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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Olive Branch, 3/8/13

Accent on Worship

Ambassadors of Grace

     One of the most important facets of the Christian life is the transformation of how we see the world around us in Christ.  How we see each other, what we literally see when we look at our neighbor, impacts how we react to the world around us.

     This week in II Corinthians Paul writes, “we regard no one from a human point of view.”  The phrase, “human point of view” comes from the Greek phrase kata sarka, which literally means, “with the flesh.”

     Paul explains to his readers in Corinth that we once knew Christ from a human point of view.  We knew Christ in the form of flesh and bone, we knew him as a carpenter and the son of Mary and Joseph. But now we see Jesus in a different way.   We now see Jesus as Messiah and Lord and as three in one God.  We see Jesus through the eyes of faith given to us by the Holy Spirit.  And if this Christian faith that we hold transforms the way we see Jesus, Paul says it equally transforms the way we see the world around us.

     In other words, in Christ we see people from an entirely new perspective that is outside the flesh, outside of our clothing styles, and outside of our jobs and social status and other identifiable markers.  More than just outward appearance, in Christ we begin to see people not as sinful creatures but as a forgiven and loved people whom Christ desperately and urgently seeks to reconcile.

     Paul then poses a question for us.  What if we became ambassadors of this love that we’ve received?  What if we became ambassadors of reconciliation and love instead of judges of the flesh?

     Too often Christianity is known for judgment of the outside world.  But when we realize we’ve lived in the flesh as the prodigal son did, who spent recklessly to our own detriment, and realize we’ve been embraced by the prodigal father, who recklessly gave us grace, then how can we but look on our neighbors with the same compassion that we were once given?

     Therefore, let us not act as judge of sin, but as ambassadors of the grace we have received in Christ Jesus!

- Vicar Neal Cannon

Sunday Readings

March 10, 2013 – Fourth Sunday in Lent
Joshua 5:9-12 + Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 + Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

March 17, 2013 – Fifth Sunday in Lent
Isaiah 43:16-21 + Psalm 126
Philippians 3:4b-14 + John 12:1-8

Midweek Lenten Worship
Wednesdays in Lent
Noon – Holy Eucharist
7:00 pm – Evening Prayer

This Sunday’s Adult Forum

     Sunday, March 10 – “The Exodus,” part 2 of a 2-part series, led by Dr. Earl Schwartz.

Dusting and Polishing Day

     The Altar Guild will host a chancel-cleaning event next Saturday, March 16, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Bring your favorite duster and polishing rags, and help prepare our worship space for Holy Week and Easter. Questions? Contact Beth Gaede: bethgaede [at] comcast [dot] com.

Lenten Bible Study: Practice Faith

     There are two weeks left of this six-week Bible study led by Vicar Neal Cannon on Thursday nights from 6-7 pm. It meets in the Chapel Lounge and a light supper is served. All are welcome!

March 14 – Sharing the Gospel
March 21 – Serving our Neighbor

Book Discussion Group

     For the March 9 meeting (tomorrow), the Book Discussion group will read Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie. For the April 13 meeting they 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.

Words for the Pilgrimage

Wednesdays in Lent:
February 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20

Noon – Holy Eucharist, followed by a soup and bread luncheon

6:00 p.m. – Soup, Bread, and Table Talk

7:00 p.m. – Evening Prayer

“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”  Hebrews 12:1b-2a

     Christian believers have long likened our life of faith to a journey, a pilgrimage through this world.  On our Wednesdays this Lent we will explore words from an ancient sermon written to “the Hebrews.” These are words which use the same image, that of pilgrimage, and which provide guidance, direction, hope, and encouragement for this pilgrimage of life, as well as warnings and exhortations.  The book of Hebrews will be our companion on our journey, not a tour guide, but a fellow-traveler with us as we seek to live faithfully in this world as disciples.

     At noon, the preaching will be at the Eucharist; in the evening it will be during the soup supper, with conversation to follow.

Vespers at Holy Trinity

     Tomorrow evening, March 9, at 5:00 p.m., members and friends of Mount Olive have a unique opportunity to attend Great Vespers at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, 956 Forest Street, St. Paul. Holy Trinity is the home parish of Cha Posz, administrative assistant at Mount Olive, and family.
     Father Jonathan Proctor, rector of Holy Trinity, will be available after the liturgy to answer questions we may have and perhaps show us the church's beautiful icons by Nicholas Papas. We will meet in the back of the sanctuary at 4:45 p.m. If you would like to attend, but would need a ride, please contact Susan Cherwien at or 952-920-9568. A sign-up sheet was posted to get a general idea of how many people will attend, but signing up is not required for attendance. Feel free to come even if you didn’t sign up.

