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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Friday, January 18, 2013

Accent on Worship

What’s With the Wine?

     Sunday we have the third epiphany the Church celebrates in early January, the third manifestation of God’s glory in the world in Jesus.  Because of the way the calendar works this year, we have all three on successive Sundays: Epiphany, Jan. 6, was a Sunday this year, and this Sunday’s Gospel only is used every three years, but it all came together in 2013.

     The three manifestations, which the Church has long linked together, are the coming of the Magi to see the infant Jesus, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, and the miracle Jesus performed at a wedding in the village of Cana (our Gospel this Sunday.)  In the first, God’s incarnate Son, an infant, is revealed to the outside world; in the second, God’s incarnate Son, now an adult, is named publicly by the Father and visited by the Spirit, thus being the first time the Trinity is revealed and proclaimed in the world; and in the third, God’s incarnate Son himself reveals his glory, his divinity, by transforming water into wine to help a party move along properly.

     Some Christians have found this third epiphany anti-climactic, given the others.  Why would Jesus’ first miracle be making water turn into wine?  For those who believe Christians never should consume alcohol, it’s even more uncomfortable to see this story.  The point made is that with all the problems people have, sickness, death, suffering, surely Jesus’ first miracle could have been more than this trivial thing, making a party, well, a real party.

     But consider what Jesus did here. He had compassion on a family who was going to be embarrassed, humiliated before their friends and family, by not having enough refreshments for their wedding.  Sure, such humiliation only lasts until the next local scandal, but if you’ve ever worried that your party was failing, or that you didn’t provide enough, you know how anxious that can be.  It might seem trivial to others, but to you it’s important.  Jesus honors that, has compassion, and helps out.  He makes the party continue, and the host to look good.

     Perhaps that’s an important thing of this third manifestation, this third epiphany.  Perhaps what Jesus is doing is telling us that he has come to be with us in all things, even things which others consider unimportant.  He cares about our every need, and wants to bless them with his abundant grace and love.  Maybe to others our cares and concerns seem minor, not worth bringing to Jesus.  But at Cana, Jesus’ mother Mary shows us the way, that we can and ought to bring our concerns to our Lord.

     So for me, I’m going to trust the Jesus at this party and at least mention my concerns to him, because I know they will matter to him.  And like Jesus’ mother, I have confidence he will come to me in grace, abundant grace.  That’s the joy of this epiphany that is ours and the world’s, always.

- Joseph

Sunday Readings

January 20, 2013 – 2nd Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 62:1-5 + Psalm 36:5-10
I Corinthians 12:1-11 + John 2:1-11

January 27, 2013 – 3rd Sunday after Epiphany
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 + Psalm 19
I Corinthians 12:12-31a + Luke 4:14-21

Upcoming Adult Forums

     Sunday, January 20 – “Authentic Sound: Culture in Expression,” presented by The Rev. Marilyn Witte.

     Sunday, January 27 – A presentation by the Minnesota Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH).

Conference on Liturgy to Be Held This Weekend

     This year’s Conference on Liturgy will be held January 18-19, 2013. The theme of this year’s conference is, “The Green Altar: Liturgy as Care for the Earth.”

     There is still plenty of room! If you would like to attend this year’s conference, please register at the door this Saturday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The cost to Mount Olive members is $35.

Hymn Festival Tonight at Mount Olive!

     The Conference on Liturgy begins with a hymn festival which will take place on Friday, January 18, 2013 (tonight!), at 7:30 p.m. Leadership for the hymn festival this year will be by the Mount Olive Cantorei and Cantor David Cherwien.

Thursday Evening Bible Study

     “Captive Conscience” is the title of a six-week Bible Study being held on Thursday evenings from 6:00-7:30 p.m. This Bible Study focuses on reading the Bible, how we are shaped by God’s Word, and what lenses we use as we read the Scriptures.

     Though each of the sessions builds upon information from the previous sessions, they are also complete in themselves. So if you missed the first couple of sessions, there is still much to learn by coming to subsequent sessions, even if you can only attend one or two. All are invited.

     The study begins with a light supper.  If anyone wishes to provide one week’s meal, please let Pr. Crippen know.  Looking ahead, in Lent Vicar Cannon will lead another six-week study.

2012 Year-End Contributions Statements

     Contribution statements for 2012 are printed and available to be picked up at church, near the coat room. Please call the church office if you would like your statement mailed to you.

     If you have any questions about your statement, or if you require a detailed amortization of your contributions, simply call Cha at the church office.

