Accent on Worship
Looking for Life
Why do you look for the living among the dead? We heard Luke on Easter day tell us that the angels at Jesus’ tomb asked the women this question. The women had come to the tomb, expecting to finish the embalming of Jesus’ body. They came, not expecting life, but death. They came, not hoping to see him alive, but looking for a dead man. They came, filled with sorrow, almost lifeless themselves. Sometimes we forget that. We know the story of Easter so well. We come on Easter Sunday ready for joy and hope. Not so these women.
Then they heard the amazing, wonderful news that Jesus, their Master and friend, had defeated the power of death. And their lives were forever changed. No longer lifeless and afraid, they were filled with life and joy and courage. One could almost say that they, too, were raised from the dead that Sunday morning.
Why do you look for the living among the dead? This question is addressed to us, too. While we know that Jesus rose, we often live as if his resurrection only provides the promise of life after death for believers. That’s not wholly bad; to live without fear of eternal death is a good thing. But sometimes that means that in this life we can spend our lives looking for life, for the living, among the dead, that is, in this world. We look for life and hope and meaning in this world, on this side of the grave, in things that are dead.
Some turn to work, thinking that their work is what gives them true meaning in life. Others turn to entertainment, recreation, sports, to activities for themselves or their children, as participants or as spectators. And while these can be enjoyable, or can sometimes be necessary to maintain health, they do not give full life, abundant life. Still others, tragically, turn to drugs and alcohol to give them life, things that are clearly a place of death, not life.
What we need is life, joy, and purpose on this side of the grave. Abundant life. And it can only come from the One who made the grave a doorway into life instead of a wall at the end of life. The One who came that we might have life and have it abundantly. Life is often filled with pain, difficulty, grief, along with the joys. And none of the things of this world are fully capable of helping us handle that, or helping us survive and live.
But here, then, is the secret of Easter. We are filled with the life of God now, on this side of the grave. Filled with the life and love of the One who gave his life for us and rose from the dead. Gathered in a community of faithful disciples by the Risen One, that we might be life to each other and the world.
So why look for the living among the dead? The things of this world that claim to offer life all fail us. So we look for life in the place of the living: in our Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and the source of life to fill our lives now, to raise us from lifelessness and sorrow, to give us joy and courage. Ultimately, then, we are called to share this good news with all who still look for the living among the dead. Christ is risen, indeed! God help us all find that life and then send us out in joy to share it with each other and the world.
In Jesus’ name,
April 14, 2013 – Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 9:1-6[7-20] + Psalm 30
Revelation 5:11-14 + John 21:1-19
April 21, 2013 – Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts 9:36-43 + Psalm 23
Revelation 7:9-17 + John 10:22-30
This Sunday’s Adult Forum
April 14: “Exemplary Youth Ministry: How Churches are Shaping the Faith of Young People,” part 2 of a 2-part series, presented by Vicar Neal Cannon.
Hebrews Study on Thursday Evenings
The third Thursday Bible study series of this year will begin on April 18 and will run for five more weeks on Thursday evenings. Meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Pr. Crippen will be leading a study of the book of Hebrews, an early Christian sermon preserved in the New Testament. As usual, there will be a light supper when we begin. If anyone wishes to provide the first meal, please let Pr. Crippen know. All are welcome to this study opportunity!
Semi-annual Congregation Meeting to be Held Sunday, April 28
The Vestry has announced the date of the April semi-annual congregation meeting to be Sunday, Apr. 28, after the second liturgy. Among the items on the agenda will be election of officers and directors, whose terms will begin on July 1. Any wishing to suggest names to the nominating committee for the positions of president, vice-president, secretary, and directors of congregational life, evangelism, or neighborhood ministries are encouraged to contact Adam Krueger, congregational president.
Also on the agenda are several constitutional and bylaw amendments presented to the congregation by the Vestry, attached to this Olive Branch as a separate document. The first page, the constitutional amendments, is a second hearing of amendments presented and approved at the October semi-annual meeting. Should these be approved again, with at least a 2/3 majority of those present and voting, they will be formally ratified. The second pages are bylaw amendments which only need the one hearing and vote at this meeting. Included in these amendments are bylaws establishing a business and finance committee, directed by the treasurer, and some corrective edits to several directors’ bylaws.
Meals on Wheels Thanks
Thanks to the following Mount Olive volunteers who delivered Meals on Wheels during the first quarter of 2013: Gary Flatgard, Art & Elaine Halbardier, Bob Lee, and Connie & Rod Olson.
Practicing Faith Together: A Day for All God’s Families
Join members of TRUST congregations for a morning of family fun and faith tomorrow, April 13, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, at Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer (5440 Penn Avenue S., Minneapolis), with an optional lunch and service activity to follow. TRUST is pleased to welcome Marilyn Sharpe as the speaker for this event. You may recognize Marilyn as the writer of the monthly “Positive Parenting” column in the Metro Lutheran.
The workshop is open to all members and friends of TRUST congregations, especially families, however you describe yourselves as family, and knowing that all of us are part of God’s family. Members of TRUST churches are also invited to attend!
Night on the Street
Next Friday night, April 19, Peter Crippen and Eric Manuel and their mothers, along with members of Trust Youth group and more than 400 other teens from thirty Twin Cities congregations, have committed to spend the night in a church parking lot near downtown Minneapolis to learn about youth homelessness. Together they will learn what life is like for teens on the street.
• How do homeless teens make it from day to day?
