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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Olive Branch, 1/15/14

Accent on Worship

What’s Next?

     Come Sunday our worship life enters another quiet spell, Sundays with green paraments and no incense, Sundays where we don’t process the Gospel into the middle of the nave for the reading.  It is the season after Epiphany, and it’s a little welcome after a run of festivals which began in November, with only Advent to break it up a little.

     But what will these weeks be like for us when we don’t have feast days to celebrate, when we have a simpler Eucharistic liturgy?  The season of Epiphany is one which focuses on vocation, on the call of disciples, on our call as disciples.  It’s a season which begins at the shore of the Sea of Galilee and ends on the mountain of Jesus’ transfiguration.  We have a long Epiphany this year, since Easter is so late, and that means we’ll also start getting into readings like the summer readings, Gospels which introduce the teaching of Jesus.

     We’re in Matthew’s year, so after the next two weeks of call stories, we move into several weeks of the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus will call us to be a light to the world, salt to season the world.  He will challenge us to live by the spirit of God’s law, to follow the commandments to their fullest intent, to the thoughts of our hearts and minds.  Jesus will command us to love our enemies and all who hate us.  In short, we will be learning that this life as a disciple isn’t easy, that it asks a great deal of us.  Alongside Jesus, Isaiah, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus will repeat both our call as children of God and what our lives of faith will look like, doing justice, caring for the poor, obeying God in all things.

     This might seem daunting, but in fact we should be grateful.  Were we only to hear of the call of the disciples and never what the life of the disciple is meant to be in God’s eyes, we’d be in danger of being misled.  We will have ample opportunity to consider the “truth in advertising” that our Lord Jesus provides as we worship during these weeks.  As we consider our call, our vocation, it will be good to hear what that will mean, lest we commit without true willingness to follow through.

     But we also remember this: considering our vocation is the annual work of the Epiphany season, but the Epiphany season begins with, well, Epiphany.  Our call as disciples, our life in Christ envisioned by Christ himself and supported by the prophets, all this begins and is centered on the astonishing Light God has shined into the darkness of our world, all this is grounded in our awareness that in Christ God has come to be with us.  This life to which we are called, challenging as it is, is a life lived in light, not darkness, in love, not hate, and as such is a life lived in God’s grace and presence, where we’re given the power, the ability to become children of God ourselves.  It’s life worth living, challenge or not.  That’s the true grace of these green weeks.

     Oh, and should any be missing our festivals, this year Presentation of Our Lord (Feb. 2) falls on a Sunday, so in the midst of the green we’ll put on the white once again and celebrate.  But let’s pray that the green of this season truly signifies the life in Christ to which we are invited and which we most earnestly hope to see come to pass in our lives.

In Christ,
- Joseph

Sunday Readings

January 19, 2014 – Second Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 49;1-7 + Psalm 40:1-11
I Corinthians 1:1-9 + John 1:29-42

January 26, 2014 – Third Sunday after Epiphany
 Isaiah 49:1-7 + Psalm 40:1-11
I Corinthians 1:1-9 + John 1:29-42

Stories for the Journey: Thursday Evening Bible Study Returns January 16

     Starting January 16 and running for six weeks, there will be a Thursday evening Bible study meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Pr. Crippen will lead a series on the parables of Jesus and how they provide us a vision of God’s reign. As with all these Thursday series, there will be a light supper when we begin.  If anyone wishes to provide the first week’s meal, please let Pr. Crippen know.

Bible Study at Becketwood

     Vicar Emily will offer a second run of the six- week Bible study on human suffering at Becketwood Cooperative on five Tuesday afternoons (January 7 through February 4) from 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm. This study examines the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering. The meeting room at Becketwood changes each week, so announcements will be made at the study regarding the location of the following week. All are welcome!

Wedding Invitation

     Because you welcomed us, celebrated with us, loved and encouraged us, we, Marty Hamlin and Cathy Bosworth, invite you to join us as we exchange our marriage vows.

     The service will take place here at Mount Olive on Saturday, January 25, at 3:00 p.m. A reception follows immediately in the Undercroft.

     Please, no gifts.

