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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Olive Branch, 4/1/15

Accent on Worship

After the Sabbath

     Mark and Matthew begin their accounts of Jesus’ resurrection saying it was after the Sabbath was over that the women went to the tomb. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection were all affected by the Sabbath. He was executed on Friday, before Sabbath began, and needed to be off the cross and buried before sundown. When he rose from the dead, the Sabbath was over. In the Sabbath rest of his death the whole universe was changed. The change was so profound the Church moved our observance of Sabbath to Sunday, to coincide with the beginning of resurrection life for the world in Christ.

     This Sunday when we celebrate the Sabbath we will celebrate once more that world-shifting morning when the women realized they hadn’t begun to imagine what God would do with death or who this Jesus really was. We are so eager for this Good News, we will keep Vigil in the dark of night on Saturday, when, as then, the Jewish Sabbath is already over. We will watch and wait for the coming of God’s Light into the world once again.

Our Sabbath is always a little Easter; this weekend it’s the real deal. Every year I look forward to sharing in the worship of the Great Three Days with you, my sisters and brothers. I am so ready for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and our grace from the Triune God we will share together in those liturgies. I am so ready for the explosive delight of our Easter morning Eucharist. 

     Then I will take a Sabbath rest of my own. The idea of sabbatical for pastors, that we take time away from our call for rest and re-creation and reflection, is a great gift for those who receive it. I am looking forward to this time and am deeply grateful for your gift of this to me. But I will miss you all so much in this time away. That’s what I want to say in this last Olive Branch article before I go. I will be glad for a rest from the duties of my call, from work. I’m chomping at the bit to get at the writing and thinking and reading I’m planning to do on preaching during this time. My family is looking forward to a little more time with me. The only part of this that I am not happy about is that I will be away from you, my sisters and brothers, for what seems a long time.

     All will be well with you, I’m sure of that. God will be with you, as always. Rev. Hausman will be a good pastor to you, and all the other leaders and staff are their usual tremendous selves. I will be well, too. I will just miss you. I will miss worshipping with you before almighty God. I will miss the grace you all are in my life in more ways than I can ever enumerate.

     That’s probably a good thing, and a good reason for pastors to take sabbatical break. I don’t need to be reminded how important our life together is for my walk of faith and my ministry. But perhaps it’s good for me, and for you all, nonetheless, to have this time apart so that when we are together again, in God’s good will, we are re-energized for more years of Spirited ministry together as Christ in this place.

     Then, in a nice coincidence, we will see together what happens “after the Sabbath.” When my Sabbath is over, we will come together again on our walk of faith, and journey in the resurrection life of Christ as pastor and people. Until then, we trust our lives into the hands of the Triune God, in whom none of God’s children are ever apart.

     But now, let’s walk with Christ Jesus and each other through these great days of God’s love for the world, that we might know and be filled once more with the life of Christ.

In Jesus’ name,

- Joseph

Triduum and Easter at Mount Olive

Maundy Thursday, April 2: 
Holy Eucharist at Noon; 
Holy Eucharist, with the Washing of Feet, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, April 3: 
Stations of the Cross at Noon; 
Adoration of the Cross at 7 pm

Holy Saturday, April 4: 
Great Vigil of Easter at 8:30 pm,n followed by a festive reception

The Resurrection of Our Lord, Sunday, April 5: 
Festival Eucharist at 8 & 10:45 am
Easter Brunch at 9:30 am

Sunday Readings

April 5, 2015: Resurrection of Our Lord
Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Acts 10:34-43
John 20:1-18

April 12, 2015: Second Sunday of Easter
Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 133
I John 1:1—2:2
John 20:19-31

There will be no Adult Forum
on Easter Day, April 5.
Classes resume on April 12.

End-of-life decisions: The Conversation Continues!
Saturday, April 18, 10:00 am – Noon
Chapel Lounge

     Kathy Thurston and Heather Halen will facilitate this session.  

     We anticipate doing a step-by-step review of the Honoring Choices Health Care Advance Directive; thinking about how, when, where you have the conversation, and how you choose an agent. 

