Psalm 46:10 for Now

Online Liturgies September - December 2021

 

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).


 

Dear Congregation,
    

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Pastor Marshall, our pastor for the past 42 years, Tuesday morning, November 9th.

 

Diagnosed last month with light chain amyloidosis, his condition seriously deteriorated over the weeks. Please hold in prayer his wife, Jane Harty and their extended family. May all who mourn be wrapped in God's love and God's promise of life eternal.

 

A note from the family:

“The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall was   baptized in Christ Jesus, believed in Christ Jesus, raised in Christ  Jesus, lived in Christ Jesus, proclaimed Christ Jesus, and on November 9th, died in Christ Jesus. Thanks be to Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

 

A private funeral for the family was held last week.  A congregation and public memorial will occur at a later date that will be publicized closer to the time.  Cards of care may be sent to: Jane Harty  c/o First Lutheran Church; 4105 California Ave SW; Seattle, WA 98116.

 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

December 5, 2021



Advent II







Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

December 5, 2021

Advent II

 

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

 

Let us pray: God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome.  Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

 


First Lesson: Malachi 3:1-4

Psalm 126

Second Lesson: Philippians 1:3-11

Gospel: Luke 3:1-6

 

Opening Hymn:  “Prepare the Royal Highway” (LBW 26)

 








Sermon: December 5, 2021

 

The Word of God Came

Luke 3:1-6

The Reverend Philip Nesvig

  

Last Sunday we began Advent by hearing some truly earth-shaking words from Jesus.  It was “Apocalypse Now,” to borrow the title from the 1979 Vietnam war movie by Francis Ford Coppola.  We read from Luke 21 about all kinds of disruptive and unsettling events which might happen to the whole world.  These kinds of destructive events ought to be able to bring us all to our knees in prayer.  If such things are about to happen, then “Kyrie eleison,”  “Lord, have mercy.”

     The Gospel of Luke begins in a much different way, but what Luke narrates ought to be just as unsettling as what we heard last week.  Here’s why.  Luke was a global studies major in college with a minor in journalism.  We’ve all got some interest in global affairs via the internet.  And I’ve got some journalism running in my veins.  I’ve had some personal experience with published writings, and my brother and father spent their entire careers in the journalism field.  One thing I’ve learned from journalism is to ask and try to answer these basic questions before you write your story.  “Who?”  “What?”  “When?”  “Where?” “Why?”  These questions demand an answer whether you are describing a car crash, a house fire or a City Council meeting.

     Here’s a sample of a lead sentence.  “The student graduated on December 3rd from South Seattle Community College after completing final exams.”  “Who?”  A student.  “What?” The student graduated.  “When?”  On December 3rd.  “Where?”  South Seattle Community College.  “Why?”  Final exams were complete.  There you go!  All the basic questions of journalism were addressed in this lead sentence.  We might have some questions about this event.  Who is the student?  What was the student’s course of study?  Why does this student’s graduation mean for us?  We are not told.  It’s not a very exciting sentence, but at least it’s clear what happened.

Now let’s ask our global studies major, St. Luke himself, these same questions.  “Who?”  John, son of Zechariah.  “What?”  The word of God came.  “When?”  In the 15th year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius. (That is, in A.D. 26.) “Where?” In the wilderness.  “Why?” To proclaim a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  Once again, all the basic questions of journalism were addressed by St. Luke.  (Luke must have had a minor in journalism to go along with his major in global studies.)  But the impact of Luke’s lead verses in chapter three of his Gospel is far different than our anonymous student at South Seattle Community College.

First off, consider the question of “who?”  The answer is John, the son of an elderly couple who had a “whoops baby” back in chapter one.  (The angel Gabriel told Zechariah that Elizabeth would give birth, and Zechariah became mute.  That’s even better than“whoops!”)  The baby’s name was supposed to be Zechariah Jr., but his mother Elizabeth intervened to say he would be John, which means, “God has shown favor.” 

     This is all well and good, but we hear this name as believers in Christ in 2021.  What would it mean in the year 26 A.D.?  Well, it wouldn’t have meant much to the general public.  The famous names—the fearful names—were Emperor Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Herod the Great, and his two sons, Philip and Antipas.  These were the fearful names of the day because they represented the power and control of the Roman occupying force in the land of Palestine.  These fearful names signified the rule of brute force and economic dominance by a foreign government. 

Next up are the high priest emeritus and his son-in-law, Annas and Caiaphas.  This is the “family business,” don’t you know, and some old couple’s son, John, isn’t part of the family!  The family business was to keep everything shipshape in the Temple.  Everything that was divine happened in this divine place, the Temple.

     Now if “the word of God came,” shouldn’t it come to the power elites with their garrisons of soldiers?  Might makes right, doesnt it?  Shouldn’t the word of God come to these caretakers of the Temple? The clergy family business should be able to manage any new word of God! Not so fast, says our global studies major, St. Luke.  The word of God came to John.  Why?  Because God isn’t necessarily impressed by worldly power, and God isn’t always pleased with every religious hierarchy that pops up.  So, spoiler alert, on December 19th Mary will make this very clear with her dynamic and explosive poem we call “The Magnificat.”  Now we may say “that’s just a poem,” but this song of Mary shatters all secular powers and makes the religious leaders mighty jittery.  Here’s the trailer from the soundtrack:  “My soul magnifies the Lord…for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant….He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.  He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.”  (Lk 1.46ff.)

     If the “proud are scattered” by God, says Mary, then it shouldn’t be that big a surprise to hear that God looks with favor upon this lowly servant.

Now for another basic journalism question.  “Where?”  Where did this happen?  Out in the wilderness!  Don’t be mistaken by this term.  Don’t compare a desert “wilderness” with the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, or the Glacier Peak Wilderness…wild though they are…or even Olympic National Park.  All these may have roads “to them,” but there are no roads “through them.” 

     Likewise the wilderness in ancient Palestine had a road “to it,” but one never knew if there would be a return trip “from it.”  The wilderness—eremos in Greek, which becomes hermit in English—was not a place of charm but a place of danger, drought, robbers, and wild animals.  Life in the wilderness meant a minimal diet like John had—locusts and honey.  This was no place for God to hold a press conference, but “the word of God came” to such a place as the desert and to such a nobody as John, the son of this elderly couple named Zechariah and Elizabeth.

     Now to our final question:  Why?  Why did the word of God come in the year 26 A.D. to this strange man whose name would become not just John, but John the baptizer?  Why work with someone like John?  Because God uses any and all types of people—then and now—to proclaim the forgiveness of sins through the means of repentance.  God chose John to get this word out in the open just like Isaiah did for God’s people centuries before.  “Prepare the way of the Lord…Every valley shall be filled,….and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Is 40.3-5) This old word was enlivened to speak to the present tense.  And the present tense word, the word which came from God to John,  always becomes the present tense when the Holy Spirit gets ahold of us.

     What I mean is this.  When we hear that our sins are forgiven, the gospel invades our wilderness lives in the present tense.  What does it mean to have a wilderness life?  It means and assumes that “we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.”  It means and assumes that until the word of God comes, we are stuck in our personal wilderness.  The Greek word for “wilderness” takes the English words “hermit” and “hermetically sealed.”  If our sins have not been forgiven by God, then we are hermits.  We are hermetically sealed.  We might be good for something in the future, but in the present tense, we’re no good if we are hermits.  We are lost in our personal wilderness.  It’s not good for our mental health, among other negative effects.  When we aren’t personally enlivened by the Gospel, we aren’t able to share that same Gospel with anyone.

     But now it’s our turn to say “whoops!”  The “word of God came,” and we are at first struck mute…mute to the power of God at work in our lives.  Mute because we are ashamed that we did not trust the word of God to do much of anything with our wilderness lives.  Mute because we didn’t think we were that bad off to need such a thing as forgiveness.  Mute because we probably prefer not having our sins forgiven and being reconciled.  Mute because we prefer not being blessed by our baptisms.  Staying in our wilderness of sin looks like it will actually make life easier for us.  You see, it’s easier if we don’t have to face our sins, express our apology to each other, and make confession at the feet of Christ.  Mute because “water baptism” is just water, or so we think. 

     But then dear old Martin Luther shouts in the wilderness canyons so that the echo resounds till today.  “Baptism is not water only, but it is water used together with God’s Word and by his command…..It is a life-giving water which by grace gives the new birth through the Holy Spirit.” (Luther’s Small Catechism) 

     The mystery and majesty of the Gospel is that the word of God came to John, and it comes to us.  Our hermetic seals need to be broken.  You see, there’s a “best by” date on our seals.  And that date is our own day of death.  Who would want to wait until our moment of death to let the Holy Spirit crack us open with words of grace and forgiveness?  The Holy Spirit is ready today to get the word of God to you!

     Through the Holy Spirits strange and unpredictable timing, our hermetic seals are broken by the word of forgiveness. Insofar as it is possible, unplug your ears.  Get the wax out.  Find a hearing aid.  The word of God came to John, and it will come to you and me.  Also check your vision! “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.”  Look in the right place.  Salvation is not really there in the Bethlehem manger but on the cross of Christ!  Stay with this whole Jesus story.  “Christ was born to save!” says the Christmas hymn.  And this word of salvation, this word of forgiveness and new life—through Christ’s death and resurrection—will be the only thing that can nourish you, enliven you and prepare you for that even greater word of God, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

             

  

Hymn of the Day:  “Comfort, Comfort Now My People” (LBW 29)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFD6mwe8CWI







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.]






 

We remember in prayer church members.

Jane Harty and family

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Bob Schorn

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Alan Morgan family

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

Mark Nesheim

Angel Lynne

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in the world. Pray for peace throughout the world. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

Births: Vera Marshall Freeze, on November 22nd, daughter of Ruth Harty Marshall and Christopher Freeze

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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:  “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” (LBW 30)

 





 

 

 

“Rome pulled the strings of life in Jesus’ time and place through a unique iteration of settler colonialism masked by puppet kings and empire-bankrolled priests. God goes around all this to create a pathway of freedom for the people. The God of justice bypasses the game of thrones and disrupts trickle-down religion through a wild man in the middle of nowhere. Zechariah’s son resigned from his hereditary claim to the priesthood and its iconic regalia, opting for camel-hair clothes and an eccentric diet of roasted locusts and organic honey. According to Henry David Thoreau, ‘in wildness is the preservation of the world.’ This is often misquoted as ‘wilderness.’ But Thoreau uses wildness to refer to an experiential and mental state of human beings, not a geographical phenomenon. John impels us to embrace wildness as a form of human freedom invested in the flourishing of the other. What if God is calling us to a wild life—not an existence of convenience, settling, respectability, or compliance? The domesticating character of religion can crush us into dust trampled over by the ruling classes or cram us into the miserable mold of a status quo gasping for the rarified air of authenticity. It is an existential tragedy to live high on public compliance but deficient of divine love. John the Baptizer lives on the wild side. John shows us that God optimizes the life of folks daring to do life on the wild side. What if we measured the scope of our spirituality by our experience of the presence of God?”

Willie Dwayne Francois III

Pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church

Pleasantville, New Jersey

 



 


 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

November 28, 2021



 







Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

November 28, 2021

Advent 1

 

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

 

Let us pray: Stir up your power, O Lord, and come.  Protect us by your strength and save us from the threatening dangers of our sins, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

 


First Lesson: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Psalm 25:1-9

Second Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Gospel: Luke 21:25-36

 

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

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNYJtHMC0pw








Sermon: November 28, 2021

 

My Words Will Not Pass Away

Luke 21:33

The Reverend Philip Nesvig

  

Our new church year begins today with our Gospel lessons selected mostly from the Gospel according to St. Luke.  There are similarities in Luke with the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, but Luke brings some stories and perspectives which are unique to him.  These stories include the simple narration of the birth of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem.  The first to hear the news are the shepherds who are utterly terrified by this “good news.”  This Gospel (good news) is proclaimed to them by the angel who tells them that this baby is both Savior and the long-awaited Messiah. 

     Only Luke tells this story, but Luke joins Matthew and Mark to rattle our cages with a most unsettling series of predictions in our Gospel reading today.  These prophecies are called “the Apocalypse.”  Strictly speaking, “apocalypse” means to pull back the curtain on the future.  Through the centuries of time, this pulling back of the curtain has been an unfortunate and huge diversion for Christians.  The most significant words are quietly but securely stated amid all the terrible disruptions that this apocalyptic passage describes.  You see, it’s just great to pull back the curtain, but the most significant details, small though they are, are mostly overpowered by the “big show” that is described in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.

     This “big show” is all this mention of the disruption of normal, everyday life.  Nature is exploding before our eyes:  earthquakes, solar and lunar eclipses, famines  and plagues; tsunamis will wash over even the high bank properties.  These are the worst imaginable effects of climate change.  Families are torn apart: parent against child, sibling against sibling.  International relations will be completely broken:  there will be wars and rumors of wars. Forget trade relations with other countries.  The supply chain will not just be in a slowdown mode.  It won’t even exist.  Forget that new appliance for Christmas!  Not to mention Lincoln logs, which can’t be shipped from Maine until the plastic parts arrive from China.

