September 2020


The Cross of Christ 



Do you believe that it was God’s “definite plan” to have Jesus killed on the cross “by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2.23)? And do you believe that this crucifixion was needed in order to save us from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9)?

      Many American Christians don’t believe this because it makes God look bad and it does nothing good for any of us. Instead of God’s wrath being overcome or ap-

peased when Jesus is punished in our place on the cross, we are instead won back by God when he simply displays his general “affection and conciliation” apart from any cross (Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture, 1979, p. 125).

      But too much of the Bible opposes this view. Peace between sinners and God is only established by “the blood of Christ’s cross” (Colossians 1:20). This peace only comes “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Only his death can do what the “law weakened by the flesh, could not do” (Romans 8:3). The only way this legal bond that stood against us because of our sin could be canceled, is by nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14).

      Early on, at the beginning of the church, Christians became enemies of the cross of Christ – replacing its saving role with simple human pleasures (Philippians 3:18). Pray on September 14, Holy Cross Day, that this never happens to any of us.

Pastor Marshall


PRESIDENT'S Cary Natiello


Our Midyear Congregational meeting was successfully held Sunday August 2, at 11 a.m. via ZOOM.  We had 24 members attend.

     A question came up at the meeting about the criteria the council is following for resuming indoor worship services.  Specifically, what does the word “minimal” mean in the criteria that reads, “Newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases during the prior two weeks in King County is minimal and declining.”  The question was what number we are using to define minimal?   The answer was that we did not want a specific number because we didn’t want to be tied to a specific number when assessing if we have met that criteria.  Instead, a super majority of Church Council members will need to agree on if newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases during the prior two weeks in King County is minimal.  In other words, we will know it when we see it.  Hopefully that makes sense.  As of mid-August, the only one of our five criteria that we can successfully meet is #1, “State and local governments allow indoor religious gatherings of 50 people or less.”  Numbers 2 – 4 we cannot meet at this time.

     Scott Schorn gave an update on the Saint Nicholas Faire at the mid-year meeting.  More information will be provided in the weeks ahead.  But the main things to be aware of now are that the Saint Nicholas Faire auction will be conducted virtually and the proceeds will again go to the West Seattle Food Back and Help Line.  Stay tuned.

     As of the end of July, our year-to-date giving was about $156,000 against a budget target of about $135,600.  Through July our devoted congregation has continued to support our wonderful church.  We all know that there will be a day when we can all worship again together.  What a glorious celebration that will be.  Thank you all for your continued support of our church during these trying times.  You are all very special.

     I was reading an article which helped put COVID-19 into perspective.  It reported that, in recent years, a little more than 40,000 women have died of breast cancer every year and close to 85,000 Americans die from diabetes every year.  Prostate cancer kills 33,000 men every year.  All this means that COVID-19 has already killed more people in 2020 than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes combined.  I thought this might be worthwhile for us to all realize the seriousness of this pandemic and that maybe these numbers might help you when talking with others who pooh-pooh how serious it really is.

     Please be safe, stay healthy, wear a mask when in public, pray for each other and pray that soon we will be able to come together in our beautiful church and worship our Lord together.                                                                

Rollie & Silvie Storbakken, Moose, WY, Chapel of the Transfiguration, with the Tetons behind.

Rollie is holding his Home Communion from church.


The Body


“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

(Psalm 139:14)


You don’t know how the body is formed in the mother’s womb.”

