Weekly News: Jan 25-Feb 1

Category: News, Weekly Tags: January 23, 2015 @ 9:30 am


Readings & Hymns

Jonah 3:1–5. 10
Psalm 62:5–12
1 Corinthians 7:29–31
Mark 1:14–20
#796 How Firm a Foundation
#810 O Jesus, I Have Promised
#547 Sent Forth by God’s Blessing

The Practice of the Presence of God: women’s study concludes

This series concludes Jan. 25, 6:30–7:45 pm in the Luther Room, as we explore and discuss The Practice of the Presence of God: The Wisdom and Teachings of Brother Lawrence, a classic of contemplative Christian spirituality. Questions? Contact Nancy Raabe at or 258-3160 ext 16.

Order now! Super Bowl chili

Now’s the time to order! The annual Super Bowl chili sale is on at the welcome desk on Sundays during January. $10/quart, available in mild or spicy, chili con carne or vegetarian. Please pay and pick up your order on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1, after either service. Proceeds support the summer youth mission trip to Appalachia.

Jail ministry winter appeal

During the month of January, the Outreach Group and Madison Area Lutheran Council are sponsoring a collection of writing materials and new or slightly used adult winter coats for use by inmates in need. Donations may be dropped off in the box in the narthex.

St. Olaf choir concert: Friday, Jan. 30

St. Olaf Choir will perform at Luther Memorial on Friday, Jan. 30 at 8 pm. Tickets are available online now at A UW men’s hockey game will affect parking availability and cost at nearby Grainger Hall. Find more parking options on our website at

Food & Fellowship: Saturday, Jan. 31

Food & Fellowship will meet Saturday, Jan. 31 at 6:30 pm at Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant (2229 Deming Way, Middleton). Anyone who likes food,  fellowship or both is welcome! Please RSVP to Bill Braham ( or 238-7995) by Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Annual meeting: Sunday, Feb. 8

The annual meeting of the congregation will be held on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 11:45 am.

Women’s group: Feb. 10 & 12

Nancy Raabe and Phyllis Pleuss will lead a new LM women’s group. This ongoing group will be offered at two different times; the same topic will be presented at both sessions:

  • The second Tuesday of each month, 7–8:30 pm in the Fireside Room, and
  • The second Thursday of each month, 10–11:30 am in the Library.

Upcoming topic: “Stress: Causes & Cures” (Feb. 10 & 12). Light refreshments and transportation as needed will be provided. For questions or to arrange a ride, please contact Nancy Raabe at or 258-3160 ext 16.

Mardi Gras dinner theater: Feb. 15

Save the date! This year’s Mardi Gras dinner theater is Sunday, Feb. 15 at 5:30 pm. A traditional Mardi Gras dinner will feature a performance of the musical Oh Jonah! by LM youth.

Ash Wednesday: Feb. 18

You are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Genesis 3:19
12:15 pm Holy Communion
5:30 pm Campus Communion
7:30 pm Holy Communion

Premarriage session: Saturday, Feb. 21

Planning a wedding? Luther Memorial offers a premarriage session for couples on Saturday, Feb. 21, 9 am–2 pm. Contact the church office to sign up at 258-3160 or

Chazen tour: Sunday, Mar. 8

You are invited for a special tour to view the exhibition, “Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible,” at the Chazen Museum of Art on Sunday, March 8, 12:30–1:30 pm. The St. John’s Bible is a hand-written and illuminated bible commissioned by the monks of St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota. Learn more and sign up at the welcome desk.

2015 offering envelopes in narthex

Please pick up your 2015 offering envelopes. If you have questions, contact the church office at

Pastoral care

When in need of pastoral care, please call or email the church office (258-3160 or In case of emergency or on weekends and evenings, please contact the pastors at home: Pastor Franklin Wilson (204-9268) or Pastor Brad Pohlman (444-7604).

