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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Olive Branch: January 25, 2011

Accent on Worship

Fourth Sunday After Epiphany
If I were to give a title to the Lessons and the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany I would call it, “The Upside Down World of God.” In the First Lesson Micah creates a scene of Israel on trial before God, with the creation as the jury. The prophet numbers off all the saving acts of God, and then points out that the LORD of Israel does not want lavish sacrifices for his efforts, but rather he wants Israel to love others, to do justice and to be of service to God. My favorite Bible verse is in this lesson, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God?” This simple yet beautiful statement pretty much sums up everything that Scripture points us to in order to live our lives in harmony with our Creator, the creation and one another.

According to Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, our strength is in the weakness of the cross. Peace and nonviolent resistance against the evils of the world may look like weakness to those who do not follow the ways of Jesus, but to Paul and all believers it is the only way. The way of the cross is the power of God. The people of God do not need weapons of mass destruction to over- come the evil and darkness of our world. All we need is the weakness of the cross.

In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear the Sermon on the Mount. Hear it again for the first time and ask yourselves, “Who are the blessed that Jesus speaks of in these verses?” They are the poor, those who mourn, the meek, those who long for righteousness, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted. They sure don’t look blessed to me. They look like a bunch of losers, and they are almost everything that we would not want to be. Even the nice sounding ones like “peacemakers” are ignored by the powers of this world. Ninety-nine percent of all governments have a Department of Defense, but I know of none that have a Department of Peace. Few peacemaking efforts are celebrated by history. The events that our children learn about are the major wars and treaties, the spoils of war.

So, God’s world is really an upside down world, one that gets little respect in this life. Yet, if we are to be followers of Jesus, this is the world into which we are called to plunge by being generous and merciful, by challenging injustice, and by resisting violence through the weakness of the cross. And when we do we will be one of the blessed, because we will be “persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”

- Donna Pususta Neste

The Presentation of Our Lord
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.
Bring a candle for blessing to remind you of the light of Christ during
this coming year.

Sunday Readings

January 30, 2011 – Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Micah 6:1-8 + Psalm 15
I Corinthians 1:18-31+ Matthew 5:1-12

February 6, 2011 – Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 58:1-12 + Psalm 112:1-9
I Corinthians 2:1-12 + Matthew 5:13-20

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.

Mount Olive Wish List

Please consider a donation to Mount Olive via the Wish List! Needed items are listed on a chart 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

Bridging the Gap – An Update!

About 10 days ago, you received a colorful piece in your mail with information regarding the Mount Olive Capital Appeal. The first Sunday after the mailing went out, already a half-dozen responses came in. These folks wanted to be sure to take advantage of the $25,000 dollar-for-dollar match that is available!
If we can meet the goal of this appeal and pay off our construction loan early, Mount Olive will avoid about $30,000 in interest on that loan. That’s an incentive! Freeing ourselves of a building debt is vital for our congregation at this time.
You may return your response either by mail, or by placing it in the offering basket on Sundays.
Some, who were not members of Mount Olive in 2008, 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, or extend their current pledge.
We all are enjoying the renovated spaces now. Let us all prayerfully consider how we can respond. Together, we can meet the challenge to wrap up 2011 free of debt, and ready to move forward.

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 this 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.

2010 Contribution Statements

2010 year-end contribution statements are printed and ready to be picked up at church, just outside the coatroom. Please pick your statement up, and help to minimize the postage costs for mailing them.
Those statements which remain after this Sunday, January 30, will be mailed to contributors.

Sox Box

Word has come to MONAC from Our Savior's Homeless Program, that there is a great need for socks for those who are homeless. In response, Mount Olive folks are asked to donate socks which will contribute to the warmth of those people who are much exposed to the elements. Any and all sizes are needed.
Please bring your donations to Mt. Olive and find the “Sox Box” in the East Assembly Room to receive them. Your generous response is anticipated and appreciated.

Upcoming Music & Fine Arts Events

February 1-28, 2011: Art display: Serigraphs of John August Swanson (postponed from 2010 due to construction)
John August Swanson paints in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, and is an independent print maker of limited edition serigraphs, lithographs and etchings. He addresses himself to human values, cultural roots, and his quest for self-discovery through visual images. John August Swanson’s work will be on display for an entire month, open before and after the February 13 MFA event, as well as on Sundays and other days of a church function.

Sunday, February 13, 2011, 4:00 pm: Minnesota Boychoir, Mark Johnson, Conductor
The Minnesota Boy Choir makes a return to Mount Olive for this mid-winter concert. Internationally renowned, the Minnesota Boychoir is the oldest continuously operating boy choir in the Twin Cities area, tracing its roots back over forty years. Join us for a concert of diverse repertoire. A reception will follow the concert.

Guidelines for Management of the Newly-Renovated Spaces

God has given us great gifts to enhance our life together and enable us to live our values of music, liturgy and hospitality. Among these gifts are the newly refurbished spaces for hospitality and welcome. With the completion of our new Parish House and Undercroft kitchen renovation, guidelines have been established by the Vestry to help protect the integrity, beauty, usefulness and quality of the refinished space and other space throughout the building. Over the next three editions of The Olive Branch, these guidelines will be highlighted. A complete copy of the guidelines can be found in the Vestry minutes.
The first section of the document outlines the purposes of the new spaces. These include the Chapel Lounge, East Assembly Room, kitchen and galley kitchen, staff offices/work spaces and the Louise Schroedel Memorial Library. For the sake of brevity here, only the "newest" space is highlighted. That is the Reception Area on the west side of the building. It is intended primarily as a hospitality space and includes:

1. Space for comfortable seating.

2. A reception desk for welcoming visitors, checking out library materials, selling event tickets and small retail items and items as needed for hosting event receptions or Sunday morning coffee hour.

3. A comfortable reading space. This “browsing area” is intended as a small area for displaying a few books, including children’s books. Members of the congregation and visitors will have access to this space at all times. It will direct people to the primary library in the office suite.

4. Space for hosting small meetings and/or study groups.

5. A safe for storage of archival material and other irreplaceable materials

6. A closet for storage of items for sale that need to be secured when not available for purchase.

The guidelines state that while other uses may be developed for the newly renovated areas, that these uses must first be approved by the Pastor or the Vestry.

Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads

For its meeting on February 12 the book group will discuss Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, and for the March 12 meeting, The River of Doubt by Candice Millard.

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