     Move on to personal morality.  Dissipation and drunkenness may happen at your office party or on New Years’s Eve, but the suggestion here is that a very large number of people will be on a permanent binge cycle.  Have you had enough?  Luke 21.20 says that the national cathedral will be destroyed, and the capitol city will be surrounded by foreign armies.  And this will truly make January 6th look like a Sunday School picnic!

This is a brief glimpse into the Apocalypse.  How do you like the “big show” now that the curtain has been pulled back?!  Our first response is denial.  “You can’t be serious!  Things aren’t this bad!”  Another response might be “Right on! These descriptions in “the good book” are happening right now!  Immediately run for your lives!  Mt. Rainier has exploded, the lahar has obliterated Orting, and it’s  rushing toward the Duwamish waterway.  It hasn’t happened in 500 years, but here it is!  Get down on your knees and pray that you will go straight to heaven before you are “left behind.”

     There is another way to view the Apocalypse in Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Read these stories carefully, and you’ll begin to see some signs of hope mingled in with this doomsday scenario.  Matthew, Mark and Luke all mention that the Son of Man will be making his entrance amid this chaotic scene.  We will immediately say “that’s Jesus coming through the fog out of the tunnel and onto the playing field.  Now we’ll win the Apple Cup for sure!”  Not so fast.  It’s a strange kind of victory—a victory that only the eyes of faith can see.  The victory itself comes with a terrible disguise.  You see, the “game” isn’t over till the Son of Man says three words after being nailed to the cross.  These are the words which will not pass away.  Here they are:  “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23.34)  “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23.43)  “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”  (Lk 23.46) 

     Which kind of unveiling do we really want?  A detailed description of what we already see every day on our TV news?   Or some other word which we can’t really imagine?!  The first word—a revised apocalypse-is all there on every local and national news broadcast.  And, as you probably have noticed, right toward the end of the news telecast, right after the last commercial message, there is “the happy story.”  It’s a story which provides a positive conclusion to what we’ve seen—those natural disasters, those mass shootings, that SUV careening wildly through a parade route, and yet another bitter argument and name-calling in Congress.  Aren’t we ready to hear some words of consolation and hope?  Of course we are.  But “the happy story” at the end of the TV news is of a different nature than “the happy story” at the end of the Gospel story of Jesus Christ whom we call the Son of Man, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Savior and Lord of all.

     The “happy story” we hear is the Easter vindication of the suffering servant, the Son of Man.  But this story is not heard until there’s been another kind of apocalypse, that is, the unveiling of our hearts before our holy God.  The prophet Isaiah was probably more terrified than the shepherds outside of Bethlehem when he stood in the presence of God. The seraphim called out to each other, “Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory….” And Isaiah confessed his sins, and the sins of his nation.  “Woe is me!  I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Is. 6.3, 5)   These are words which will not pass away.  One reason is that they are words of confession which we human beings speak in the presence of God and each other.  The words are “We’re up the creek without a paddle,” or whatever equivalent you want to put in there.  And it’s our fault!  The words of the human need for forgiveness are the words which will not pass away.

     But there are other words which will not pass away, and they are in the details of this apocalyptic scene.  They are not exactly the “happy story” at the end of the TV news about neighbor helping neighbor.  Instead, they are “the happy story” of God helping us when we really can’t help ourselves.  The words given to us by St. Luke in chapter 21 are “your redemption is drawing near.”  Your redemption is drawing near, and if this is true, then “stand up and raise your heads.”  Something wonderful is happening right outside your window.  “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.”

     Just when we’re hunkering down for our long winter’s night, Jesus says, “break out your summer clothes!  The kingdom of God is near.”  And the kingdom of God is indeed near, faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is near, because the words which will not pass away have been proclaimed.  Faith starts to show buds and leaves on all our appendages.  That’s because—to skip to John 15—Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches.  Branches cannot help but burst forth with leaves when they hear the words which will not pass away.

     Now again, here are those words, the words which cause faith to run like sap through our branches after Easter, that is, April 17th in 2022.  But the sap will already start pulsing through our bodies and branches even in late November.  That’s because these words which will not pass away are the words from the cross of Christ.  “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”  “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” 

     If words like these don’t start the juices running in us, then I don’t know what will.  These are the words of forgiveness coming from the one who was born in order to die and thereby forgive.  These same words of forgiveness flow through us to others like water through a pipeline.  These are the words of assurance that all who die in Christ will live forever in Christ.  We don’t just release our final breath and never breathe again.  No, we are revived, we are re-oxygenated, we are awakened by Christ’s call when God’s timing is right.  And these are the words of humility before God our creator who has promised to receive us weak sinners and empower us with the best nutrients there are. 

     All of this comes to us as we watch this trailer called the Apocalypse.  Stay with this show.  It’s going to have a happy ending.  Look for the important details which might well escape you because of all the blinding special effects.  Your faith will guide you to the good news camouflaged by all the chaos on the screen.  Stay with this show till the credits roll.  And I have a strong hunch that when those credits do roll, you’ll be able to spy the words which will not pass away.  “Father, forgive them.” “Today you’re with me in Paradise.”  “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”  Amen.

             

  

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

 







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.]






 

We remember in prayer church members.

Jane Harty and family

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Alan Morgan family

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

Mark Nesheim

Angel Lynne

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in the world. Pray for peace throughout the world. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

Births: Vera Marshall Freeze, on November 22nd, daughter of Ruth Harty Marshall and Christopher Freeze

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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:  “Lo! He comes with Clouds Descending” (LBW 27)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU8idCwONak





 

“This passage is not about the ‘second coming’ of Jesus.  It is about the vindication of Jesus and the rescue of his people from the system that has oppressed them.  Here are the signs that the disciples are to look for.  God’s kingdom has come near, and God’s city has rejected it; the fulfillment of the kingdom will involve the destruction of the city. 

     Christian readers, puzzling over this passage nearly two thousand years later, are often at a loss to know what it can say to them.  For us, the destruction of Jerusalem, an act of great pagan brutality, is far away in the past, and we know of so many other subsequent crises that the church has faced that we are inclined to think of it as comparatively insignificant.  We, however, live and preach the gospel in a world which, as Jerusalem did to Jesus, often refuses the summons to peace.  We have at least a duty to warn our contemporaries that to reject God’s invitation may well lead to disaster.  And in the meantime we must continue to practice patience.  We never know when we shall need it.”

 

Tom Wright (former bishop of Durham, England)

Luke for Everyone c. 2004

 



 


 

 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

November 21, 2021



Christ the King

 

A star shall come out of Jacob,

and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;

Numbers 24:17

 

He who is the blessed and only sovereign,

the King of kings and Lord of lords.

1 Timothy 6:15

 









Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

November 21, 2021

Christ the King

 

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

 

Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things to your beloved Son, whom you anointed priest forever and king of all creation:  Grant that all the people of the earth, now divided by the power of sin, may be united under the glorious and gentle rule of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.


First Lesson: Daniel 7:13-14

Psalm 107:1-3, 33-43

Second Lesson: Revelation 1:4b-8

Gospel: John 18:33-38a

 

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








Sermon: November 21, 2021

 

The King's Promise

John 18:33-38a

The Reverend Philip Nesvig

 

On August 1, 1975, I began serving my first congregation as the pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.  As a recent seminary graduate, I was scared out of wits! Despite my seminary education, I was now a “newbie.”  I had never conducted a worship service on my own.  Nor had I officiated at a wedding or a funeral.  In fact, as I led my first wedding service, I forgot the Lord’s Prayer.  That’s because of this hymnal, the old “red book,” the Service Book and Hymnal which some of you will remember.  In this hymnal’s wedding service, the Lord’s Prayer only says, “Our Father, who art in heaven….”  What comes after dot, dot, dot?  I completely blanked!  So did the bridal couple and the congregation!  I frantically turned pages to the Sunday morning service which I knew had the full Lord’s Prayer printed in the hymnal.  I was saved but deeply embarrassed as I gazed at the quizzical look of the groom.  Fortunately, this wedding was at Christ Lutheran in Walla Walla, and I never saw the bridal couple again!

     I was raised and ordained at Trinity Lutheran in Parkland, across the street from the PLU campus.  In my youth, I never thought much about church names.  There were some called Trinity and in 1987 I took a call to Holy Trinity Lutheran in Port Angeles.  A later reflection of mine has been why is a church named after a doctrine instead of a saint?  Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul surely qualify for a church name.  And how about Christ himself?  You likely know that there are hundreds of First Lutheran Churches around the U.S., and that can sound a bit imperious.  It can sound like the good ol’ American “We’re Number One!” shout that flies in the air after a football team wins the championship.  As someone who has lived outside the U.S. in Norway for five years, “We’re Number One” isn’t a good starting point for international relations.

I never gave much thought to the name “Christ the King” when I served my first congregation.  The mission pastor chose the name, and he’s long since joined the Church Triumphant.  And I couldn’t find “Christ the King Sunday” in the SBH’s lectionary list.  It rather suddenly showed up in the lectionary in 1978 when our Lutheran Book of Worship was published.  There’s a reason for this.  In the 1970s, Lutherans were keen on being ecumenical, that is, “let’s talk with our Roman Catholic friends about what we believe in common, not what our differences are.”  One point of common belief is that Christ is King of kings, and Lord of lords, as 1 Timothy 6.15 proclaims. 

But there’s another reason why Christ the King Sunday came into use.  It is indeed a gift to us from the Roman Catholic Church.  So here’s another “backstory,” if you will.  I learned 12 years ago that Father Miguel Pro, a Mexican priest, died in 1925.  This was a period of time when the Mexican government was hostile to the Roman Catholic Church, and Father Pro was executed for treason.  The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico had property seized.  Seminaries were forced to operate underground.  Priests were arrested for conducting services and administering the sacraments.  Even on his way to make sick calls, Father Pro took precautions, but he was finally caught and sentenced to death—falsely charged in an assassination attempt.  He was executed in the police courtyard, his arms outstretched in the form of a cross.  As the volley of bullets tore into his body, he shouted “VIVA CHRISTO REY!”   “LONG LIVE CHRIST THE KING!”  Later that year—in 1925—Pope Pius XI proclaimed the last day of the church year to be “Christ the King Sunday.”  It is a Sunday when we remember the nature of truth, and who rules our lives.  Whether we have benevolent or tyrannical earthly rulers, whether they are duly elected or have installed themselves by way of a coup d’etat, we say “Long live Christ the King!

     This story came to my mind again this week, and I tried to remember the crucifix sculpture which now hangs above the altar at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.  Our bulletin cover art shows this crucifix.  It dates from 1985 and was designed by Ernst Schwidder, a PLU art professor.  He carved it with the church’s name in mind, and he was given complete freedom to conceive and complete the project.  I had no idea that he would be quoting Numbers 24.17 and 1 Timothy 6.15 on the wings of the cross.  But I am pleased every time I see this crucifix and read these two biblical quotes.  “A star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.”  “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”  These are words of promise, “the King’s promise.”

     Christ the King Sunday is less than a hundred years old.  But the story told of the Mexican priest connects with the Passion Story in the Gospel of John.  Jesus and Pilate are having a testy conversation about whether Jesus is the “king of the Jews.”  Pilate is the Roman governor of Israel, and he is caught between King Caesar, and whoever this man Jesus is.  But, as so many characters in John’s Gospel are depicted, there is a two-level conversation going on.  It is as if Pilate and others are speaking Greek and Jesus is speaking Aramaic.  They do not understand each other.  They do not have a common language.  There is constant miscommunication.  As the Passion Story concludes, this “breakdown in communications,” ultimately leads to the crucifixion of King Jesus.  The crucifixion is depicted in millions of churches and art galleries around the world.  It is the heart of the story, and all churches would do well to have a crucifix in their worship spaces. 

     Pilate asked this enigmatic question, “What is truth?”  The question about truth hangs in the air, but the matter of truth is a dominant theme in the Gospel of John.  In fact, the word “truth” appears 25 times in this Gospel.  Pilate’s question is number 24.  (Number 25 proclaims the “truth,” that water and blood flowed out of the crucified dead body of Jesus when the soldier pierced his side with a spear.  There’s the prefiguration of the story of the Mexican priest assassinated in 1925.) 

So let us race rapidly through only some of these references to “truth.”

