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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Olive Branch, 9/16/13

Accent on Worship


     I was a wrestler in high school, which ended up being about the only athletic endeavor I showed much promise for.  It suited both my build and my mind.  You see, it turns out that wrestling really is as much a mental exercise as a physical one.  The strategy of which moves to make, of understanding what your opponent is doing, of anticipating moves with your own moves, all this makes wrestling an intellectual challenge.

     But it’s also a spiritual one of sorts.  For me, since I started wrestling much later than most on the team, early on I would be wrestling against people with far more experience, and a real challenge was not to give up emotionally when it seemed as if my opponent was so much better than I.  My cousin Jason, who was a very good state-level wrestler, was always reminding me that I needed to remember that not wanting to give up was critical to not actually giving up.

     Sunday we hear the odd and mysterious story of Jacob wrestling a stranger (an angel? God? a man?) on the banks of a river.  The text isn’t ever clear about the exact identity of his opponent, but Jacob ends up believing he was wrestling with God.  Jacob persists all night long, never giving up, and clinging in the end so that he might demand a blessing.  It was that inner spiritual strength that kept him from giving up until he felt he was heard, was recognized, was blessed.  The lectionary combines this story with Jesus’ parable of persistent prayer from Luke 18, and the parallels are obvious.

     Sometimes I think, though, that we’re reticent to wrestle with God in prayer.  Though we believe that the Triune God is the creator of all that is, seen and unseen, though we are confident that the Son of God has given us permission to pray, to ask, to seek, we sometimes act as if God’s not able to handle the depths of our struggle.  We hold back when we are angry with God, when we don’t understand things, when we are afraid, as if God can’t handle our truth, our need, our pain.

     We give up too soon, I think.  Jesus suggests, as Jacob experienced, that we can bring everything we have and truly wrestle with God if we need to.  He suggests that God is big enough to handle the depths of all our pain and suffering and confusion and anger, as well as our joy and praise.  This is a precious thing, this invitation to engage Almighty God in prayer and not give up, seeking blessing and hope from God in all things, without hesitation, without fear that we won’t be heard.

     This is the Good News our Lord Jesus gives us: that the Triune God’s love and care for us is so broad, so deep, so high, that we can fully engage in this relationship, wrestling along with praising, never fearing that we will be sent away, confident that we can fully be heard and known.  It would be a tremendous gift if we were able to trust Jesus on this, and wrestle until we feel we’ve been heard, until we hear what God’s blessing for us truly is.  Then this relationship Jesus has given us with the Trinity will truly be real, and life-giving, and, as it turns out, a blessing.

- Joseph

Sunday’s Adult Forum 

October 20: “The State of the Lutheran – Roman Catholic Dialogue,” presented by The Rev. Lowell Almen.

Notice of Congregation Meeting

     The Fall semi-annual congregation meeting of Mount Olive Lutheran Church will be held after second liturgy this Sunday, October 20, 2013, in the Undercroft.  Included on the agenda will be a vote to approve the congregational budget for 2014, and updates on the Neighborhood Ministries Visioning Process and the Capital Campaign approved at the Spring congregation meeting.  If you are a member of Mount Olive, please plan to attend.

Be a Part of Something Special!

     It's difficult to commit an hour and a half of your time every week to something like Way to Goals Tutoring, one of Mount Olive's vital programs to the neighborhood.  However, you can still be a part of it by signing up to bring a snack and beverage for 14 students and nine tutors one night this year.  The snack chart is posted on the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board downstairs next to Donna Neste's office. Just sign the chart for the date that you would like to bring your treats and have them at church before 7:00 p.m. on that date.  If you have any questions, call Donna, 612/827-5919.

Photo Selection for Pictorial Directory

     Elisabeth Hunt will be available between liturgies  this Sunday to assist with the selection of your photo for the new Mount Olive Pictorial Directory.

     If you do not have computer access or have had difficulty logging on to the website to choose the photo you want included in the Pictorial Directory, this is your opportunity to complete the task.  Please bring the information instruction sheet that you received when you had your photos taken.

John Weaver Recital This Sunday

     Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts presents one of America’s foremost concert organists in  a brilliant program of “Toccatas: Scary and Joyous” on the Schlicker organ at Mount Olive, Sunday, October 20 at 4 pm. He will be joined in this recital by his wife, flautist Marianne Weaver, in two pieces dedicated to this performing duo.

     Here is an excerpt of a recent New York Times review of a John Weaver concert:  ‘John Weaver plays everything as though to its manner born, as though he had the inside track to each composer's individuality and had no need to work his way over the barriers or through the channels of stylistic attitudes that serve lesser performers as stepping stones ... Exaggerated?  Well, go and hear a Weaver recital before you decide."

     John Weaver was head of the organ department at The Julliard School until his recent retirement, and previously held the same position at Curtis Institute, Philadelphia. For many years, he was Music Director at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York. Early in his career, he founded the Bach Cantata Series at Holy Trinity Lutheran, New York, which still continues successfully.