Neighborhood Ministry Position News

     As previously announced, Mount Olive will hire an interim person to be the Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator from the time of Donna's departure in March until a permanent replacement is hired in the fall.  A position description for this interim position is being finalized and will be ready for distribution next week.  If you are interested in the position or know of someone who would be interested, please contact the church office ASAP.   Cha will take names and contact information, including email if possible, and then send out the position details next week. This is work that would be eligible for job-sharing.  For any questions, contact Lisa Nordeen.

2013 Contribution Statements

     Year-end contribution statements for 2013 are being mailed from the church office to all contributors this week.

     If you do not receive your statement, please contact the church office and another will be sent or emailed to you.

Book Discussion Group

   On January 18 (one week late due to Liturgical Conference) the Book Group will discuss Moon Tiger, by Penelope Lively, and on February 8, The Bell, by Iris Murdoch.

Church Library News

    For many, a new year provides a new beginning, a new challenge or focus with many assurances that our Lord is there to guide and support us each step along the way.  This means we can live with a sense of spontaneity and tranquility -- what a blessing!  However, there are others who do not find a new year to be especially happy or peaceful.  They may be facing a myriad of difficulties, including illness, depression, loneliness, and for those who are long-time caregivers (I remember those days/years well) a very real sense of weariness.  It is for those particularly that our newest display of books in the library was developed but everyone is encouraged to stop in soon to browse.  Included are:

Anatomy of An Illness (as perceived by the patient), by Norman Cousins
Make Your Illness Count (a hospital chaplain shows how God's healing power can be released in your life), by Vernon J. Bittner
Christian Caregiving: A Way of Life, by Kenneth C. Haugh
Caregiving for Your Loved Ones, by Mary Vaughn Armstrong
Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired, by Philip L. Hansen
Emotions: Can You Trust Them?, by Dr. James Dobson
Living With Cancer, by Mary Beth Moster
Journey Through Cancer (My Story of Hope, Healing and God's Amazing Faithfulness), by Emilie Barnes
We Lived With Dying, by Margaret Woods Johnson
Meeting Life’s Challenges, edited by Ted Miller
Being a Caring Father, edited by Ted Miller

    The closing quote this time is by Rita Dover -- "The library is an arena of possibility, opening both a window into the soul and a door onto the world."
- Leanna Kloempken

Annual “Taste of” Festival to Be Held February 9

     Mark your calendar for Sunday, February 9!  This year's "Taste of" will take us to New Orleans for a Mardi Gras celebration for Lutheran Volunteer Corps.  In places like New Orleans, Mardi Gras is celebrated over the weeks ahead of "Fat Tuesday." So let's kick off Mardi Gras right with gumbo, jambalaya, slaw, dirty rice, and other fare.  (And this event will be a good bookend for the Fat Tuesday pancake dinner, planned with our youth.)

     We will celebrate and learn about the work of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC), one of the supported missions of Mount Olive through our congregational giving. Each year, the Lutheran Volunteer Corps provides opportunities for young adults and others to complete a year of full-time service work at select nonprofits in cities across the country, including Minneapolis and St. Paul.  During their year of service, participants live in community and have opportunities to reflect on their commitments, their spiritual journeys, and the ways they hope to put their values into practice.

     We will be joined during the adult forum by the Regional Director of LVC, the Development Director, and several current and past volunteers.  Then after the second service, head downstairs for the Mardi Gras meal.

     The Missions Committee is still looking for people to cook an item and bring it to church for the meal on Sunday, February 9, and we are still looking for help in decorating and setting up the day before "Taste of."  If you can help, please e-mail Paul Schadewald, at

     All are welcome at "Taste of Mardi Gras."  Bring friends!

Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Festival Worship

     The RIC Team of Reconciling Works-Lutherans Concerned/Twin Cities invites all people to join with members of RIC churches across the metro area for our ninth annual Metro Area Festival worship on Saturday, January 25, 2014, 4:30 p.m. at Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church, 5011 31st Ave S., Minneapolis. The  Rev. Jen Nagel 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 along with dozens of RIC worshiping communities.  Please join us in this Word and Sacrament celebration of the welcome we extend to the whole people of God. A light supper will follow the service.

     All are welcome!

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