     Additional questions and concerns are being solicited from the February 7 End-of-Life Planning participants.     
     Refreshments will be provided.

     If you have questions, or would like to participate, please contact Marilyn Gebauer at 612-306 -8872, or by email to, or call the church office at 612-827-5919.

Book Discussion Group Update

For the April 11 meeting, the group will read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; and for May 9, The Boat of Longing, by O. E. Rølvaag. 

Can You Help? 

     Mount Olive’s Congregational Care Committee wants to help what has been a “naturally occurring experience” become more inclusive and available to all of its members. The goal is to increase awareness and responsiveness to needs such as:

• A new baby in the family. (A few starter meals can ease the adjustment.)
• A spouse suddenly alone. (A meal, coffee or lunch out, and/or companionship can ease the loneliness.)
• An unexpected illness in the family. (Meals to drop off or share can provide a needed break for caregivers.)
• The loss of job and income. (Meals, a listening ear, and supportive conversation may help lessen feelings of discouragement.)
• A single person experiencing a significant life change. (Help with meals, transportation, etc. can support continued independence.)

     How will this work? The hope is to develop a list of people who would be willing to bring a meal, take someone out for lunch, and to participate in the sharing of food and conversation. Think about it! The opportunities are wide open.  

     Can you help? Please call or email Marilyn Gebauer (phone: 612-306-8872, email:

Night On the Street

     Need a Tax Deduction for next year? Donate to Night On the Street!  On Friday, April 17, TRUST Youth will once again participate in raising awareness and funds to help alleviate youth homelessness. Sponsored by Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, hundreds of youth from around the Twin Cities will participate in an overnight in the parking lot of Plymouth Congregational Church near Downtown Minneapolis. The youth (and chaperones) will get their own cardboard box to sleep in for the night, have a soup line meal, and learn from former homeless youth and those that help them what can be done to help.

     Donations (which are tax deductible!) from Night On the Street go to help fund the interim housing facilities run by Beacon Interfaith. If you would like to help make a difference, you can make a tax deductible donation through April 16. Please make checks payable to “Night On the Street.” You can give your tax deductible donation to Julie or Eric Manuel or leave it in the church office. If you have any questions, please contact Julie or Eric Manuel.


Proofreader Needed!

     Ethiopian Pastor and Luther Seminary student Dinku Bato is almost finished with his dissertation and needs a proof-reader before his oral defense.  Dinku Bato helped lead the "Taste of Ethiopia" activities at Mount Olive three years ago and has maintained a relationship with us.

     He is asking whether someone from Mount Olive would be willing to help proofread his dissertation--or even a part of it.  He would need the proofreading finished by April 4.  His total dissertation is 220 pages but someone could agree to tackle a section and help him reach the finish line.  If you are interested, please contact Dinku Bato directly at

Benefit for Our Saviour's Community Services

     Caritas Vocal Ensemble will present a concert on behalf of Our Saviour's Community Services on Sunday, April 19, at 3 pm. It will be held at Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church, 2020 W. Lake of the Isles Pkwy. in Minneapolis. Admission is free, though donations are gratefully accepted to support the work of OSCS—ending homelessness and educating immigrants. Light refresh-ments provided. Please come and bring your friends!

     Caritas Vocal Ensemble is a non-profit choral group with a special mission: to share their music with the community for the purpose of raising money and awareness for people in need. You’ll experience a concert of exquisite a cappella chamber music from virtually every genre—madrigals and folk tunes, sacred, pop, and international. Great for all ages!

Through two distinct programs—Our Saviour’s Housing and the English Learning Center—OSCS provides dignified shelter and housing for those without a home and free English classes to immigrants and refugees.