Jan. 25, 2015

Sunday Forum

9:15 am | Great Room

This week: 2014 Year in Review, led by Congregation Council President Bob Uphoff and Pastor Wilson.

Next week: 2015 Proposed Budget, led by Bob Uphoff and Pastor Pohlman.

This week

Sunday, Jan. 25: 3 Epiphany
8 am Holy Communion
9:15 am Sunday Forum (Great Room)
Sunday School (3rd Floor)
10:30 am Holy Communion
4:15 pm Training Choir (3rd Floor)
4:15 pm Children’s Choir (Choir Room)
5 pm Youth Choir (Choir Room)
5 pm Mardi Gras Rehearsal (Great Rm)
6 pm Confirmation (Great Room, Library)
6:30 pm The Practice of the Presence of God: Women’s Study (Luther Room)

Monday, Jan. 26
9 am Morning Prayer (Nave)

Tuesday, Jan. 27
9 am Morning Prayer (Nave)
7 pm Congregation Council (Luther Rm)

Wednesday, Jan. 28
9 am Morning Prayer (Nave)
10:45 am Bible Study (Fireside Room)
12 pm Organ Recital
7:30 pm Master Planning Task Force
(Luther Room)
7:30 pm Bell Choir (Choir Room)

Thursday, Jan. 29
9 am Morning Prayer (Nave)
5:30 pm Recorder Ensemble (Choir Room)
7 pm Adult Choir (Choir Room)

Friday, Jan. 30
9 am Morning Prayer (Nave)
8 pm St. Olaf Choir Concert

Saturday, Jan. 31
6:30 pm Food & Fellowship (Abuelo’s)

Sunday, Feb. 1: 4 Epiphany
8 am Holy Communion
9:15 am Sunday Forum (Great Room)
Sunday School (3rd Floor)
10:30 am Holy Communion
4:15 pm Training Choir (3rd Floor)
4:15 pm Children’s Choir (Choir Room)
5 pm Youth Choir (Choir Room)
5 pm Mardi Gras Rehearsal (Great Rm)
6 pm Confirmation (Great Room,
Luther Room)

Upcoming Events

St. Olaf Choir Concert: Friday, Jan. 30, 8 pm
Food & Fellowship: Saturday, Jan. 31, 6:30 pm

Men’s Group: Tuesday, Feb. 3, 7 pm
Annual Meeting: Sunday, Feb. 8, 11:30 am
Women’s Group (evening): Tuesday, Feb. 10, 7 pm
Women’s Group (morning): Thursday, Feb. 12, 10 am
Mardi Gras Dinner Theater: Sunday, Feb. 15, 5:30 pm
Ash Wednesday Holy Communion: Wednesday, Feb. 18, 12:15 pm & 7:30 pm
Premarriage Session: Saturday, Feb. 21, 9 am
Intro to Psalms: Sunday, Feb. 22, 6:30 pm
Lent Soup Supper, Lectio Divina, Night Prayer: Wednesday, Feb. 25, 6:15 pm

SERMON: 2 Epiphany (Jan 18)

Category: News, Sermon Tags: January 18, 2015 @ 9:00 am

The Rev. Franklin Wilson

The Rev. Franklin Wilson


1 Samuel 3:1-20
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51


“Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
“And [Jesus} said to [Nathaniel], “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”


God speaks and, at length, Samuel listens.  Just imagine.  Your own private audience with God:   God, up close and personal.  God calling you by name.  God sharing top security information with you.  God giving you the inside scoop:  how it’s gonna go down.But, here’s the deal.  You’re a child—in the case of Samuel, a boy maybe ten or twelve years old.  What are you supposed to do with the inside dope?  I mean, it’s a privilege to share the divine confidence, know God’s plans, to see things from the perspective.  But, once you know what God knows, what are you supposed to do with it?  Who should you tell?  And especially if what you’ve just heard tells of God’s wrath inflicted on your mentor, the holy man to whom your parents have entrusted you, the guy who calls you “my son.”  You weren’t told what to do.  You have the plot with no instructions.

