe during the protests at our National Capitol, and for the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus, when he comes again in judgment (John 5:26–29, 16:33), to rescue the righteous, condemn the wicked, and bring violence and evil to an end, once and for all.

 

GLORY BE TO JESUS, OUR PEACEFUL KING AND SAVIOR! AMEN.




 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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

 

                                                                       

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

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr

Wayne Ducheneaux

Jene & Ray McNearney

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Haley Marshall

Lucy Shearer

 

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: “All Who Believe and Are Baptized” (LBW 194)

 



 



 

 

See to it that you tread on Me, that is, cling to Me with strong faith and with all confidence of the heart. I will be the Bridge to carry you across. In one moment you will come out of death and the fear of hell into yonder life. For it is I who paved the way and the course. I walked and traversed it Myself, so that I might take you and all My followers across. All that is necessary is that you unhesitatingly set your foot on Me, wager boldly on Me, go cheerfully and happily, and die in My name.

 

[Martin Luther, Sermon on John 14:5–6 (1537)

Luther’s Works 24:42.]







 

 






Online Sunday Liturgy

January 3, 2021



 


Bulletin Cover

 

The ungrateful people of the world [do not] see or hear or consider or amend or repent. Therefore [God] will forsake them and refuse to help them. This is horrifying, terrifying. But what can we do about it? We must let it come and go, as it comes and goes. For even if we [were to lament over them] until we are sick, the world cares nothing about it. It goes on its way, being, as it is, mad and foolish and possessed by all devils. So go your way, you choice, tender fruit, and find what you are looking for, which you cannot do without or have otherwise. The separation is easy for us; we cannot keep you; you do not want to be kept; so we sing with the angels over Babylon: “We have long sought to heal Babylon, but there is no healing there. So we will let them go their way, and we will depart” (Jeremiah 51:9).

 

[Martin Luther, Preface to Adler, Sermon on Almsgiving (1533)

Luther’s Works 60:15.]

  




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

January 3, 2021

  

Second Sunday After Christmas

The Tenth Day of Christmas

 

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

 

Let us pray:  Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, you have given us the new light of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. May our faith in that light shine in all that we say and do. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

  

First Lesson: Isaiah 61:10–62: 3

Psalm 147:13–21

Second Lesson: Ephesians 1:3–6, 15–18

Gospel: John 1:1–18

 

 

Opening Hymn:  “Joy to the World” (LBW 39)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th4vXeuP6zo

 




 




 

Sermon: January 3, 2021


“Open Your Eyes”
(Ephesians 1:18)


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

    Here’s the Christmas message, that “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light” (Matthew 4:16). And that great light is Jesus. So glory be to God for Jesus who comes into the world to save us from our sin (John 8:12, Matthew 1:21). But there’s also a second Christmas message that’s often overlooked. And it’s that “the darkness has not overcome the light” (John 1:5). So right on the heels of Christmas glory and light there’s Christmas gloom and darkness. “His own people received him not” (John 1:11) is the darkness that comes from rejecting him. Those sitting in darkness apparently preferred to stay there. Just think of it! “Men loved the darkness rather than the light” (John 3:19). And we also would rather “labor for the food which perishes” (John 6:27)! Rather than praising God for Jesus, we’d rather “mutter” about him (John 7:12). We’re all ready to settle for the darkness, in spite of the glory and light that has come to us at Christmas. We want to remain “of this world” and “judge according to the flesh” (John 8:23, 15, 15:19, 17:16, 18:36). We’re still trying to climb into heaven “by another way” (John 10:1). We still see nothing wrong with loving ourselves (John 12:25). We haven’t stopped working on ways to be greater than Jesus – enjoying a life better than what his suffering brings (John 13:16, 16:33, 18:11). We still can’t see how a man could be God (John 14:10). We still only want worldly peace (John 14:27). We like our independence (John 15:6). We like being free to doubt (John 20:27). So, as you can see, there’s plenty of Christmas darkness generated from that first Christmas day. In that darkness – living without God’s glory – there’s no “sovereign in heaven; the wide world [is] a playground for the wild pandemonium of life; there [is] no ear that [brings] the confusion together in harmony, no guiding hand that [intervenes]” (Kierkegaard’s Writings 5:94). “Nothing is right; only denial of instinct is wrong” (Patricia Bosworth, The Men in My Life, 2018, p. 34).