Prayer Shawl Ministry News

     The members of the Prayer Shawl Ministry will meet following the second liturgy on Sunday, January 27. They will meet downstairs in the Undercroft. The purpose of this meeting is to further define and plan our ministry to the people of Mount Olive. Feel free to join the group, and bring your knitting/crocheting if you like.  Please contact Peggy Hoeft with any questions about this group: 952-835-7132, or by email to

The Presentation of Our Lord
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Holy Eucharist at 4:00 pm

Taste of Ethiopia, February 10

     Mark your calendars for “Taste of Ethiopia,” on Sunday, February 10.  The preacher and education hour leader will be The Reverend Dinku Bato, a Ph.D. student at Luther Seminary in Congregational Mission and Leadership, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Between 1998-2009 Pastor Bato was the national coordinator of the Mekane Yesus University Student Ministry (EECMY-USM) in Adddis Ababa.  He will be joined at Mount Olive by his wife Mergitu and three sons: Amen (13), Ketim (9), and Melala (8).  At the education hour, he will talk about the history and current context of Christianity in Ethiopia and Lutherans in particular.  After the second liturgy, please join us for a lunch of Ethiopian food, prepared by members of Mount Olive. The annual “Taste of” event, which  highlights the culture, foods, and history of various areas of our global community, is a long tradition at Mount Olive.

     The Missions Committee is in need of volunteers who would be willing to cook a dish at home and bring to church on Sunday, February 10.  The Missions Committee has the recipes.  This is a wonderful chance to contribute to the event and to learn a new cuisine. We are also in need of volunteers to help prepare decorations for the event on Saturday, February 9.  If you are interested in preparing one recipe at home and bringing it to church or in helping with decoration or set-up, please contact Paul Schadewald at or 612-237-8517.

Book Discussion Group News

     The Book Discussion Group will NOT meet in February because several members will be traveling at the usual meeting time.  For the March 9 meeting we will discuss Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie. For the April 13 meeting we will discuss In the Company of the Courtesan, by Sarah Dunant.  Looking ahead, in May we will discuss Children of God by Mary Doria Russell.  This is the sequel to her novel The Sparrow which we read earlier.

A Note of Thanks

     On behalf of the Vestry I want to say thank you to the members and friends of Mount Olive for once again responding in sacrificial and loving ways.  Last month I shared with you a cash shortfall situation as we approached the end of the year and the response was incredible.  I am pleased to inform you that the year ended very well, with a final giving total for the month of December of $91K, resulting in an overall giving increase of 12% over 2011.  Because of this, our line of credit is fully paid off and all mission commitments and other year end disbursements were fulfilled without additional borrowing.  Additionally, we are starting the new year with good, positive momentum.  To God be all glory!

- Adam Krueger, President, Mount Olive Vestry

Olive Branch Deadline

     Please note that The Olive Branch is prepared each week on Wednesdays (so that those who do not have email can receive the information at roughly the same time as those who do have email). The deadline for articles or announcements to be published is each Wednesday at noon. If you have information to share with the church community and want it to be published in the newsletter, please be sure it is submitted to the church office by Wednesday of the week you would like it published. It is also helpful to note how many weeks you wish your article or information to be included.


Two items of note from TRUST:

     1.    Martin Luther King celebration to be held this Sunday!

      Join us this Sunday, January 20, at 5:00 PM for TRUST's 26th annual Martin Luther King celebration. It will be held at Living Spirit, 4501 Bloomington Ave. S. Featured at this event will be:
Sondra Samuels, CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ); Tonia Hughes, local singer who has garnered critical acclaim for her leading roles in musical and theatrical productions; and the TRUST Youth will provide music and liturgy for this event.

     2. The Gathering – The Gathering is a group respite program currently comprised of seven TRUST congregations.  It is for people in early to mid-stage memory loss and it takes place at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Ave. S. in Minneapolis. We are planning to open weekly beginning January 17, 2013! (We’ll expand our current 2nd and 4th Thursdays to include 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Thursdays – but will not meet on 5th Thursdays).  Please call 651-414-5291 if you are interested in having a family member attend this group respite, or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer.

     The Minneapolis Consortium of The Gathering began with TRUST congregations in 2009.  Current members are Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Judson Baptist, First Universalist, St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Joan of Arc, Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer, and Lynnhurst Congregational Church.  Additional congregations and community members are always welcome.

The Gathering is looking for individuals and volunteer groups from area churches who might be willing to prepare and serve a meal. If this is an opportunity you might consider, please call Julie at  612-312-3366, or Carolyn at 952-261-5235.

Reconciling in Christ Festival Worship

     The Reconciling in Christ Program of ReconcilingWorks Twin Cities welcomes all people to join in their eighth annual Metro Area Festival Worship on Saturday, January 26, 2013, 4:30 p.m., at First Lutheran Church (463 Maria Avenue, Saint Paul).  The service of Word and Sacrament celebrates the welcoming ministries of Metro area Lutheran churches.  Rev. Anita Hill will preach.  

     The RIC program rosters Lutheran congregations that welcome and affirm LGBT persons in their full sacred worth.  Both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Synods are RIC Synods and together include dozens of RIC worship communities.  A light supper will follow the service.  All are welcome!

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