"I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121

During times of crisis, Christians find hope, solace, comfort, and courage in their faith. Mount Olivet will provide messages, reflections, and words of hope and courage as long as we are facing this pandemic. We are in this together, and we will get through this together. For we are not alone, but accompanied always by Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior, the one whom even death could not defeat.

A Musical Devotion - April 3

Mount Olivet Cathedral Choir singing My Hiding Place

Today’s musical devotion is a favorite anthem of our Cathedral Choir. Composed by Tom Fettke, My Hiding Place combines the central elements of two Psalms. The Book of Psalms has often been called “the hymnbook of ancient Israel,” as many of the Psalms were regularly used in congregational worship. In this piece, the composer was inspired by Psalm 32:7, which reads “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance,” and Psalm 91, which begins, “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust’” (v.1-2).

The anthem revolves around the promise of God’s presence and protection, and so it’s not hard to understand why it might be a favorite of our high school choir, when so much in their lives – from friend groups to future plans – can feel like it’s changing every day. Given our present circumstances, this song may speak powerfully to all of us, and I hope that as you listen you find yourself anchored once again in God’s promise to be with us and for us forever.

One last note: our Cathedral Choir, composed of Mount Olivet youth in 9th through 12th grades, rehearses two and a half hours a week throughout the academic year and sings at two services at our Minneapolis Campus and one service at our West Campus each Sunday. Often involved in other fellowship and service projects at Mount Olivet, our Cathedral Choir members lift all of our spirits as they process into worship in their blue robes, and it’s a pleasure to hear them once again today offering this song of hope and promise.

Midweek Lenten Service - April 1

Abide with me in relationships – Pastor Hammersten

The Gospel of John was written “so that we may come to believe.” (John 20:31) On this final Wednesday in Lent, we continue to more specifically and personally explore how Christ abides with us, based on the previous Sunday’s gospel readings. When in pain, when lost, when grieving, when serving, in our relationships, where does Christ abide? How do we abide in Him?

A Devotion From Your Senior Pastor - March 30

We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

I’ll be honest, the idea of “boasting in our sufferings” does not come easily to me. Like most of us, I tend not simply to avoid suffering but, when I am suffering or even struggling, for that matter, I prefer to hide it. I suspect there are a number of reasons for that – not wanting to burden others (a good Midwestern value!), not wanting to admit even to myself that I’m struggling, not wanting to appear weak in a culture that defines strength in terms of power rather than vulnerability or suffering. Yes, lots of reasons.

But the Apostle Paul doesn’t seem to share any of them! Rather, he believes that suffering is part and parcel of our life in this world and that, when approached from the point of view of faith, can actually lead to growth in faith and confidence.

But – and this is super-important to notice – that does not mean Paul is advocating suffering for suffering’s sake or that he believes God intends for us to suffer. Far from it! Rather, Paul asserts that we worship a God who surprises us by showing up to meet us right in the midst of our vulnerability, pain, and suffering. This was a surprise to his first-century audience – and is likely surprising to his twenty-first century audience as well – because we tend to think about God in terms of strength and power and might, and so we assume that’s what God looks for in return.

Truth be told, that’s likely what Paul believed for much of his life also. That the best way to meet God was through spiritual discipline, or strict obedience to God’s laws, or by displaying the kind of faith that can move mountains. But when Paul – who began his career by persecuting the early Church! – is confronted by the crucified and risen Christ, all of his ideas about who God is and where we can expect to meet God are turned on their head. God’s messiah showing up as a convicted criminal? Put to death in the most awful of ways? Surrounded by two-thieves? Suffering as weak and pitiful a death as one can imagine? That thought simply astounded Paul and forced him to think about God differently.

God, it turns out, is not waiting until we become good enough, or strong enough, or righteous enough, to come to us. Rather, God comes to meet us in our weakness, struggles, and vulnerability in order to comfort us, strengthen us, and equip us to comfort and strengthen others.

Two brief “take-aways” related to Paul’s conviction in light of our circumstances.