     So what’s up with Christmas? Why doesn’t its brightness dispel all of that darkness? Why isn’t it like the noonday sun that puts an end to the black midnight skies? It’s because “you are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:44). There’s your answer for you! There’s enough darkness in that verse to cover the whole world until the end of time. And that darkness strikes us by blinding us (2 Corinthians 4:4). So we don’t see the light that has come to dispel our darkness. Can you believe that? But note carefully – “The darkness has not overcome the light” (John 1:5). That means there’s still a chance to see the light. There’s still a chance to have eyes that see (John 9:30, 12:40). But get this – you’ll first have to poke out your eyes to get new eyes that see the Christmas light (John 9:39). Then the eyes of your heart will be “enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which God has called you” (Ephesians 1:18). So as surely as darkness follows the Christmas light, darkness also is needed before you can see that light.

     But how’s that possible? Doesn’t light beget light, and darkness, darkness? How does darkness enable the light to shine? What sense does that make? The sense is in Psalm 119:37 – “turn my eyes from looking at vanities.” There’s the darkness – turning our eyes from looking at vanities – that covering of our eyes, that darkening, goes before any of us can see the Christmas light and sing for joy because of it. There’s the deprivation – the darkness – that precedes fulfillment. But in an age saturated with immediate gratification, this prerequisite goes begging. It’s lost on us. That’s because it’s “apparently not known that desire must be dammed up to be self-renewing” (Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence, 2000, p. 790). None of this, however, was lost on Luther. He knew that before we can see the light we must first be like those who are “wasting away from hunger and thirst in the desert after they have been cast out of their home and country, who sigh and cry to the Lord and are now at the point of despair” (Luther’s Works 4:49). Luther knew that this is the only way to stop us when we’re “intoxicated with [our] own ideas” which keeps us from celebrating the Christmas light (LW 16:242). So as long as we’re blind, “so great is the hardness of the human heart that it is moved by no signs and wonders, is affected by no words, and is shaken by no threats” (LW 9:272). In that state “we have soundly sleeping eyes,” and we despise the Christmas light “as something ordinary and paltry” (LW 3:155). No big deal. Take down the decorations. That’s what it’s like to be “a people contrary to the Word” (LW 17:91). We suffer from a “miserable admixture of the filth of our arrogance” (LW 13:150).

     So are we left hip-deep in that filth? Is this the last word for sinners? Not if the darkness hasn’t overcome the light (John 1:5)! Then, even though we’re sinners, help is still available (Romans 5:8). We’re not automatically disqualified. After all of this judgment against us and our rank sinfulness, there’s still hope. Even thirty years after the passionate and articulate argument in Michael Martin’s classic, The Case Against Christianity (1991) was published, a remnant of followers of Jesus are still around. And that remnant is enough to keep alive the testimony to the Christmas light. The darkness has not overcome it. And being small even – being just a remnant – has the advantage of being “much less likely to be seduced into the pursuit of worldly conquest” (The Emerging Christian Minority, ed. V. Austin & J. Daniels, 2019, p. 52). The same was the case in Biblical times. Even then the good wasn’t displaced by the bad. Good news could follow upon the bad – without any softening up of the bad beforehand (contra Karl Barth, The Faith of the Church, 1943, 1958, p. 70). Luther explains this. “The apostles first judged, rebuked the world, and proclaimed God’s wrath against it, and then preached the forgiveness of sins in the name of Christ [and] so must we also do” (LW 78:179). This rebuking sets up the forgiving. The bad news leads to the good news. That’s because after the rebuking, the big guns fire. There’s something greater than the Christmas light to save us.