• What resources are available to them?
• What can be done to help those who have no place to call home?
For that evening, they will stand in a soup line for dinner and spend the night sleeping outside in cardboard boxes.
They are doing this not only to increase awareness of youth homelessness, but also to raise money to help in efforts to end the problem. Participants been asked to raise enough funds to provide one week’s worth of safe and supportive services for a homeless youth. That’s $140.00 for seven days!
If you are able to help us meet that goal, please see Peter or Eric on Sunday morning, or drop off a check in the church office, payable to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, with “Night on the Street” in the memo line. All donations to A Night on the Street will go to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, a faith-based nonprofit housing organization. The event has corporate sponsors, so every dollar we raise will go directly to serving the youth!
Contribution statements for the first quarter of 2013 (January-March) are printed and available for you to pick up at church. They are on a small table next to the coat room.
Many have not picked up their 2012 year end statements. They are in the office and can be mailed to you upon request.
New Members to Be Received on Sunday, May 19, Day of Pentecost
If you are interested in becoming a member of Mount Olive this spring, please contact Pastor Crippen (email@example.com), or Andrew Andersen, Director of Evangelism (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here are some upcoming events sponsored by TRUST:
• Saturday, April 13, 7 pm, St. John Lutheran Church – The Caritas vocal ensemble will present a concert. Tickets are $15 ($10 for seniors), and a reception follows the concert.
• Saturday, May 11, 8 am-Noon, Bethlehem Lutheran Church – Annual Plant Sale. Order forms will be available so that you can select the perfect plants for your garden.
• Saturday, June 8, Lake Harriet – a walk to support the Parish Nurse Program. All walkers welcome!
• Did you know that TRUST has staff who conduct estate sales? The Trusty Salers conduct sales on weekends.
For information about these and all TRUST-sponsored activities, pick up a “Communicator” at church.
May Day, May Day!
Far from being an emergency, this is a call for you to enjoy watching the May Day Parade. We would like to have a large number of folks from Mount Olive to watch the parade as a group, making our presence in the community known in this way. The plan is to leave from Mount Olive after the Congregation Visioning Meeting (lunch will be served there) on Sunday, May 5, either walking or by car, to view the parade together from between 31st and 33rd on Bloomington Ave. Rides may be arranged for those who need them. If you have a Mount Olive shirt, or other item with the Mount Olive logo, please be sure to wear it. You may also want to bring a lawn chair. Let’s have a good turnout for a fun time, taking part in a neighborhood activity.
Uptown Brass and NLC Gala: Why Choose One When You Can Do Both?
The Uptown Brass Quintet will appear in concert at Mount Olive on April 21, 4:00 p.m. (not April 14, as originally planned!). These brass virtuosos are all members of the Minnesota Orchestra and will present an exciting concert of gorgeous brass sonorities featuring great music ranging from Bach to Piazolla.
Please also note that later that same afternoon the National Lutheran Choir is having their annual gala at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, just a little north of downtown Minneapolis. The National Lutheran Choir is directed by Cantor David Cherwien, and Pr. Crippen sings with the group, while Brenda Bartz serves on the board of directors. The NLC rehearses at Mount Olive each Tuesday, so they’re in a number of ways deeply rooted with Mount Olive. The gala begins at 4:00 p.m. with a social time and silent auction, but the dinner doesn’t actually begin until 6:00 p.m., so it’s possible for people to come to the concert at Mount Olive and then get to the gala later, and some Mount Olive people are already planning on doing both. Information on the event can be found at http://www.nlca.com/season/2012-2013/we-shall-have-song-gala .
Congregational Vision Team update
The creative work of re-modeling a home is crafting a new design out of what is there by looking at the whole house differently.
The Mount Olive Vision Team invites you to look and listen where God has put us in the neighborhood surrounding our church facility. We need your eyes and ears, your heart and prayers that we may be open to understand what God would have us do and be in our life together in this place.
During the next four weeks members of Mount Olive are invited to be Community Observers (to go out in groups of three) and Community Interviewers. Observers will determine a good time to get together to pray and go out onto the streets, into cafes & coffee shops, ride the bus, sit in a hospital lobby or social service center to listen and watch with ears, eyes, and heart. There will be devotions and questions to use as a guide each time you go out. Interviewers will meet with community leaders to hear their observations of the community and its hopes and needs. There will be a form to collect your impressions and comments which the vision team can use to inform our future direction.
This Sunday, April 14, after the second liturgy, there will be a one-hour training for both Community Observers and Community Interviewers. All are welcome. A light lunch will be served. If you cannot attend the training but still want to be involved in this part of the visioning, please let us know and the vision team will work with you. At the training you will select the locations that you/your group will visit. For the Community Observers, if you don’t yet have a group of three partners by the training date, you can speak with others to form a group of three.
We are also looking for members to be part of the prayer team that will support all the vision activities. Contact Diana Hellerman or the church office to be part of this group.
Mount Olive Vision Team
Dining Out For Life
Thursday, April 25 is the 19th annual Dining Out for Life Event, a fundraiser for The Aliveness Project, a community center for individuals and their families living with HIV/AIDS. Funds raised through this annual event directly support their services and programs.
Dining out at participating restaurants is a great way to help with this worthy project, but this year they are also in need of over 500 Volunteer Ambassadors to serve at the participating restaurants. If you are interested in helping in this way, call the Aliveness Project at 612-822-7946, or visit them on the web at www.aliveness.org.