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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Olive Branch, 2/8/13

Accent on Worship

Shine On

     Working at a Bible Camp in northern Minnesota during my summers in college, we had a term for the experience of our campers.  We called it “The Mountain Top.”  The Mountain Top experience is that ‘high’ that kids often felt in being at camp.  It’s that feeling of never having been closer to God; never having been loved more in your life.  Usually, by mid-week Tuesday or Wednesday, kids would start feeling as though they were on the mountain top, but by Thursday and certainly Friday, they started to dread going back down into the valley.  They dreaded going home, going to school, and going back to “normal life” as they often called it.

     I often wondered what it was that separated this place, the mountain; from our normal lives, the valley.

     Our text this week answers that question beautifully.  It tells us that there is a veil that separates us from God.  The veil is that space between God and us.  In scripture, whenever God appears to the people, it’s always at a distance or at an angle.  God appears to Moses in a burning bush, and when he leaves, Moses only sees God’s back.  Jacob wrestles with God in the dark, but God leaves before daybreak.

     In this world, there are places where the veil is heavy.  There are places in our lives where God seems far away, places of hatred, death, despair, loneliness, etc.

     But there are also spaces in this world where we glimpse God.  Sometimes we glimpse God when a friend comes to us in our sadness and loneliness.  Sometimes we glimpse God in worship or in feeding the hungry.  As someone once told me, there are places where the veil is thin.

     But we also learn that in one person, the veil is removed.  There’s one space where we see fully what God is like, and that’s in Jesus Christ as he comes down from the mountain, and into the valley to be with us.

     So when kids at camp described their “mountain top” experience, what they are really saying is that they’ve encountered Jesus Christ who has come down from the mountain into the valley of their lives.  They’ve encountered the Word of God, Jesus, in Bible study.  They’ve encountered the Holy Spirit when friends and adults alike surround them with love and affirmation.  They’ve encountered God in a song sung around the campfire.  So, like Jesus and Moses on their mountain tops, they shine for the world to see when they encounter the Triune God.

     The same is true for us.  When we encounter God in worship, we shine. When we learn to love our neighbor as Jesus taught us, we shine because that is the image of God.  When we bear this good news for others, we shine because we reflect God’s word to us.

     So as Jesus and Moses did once, come to the mountain top where the veil is thin so you too may shine for the world.

- Vicar Neal Cannon 

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
Tuesday, February 12, 6–6:45 p.m.

All are invited! Please take a moment to sign up on the chart in the west assembly area so that we can get an approximate count for food preparation– or call your RSVP in to the church office.

We are in need of two volunteers to help with games at this event. If you are willing to help, call Beth Sawyer at 651-434-0666, or drop her an email at

Lent Begins 
Ash Wednesday
February 13, 2013
Holy Eucharist 
with the Imposition of Ashes  
Noon and 7:00 pm

Bring Your Palms

     It’s time to bring in any palm branches you have from last year’s Palm Sunday liturgy. These branches may be placed in the designated basket in the narthex. They will be burned in a brief rite on Shrove Tuesday after the Pancake Supper, and their ashes used for the Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Sunday Readings

February 10, 2013 – Transfiguration of Our Lord
Exodus 34:29-35 + Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12—4:2 + Luke 9:28-36[37-43]

February 17, 2013 – First Sunday in Lent
Deuteronomy 26:1-11 + Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Romans 10:8b-13 + Luke 4:1-13

Taste of Ethiopia - This Sunday

     “Taste of Ethiopia,” is this 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.  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.

     Proceeds from this year's "Taste of Ethiopia" will benefit two initiatives of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, the Lutheran church partner in Ethiopia.  (1) The Oromo Functional Literacy project teaches Oromo communities to read and write with the goal of empowerment and development.  We were invited to support this program by representatives of the Lutheran World Federation.  (2) The other initiative is a program that supports communities to care for children who have been orphaned due to AIDS.  We have been invited to contribute to this program by the Bishop of the La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA, which supports this project through its sister synod relationship with Ethiopia.

Upcoming Adult Forums

     Sunday, February 10 – As part of our Taste of Ethiopia observance, The Reverend Dinku Bato, a Ph.D. student at Luther Seminary in Congregational Mission and Leadership, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will talk about the history and current context of Christianity in Ethiopia and Lutherans in particular.

     Sunday, February 17 – Common Hope Project, led by the Ruff family (and others).

Lent Procession to be Held Sunday, February 17, 4 p.m.

     Join us for another contemplative service of lessons and carols – for Lent!  This service is offered on the First Sunday in Lent as an opportunity to withdraw from the busyness of life to pray, sing, listen, smell – to fully enter into the season of Lent,  a time to renew our life as baptized children of God.

Book Discussion Group

     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.

Servant Schedule Deadline

     February 15, 2013 is the deadline for requests for the 2nd quarter Servant Schedule.  The schedule for April, May and June of 2013 will be posted at the beginning of March. Please email requests to Peggy Hoeft @   by 2/15/13.