          “In the beginning was the Word….the Word became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth.”  (Jn 1.1 & 14)

            “If you continue in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Jn 8.31)

            “Jesus said to Thomas, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  (Jn 14.6) 

            And from our Gospel lesson today:  “For this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (Jn 18.37)

             What is truth?  We know better than Pilate how to answer!  The truth is standing in front of you, dear Pilate!  The truth is standing in front of you, dear First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  The truth is that we have heard the voice of the Good Shepherd.  He said, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.”  We have heard his voice, and we have followed the Good Shepherd this morning.  And, we will want—and need—to hear his voice again and again.  Even though Jesus said that the world—that is—anybody who is antagonistic to Jesus—and that includes all of us at some point or another—maybe many, many points in our lives—anybody who stops their ears against the claims of Jesus—does not see him, know him or have any awareness of “the truth.”  Wild sheep that we are, we lose our capacity to listen to Jesus on the topic of truth and every other kind of faith topic. Think of that the next time you confess your sins.  We aren’t a whole lot different than Pilate as we falter and wonder what is truth. 

But the truth is here for us today. “The truth” is to be spoken to every Pilate and to every one of us.  Jesus is the truth!  His life, death and resurrection for you and for me is “the truth.”  And his voice of truth, the King’s promise, is especially poignant and meaningful as we grieve the death of Pastor Ron Marshall.  Listen to the King’s promise:  “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one will snatch them out of my hand.”      (Jn 10.27-28) 

And another promise from Christ our King: “The Father will give you another Advocate, to be with your forever.  This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him….I will not leave you orphaned; because I live, you also will live.” (Jn 14.16-19)  Glory to be to the Father, the Son, who is Christ our King, and to the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

             

  

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

 







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.]






 

We remember in prayer church members.

Jane Harty and family

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Mark Hicks

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

Mark Nesheim

Angel Lynne

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in the world. Pray for peace throughout the world. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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

 





Pilate says to Jesus, “What is truth?”  We would love to have a tape-recording for the tone of Pilate’s reply.  Was it cynical, seeking, despairing, inviting, dismissing?  The first and most obvious answer to Pilate’s question, however he asked it, is—in modern American idiom—“in your face!”  “Pilate, the Truth is talking to you personally right now and invitingly, promisingly so.  All you have to do is ask one more question.”  Pilate is that close.  The oldest Church commentators believed Pilate really meant his question of “What is truth?” And that his just-born conviction is the reason he then so abruptly went outside to arrange the amnesty.  It is very hard to know how Pilate meant his question.  I think, at present, that his question is, in its way, as noble in its poignancy and its barely veiled despair (or skepticism) as Jesus’ immediately prior claim was noble in its assurance and simplicity.  True disciples of Jesus will not cease asking Pilate’s question (“What is Truth?”) and will come to Jesus with this question longingly, again and again.  Disciples will come, i.e., to the right Voice where they know they will find the most truthful answers to their deepest questions.  Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) in his Penses put the Christian conviction with his characteristic pith:  “Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that unless we love the truth we cannot know it.”

 

The Gospel of John, c. 2012 Frederick Dale Bruner.

 




 




Online Sunday Liturgy

November 14, 2021



 

 

First Lutheran Church

of West Seattle

 

 









Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

November 14, 2021

The Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

Let us pray: Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people to seek more eagerly the help you offer, that, at the last, they may enjoy the fruit of salvation; through our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.    


First Lesson: 1 King 17:8-16

Psalm 107:1-3, 33-43

Second Lesson: Hebrews 9:24-28

Gospel: Mark 12:41-44

 

Opening Hymn:  “Oh, that I Had a Thousand Voices” (LBW 560)








Sermon: November 14, 2021

 

What’s Your Backstory?

Mark 12.41-44

The Reverend Philip Nesvig

 

 

Today is a day for stories.  Jesus told lots of parables.  There are 42 parables in the four Gospels combined.  Jesus also told lots of stories—mostly short stories.  Stories are different than parables.  A parable is often like a puzzle.  The meaning is not immediately obvious.  We have to put some pieces together, and sometimes it’s very difficult to match the edges of the pieces so we can see the whole picture.   And a parable is kind of a think piece, a “for instance.”  The people in the parables aren’t necessarily real people.  A story is more direct.  Its meaning is more obvious.    These are about real people—real people like you and me!  So stories can be more available to our ears.  They’re often enjoyable.  Everyone loves a good storyteller!  Stories are told for enjoyment and laughter, or for giving life to a point someone is trying to make.  But sometimes stories can be shocking and unsettling.  I have a friend who tells short stories with this introductory line:  “Let me give you an example.”  Then comes the story!  And the story is meant to illustrate his point about a certain subject.  So a story isn’t an idea or an opinion per se, but an illustration of what an idea or an opinion looks like.

     There is also what we have to come to call “the backstory.”  You know how that goes.  We hear someone say something about someone, and we say “what’s the backstory?”  It’s as if to say, “Why did that person do that?  What’s the backstory?”  We used to say, “What’s the background for what happened? Give me the context.”  Now we’ve shortened that to “What’s the backstory?” 

     That’s an excellent and appropriate question for this Gospel story about an anonymous widow with her offering of two small coins in the Temple treasury.  She has a backstory.  Everybody has a backstory.  Our backstory is why we do what we do on any given occasion.  Why do we react the way we do when something out of the ordinary happens?  Why might someone be doing something which seems rather odd?  “Well,” we say, “you need to know her backstory.”

     So what’s this widow’s backstory?  We have a major clue!  She emptied her purse!  Money is the presenting issue, the foil, for this widow’s real story.  Her real story is her devotion to God by offering her two small coins…what Jesus reminds us is “everything she had, all she had to live on.”  That’s her real story, but her backstory is something else.  Her backstory is why she gave “everything she had.”  We don’t know a lot about her backstory, but we do have a major clue in the verses immediately before this brief passage from Mark 12.  Here’s the clue—a bit of her backstory—regarding why she gave “everything she had.”  This backstory is written just a couple of verses ahead of our Gospel passage.

     “Beware of the scribes….They like to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!  They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers.  They will receive the greater condemnation.”  (Mk 12.38-40) 

     Now that’s some backstory!  But it’s a backstory about the huge contrast between those official religious types who are all putting on a show; phony baloney; talking the talk but not walking the talk!  What’s worse, it’s their underhanded robbing of widows by foreclosing on their houses!  You see, the scribes were the mortgage lenders of their day, keeping careful records of who owes how much and making sure that a destitute widow can never pay for her own house.  It’s the story of our housing crisis in 2008—all that predatory private lending by major banks and unregulated markets.  There were a whole bunch of “widows” who lost their homes and fortunes in 2008 and 2009.  The backstory of that is too long to tell, but you can be certain that it is similar to what is recorded in the Gospel of Mark.  It’s all about pride and greed and the lack of justice.  And that applies to a many biblical stories, and a whole lot of American stories in what we have wanted to call “the land of plenty,” and “the greatest nation on earth.”

     So this “widow’s mite” story is a story about economic justice, but it is more importantly, a story of devotion—devotion to God and by extension—devotion to Christ’s Church in our own day.  Such devotion is always perplexing to unbelievers, and it is even shocking to those within the household of faith. Remember the objection raised in the Passion Story when a woman poured some expensive perfume on the head and feet of Jesus?  The matter of economic justice was immediately raised by those who didn’t recognize the difference between justice and devotion.  “Give that money to the poor!”  But Jesus immediately shut down the objections.  “She has anointed me for burial.”  Now that’s devotion! That’s faith in spite of the evidence!  Have devotion and then work on justice! That’s trust in God’s good future for you and for me!  That’s a great backstory!

     So ultimately, the question turns to each one of us.  “What’s your backstory?”  “What makes you tick?” “Why do you react the way you do, especially about money?” “What’s your true devotion?”  The question is inescapable as we hear this short story traditionally called “the widow’s mite.”

I have a story from a previous congregation which illustrates this devotion to Christ and his church.  There was a building program in my first congregation to expand the kitchen and fellowship hall.  The price tag was $100,000 in 1984.  It seemed like an unattainable figure to me.  But a committee was formed, and letters and pledge cards were sent to everyone in the congregation.  In a few days, one letter came back to the church office marked “return to sender.”  It was sent to one of the women on the committee, a wealthy widow, but the envelope had never been opened.  She had objected to the scope of the project and actually had wanted to spend more money, to build a bigger addition.  But she would not support the $100,000 cost estimate.  “Return to sender” said the envelope.

     A few days later, another widow knocked on my office door.  She was someone who would do handwork in her small home.  When her baby bonnets, embroidered dish towels, knitted washcloths, pillow covers and teddy bears were finished, she would take them to the bazaar at the community building.  She did this year after year.  When she sat down in my office, she presented her bank savings book to me.  “I want to give this to the building fund.”  I looked at the total:  $1,200.  That represented 1.2% of the building program.  It was the widow’s mite.  It was the morsel of bread given to Elijah by the widow of Zarephath.  And like Elijah, I was fed by that widow in my church office.

     So now the question: “What’s your backstory?” For disciples of Christ, the backstory is always what St. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 8.8.  “You know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”  The Apostle Paul wrote this as part of his stewardship drive to the Christians in Corinth.  We could say they were the scribes who complained about the high cost of everything in their seaport city.  But Paul gave them a backstory about the churches in Macedonia.  Here is what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 8.1-5.

     “We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.  For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints—and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us.” 

     What was the Macedonian backstory?  It was the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They had heard of Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins.  They had believed that they were protected in their poverty not by their wealth but by their faith.  They had trusted in the power of the resurrection of Christ Jesus for them and for all believers.  They had persevered in the face of severe affliction and extreme poverty. 

    There are believers like this in our midst today.  We do not have to look too far to see them.  Watch the TV news or read online about the church in S. Sudan, or the church in Ethiopia, or the church in other persecuted countries.  Remember what public affliction has happened to Christians and their churches even in the good ol’ USA.  Think about your friends and family who wonder why in the world you give your money to First Lutheran of West Seattle.

    Think about these things and then pile them in front of the cross of Christ.  The cross is our backstory.  The cross is the source of our devotion.  The cross is the reason for our generosity.  The cross is why we maintain this church building, pouring expensive perfume if you will, for the sake of our worship of him who for our sake became poor so that we might become rich.  That’s our backstory.  Tell the story.  Live the story, and walk with Christ into the future he has planned for us.

 

 

Hymn of the Day:  “Take My Life, that I May Be” (LBW 406)

 







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.]






 

We remember in prayer church members.

Jane Harty and family

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Mark Hicks

Eric Baxter

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Richard Patishnock

Ty Wick

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

Mark Nesheim

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in the world. Pray for peace throughout the world. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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:  “God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending” (LBW 408)

 




 

Jesus and the Widow

 

Apparently one of the scandals of Jesus’ time was the insidious way that the religious establishment served the needs of the wealthy and, in clear violation of the Torah, violated the poor, especially those outside the social structures—the widows.  The reference to “widows’ houses” could refer to the scribes’ tendency to abuse their role as trustee for the estates of widows, or it could refer more generally to the way upkeep of the temple (a house of prayer) “devoured” the resources of the poor.  Either way, the practice of praying had become a cover for injustice.  What is worse, then as now, many involved with the temple were unaware of the way the structures worked against needy people, for the needy were almost invisible.  They didn’t walk and sit among the scribes and religious leaders.

     Again, Jesus sees things differently.  Jesus pays special attention to the poor widow whose clothes were unspectacular and who probably was overlooked by almost everyone.  Oh yes, many rich people put in huge sums.  That would be impressive, and it was meant to be!  But Jesus commended the woman who put in a penny.  Why?  Because the others did it for show out of abundance; she did it for God with “all she had to live on.”

     The question about both clothes and offerings is the same:  What is acceptable worship?  What is to be done to be “noticed” and who do we want to notice us?  Jesus gives us a clue.  The scribes gave in order to make a human impression; the widow gave all she had, revealing that she was completely dependent on God.  The scribes became a negative example of trust, while the poor woman, contrary to cultural expectation, provided a positive example of trust.  Here, then, is a vivid instance, so common in the Gospels, of the fulfillment of Mary’s song:  God has “brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.”

 

William Dyrness in “Christian Century”

October 26, 1994




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

November 7, 2021


 


 




 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

November 7, 2021

All Saints'

 

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

 

Let us pray: Almighty God, whose people are knit together in one holy Church, the body of Christ our Lord: Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.    


First Lesson: Isaiah 26:1-4, 8-9, 12-13, 19-21

Psalm 34:1-10

Second Lesson: Revelation 21:9–11, 22-27, 22:1-5

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

 

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

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDQ75k6-3_8




 





The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall, Pastor

 

Sermon: November 7, 2021

 

The Wife of the Lamb

The Reverend Philip Nesvig

 

Over 100 years ago, the American journalist Ambrose Bierce published

“The Devil’s Dictionary.”  It was intended to be satire, and it was gradually released in magazines and newspapers over the span of 30 years.  You might have heard his definition for “Saint.”  Here it is:  “A dead sinner revised and edited.”  Ambrose Bierce was from a Puritan family, but he was an agnostic who rejected the divinity of Christ.  Despite this, his “saint” definition has some truth to it.

