Accent on Worship
“As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Mark 6:34
The days of Jesus’ ministry in which we are now moving in our Gospels are scenes of chaos. News of his healings and his teaching is getting around, and everywhere he goes, crowds gather, press, ask, demand. Jesus’ compassion for these crowds, as we heard in Mark’s Gospel a couple weeks ago, is remarkable. They must have drained him daily, which is why he also had a rhythm of withdrawing to quiet places. Yet even there, they find him.
This brings us to our great sequence of these five weeks, starting last Sunday. Having tried to get away, Jesus once more is confronted by great crowds, and now they’re hungry. He takes a few loaves and a couple of fish from a boy’s lunch, and feeds 5,000 people. At the end of that day, though, they still want more of Jesus. They want to make him king, someone who can give them what they need. These next weeks, John tells of the aftermath of this for Jesus and for the crowds.
The other week I was reminded how much I don’t like crowds. 30,000 young Christians from the ELCA gathering together in Detroit sounds beautiful unless you really don’t like being jostled and pushed and shoved by more people than you can imagine trying to get to the exact place you are trying to get. Some are cheerful, some are cranky, some are loud and energetic, some are pushy. All are hot and sweaty and overwhelming. I see this story of Jesus and know I would have hated to be shoved around in that crowd. I’d be tempted to go home, even if I was hungry.
But there’s the problem. We really don’t have an option to go home. We long for God’s care and love and grace and we don’t know how we will live without it. We long to be filled by God, and we long for the world to be filled by God. We don’t know where else we would go for that. The jostling, painful, annoying, frustrating needs of our fellow travelers in this world are overwhelming to us, and there are days we wish we were the only ones coming to Jesus. We don’t know how we can make a difference to the seemingly endless needs of our city, our country, our world, any more than the disciples knew how to feed 5,000 with a sack lunch.
Thank God for Jesus’ compassion. In our frustration and concern, in our longing and desire for God, Jesus looks at us not as sheep without a shepherd. He looks at us as our Shepherd, the one who loves us enough to die for us, and whose abundance is more than enough for the whole world.
This is the One whom we gather to meet this Sunday, the One whose table is sufficient for all, whose forgiveness is denied to no one, the One who is the Bread that satisfies the longing of the world. Best of all, this is the One who will show us, even as he feeds us, how we will be a part of sharing that abundance and outpouring with the rest of this jostling, frustrating, suffering, and longing world.
August 2, 2015: 10th Sunday after Pentecost, 18 B
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15
August 9, 2015: 11th Sunday after Pentecost, 19 B
1 Kings 19:4-8
John 6:35, 41-51
So glad and grateful
As I settle into work after sabbatical I want to take a moment to say how glad I am to be with you again, my sisters and brothers. I have missed you more than I can say, but I am also glad for this time apart. It was good for me to take a mental, spiritual, and physical break from my time among you, and now I feel energized and eager to take up your call once again. I expect that the time apart was also good for you!
I’ll be reflecting on my sabbatical in an Adult Forum on September 13, so I won’t go into that here. But I want to thank you from the depths of my heart for your generosity and grace in giving me this sabbatical rest, and for your prayers and love during that time. Thanks to the Rev. Robert Hausman for his care of this congregation in my absence, and all the staff for the extra work a sabbatical brings them, and to all of you for being supportive of this.
I am blessed to be your pastor, and very happy to return to that role.
God’s blessings and peace,
Let’s Talk About Racism
Friday, August 7, 6-9 pm
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has invited us into conversation about racism. This raises many questions . . . What is racism? Why do we need to talk about it? What can we do? Join us for a meal and facilitated conversation. All questions are encouraged. Articles and resources are available for those wishing to read about this topic. Contact Vicar McLaughlin for details.
Mount Olive to Host National Night Out Gathering
Mount Olive will host a National Night Out event in our parking lot on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The Open Space Committee (a part of Neighborhood Ministries) is organizing the event. National Night Out is a program aimed at bringing neighbors and neighborhoods together so they can get to know each other and become closer.