      For Jesus, long after he was born in Bethlehem, tells us that when he is lifted up on the cross, then he will draws us to himself (John 12:32). Then the impossible happens and we finally rejoice in the Christmas light. This didn’t happen at Christmas. Don’t forget that darkness. This is the second glorification of Christ that happens only on the cross (John 12:28). For on the cross – unlike at Christmas – our faithful mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) removes “all of God’s wrath and hostility and makes hearts certain of His fatherly grace” (LW 77:363). Then we can believe and rejoice. And he does this by being punished for our sins (1 Peter 2:24). Could it be that this is why “his ribs stuck out” while hanging on the cross, because he was being filled up with the sins of the world (1 John 2:2, Sean Gandert, American Saint: A Novel, 2019, p. 175)? Be that as it may, Christ saves us by offering up his life on the cross as “a fragrant sacrifice” to his Father in heaven (Ephesians 5:2). This sacrifice clearly shows us God’s “glowing love toward all miserable, damned, and sorrowful sinners” (LW 12:207). When we have faith in this sacrifice we won’t be punished in hell for our sins (John 3:16, 15:16). When we “make a total commitment, commend [ourselves] to God’s governance, and not trust [our] own reason at all,” then our “Father’s hand” holds on to us tightly (LW 44:73, John 10:29). Then we can finally sing “of joy illimited” (Thomas Hardy, The Complete Poems, ed. J. Gibson, 2001, p. 150). Then “Christ tears us away from all other lights, teachers, and preachers, so that we may remain with Him alone and cling to Him, lest we perish and die in eternal darkness” (LW 23:327). Here we see our “frightening Christ” – tearing us away from what damns us (LW 77:85). But what if we don’t want this frightening, yet salutary ripping away? What if you refuse to sing with joy and instead still want that Christmas darkness? What then? “The separation is easy for us,” Luther again explains, for “we cannot keep you; [since] you do not want to be kept” (LW 60:15). For indeed “the world takes delight in remaining in darkness.... [It even labors] harder to earn hell than Christians work to gain heaven” (LW 23:327).

     How do we then live with this resounding faith that finally opens up our soundly sleeping eyes? Doubt will surely have no place in it (Matthew 14:31). But “our nature does not want to believe before it has the evidence in hand that the loft is full of grain and the cellar is full of wine only then does it believe that it has enough to eat and to drink.... But a Christian, provided that he wants to be a real Christian, must say truly that he has and believes in a God who can pay money out of an empty purse and give everyone enough to drink from an empty cup” (LW 56:353). Therefore awakened Christians will be “vigilant [and not say], ‘It seems to me,’ etc. Rather [they’ll say], ‘I know for a certain truth that it is so’” (LW 58:366). Christ is the light! Christ is the mediator! Christ saves us from our sins (1 Corinthians 15:23)! Where this steadfast, certain word “enters the heart in true faith, it fashions the heart like unto itself, it makes it firm, certain, and assured. It becomes buoyed up, rigid, and adamant over against all temptation, devil, death, and whatever its name may be, that it defiantly and haughtily despises and mocks everything that inclines toward doubt, despair, anger, and wrath; for it knows that God’s Word cannot lie to it” (LW 15:272). No wonder Luther believed that “the first, highest, and most precious of all good works is faith in Christ” (LW 44:23)! May that “boldness” and prominence of our faith mark us well these days of Christmas (Acts 4:31, 9:27, 19:8). And may Christ, and the certainty of faith that he gives us, awaken us and keep our eyes wide open. Amen.

  

Hymn of the Day:  “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” (LBW 42)

 

Prayers 

 


 



Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2020 (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

 

                                                                       

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

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Yao Chu Chang

Holly & Terence Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Dona Brost  

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr

Wayne Ducheneaux

Jene & Ray McNearney

Julie Godinez

Joey DiJulio and family

Haley Marshall

Lucy Shearer

 

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

 

Death

Randy Lonborg

                                                                       

 

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: “Angels We Have heard on High” (LBW 71)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHWqj6gKS9g

 



 



 

 

The desires are so many, so various, and besides, sometimes these desires appear in such an attractive, subtle, and desirable form through the suggestion of the evil one that it is not possible for a man to direct his own life. He must make a total commitment, commend himself to God’s governance, and not trust his own reason at all…. That is demonstrated when the children of Israel went out of Egypt through the wilderness, where there was no road, no food, no drink, no help. Therefore, God went before them, by day in a bright cloud, by night in a fiery pillar, fed them from heaven with heavenly bread, and preserved their garments and shoes that they did not wear out…. For this reason we pray,… thou rule and not we ourselves, for there is nothing more dangerous in us than our own reason and will. The highest and first work of God in us and the best training is that we let our own works go and let our reason and will lie dormant, resting and commending ourselves to God in all things.

 

(Luther’s Works 44:73–74.)