     First of all, we don’t really become full saints until we’re dead!  That’s when we sinners finally get “revised and edited.”  When we’re alive, we’re always running off the rails to one degree or another.  We are like those toddlers who wobble around always exploring and always ready to get into trouble, always on the brink of running off the rails.  Toddlers need to be restrained for their own protection, but also for the protection of their parents and caregivers.  For a toddler, the world is all self-centered.  It’s “me-first” and don’t get in my way!  How far removed are we from being toddlers?  Not very far!  We just learn how to disguise our moves as we grow older.  But we know that the biblical story never tires of telling us how stubborn and sinful we really are.  We are toddlers who never really grow up.  We are not so much “saints in progress” but “sinners who fail to love God and neighbor.”  So Mark 12 tells the story of a scribe who wants a quick and clean formula for being a saint.  The scribe asked Jesus if sainthood could be achieved by loving God and neighbor.  Jesus agreed that the scribe had the formula correct. The scribe had offered “the executive summary.”  The scribe, this early vintage Lutheran, gave a comparison to support his declaration.  “Loving God and neighbor is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  (That’s the Lutheran part coming out.)  The scribe knew it was not about works righteousness, that is, becoming a saint through your “burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  (We don’t do burnt offerings and sacrifices, but we are very eager to become righteous by our good works.) Back to Mark 12.  Here comes the punch line:  “Jesus said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.”  (Mk 12.34) 

     I have always wondered why Jesus said “you are not far from the kingdom.”  How close was he?  And how do you get closer, not only closer but actually in the kingdom?  Well, to move beyond Ambrose Bierce, you need to get “revised and edited” to get into the kingdom.  How does that happen?  It happens precisely through what Ambrose Bierce rejected, namely, the divinity of Christ.

     You see, our revising and editing does not come from a journalist or a copy editor.  It comes through faith in Christ.  So I am certain that Martin Luther was wiser and more faithful than Ambrose Bierce.  I have always loved Luther’s simple definition about “the church.”  In one of his writings, the Smalcald Articles, he says this:  “Thank God, a seven-year-old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd…(The Christian church’s) holiness….consists of the Word of God and true faith.”  (Book of Concord, Tappert, p. 315)

     So, true faith does not say, “I’m a work in progress, and one day I’ll get it together.”  Instead, true faith says I remain a sinner my whole life long, and then, after being smelted and purified by fire, my sinner side will be left on the slag pile, and I will finally become a saint.  Two things need to happen:  we need to die, and we need to be run through the smelter.  Now mind you, the purifying fire has already happened through Christ’s crucifixion and death.  It was painful for Christ but painless for us.  We know that the effects of sin have been taken care of at the cross.  The devil was defeated, but he doesn’t give up without a fight.  Nevertheless, the final victory has already happened.  We just await the full glory, our wedding feast with the Lamb of God.  That happens when we actually die!

     So to add another image for being a saint, and to live in what I think is a lovely metaphor, our lesson from Revelation offers an alternative to calling us a “saint.”  This alternative is “bride.”  One of the seven angels made this astonishing declaration:  “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” Now any number of added metaphors and questions might pop up in your minds.  “When did I get married?”  “I didn’t even know I was dating!”  “When did I get engaged?  “I don’t ever remember anyone popping the question!  It surely didn’t happen like I see on TV.”  “Am I really the bride of a Lamb?” “Can’t we just live together for awhile before getting married?”

     To move with these metaphors, let me say this.  “You got engaged when you were baptized.”  For most of us, it wasn’t our choice.  It was our parents or maybe our grandparents’ choice.  More profoundly, “choice” didn’t have anything to do with it.  It was the work of the Holy Spirit, that seed of faith planted in your heart, watered and nourished by Holy Scripture. Then came the bits of bread and sips of wine provided on Sundays at way stations like First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  You were promised in marriage to Christ the Lamb of God who died to take away your sins.  And now, truth be told, it’s a long engagement.  You have your wedding license.  The wedding fees have all been paid.  You’ve been living together with Christ the bridegroom for many years.  All it takes is for you to remain faithful to your engagement until you die.  Then suddenly, one day in the future, you will be told your wedding day has finally come.  “Wake up!  It’s time to march down the aisle.”  And much to your amazement, you will hear some voice announcing your entrance, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  You will gaze breathlessly at this fantastic scene.  There will be no searching for the Aurora borealis, no lunar or solar eclipses.  In actuality, there will be a power outage.  But not to worry!  The glory of the Lamb will illumine every trace of darkness.  You will discover the Lamb’s book of life.  Check for your name.  It’s going to be there!  Pick some fruit from the tree of life.  This time it won’t damn you to darkness and death like it did for Adam and Eve.  This fruit will be part of the wedding reception.  And the fruit will keep coming.  It’s all part of the eternal package deal with Harry & David’s fruit of the month club!  And I have a hunch there’ll be lots of singing.  After all, said the hymn writer, the bride of Christ, the church, “she is his new creation by water and the Word.”  We’ll be singing that hymn and many others!

     Keep the faith, as long as you are able.  Don’t worry if you’re feeling weak and exhausted by the pace of life you keep.  Use the means of grace Christ has given to all who are engaged to be married to him.  Use the Bible, the water of baptism, and those bits of bread and wine.  Use this congregation as we practice mutual conversation and consolation.  Then open your imaginations to the faithful poets from Revelation to Samuel Stone who wrote our hymn of the day.  Listen, you’re engaged to be married, and when that great day arrives, there will be “mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won.”  Now join that “blessed heav’nly chorus!” as we sing and proclaim, “Lord, save us by your grace, that we, like saints before us, may see you face to face.”

  

 

Hymn of the Day:  “The Church's One Foundation” (LBW 369)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jotNbcFelX4




 



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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall, Jane Harty and family

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Mark Hicks

Eric Baxter

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Richard Patishnock

Ty Wick

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in the world. Pray for peace throughout the world. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl




 




Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

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

 

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

 

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



 


 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

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


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

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w4D3Atcdyw



 


In accordance with the Scriptures, therefore, we maintain that the church in the proper sense is the assembly of saints who truly believe the Gospel of Christ and who have the Holy Spirit.  Nevertheless, we grant that the many hypocrites and evil men who are mingled with them in this life share an association in the outward marks, are members of the church according to this association in the outward marks, and therefore hold office in the church.  When the sacraments are administered by unworthy men, this does not rob them of their efficacy.  For they do not represent their own persons but the person of Christ, because of the church’s call, as Christ testifies (Luke 10.16), ‘He who hears you hears me.’  When they offer the Word of Christ or the sacraments, they do so in Christ’s place and stead.  Christ’s statement teaches us this in order that we may not be offended by the unworthiness of ministers.”

"Apology of the Augsburg Confession,"

The Book of Concord, (Tappert edition), p. 38

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 31, 2021


 


 

Reformation




 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 31, 2021

Reformation Day

 

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

 

Let us pray: Almighty God, gracious Lord, pour out your Holy Spirit upon your faithful people.  Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in all temptations, defend them against all their enemies, and bestow on the Church your saving peace; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.    


First Lesson: Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 46

Second Lesson: Romans 3:19–28

Gospel: John 8:31-36

 

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




 






Reading: October 31, 2021

 

The Law and the Gospel

 

It is proper that the Law and God's Commandments provide me with the correct directives for life; they supply me with abundant information about righteousness and eternal life.  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.  It resembles a hand which directs me to the right road.  The hand gives me the proper direction, but it will not conduct my steps along the way. 

     Thus the Law serves to indicate the will of God, and it leads us to a realization that we cannot keep it.  It also acquaints us with human nature, with its capabilities, and with it limitations.  The Law was given to us for the revelation of sin; but it does not have the power to save us from sin and rid us of it.  It holds a mirror before us; we peer into it and perceive that we are devoid of righteousness and life.  And this image impels us to cry: "Oh, come, Lord Jesus Christ, help us and give us grace to enable us to fulfill the Law's demands!"

     But how are we "discharged from the Law"?  Doubtless because through faith in Christ we satisfy the demands of the Law and through grace are freed and voluntarily perform the works of the Law.  But those who do not have this faith are active in works unwillingly and almost in fear or in a desire for their own convenience.  Therefore love is necessary, which seeks the things of God, love which is given to them who ask in faith and in the name of Jesus. 

     Even though we sin often and are not perfectly voluntary, yet we have made a beginning and are progressing, and we are righteous and free.  But we must constantly beware that we not fall back under the Law.  For who knows whether or not they are acting out of fear or a love for their own convenience even in a very subtle manner in their devotional life and their good works, looking for a rest and reward rather than the will of God?

     Therefore we must always remain in faith and pray for love.   

 

LW 22.143-144, LW 25.59-60.

 

Hymn of the Day:  “Salvation unto Us Has Come” (LBW 297)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLX699wYJ9I



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall, Jane Harty and family

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Mark Hicks

Eric Baxter

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Richard Patishnock

Ty Wick

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in the world. Pray for peace throughout the world. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl




 




Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

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

 

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

 

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



 


 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

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


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

 



 


Martin Luther:  Our Most Eminent Teacher

Pastor Marshall

 

Lutherans say that Martin Luther (1483-1546) is our “most eminent teacher” [The Book of Concord: Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1580) ed. T. Tappert (1959) p. 576]. This is because we believe that he understands the Bible and the Christian faith better than anyone else does. And this is of great value since the Bible is made up of some 67 books and totals over a thousand pages. So having someone who can faithfully grasp its point matters. But since the early 1800s, Lutherans have been fudging about this. They haven’t changed the stated position itself – they still declare Luther is the best – it’s just that they now willfully, defiantly and shamefully ignore what he wrote, while letting the words stand that say he’s the best teacher we have. So modern Lutherans say they’re Lutherans but they bark up other trees and drink from other wells. To see this at work, one has only to check out the April 2007 issue of Lutheran Women Today (volume 20), which explores how best to understand God, and see that Luther is never mentioned, while Michelangelo and James Weldon Johnson are! This is but one example taken from a massive trend of denial and neglect.

     Two more examples of how Lutherans are doing this regards how we read the Bible and what we think about Judaism. When the New Testament quotes the Old Testament, for instance, it does explain the context of the Old Testament words – who is saying what, to whom, and for what reason. Nor is the historical background sorted out or the literary nature of the words sized up. Rather it just quotes the earlier holy words with absolutely no commentary. So when Jesus quotes Zechariah 12:10 in John 19:37, he gives no citation but simply says, “And again another scripture says, ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced.’” And when James 2:23 quotes Genesis 15:6 it only says, “The scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’” [For other examples, see Luke 20:42; Acts 2:25, 34, 7:48-49, 13:35; Romans 9:15, 17, 25, 10:11, 16, 19, 21, 11:2, 9, 12:19, 14:11, 15:12; 1 Timothy 5:18; Hebrews 5:6; James 4:5-6.] So Lutheran argued for the plain sense of a Bible verse. He didn’t write commentaries in order to make “the Bible say the opposite of what it seems to say” (Donald H. Juel, “Homosexuality and Church Tradition,” Word & Word, Spring 1990). Rather, Luther argued, we should “just hear” the Bible verse, and give up trying to “interpret” it (Luther’s Works 23:229; 39:165).

 

(Reprinted from October 2007)

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 24, 2021


 


 



 



Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 24, 2021

The Twenty-second Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations.  Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your name; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.    


First Lesson: Isaiah 53:10-12

Psalm 91:9–16

Second Lesson: Hebrews 4:9–16

Gospel: Mark 10:35-45

 

Opening Hymn:  “O Day of Rest and Gladness” (LBW 251)



 





Reading: October 24, 2021

 

The Son of Man Came Not to Be Served but to Serve

                                             Martin Luther, LW 22, 166-67

 

May you ever cherish and treasure this thought.  Christ is made a servant to sin, yea, a bearer of sin, and the lowliest and most despised person.  He destroys all sin by Himself and says: “I came not to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28).  There is no greater bondage than that of sin; and there is no greater service than that displayed by the Son of God, who becomes the servant of all, no matter how poor, wretched, or despised they may be, and bears their sins. 

     It would be spectacular and amazing, prompting all the world to open ears and eyes, mouth ant nose in uncomprehending wonderment, if some king’s son were to appear in a beggar’s home to nurse him in his illness, wash off his filth, and do everything else the beggar would have to do.  Would this not be profound humility?  Any spectator or any beneficiary of this honor would feel impelled to admit that he had seen or experienced something unusual and extraordinary, something magnificent. 

     And yet the love of the Son of God for us is of such magnitude that the greater the filth and stench of our sins, the more He befriends us, the more He cleanses us, relieving us of all our misery and of the burden of all our sins and placing them upon His own back. 

     Whenever the devil declared:  “You are a sinner!”  Christ inter poses: “I will reverse the order; I will be a sinner, and you are to go scot-free.”  Who can thank our God enough for this mercy?