(Ecclesiastes 11:5)


The Stomach


“Nearly everyone equates the location of the stomach with the belly, but in fact it is much higher up and markedly off center to the left. It is about ten inches long and shaped like a boxing glove. The wrist end, where the food enters, is called the phlorus, and the fist part is the fundus. The stomach is less vital than you might think…. It contributes a bit to digestion both chemically and physically, by squeezing its contents with muscular contractions and bathing them in hydrochloric acid, but its contribution to digestion [isn’t] vital. Many people have had their stomachs removed without serious consequences…. The stomach of a big dog will hold up to twice as much food as yours does…. One thing the stomach does do is kill off many microbes, by soaking them in hydrochloric acid. Without your stomach, a lot more of what you ate would kill you…. It is a miracle that any microbes get through, but some do, as we all know to our cost…. Every year three thousand people… die of food poisoning in the United States, and around 130,000 are hospitalized…. [There’s an estimated] 1,120,000 cases a year [of salmonella poisoning, and] there is no treatment for [it]…. The largest source of foodborne illness is not meat or eggs or mayonnaise, as commonly supposed, but green leafy vegetables. They account for one in five of all food illnesses”


[Bill Bryson, The Body: A Guide to Occupants (2019) pp. 249–52.] 




The Apostle Saint Paul


“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit,

but in humility count others

better than yourselves.”



by Pastor Marshall


The arrogance that this verse speaks against is so dangerous that Martin Luther believed God “has covered our glory… with slander, bitter hatred, persecution, and blasphemy from the whole world, as well as with contempt and ingratitude from our own followers…. to keep us from growing proud of our gifts. This millstone must be fastened round our neck to keep us from being infected by that poison of vainglory” (Luther’s Works 27:102). The reason why vainglory or arrogance is so dangerous is because it cuts deeply into the very heart of Christianity. Our faith in Christ, after all, “sets forth heavenly and eternal things which do not belong to us, which we have neither made nor earned, but which it offers to us in our unworthiness purely by the kindness of God.” Because Christianity is like this, Luther asks the telling question – “Then why should we lay claim to any glory on account of them?” It must be because we either have forgotten, or defiantly rejected, that “the Gospel is the sort of teaching in which the last thing to look for is our own glory” (LW 27:100).

As clear as this is, the consequences are not. Take the case of a friend honoring me for preaching God’s word faithfully. “If he treats me with honor, he does well. But if I am proud on that account, I am in danger. On the other hand, if he looks down on me, I am out of danger; but he is not” (LW 27:101). So even God’s battle against arrogance can have mixed results – helping some and hurting others, depending on how we respond to it. Likewise, we shouldn’t honor others in order receive honor – which would only make our humility phony. “For we must give honor to one another even if honor from the other person neither precedes nor follows” (LW 25:455). A truly humble person “has regard for things despised and the contemptible, one who avoids things that are highly regarded” (LW 25:463). “Therefore that boorish and brutish life which is manifest in the rude and barbarian manner of… people is not becoming to Christians” (LW 4:208). This admonition is ever “set before us for the purpose of counteracting this surliness of our nature and to incite our hearts to be hospitable” (LW 3:199).

   This lesson of humility is “a hard one to learn” – just as it was for the first disciples of Jesus who were taught by our Lord that greatness doesn’t come from being “served, but to serve” (F. F. Bruce, Philippines, 1989, pp. 62–63). That’s probably because we resist humility due to our yearning to “rival God” himself (Bonnie B. Thurston, Philippians, 2009, p. 74). We also resist it because of its alleged misleading simplicity, supposing that “not all self-regard [is] self-seeking, though all self-seeking [is] an excess of self-regard. [And] humility without valid self-regard [is] defective; self-regard without humility [is] sin” (George Hunsinger, Philippians, 2020, p. 35). But what if regard for others has nothing to do with any of us or with our value? What then? “It is to the grace in man that the respect is paid” (Karl Barth, Epistle to the Philippians: 40th Anniversary Edition, trans. Janes W. Leitch, 2002, p. 57). So differences among us aren’t reasons for pride, but gratitude. This is critical because there is “nothing… so alien to the Christian soul as lack of sense…. [And the] first sign of lack of sense is ingratitude, for it removes the gift of beneficence” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Philippians, trans. P. Allen, 2013, pp. 107, 105). There’s no reason, then, to worry about humility being “an enslaving device” (John Reumann, Philippians, 2008, p. 331).