     John and Marianne Weaver frequently perform together, to high critical acclaim. This is a program not to be missed. Mark your calendar to attend, and tell friends about this as well.

Update from the Treasurer

     September was a financially challenging month.  Our giving did not cover our costs, and even though we had five Sundays in September, the monthly giving totals were 10% lower than the same month in 2012.

     In order to pay our obligations in September (salaries/benefits, building maintenance, insurance, etc.), it was necessary to borrow $10,000 from our line of credit.  Although it is unknown what the interest on that loan will cost us, in past years we have spent an average of $1,350.00 on interest from this type of borrowing.  This is an expense that we would rather use for our ministry.

     There is positive news in our financial picture as well.  Overall giving for the year is 2.7% ahead of last year.  In past years we have needed to borrow against our credit line earlier in the year.  Typically giving trends upward in the fall and we anticipate that this will happen again.

     Please prayerfully consider this information as you make decisions about your offerings to the church in the coming weeks.  I will continue to provide updates on the current finances in the Olive Branch and leave copies of the monthly Treasurer's report in the office for those who are interested in more detail.
- Kat Campbell Johnson, Treasurer

The Great TRUST Auction

     On October 26, TRUST will have both a live and silent auction. There will be live music and dinner and great desserts. Plan to come and join the fun and support TRUST, which sponsors CoAM, Meals on Wheels, TRUST Youth, and many other ministries and services.

     The event starts at 6:00 pm, and tickets are available from Carol Austermann; $20/adults, $15/seniors, and $5/kids under 10.

     This event will take place at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Ave. S. in Minneapolis. All are welcome.

Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at church. For Nov. 9, they will read Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford, and for December 14, The Optimist's Daughter, by Eudora Welty.

How Long, O Lord?
Thursday Evening Bible Study Begins Nov. 7

     In Psalm 13, David cries out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” No doubt David is not the only one to ask God these questions, for here is not a household untouched by pain or suffering. Thursday evenings starting on Nov. 7, Vicar Beckering will lead a topical study on the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering. This Bible study series will meet Thursday evenings in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and run for six weeks, with the exception of Thanksgiving. Each gathering will begin with a light supper. All are welcome!

Galatians Study Becketwood  

     Pr. Crippen is offering a second run of the current six week Galatians Bible study at Becketwood Cooperative on six Tuesday afternoons. This study examines one of Paul’s most important and influential letters.

     The idea behind offering a second time for this study is to provide a time during the day for this study (currently running on Thursday evenings at Mount Olive), and also to offer it in a place where it might be easier for some to attend than getting to church. The session on Oct. 22 will be in the lower level of the chapel at 2:00 p.m. Note: This is not only for Mount Olive members, nor is it only for those who live at Becketwood. It was just thought that this is a relatively central location, and having an afternoon meeting is better for some who don’t like driving in the evenings.  All who are interested in this study are welcome! Becketwood is at 4300 W River Parkway in Minneapolis.

Congregational Care Committee Seeks Your Response

     The art of giving and accepting care was the forum topic during the coffee hour on Sunday, October 13.  Please consider providing your feedback by taking a minute to think about the following questions.

     Are you aware of an unmet need for care and support at Mount Olive?
     What kind of support do you wish was available for the need you identified?
     Do you have particular skills or experience that you would like to offer to future congregational care and support initiatives?

     Please call or email your responses to:  Marilyn Gebauer, Peggy Hoeft, Warren Peterson,  or Cathy Bosworth.  E-mail address may be found in the Mount Olive Directory.

Attention Worship Assistants!

     It's that time again.  In early November I will begin working on the Servant Schedule for the first quarter of 2014.   Please contact me ( by November 1 with scheduling requests for January - March 2014.
- Peggy Hoeft 

People to Know: The October Our Saviour’s Meal Team!

     A big “THANK YOU” to each of the folks who helped make the October meal at Our Savior’s Homeless Center happen. They include:
Beth Sawyer, who gathered the young people of Mount Olive (and their parents) to slice and chop and prep and pack many elements of the meal;
Tim Pipkorn and Samantha Lucas, who cooked and served the meal;
Naomi Peterson, for her monthly home-made cookies (Yum!) and Halloween treats;
Donn and Bonnie McClellan, who each month prepare lunches for the residents.

     Month after month the men and women who live at Our Savior’s say how grateful they are for the special attention that goes into the meals from Mount Olive. Thanks to the October team, and all those who help in this ministry throughout the year.

A Word of Thanks

     Thank you to the families who helped prep the meal for Our Savior's Housing on October 13 (here are some fun photos of the event!).  The next service event for families will be on November 16 at 11:30 am.  Please bring your family to help make Thanksgiving cards for Community Emergency Services, share the noon community meal with our neighbors and help clear tables afterwards.  Wear your yellow Mount Olive shirts if you have one.  Contact Beth Sawyer with questions and to RSVP for this event.  651-434-0666

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