First, if you are feeling anxious or stressed or frightened, not only are you not alone – this is a pretty normal set of responses to a pandemic! – but you are also not somehow falling short or failing others. Rather, you are being honest, facing what is difficult and being truthful about the dramatic and challenging nature of our circumstances. Brené Brown, one of my favorite researchers and authors, regularly confronts us with the fact that courage is not the absence of fear or vulnerability, but rather is the ability to persevere in the midst of fear and vulnerability. She has challenged more than 10,000 people in the various presentations she’s given to come up with a single example of courage that did not entail vulnerability… and to date, no one has been able to offer one. Similarly, Admiral James Stockdale, a Medal of Honor winner for valor during the Vietnam War – during which he was tortured more than twenty times while being held prisoner for seven years – once said, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever that may be.” So, dear people of Mount Olivet, we will confront the challenges and hardships of this pandemic together, welcoming the fears, concerns, tears, and more as honest expressions of both the vulnerability and solidarity we share.

Second, we’ll remind each other that God chooses to meet us precisely in our weakness and vulnerability so that we know that God always loves and accepts every part of us – even the parts we have a hard time accepting and loving. This, I think, is what Paul means by saying that suffering can lead to endurance, and endurance to character, and character to hope. Because when you realize God is with you and for you – that God is always on your side – then you find a way not simply to survive challenges but even persevere and flourish. Sometimes, in fact, it’s only when things are most difficult that we recognize God’s presence most powerfully. And so we, dear people of Mount Olivet, will continue to gather digitally in worship, continue to reach out to each other in the variety of ways possible, and continue to support each other in the confidence that, indeed, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

We will get through this. And we will get through it together. And when we do, we may be surprised that we have grown in our faith, confidence, and awareness of God’s abiding grace!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Lose
Senior Pastor

Worship Service - March 29th 2020

Welcome – Pastor David Lose, Senior Pastor

Liturgist – Pastor Monica Hammersten

Preaching Pastor – Pastor David Lose, Senior Pastor

Following the worship service is our Faith Alive program featuring Pastor Terry Morehouse.

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Please consider making an online gift to support Mount Olivet Ministries. Thank you!

March 27 - A Musical Devotion

Senior Choir Section Leader & Choir Sunday School Teacher, Carah Hart, singing He’s Always Been Faithful

You may not know the name of Thomas Obadiah Chisholm (1866-1960), a Methodist pastor, insurance salesman, and hymn writer, but you are likely familiar with his most famous hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” For this Friday’s musical reflection, we will listen to a less known but equally beautiful hymn by Chisholm, “He’s Always Been Faithful.” It is sung by Carah Hart, one of Mount Olivet’s Senior Choir section leaders and Choir Sunday School teachers.

As you listen, you’ll notice that this hymn is in many ways a “first cousin” to “Great is Thy Faithfulness” as it has similar themes. But the lyrics of this hymn make the promise of God’s faithfulness less a declaration and more of a personal confession. As you listen, you might take comfort that in midst of the chaos of this time, and even while sustaining the whole world and cosmos, yet God also has regard for each one of us. May it be a blessing to you this day and grant a measure of peace.

March 25 - Midweek Lenten Service

Abide with me in service – Pastor Dixon

The Gospel of John was written “so that we may come to believe.” (John 20:31) On Wednesdays in Lent, we continue to more specifically and personally explore how Christ abides with us, based on the previous Sunday’s gospel readings. When in pain, when lost, when grieving, when serving, in our relationships, where does Christ abide? How do we abide in Him?

March 23 - A Devotion From Your Senior Pastor

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” –John 14:27

Dear Family and Friends of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church,

I’ve always found this passage comforting but, truth be told, also a little challenging. The comfort is straightforward: Jesus is promising his disciples a measure of peace that transcends all the challenges they will face, peace that cannot be taken away from them, peace that will help them overcome the challenges and obstacles they face. Jesus says these words on the eve of his betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He knows that his disciples are about to face fearful challenges they cannot yet imagine, and so he promises them peace.