Because of Coronavirus concerns, the Sacrament of Penance is now offered on Zoom.  This brief liturgy enables people – one at a time – to confess their sin and receive the blessed assurance of forgiveness.  Call the Pastor to set up a time for Penance.

     This liturgy is ancient but largely neglected in recent years in America.  It is similar to the Roman Catholic confessional, but unlike it, in that this liturgy is done face to face with the pastor.  Copies of the liturgy are available from the pastor.

     This individual form of confession is more forceful than the general form used during Advent and Lent in the Communion liturgy.  It allows for, but does not require, listing of specific sinful burdens.  It also provides for specific instructions from the pastor for each penitent.  These additional details make for its greater force in the life of the believer. 

     Martin Luther's critique of confession never included the elimination of individual, private confession.  His critique instead only corrected the way it was being done.

     So we continue to honor his words in his Large Catechism:  “If you are a Christian, you should be glad to run more than a hundred miles for confession.” (BC, page 460).  Plan to come – blessings await you. 


I first met Doug when we attended college together in the late 1960s at Washington State University. We have been friends ever since. Doug grew up in Spokane, Washington, in a family with Lutheran heritage. Over the last few years we have been talking about books and religion on the telephone about once every month. It’s because of Doug that I have Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures (2001) by Wade Davis in my library – one of my favorites.                                                                     

    Pastor Marshall



Three Recent and Unusual

Developments That Together

Make Me Think There’s a God


Doug Lofgren

Burton, BC, CANADA

July 19, 2020


First, in 2012 NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse), reluctantly to me, discovered the endocannabinoid system – that internal system of cannabis receptors that regulates inflammation, among other things. Hailed as the biggest discovery in physiology in fifty years, how did this come about, that this system in humans would mirror what’s in a plant? The probability of evolution or chance seems miniscule. It looks engineered to me. “From womb to tomb, across countless generations, the endocannabinoid system guides and protects” (Martin Lee, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific, 2012, p. 214).

           Second, chimpanzees have 48 chromosomes, while humans have 46. “It appears that long ago, two separate chromosomes from chimpanzees (2A and 2B) merged or fused into the single larger human chromosome 2, one of the key chromosomes that gives us our humanness.” Also, “human chromosome 2, the second largest in the human body, is the result of an ancient DNA fusion that cannot be explained by the theory of evolution” (see Gregg Braden, The Science of Self-Empowerment: Awakening the New Human Story, 2017, 2019 – paraphrasing a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

           And third, Anthony William (Coviello), known as The Medical Medium – has been hearing a voice since the age of four, that calls itself The Spirit of Compassion. The voice diagnoses medical problems, most accurately, and provides solutions that have worked for thousands, if not millions. What is this omniscience? There must be something out there working through him to explain his long-standing, great and benevolent successes, which go beyond what humans can do (see Anthony William, Medical Medium, 2015).


1 Peter 1.7

Monthly Home Bible Study, September 2020, Number 331

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall


Along with our other regular study of Scripture, let us join as a congregation in this home study. We will study alone then talk informally about the assigned verses together as we have opportunity. In this way we can “gather together around the Word” even though physically we will not be getting together (Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV translation.)

     We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851 Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is “an extremely dangerous book.... [because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a prodigious scale” (For Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that “we all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved in the Bible” (Opening the Bible). Indeed this word “kills” us (Hosea 6.5) because we are “a rebellious people” (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans, however, we are still to “abide in the womb of the Word” (Luther's Works 17.93) by constantly “ruminating on the Word” (LW 30.219) so that we may “become like the Word” (LW 29.155) by thinking “in the way Scripture does” (LW 25.261). Before you study then, pray: “Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen” (quoted in R. F. Marshall, Making A New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12). And don’t give up, for as Luther said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for all eternity” (LW 75:422)!