If you and your family would like to join friends from Mount Olive on August 4, you are more than welcome. We are a part of this neighborhood and we hope events like this will help us become closer and build bonds with those who live around our church.
If you can join us that evening please:
1. Let Anna Kingman know you are coming and how many to expect.
2. Bring snacks or desserts to share.
3. Bring your own lawn chairs.
Water and beverages will be provided. See you on August 4!!
Come and Sing!
We’re forming a Women’s Ensemble to sing for Eucharist on Sunday, August 9.
Any sopranos and altos who would like to sing together for a day are invited! There will be one rehearsal on Wednesday, August 5, from 7:00-8:00 (or so). Contact Cantor Cherwien for more information, or simply come.
We’re also forming a Men’s Ensemble to sing for Eucharist on Sunday, August 16.
Any tenors and basses who would like to join for one day, join us on August 16. There will be one rehearsal, on Saturday morning, August 15 from 10:30 to 11:30. Contact Cantor Cherwien for more information, or simply come.
In addition to the prayer requests listed in The Olive Branch and the Sunday bulletin, Mount Olive’s Prayer Chain also receives prayer requests. All requests are kept confidential. If you would like to request prayer for yourself or someone else, please call the church office or Naomi Peterson, the Prayer Chain contact leader (612-824-2228).
A Note From Our Presiding Bishop
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The hard but undeniable fact of deeply embedded racism in American society has come to the fore in painful ways this past year through high-profile occurrences of racial discrimination, hatred and violence – including racially motivated killings. As Lutheran Christians, what should be our response and witness? As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, how are we called to confront the sin of racism?
We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act. As one important step in this process, I invite you to join me and William B. Horne II, an ELCA lay leader and member of the ELCA Church Council, for a live webcast conversation on the complexity and implications of racism on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 8 p.m. (CDT).
Through our church’s social statement – “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture” – the ELCA collectively has expressed its calling to confront racism and advocate for justice and fairness for all people. You can read this social statement at (http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/race_ethnicity_culture_statement.pdf ). In addition, I have made several public statements on behalf of the church recently on this subject. Those statements are available at http://www.elca.org/Resources/Presiding-Bishop-Messages.
God’s intention for all humanity is that we see the intrinsic worth, dignity and value of all people. Racism undermines the promise of community and fractures authentic relationships with one another. As Christians, though, we live in the conviction that the church has been gathered together in the joyful freedom of the reign of God announced by and embodied in Jesus. That reign has not come in its fullness, but the message of God’s “yes” to the world breaks down all dividing walls as we live into that promise.
I urge you to deepen your involvement in and commitment to this important work to which we all are called. I believe our live webcast on this topic on Aug. 6 is one useful way for us to pursue this together, and I hope you will view and take part in it.
You may read more about this webcast at www.ELCA.org/webcast, where a link to the live webcast will be embedded. A live stream also will be available at www.Facebook.com/Lutherans. Twitter hashtag is #ELCAConfrontRacism. If you would like to submit a question to be considered during the live webcast, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name and your congregation’s name, city and state.
Join me for this important conversation.
Your Sister in Christ,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
News From the Neighborhood
Coffee and a Side of Diapers!
The August 9 coffee hour will be hosted downstairs in the Diaper Depot area/Youth Room to invite the congregation to learn more about this very valuable program and its benefits for our neighborhood.
The freewill offering could be a pack of diapers if you feel so inclined.
Character is “the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person or thing” according to the Webster dictionary. The collection of what we say, how we act, the way we treat people accumulates over time. I imagine it like rings in a tree – we can hardly perceive it growing, but right there inside are rings of evidence in growth, strain, abundance, fire, and sunshine.