It was an important word then, and it’s an important word now. Because we, too, are suddenly facing fearful challenges that we had not imagined even a few short weeks ago. And so Jesus’ promise of peace and presence is timely, important, and comforting.

But it’s also challenging. What does Jesus mean, for instance, by saying, “I do not give as the world gives?” There are some in the Christian community that have suggested that civic leaders are overreacting to the coronavirus, that the measures advocated are too extreme, and that this threat has been overblown. In short, they advocate not trusting in worldly wisdom or promises of worldly peace.

Let me be very clear on this point: I do not think this is what Jesus is advocating or promising. We have been blessed by our Creator with reason and intellect and creativity to investigate and understand the creation and, to the best of our abilities, to be good stewards of it to the benefit of all God’s people. Right now, that means maintaining strict hygiene routines, practicing social distancing, suspending our usual gatherings and activities, and pulling together to support each other during a difficult time.

Notice that Jesus promises his disciples peace. Peace… not ease of life, not escape from hardship, not protection against all harm. Rather, Jesus promises them peace, a confidence in God’s presence that grants them courage amid difficulty. Perhaps that’s what Jesus means. While we trust and are grateful for the measures our health professionals advocate and while we throw ourselves whole-heartedly into caring for our neighbor by taking these recommendations seriously, yet we also have a source of confidence beyond even the best science.

Note, again, that Jesus promises his disciples peace on the eve of his crucifixion. He was not immune to suffering, harm, or death, and so knows our fears first hand. And yet death did not have the last word, as Jesus was raised again. The witness of the cross, therefore, is that God understands our fears and stays with us during them, and the witness of the resurrection is that God’s love is stronger than hate, that God’s light is stronger than darkness, and that the abundant life God grants is stronger than death itself.

Taken together, Jesus’ cross and resurrection promise that God understands and loves us, will never abandon us, and will in time bring us through all things, even death. And this promise creates in us peace – the ability to maintain our courage amid difficult times, the strength to encourage others when they are fearful, and the capacity to help others. This peace, we are reminded, is given to us by the One whom even death could not contain. It is the gift Jesus gave his disciples of long ago and the gift he still gives us today, a gift that is, indeed, timely, important, and comforting.

Know that I hold you in prayer each day, praying that you experience a measure of peace, courage, and confidence suitable to the challenges of the day. We will get through this, and we will get through it together, for we have been blessed with the peace of Christ, a peace that passes all human understanding.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Lose
Senior Pastor

March 22 - Sunday Worship

Welcome – Pastor David Lose, Senior Pastor

Liturgist – Pastor Mark Dixon

Preaching Pastor – Pastor Charlie Ruud

Following the worship service is our Faith Alive program featuring Pastor Terry Morehouse.

Download this week’s bulletin

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Please consider making an online gift to support Mount Olivet Ministries. Thank you!

March 20 - A Musical Devotion

Senior Choir Section Leader, Audrey Johnson, singing Deep River

Deep River is one of the African American spirituals that gave hope to slaves enduring nearly unimaginable hardship. Spirituals often fall into two broad categories. The first were more up-tempo and were often sung while doing work on the plantations. Slave-owners actually encouraged these kinds of songs because they believed it helped the slaves work more quickly. The second genre was much slower and, while filled ultimately with hope, also gave voice to the deep sorrow of the slaves’ condition. These songs were discouraged, perhaps because slave owners feared the deep emotions they might stir.

Deep River falls into this second category, expressing the pain and sorrow of slavery and a deep longing for release and freedom, both in this world and the next. Today, there is no doubt that there are many who are feeling their own measure of anxiety, sorrow, and even despair when so many aspects of our lives have been turned upside down. As you listen to this spiritual – sung by Mount Olivet Senior Choir Section Leader, Audrey Johnson – give yourself the permission to name your own fears so that you may also trust once again that God is with us and for us and will bring us through this present hardship.