Week I. Read 1 Peter 1.7 noting the word tested. What are we being tested about? On this read 1 Peter 5.13 noting the line stand fast in… the true grace of God. What does stand fast mean in that test? Check out 1 Peter 1.13 noting the line gird up your minds, and 1 Peter 3.8 noting the line have… a humble mind. How are we supposed to keep our minds steady? Read 1 Peter 1.14 noting the line do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, and 1 Peter 2.11 noting the line abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul. And what is that true grace of God that we are to firmly hold on to? On that read 1 Peter 1.25 noting the words word, good news and preached. What is the good news about God’s word? Check out 1 Peter 1.24 noting the word withers (in contrast to abides in 1 Peter 1.25 again). What is so valuable in God’s word that it must abide? Read 1 Peter 1.18–19 noting the words ransomed, futile and precious. Why is this ransom needed? On this read 1 Peter 2.24 noting how bore our sins enables us to die to sin. Note the same sequence in 1 Peter 2.25 with straying giving way to returning. These two verses are what must abide. Do you agree? If so, why?


Week II. Read again 1 Peter 1.7 noting the same word tested. Why do we need to be tested? On this read 1 Peter 4.17 noting the words household and judgment. Testing gets us ready for our final judgment. Why aren’t we ready? On this read 1 Peter 2.21 noting the line follow in his steps. Why aren’t we doing that? Check out 1 Peter 2.13 and 18 noting the words subject and submissive. Note also the five commands in 1 Peter 2.1 against malice, guile, insincerity, envy, and slander. Why is it so tough for us to amend our lives? Check out 1 Peter 2.2 noting the words grow up. How can this insult inspire us? On this read 1 Peter 2.8 noting the words stumble and fall. Will this warning push us past the insult?


Week III. Reread 1 Peter 1.7 noting that word tested again. Are there any further obstacles that this testing helps us surmount? On this read 1 Peter 2.20 noting the phrase take it patiently, and 1 Peter 4.13 noting the line share in the sufferings of Christ. Neither of these are attractive. What’s our incentive then? On this read 1 Peter 2.20 noting you have God’s approval. That alone will helps us on judgment day. When we have God’s approval, what happens to us? Note 1 Peter 3.4 about a gentle and quiet spirit. What does such a spirit accomplish? Check out 1 Peter 3.15 noting how the rigors of a defense go along with being gentle. Why does this matter? Read 1 Peter 1.9 noting the word declare, and 1 Peter 1.25 noting the word preached. What’s at stake here? On this read 1 Peter 3.12 with its contrast between open and against. How does that preaching keep God from opposing us? Check out 1 Peter 1.17 noting the line conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. Is this fear more helpful then we normally think it is? Why?


Week IV. Read 1 Peter 1.7 one last time noting the word tested. How can we pass this test? On this read 1 Peter 1.15 and 2.5 noting the word holy in both. That’s what gives us a passing grade on our examination. But what if this holiness is beyond us? On this read 1 Peter 5.8 noting the words adversary, devil and devour. That opposition doesn’t make our becoming holy any easier. Neither does drunkenness as 1 Peter 5.8 implies with its command be sober. (see also the negative example in 1 Peter 4.3). And note how our human passions keep us from following God’s will in 1 Peter 4.2. And read again about the five vices – malice, guile, insincerity, envy and slander – in 1 Peter 2.1. So there’s much in our way keeping us from obeying God. This makes 1 Peter 3.18 the key to our passing the test – with its line Christ… brings us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. Why would one need anything more?



Luther on Samson


By Pastor Marshall


In Judges 16:1–21 Samson has illicit sex with women in Gaza and Sorek. This ends in near death and great calamity – with the Lord taking away his protection from him (Judges 16:20)! Nothing worse could happen to the Nazarite Samson. From this Luther draws the conclusion in his 1522 treatise on marriage, that “he who refuses to marry must fall into immorality” and all the social ills that eventually ensue (Luther’s Works 45:45). Samson seems oblivious to the protection that the holy estate of matrimony provides. And this blindness is Samson’s character flaw – because from marriage “come people who retain a sound body, a good conscience, property, and honor and family, all of which are so ruined and dissipated by fornication, that, once lost, it is well-nigh impossible to regain them – scarcely one in a hundred succeeds” (LW 45:44). That character flaw Luther elsewhere calls “pestiferous smugness” (LW 13:126).



