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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Olive Branch, 4/30/12

Accent on Worship

Everything is changed now

     Sometimes I wonder if we really believe Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, really believe it in our bones.  That there was a Galilean man named Jesus who was crucified by the Romans in the early first century is historical fact.  It can even be supported by historical non-Biblical sources.  But the Bible tells us that this crucified man came back to life.  Not that he lapsed into a coma on the cross and revived in the cool tomb, but that he was restored to life with only the marks of the nails as evidence of the brutality that had been done to him only a couple days earlier.  The Bible claims that Jesus was and is the Son of God, God-who-is-with-us, the One who gives us full and eternal life now and forever.

     But of course, you say, we believe that Jesus rose from the dead.  We just celebrated Easter.  We celebrate it every year.  We’re in the middle of a seven week celebration, for goodness’ sake.  We know Jesus rose.  And of course you are right.  Christians claim faith in this resurrection as foundational to all we are and believe and do.  Except I can’t shake the feeling that something’s not right here.  Because if we truly believed that Jesus rose I think we’d live and act differently.  We’d face life differently.

     Look at Mary Magdalene and Peter, or those disciples from the suburbs of Jerusalem, from Emmaus, Cleopas and his wife.  Once they realized Jesus was alive again, restored to full and abundant life, everything changed for them.  Really, for all of his followers.  They weren’t afraid of death anymore.  They weren’t afraid of life, either.  No more locked rooms.  They became people so filled with the joy of God’s love for the world in the risen Jesus, so filled with the eternal life his resurrection gave them, that they quite literally changed the world through the power of the Spirit working in them.  They knew that this Jesus was God-with-them and everything was different.

     On the other hand, we live as if we are still afraid of death, still afraid of life.  We hide our joy in God’s love from other people because we don’t feel confident we know how to share it.  When death and tragedy surprise us, instead of standing confidently in the love of the risen Lord, we fear them, we often run from them, or we blame God for them.  When we look into the inside of our own hearts and see brokenness and pain, or see sin and hurtfulness, or see things we’re not comfortable seeing, we close our eyes.  We don’t act as if we believe that God loves us enough to die for us, literally die for us, and that through dying and rising not only promises to forgive us but to restore us, make us new, make us holy.

     My sisters and brothers, Jesus really rose from the dead.  And that changes everything.  When someone who has defeated death – really defeated it! – when that person says, “Don’t be afraid,” well, we can take that person literally and seriously.  Whatever it is that you are afraid of, even death, you can let it go.  Jesus is alive and is with you, giving life and forgiveness and restoration.  Whatever it is that binds you, it can be taken from you by the One who couldn’t be bound even by the solidity and finality of a grave.  God give us all the faith to live in the same joy and confidence as did those who first realized what God has done.
     Don’t be afraid, for he is risen indeed!

In Christ,
- Joseph

Sunday Readings

May 6, 2012 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 8:26-40 + Psalm 22:25-31
I John 4:7-21 + John 15:1-8

May 13, 2012 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 10:44-48 + Psalm 98
I John 5:1-6 + John 15:9-17

The Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Holy Eucharist, 7:00 p.m.

Missing a Dish?

     There are several pans and dishes in the lower kitchen which were left at this year’s Easter Carry-in Brunch. If you brought food to the brunch or are missing a dish, please stop downstairs in the kitchen to see if your missing dish is among those which were left.

First Sunday Food Collection

     All are encouraged to remember Mount Olive’s monthly ingathering of non-perishable grocery items on the first Sunday of each month. These groceries help to keep area food shelves stocked for those who are hungry. Please bring your donations to the grocery cart in the coat room at church.

Spring Issue of "Greetings"

     This Sunday, May 6, the greeters will distribute the Spring, 2012 issue of "Greetings from Mount Olive Neighborhood Ministries" after both Eucharists. If you cannot be in church this Sunday, extra copies will be avilable in the church office or in the narthex.

Mother’s Day Recital

   All are invited to a Mother’s Day Recital on Sunday, May 13, presented by the young people of Mount Olive. The recital will take place during the Adult Forum hour, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Walk Against Weapons

     If you think our nation spends too much in funds and human lives on military madness and weapons, the Walk Against Weapons is the perfect opportunity to express this opinion and to raise funds for Women Against Military Madness (WAMM). They will sponsor a Walk Against Weapons on Saturday June 2, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The check-in point will be at Baker’s Square Restaurant, 928 Prairie Center Dr. in Eden Prairie.  This is a highly visible three mile walk encircling Eden Prairie Center and ending at Alliant Techsystems, Minnesota's largest employer of weapons production. This walk is a fund raiser for Women Against Military Madness in which pledges will be solicited by the walkers.  All checks are to be made payable to WAMM.