     Directions to Holy Trinity: I94 to 35E North; exit Maryland Ave.; go EAST 1.3 mi. to Forest St.; RIGHT on Forest 1/2 mile; Holy Trinity is on lefthand side at the corner of Forest and Case.

The National Lutheran Choir to Present Bach’s Mass in B Minor

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 7:00pm
Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN

     Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) stands as one of the landmark creations in music history. The work was among the last composed by Bach before his death in 1750. Bach's setting of the Mass was unusual for composers at the time. The Mass was never performed in its totality during Bach's lifetime and it disappeared for much of the 18th century. Felix Mendelssohn, among others, was responsible for a revived interest in Bach's work and so there were a number of performances of the entire Mass in the early 19th century.

     Soloists Susan Palo Cherwien (soprano), Susan Druck (alto), Matthew Anderson (tenor), Paul Max Tipton (baritone) and many of the region's finest orchestra musicians will accompany us for this one-night-only performance.

     For ticket information, call 612-722-2301 or visit their website:  Don't miss it!

Church Library News 

    Awaiting your perusal is a new display of Lenten books in our church library, including:

  •         Portraits of the Christ (messages for Lent and Easter), by John C. McCollister, editor
  •         The Scandal of Lent (themes for Lenten preaching in the Gospel of John), by Robert Kysar
  •         Take Up Your Cross (program resources for Lent and Easter), compiled by Mark Sedio 
  • The Day Before Easter, by W.A. Poovey
  •         Gospel Dramas (12 plays for worship in Lent and other seasons), by Dean Nadasd
  •         The Crosses of Lent (sermon books, Lenten studies for Ash Wednesday to Easter), by Dale A.    Meyer and Hubert F. Beck
  •         The Second Season (Lent, Easter and the Ascension), by Wayne Seffen
  •         The Splendor of Easter (compiled and edited by Floyd Thatcher)
  •         A Cross to Glory (Lenten sermons), by Alton F. Wedel
  •         A Book of Easter (with daily devotions by Paul M. Lindberg
  •         A Time of Hope (family, celebrations and activities for Lent and Easter), compiled by 4 editors and an illustrator.

     You are likely aware of the non-profit organization "Little Free Library" which was organized in 2009 and has grown tremendously since then.  About 6,000 Little Free Libraries are in the U.S. with about 600 being added each month. They have sprung up all over Minnesota and you may even have one in your neighborhood.  The goal is to promote literacy, the love of reading and free book exchanges that help provide communities connection and communication everywhere.  Literacy is a gateway to improve learning and broadening children's understanding of the world.  If you haven't seen a Little Free Library, don't look for something large, however, they do come in various sizes and shapes but a typical one may only be 19" x 23" x 16".  Find locations online at

     The Little Free Library movement is also associated with two other worthy non-profit organizations -- Hooked on Books ( the 8th annual event was held locally at Chanhassen High School in February) and the Books for Africa, helping to coordinate all efforts to extend literacy and good books overseas.

     I would like to close with a marvelous quote from the Spring 2013 Friends of the Hennepin County Library newsletter, (although the author was not identified) but it goes like this:
"A library is more than a brick and mortar building filled with delicious books.  It is also a community of people who live to invest in our youth, who read for knowledge and fun, and who are ready to include anyone who walks through the door."

- Leanna Kloempken

Music & Fine Arts Event Date Revision

Please note that the Uptown Brass will appear in concert at Mount Olive on April 21, 4:00 p.m. (not April 14, as previously published!).

     This group of five world renowned brass virtuosos are all members of the Minnesota Orchestra and will present an exciting concert of gorgeous brass sonorities featuring great music ranging from Bach to Piazolla.

Every Church A Peace Church 

     The March  Bimonthly Potluck Supper meeting will be on Monday, March 11, 6:30 p.m. at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road in Minnetonka. The program begins around 7 pm and will feature Tom White on “The Economics of Militarism: Financial and Spiritual Bankruptcy.”

     Tom White is a member of Veterans for Peace and  Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers. He will explore how our "Spirituality"  must be a key component of our vigorous opposition to the obscene disparity between  military spending and all other domestic and humanitarian needs.  Tom is a 1957 graduate of St. John's University in Economics and served as a management consultant after a successful corporate career.  He was an International Election Observer in El Salvador in 2000 and 2004.

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