Accent on Worship
Fasting, prayers, almsgiving. These are among the spiritual disciplines of Lent, mentioned specifically by Jesus (though not in relation to a season of Lent of course) in Matthew 6, and as part of our Ash Wednesday liturgy. The Church has long seen these activities as not only worthy in and of themselves, but also exercises of the spirit, things which strengthen the faith.
I’ve been thinking about this with regard to stewardship. If you haven’t already, you should soon receive a letter from Dennis Bidwell, Stewardship chair, and from me, along with a pledge card for 2013. In that letter we spoke of the spiritual discipline of pledging. If you look at the Lenten list, prayer and fasting are easily understandable as spiritual disciplines, even if some of us might not fast on a regular basis ourselves. But the Church also included almsgiving, the giving of wealth to share with others, to do the ministry of Christ. In part, it’s because almsgiving is in Matthew 6. But there may be a deeper understanding behind it.
The goal of any discipline is to learn a new way, to be shaped or focused or trained or improved to become something more than before. Whether it’s physical disciplines such as healthy eating and regular exercise, or spiritual disciplines, people commit to do these so that they might be disciplined, discipled, shaped. Should one decide to fast, for example, it is good to make a commitment to that, if only personally to oneself, so that when the time of fasting is getting long and hunger is pressing, there is that commitment which then supports the original intention.
So it is or can be with pledging. We know that we have been richly blessed by God, we know we are called to share our wealth with others to bring the Good News of God’s love to our community and world. Virtually every member of a congregation will freely give something of what they have to the shared work, whether it’s money or time or abilities. But when we commit to do this to each other, and perhaps more importantly, to ourselves, we make our giving a discipline, a challenge, a way for us to find deeper spiritual maturity and grow in faith. As with other disciplines, the act of commitment itself shapes our response and helps us stay with our initial good intentions.
As we hear of all the volunteer opportunities for people to be involved together here in our mission from God, and as you look at that pledge card sitting on your table or counter, let us all consider what it might mean for us to commit to this discipline. How might the Spirit work in us faith and life as we practice what we have committed to do? I pray that we all might be led ever deeper in our willingness to commit and work together to serve God faithfully in this place.
November 11, 2012 – Time after Pentecost, Sunday 32
I Kings 17:8-16 + Psalm 146
Hebrews 9:24-28 + Mark 12:38-44
November 18, 2012 – Time after Pentecost, Sunday 33
Daniel 12:1-3 + Psalm 16
Hebrews 10:11-25 + Mark 13:1-8
Sunday’s Adult Education:
November 11, 9:30 a.m.
“An Introduction to the Gospel of Luke,” part 1 of a 3-part series, presented by Pastor Crippen.
A Note of Thanks
A big “Thank you!” goes out to the willing helpers volunteering assistance with the upkeep and cleaning of the Mount Olive building and grounds. Your gift of time and talent is greatly appreciated during these weeks as we await William’s return. If more are interested in lending a hand, please see me or Andrew Andersen.
– Brenda Bartz, Properties Director
Volunteer Opportunities Sunday
Mount Olive would not exist as we know it without its volunteers. Our volunteers bring Christ to the corner of 31st and Chicago in many ways. We serve 3,000 meals a year to those in need. We provide counseling and tutoring to many. We provide thousands of low cost diapers through the Diaper Depot. We contribute time and energy to many neighborhood organizations. We welcome our neighbors to worship with us. All of this is only possible because of our members who volunteer their time and talent to the mission of Mount Olive.
This Sunday during both coffee hours various representatives of our church’s committees and activities will seek volunteers for our many programs, from acolytes to zealous choir members, the opportunities are many and varied. Come join us, it is a great way to meet your fellow members.
Some specific jobs looking for volunteers are: acolytes, ushers, servers for Our Savior’s Sunday dinners, sound system monitors for Sunday services, helpers for our twice-monthly community meals and Sunday morning coffee hosts. These are just a few of the opportunities available.
Also if you have an idea about a new service program you would like to see at Mount Olive, come to talk to me and when can discuss the idea.
