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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Olive Branch, 1/10/11

Accent on Worship

[A word about death in the wake of our recent Liturgical Conference on Liturgy: “Holy Death: The Parish and its Liturgy at the Time of Death”]:

In my work as a hospital and palliative care team chaplain, I regularly meet people who refuse to talk about death, even in the setting of a terminal illness, fearful that talking about death will make it happen. This superstition seems to grow out of our culture’s general fear of death.

Christians - we who have put our faith in God - need not and should not engage in such superstitions. We fear (i.e. revere, bow before) God and thus we need not fear (i.e. be afraid of) death. By faith we Christians recognize that we are dust and to dust we will return (Gen. 3:19) yet we also trust that there is nothing, not even death, able to separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). We can therefore talk about death knowing that, in the words of the late Fred Rogers (TV’s Mister Rogers and Presbyterian minister, speaking here about discussing difficult matters with children), “Whatever is mentionable is manageable.” In faith, we can even ponder death – our own eventual death – for a few moments each day, a historic practice of the church called “memento mori” (Latin for ‘remember your mortality’). We do this in order to prepare for death, to help us remember that we do not have all the time in the world, and to cause us to treasure the time we have and the blessings God has given us as much as we are able.

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas keeps the following poem on his desk and reads it each day as his “memento mori” practice. I quite like this poem and commend it to you:

"The Last Thing"
by Monk Gibbon

Who'd be afraid of death,
I think only fools
are. For it is not
as though this thing
were given to one man only, but all
receive it. The journey that my
friend makes, I can (continued at right)

make also. If I know
nothing else. I know
this, I go where he is.
O Fools, shrinking from this little door,
Through which so many kind and lovely souls have passed
Before you,
Will you hang back?
Harder in your case than another?
Not so.
And too much silence?
Has there not been enough stir here?
Go bravely, for where so much greatness and gentleness have been
Already, You should be glad to follow.

And so when death comes finally to claim us, we Christians - who have already been claimed in baptism by God, marked with the cross of Christ, and sealed with the Holy Spirit - go bravely, knowing that our great and gentle Savior has already paved the road for us through death to new life in heaven. And so in death as in life, we gladly follow Jesus.

- Rob Ruff

Thank You!

Mount Olive's chancel, nave and narthex were again beautifully decorated for the Christmas season. This was accomplished through the efforts of many: those who brought in and placed the trees, the volunteers that participated in "Hanging the Greens" and the special crew that hung the lights and Chrismons on the trees.

Also, kudos to those who removed the greens and trees and cleaned up after. We are grateful and wish to thank all of you for your time and willing hands.

Sign Up for Altar Flowers

The Altar Flowers Chart for 2011 is now posted in the church office. If you would like to sign up to provide flowers for worship to commemorate a special day, in memory of a loved one, in honor of a special event, or simply to help beautify our sanctuary for worship, please sign up on the chart for the date you want, and be sure to include your designation. The cost of the altar flowers this year is $45 a Sunday for two bouquets. You may sign up to purchase both bouquets by signing on both lines, or purchase just one bouquet by signing on only one line.

And while you are signing up for Altar Flowers, you may also wish to sign up to host a Sunday coffee hour. The coffee hour sign-up sheet is right next to the Altar Flowers chart, in the church office.

Flavors of the South

Chase the chills and enjoy foods of the South in a Southern atmosphere! Come to the MONAC brunch on Sunday, January 23. This brunch will be held in the Undercroft following the second liturgy.

As this is a fundraiser for MONAC (Mount Olive Neighborhood Action Committee), tickets will be sold for the event, between and after Sunday liturgies for the next couple of weeks. Tickets obtained in advance will be $12 for adults, $5 for children age 5 to 12. Children under 5 are free. Tickets bought at the door will be $14. Y'all come!

