Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Home About Worship Music and Arts Parish Life Learning Outreach News Contact
Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Olive Branch, 11/14/11

Accent on Worship

Endings and Beginnings

Sometimes I wonder what it would like to be a Christian in the southern hemisphere. Christianity was born in the northern hemisphere, and until recently most Christians lived above the equator. However, in the past decades the explosive growth of Christianity tends to be south of the equator, in Africa, South America, even Asia.

We are nearing the end of the Church Year, and concurrent with that ending in the north is the advent of winter. (Or perhaps, if we’re not ready to admit that yet, the ending of autumn.) As we center our worship in November on readings which speak of the end times and the return of Christ, our King, our weather seems to reflect that shift as well. Of course, this is no accident. The Church Year evolved out of the worship life and everyday life of the Christians who lived through this weather cycle. After all, it’s likely that the early Church tied the celebration of the coming of the Light of the World with the already existing and vibrant Roman winter solstice celebrations, or other winter festivals around the world. It just made sense – the whole world was in darkness, and the promise of Jesus the Light was powerful in that context. The Advent wreath, the lighting of candles, the focus on light in the midst of the deepest darkness of the world, all of these have roots in the practices of other religions who also faced the coming of darkness and winter.

My point is that the Church Year’s schedule serves us well in the northern hemisphere, where it was developed. As autumn neared its end, it was logical to begin to think about death, and the end of the world. And even though Jesus actually did die and rise from death in the spring, it was an easy connection to celebrate the new life of resurrection in the northern springs. Meanwhile, right now it’s turning into summer down south. Christmas in Australia and South Africa happens near the longest day of the year, the day with the most light, the height of summer. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to celebrate Christ the King in mid-May, and Advent beginning around Memorial Day.

Does it matter? I suppose we’d have to ask our southern neighbors. I know that the weather we experience as the Church Year rolls on has a significant impact on how I perceive the days, the festivals, the life of the Church. Most of my leaves are fallen, my yard is almost ready for winter, and I’ve got my driveway and sidewalk markers planted so I can clear the snow (we get a lot of drifting.) I’m ready to center my thoughts on the end of the Church Year, and the coming of our King at the end of all times. The earth is reminding me once again that all things die, all things come to an end. Of course, in the midst of that we will once again begin Advent and its promise that life also returns after death, that God comes to our pain and coldness and brings healing and warmth, God enters our darkness with the Light of Life.

I am grateful that God’s creation helps us understand and shape our worship life. It’s tremendously helpful, in my experience. I only hope our sisters and brothers to the south can find their way without such aids. But wherever we live, we are now reminded that our King and Lord is coming back, the Church Year is now calling us to be ready, and to do the work of day while there is still time, before the night comes. God bless you in that work!

- Joseph

This Week’s Adult Education

Sunday, November 20

“Why Do We (at Mount Olive) Worship the Way We Do?” part 1 of a 2-part presentation
by Dwight Penas

Youth Fundraiser

Mount Olive’s youth are selling Christmas plants again this year. A variety of poinsettias, wreaths, and arrangements will be available to order through this Sunday, November 20. Order your Christmas plants at Mount Olive and support our youth. If you have any questions about this project, call Irene Campbell, 651-230-3927.

Opportunities for Service

Plan now to attend the Opportunities for Service luncheon following the second liturgy this Sunday, November 20. Remember to complete and bring your “Opportunities for Service” forms with you, if you haven’t already returned them (extra blank forms will be available at the brunch. Mount Olive Committees and other groups will be present at the luncheon with information about their mission and ministry to aid those who aren’t sure just where God’s call to them might lie, or who would just like to know more about different opportunities for involvement. This luncheon would be a good time to complete your “Opportunities” form, as well as enjoy a warm, hearty meal, and good fellowship. The committee will to have a preliminary report on the pledging for 2012 at this meal as well.

Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, November 24, 2011
Holy Eucharist at 10:00 a.m.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all the blessings God has bestowed upon us. It is also a time to remember those who are less fortunate than we are. Remember those in need by bringing your offering of food or funds to the 10:00 a.m. liturgy on Thanksgiving Day.