– Dennis Bidwell
Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts to Present Alice Parker:
Sing! Hymns of the Church
This Sunday, November 11, 4:00 p.m.
The SINGS led by Alice Parker have delighted groups throughout the United States and Canada since she started leading them forty years ago. Started as an introduction to her Writing for Voices classes, the concept grew to include church congregations and choirs, then people of all ages and backgrounds who wish to sing together. Some songs are old favorites, and some are totally unfamiliar. The atmosphere is one of delight in making music together and of ease in creating varied sounds.
Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the magic of a great mentor of our time! The concert is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow.
A Message From ELCA Disaster Response: Hurricane Sandy
“From the Caribbean to the northern Atlantic coast of the United States, millions of people have evacuated their homes and communities due to Hurricane Sandy. Strong winds and torrential rains have led to flooding and mass destruction. The storm has claimed the lives of at least 84 throughout the United States and the Caribbean.
The storm sent trees crashing down and left neighborhood streets looking like rivers. While destruction on the Eastern coast is devastating, please also remember the damage of Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean as millions are feeling the impact of this storm.
We need your help. The ELCA is a leader in disaster response. Working through our local affiliates and global church partners; we stand ready to respond. Your gifts will help our church meet the immediate needs of those affected by providing food, water and shelter. And we will continue to help for as long as we are needed.”
Gifts received by Mount Olive will be sent to ELCA Disaster Response. If they are marked “Hurricane Sandy” the ELCA will use 100% of the gift for this disaster. Use the blue missions envelope in your packet (or any envelope) and mark it “Hurricane Sandy.”
Fair Trade Craft Sale
The Missions committee will be hosting a Fair Trade Craft Sale in December. We will have a variety of items available for purchase handmade by disadvantaged artisans in developing regions. You can preview items online at this web address: http://www.serrv.org/category/consignment and if there is anything in particular you would like us to order for you, we can do that and hold it in your name for you to purchase during the sale. Please send the item number and quantity you would like to Lisa Ruff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 651-636-4762 by Wednesday, November 7. This is not a fund-raiser, just an opportunity to buy good products for a good cause.
Church Library News
Thank you very much to Marcella Daehn for the special gift book, The Saint John’s Bible (Gospels and Acts), which is currently on display in our library. Using tools and materials employed by scribes for thousands of years, Donald Jackson and an international team of artists and scholars embarked on a monumental 7 year journey: to create the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned since the invention of the printing press. Combining the most widely-used English translation of the Bible, with original artwork that reflects cultures from around the world, The Saint John’s Bible is an inspiring interfaith undertaking that speaks to the heart of many religious traditions. This volume is one of seven, including Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Psalms, Prophets, Gospels and Acts and Letters and Revelations. This is not a book to be checked out in the normal way (it is a rather large and heavy book to handle), but rather to be viewed and enjoyed as you come to our library, even several times, to view and savor its loveliness whenever your time allows.
We close with this special quotation from Archibald MacLeish: “What is more important in a library than anything else — than everything else — is the fact that it exists!”
– Leanna Kloempken
Book Discussion Group
Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. For the November 10 meeting they will read, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, and for December 8 they will read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.
Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25
Bring non-perishable food items to help re-stock local food shelves. Monetary donations are especially welcome (for every $1 donated, food shelf personnel are able to buy about $9 worth of food!)
The entire offering received at the Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, will be given to Sabbathani Community Center and Community Emergency Services. Worshipers are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, which will help to feed the hungry in our community.
Every Church A Peace Church
The next regular bi-monthly potluck supper meeting will be on Monday, November 12, 6:30 p.m., at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church (5426 12th Ave. S., in Minneapolis; 612-824-3455; http://www.olpmn.org).
The topic of discussion at this meeting will be “St. Martin or Constantine? A Veterans for Peace Perspective on Two Conflicting Visions of the Church’s Place in War.”
Larry Johnson and Steve McKeown, of Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, will discuss the conflicting 4th century visions of Constantine and of St. Martin of Tours, and how this moved the early Christians away from the absolute refusal of warfare due to Jesus’ teachings of nonviolence.
Church offices will be closed on Friday, November 23 (the day after Thanksgiving).