The first reading for this Sunday’s lectionary took me to a topic which was quite prominent both at our Conference on Liturgy January 11, and the workshop I led this past weekend for the American Guild of Organists in Tucson, Arizona. Here in Minneapolis, the topic was the psalter – and the issue of “memory” came up often. Rather than change translations we use too often, we need to recognize the value of memorizing the psalms so that we have these songs when we need them. Staying with the same translations aids this process.
The topic this past weekend in Arizona was the “future of the church.” They had many more in attendance than they expected. This is because folks are worried about the future of the church. (Thank goodness it wasn’t only one age demographic present). One thing was clear there: people who had been deeply a part of the church are feeling pushed out! Memory played a huge part of that discussion as well, perhaps in a slightly different way.
Sunday’s reading from Isaiah (Is. 9:1-4) took me there again because I thought of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s. I can’t imagine a darkness as extreme as this. People appear to become bodies void of a soul. Yet I’ve heard story after story about when hymns are sung to an Alzheimer’s patient, they perk up, and perhaps even sing along. Don Saliers (our main speaker at the Conference on Liturgy this year) thought song-memory, including psalms, is one of the last things the mind loses. It can perhaps be through hymns and psalms (another form of song) that we can remember Christ as our light, even in this darkness.
This can be instructive to us in a number of ways. We can/should perhaps work harder at memorizing what we can while we can, and scrutinize that which we do commit to memory. That is why I don’t encourage jumping from translation to translation (even if a newer one is good!) unless we’re confident the new one will be around long enough for us to go through the work of learning its new version. “Praise to the Lord” is printed with two translations: ELW 858 (the former) and 859 (a new inclusive language version). We sing 858 to nurture that as memory, because we should know that 859 is going to stick around before going through the work of revising our memory.
This is not to say that inclusive language is not important. There is an imbalance in our hymnic imagery of God. We have plenty of God/Father and God/King hymns – we need other images represented in scripture which are equally helpful to create a better balance.
Memory is something we need to take seriously. When the church – either churchwide or local congregation – denies its memory, its past, its journey along with the contributions of each era and place, it becomes a church of Alzheimer’s. A body without soul.
It is important to “remember the future” (as Susan put it in hymn 548, Rise, O Church). We need to keep the future connected – keep its “membership”; it’s connection to its past. We are a reforming church, and reforming children of God through baptism, not something without a past in our path, not something we’ve completely reinvented from scratch. And as individual souls of God, we need to remember from whom we get light – in spite of darknesses. It turns out darkness is not something to fear. Let the songs help us remember!
– Cantor David Cherwien
This Week in Adult Education
January 26: Cantor Cherwien will offer a report on his recent sabbatical
Stories for the Journey: Thursday Evening Bible Study
The Thursday evening Bible study meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. continues this week. Pr. Crippen is leading a series on the parables of Jesus and how they provide us a vision of God’s reign. As with all these Thursday series, there will be a light supper when we begin. The series runs through February 20.
Bible Study at Becketwood
Vicar Emily Beckering will offer a second run of the six- week Bible study on human suffering at Becketwood Cooperative on five Tuesday afternoons (January 7 through February 4) from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm. This study examines the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering. The meeting room at Becketwood changes each week, so announcements will be made at the study regarding the location of the following week. All are welcome!
Because you welcomed us, celebrated with us, loved and encouraged us, we, Marty Hamlin and Cathy Bosworth, invite you to join us as we exchange our marriage vows.
The service will take place here at Mount Olive this Saturday, January 25, at 3:00 p.m. A reception follows immediately in the Undercroft.
Please, no gifts.
Neighborhood Ministry Position News
As previously announced, Mount Olive will hire an interim person to be the Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator from the time of Donna’s departure in March until a permanent replacement is hired in the fall. A position description for this interim position is being finalized and will be ready for distribution next week. If you are interested in the position or know of someone who would be interested, please contact the church office ASAP. Cha will take names and contact information, including email if possible, and then send out the position details next week. This is work that would be eligible for job-sharing. For any questions, contact Lisa Nordeen.
2013 Contribution Statements
Year-end contribution statements for 2013 were mailed to all contributors last week. If you have not received your statement, please contact the church office and another will be sent or emailed to you.
Book Discussion Group
For its meeting on February 8, the Book Discussion group will read and discuss The Bell, by Iris Murdoch.
Annual “Taste of” Festival to Be Held February 9
Mark your calendar for Sunday, February 9! This year’s “Taste of” will take us to New Orleans for a Mardi Gras celebration for Lutheran Volunteer Corps. In places like New Orleans, Mardi Gras is celebrated over the weeks ahead of “Fat Tuesday.” So let’s kick off Mardi Gras right with gumbo, jambalaya, slaw, dirty rice, and other fare. (And this event will be a good bookend for the Fat Tuesday pancake dinner, planned with our youth.)
We will celebrate and learn about the work of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC), one of the supported missions of Mount Olive through our congregational giving. Each year, the Lutheran Volunteer Corps provides opportunities for young adults and others to complete a year of full-time service work at select nonprofits in cities across the country, including Minneapolis and St. Paul. During their year of service, participants live in community and have opportunities to reflect on their commitments, their spiritual journeys, and the ways they hope to put their values into practice.
We will be joined during the adult forum by the Regional Director of LVC, the Development Director, and several current and past volunteers. Then after the second service, head downstairs for the Mardi Gras meal.
The Missions Committee is still looking for people to cook an item and bring it to church for the meal on Sunday, February 9, and we are still looking for help in decorating and setting up the day before “Taste of.” If you can help, please e-mail Paul Schadewald, at email@example.com
All are welcome at “Taste of Mardi Gras.” Bring friends!
Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Festival Worship
The RIC Team of Reconciling Works-Lutherans Concerned/Twin Cities invites all people to join with members of RIC churches across the metro area for our ninth annual Metro Area Festival worship on Saturday, January 25, 2014, 4:30 p.m. at Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church, 5011 31st Ave S., Minneapolis. The Rev. Jen Nagel will preach.
The RIC program rosters Lutheran congregations that welcome and affirm LGBT persons in their full sacred worth. Both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Synods are RIC Synods along with dozens of RIC worshiping communities. Please join us in this Word and Sacrament celebration of the welcome we extend to the whole people of God. A light supper will follow the service. All are welcome!
National Lutheran Choir to Host City-Wide Hymn Festival: “Gather”
On Sunday February 23, at 4:00 p.m., the singers of the National Lutheran Choir will join forces with hundreds of Twin Cities’ church choir members for a City-Wide Hymn Festival to be held at Central Lutheran Church (333 S. 12th St., Minneapolis). Mark Sedio, Cantor at Central Lutheran, is set to conduct the mass choir. David Cherwien and the NLC will perform with the help of the mighty Casavant organ.
Tickets for this event are $25/adults; $23/Seniors; and $20/Students, and can be obtained by calling the NLC office at 612-722-2301, or by visiting them on the web: www.nlca.com.
A Note of Thanks from TRUST
Thanks to the following volunteers from Mount Olive who delivered Meals on Wheels for TRUST during the fourth quarter of 2013: Gary Flatgard, Art Halbardier, Elaine Halbardier, Bob Lee, Connie Olson, and Rod Olson.
All of us at TRUST are grateful for their dedicated service.