All Thanksgiving offerings will be given to Sabathani and Community Emergency Services food shelves. Consider giving an offering of funds instead of food. A five-dollar donation can purchase more than ten dollars worth of food by the food shelves through the Emergency Food Shelf Network.

Save the Date!

Advent Luncheon for Seniors!
Wednesday, December 7
(Details coming soon!)

Liturgy to be videotaped this Sunday

During both liturgies this Sunday, November 20, you may notice Ann Sorenson and Dan West shooting footage of our worship experience. This footage is needed to replace the out-of-date portions of the video on our website. Keeping in mind Mount Olive's guidelines on photography during worship, Ann and Dan will be as discreet as possible. They and the Evangelism Committee appreciate the congregation's understanding.

Advent Procession

Sunday, November 27, 4:00 p.m.

Join in a contemplative service of lessons and carols for Advent. In the darkest time of the year, we wait. We wait for the Light to be born into our lives. Take time to set apart this season as one of preparation. Experience prayer, Word, incense, choral music, candles, hymnody, and most of all, join the procession of those who wait in darkness.

Altar Cleaning November 19

In preparation for Advent, volunteers will be cleaning the altar, the sacristies, and the chancel. The Altar Guild is organizing the work and invites all interested volunteers to help. The group will meet in the sanctuary at 9:00 a.m., this coming Saturday, November 19. Remember that the Community Meal is scheduled at noon on that day. Volunteers may want to take advantage of the meal as a break or they may want to volunteer for both events.

Give to the Max Day, November 16

Wednesday, November 16, is “Give to the Max Day,” the 24-hour annual fundraising day when people throughout Minnesota make contributions to nonprofits, schools, and community organizations. People can make donations very easily on the website. The Mount Olive Lutheran Church Foundation, as well as many of Mount Olive’s local community partners, have pages on the “” website and can receive donations.

Once again this year, the Mount Olive Lutheran Church Foundation has agreed to allow church members to make donations to Mount Olive during “Give to the Max Day.” Just go to the website, find the Mount Olive Lutheran Church Foundation page and make a donation with your credit card. This is important: Make sure that you designate where you want your gift to go by checking “add a designation.” As examples: you can designate your donation as a general church donation, or to the Foundation, to the capital campaign, to youth, to Music and Fine Arts, to the wish list, to Missions, etc. If you do not designate your gift, your donation will go to the Foundation. Once you make a donation you will receive a receipt of your donation via e-mail. Cha will also add your donation to your contributions report, so that your contribution is recorded by Mount Olive.

Please keep in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages to making donations on “Give to the Max Day” on Wednesday, November 16. There is a 2.9% credit card processing fee that will be subtracted from your donation. This is lower than most credit card fees but higher than “Simply Giving” or writing a check to Mount Olive, as part of regular donations. The advantages are that each donation qualifies Mount Olive for additional random drawings for cash donations by throughout the day. The more donations, the more chances Mount Olive has for the random drawings. Contributors get the joy of participating in a state-wide fundraising event. Because is easy and convenient, it may be appropriate for additional donations beyond regular giving for those members who are interested.

Where’s the Bust?

Mount Olive’s bronze bust sculpture of Paul Manz by artist Paul Granlund is on loan to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Gustavus is hosting an art exhibition of the work of Paul Granlund, and they have borrowed the bust for this exhibit. It will be returned to Mount Olive in a couple of weeks.

Liturgy Shapes

This year’s Conference on Liturgy, “Liturgy Shapes,” will be held here at Mount Olive on January 13-14, 2012 (one week later than usual). This conference will address the ways in which our liturgical practices shape our ideas about God, our ways of reading the Bible, our experiences of community, our understanding of the world, and our response to our neighbor’s needs. We are delighted to welcome The Rev. Dr. Gordon Lathrop back as our keynote speaker for this conference. Workshop sessions will be led by Senator John Marty, Pastor Joseph Crippen, and Susan Cherwien. The conference brochure is attached to this week’s Olive Branch email, and additional copies of the brochure and registration are available at church or by following the link on the homepage of Mount Olive’s website:

No comments:

Post a Comment


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Reconciling in ChristRIC

Copyright 2014 Mount Olive Lutheran Church