Heightened anxiety, fear over being rejected by God, concern over the seeming over-reaction and punishment: the parables of Matthew 25 we hear in these three weeks stir up a lot of discomfort in us. So often I’ll hear, “I know we are in God’s grace, but I can’t get around these parables and the judgment that I hear.”
Why get around these parables? Look at what Jesus asks: be prepared for God’s justice by working in the world for God; use our God-given talents and gifts to make a difference; take care of all in need, who are dear to our Lord, who are our Lord. What’s frightening about any of that?
We’ve developed a bad habit over the millennia to think “law bad, Gospel good.” To pit judgment against grace, and see God’s law as a threat because we’ll be judged for not being able to do an impossible task. How, then, do we understand Psalm 119, a complex, long, beautiful hymn delighting in God’s law? It doesn’t stand alone; there is a strong chord in Scripture celebrating God’s law as gift, life.
We need to look at Jesus differently. He didn’t think God’s law impossible for us; he taught a deeper interpretation of it grounded in love, even claimed that with God’s help the impossible can be done. In these parables he gives us a path to walk that leads to a grace-filled, wonderful world. Look at the three tasks: imagine if we all lived them. Where’s the threat in that?
If we’re walking on a frozen lake, with a guide that knows the thick ice, we can listen and cross safely. Or we can stick to our own way and risk going through the ice. God’s law is the safe path, to life and home and a warm fire.
God’s grace pulls us up out of the water when we fall through the thin ice, sets us on the good path again. The question is, will we trust God knows the better way? That is, is God’s law a threat, or are we fighting unnecessarily against what is good for us, because it wasn’t our idea, our plan, our path?
November 16, 2014: 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Lect. 33 A
Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
I Thessalonians 5:1-11
November 23, 2014: Christ the King
Ezekiel 3:11-16, 20-24
This Sunday’s Adult Forum
“Introduction to the Gospel of Mark,” part 2 of a 3-part series presented by Pastor Crippen.
Bring Your Pledge Card
All Mount Olive households should now have received the Stewardship Committee’s letter and a pledge card. If possible, and if you haven’t already turned yours in, bring your completed card this Sunday, November 16. Additional cards will be available in the narthex—or ask an usher.
Although our letter said we’d be bringing our pledge cards to the chancel, we’ll instead put them in the plates passed during the offering—both to accommodate people who have mobility challenges and to respect some members who believe pledges should be presented in the same way as our gifts throughout the year.
Pledges are, of course, welcome anytime, but the committee hopes that most will be received by Sunday, November 30. After this coming Sunday, put them in the box in the narthex or leave them in the office.
To repeat the last line in the committee’s letter: “May we give humbly and joyfully, and from grateful and generous hearts!”
– Donn McLellan
Director of Stewardship
Praying for Others: Strands of Hope Necklace-Making Event
If you have been interested in the prayer shawl ministry but are not a knitter, this Strands of Hope necklace-making event might be a wonderful alternative for you. Using a kit of their color choice, participants will make a necklace to give to a person as a gift of encouragement, hope, or a heart to heart connection. As we add the beads to the strand we will intentionally pray for that person. Participants also make it for themselves to wear in memory of a dear one or in celebration of a special life event. If you don’t have a person in mind but would like to participate, sign up and we’ll help find a member of the church or community to receive your necklace. Cost is $14.
The event will be on November 21, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Mount Olive. Instructor and refreshments provided. No jewelry making experience necessary. RSVP to Julie Manuel by November 18 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads
For their meeting on December 13, the Book Discussion group will read Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. For the meeting on January 17, (postponed one week because of the Conference on Liturgy) they will read, The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield.
The Book of Esther: Thursday Evening Bible Study Continues
The second Thursday Bible study series of this year began on November 6, and runs for six weeks in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00-7:30 pm. (We will skip Thanksgiving).
Vicar McLaughlin is leading a study on the Book of Esther, exploring the historical context and many issues raised in this book, including justice, violence, power and privilege, the role of women, the presence of God, and what it means to be called “for such a time as this.”
As We Approach the Holiday Season …
Here are some things to keep in mind – ways we can all participate in this season of giving:
• Give an offering to help fund the remainder of this year’s Diaper Depot and crisis budget – this is a beautiful and necessary way to directly help people with the burden of ongoing difficulty.
• Send a check or non-expired, non-perishable food or hygiene items to a local food shelf or bring them to our donation box in the coat room at church and they will get to the people who need them most.
• Keep praying, not only for those who struggle, but also for those who are helping others through their hardship and with gratitude for the generosity and compassion that is happening daily in our community.
• Be ready to help! Opportuni-ties abound and we will be cal-ling on YOU, so look for ways to be active, engaged, and present in our community.
A Note To All Ushers
As we finish our 4th quarter service, we’ll be ramping back up into yet another quarter which will include several noon and evening services through the end of March and through Holy Week.
Again this year, we will need dedicated folks who can step up and make an effort to be at each of their assigned services. In the midst of our normal busy schedules, it’s understandable that it is difficult to squeeze these extra services in. However, it might be worth considering that this is just part of the contemplative church seasons of winter and that perhaps we could sacrifice a little more time out of those schedules to keep the church central in our lives.
If you are absolutely unable to serve on an assigned day, please secure a substitute prior to the service you are scheduled and let Cha know of the schedule change so that it can be accurately reflected in the bulletin.
Consider Becoming Part of the Usher Corps!
Does it seem that you always see the same faces performing the usher duties at Mount Olive week after week? You’re not imagining things. We have a central corps of only 24 Ushers, and of these, only 8 serve at the 8 am liturgy.
