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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Olive Branch, 2/17/16

Accent on Worship

Under the Wings, or Who Is My Neighbor?

     I have a carving of a hen on my desk. Herb had it made for me, and gave it to me as I left St. John’s, to remind me of Sunday’s Gospel reading. Jesus, facing suffering and death, laments over the people’s rejection: “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

     I once preached that our problem with Jesus the Mother Hen isn’t that we’re welcome under her wings. It’s all the others welcomed there. Herb admitted that was his problem; he also knew it wasn’t where he or Christ wanted him to be.

     For people who claim the love of God in Christ Jesus, we struggle to welcome some people into that love. We play a “who’s in and who’s out” game.

     In an ironic twist, those Christians who would exclude anyone who doesn’t meet their standards, whether Muslims or GLBT or poor or whatever, are the ones some of us would rather not share space with under Christ’s wings. Most of Christ’s followers have someone they look down on, someone they’d rather Christ kept out of the warm nest.

Snuggling under the warmth of a mother hen’s wings is also problematic when we consider the close quarters of such intimacy. It’s enough that Christ welcomes all, even sinners, even those whom we think are unChristlike Christians. But do they have to be so close?

     On Lenten Wednesdays at noon Eucharist and evening Vespers we’ll listen to our Mother Hen. We’ll hear from Scripture of those whom Christ welcomes and loves, whom we struggle to embrace. “The least of these,” Jesus called them. A foreign woman at a well who has a different faith. A left-for-dead member of a different race. A poor man covered in sores sitting outside a wealthy man’s home. A sinful woman dragged into the public square for humiliation and punishment.

     Paul tells us in Romans “love does no wrong to a neighbor.” Christ, our Mother Hen, stretches what neighbor means so far we struggle to embrace it. Thank God we’re not in charge of the wings. Perhaps this Lent we can learn to be truly glad for their breadth and their reach.

In the name of Jesus,

- Joseph

Sunday Readings

February 21, 2016: Second Sunday in Lent

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27
Philippians 3:17—4:1
Luke 13:31-35

February 28, 2016: Third Sunday in Lent

Isaiah 55:1-9
Psalm 63:1-8
I Corinthians 10:1-13
Luke 13:1-9

Midweek Lenten Worship
Wednesdays during Lent
Holy Eucharist at noon + Evening Prayer at 7 pm

The theme for 2016 is “Love does no wrong to a neighbor: Who Christ calls us to be to those
not like us.”

A soup luncheon follows each Wednesday noon Eucharist, and a soup supper precedes each Wednesday Evening Prayer, beginning at 6 pm.

Meet the Voigts!

     This Sunday, Feb. 21, there will be an opportunity for everyone to meet the Voigt family at Mount Olive. The Voigts are from Leipzig, Germany and are in the Twin Cities until August as part of an ex-change with the Minnea-polis Area Synod’s sister synod partnership with the Leipzig Church.
Come for a light lunch on Sunday after the second liturgy to meet the Voigts.

Sunday’s Adult Forum: February 21

“Reconciliation With God: The Question of the Atonement,” part 2 of a 3-part series presented by Pastor Crippen.

     "In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us."   (2 Cor. 5: 19).
     This is one of the more powerful ways Paul describes just what it is God is doing for the world in Christ Jesus, what the church calls the atonement.

Centering Prayer

    Centering Prayer is a discipline practiced by many monastic communities. During the penitential season of Lent, the people of Mount Olive have the opportunity to learn about and practice this ancient discipline.

     Wednesdays during Lent, beginning at 5:30 p.m., we will gather in the north transept (columbarium area) for a brief instruction, a reading from the Psalms, followed by 20 minutes of silence. There will be a short time for debriefing, then close with the Lord's Prayer.

     Please join us. For questions, call Sue Ellen Zagrabelny at 612- 875-7865.