     If you would like more information about participating or would just like to make a pledge, please contact Donna Neste at 612-827-5919.

Update on Communion Bread

     At the March 26 meeting of the Worship Committee, we discussed the feedback we have received regarding the use of fresh bread for the Eucharist.  That feedback has been overwhelmingly supportive of the change.  It was decided to continue the use of fresh bread through the Season of Easter and our summer schedule.  From the beginning, our conversations have included two issues, crumbs and the remaining host.  To help us please consider the following two ideas.  When you receive the host from the pastor, do so with open up-turned palm.  Passing the bread between fingers increases the possibility of it being dropped or crumbs falling.  Secondly, if you are so inclined, come forward to the chancel area during the postlude to assist the Sacristan and Acolytes with the consumption of the remaining bread.  We do appreciate your comments on this and all worship issues.  Each comment that we receive is considered, so if you are inclined, please drop me an email or hand me a note with your thoughts.  While I appreciate the many chats I have about worship issues, I don’t trust my memory to bring your thoughts accurately to the committee.

Al Bipes, director of Worship Committee

Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group regularly meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. The book they are reading for the coming months are:

  • May 12: Paths of Glory, by Jeffrey Archer
  • June 16: (postponed one week due to Bach Tage): Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann
  • July 14: The Way We Live Now, by Anthony Trollope.

 Bishop’s Installation

     The Minneapolis Area Synod invites everyone to a Service of Holy Communion and the Installation of The Reverend Ann M. Svennungsen as Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

     The service will be this Sunday, May 6, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. All rostered leaders are invited to vest and process. The color of the day is red. Please gather in the Community Room no later than 1:45 p.m. to line up for the processional. A reception will immediately follow the service.

Bach Tage VI Coming Soon!

     June 9 and 10 are the dates for this sixth Bach Tage weekend at Mount Olive. Many of you have participated in the past, or have come to the Saturday afternoon concert or the cantata vespers on Sunday afternoon. Put these dates on your calendar if you have not already.

     Those who choose to register as full participants will have the opportunity to study and rehearse under the direction of Kathy Romey (University of Minnesota and Minnesota Chorale). This year the cantata selected is BWV 75, Die Elenden sollen essen, which will be performed during Evening Prayer on Sunday, June 10, with orchestra and four excellent soloists. Those who do not choose to sing may still participate as an observer in the rehearsals.

     It is important to register now, since music scores will soon be mailed to participants, so they have time to prepare. The registration form is in the brochure, or can be downloaded from the Mount Olive website homepage.

     The two concerts during Bach Tage are free of charge and open to the public:

Saturday, June 9, 4:30 p.m. All-Bach Recital

  • Sonata in g for Oboe and Harpsichord (BWV 1030b), Stanley King, oboe; Arthur Halbardier, harpsichord
  • Toccata & Fugue in d (“Dorian”) BWV 538) Cantor David Cherwien, organ

Sunday, June 10, 4:00 p.m. Evening Prayer

  • Cantata BWV 75, Die Elenden sollen essen, and Motet BWV 118, O Jesu Christ, meines Lebens Licht, Kathy Romey, conductor, with soloists and orchestra

     Plan to be part of Bach Tage VI, June 9 and 10.

Sanctus: Spirit of Music

     Two of the region’s nationally acclaimed choral ensembles, the National Lutheran Choir and Cantus, will perform together in an uplifting program called Sanctus: Spirit of Music. Powerful and uplifting repertoire will spark the singers and audiences, alike: master works by Randall Thompson, Ralph Manuel, and Jester Hairston stitch heaven and earth together. Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise is mysterious and ultimately becomes transcendental in this new arrangement which echoes between the National Lutheran Choir and the men of Cantus.  The two performances will be on Saturday, May 5, 7:30 pm at King of Kings Lutheran Church (1583 Radio Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125), and on Sunday, May 6, 4:00 pm, at Normandale Lutheran Church (6100 Normandale Road, Edina, MN 55436).

     Experience music that joins together heaven and earth and two of the Twin Cities’ most acclaimed vocal ensembles.

     For ticket information, please call the National Lutheran Choir office at 612.722.2301 or visit them on the web at

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