Sermons on the Gospel of Saint John (1537-40)

LW 22, 166-167

 

 

Hymn of the Day:  “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (LBW 482)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Hm-aES_HUs



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall, Jane Harty and family

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

The Tuomi Family

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Mark Hicks

Eric Baxter

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Richard Patishnock

Ty Wick

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Paul Jensen

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

 

 Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in India, Africa and South America. Pray for peace in South Africa and Afghanistan. Pray also for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl




 




Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

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

 

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

 

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



 


 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

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


Closing Hymn:  “O Christ, Our Hope” (LBW 300)

 



 


 

 

Luther on God & Time

 

“Since before God there is no reckoning of time, before Him a thousand years must be as one day [2 Peter 3:8]. Therefore Adam, the first man, is just as close to Him as the man who will be born last before the Last Day. For God does not see time longitudinally; He sees it transversely, as if you were looking transversely at a tall tree lying before you. Then you can see both ends at the same time. This you cannot do if you look at it longitudinally. With our reason we cannot look at time in any other way than longitudinally. Beginning with Adam, we must count one year after the other until the Last Day. But in God’s sight everything is in one heap. What is long for us is short for Him and vice versa. Here there is neither measure nor number. Thus man dies. His body is interred and decays. It lies in the ground and knows nothing. But when the first man arises on the Last Day, he will think that he has been lying there barely an hour. Then he will look about and discover that many people were born before him and came after him. About this he knew nothing. [So] the Lord is not slow about His promise,… but long-suffering [2 Peter 3:9]. Therefore you should be prepared for the Last Day, for it will come soon enough for everyone after his death. Then he will say: ‘Behold, I died only a short time ago!’ But this Day will come all too quickly for the world. When people say: ‘There is peace, and all is well,’ the Day will break and come upon them (1 Thessalonians 5:3). And like a mighty thunderstorm, the Day will burst forth with such a great crash that everything will have to be consumed in one moment.”

 

(Luther’s Works 30:196-197.)

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 17, 2021


 


 

 

First Lutheran Church

of West Seattle

1918-2021

 

 



 



Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 17, 2021

The Twenty-first Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

Let us pray: Almighty God, source of every blessing, your generous goodness comes to us anew every day.  By the work of your Spirit lead us to acknowledge your goodness, give thanks for your benefits, and serve you in willing obedience; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  

  


First Lesson: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15

Psalm 90:12-17

Second Lesson: Hebrews 3:1–6

Gospel: Mark 10:17-27

 

Opening Hymn:  “When Morning Gilds the Skies” (LBW 545)



 





Reading: October 17, 2021

 

WE ARE STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH

Martin Luther, 1531

We should look upon this life as a stranger and pilgrim looks upon a land in which he is a stranger or a guest.  A stranger cannot say, Here is my fatherland, for he is not at home there.  A pilgrim does not think of remaining in the land to which he makes his pilgrimage, or in the inn where he stays the night, but his heart and thoughts are directed elsewhere.  He feeds in the inn and rests and then he continues his journey to the place where his home is. 

     Therefore conduct yourselves as guests and strangers in this strange land and strange inn, and take nothing from it but food and drink, clothing and shoes, and what you need for your night’s rest, and keep your thoughts on your fatherland where you are citizens. 

     We must note this carefully.  We must not seek to build for ourselves eternal life here in this world and pursue it and cleave to it as if it were our greatest treasure and heavenly kingdom, and as if we wished to exploit the Lord Christ and the Gospel and achieve wealth and power through Him.  No, but because we have to live on earth, and so long as it is God’s will, we should eat, drink, woo, plant, build, and have house and home and what God grants, and use them as guests and strangers in a strange land, who know they must leave all such things behind and take our staff out of this strange land and evil, unsafe inn, homeward bound for our true fatherland where there is nothing but security, peace, rest, and joy for evermore.

 

Hymn of the Day:  “Thee Will I Love, My Strength” (LBW 502)

 



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Mark Hicks

Eric Baxter

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Richard Patishnock

Ty Wick

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Paul Jensen

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Brett & Kathy Moury

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

 

 Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in India, Africa and South America. Pray for peace in South Africa and Afghanistan. Pray also for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LpdpGO-sJ4



 


Come, Holy Spirit, into our dailyness.

Refuse to lose track of us, pursue us in all our masks and masquerades. Come, God’s Hound Dog, track us down in all our flights, escapes, and evasions. Come, Holy Provoker, push us, prompt us, tease us, please us, displease us. Come, Holy Tenacity, refuse to let us go. If we shut the door in your face, go to the back door. If we slam the back door, come in through the cracks. Come, Holy Oddity, whimsical as the wind, surprise us at our most unexpecting moments as you surprised many a God-resister and brought him or her to faith in your Son Christ Jesus, as you surprised Saul on his way to Damascus to capture and kill Christians and turned him into Paul, the greatest missionary the world has known. Unplug us when we fill up with self-pity and misery. Rescue us when we drown in our dailyness. Restore in us the joy of our salvation in Jesus Christ. Pour your love and joy and power into us today as you pored it into the thousands on Pentecost Day. Come into our dailyness, O Holy Spirit, be our divine income, our holy, incorruptible income – and then, O Holy Spirit, help us to spend that income, spend it like the rich-in-spirit men and women you have made us to be!

 

[Edna H. Hong (1913-2007), Box 66, Sumac Lane: A Lively Correspondence

on Sin and Sanctity (New York: Harper & Row, 1989) pp. 75-76.]

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 10, 2021


 



Anna & Charles Anderson

 

Anna (1880-1960) was a Norwegian immigrant who was the key lay organizer of our church nine years before it was established in 1918.

 

Marriage is

 a divine kind of life

because it was established

by God Himself.

 

(Luther’s Works 1:134.)

 



 



Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 10, 2021

The Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

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

  


First Lesson: Genesis 2:18–24

Psalm 128

Second Lesson: Hebrews 2:9–18

Gospel: Mark 10:2-16

 

Opening Hymn:  “When Morning Gilds the Skies” (LBW 545)



 





Sermon: October 10, 2021

 

Leave Your Parents

(Genesis 2:24)

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

     Married couples start off by breaking the commandment to honor their parents (Exodus 20:12). How striking! They do this when they leave them to get married and no longer look to them for their care and direction (Genesis 2:24) – even to the point of no longer obeying them by living with them under the same roof and their parental authority. For many this separation is a relief – but not for all. Sometimes the apron strings grow very long and strong, and entangle us with no parent-child differentiating ever taking place. But even so, there’s no looking back on this matter. That’s because in the New Testament we’re pushed to go further and to even hate our parents for the sole purpose of becoming disciples of Christ Jesus (Luke 14:26). This break, then – this newly forged independence from our parents – is a requirement for being a responsible Christian and child of God. We’re each called to bear our own load (Galatians 6:5). We’re each called to a life of maturity (Colossians 1:28). We’re each told to grow up (1 Peter 2:2). So get up and move out and set up your own place to live. This is the divine mandate – and it’s for your good. It’s designed to help you much more than it is to denigrate your parents because of it. Martin Luther honored this break without thinking it was clean. And so he writes that this “forsaking is not to be understood as though the married children would not have visited their parents at all” (Luther’s Works 1:139).

     Luther also thought husbands and wives were to be on their own in order to raise their kids with the goal of breaking their “self-will” and making them “humble and meek” (LW 44:86). They were to “occupy the same home,... take care of a household, [and] together... produce and bring up children.” This is more important than having a place to go to, to be protected from “the severity of the climate” – and for that we must be forever grateful (LW 1:132–33). But a shift has to happen in marriage where the children become the parents, and in order for this to occur, the new couple cannot live under their parents’ roof any longer. When new husbands and wives do this, they take on a new role in addition to being spouses and parents. “For God has exalted this estate of parents above all others; indeed, he has appointed it to be his representative on earth” (The Book of Concord, ed. T. Tappert, 1959, p. 382). That new role as God’s representatives makes marriage “a divine kind of life” (LW 1:134). As God’s representatives, parents cannot let anything interfere with their newly acquired office – including the grandparents. And so they must leave the home of their parents and live on their own. Married children must “dwell in their own little nests.... [just like] birds are accustomed to do” (LW 1:139). And it’s a disaster if this doesn’t happen. Luther puts it this way. “What else is it but to sacrifice one’s own child to an idol and burn it when parents train their children more in the love of the world than in the love of God, and let their children go their own way and get burned up in worldly pleasure, love, enjoyment, lust, goods, and honor, but let God’s love and honor and the love of eternal blessings be extinguished in them?” (LW 44:83). But when they leave their parents and set up their own home as God’s representatives to their children, then they turn their homes “into a true church, a chosen cloister, yes, a paradise!” That’s because they then can go about the job of inculcating in their kids the divine truths – “to despise temporal things, to bear misfortune without complaint, and neither fear death nor love life” (LW 44:85). This is a far cry from the popular life’s motto – “to sing like nobody can hear you, dance like nobody can see you and love like you’ve never been hurt” (Dick van Dyke, Parade Magazine, October 3, 2021, p. 9)

     And just how shall this transformation come about? What enables children to become godly parents? What happens, if, for example, the new couple gets cold feet and wants their parents to be part of a wider family – or village, if you will – to help them raise their children? As in all cases, here too, we’ll need to look to Christ “who put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 12:2, 9:26). Why is that so important? Luther explains by asking rhetorically – “Why else did Jesus die, except to… purchase grace for us so that we might despair of… our works, placing no truth in them, so that we might, with courageous defiance, look only to Christ, and firmly believe that he is the man whom God beholds in our stead and… forgives us our sins, deigns to look upon us with favor, and grants us eternal life” (LW 52:253). Note how this substitution not only brings eternal life but also gives us courage now to despair of ourselves and trust in God to live a holy life here and now.  No wonder that “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). This unlikely scenario of Christ blessing us in his death so that his low point becomes our high point is like unto the fish and water fowl surviving the flood – something few have noticed besides Luther who then goes on to note how that devastating deluge can be a benefit too at least to a few aquatic creatures (LW 2:70). Sinners forgiven for the sake of Jesus are then like the sharks and whales, seagulls and pelicans, who survived the flood without Noah’s ark.

     But what happens when marriage falters and husbands and wives look to leave their marriages for new homes and new spouses? What then? Hebrews 13:4 warns against this by saying – “keep the marriage bed undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous.” So when tempted to leave, resist it (1 Peter 5:9). Just as surely as you should leave your parents’ home when you marry, don’t leave your own home when tempted by greener pastures on the other side of the hill. Luther explains this more fully. “Because… our body does not live chastely,” he warns, “we should… endure the… thorns and thistles in marriage, and we should rejoice that God… protects us in these miseries. For it is pleasing to God that you toil and sweat among the thorns of marriage. Let His grace be sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9), and do not let the difficulties deter you” (LW 5:195–96). Sage advice, indeed. May God use it in our lives to strengthen marriage and promote faithful living among us all. And may God use these words so that all of us may get off to the right start when we marry by helping us see the point of leaving the homes of our parents. Amen.

 

Hymn of the Day: “Our Father, by Whose Name” (LBW 357)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYwj-kud31s



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Mark Hicks

Eric Baxter

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Richard Patishnock

Ty Wick

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Paul Jensen

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Brett & Kathy Moury

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

Joseph Monteleone

 

 Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in India, Africa and South America. Pray for peace in South Africa and Afghanistan. Pray also for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

Death

Leslie Hicks (Pastor Marshall's friend from internship)

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl




 




Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

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

 

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

 

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



 


 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

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


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



 


 

If Eve had persisted in the truth, she would not only not have been subjected to the rule of her husband [Genesis 3:16], but she herself would also have been a partner in the rule which is now entirely the concern of males. Women are generally disinclined to put up with this burden, and they naturally seek to gain what they have lost through sin…. In this way Eve is punished; but… it is a gladsome punishment if you consider the hope of eternal life and the honor of motherhood which have been left her.

(Luther’s Works 1:203).

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

October 3, 2021


 




 In hell the worm

never dies

and the fire

is never quenched.

 

(Mark 9:48)

 



 



Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

October 3, 2021

The Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

Let us pray: God of love, you know our frailties and failings. Give us your grace to overcome them; keep us from those things that harm us; and guide us in the way of salvation. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.  

  

 


First Lesson: Numbers 11:4–6, 10–16, 24–29

Psalm 135:1–7, 13-14

Second Lesson: James 4:7–12

Gospel: Mark 9:38–50

 

Opening Hymn:  “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (LBW 543)



 





Sermon: October 3, 2021

 

Fear Going to Hell

(Mark 9:48)

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

     There are better reasons for belonging to Christ than not going to hell – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of them. No, the best reason to believe in Christ is so that you can glorify him at the throne of the Lamb in heaven forever (Revelation 5:13). That’s because praising God is what we were made to do (Isaiah 43:21), and so to be able to that for all of eternity is the best reason we have for wanting to go to heaven. And it’s a positive one. Another better reason would be to gain power from on high to become children of God (John 1:12) so that we would then have power to help others bear their burdens (Galatians 6:2). A third reason to believe in Christ would be so that we could let our light shine before others so that they may see our good works, believe in Christ and give glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). But, that being said, it still makes sense – in addition to all of these positive, better reasons – to believe in Christ so that we stay out of hell. Because hell is such an awful place, it stands to reason to do so. That being said, this is all for nothing due to the fact that today – both in and outside of the church – the fear of hell has all but dried up.

