Pastor's Ponderings

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Pastor's Pondering Feb. 20 2018

Pastor Pondering 

 Yet another mass shooting incident brings lots of emotions out in the open. There is the shock and then the sorrow and heartache. There is the desire to protect ourselves and our loved ones. And then we try to make sense of what happen and line up of arguments about what should be done or not done. We’ve been down this path all too many times before. The script seems to be played out over and over without any changes to the outcome.

 During the season of Lent, we are reminded of the way of the cross. The Gospels make it clear that there is rejection, suffering and death that lies ahead for the one we call the savior of the world. It isn’t a pretty picture. And lest we pass too quickly over the details, the Gospel writers insist that this story is our story also. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  (Luke 9:23). This means that if we wish to follow Jesus, we must recognize and enter into the disappointment, the sorrow, and the brokenness of the world rather than trying to skip over such things or put the blame on others.

 As for how we can make the world better, or at least safer in some way, I don’t know a perfect solution. I do know that everyone has to put down their own need to be right in order to listen to each other. No more attacking people who think differently. We need to find ways to be in relationship with one another and be willing to make some changes that would be in the best interests of everyone, including those who are most vulnerable, even if it might mean giving up something we hold dear. We are to love even those who are most different from us. The test of our faith isn’t in what we say and do when everything is going along just fine. The real test is what we do when we are challenged and the way is not easy. When we are in those moments, we can remember the one who promised to always be with us to the end of the age.

 See you in church,

 Pastor Steve

Posted by Rev. Dr. Steve Larsen with

Pastor's Pondering February 13

Pastors Pondering, February 13

How to Love Lent

This Wednesday, February 14, the season's change.  It will not yet be the end of winter or the beginning of spring.  That comes on March 20.  The change I am referring to is more subtle and hidden, but no less profound.  out of the darkness of waiting and cold hibernation comes a wind of awakening and rebirth.  The season is called Lent.

Lent begins with the reminder that we are fragile and our time is limited here on earth.  The ashes of Ash Wednesday remind us to but we to look to what lasts beyond this life.  At the other end of the season of Lent, we encounter the news of the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.  Along the way, we are called to take up the way of self-denial, sacrifice, and service to others.

The season of Lent offers us a chance to discover the mystery of Christ within us.  It can be gentle, but also a demanding time.  It is a time when we are to reflect upon our lives and listen more closely for the voice that lies behind all the other voices that clamor for our attention.

People often decide to "give something up for Lent".  That's practice that can help us be more spiritually focused on personal sacrifice.  I think an even better practice is to take on something for the season that will help your faith to grow.  It might be reading a portion of the Bible each morning.  You might decide to read the Gospel of Luke during the 6 weeks of the season.  It might be participating in the Lenten Study each Wednesday evening or, if you can't attend, reading through the study book on your own.  It might be making an extra donation to some charity or project.  It might be writing notes to some friends that you lost touch with and wish to connect with once again.  Be creative.  Find something that makes this season a bit different than the same old, same old.  Let God get close.

See you in church,

Pastor Steve

Posted by Rev. Dr. Steve Larsen with

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