March 18 - Truth Talk #2

We continue our practice of letting Lent be a time to be honest about the challenges of our life in this world and learning together how our faith equips us to not just get by, but actually flourish. In our Truth Talks this year, we explore how God’s promises can help us find a measure of calm, peace, and confidence in ourselves amid all the distractions of life. This Truth Talk is featuring Pastor Ruud and special guest Annika Henry, a student at Augsburg University. They will be discussing anxiety.

March 18 - Midweek Lenten Service

Abide with me in grief – Pastor MacLean

The Gospel of John was written “so that we may come to believe.” (John 20:31) On Wednesdays in Lent, we will be more specifically and personally exploring how Christ abides with us, based on the previous Sunday’s gospel readings. When in pain, when lost, when grieving, when serving, in our relationships, where does Christ abide? How do we abide in Him?

March 15 - Sunday Worship

Pastor Lose preaches on “Jesus the Healer” and the scripture story of the raising of Lazarus.

The liturgist is Pastor Kalland.

Principal Organist Richard Owen and soloist Luke Randall.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Pastoral Care Resources

Below are a list of resources that our Pastoral Care Team is offering to support you.

If you or a loved one are hospitalized, please contact Andrea Brown 612.767.2209, Julie Goodman 612.767.2208, or Ann LaBree 612.767.2288.

If you need to reach a Pastor for emergencies including eminent deaths, hospitalizations, support after office hours please call the on-call phone at 612.916.9016.

The Mount Olivet Counseling Service is offering counseling sessions by phone. Please call 612.927.7335 ext. 10 or email Anne Lied.

If you are in need of a meal, prescription pick-up, or just a friendly phone call, please reach out to one of the members of our pastoral care department and they can help Andrea Brown 612.767.2209, Julie Goodman 612.767.2208, or Ann LaBree 612.767.2288.

Here are some friendly reminders:

  • Please call the church before coming
  • All of the Mount Olivet staff is checking their emails and voicemails, so leave a message and we will get back to you.

Community Meals

Weekly on Thursdays, Dinner Served at 5:15pm

Mount Olivet Church hosts a community meal of in-house scratch-made healthy meals, including entree, soup, vegetable, salad, fruit, dessert and beverages.  Dinners are held in Fellowship Hall.  Guests have the opportunity to gather at 4:30pm, grab a beverage and spend time with others, while waiting for dinner service to begin at 5:15pm. DURING THE PERIOD OF COVID19, WE WILL BE MOVING OUR MEALS TO GRAB AND GO CURBSIDE.

These meals, free of charge, are our opportunity to support anyone who needs a meal or time spent with others.  All are welcome every Thursday.

Prayer Line

Mount Olivet’s Prayer Ministry team provides prayer support to those in need of prayer. In order to submit a prayer request, please call 612.767.2300 or complete our Prayer Request Form.

Support Mount Olivet Home and Careview Home

Making Protective Masks

Due to the supply shortage, Mount Olivet Home/Mount Olivet Careview are accepting donations of homemade protective masks for our facility.  Masks can be dropped off or mailed to Mount Olivet Careview 5517 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419 ATTN: Nursing Department.

Click on the links below for 2 tutorials for making masks using the approved patterns and guidelines.
Tutorial 1
Tutorial 2

Please note: fabric used should only be 100% cotton, and pre-washed in hot water to alleviate future shrinking.

Sewing Hospital Gowns

With a new shortage of disposable gowns for health-care workers, we are in need of your talent to sew sleeve-additions to short-sleeved cotton gowns. Sleeves will need elastic wristbands with a thumb loop. If you or anyone you know could help out with this urgent project, please contact Laurie Hancer

Retreat Where You Are: Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center

Life may look and feel different right now. You may be anxious about your new daily routine and the uncertainty of the future. Or maybe you are leaning into the stillness of these times. No matter how you are feeling, now is the perfect time to retreat. Pause. Take a breath. Center yourself. We are bringing retreat to you. Explore the resources here and start your own retreat at home. We have cultivated a toolkit for you and your family – prayers, meditations, and activities – to explore and help you through this time of change.

Visit Retreat Where You Are