     Why is that? It’s simply because few there are who believe in a hell anymore. Hell is seen as an old-fashioned idea from a bygone era that is now without any evidence or supporting intellectual value. About the only place anyone hears about hell anymore is in the cartoons. And there’s nothing new about the minimizing and displacing of hell. It comes from the earliest times in the church – when Origen (185–251) argued, out of a love for “symmetry,” that the “blissful harmony with God” in the Garden of Eden has to be matched at the end of the world, and so all will be saved regardless of what they believe in order to maintain that harmony. It’s as though there was no devastating eruption of sin in between Eden and the end that makes the end necessarily worse than the beginning. Therefore the old saw is true about the esteemed Origen, that when he was good, “no one was better,” but when he was off base, “there is no one worse” (Michael J. McClymond, The Devil’s Redemption, 2018, I.259, 235). And believing that no one would go to hell was indeed when Origen was at his worst.

     Unfortunately many Christians have followed in Origen’s footsteps to this very day. Some say that the rainbow promises (Genesis 9:11–17) that none will be damned to the fires of hell – therefore showing that its grace means that all will be saved (Jacques Ellul, What I Believe, 1989, pp. 204, 193). Some prestigious, contemporary Lutherans have even argued that, based on God’s steadfast love and everlasting mercy (Exodus 34:6), “even the will to damnation is damned and thereby defeated by the One for whom and in whom damnation is not allowed the last word” (Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon, 2000, p. 143). But these arguments and defiance cannot erase what the Bible has to say about hell. Most are going there, it says (Matthew 7:13). So how can it not exist? And it’s horrible – greatly to be feared for the misery and horror it inflicts (Mark 9:48, Luke 16.23, 28, Matthew 25:30). Weeping and gnashing of teeth are what is heard there. That’s because as Martin Luther knew, in hell you’re “afflicted with every pain, distress, grief, and misery [and will] burn eternally without [even] a little drop of water” (Luther’s Works 28:144). That’s the clear and simple Biblical truth. In a recent magazine article, Luther’s words are embellished. “My first day in Hell,” it begins, “is drawing to a close.... Most of the demons are asleep now.... They look so innocent, it’s hard to believe that just a few hours ago they were raping and torturing us.... The food here turns out to be surprisingly good. The trouble is, just about all of it is poisoned. So a few minutes after you finish eating, you’re doubled over in agony. The weird thing is, as soon as you recover, you’re ready to dig in again” (The New Yorker, October 30, 2006).

     This truth about hell is indeed real and horrible. And whether you end up there or not depends on whether you obey Christ Jesus or not. That’s because “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son shall not see life, but God’s wrath rests on them” (John 3:36). To this verse Luther exclaims – “Believe in Christ!” and then you’ll “need have no fear; for eternal life is yours” (LW 22:502). This is the way to go because “the unbeliever… has sin, he has hell, and he remains entirely in the flesh and perishes” (LW 73:185). This is clearly inadvisable. No one should want this. No one should want to go to hell. No one should exercise this horrible option. Unfortunately there are many who live like their father the devil (John 8:44), who was thought to believe that it’s “better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven” (John Milton, Paradise Lost, 1674, I:263). But dont think that way! Stay out of league with the devil. Hold on to Christ instead. He is the one who died for you to save you from sin and hell (Hebrews 9:26). And his crucifixion saves us when he is punished in our place for us. In 1532 Luther preached on this grace saying that “out of his mercy God gave his Son to make payment for us, and, thereby, through him we are saved. That is why the teaching is that remission of sins does not result from our own merits or from our good works, but through God’s precious mercy whereby he was prompted within his own heart to love us. By our sins we had merited the fires of hell, but God looked on us in his boundless mercy. This is the reason he sent his Son, and for the sake of his Son he now remits our sins” (Luther’s House Postils, ed. E. Klug, 1996, 3:320).

     Along with that clinging to Christ and his blessed sacrifice, be sure also to proclaim his name abroad – the only name by which anyone can be saved from the fires of hell (Acts 4:12). Go out quickly and invite people to church that they may hear about and then believe in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17). Don’t just look for the wealthy and powerful – but go to “the poor and maimed and blind and lame” (Luke 14:21). That’s because Christianity is for the broken and contrite (Psalm 51:17) – not for the proud and self-satisfied and socially powerful (James 4:6). Do you have that urgency and focus within you? If not, are you praying for it (Luke 11:13)? And next, when you invite them, be ready to answer their questions about the hope that is within you (1 Peter 3:15). Are you prepared to do that? If not, are you praying for help to get ready to be able to respond helpfully? And finally, if you get any takers, help them advance (Hebrews 5:14, 1 Peter 2:2, Colossians 1:28) to become disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19) – studying his word, caring for the needy, and exposing the darkness of this world (Ephesians 5:11). Do that by making “clear” what you want them to understand about Jesus (LW 33:81). No obfuscation and no beating around the bush. Be as straightforward as possible about the good news of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:14). Do you have the deep dedication required to get all of this done? If not, are you bowing down before the Lord to implore his help (Ephesians 3:14)? And don’t try to make the Christian life hip and relevant either (Brett McCracken, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide, 2010). Clarity is enough. Luther is right. We don’t need a new Christianity for today’s believers (contra John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, 1998). Just tell them the message of the Bible as clearly as possible, and when you do, be sure not to leave out the necessary fear over ending up in hell Amen.
 

Hymn of the Day: “Jesus, Still Lead On” (LBW 341)

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

 



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

The Tuomi Family

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Richard Patishnock

Ty Wick

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Paul Jensen

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Bjorg Hestivold

Ruben Skumilen

Phil and Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Brett & Kathy Moury

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

 

 Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in India, Africa and South America. Pray for peace in South Africa and Afghanistan. Pray also for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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:  “God of Grace and God of Glory” (LBW 415)




 



 

Hell is a place

of torment.

 

(Luke 16:23, 28)

 

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 26, 2021


 




Let us not avenge ourselves

nor repay evil with evil,

but suffer just as Christ does.

He suffers, just as He taught

and commanded,

does not avenge Himself,

does not return evil with evil, and so on.

 

(Luther’s Works 69:195.)

 




 



Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 26, 2021

The Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, you call us to work in your vineyard and leave no one standing idle. Set us to our tasks in the work of your kingdom, and help us to order our lives by your wisdom. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

  

 


First Lesson: Jeremiah 11:18-20

Psalm 54:1–7

Second Lesson: James 3:16–4:6

Gospel: Mark 9:30–37

 

Opening Hymn:  “When Morning Gilds the Skies” (LBW 545)



 





Sermon: September 26, 2021

 

Call on God’s Wrath

(Jeremiah 11:20)

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

     God wants to help us. And so he makes it crystal clear that if we call upon him he will save us (Acts 2:21). That is his primary role in our lives. He comes to forgive us our sins so that we will not have to spend eternity in hell but rather have a room in his grand and glorious heavenly mansion (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46, John 14:2). But there’s more. He also comes to fight for us against our earthly enemies. From of old we are told – “Our God will fight for us” (Nehemiah 4:20). Remember how the Lord helped out Gideon in the battle against the Midians – scaring away the enemy, with a simple, loud series of blasting sounds (Judges 7:20)? Or how about when God sent two hundred soldiers to free Paul from jail (Acts 23:27)? So while God does his glorious work of salvation for us, he also does our dirty work for us on earth – keeping us safe from our enemies. Therefore we stand with Jeremiah of old and cry out to God – “let me see your vengeance upon my enemies, for to you have I committed my cause” (Jeremiah 11:20). And these same words are there in David’s promise that all believers share in – “God will requite my enemies with evil;” and in his faithfulness he will “put an end to them” (Psalm 54:5). And more startling still there is the prayer – let my enemies “be like the snail which dissolves into slime” (Psalm 58:8).

      Furthermore these prayers for help against our earthly enemies are not left hanging. No, instead strong support for them undergirds them. The first is the old yet ever-chilling pronouncement from God that “vengeance is mine” (Deuteronomy 32:35). In this mighty word we hear God reserve for himself, and for our benefit, his swift assault on those who look to undercut or otherwise, weaken, silence or get rid of us. And this word is not buried in some mythical, bloody past of the Old Testament – but is also right there twice in the New Testament (Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30). The other provision has to do with the variety of ways in which God comes down upon our enemies. This assures us that his pursuit of our enemies covers the waterfront. At one point God calls those assaults on our behalf his “four sore acts of judgment – sword, famine, evil beasts and pestilence” (Ezekiel 14:21). Added to these could be the earthquake in Numbers 16:32 – as well as the hailstones and storms in Isaiah 30:30 and Ezekiel 13:13. Martin Luther also tosses in the devil, fire, disgrace “and every misfortune which there is or can be on earth,” as additional measures of God’s wrath against our enemies (Luther’s Works 76:235). Clearly for Luther “the wrath of God… is no joke” (LW 28:264). And so neither should it be for any of us. Everyone should be scared to death by God’s wrath.

     But this is sadly not so – especially in God’s church. Many fear that if they concede the reality of God’s anger, there’ll be no turning back. All that will be left, they fear, is doom and gloom. But that’s not the case at all. Divine horror will persist, regardless of what we make of God’s assaults. That much is for sure. But for the believer in Christ there is so much more than God’s wrath. That’s because the blood of Jesus has saved us from that wrath (Romans 5:9). Here is the huge step forward that American Christians give up on. We avoid Biblical wrath because we fear getting stuck in it – becoming hateful and vengeful people ourselves. But Romans 5:9 won’t allow for this. We are not to worry about God’s wrath being inflicted on others by us. No, we instead are to concentrate on his wrath striking Jesus. That’s because his assault on his own Son for our sake is the sole source of our hope and our joy (Isaiah 53:4–5). Luther explains. “We must have someone,” he preaches, “who suffered an innocent, pure death for us and thereby paid God so that such wrath and punishment might be taken from us” (LW 57:123). Alleluia! – because precisely that happened in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And in this sacrificial payment is our hope and joy. Why? Because as a result of it, we are rescued from punishment and given the promise of everlasting life. And Luther was further convinced that we can count on this gift. So he argues that “when we are fatigued, let us run to the fresh and untiring Christ and not remain with ourselves” (LW 17:30). Yes, by all means! Both are needed – God’s wrath and the untiring Christ. The wrath protects us; the untiring Christ refreshes us by forgiving us when we repent. Both are needed. Rejoice and be glad. Tell the whole truth about God and his message (Acts 20:27), and then take God’s protection and refreshment to heart.

     This double message is Christianity. These two points are the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Both have been given to us to maintain Gods wrath and Christs grace (John 1:17). Both punishment and reward come from God. This is Luthers brief summary of our faith which he found in the severity and kindness of God in Romans 11:22. As our most eminent teacher, Luther's summary must also become our motto as well. And so Luther cries out to the church would that we knew “how important God considers obedience, since he so highly exalts it, so greatly delights in it, so richly rewards it, and besides is so strict about punishing those who transgress it” (The Book of Concord, ed. T. Tappert, 1959, pp. 576, 384). But when Christians get stuck in the deceitfulness of sin which hardens their hearts (Hebrews 3:13), and the gall of bitterness... in the bond of iniquity overtakes them (Acts 8:23), then they forfeit their motto. Then the twofold nature of Christianity is lost. Then they have eyes but do not see; ears but do not hear (Mark 8:23). And this happens all of the time in the church. Luther therefore concludes that when this spiritual plague consumes us, its worse than any resperatory virus could ever be. And thats because this spiritual contamination turns us into damnable knaves, pure and simple (LW 24:280, 43:228). How ghastly! And thats because all that they then want is kindness and grace without any severity or punishment. Indeed, now they sin because of stubbornness and wickedness. Therefore let us separate from them and depart from their midst” (LW 3:286). If not, let us at least bear witness to what is right and to rebuke what is wrong” (LW 69:195).