On the face of it, God’s behavior is inappropriate.  By even the modest standards of current “boundary theory,” the Lord ought not involve a prepubescent boy in matters beyond the boy’s maturity.  I mean, Samuel was a novice, an entry level acolyte, whose mentor’s sons had badly misbehaved, abused both trust and privilege, and taken advantage of others in their care.  It’s a wonder they hadn’t violated the boy himself.  So now God speaks directly to Samuel, disclosing to him terrible things about his mentor’s impending punishment.  It’s outrageous, inappropriate, even dangerous to expose a boy to such grim news.  The terrified child lay awake all night just thinking about it.  His trusted mentor was persona non grata.  Whom should he tell?  “[He] was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.”

True to human form, Eli wasn’t all bad.  There’s a little bit of the divine image in the worst of us, and a lot of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the best of us.  Though he’d failed in terms of his wicked sons, Eli already knew what was coming from God.  What he may not have guessed, was that the final announcement of God’s judgment would come from Samuel, his little assistant.  As the Prophet Isaiah would have it:  “A little child shall lead them.”  It was true of Samuel; it would become true of David whom Samuel would anoint king when yet a lowly shepherd boy; the prophecy would come to ultimate completion in the Child born of Mary, the One who would confound his astonished parents as he debated learned teachers in the Temple at age 12.

In the morning, when Eli interviewed the fearful boy, he said, “What was it that he told you?  Do not hide it from me.  May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.”  Caught between the Rock and a very hard place, “Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him.”  Even though he was afraid, Samuel obeyed, and his fearful obedience becomes a model for all called into God’s service.  There’s no such thing as a faithful servant of God without fear.  Courage is not fearlessness; it’s obeying God’s command in the midst of fear.  Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or selling something.  Therefore, Luther begins each of his explanations of God’s commandments with the cautionary admonition that we are to “fear and love God.”  There can be no true love of God without fear, and no true fear of God without love.  So Samuel will later express profound fear when called to anoint a new king (which turns out to be the boy, David); even as Jesus will sweat blood on the eve of his crucifixion and pray, “Father, let this cup pass from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Even in the wayward exercise of his priestly office, Eli knows God will be God; he and his family must suffer the just consequences of sin, and God’s righteous wrath:  “It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him.”  God seeks a trustworthy prophet and will have one even if it means the destruction of Eli and his house; even if it means terror in the heart of a little boy.  The result is, at least for a time, that “…all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.”

This portion of Samuel’s story begins with a chilling statement:  “The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.”  The writer cautions us:  The LORD operates in ways beyond our understanding; God reveals his word when, where, and to whom he pleases.  God does not operate according to our standards; but we are called to operate according to God’s, even when we are afraid and in the dark.  This is the realm of faith: not clarity of sight, but fearful uncertainty punctuated by rare manifestations of God’s will contrary to our own.

Today’s Gospel manifests a similar dynamic.  Jesus found Philip, and Philip in turn found Nathaniel.  But then, true to human form, Philip reverses the direction of God’s work saying, “We have found him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.”  But they did not find Jesus; Jesus found them, even has he has found and claimed us.  The entire direction of the Good News is from God to us, and not the other way round.

Nathaniel’s question (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”) exhibits our inclination to doubt God’s persistent movement among the little, the despised, the weak and the dead.  We seek the preeminent; God chooses the despised.  We seek novelty and creativity.  God chooses obedience, imitation, the lowly and poor—an obscure woman, an unmarried virgin, a lowly child, a crucified Jew.  We extol independence.  God prizes dependence and obedience shot through with fear.   On this weekend, the ministry of Martin Luther King Jr. may serve as an example.

