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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Olive Branch, 2/16/14

Accent on Worship

Alleluia, farewell

Hallelujah – praise ye the LORD.  Literally, “all of you, praise Yahweh.”  That’s what the Hebrew word Hallelujah means – “all of you praise the one who is named I AM WHO WILL BE”.  It’s such a short word that urges so much.  Latin didn’t pronounce it with or write the initial “h” so we also say, after the Latin, “Alleluia.”  Praise the Lord.

And this is the last Sunday for a long time that we will be able to say it.  For centuries it has been the practice of the Church to forego the singing or saying of Alleluia during the Lenten season.  We put aside the word of praise of almighty God that is so important to our worship, and we focus on our repentance.

It’s so helpful that our last day of Alleluia for a time is the Sunday of Transfiguration.  In some parts of the Western Church, namely among the Roman Catholics, Transfiguration is celebrated during the summer.  But our tradition places it here, the Sunday before Lent, and what is most helpful is that the experience of Jesus on the mountain of Transfiguration and what happened after is imitated by our singing Alleluia Sunday and then putting it aside.

Our Lenten discipline of setting aside Alleluia also reminds us of this truth: it’s often very hard to find a way to praise God in a difficult, painful, confusing, and often hostile world.  The psalmist in exile in Babylon said it this way in Psalm 137:  “On the willows there we hung up our harps, for how could we sing the LORD’s song, Yahweh’s song, in a foreign land?”  That, indeed, is often our question, isn’t it?  The reason we’re so enamored of Transfiguration, of this scene on the mountaintop, is that we can go long stretches of life without such beautiful inspiration, such wonderful confirmation of our faith.  The reason Peter wants to make tents for the three amazing personages is that he wants that moment to last.  And it never does.

Even so, we will leave the mountain, leave our Alleluias, for a time, that we might enter the wilderness of this world with our Lord.  We will set aside our fullest celebration for these forty days as we consider our lives and need for repentance.  We will take the song up again, yes.  We will once more learn to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land.  For now though, after Sunday, we will listen for a different song, that the Spirit might continue to shape us into children of God through this journey, this discipline.

In the name of Jesus,

- Joseph

Sunday Readings

 March 2, 2014: Transfiguration of Our Lord
 Exodus 24:12-18
 Psalm 2
2 Peter 1:16-21
 Matthew 17:1-9
March 9, 2014: First Sunday in Lent
 Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
 Psalm 32
Romans 5:12-19
 Matthew 4:1-11

This Week’s Adult Forum 

March 2: “From Earth, to Eden, to Ground: The Opening Chapters of the Book of Genesis,” part 2 of a 4-part series, presented by Scholar-in-Residence, Prof. Earl Schwartz of Hamline University.  

Lent Begins Next Week

     Wednesday, March 5 is Ash Wednesday. Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes will be celebrated at Noon and at 7:00 p.m. that day.

     During the season of Lent, midweek worship will be held on Wednesdays: Holy Eucharist at Noon and Evening Prayer at 7:00 p.m.

     A soup luncheon will follow the Noon liturgies, and a soup supper will precede Evening Prayer, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

     The Shrove Tuesday pancake supper will be held on Tuesday, March 4, from 6 to 6:45 pm.  Everyone is invited for an evening of pancakes, costumes, games and fun. At 6:45 pm we will observe the burning of the palms for the Ash Wednesday ashes.  Bring your dried palms from last year and leave them in the basket in the narthex.  Kids can wear costumes, and adults can dress festively in any way they choose!

     Help is needed from people 6th grade to 12th grade to assist with the pancake races.  If you are able to come and help with this event, please call or email Beth Sawyer at 651-434-0666 or  If you would like to help decorate the church basement on March 4 during the day, please also call Beth Sawyer to let her know.

Bring In Your Palms

  If you have a palm branch from last year’s Palm Sunday liturgies, please bring it to church. Last year’s palms will be burned following the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday liturgies.

Palm branches may be placed in the large labeled basket in the narthex.

Thursday Evening Bible Study Session Postponed and Rescheduled

The final session in the current Thursday Evening Bible Study was cancelled last week, due to inclement weather. That session has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 6, 6:00 p.m. in the Chapel Lounge, beginning with a light supper.

Lent Procession to be held Sunday, March 9, 4:00 p.m.

     All are welcome to this contemplative service of lessons and hymns for Lent. This service is offered as an opportunity to withdraw from the busyness of life to pray, sing, listen, smell, and to fully enter in to the season of Lent, a time to renew our lives as baptized children of God.