Many of our current Ushers are frequent travelers, are already serving at the altar, are working on weekdays, or have regrettably had to retire from the corps. We are in great need of a few new helping hands! Might that be you?! If you’re a newer member and looking to become involved and to meet new people, or if you’ve just always considered helping out with this important task, please let me or anyone in the church office know and we’ll have you trained and ushering easily by the 2nd quarter of 2015.
We are especially looking for a couple of folks who prefer starting their day early and helping out at the 8 am service.
– Brian Jacobs, Usher Coordinator
The Mount Olive Altar Guild is looking for some additional people to help with cleaning the chancel in preparation for the Advent and Christmas season.
The cleaning will take place on Saturday, November 22 between the hours of 9 am and noon. If you are interested in helping, please contact Steve Pranschke at 612-803-0915 or email@example.com.
As the old saying goes, “Many hands make for light work”. Please consider being a set of those
– Steve Pranschke
Advent Procession Service
Sunday, November 30, 4:00 pm
As the year turns toward its darkest point, the Church also gathers in hope for the coming of the Light of the world.
In this Advent service of prayer and Word, song, and incense, Mount Olive’s Cantorei lead worshippers into this season of preparation and anticipation. Come, and wait, and see.
Gloves and Such
Cold weather has arrived in Minnesota, and you can help keep precious hands and ears and bodies warm. Please bring new or gently used (and clean) hats, gloves, and scarves to the collection box outside the upstairs kitchen. There is also a great need for winter coats before it gets unbearable. The nearest Coats for Kids drop-off is at: Salvation Army, 1604 East Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 55407 (612-721-1513) or any Kowalski’s or Cub Food Store.
You may also bring coats to church and drop them off in the corner near the grocery cart for food donations. Thank you.
Vocal Master Class with Vern Sutton to be Held at Mount Olive
Singers from Twin City Voice Academy, Gary Wilson, Artistic Director, will present a Master Class with Vern Sutton at Mount Olive at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 23, 2014. Three of the singers have sung for us at liturgy several times in the past few months. Most of us know Vern Sutton as the great singer/actor from Minneapolis who has entertained and inspired many people for many years. Several years ago, Sir Tyrone Guthrie referred to Vern as the “finest musical theater actor on the American Theater stage.”
Several genres of music will be performed and it will be an enjoyable musical event for all! This event is free and open to the public.
‘Tis (Almost) the Season – to Shop the Art Shoppe
Our mailboxes, newspapers, and online activities are full of gift ideas, so we are already thinking of things to put under the tree! How about something truly unique?
The Art Shoppe has the most unusual and diverse selection of gifts which will delight recipients, all made by local artists. Go to the Midtown Global Market and find the Art Shoppe. Look, buy, and support the artists!
Bowing to the Holy: Reverent Worship and Justice in an Irreverent Age
Saturday, November 22, 2014
9:00 am 4:30 pm
Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, St. Paul, MN
This one-day ecumenical conference celebrates the organic connection between liturgical worship and communal justice. It is sponsored by Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (St. Paul) and her three daughter churches: Lutheran Church of the Resurrection (Roseville), Pilgrim Lutheran (St. Paul), and Mount Olive Lutheran (Minneapolis).
The keynote speaker will be The Right Reverend Melissa Skelton, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia. For full information and to download the brochure, visit http://www.redeemerstpaul.org/PDF/tfBowingtotheHoly.pdf
Advent Luncheon for Seniors to be Held Wednesday, December 3
Attention seniors! Be on the lookout for your invitation to the annual Advent Luncheon for seniors. They are in the mail!
If you are age 65 or older and do not receive an invitation, you’re invited, too! (It just means we don’t have your birth date.) Please call the church office and we will add you to the list of our senior members, and to the list of those who plan to come.
Every Church A Peace Church November Event
The next regular bimonthly meeting (NOT a potluck supper) will be on Monday, November 17, starting at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Landmark Center in St. Paul (75 W. Fifth Street, near Rice Park and the Ordway Theater. This event will be a joint meeting with the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers’ 19th annual celebration.
The speaker will be Paul K. Chappell, Peace Leadership Director, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His presentation is entitled, “Is World Peace Possible: The Anatomy of War and Peace.”
Space for this event may be limited so reservations are recommended, and a $10 donation is suggested. For more information, please contact Mary Faulkner at: 612-823-5524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanksgiving Day Eucharist
Thursday, Nov. 27, 10:00 a.m.
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 will be given to Sabbathani Community Center and Community Emergency Services.
Home Care Holiday Kits for Our Savior’s Housing
Many residents of Our Savior’s Shelter have moved into the permanent Supportive Housing Program. These individuals have struggled with homelessness for years and are now finally settled into their very own apartment, which they are able to maintain with the support of Our Saviour’s Housing Case Management. Holiday Home Care Baskets are a wonderful gift to help ease their budgets and maintain a beautiful and clean home of their own. Suggested items include:
-glass cleaner -toilet cleaner
-all-purpose cleaner -disinfectant wipes
-micro-fiber cloths -laundry soap
-sponges -fabric softener
-dish soap -bleach
-bathroom tissue -paper towels
You may also add additional personal and gift items such as socks, gift cards to Rainbow, Target, or Cub Foods, Metro Transit cards, personal hygiene items, candy, cookies, cocoa or snack mix, hats, gloves, slippers, etc. Bring these items to church in a laundry basket or reusable shopping bag, or just bring them to church in a bag or a box and we will prepare baskets with items collected.
Our Saviour’s currently has ninety residents in this program and would happily accept any number of baskets the people of Mount Olive are able to put together!
In order to deliver the baskets to each resident in time for the holidays, we are asking that all baskets be delivered to Mount Olive by Sunday, December 14. You can leave them in the coat room.