Prayer Office of Compline to be Offered at Mount Olive January 16 - April 17

The Minnesota Compline Choir and Mount Olive will partner to offer the liturgy of Compline on Sunday evenings at 8:30 pm during the seasons of Epiphany and Lent of 2011. The first service will be this Sunday evening January 16 (The Second Sunday after Epiphany) and the last one will be Sunday, April 17 (Passion Sunday).

In worship, the choir assists with the liturgy, hymns and psalms, as well as offering anthems.

Walking Humbly

All are invited to attend the 6th annual RIC (Reconciling in Christ) Festival Worship, “Walking Humbly – The Journey Together.”

The service will take place on Saturday, January 29, at 5:00 p.m. at Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer (5440 Penn Ave. South, Minneapolis). Brenda Froisland from Edina Community Lutheran Church will preach at this service and a light supper and rich fellowship will follow the service.

Book Discussion Upcoming Reads

For its meeting on January 15 the Book Discussion group will discuss Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler, and for the February 12 meeting they will read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford. Please note that the January meeting is postponed one week, due to the Conference on Liturgy.

Sunday Readings

January 16, 2011 – Second Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 49:1-7 + Psalm 40:1-11
I Corinthians 1:1-9+ John 1:29-42

January 23, 2011 – Third Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 9:1-4 + Psalm 27:1, 4-9
I Corinthians 1:10-18 + Matthew 4:12-23

Wish List Update

Many thanks to all who have donated items on the Mount Olive Wish List! The new banner stands are already in use, and many of you can take a gander at the Godly Play items that have been donated by asking Diana Hellerman for a Godly Play tour. For those who have donated furniture, you'll start seeing our newly reconfigured rooms look a bit fuller and more purposeful. Five of the new guest chairs have been delivered and may be used interchangeably in the West Reception area, Chapel Lounge, and office areas. The second sofa has been delivered and it now allows for two ample and comfortable seating areas in the West Reception area. Three of the stack meeting chairs have been delivered and can be seen in the East Assembly room, and will be used during meetings. It's clear that these upholstered chairs will look more permanent and be a bit more comfortable than the folding chairs we have in there now. A reception desk is now in place in the West Reception area and can be used by various committees and groups for after-service sales and reminders of upcoming events. Of course, our new rooms will only look as polished as donations allow. So, if you are still considering a donation to Mount Olive via the Wish List, over and above your weekly offering, please take a look at the list, which is located on the bulletin board just inside the church office. Add your name next to the item you wish to donate, along with your contact phone number. You will be contacted regarding full price for the object and how to designate your check.

Thanks for all of your donations thus far!
- Brian Jacobs, Wish List Coordinator

All Are Invited!

Please note the following events to which all are cordially invited:

- Twin Cities Every Church a Peace Church bi-monthly pot luck dinner meeting: Monday, January 10; Mennonite Peace Activist Steve Clemens will present "When Being a Member of a Peace Church is Not Enough," at the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, 2914 West 44th Street, Minneapolis. A potluck dinner starts at 6:30 pm, followed by the presentation at 7:00.

- The Joint Peace with Justice Committee luncheon meeting: Sunday, January 16, 12:30 p.m. at Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. Jeff Sartain will give a presentation on "Bullying." There is free parking in the church lot - lunch is $7.

Watch Your Mail, This Week!

Later this week, you will find a colorful piece in your mail with information regarding the Mount Olive Capital Appeal. We are entering the final months of our three-year campaign, which has made possible the renovations to our building that we enjoy week after week.

The piece in your mail will tell you that, thanks to the faithful folks of Mount Olive, we are making great progress toward paying off our debt for all this work. It will also describe to you how we can wrap up the three-year period free of debt – and not being burdened by a building debt is vital for our congregation at this time.

We all are enjoying the renovated spaces now. Some, who were not members of Mount Olive during the original appeal, missed the opportunity to participate. Others were not in a position at the time to make a commitment. And some of those who have may be willing to do just a little more.

Please read the information carefully, and prayerfully consider how you may be able to respond.

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