During our Summer ACTS program, we took time to discuss what building a character means, and what kind of character we want for ourselves. In the two different groups, they came up with strikingly identical lists of character traits; traits such as kindness, responsibility, respect, honesty, hard-working. But these are more than words, they are actions. They are rings around each day where we speak kindly, we display our responsibility, and show respect for others. As Henry David Thoreau said, “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.”
It was wonderful to watch a group of young people on their journey as they slowly forge themselves a character even over the course of 4 weeks. It also caused me to reflect on my own self and evaluate where I had maybe been dreaming myself into something rather than hammering it in to reality. Take a moment in your day and ponder the words of Thoreau, or Romans 5:3-5, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
• Open Streets: Lake Street on Sunday, Aug. 2, 11am – 5pm. Walk, bike, and participate along Lake Street to promote healthy living, local businesses, sustainable transportation, and civic pride in Minneapolis.
• Do-It-Green Clothing Swap, Saturday, Aug. 8, 9am – 3pm, in the Mount Olive Undercroft. Exchange your clothes for free! Bring in all the items that are no longer right for you and trade them in for new ones. This is a great opportunity to update your wardrobe without spending a penny! All styles, sizes, and types of clothes, shoes, and accessories are welcome. Any leftover items will be donated to charity. We will also have some Do It Green! Minnesota items for sale, including tote bags, utensil sets, and green living books. Open to the public!
Attention Worship Assistants!
The Servant Schedule for the 4th quarter of 2015 (October- December) will be published at the beginning of September 2015.
The deadline for submitting requests to me is August 14, 2015. Please email your requests to email@example.com.
– Peggy Hoeft
A Note from Former Vicar Emily Beckering
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
I am delighted to share with you that St. Paul Lutheran Church in Reading, Ohio, has called me as their pastor. I am thankful and eager to begin serving this congregation!
As I prepare for this future ministry, I am especially thankful for your ministry, and for the many ways that you nurtured me as a disciple of Christ and as a pastoral leader during my time as vicar at Mount Olive.
You are a people that take very seriously your baptismal call to witness and to embody Christ for one another and the world; you did this for me time and time again, for God continually met me through you all. You also have a deep commitment to your vicars and to their preparation as a ministry to the whole church. Your feedback cultivated my skills as a teacher and preacher. During liturgies, you invited me to experience the wonder and mystery of God’s faithful presence in worship. You modeled for me what community can truly be when a congregation loves one another. Through all of this, you confirmed my call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and I shall forever be grateful to God for the gift God has given me in you.
I will be ordained at Mount Olive on Thursday, August 6, and would be overjoyed to worship with you. Thank you for challenging me, for extending such support and care, and for your partnership in the Gospel.
All are invited to the Service of Ordination at Mount Olive on Thursday, August 6, 2015, at 7:00 pm. Clergy are invited to vest. All are invited to wear red.
Called to Care: A Forum for Those Touched by Memory Loss
Saturday, August 1, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Learn about supportive resources within our community and be inspired by stories of folks who have lived this journey. Hear presentations by speakers from MN Council of Churches Dementia Friendly Congregations Program, Lyngblomsten’s The Gathering, Mount Olivet Day Services, and Normandale Center for Healing and Wholeness.
This forum is free for caregivers and care receivers; $10 for everyone else.
Brochures are available on the ledge outside the church office, and can be downloaded from www.trustinc.org. Questions? Contact Nancy Biele at 612-827-6159 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transitions Support Group to Meet Wednesday, August 5
All are welcome to visit the Transitions Support Group meetings if you’ve been hoping to find new ideas or encouragement to meet the challenges or uncertainties that are before you. This is an opportunity to share in fellowship, prayer, and discussion with others in the Mount Olive community.
The next session meets on Wednesday, August 5, from 6- 7 pm, at Mount Olive in the lower level Youth Room. It will be facilitated by Amy Cotter and Cathy Bosworth.
If you have questions, please contact Cathy at 612-708-1144 or email@example.com.