Jesus asks, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? …. You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  Do not look for God merely in power; look for him nailed to a cross.  There, in that pathetic form, the angels of God ascend and descend on the Son of Man.  “It is the Lord; he will do as seems good to him.” In faith, we are right to fear and love God.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday Forum “Kenya Mission”: Feb 8

Category: News Tags: January 17, 2015 @ 9:00 am

Susan Ferson and Leland Albright

Missionaries in Africa

Sunday, Feb 8

9:15 am, Great Room

Pediatric neurosurgeon Leland Albright and his wife, neurosurgical pediatric nurse practitioner Susan Ferson, will discuss their many years of work at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya.

Learn more about Leland and Susan’s work on their blog:

Annual meeting: Feb 8

Category: News Tags: January 16, 2015 @ 9:00 am


Abundant life: Take part!

107th Annual Meeting
Sunday, Feb. 8
11:45 am | Great Room

All are invited to the annual meeting after the 10:30 service. Celebrate the life of our congregation in 2014 and look ahead to the goals of our ministry of belonging in 2015!  The 2014 Annual Report will be available online, at the welcome desk and at the annual meeting.

Food and refreshments will be provided.

Women’s Group: Feb 10 & 12

Category: News Tags: January 15, 2015 @ 9:00 am

The Women’s Group is a monthly gathering for women of all ages to learn together and to get to know each other in a climate that is welcoming and open. Two sessions are offered each month:

  • The second Tuesday of each month, 7–8:30 pm in the Fireside Room, and
  • The second Thursday of each month, 10–11:30 am in the Library.

The same topic will be presented at both sessions each month. Upcoming topic: “Stress: Causes & Cures” (Feb. 10 & 12). Light refreshments and transportation as needed will be provided. For questions or to arrange a ride, please contact Nancy Raabe at or 258-3160 ext. 16.

Chili sale for youth mission trip

Category: News Tags: January 7, 2015 @ 9:00 am

Now’s the time to order! The annual Super Bowl chili sale is on at the welcome desk on Sundays during January.  $10/quart, available in mild or spicy chili con carne and vegetarian. Orders may be picked up on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1, after each service and the annual meeting.  The sale supports the Appalachia Service Project summer youth mission trip to West Virginia.

Order today!

  • Place your order at the welcome desk,
  • Email your order to Mary Powell at or
  • Contact the church office at (608) 258-3160 or Please specify mild or spicy, with meat or vegetarian.

Young families brunch: Jan 24

Category: News Tags: January 4, 2015 @ 9:00 am

Luther Memorial Church - Young Families BrunchCome for a morning of conversation and play on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 9:30 am in the Great Room. We’ll enjoy brunch, then let the children play with toys from the preschool. Please bring an egg dish, fruit, breakfast pastry or juice to share. Learn more at the welcome desk or contact Kirsten Heggeseth (

Game night: Jan 24

Category: News Tags: January 2, 2015 @ 9:00 am

game-2014-1 game-2014-2 game-2014-3

Gather in the Great Room for another evening of fun for all ages on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 6:30 pm. Bring your favorite games and a snack to share!

How much fun is Game Night at Luther Memorial? See for yourself!

Dinner with friends! Sign up for Breadbreakers

Category: News Tags: December 9, 2014 @ 9:00 am

Breadbreakers is one of the best ways to get connected at Luther Memorial. Small groups (6 to 10 people) eat together 2–3 times, after which the groups are shuffled and the fun starts again. Each group decides where to meet and when. Families, singles and couples of all ages are welcome! New groups start in January. Sign up at the welcome desk or contact Kirsten Heggeseth, coordinator, to learn more: or (608) 616-0772.

Greening of the nave: Dec 21

Category: News Tags: December 6, 2014 @ 9:00 am

Luther Memorial Church Madison Wisconsin - ChristmasJoin in the fun tradition of hanging Christmas greenery in the nave on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 4:15 pm. Many hands are needed to set up trees, lights, wreaths and greens. Cider and cookies will be provided. Sign up at the welcome desk.