     So be especially careful. Much is at stake. Therefore as you struggle to live out your days in this grand new way of Christian living, be vigilant. Be sure that you “never avenge yourself” (Romans 12:19), for “he who retaliates is in the wrong” (LW 6:201, 46:25). So give up on seeking revenge for yourself – even though it’s our “tired timeless cry: I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you’” (Fraser Sutherland, Bad Habits: Poems, 2019, p. 42). Let us put a stop to that tired, timeless cry! Never forget that revenge is God’s business – not ours – since God alone is the one “who gave life [and] can rightfully take it away from those who have sinned” (LW 9:83). Our business is to try to “live peacefully with all” (Romans 12:18). Therefore let us “learn to leave vengeance to God” (LW 29:121). Luther then adds that God’s also better at getting even than you could ever be. His punishments are “more severe,” and those needing them “will not escape” from them (LW 21:124). So “God forbids us to hit back and take revenge. He not only comforts us that he will be avenged, but he also frightens us from meddling in [his] office; He alone will revenge and repay. At the same time… he compels us to have pity on them, since we have to leave room for God’s wrath and let them fall into God’s hands” (LW 76:235). So don’t forget that vengeance is God’s business, and not ours. Let these words dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16). And believe in them by the mercy of God as you struggle to know the right way to escape your enemies and be free of any fear of them by calling on God’s wrath. Amen.

Hymn of the Day: “All Depends on Our Possessing” (LBW 447)

 



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Rollie

The Tuomi Family

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Ty Wick

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Paul Jensen

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Hank Schmitt

Ron Combs

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Bjorg Hestivold

Ruben Skumilen

Phil and Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Gary Grape

Larry & Diane Johnson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

Michael Clark

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Brett & Kathy Moury

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA)

Emily, Gordon and Evelyn Wilhelm

 

Pray for those wounded and killed in the shooting last Thursday in Collierville, Tennessee, just outside of Memphis. Pray for those killed and wounded in the train accident yesterday in Joplin, Montana, just north of Helena. Pray also for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. And pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in India, Africa and South America. Pray for peace in South Africa and Afghanistan. Pray also for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. Pray for those suffering from the aftermath of hurricane Ida. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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:  “Savior, Again to Your Dear Name” (LBW 262)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3lJ2RLFO7s



 


 

 

The vengeance and wrath of God are carried out in various ways:

sometimes through government, sometimes through the devil,

sometimes through illness, hunger, pestilence, fire, water, war,

hostility, disgrace, and every misfortune which there can be on earth.

 

(Luther’s Works 76:235) 

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 19, 2021


 




So faith by itself,

if it has no works,

is dead.

 

(James 2:17)




 



Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 19, 2021

The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

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

 


First Lesson: Isaiah 50:4–10

Psalm 116:18

Second Lesson: James 2:1–18

Gospel: Mark 8:27–35

 

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

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lord+jesus+christ+be+preawnt+now



 





Sermon: September 19, 2021

 

Do Good Works

(James 2:17)

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

     Christianity is about believing in Christ Jesus. That’s why it isn’t called Peace-ianity or – for that matter – Friends-ianity or Books-ianity, or Love-ianity or Music-ianity or even Justice and Righteousness-ianity, but only Christianity (Acts 11:26). Even so there’s still more to it than Christ. But that being said, we still have to be careful what we add and how we do it. And that’s because faith in Jesus is at the center of it all and must never be compromised in any way by what we add. We have to keep uppermost John 3:16 – “Whoever believes in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, should not perish but has eternal life.” That verse, with its resounding testimony, has to stand free and unscathed by any other material added. And what are those other things? Well, there are many. But chief among them is James 2:17 – “Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” Going with this verse – and in the same vein – is Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” And the same can be said for Galatians 5:25 – “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

     So good works are the primary additional matter to be included in Christianity. No doubt about it. But that doesn’t make them any less of a problem. Now why is that? If they’re so wonderful and belong in Christianity, how can they be such a problem? Well, it’s because they always want to usurp faith. They try to take over Christianity. Good works try to be what saves us from the wrath of God and the fires of hell and makes our lives godly. Good works are the tail that want to wag the dog! But they cannot and they must not, and so they have to be demoted. They can’t be in first place. No, they instead have to play second fiddle to grace and faith. They have to follow faith, not precede it. Martin Luther had this just right – while also grasping the difficulty involved. He therefore argues that faith must be “preached against works, even if works cannot be left out afterwards” (Luther’s Works 67:76). But how is that done? It has to be argued, Luther thought, that “no heart ever becomes righteous without faith [and] no works make anyone righteous, but the heart must first be righteous and good” (LW 78:324). Therefore “all works done before justification are… good for nothing” (LW 75:365). In that way good works are demoted. They aren’t strong enough to purify us in the sight of God. Their goodness is derived – coming from faith which precedes them. So good works cannot stand alone, being good whether the one doing them is good or not. Only a good tree can bear good fruit (Matthew 7:17). “So stick to the principle that bearing good fruit refers to the kind of life and good works that are in agreement with the Word and the commandment of God” (LW 21:261).

     What does purify us, then, if not good works? Only faith in the sacrifice of Jesus can “purify” us before God (Hebrews 9:14). How does it do that for us? It happens this way. When Christ dies in our place on the cross and is punished for our sins instead of us, he pays a “ransom” for us (Mark 10:45). That’s what makes him our Messiah (Mark 8:39). And when he becomes our ransom, he then turns “divine judgment away from us” and appeases God’s “wrath” for us. Nothing else can do this. “Thus grace was given to us free of charge, so that it costs us nothing; but it costs another very much for us. It was acquired with a countless, infinite treasure, namely, God’s Son Himself. Therefore it is necessary above all things that we have Him who did this for us. It is impossible to obtain grace other than through Him” (LW 76:17). Now if we want to rely on ourselves instead and do good works to try to get into heaven on our own, then we’re nothing but “hardened heads,” as Luther says, and all we have is “a frightening Christ,” who comes with “a thunderbolt to smash the iron cliffs and mountains” of our smug lives (LW 77:85). But when faith in Christ grips us, then we rejoice in this ransom forged on the cross and say “I shall... place my hope in the One who is my Advocate before the Father, and who gave himself for me” (LW 23:179)!

     Good works therefore are a wash-out when it comes to salvation – “for we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Romans 3:28). Luther follows up on this verse by saying that good works never “present satisfaction for your sins before God [since they] leave sins unborne and unpaid” (LW 22:168). Indeed, “we do not partake of eternal life by virtue of our works but solely by faith…. [So] are we not fools to undertake through our good works,” Luther blasts, “to gain what we have already obtained through Christ?” (LW 23:111). Yes we are. Luther is right. That would indeed make us fools. That’s because works can’t save us and we’re fool for thinking they can and trying to make them do it. But that doesn’t make good works useless. They still have a purpose in their own right. Therefore it is a grievous Christian mistake to think that you have been “so liberated by the gospel that there is no further need to do anything, give anything, or suffer anything” (LW 51:207). No, we Christians have been called to “spend our lives [doing] good works, so that we live piously before God, righteously toward our neighbor, and chastely toward ourselves” (LW 57:37). But even then I have to remember and be certain that my good deeds are “not my work, but the mercy of God, who has used me as his instrument” (LW 51:225).

     Take money, for an example. We need to use it judiciously, by the grace of God – paying our way so that we aren’t a burden on anyone else (Galatians 6:5), and also sharing what we have with others in order to lighten their loads (Galatians 6:2). What’s ruled out is hoarding our money in “bigger barns” as Jesus warned us about (Luke 12:18–21). Those barns would make us “haughty,” so that we fail the “test” inherent in our wealth. Passing God’s test on money only happens when, regarding the way you use your money, you “abide in His fear,... humble yourself before Him, and also... render obedience that is due Him” (LW 3:248). So we have to be careful with our money because it is harder for a rich person to get into heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24). A rich person with money in hand isn’t inclined to fear God, be humble or obedient.

     Because most Christians don’t care about what God thinks about how they use their money, but operate only according to principles of self-interest and good finance, Saint James attacks us mercilessly. He does this in a truly remarkable Bible passage. It’s from James 5:l–6 and says – “Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire…. You have lived on earth in luxury and in pleasure. You have condemned... the righteous one.” May these words abide in us all – and shake us down to the core. May they teach us the godly life. May they graciously drive us to Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And may they at the last even show us how to rightly do good works. Amen.

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

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

 



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Emma Sagmoen

Greg Lingle

Rollie

Kris, Jamey and Jake Sagmoen

Kari, Simon and Alex Ceaicovschi

The Tuomi Family

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

The Ortez family

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Patty Johnson

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Paul Jensen

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Steve Arkle

Hank Schmitt

Ron Combs

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Bjorg Hestivold

Ruben Skumilen

Phil and Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Jeff Stromberg

Dana Gioia

Gary Grape

Judy Berkenpas

Larry & Diane Johnson

Phil Anderson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

The Olegario Family

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Brett & Kathy Moury

The Carling Family

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in India, Africa and South America. Pray for peace in South Africa and Afghanistan. Pray also for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. Pray for those suffering from the aftermath of hurricane Ida. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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:  “Son of God, Eternal Savior” (LBW 364)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kElt5qpXiD8



 


 

God does not grant wealth in order to cause you to conclude from it that He is gracious; He has bestowed another greater benefit, and from it you may properly reach this conclusion. He wants to put you to the test, to see whether you are willing to abide in His fear, to humble yourself before Him, and also to render obedience that is due Him. For very few do this; they become haughty because of their good fortune…. Unless hearts are enlightened and ruled by the Holy Spirit,… it is impossible for them not to be corrupted by favorable circumstances…. But the world does not believe this…. They indulge in drunkenness and gluttony…. But it is well known what usually results from drunkenness.

 

(Luther’s Works 3:248.)

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 12, 2021


 



Wherever you now are… and in whatever estate you are found, there you are to flee the world. How does this happen? Not by… crawling into a corner or into a wilderness. You cannot escape from the devil and sin in that way. He will find you just as easily in the wilderness… as in the market…. Rather, you must flee the world with your hearts [and] do not adhere to this worldly way of life, but cling to Christ according to… faith and wait for the eternal inheritance of heaven.

 

(Luther’s Works 77:200)



 



Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 12, 2021

The Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

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

 


First Lesson: Isaiah 35:4–7

Psalm 146

Second Lesson: James 1:17–27

Gospel: Mark 7:31–37

 

Opening Hymn:  “Jesus Shall Reign” (LBW 530)



 






Sermon: September 12, 2021

 

Pursue Purity

(James 1:27)

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

     Saint James pulls us up short. He tells us to keep ourselves unstained from the world (James 1:27). That’s because this is a hostile place – or a “vale of tears,” aus dem jamar tal, as Martin Luther repeatedly called it (Luther’s Works 12:119, 22:119, 24:186, 28:104, 122, 49:270, 53:241, 68:299). And this admonition to purity is part of what it means to practice “pure religion.” So we can’t afford to get it wrong. But these noble words don’t have much of a life among us. They’re instead drowned out by Louie Armstrong’s famous song What a Wonderful World (Thielet & Weiss, 1967). You remember how that well-loved song goes, don’t you? After each of its verses recounting the beauty of nature, the love we show for each other, and the hope of children growing up to be smarter than we are, he concludes three times with his famous line – “And I say to myself what a wonderful world.” When that song holds sway there’s no room left for avoiding the stains from the world because it’s too wonderful to stain any of us. Washed away, then, is the Biblical account of how wicked the world is. Armstrong’s song rules the day. Gone are the words about the devil being the god of this world who has blinded us so that we can’t believe in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Luther thought that left us like pigs, lying “in the mire or manure,” resting and snoring and thinking only of where there is “slop and swill,” knowing nothing of death, fearing no hell, looking forward to no heaven, and hoping for “no future life” (LW 57:27). All of this is too negative to make it into a popular song. It’s also too negative for the church when it comes to publishing worship books that see fit to praise the goodness of creation (“All Creation Sings: Another Bad ELCA Worship Book,” The Messenger, April 2021). But Luther is quick to pick it up because of his love for the Holy Scriptures. He can’t forget that they say – don’t love this evil place (1 John 2:15) and don’t be conformed to it (Romans 12:2). And so he adds all on his own – “The world is one big whorehouse, completely submerged in greed,” and “No animal would live as disgracefully as does this world” (LW 21:180, 14:112). No question here that Luther understands what we’re up against! He isn’t wearing any rose-colored glasses! And so he concludes that “the world is like a drunken peasant. If you lift him into the saddle on one side, he will fall off on the other side. One can’t help him, no matter how one tries. He wants to be the devil’s” (LW 54:111)! And this rejection of divine grace, Luther believed, is “greater and more horrible than anyone can express” (LW 26:179).