  Are you interested in distributing   Holy Communion in your home?  If so, please call 206-935-6530 or email Pastor Marshall to make arrangements.  If you make the arrangements you can pick your communion packet up from church on Saturday’s from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, or Pastor Marshall can deliver communion to your home.

tHURSday Evening Bible Class is now being offered 7:30-9:30 pm, via ZOOM online.  If you are interested in joining this class email Pastor Marshall at and he will send you a link.

Sunday Worship ― online at  In lieu of our time  together due to the stay-at-home orders issued by our government, because of the coronavirus troubles – which have put our worshiping, studying and serving in abeyance – Pastor Marshall is offering these abbreviated online liturgies. They in no way are equivalents to our normal fare. But they still have value. In them we are spending our time apart to accentuate Psalm 46:10 about being silent before God.


Zoom Book Discussion:  The next “With the Mind” book discussion is planned for Sunday, September 27th, from 3:30 to 5:30 pm via Zoom.  The book will be Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (2020) by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Isabel Wilkerson.

WEB PAGE ADDRESS:, or, which is specially configured for cell phones.

KORAN CLASS:  The next Koran Class begins Wednesday, October 7th at 6:30 pm.  Contact Pastor Marshall if you would like to attend.  The class will be conducted via Zoom.

In remembrance of

Lillian Schneider (6/1918 – 7/2020) on

a trip to Norway when she was in her 80s.



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Dorothy Ryder, Melanie Johnson, Joan Olson, Melissa Baker, Sam & Nancy Lawson, Pete Morrison, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Connor Bisticas, Eileen & Dave Nestoss, Kyra Stromberg, Tabitha  Anderson, Diana Walker, The Rev. Albin Fogelquist, The Rev. Howard Fosser,  The Rev. Kari Reiten, The Rev. Dave Monson, The Rev. Dan Peterson, The Rev. Rick Reynolds, The Rev Alan Gardner, Eric Baxter, Sheila Feichtner, Yuriko Nishimura, Leslie Hicks, Mary Lou & Paul Jensen, Hillary Thoren, Lesa Christensen, Maggie & Glenn Willis, Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm, Karen Berg, Bjorg Hestevold, Garrison Radcliffe, Antonio Ortez, Marv Morris, Noel Curtis, Randy Vater, Garrett Metzler, Doreen Phillips, Richard Patishnock, Jeff Hancock, John Paulson, Yao Chu Chang, Marie Magenta, Deanne Heflin, Mary Cardona, Holly Finan.

     Pray for our professional Health Care Providers:  Gina Allen, Janine Douglass, David Juhl, Dana Kahn, Dean Riskedahl, Jane Collins and all those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. Also, pray for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused, harassed, and unemployed.  And, pray for those suffering in Iowa from the derecho, and for those in California suffering from the terrible fires.

     Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved one:  Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts:  Pray for C.J. Christian on the loss of her mother, Avis Standefer.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Gregg & Jeannine Lingle, Bob & Mona Ayer, Joan Olson, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Doris Prescott, C.J. Christian, Dorothy Ryder, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Martin Nygaard, Anelma Meeks.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Shelley Bryan Wee, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our choirmaster Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called. 

     Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of Stewardship.  Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances.  Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways.

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this September.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.

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

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints:  Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist; and Saint Michael and All Angels.


A Treasury of Prayers


O Lord our God, by the power of your Spirit, enkindle me with the fire of your benign fervor, and burn out all my internal vileness. Awaken me that I may lift my heart to you in all my troubles. Be my light in darkness, my salvation in death, my comfort in sadness and loss. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen

                                                     [For All the Saints III:1278 altered]