Getting to Know Our Neighbors: Celebrating Easter

“Easter is bigger than Christmas here,” our taxi driver in Belize told us. Latin America is a largely Catholic portion of the world, and their cultural celebrations reflect that religious tie. Semana Santa (Holy Week) is typically the biggest celebration of the year. In Peru, Ayacucho is the city renowned for its Semana Santa festival. I was there during Pascua (Easter) 2013 to witness the swarming streets mixed with devoted followers and fun-seekers alike. It’s a giant, holy party. There was a running of the bulls, a live action walk through the Stations of the Cross, giant firework towers, endless parades of each Parish through the central plaza, and much more. The event culminated in a city-wide all-night vigil in the plaza with fireworks showering sparks over the crowd throughout the night, until just at dawn an enormous paso, (float) in glittering silver and light depicting the risen Christ emerges from the Cathedral carried on the shoulders of hundreds of men. The crowd follows around the plaza in contemplation and celebration. It is truly a powerful experience to be wrapped in the full expression of Semana Santa in a place so far away, but sharing in the same Christian tradition.    

 – Anna Kingman


Faith and Creation

     Join Luther Seminary for the 2015 Rutlen Lecture, a bi-annual lecture series focused on faith and creation. This year’s lecture, “Creation, Sin and Sacrament in the Anthropocene,” will be given by Larry Rasmussen, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics at Union Seminary.

     The planet faces massive changes brought on by human beings. These likely include a new geological epoch, the “Anthropocene,” that challenges long-established ways of life. The base points of Christian faith are challenged as well, from first things to last. This Rutlen Lecture probes the meaning of creation, sin and sacrament for a new epoch.

     Congregational leaders are invited to “Integrating Green in Congregations” at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21. A $10 buffet dinner will be available prior to the lecture at 7 p.m. that evening. After the lecture, Rasmussen will hold a book signing for “Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key.” He will also preach in chapel on April 22 at 11 a.m. All events take place in the Olson Campus Center at Luther Seminary.

     To find out more about Luther’s lecture series and to RSVP for the dinner, please visit Luther’s website:

Transitions Support Group

     All are welcome to visit the Transitions Support Group meetings if you've been hoping to find new ideas or encouragement to meet the challenges or uncertainties that are before you. This is an opportunity to share in fellowship, prayer and discussion with others in the Mount Olive community.  
     The next session meets on Wednesday, April 15, from 6:00 - 7:00 pm at Mount Olive in the lower level Youth Room, and will be facilitated by Amy Cotter and Cathy Bosworth.     

     If you have questions, please contact Cathy at 612-708-1144 or


A Note of Thanks

     A heartfelt THANK YOU to the following people who participated in the pre-Easter special altar cleaning sponsored by the Mount Olive Altar Guild: Bonnie McLellan, Beth Gaede, Beth Hering, Peggy Hoeft, Jo Ellen Kloehn, Mary Dorrow, Gene Janssen, Katherine Hanson, Steve Pranschke, Jan Crosby, Matt Crosby and Eunice Hafemeister. We had a lively, enjoyable morning working side by side to accomplish our goal. 

     Thanks also to Altar Guild members Tim Lindholm and Timm Schnabel for polishing all the of the chancel and altar woodwork on March 7th. It was an ambitious project and well done!

National Lutheran Choir to Presents Gretchaninoff’s Passion Week

     The National Lutheran Choir brings Alexander Gretchaninoff's glorious Passion Week to the majestic Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis and Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester. 

     Each year, Christians around the world remember and re-experience the seven days leading up to Easter Sunday through worship and music. Gretchaninoff developed his Passion Week, a magnificent representation of 13 sacred musical settings, for this ‘Great and Holy Week.’  Join us for a transcendent journey of the soul that you won't soon forget. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015 – 8pm
Basilica of Saint Mary (88 N 17th St., Minneapolis, MN 55403)

Saturday, May 2, 2015 – 7pm
Zumbro Lutheran Church (624 3rd Ave. SW, Rochester, MN 55902) 

Tickets: $25 Adult - $23 Senior - $10 Students aged 17 and under FREE. For tickets or more information, call (888) 747-4589 or visit

Koester Presentations Now Available Online

     The lectures from the Adult Forum series presented by Dr. Craig Koester are now on YouTube! 

First lecture:

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