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Monday, November 29, 2010

The Olive Branch: November 29, 2010

Accent on Worship
The Second Sunday of Advent

Much is written about the Kingdom of God or the Coming of the King to usher in the new age. The Kingdom of God looks like the Psalm we will sing for this Sunday, Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19. The poor will have justice: “…he may rule your people righteously and the poor with justice…He shall defend the needy among the people, he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.” There will be plenty for everyone: “…the mountains may bring prosperity to the people.” People will behave themselves: “…and the little hills bring righteousness.” And those well-behaved people will prosper: “…In his time the righteous shall flourish.” And there will be peace beyond the absence of war: “…There shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.” What a beautiful vision.

Jesus preached this very kingdom. Jesus said little about the afterlife, so the Kingdom of God, a kingdom where righteousness prevails, the poor will receive justice, and there will be peace, must be one that Jesus wants for us here on earth. With all the problems that the world has, it takes a mighty powerful faith to believe that we can live today in the Kingdom. However, some people had such faith and because they did the Kingdom came. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. possessed this great faith and because of it our country changed. In this instance we live in the Kingdom of God. Archbishop Desmond Tutu had great faith to prophesize the fall of apartheid in his nation, bringing to his people the Kingdom of God. For twenty years a group of believers prayed at the Berlin Wall, before the Kingdom came and the wall fell down. As you well know, a great deal of suffering and work has to follow great faith in order to bring about the Kingdom. Jesus died for the Kingdom, and many who followed, suffered and/or died for their belief that to follow Jesus, no matter how hard, is to bring the Kingdom into the world.

On the weekend before Thanksgiving for the past 20 years people have gathered at the gates of Fort Benning in Georgia to hold a vigil for all South and Central Americans who have been tortured, assassinated, who have disappeared, and who were assassinated by graduates of the School of the Americas (SOA), a military school that trains Latin American soldiers, housed at Fort Benning. Every coup, assassination and violent resistance to democracy and justice for the poor in South and Central America over the past forty years has had generals who have graduated from the SOA behind these actions. I attended this vigil last year and this year I attended it with my son, David. Like me, he found it to be deeply spiritual and moving. However, he is discouraged and believes that despite our actions nothing will happen. Faith, I believe, comes with hope and a little knowledge of history. That is the important example of the saints who have gone before us. My son has not witnessed enough miracles (Civil Rights for all in the USA, the fall of apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the Berlin Wall and more) to hope for the shut down of the SOA. But it will happen, because nothing stops the coming of the Kingdom of God.

This Advent pray and act to bring Jesus and his Kingdom into our world of suffering and injustice.

- Donna Pususta Neste

Sunday Readings
December 5, 2010 – Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 11:1-10 + Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Romans 15:4-13+ Matthew 3:1-12

December 12, 2010 – Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 35:1-10 + Psalm 146:5-10
James 5:7-10 + Matthew 11:2-11

Sunday’s Adult Forum, December 5 - 9:30 am in the Chapel Lounge
“The Infancy Narratives of the New Testament,” part one of a three-part series, led by Mount Olive member and Augsburg College professor, Brad Holt.

Advent Evening Prayer
Wednesday evenings during Advent,
December 1, 8, 15, and 22
7:00 p.m.

2011 Conference on Liturgy
Mount Olive’s ninth annual Conference on Liturgy will be held on Saturday, January 8, 2011. The theme for this year’s Conference is, “Holy Death: The Parish and its Liturgy at the Time of Death.” Keynote speaker for the conference will be The Rev. Dr. Thomas Long.

Conference brochures are available at the church. Cost for Mount Olive members to attend is $35/person. Please share this brochure widely with all of your friends who may be interested.

The Wish List
The Mount Olive Wish List is up and running and we’ve had a few donations come in. Please consider donating even just a single item on the Wish List. Banner stands, Godly Play items, and furnishings are on the list.

We received several donations this past week for the Wish List! An updated list is posted in the church office next to the coffee sign up sheet, and is also enclosed with this issue of The Olive Branch.

If you would like to donate an item or items from the list, please sign the chart at church, which is posted in the church office. Indicate which item/items you wish to donate and put your name and contact number beside the item you are donating, and you will be contacted about total cost and how to pay. Your donation will be reflected on your giving statement for tax purposes.

–Brian Jacobs, Vice President

Hanging the Greens
Part of our Advent preparation at Mount Olive is to gather following the second liturgy on the Fourth Sunday of Advent to hang garlands and wreaths in the nave. This year, the date is Sunday, December 19. Please plan to stay and join in this task on that Sunday, beginning at about noon. You will experience good fellowship as we prepare to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the Messiah.

New members are especially invited to participate.

Alternative Gift-Giving
Are you looking for something different to do this year for Christmas gifts? For the person who has everything, give a gift that will help people around the world who have very little.

The Missions Committee is promoting the idea of alternative gift giving this Christmas. For example, you can “buy” a sheep for your aunt who taught you how to knit. A struggling family would receive the sheep enabling them to increase their income and your aunt would receive a card acknowledging this gift. We have catalogues from different charitable organizations that you can use or you can order from the organizations’ websites. Some of these organizations are:
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Lutheran World Relief
  • Heifer Project International
  • Common Hope
  • Bethania Kids

Fair Trade Craft Sale
The Missions Committee host a Fair Trade Craft Sale on the first three Sundays in December. Purchase beautiful and unique Fair Trade items handmade by disadvantaged artisans in developing regions. With each purchase, you help artisans maintain steady work and a sustainable income so they can provide for their families. Lutheran World Relief partners with SERRV, a nonprofit Fair Trade organization, to bring you the LWR Handcraft Project.

The crafts will be available for purchase between services on December 5, 12 and 19 (cash and check only). Fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate from Equal Exchange will also be available. This is not a fund-raiser, just an opportunity to buy good products
for a good cause.

The Lutheran Magazine Subscription Renewal Request - Last Call!
In an effort to be the best stewards of the gifts of God’s people, a motion was made, seconded and passed at a recent Congregation Meeting to ask members and friends of Mount Olive who wish to continue receiving The Lutheran magazine to contact the church office. We are very happy to continue to provide this excellent publication to those who enjoy and benefit from it.

If you wish to continue receiving The Lutheran magazine, please call (612) 827-5919 or email ( and let Cha know by December 1, 2010.

Help Us to Help Our Neighbors
This Sunday, December 5, is our regular monthly ingathering of groceries to help restock area food shelves. You may bring your donation of non-perishable food items to the grocery cart in the coat room at church.

Also, please remember that we are also receiving donations of travel-sized personal care items (shampoo, toothpaste, soap, etc.) for the homeless. There is a box in the coatroom to receive these items also.

Book Discussion Group News
For their meeting on December 11, the Book Discussion group will discuss Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh. For January, they will read, Saint Maybe, by Anne Tyler.

Please note that the date for the January meeting has not been firmed up yet due to the annual Conference on Liturgy, which is scheduled for January 8. Please watch for updated information about the date of Book Discussion group’s January meeting.

Book Discussion regularly meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in the Chapel Lounge, and is always happy to welcome new readers!

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