2014 Lenten Devotional Books

     Susan Cherwien has prepared another Lenten devotional booklet for our use during this upcoming season of Lent.

     Copies of Journey Into Lent 2014 are available in the narthex and in the church office. Pick yours up soon! If you need a copy to be mailed to you, just contact the church office.

     Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5.

Centering Prayer Group to begin March 4

     Hello, my name is Sue Ellen Zagrabelny and I am a member of Mount Olive and an oblate or lay associate at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, WI. One of the monastic disciplines practiced at the monastery is centering prayer, an emptying of oneself in prayer in order to be accessible to the Spirit. A Centering Prayer Group will be offered at Mount Olive at two different times over a period of 5 weeks.

     A brief introduction of Centering Prayer will be provided and written material about the discipline will be made available.

     On Tuesday, the group will meet after Bible Study, from 1:15 to 1:45 March 4, 11, 18, 25 and April 1.  On Wednesday, the group will meet before the Lenten Supper at 5:30 to 6:00 on March 12, 9, 19, 26 and April 2. Both sessions will meet in the library.

     If you have questions, please contact Sue Ellen Zagrabelny at 815-997-6020 or via email to Please join me in this meaningful discipline of Lent.

A Farewell Celebration

     March 14 will be Donna Neste's last day as our Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator.  Donna has served God and Mount Olive admirably for many decades and it's time to bid her a fond farewell. We invite members of the congregation to donate to a gift in Donna's honor. Please make checks payable to Mount Olive Lutheran Church (be sure to designate them "Donna's Gift"), and bring or mail them to the church office by Friday, March 7. There will be a meal and celebration after the second liturgy on Sunday, March 16.  For questions, contact Carol Austermann or Kathy Thurston.

Friendly Calling Program

     Mount Olive began a Friendly Calling Program last May.  There are currently about 15 people called on a regular basis by trained Friendly Callers to offer companionship and support. We need another caller to complement the current group.  If you are interested in making one or two calls on a regular basis and are willing to attend a brief training session, please contact Sue Ellen Zagrabelny at 815-997-6020 or by email to

To the Wearers of Albs

     Please sign your name and list your alb number on the chart provided on the inside of the alb closet door! We need to know which albs receive the most use to assure that we have enough of them in the appropriate sizes. Thanks for your help!

- Carol Austermann

New Event Tables

     Perhaps you have noticed the new event tables in the Chapel Lounge! These were purchased to help provide a place for people to set their refreshments on while they are visiting at coffee hour.

     Thanks to the awesome and generous members who contributed toward the purchase of all 12 tables, we did not need to use money from the budget for them. So many thanks to them for their generosity, and to Gary Pagel, who did the research and found the tables online.

     I am sure these tables will be well-used at coffee hour and in other fellowship activities.

- Gail Nielsen

Bread for the World Workshop

     One of three annual Bread for the World workshops will be held at Mount Olive this year this Sunday March 2, beginning 1:00 p.m.  A light lunch will be served in the Undercroft after the late liturgy for those who plan to stay for the workshop.  If you plan to attend please call Donna Neste at church so that the servers can plan accordingly.  More information about the workshop is written below.  There are also brochures available on the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board directly below the stairs by Donna's office.

Sign Up For Coffee!

     The coffee time following each Sunday liturgy is a great time to meet new friends and to enjoy conversation with friends already made. Coffee hosts make this happen and we need folks to sign up on the new sign up board. If you would like to host but want to serve with another person, contact Carla Manuel at 612-521-3952 or see her at coffee most any Sunday morning. Thanks from Carla and the Congregational Care Hospitality Team.

Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Banner

     In the parables, the shepherd finds the sheep and the woman finds the coin, however, the Neighborhood Ministries Committee has been unable to find Mount Olive’s banner for the May Day Parade. Have you seen it? It was last seen at church in its labeled bag, which is about 40 inches long. The banner is 36x120 inches, and has our name and church logo on it.
     This May, Mount Olive’s neighborhood celebrates the 40th anniversary of the May Day Parade. With our banner or without it, we plan to walk, wave flags, cheer, picnic, and have fun at this year’s May Day Parade. Plan now to join us!

Luther College Cathedral Choir Coming to Mount Olive  
     The Luther College Cathedral Choir (90 singers!) will  perform a tour concert here at Mount Olive on Saturday evening,  April 5, 7:00 pm.

     We will be looking for hosts to house these young singers,  so watch for detailed information about how you can help.  It is a large number of students to host, but it’s our turn, and I’m sure we can be successful helping them get warm rest and hospitality for that night!

- Cantor Cherwien

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