Art Shoppe Update

     In 2011, A Minnesota Without Poverty approached Mount Olive and JCRC seeking help in providing a space in which local artists could sell their work. We agreed! And after several months of planning and remodeling an area at Midtown Global Market, The Art Shoppe opened in October of 2011. One year later, they celebrated their first birthday with food, music, and demonstrations. At Christmas, not only did the store do well, but a “sister” store in Gaviidae Common downtown asked us to participate. December sales topped $10,000.

     The artists, Kim, Terry, Raelena, Tara, Kip, and Keegan, have learned skills of bookkeeping, sales, management, and publicity in this micro enterprise. Mount Olive volunteers Kathy Thurston and JoAnn Sorenson, and Carol Austermann have contributed their energy and ideas. Over 60 consigners bring a variety of glassware, pottery, clothing, and jewelry to sell.

     The income generated at the store has enabled the artists to pay rent and to begin paying off the loan which enabled them to start this adventure. A contract for the same space for 2013 has been signed and they are looking at a bright future and toward teaching others how to succeed at business. Congratulations to The Art Shoppe!

     All are encouraged to visit The Art Shoppe – and to shop!

Hymnal Companion

     Have you ever sung a hymn in church and wanted to know more about it? Were you curious to know a little about the person who composed the tune or who wrote the text, or other background on the hymn?  Thanks to a generous donor, a copy of Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship, by Paul Westermeyer is now available in the west reception area. This book is meant to remain in this area to be a resource for the whole congregation. Take some time to peruse it and learn a little more about the church’s rich heritage of hymns.

Church Clean Up - Mark Your Calendars!

     The next church clean-up day will be held on Saturday, February 23, from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm. Plan to come and pitch in – many hands make light work!

Lenten Bible Study: Practice Faith

     Christian faith practices are widely accepted, but not broadly understood outside of a moral/ethical understanding.  Of course we should be hospitable, of course we should give to the poor, and of course we should be in service to our neighbor.  Other faith practices take on the sense of duty and obligation.  We’re called to pray, observe Sabbath, share the gospel, etc.

     But what is the Biblical root of these practices?  Why are these things so important that they are mentioned over, and over, and over again in the Bible? What have Christians done in the past and what can we do now to keep these practices alive in our lives?

     Come to the six week Lenten Bible study starting February 14th from 6-7:30pm in the Chapel Lounge to explore these topics in scripture and community.

February 14 – Hospitality and Welcome
February 21 – Tithing and Generosity
February 28 – Prayer
March 7 – Celebration and Sabbath
March 14 – Sharing the Gospel
March 21 – Serving our Neighbor

A New Opportunity to Serve 

     The Neighborhood Ministries Committee recently took a survey of guests to see whether there was interest in staying for a social hour after the meal.  There was enough favorable response so that we are considering offering a social time.  However, the volunteers serving the Community Meal are obviously otherwise occupied. This is where you come in.  We hope that a Mount Olive group or individual would like to take on this service. There is interest among the guests particularly in playing board games, and doing craft activities. The social hour could be kicked off, for instance, with a game of Bingo. A social time such as this could help fill a need for people who are often isolated and seeking to form relationships.

     This service would require only a couple of hours on the Saturday that the community meal is served. If you or your committee or other group might be interested in carrying out this activity, please contact Carol Austermann (612-722-5123) or Eunice Hafemeister (612-721-6790) or speak to any member of the Neighborhood Ministries Committee.

Church Library News

     One of the newest displays in our church library contains some timely or topical reading, as well as some pre-Lenten reading, such as:

The Real Score, by golf champion Gene Littler
All the Master’s Men: Patterns for Modern Discipleship, by Kendrick Strong
Trevor’s Place: The Story of the Boy Who Brings Hope to the Homeless, by Frank and Janet Farrell
Catch the New Wind: The Church is Alive and Dancing, by Marilee Zdenek and Marge Champion
To the Kid in the Pew (60 Chapel Talks), by Eldon Weisheit
Time for Questions: Messages for Lent and Easter, by Harris W. Lee
Come, Lord Jesus, Come Quickly (Lenten Meditations), by Constance F. Parvey
Parables from the Cross (Sermons for Lent and Easter), by Kenneth Rogahl and Walter Schoedel
Voices of the Crossroads (First Person Dramatic Portrayals of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus),
         edited by Paul K. Peterson (yes, this is our late Paul Peterson)
Meeting Christ in Handel’s Messiah (Messages for Lent and Easter), by Roger T. Quillan

    A recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune featured a great quote from the Reading is Fundamental organization and it goes like this:  "BOOK PEOPLE UNITE -- Read to a child today and spark a lifetime of ambition!"

- Leanna Kloempken

Sign Up, Sign Up for Coffee!

     If you are willing to host an upcoming coffee hour during the months of March or April, please take a moment to sign up on the chart, located in the church office. The chart is also available to sign at coffee hour on Sunday mornings.

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