Climate Justice Task Force--Join Now

     Here is your chance to take action on your concerns. In January the Vestry supported the formation of a Climate Justice Task Force to investigate and recommend education and action for our congregation and its members. This short-term (3-6 months)"big issue" task force will investigate and make recommendations to other standing committees (properties, missions, neighborhood, education, etc). Climate Justice is already a consideration for many of these committees, and the Climate Justice Task Force will offer the opportunity for creative thinking and "whole picture" action. Say, "Yes!" when asked, or volunteer by leaving your name in the church office, dropping a note to Judy Hinck at, or writing your name and "Climate Justice" on one of the cream-colored cards in the pew and placing the card in the offering basket.

New Albs are Here

… at least, some of them are.

     Please wear the old albs for now and try on a new alb for fit. A chart on the closet door will help you find a size. Each alb has a tag on the sleeve noting the size. Please keep the new albs in the closet, older albs are on the rolling rack and also in the closet. Please let me know which size you will be wearing by noting it on the size chart.

     We will look very spiffy at Easter!

- Carol Austermann

Lenten Devotional Book Available

"Return to God," Susan Cherwien's new devotional booklet for Lent 2016, is free and available at church. Pick one up for use during Lent!

This devotional is also available on the web in blog form at

Soup-Makers Needed!

     Soup makers are needed to provide soup and bread for our midweek Lenten meals. Soup and bread for the lunch following Wednesday midday Eucharist should feed 40-50 people, and for the supper before Wednesday Evening Prayer, we need soup and bread for about 15-20 people.

     If you can help by signing up to bring a meal (or two!), the sign up chart is available at the serving window at coffee hour on Sundays.

Lenten series on Christian Nonviolence

     Every Church a Peace Church (ECAPC) and Mount Olive are sponsoring a five-Sunday Lenten video series on Christian Non-violence.  These presentations provide the background under-standings for the "soul searching by Lutherans on the U.S. continuing war efforts," called for by the Minneapolis Synod, ELCA. The peace community is invited and encouraged to be a part of the viewing and discussion of presentations by Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy.

     This Lenten video series is being offered during the Sundays in Lent in the East Assembly Room at Mount Olive at 12:45 and repeated at 3 pm.  Light food and coffee will be available.

     Each Sunday Lenten presentation can stand on its own and lasts about one hour followed by a half hour for questions and discussion. The first presentation held last Sunday, 2/14 is summarized below:
     In the February 14 video presentation we learned that the Lamb of God represents a different kind of power than what we normally think of as power in present day Christianity.  Power philosophically defined is the ability to make things happen or the capacity to produce change.  Violence, fear, and intimidation are “powers,” as they produce change. But curiosity or care or love are also “powers” as they produce change. American Christians tend to think of lambs as symbols of utter powerlessness; that real power comes through political might and dominative power -- the very powers that Jesus rejected.

     Jewish writers on Jesus and Christianity have observed that we have rejected the life and teaching of Jesus for the same reasons they did.  One quoted Jewish writer we heard on 2/14, said Jesus' teaching of ‘love your enemies’ was a dangerous teaching for the survival of the Jewish nation at that time. How-ever, he also noted that since Constantine, Christianity has not implemented “love your enemies” but rather viewed it as equally dangerous for the same Jewish reasons; and relegated “love your enemies to a book or to monastics (who live apart from ordinary life), thereby leaving the world cruel, wicked, and pagan” i.e. Jewish writers are saying Jesus did not have much impact on making the world a more peaceful place. Importantly, Jews view “Messiah” as one who will bring peace.

     We have to admit, few outsiders observing Christians would say, “there goes a bunch of lambs!”
(The exceptions, of course, are people like Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day etc. Admittedly, my own Lutheran upbringing and understanding was more like a “wolf in sheep's clothing” than the nonviolent love that the Lamb of God Jesus incarnates.)

     Jewish writers do acknowledge, however, that for over 300 years the Church was nonviolent. And it worked despite the fact that the Roman government sought to eradicate the movement with varying intensity during those 300 years. During that time, Christians refused to retaliate or defend themselves with violence. By the time Constantine became emperor, it was one of the largest, if not the largest, religion in the empire. What's more, you could not be in the Roman army and kill if you were a Christian. However, in 414 after Constantine, ONLY Christians served in the fighting Roman Army (in 311 AD you couldn't). In 104 years it was all turned around and hasn't changed since then.