     What shall we do, then, if we have been taken over by Armstrong’s popular song – and even find ourselves humming it as we walk around during the day? What shall we do if we find ourselves “lodging here in an inn where the devil is master, and the world is the mistress of the house, and all manner of evil lusts are the domestic servants” (LW 69:219)? Try this. Hold on to this word from the Good Book – “I will come and save you” (Isaiah 35:4). Keep that word from God before you. And know that this prophecy was all fulfilled in Jesus dying on the cross. For when that happened, sinners were saved from God’s burning hot and devouring wrath (Romans 5:9). So don’t pass up this great divine rescue, whatever you do! Luther warns us about that. “When the world refuses to have Christ,” as he clearly points out, “it reaps only loss of God’s grace and…. closes heaven on itself and… incurs eternal wrath… and casts itself into the abyss” (LW 24:164). So take up Christ. Put him on (Galatians 3:27). Believe in him and accept him so that you can benefit from him (Romans 3:25). Again Luther has just the right warning – but about faith this time. “If you regard... my medication as nonsense,” he writes, “then you are arbitrarily sentencing yourself to death, and then the fault is yours” (LW 23:337). Start today, then, and fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Stop trusting in yourselves (Proverbs 3:5). Look to Jesus instead and take up newness of life (Hebrews 12:2, Romans 6:4). And it will be a strange, albeit new, life. Luther describes it this way – “This is the connotation of My words: peace means discord; good fortune means misfortune; joy means anxiety; life means death in the world. Conversely, what the world calls discord, fear, and death, I call peace, comfort, and life. It is life, friendship, and comfort, but not in the world; you will find this in Me. Through My Word your heart will be made invulnerable to the world, the devil, and hell.... When this Word enters the heart, it engenders courage” (LW 24:420). But some sadness is there as well, for “the saints cannot behold the wickedness of the world without intense grief” (LW 2:217).

     Living in that faith, let us then all join together and put the world in its place. Let our motto as a people be James 4:4 “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Thats because, as Luther notes, “love for God and love for the world are not compatible” (LW 30:249). Let us promote this verse near and far. And well have to work at it because, as Luther again points out, “to give up tangible things for... the Scripture is truly a big order. And people do not do this unless they have died to material things, at least in their feelings,” he adds, “even though in practice they still use them out of necessity rather than willingly.... They do all these things to God, whom they serve in all of these matters, seeking nothing of their own in them” (LW 25:516). Your fleeing from the world in order to remain unstained by it will therefore mean doing so “with your hearts” (LW 77:200). In that case we can live in the midst of material things but without being “carried away by [our] affection” for them (LW 15:9). But as long as we are here we will help to “rescue and protect” others from all dangers (LW 77:201). As for fleeing this world with our hearts, further help for doing so comes from a strange place, to say the very least. It is that great Robin Williams film – Good Morning, Vietnam (1987). In it Louie Armstrong’s song What a Wonderful World is used. But it’s used in such a way that it trashes it! It plays it in the movie while scanning sexual and child abuse, destruction of villages, executions, and police brutality in Vietnam during our war there. So much for a wonderful world! It is shocking for its clarity and courage of depiction. So use this movie clip. Tell people to look it up online. It’s less than three minutes long. It’s well worth it. For it helps us spread the Biblical message – if you can believe that! Thank God for this cinematic witness and pray that he would mercifully help you, living in this thoroughly wicked place, as you struggle to be faithful and pursue purity. Amen.



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

 

 



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Emma Sagmoen

Greg Lingle

Rollie

Kris, Jamey and Jake Sagmoen

Kari, Simon and Alex Ceaicovschi

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

The Ortez family

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Patty Johnson

Kurt Weigel

Carol Estes

Paul Jensen

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Steve Arkle

Hank Schmitt

Ron Combs

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Bjorg Hestivold

Ruben Skumilen

Phil and Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Jeff Stromberg

Dana Gioia

Gary Grape

Judy Berkenpas

Larry & Diane Johnson

Phil Anderson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

The Olegario Family

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Brett & Kathy Moury

The Carling Family

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Bill & Margaret Whithumn

The Robert Shull Family

Mary Cardona

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in India, Africa and South America. Pray for peace in South Africa and Afghanistan. Pray for the many still grieving for loved ones lost in the 911 attacks twenty years ago. Pray also for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. Pray for those suffering from the aftermath of hurricane Ida. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

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)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LvoE1vCeT8



 


 

Christians should use the world in such a way that they are always intending to get out of this life, even though they have house and home, wife and child. That is only for this life; they should do what is right for them, but at the same time say: “Today I am here; tomorrow, somewhere else. Now I use this inn; tomorrow I will use another, for I do not intend to remain here”…. He 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.

 

(Luther’s Works 77:201)

 




 

 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 5, 2021


 



Seek first the kingdom of God.

 

(Matthew 6:33)




 



Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 5, 2021

The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

 

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

 

Let us pray:

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

 


First Lesson: Deuteronomy 4:1–8

Psalm 15

Second Lesson: Ephesians 6:10–20

Gospel: Mark 7:1-23

 

Opening Hymn:  “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun”

 (LBW 269)




 






Sermon: September 5, 2021

 

Keep God on Top

(Mark 7:8)

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

     The Bible turns the world upside down (Acts 17:6). It attacks us saying we should quit dwelling on ourselves and those who love us and support us. We need to stop relying on ourselves and our own insights (Proverbs 3:5). We need to think more highly of others (Philippians 2:3). We need to love our enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). We need to follow God rather than our own human customs and ways of life (Mark 7:8). We need to seek first the kingdom of God (Mathew 6:33). We need to be born all over again (John 3:5). Martin Luther was taken over by this Biblical avalanche of strange and foreboding sayings. And so he preached that “it is necessary for us to be careful not to follow the ways of the world or our own reason and good opinions, but rather also to break our mind and will, and do and suffer otherwise than our reason and will assert, so that we are not conformed to the world but do the opposite. So we will daily be transformed and renewed in our minds; that is, we daily, more and more, cling to what the world and reason hate. For example, we daily prefer to be poor, sick, and despised fools and sinners, and finally regard death as better than life, foolishness as more precious than wisdom, shame as more noble than honor, poverty as more blessed than wealth, and sin as more glorious than piety. The world does not have that mind-set, but is minded differently in all things, it remains in that old mind-set unchanged and un-renewed, stubborn and decrepit” (Luther’s Works 76:188–89). Who could blame that old mind-set! But this is as it should be if God’s ways and thoughts are truly so much greater than ours (Isaiah 55:8–9).

     We know about such upheavals in other contexts. Some Americans still remember fifty years ago when Daniel Ellsberg published The Pentagon Papers (1971) which proved that a secret war was going on in Vietnam and Southeast Asia that was contrary to what our government had been telling us. And now just this past week Craig Whitlock has revealed the same sort of thing in Afghanistan (The Afghanistan Papers, 2021). But neither of these are as disorienting as the Bible is to say the least. And that’s why when people pick it up they know not what to make of it – and they end up loving the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19). The Holy Scriptures don’t lead them to love God with all of their heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). They instead are stuck in darkness – loving themselves and pleasure instead (2 Timothy 3:2–4). The “glory of faith” is lost on them, and they give up on being driven by “the bare voice of God,” which leaves them unable to love and prefer that divine revelation “above everything” else (LW 29:238). No wonder we’re “headstrong, proud, ignorant and deceitful” – anything but humble and trusting in Christ our Lord (LW 73:126). We’ve drifted away (Hebrews 2:1). “We have become foolish through our own wisdom…. Our nature is evil and corrupt” (LW 73:137). That leaves us in a deep, dark hole of moral and spiritual degradation. We know nothing of a “heart and mind” that are “in Christ, from Christ, and under Christ” (LW 75:171). We know nothing of being “so soured on the world” (LW 21:206). But we remain disoriented nonetheless. Ken Burns has shown in his famous documentary on baseball (1994) that it also has a similarly weird streak running through it too – being the only professional sport where the defense has the ball. While this case along with the Vietnam and Afghanistan cases are not exact fits, they still help us understand the disruptive in our lives.

     Trapped, then, as we are in this ghastly predicament of our pervasive sinfulness, there’s no hope for us. That’s how upsetting the Biblical message is. From it we learn that we cannot save ourselves from this wickedness (Psalm 49:7–9). It’s impossible. And there we are left all by ourselves – with darkness as our only companion (Psalm 88:18). Many have rebelled at this point arguing that historical Christianity was never “seriously believed and perhaps never could be, for belief upon authority in a mystery you cannot understand is not clear belief” (Don Cupitt, Theology’s Strange Return, 2021, pp. xvi–xvii). But most just remained baffled. And there they would stay unless a miracle were to change everything. There we would be unless we were somehow rescued. There we would remain unless we were to believe in that “fragrant offering” that Christ made to his father in heaven when he died on the cross to save us from being punished for our sins (Ephesians 5:2). That’s because that offering saves us from the wrath of God (John 3:36, Romans 5:9). Because of Christ’s agonizing death, God now “lavishes” his grace upon us that we might believe in Jesus and be saved for all of eternity (Ephesians 1:8). Why does this happen? Luther explains it this way. “Christ has taken our place,” he argues in one of his disputations, “and He makes good what we lack and by His blood erases the… decree that stood against us, until finally that Law has been satisfied by one in the place of us all” (LW 73:127). This is the glory of Jesus (John 12:23). May we ever delight in it and believe on the basis of it all of our days.

     Let us then take up that strange and wonderful life of faith. Let us be in the church in a consistent way with what it stands for. Let us not leave our faith behind and fashion a worldly church with no connection to what matters most to Jesus. No, let us remember that we must always remain as our Lord taught us not of the world even though we live in it (John 17:14–15). Luther grasped that paradox stating clearly that “the Church exists in the world but is not the world itself, nor does she live according to the world” (LW 73:302). Some say this is as it should be given the hostile nature of life – remembering that in the Bitterroot mountains of Idaho and Montana back in 1910, a fierce forest fire consumed “three million acres in barely two days” (Timothy Egan, The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America, 2009, p. 9). Be this as it may, Luther then deepens his critique of the world by adding this breathtaking warning which should guide every member of every Lutheran church throughout the world. And it is this – because there are “hard and impenitent people in the churches, we must repeatedly and diligently drive home…. God’s wrath threatening the destruction of the whole world” (LW 73:100). It’s only when our faith is enclosed in such fear that we can live faithful lives in a church that’s in the world. To that end, may the church lift up and nurture pastors to lead the church in this way. May they be brave souls – disregarding even their own safety, as pastors of old did in the wild West when, for instance, one preacher was found “dead,... leaning against a chair, a bridle around his neck and his hands raised as if in prayer” (J. M. Opal, Avenging the People: Andrew Jackson, the Rule of Law, and the American Nation, 2017, pp. 15, 25). Luther knew we needed such people. “It is a great thing,” he preached, “to struggle unceasingly through your whole life. Therefore, there is certainly a need for good trumpets and drums, that is, for preaching and exhortation that strengthen us and keep us brave in the struggle” (LW 75:20). So may God strengthen us for just this lifelong battle. May he enable us to fight everything in the world in order to keep God on top. Amen.

Hymn of the Day: “Oh, that the Lord Would Guide My Ways” (LBW 480)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF4fXnrDiR0

 



 


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.]



 



 

We remember in prayer church members.

Leah &Melissa Baker and Felicia Wells

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

The Nancy Lawson Family

Holly Petersen

Melanie Johnson

Kim Lim

Emma Sagmoen

Zoe Sagmoen

Greg Lingle

Rollie

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

The Rev. Randy Olson

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Allen Bidne

The Rev. Doug Guthier

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Kari Meier

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

The Ortez family

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Holly & Terence Finan

Ty Wick

Lori Aarstad

Anthony Brisbane

Susan Curry

Karin Weyer

Robert Shull family

Alan Morgan family

Geri Zerr & Mark

Lucy Shearer

Ramona King

Donna & Grover Mullin

Patty Johnson

Kurt Weigel

Ethan, Erin and Kevin Vodka

Carol Estes

Paul Jensen

Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma

Steve Arkle

Hank Schmitt

Ron Combs

Mary Ford

Andrea and Hayden Cantu

Dana Gallaher

Jeanne Pantone

Kevan & Jackie Johnson

Bjorg Hestivold

Ruben Skumilen

Phil and Trudy Kelly

Eric Peterson

Jeff Stromberg

Dana Gioia

Gary Grape

Judy Berkenpas

Larry & Diane Johnson

Phil Anderson

Wendy & Michael Luttinen

The Olegario Family

Nita Goedert

Mariss Ulmanis

Brett & Kathy Moury

The Carling Family

Shirley & Glenn Graham

Karen Granger

Mike Nacewicz

Mike Matsunaga

Kris, Jamey and Jake Sagmoen

 

Pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Pray for the many suffering and dying from COVID-19 in India, Africa and South America. Pray for peace in South Africa and Afghanistan. Pray for the many who died in the suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, and those mourning their deaths. Pray also for those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. Pray for those suffering from the aftermath of hurricane Ida. And pray for refugees throughout the world; for the care and keeping of our planet; and for our poor, fallen race that God would have mercy on us all.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl




 




Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

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

 

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

 

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



 


 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

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


Closing Hymn:  “Praise God. Praise Him” (LBW 529)



 


 

He who does not obey the Son

shall not see life, but

the wrath of God rests upon him.

 

(John 3:36)