Making the Sign of the Cross

    One of the things Luther included in the Small Catechism were morning and evening prayers. These prayers, the Apostles’ Creed, or the Lord’s Prayer were to be prayed every day immediately after getting out of bed in the morning and prior to getting back into bed in the evening. But one must first, Luther instructed, make the sign of the cross while saying these words:
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.
    The sign of the cross? Isn’t that more a “Catholic thing? It is true  that at one point Lutherans and Protestants moved away from the practice or limited it to clergy to differentiate themselves from Roman Catholics. Luther, however, always directed its use by lay and clergy alike, not only in daily prayer, but in both Holy Baptism and ordination.
    What then does this “sign” actually mean? It is a reminder of the promises received in Baptism, that we have been named, claimed, and live under the love and care of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is a reminder, too, of the death and resurrection of Christ, the center of our faith. In other words, making the sign of the cross reminds us whose and who we are.
    One only needs to look in our Evangelical Lutheran Worship book to know that making the sign of the cross is indeed a “Lutheran” act. The instructions for beginning the Confession and Forgiveness read, “The assembly stands. All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at Baptism” (see page 116). The word used is may – it is not required, but it is definitely a Lutheran option.
    For many, there is something spiritually powerful in this tangible, physical act of prayer that goes back to the earliest days of Christianity. Perhaps that is why an increasing number of Lutherans and Protestants do cross themselves, tracing the sign of the cross over their bodies from forehead to lower chest, then from shoulder to shoulder and back to the heart or simply tracing a small cross on their foreheads. Should YOU begin the practice? It’s an option,
not a requirement. On the other hand, why not give it a try?
Do it upon rising and going to bed. Or, do it prior to beginning prayer or devotions. As you do, say the words Luther suggests – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.
Who knows? It may be powerful for you, too.

What’s Your Vocation? (And Yes, You Have One)

WEST  M 4/17 & 4/24 7-8:30pm, Center for Faith & Life Activity Room. All Christians have a calling in life, but what does this really mean? Using the life of Martin Luther and led by Reformation scholar Dr. Mark Tranvik, Augsburg College, we will look at how Luther understood vocation and see how his insights can be appplied to our own walk of faith.
Cost: Donation.

Glimpsing Resurrection: A Theology of the Cross Meets Advanced Stage Cancer

Mpls Tu 4/18 & 4/25 7-8:30pm
Rm 482-86. Christians often affirm that because God became a human being, endured awful suffering on the cross, and died, God can relate to our suffering. Often we quickly move from the cross to the resurrection. For those experiencing the trauma of serious illness or other causes, this move can be too abrupt. Come join Dr. Deanna Thompson, Professor of Religion, Hamline University, and someone who lives with stage IV cancer, as together we explore these themes. Cost: Donation.

44th Annual Fashion Show & Luncheon

MPLS  Sa 4/22 12noon. This year’s theme is “Destination Excelsior.”
We have partnered with local retailers of Excelsior where the traditional is mixed with the trendy. We will showcase 2017’s most popular looks for all ages, for active lifestyles, as well as fashions that are perfect for the lake. Join us for this much-anticipated annual event! $20.

Flying Solo: Art in Bloom (singles 40s-60s)

Th 4/27 6:30pm, Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), 2400 3rd Ave S, Mpls. Mount Olivet member Dick Raiche has been invited to interpret the signature piece of art – quite an honor! Meet at 2nd floor fountain at 6:30pm for a special tour by docent Susie McKitterick (Dick’s sister) beginning at 7pm sharp (exhibit runs 10am-9pm). Cost: FREE (cash bar). Following the exhibit, join us at Eat Street Social (18 W 26th St, Mpls) for fun and fellowship. Questions: Mary Morton 612.964.9015

Save the Date: Friends Forever Dragonfly Service Project (50yrs+)

Su 4/30 4-7pm, Location & Cost TBD. We will assemble key rings and stuff envelopes with cards of comfort and hope to be distributed to those who have lost loved ones (see The workshop will be followed by a dinner.

Women in Leadership Luncheon

Tu 5/2 11:30am Check-In & Fellowship, 12noon Lunch, Pinstripes, Edina. Speaker: Pastor Karen Castillo, President Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala (ILAG). Topic: “Changing Girls’ Lives in Guatemala.” To feed their families, Guatemalan parents of girls age 13+ arrange marriages with much older men. To teach skills and provide other options to Guatemalan girls, ILAG has created a two-year residential school. Come hear about this inspiring project that will change lives. $25. Register by 4/28.

33rd Garage Sale

MPLS Th 5/4 4-8pm ($4 admission),
F 5/5 8am-5pm, Sa 5/6 8am-12noon. Donate! We accept new and gently used items that are suitable for resale. For a list of items not accepted. For pick-up of items, contact: Sherry Kapanke 612.859.7566 Donation questions: Mary Slinde 952.884.4975 Donations are tax-deductible and will be accepted: MPLS Sa 4/29 8am-4pm, M 5/1 8am-4pm (pick-up and drop-off); West Sa 4/29 9am-2pm (drop-off). Volunteer! Volunteers needed Sa 4/29 to Su 5/6. To volunteer, contact: Mary Slinde 952.884.4975 Shop! The sale features donations from over 300 families organized in departments including adult clothing, children’s clothing, toys, household goods, antiques, sporting goods, furniture, tools, and more!

Mother’s Day Buffet

Su 5/14 Seatings at 11am, 12:30pm & 2pm, Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center. Chef Justin Given has planned an extraordinary menu for this special day. Visit in one of our common spaces, enjoy our pool, whirlpool, and sauna, or hike our trails before heading home. Let us handle all the details while your family enjoys the memories. Cost: $18 adults (13yrs and older); $8 youth 5-12yrs; children under 5 are free.
RESERVATIONS OPEN 4/17 by phone only: 952.469.2175.

Spring Volunteer Day

Sa 5/20 9am-3pm, Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center.
Help us plant flowers to beautify the ground and relax in the whirlpool or sauna when our workday is complete. Lunch and snacks are provided. Register: 952.469.2175