If you have any questions about this series or discussion, please contact me at 612 722-5957, or by email to

- Al Bostelmann

The Sheridan Story

In some schools, as many as 92% of kids depend on subsidized school meals. Each weekend over 100,000 of those kids go hungry. The Sheridan Story is working to reduce that number by providing children and their families healthy nutritious food for the weekend which the children carry home from school.

What can we do?
We're looking for at least 25 sponsors to support the children of at least one classroom at Jefferson Elementary for one year. A sponsor commits to $130 per year, or $12 per month ($144/year).

How will this work?
You can make checks to Mount Olive (marked "Sheridan Story), or arrange an automatic deduction from your bank by Sheridan Story (like Simply Giving).

What else can I do?
A big need will be volunteers to pack bags of food in children's backpacks early each Friday
afternoon. The more volunteers for this the better, so it isn't a burden for anyone. Also, groups or
families can participate in food packing at The Sheridan Story, either regularly or once in a

When can we start?
There will be an opportunity to sign up as a sponsor or volunteer this Sunday, February 21.
Anna Scott will also be available that morning to set up the automatic deduction from your bank.

Coming Up

     JRLC (Joint Religious Legislative Coalition) Regional Day on the Hill for the South Metro are being held Tuesday, March 8, from 5:30-8:30pm at Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville. This year they will focus on using our faith as “an inspiration and example as we chart our own strategy to use our stories to bring about legislative change.”

     Please contact Anna Scott if interested. More information at :

     Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack Event - Help pack two million meals during the five-day packing event February 24-28, in Champlin, MN.

     Visit for more information.

Ukrainian Easter Egg Workshop: Feb. 27

     Have you seen Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky) and always wanted to know how they are made? Here’s your chance to learn! Cha Posz, Mount Olive’s administrative assistant, along with her husband Kurt, have offered to teach a basic class at Mount Olive on the making of pysanky. The class will take place on Saturday, February 27, from 9 am to 12 noon in the East Assembly Room next to the Chapel Lounge.  A fee of $10 will be charged to cover supplies (you will get to bring tools home with you). Please e-mail or call the church office by Friday, Feb. 19 to register, so we are sure to have enough supplies for everyone on hand. All ages* are welcome! (*keeping in mind that it does involve hot wax and an open flame…).

Extra Fabric and Notions Lying Around?

     If you sew or quilt or for some other reason have extra fabric and sewing supplies that you no longer use and wish to donate, please call Carol Austermann. Carol will be happy to take them to the Textile Center’s annual sale on April 9.

     This is a great opportunity to purge your space of those items – clean out your clutter!
     She will be glad to pick up your donations –give her a call at 612-722-5123.

Betty Diersen information

     Betty has moved from her apartment at Augustana to a care facility in Cambridge, Minnesota, near her daughter, Karen. She is waiting to move into a memory care unit in Princeton, Minnesota, where Karen lives.  

     Any who wish to send cards or letters to Betty may send them to: Betty Diersen, care of Karen Diersen Anderson, 1477 Alpha Road, Princeton, MN 55371.

Workshop with Gertrud Mueller-Nelson

     Our friends at Christ Church Lutheran asked us to share this information about an upcoming workshop by Gertrud Mueller Nelson. Some of you may know her as a beloved writer, others as a gifted artist and illustrator, still others as a wise teacher and workshop leader. She is all of these, and she’s coming to Minneapolis on Saturday, March 5.

     Gertrud will offer a free workshop at Christ Church Lutheran entitled, “The Home and What’s Holy: Nourishing Faith in the Home.”  Her wonderful book, To Dance with God, is a classic work on sharing faith with children and bringing ceremony and Christian practice into in the home. All are warmly invited to attend this workshop which is free and open to the public.

     Christ Church Lutheran is located at 3244 34th Ave S. in Minneapolis.

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