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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Olive Branch, 8/7/13

Accent on Worship

Be Not Afraid!

     Many of us know and take both pride and delight in the enthusiasm of one of our youngest members when the gradual (or Gospel Acclamation) for the day is “Be Not Afraid!” The exuberance shown by the child embodies the message of that song.

     What a joy it would be to be fearless.

     But let’s face it: We live lives filled with fear. One political philosophy asserts that we have society at all only because we make implied “contracts” that I won’t kill you if you don’t kill me. This is the culture in which we live.

     Or is it? Or at least, must it be?

     Do not be afraid, the LORD says to Abram before launching him on his journey.

     Don’t be afraid to give, Jesus tells his hearers and followers.

     Take a chance; fear not, said Gabriel to the mother of our Lord.

     Our call as Christians is to live by faith and thereby to set aside our fears. But that’s easy to say in the abstract. There are very real threats in the world; only a fool would pretend otherwise.

     But the promise of the Gospel is that we need not give in to those real fears. We may live unbounded by fear. How? Why?  Because we have a God who regards us in our low estate; who will protect us as we journey where he sends us. This is the God who reached into death to demonstrate his ability to defeat the very source of all fears.

     What seas might we (as the Israelites before us) pass through if the roiling waters didn’t petrify even the best swimmers among us? What reconciliation might we attain if we didn’t fear being stabbed in the back or even misunderstood by someone of another background? What miracles might this “one nation under God” achieve if our politicians risked their careers by funding a peace academy instead of  several billion dollar on war machines that the Pentagon doesn’t even want? What good might we individuals do with our money if we didn’t fear running out of money in our retirement?

     We will hear our Lord caution us to read the signs of the times. What will we see? The promise of the Gospel is that, in our songs and in our lives, we may match Rose decibel for decibel: Be not afraid! We are not afraid.

- Dwight Penas

Sunday Readings

August 11, 2013 – Time after Pentecost: Sunday 19
Genesis 15:1-6 + Psalm 33:12-22
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 + Luke 12:32-40

August 18, 2013 – Time after Pentecost: Sunday 20
Jeremiah 23:23-29 + Psalm 82
Hebrews 11:29—12:2 + Luke 12:49-56

Mary, Mother of Our Lord
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.

Godly Play for Grownups

    Our summer 4-part series "Godly Play for Grown-ups" concludes on August 18th.  You are invited to come and experience a parable in a new way. Enjoy a quick cup of coffee after liturgy if you wish, and then come downstairs to Godly Play Circle One.  We will welcome you to the circle at 11:10am.

Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at church. For the August 10 meeting we will discuss Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and on September 14, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe.

Organ Recital by Christine Skogen to be Held Sunday, August 18, 3:00 pm

     Christine Skogen came to Minneapolis summer of 2010 with the intention of learning to play the organ.  Since then, she has been the student of Cantor Cherwien and has worked extremely hard, learning an enormous amount in this relatively short time with us.  This fall she will begin undergraduate studies at Luther College, studying organ with Dr. Gregory Peterson.

     She will perform works by Bach, Brahms, Reger, and Vierne. A congratulatory and farewell reception will follow the program. If any would like to give her a personal note of encouragement or a gift to assist her with books and expenses at Luther, there will be a basket for these at the reception. All are invited!

Men’s Vocal Ensemble – for August 11

     A men’s ensemble will be assembled to sing at the Eucharist this Sunday, August 11, 9:30 service.  We will have one rehearsal, that morning at 8:00 a.m.  (coffee provided!)  Contact Cantor Cherwien if you would like to sing, or simply come Sunday August 11, at 8:00 am.

     Women! There will be a women’s ensemble assembled to sing for the liturgy on August 25. Protocol will be exactly the same: one rehearsal on the 25th at 8 a.m. with music available upon request beforehand by contacting Cantor Cherwien.

Congregational Care Comes to the Forum

     The art of giving and accepting care will be a forum topic during the coffee hour on Sunday, October 13.  Many at Mount Olive find themselves in the role of caregiver while others find themselves in the often unfamiliar spot of having to accept care from others.  While we tend to think of this as an “old people’s problem”, this is a generational concern as people care for aging parents, sick friends, special needs children, and ourselves.

     Key to care is knowledge of services and programs available in our state and city and how to access them.  While most of us know a little bit about some things, laws change and it is hard to keep up.  The forum could address a variety of topics, such as:

-  End of life issues - how to plan for known and unknown entities and how to access help.  Learn about health care directives, Hospice, and plan your funeral.

-  Family support - shifting roles, new responsibilities, changes in and losses of a loved one.  What will you need to help get through the tough times?

-  Unexpected life transitions – i.e. divorce, suicide, chronic illness, parenting small and adult children, and all the unanticipated twists and turns of life.

- Spiritual resources – accepting God’s grace through the loving action of the Mount Olive community.  We all need to learn and be open to how this works.

     This is a tall order for one forum!  The final shape of the hour depends on what topical interest emerges as a “high demand” priority.  Please weigh in via phone, email, or conversation by contacting Marilyn Gebauer at 651-704-9539 or by email at  Feel free to speak with any of the other members of the Congregational Care Committee: Cathy Bosworth, Peggy Hoeft, and Warren Peterson.  

Guests from Germany

      You're invited to meet Pr. Helge Voigt, a friend of Mount Olive who is currently a pastor in the Leipzig Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany.   Pr. Voigt has worshiped with us in the past and he and his family will be visiting in the Twin Cities for two weeks in August.   There is a gathering planned for them at Mount Olive on Wednesday evening, August 14, at 7 p.m.  Refreshments will be served.

     Pr. Voigt grew up in the former Democratic Republic of Germany (East Germany) under the Communist regime, in a non-religious family.  He served in the East German military and was a soldier at the time that the Berlin Wall fell.  He has some interesting stories about that harrowing time and also about how he became a practicing Christian called to the ministry.  He serves several parishes in and around Leipzig, including one which houses the organ that Mendelssohn played as a performer.

      Plan to come to meet Pr. Voigt, his wife Anke, and their daughters Marie (age 17) and Hannah (age 12).    If you get a chance, RSVP to the church office or email Lora Dundek at  If you forget to RSVP, come anyway!

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